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Congress is considering passing a proposal that could allow drivers as young as 18 to operate 80,000 pound tractor trailers between states. The proposal is just one small part of a larger highway legislation that is currently before the Senate.  Although it is only one provision among many, it has received much media attention and raised considerable concerns from safety experts and drivers across the country.

Thus far, safety organization Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety has spoken out against the proposal, stating that we should be attempting to reduce the number of teen drivers not expand their ability to drive across the country.  Currently, our Miami truck accident lawyers find that several states allow truckers 18 years and older to obtain commercial driving permits and operate tractor trailers, but they can only do so within their state’s borders.  Federal law does not currently permit anyone under the age of 21 from driving a tractor trailer across borders.  Continue reading →

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Tractor trailer fires are sparked by truck accidents in Miami and across the nation.  In fact, this past April, a tractor trailer traveling on the Sawgrass Expressway overturned and caught fire, tragically killing two people. Firefighters struggled to contain the blaze with no fire hydrant close by.  The fire smoldered for some time until it was finally extinguished.

The Causes of Tractor Trailer Fires

Tractor trailer fires can erupt when certain conditions present themselves following an accident.  When a fire does happen, it is often a serious event that causes deadly injuries to truck drivers, the passengers of motor vehicles, and anyone in the vicinity of the accident.  Thousands of lives are claimed each year due to tractor trailer accidents, many of which involve fires.  Continue reading →

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If you have been injured in an 18 wheeler accident, you will need to select the right attorney to bring your important truck accident action.  Your attorney can mean the difference between obtaining a strong recovery that will cover your damages sustained in the accident and struggling under years of unpaid medical bills or lost time off work.

Selecting a truck accident lawyer in Miami is not always easy and can be stressful.  Accident victims are surrounded by advertisements for personal injury and truck accident attorneys, which abound on television, billboards, newspapers, and websites.  It is not always easy for truck accident victims to wade through these advertisements and uncover an attorney with true experience and skill.

The first step to choosing your truck accident attorney will involve scheduling some consultations with your top choices.  During these consultations, you will be able to ask some important questions of your potential attorney to assist you in selecting the right one for your case.  The following is a look at some factors to consider in choosing your attorney: Continue reading →

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Last summer, a tractor trailer accident seriously injured actor and comedian Tracey Morgan and took the life of comedian James McNair. This fatal car accident drew the nation’s attention to the problem of truck driver fatigue. Investigations revealed that the driver who crashed into Morgan, McNair, and several other comedians as well as assistants had not slept in over 24 hours.  This driver’s fatigue is believed to have impacted his reaction time, allowing him to slam at high speed into the stopped limousine.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it is estimated that tired driving causes about 100,000 accidents every year, resulting in over 1,500 deaths and another 40,000 injuries.  Driving while tired has been linked to falling asleep behind the wheel, distraction, slowed reaction time, overreaction, running lights or stop signs, and failure to observe obstacles, along with other dangerous behaviors. Continue reading →

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Back in March, a devastating truck accident involving a tractor trailer that detached claimed the lives of four people and injured two others.   The accident occurred on U.S. 27 in Palm Beach County in the early morning hours.  A trailer suddenly became detached from a truck, coming to rest in the middle of the roadway.  The trailer was shrouded by the fog and multiple crashes resulted from drivers running into the trailer.

The first accident involved a 2008 Ford Focus driven by 39 year old Carolina Ortiz.  She swerved to avoid the trailer, but ran into its right rear corner.  Moments later, an approaching tractor trailer slammed into the Focus and sent it spiraling to the side of the highway.  Ortiz was carrying four passengers.  Two other vehicles then crashed in an attempt to avoid the trailer.  Ortiz and three of her passengers were killed in the accident.  Continue reading →

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Truck accidents often result in serious injuries or even death for the drivers and passengers of much smaller motor vehicles. Truck accident victims may incur considerable medical expenses and be unable to work for some time following the accident.  The vast majority of truck accident cases will not proceed to trial.  Instead, most truck accident cases end in a mutually agreed upon settlement that avoids the time and expense of trial for both parties.  The strength of your settlement will depend upon numerous factors, including your Miami truck accident attorney’s qualifications and zeal.  Some truck accident plaintiffs decide to forego the use of an attorney and attempt to settle the case on their own.  These plaintiffs will often accept settlements for less than they may otherwise have received.

Evaluating a truck accident settlement is not always easy. Often, in reaching a settlement, both parties will need to make compromises and may not receive or pay out exactly the sum they initially anticipated.  There are several important considerations that can help you determine whether you are considering a fair settlement, including: Continue reading →

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According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are nearly 4,000 fatal truck accidents each year.  Most of these deaths involve the driver or passengers of the smaller motor vehicle involved in the accident.  Many of those killed will leave behind grieving spouses, children, and other family members.  Losing your loved one in a truck accident is devastating and life changing.  You may find yourself emotionally and financially vulnerable following your tremendous loss.  There are steps that surviving spouses can take following the loss of their husband or wife to obtain compensation from the at-fault truck driver or trucking company.

Florida Wrongful Death Claims

The Florida Wrongful Death Act allows the survivors of a deceased individual killed due to negligence, recklessness, or deliberate actions to seek compensation for their lost support and services from the at-fault party.  Survivors able to bring the action include spouses, children, and parents.  In Florida, a wrongful death lawsuit will identify all potential beneficiaries to the action, including the estate. Each qualifying party can recover the value of their lost support and services from the date of the accident and including future loss of support.  Continue reading →

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A fiery California crash that cannot be explained by investigators has prompted the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to urge that all commercial bus and truck manufacturers install data recorders on their vehicles.  The NTSB states that it has been unable to determine why a tractor-trailer in California crossed the median and struck a bus transporting high school students on a college tour.  The accident killed eight bus passengers.  Flames encompassed the bus and emergency exits were blocked, forcing students to escape through windows.  NTSB officials report that had the truck or bus been equipped with a black box recording device, this could have shed light on the cause of the accident.

Our Miami truck accident lawyers find that this is not the first time the NTSB has urged for the installation of black boxes on all trucks and cars.  In fact, the NTSB has recommended data recorders for decades but the United States Department of Transportation has declined to mandate their installation in all larger motor vehicles.  The American Trucking Association responded by expressing its support for any technological devices that positively impact safety. Continue reading →

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While tractor-trailers transport enormous amounts of cargo on Florida roadways, large trucks that are overloaded or improperly loaded can cause horrific trucking accidents.  There are strict state and federal regulations that limit the maximum weight of a fully loaded semi-truck and that dictate rules for securing a load.  If trucking companies, shippers that load cargo, or commercial drivers fail to exercise reasonable care for the safety of other people on the road, the consequences can be permanent debilitating injuries and wrongful death.

Exceeding Maximum Weight for Tractor-Trailers and Cargo

When large trucks are overloaded with cargo, the excessive load can increase both the probability of a trucking accident and the severity of injuries.  Overloaded trucks tend to be less responsive when drivers must maneuver to evade obstacles or stop because of an interruption in the flow of traffic.  The maximum weight of a fully loaded tractor-trailer traveling on Florida roads is forty tons depending on the type of large truck.  Commercial trucks transporting excessive loads also tend to be prone to crashes because of excessive wear on brakes and tires.

Drivers of 18-wheelers and their employers often disregard safety regulations that impose weight limits on fully loaded commercial vehicles.  Overloading a big-rig creates a significant risk of catastrophic injuries that cause impairment of mental faculties, dismemberment, paralysis, disfigurement, and wrongful death.  Basic physics dictates that any collision involving a large truck will generate more energy.  Further, trucks with excessive loads will generate more force on the human body of passenger vehicle occupants because of the direct relationship between vehicle weight and the force of a collision.

Shifting & Unbalanced Loads Can Result in Potentially Deadly Cargo Shifts

A Large Truck Causation study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that loads that shift during transit contribute to more than one in ten collisions involving large trucks.  Cargo that was not properly secured during transit caused 2,316 single vehicle big-rig crashes and 65 multi-vehicle collisions during a one-year period.
Federal regulations establish requirements for properly securing cargo because a load that shifts during transit can cause the driver to lose control of the big-rig.  Commercial carriers must use appropriate cargo containment systems to ensure that loads do not shift and become unbalanced.  These containment systems must be calculated to resist forces caused by the following:

  • Deceleration while driving forward
  • Lateral acceleration
  • Deceleration while backing up

When commercial drivers and trucking companies fail to exercise reasonable care when balancing a load on a large truck, they put other individuals on Florida roadways at-risk of serious injury.  Liability may be based on a lack of reasonable care or a violation of federal regulations regarding proper securing and balancing of loads.  The trucking company can be financially responsible for an unbalanced load based on the following:

  • Insufficient training of individuals loading commercial vehicles
  • Negligence by drivers and other employees involved in the loading process
  • Inadequate investigation of a truck driver’s background resulting in drivers lacking experience
  • Deficient practices for safe loading

Unsecured Cargo Falling from Large Trucks

While inadequate loading or containment systems can result in an unbalanced load, the prospect of cargo falling into the roadway can present an even more dangerous scenario.  Large heavy items or projectiles can fall off of a commercial truck and crush a vehicle or penetrate the windshield of a vehicle.  In other cases, debris can fall into the roadway and create a dangerous obstruction or a slippery stretch of roadway.  When cars attempt to divert around these obstructions or lose traction with the roadway, multi-car collisions can occur as motorists attempt to evade hazards and/or maintain control of their vehicle.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Catastrophic Injuries and Wrongful Death in Trucking Accidents in Southeast Florida

If you or a family member has been injured in a commercial trucking accident, our Florida Semi Accident Injury Lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.


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Although the massive length and weight of large trucks poses an inherent risk to others on Florida roadways, these risks increase significantly when tankers or other commercial trucks are transporting hazardous materials.  While the amount of energy generated by a collision involving an 80,000 pound big-rig can cause catastrophic injury or wrongful death to occupants of passenger vehicles, our Miami truck accident lawyers find that toxic or corrosive substances released in a tractor-trailer crash can threaten the safety of anyone in the immediate vicinity of the crash, including residents in the surrounding area.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recognizes the potential for disaster when hazardous substances are released in a semi-truck crash.  The federal agency has enacted a range of special regulations that exclusively apply to semi-trucks and tankers transporting hazardous materials, which include but are not limited to the following:

  • States can ban large trucks transporting hazardous cargo from certain roadways if the state makes a determination based on evidence that such a restriction will protect public safety.
  • The driver must have a special hazardous materials endorsement and pass a test.
  • Large trucks transporting hazardous substances may not be parked on private property unless the property owner is aware of the hazardous cargo, knows the driver intends to park on the property, and consents to the vehicle’s presence.
  • The commercial vehicle transporting certain kinds or volumes of substances must display a diamond-shaped warning sign referred to as a warning placard.
  • The vehicle cannot be parked within 5 feet of a “traveled portion of a public street or highway.”
  • The truck driver or a “qualified representative” must monitor the large truck at all times.

These are just a handful of examples of the special rules that are designed to mitigate the risk associated with large trucks carrying harmful substances.  The DOT reports that 200 of the 5,000 fatal commercial trucking accidents each year involve vehicles transmitting hazmat substances.  Examples of hazardous materials transported by vehicles involved in these crashes include:

  • Gasoline
  • Radioactive material
  • Chemical gases and liquids
  • Petroleum products
  • Hazardous waste materials
  • Corrosive substances
  • Flammable substances

Even if passenger vehicle occupants manage to avoid catastrophic injuries from the force of impact with a heavy truck transporting harmful materials, there might be an increased risk of a vehicle fire or explosion following the crash.  A release or spill of corrosive, radioactive, or noxious substances also can cause severe debilitating injuries.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Florida Trucking Accidents

If you or a close family member suffers a serious injury or you lose someone you love in a crash involving an 18-wheeler, our Miami Large Truck Accident Lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.




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