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If you are involved in a big-rig collision, the impact on your life of an accident involving a vehicle that weighs 25 times more than a typical passenger car can be catastrophic.  The outcome of a personal injury claim typically determines an accident victim’s ability to obtain compensation for lost income, hospital bills, medical expenses, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, and other damages.  Because some people do not immediately recognize the extent of their injuries, they procrastinate in terms of seeking legal advice and representation.  Because plaintiffs are rarely successful in getting an adverse trial judgment reversed on appeal, time is of the essence in seeking legal representation from an experienced semi-truck accident attorney.

In this blog, our Florida personal injury law firm reviews a trucking accident case demonstrating the deference given to the verdict of a trial court on appeal.  A married couple was driving on a wet road when another driver lost control of his pickup truck, which veered off the roadway into a ditch.  The husband engaged the brakes, but a truck driver operating a tractor-trailer behind the couple was unable to stop.  The couple sued the trucking company and the employee driving the big-rig.  The jury returned a verdict of almost $4 million, and the defendants appealed. Continue reading →

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While many trucking accidents result from unrealistic shipping schedules, fatigued truck drivers, and poorly maintained big-rigs, improper loads also contribute to a significant number of collisions.  Our Miami trucking accident attorneys recognize that the massive length and weight of a tractor-trailer mean that excessive loads, unbalanced loads, and poorly secured loads often interfere with proper handling and contribute to life-altering tractor-trailer collisions.

Because our Florida semi-truck accident lawyers have extensive experience handling trucking litigation, we can navigate the complexities involved in these sophisticated vehicular lawsuits.  Our law firm has the expertise to navigate the extensive matrix of state and federal trucking regulations, as well as a network of nationally renowned industry experts.  In this blog, we focus on the role of improper loads. Continue reading →

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The prominence of the Internet and popularity of social network sites have dramatically changed the way people live their lives.  It was not so long ago that privacy was so important to people that the notion of allowing others to monitor every aspect of a person’s life would have been viewed as an unreasonable intrusion of privacy.  Social networks have changed these societal norms.  Many people now live in full view of virtual strangers and provide extensive details about every aspect of their daily activities.  Our Miami trucking accident lawyers know that this choice to live one’s life in full view of anyone who will watch and listen can create a serious problem if you are injured in a tractor-trailer accident.

Insurance companies often hire investigators to help them develop negative information about an injury victim that the insurer could use to their advantage in negotiations or at trial.  These investigators regularly search social network sites for information that can be used when defending a personal injury lawsuit. If you have a social network page on Facebook, Twitter or MySpace, you must be very careful about what you post on your site because it may later become evidence in your personal injury lawsuit.  Some examples of how your social network site can hurt your personal injury case might include: Continue reading →

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Our trucking accident lawyers acknowledge that the trucking industry serves an indispensable, logistics role that is essential to the U.S. economy.  Despite this important function, these massive vehicles exact a devastating toll when negligent commercial drivers and indifferent trucking companies fail to exercise reasonable care for the safety of other vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.  Whether a trucking accident occurs because a driver is not adequately trained, screened, or supervised or a trucking company fails to perform appropriate vehicle maintenance, tractor-trailer accident victims face special obstacles when seeking financial compensation.  Trucking companies anticipate the prospect of litigation arising out of collisions involving their drivers and big-rigs, and they are prepared to protect their interests.  Litigation of claims against commercial carriers can be complicated by the practice of spoliation of evidence.

The plaintiff in Greenwood Motor Lines, Inc. v. Bush filed a personal injury claim seeking compensation for injuries incurred when a truck driver rear-ended the plaintiff’s vehicle.  She suffered both neurological and physical injuries which forced her to struggle with pain through the duration of the case.  The plaintiff prevailed in the trial court, but the commercial driver and the trucking company appealed based on alleged error by the trial judge on the issue of spoliation of evidence, as well as grounds of insufficient evidence to support the verdict. Continue reading →

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Although vehicle occupants injured in trucking accidents have the right to pursue a lawsuit in Florida without legal representation, the decision to do so will virtually guarantee disastrous results.  Commercial carriers and their insurance companies expect that truck drivers will be involved in accidents, so trucking companies anticipate litigation.  Commercial carriers have rapid response investigation teams, a network of accident reconstruction experts, and extensive litigation resources all focused on denying or limiting the recovery for the injuries and fatalities caused by careless truck drivers and unsafe tractor-trailers.

Along with these reasons for not attempting to handle a trucking accident claim without an experienced Miami trucking accident lawyer, unrepresented plaintiffs also must navigate the rules of civil procedure, local court rules, evidentiary rules, and many other technical and procedural “rules of the game.”  If you do not understand these procedural requirements, you are like a participant in a highly complex game without knowing how the game is played.  In this blog post, our Miami tractor-trailer injury attorneys review a recent case that demonstrates the folly of trying to proceed without legal representation in complex trucking litigation.
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Miami tractor-trailer injury attorneys recognize that a “minor trucking accident” is a fiction.  When a collision occurs between vehicles that are 25 times different in weight, the smaller vehicle does not tend to hold up well under the force of the impact.  While tractor-trailer accidents often result in catastrophic injury or wrongful death, the individual who suffers life-altering injury or wrongful death is almost exclusively an occupant of the other vehicle.  In fatal collisions between passenger vehicles and large trucks, the party who dies is an occupant of the passenger vehicle 97 percent of the time.  Given the high stakes in personal safety and loss of life associated with collisions involving large trucks, allegations that a plaintiff’s conduct contributed to his own injuries can have a devastating impact.  In this blog post, our Miami tractor-trailer accident lawyers review a recent court case where a new trial was ordered so that a jury could evaluate the issue of the plaintiff’s fault.

In the 4th DCA decision of Botta v. Florida Power & Light Co., a motorist injured in a collision with a large truck filed suit alleging negligence.  During an after hours power outage, the utility company dispatched a driver operating a large truck to investigate the problem.  Although it was dark outside, the driver of the truck from the utility company did not put out reflective markers when he parked on the side of the road.  The parties disagreed on the question of whether the driver of the truck turned on his hazard blinkers.  The plaintiff slammed into the back of the large truck, but he contended that he thought the vehicle was in motion. While the plaintiff also presented evidence that he attempted to brake to avoid the collision, a witness testified that the plaintiff did not reduce his speed before the accident.  Conflicting evidence also was presented regarding whether the plaintiff had his headlights on at the time of the crash.  The utility company argued that the defendant had poor vision, which contributed to the accident. Continue reading →

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Many people are familiar with the popular myth that the pedestrian always has the right of way.  Although the vulnerability of pedestrians makes it important that drivers of all types of motor vehicles exercise caution when pedestrians are present, there are circumstances where a driver will not be liable for a fatal pedestrian accident.  If the truck driver was operating his big-rig lawfully, the trucking company and the commercial driver might avoid liability if he has taken all reasonable actions to avoid the pedestrian accident.  In this blog, our Miami tractor-trailer accident attorneys analyze a recent decision by the Florida 2nd DCA that provides an example of the type of evidence a court will consider when determining whether the driver of a large truck is liable for the death of a pedestrian.

In Panzera v. O’Neal, a pedestrian was struck by a tractor-trailer after he scaled a fence and tried to cross the interstate.  The man attempted to cross where no street lights were present at 3 a.m.  After the tractor-trailer had stricken the man, his estate filed a wrongful death action because the man failed to survive his injuries.  The driver of the semi-truck testified that he could not see the pedestrian until he crossed the emergency lane into the lane occupied by the semi-truck.  The truck driver also testified that he applied the brakes hard immediately upon seeing the pedestrian in an attempt to prevent the tragedy.  Continue reading →

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Our Miami Truck Accident Lawyers report that a jury in Escambia County returned a verdict for $12.6 million in damages stemming from a trucking accident about six (6) months ago.  The Pensacola News Journal reported Jey Michael Hendrix and his wife were driving through an intersection in their Jeep Wrangler when they were struck by an industrial truck owned by the Alabama-based company Burford’s Tree Surgeons.  The drivers of the truck turned left in the intersection into the path of the Jeep Wrangler.  Because the driver of the industrial truck committed an unsafe left turn, the defense focused on contesting damages.  The defense contended that the severe nature of the injuries suffered by Mr. Hendrix was made worse because he was not wearing a seat belt.

Insurance companies frequently take the approach of defending personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits based on challenging the extent of damages when liability is fairly clear.  If an insurance company’s insured slams into the rear of an injury victim’s vehicle, for example, the insurer will investigate the plaintiff’s medical records, the facts of the accident, and efforts by the defendant to “mitigate” damages.  Mitigation refers to the plaintiffs’ duty to take action to avoid exacerbating their own injuries.  A plaintiff’s failure to take reasonable care for his or her own safety also constitutes contributory negligence that can result in a reduction in the trucking accident victim’s damages in proportion to the percentage of fault assigned to the plaintiff.  For example, the insurance company of a trucking company’s driver who collides with a car stopped for traffic will often focus on contesting damages because liability is fairly clear. Continue reading →

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South Florida Commercial Truck Accident Attorneys Discuss the Maintenance Duties of Trucking Companies

Commercial trucks travel roadways nationwide to deliver and pick up essential goods. These trucks often weigh in at 80,000 pounds fully loaded. With such a heavy load and so many hours spent on the road, it is vital that tractor-trailers be properly maintained to ensure the safety of their drivers and those traveling with them.  Truckers and trucking companies have a legal duty to maintain their trucks in proper working order.  If the trucking company fails to meet these duties, and an accident results, the trucking company can be held legally accountable.

At Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, our Miami truck accident attorneys understand the immense dangers of poor maintenance. Maintenance related accidents happen more often than many realize.  Poor maintenance threatens all motor vehicle occupants.  Our attorney team champions the rights of injured clients against the trucking companies or truckers that inflicted their injuries.

FMCSA Maintenance Requirements

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets out some federal mandates for the inspection, maintenance, and repair of heavy trucks. These rules are found in Regulation 396. Under the guidelines, all trucking companies and truckers must maintain their vehicle’s vital parts in working order. The list of vital parts is lengthy and includes tires, brakes, couplings, and almost all other important parts of a trailer or truck.

Trucks must be inspected by a qualified inspector at least once a year. The results of this examination will be included in a Driver Vehicle Examination Report. Trucks that fail basic safety testing will potentially be marked out of order and prevented from returning to commercial use until they are repaired and pass inspection.

Before setting out on the road, truckers must also fulfill basic maintenance duties. The driver must inspect a vehicle before setting out and record the results of this basic inspection in a log.  Items that need to be inspected include: Continue reading →

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Our Tractor Trailer Accident Attorneys Discuss the Effectiveness of Speed Limiters

Over the summer, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a proposal that would mandate speed limiters on commercial trucks. The proposal suggests that instituting a rule limiting the speed of trucks to 60, 65, or 68 miles per hour.  Before the proposal is adopted and a final number set, however, the proposal will go through a review process.  Thus far, it has already completed the public comment period.  Our truck accident attorneys have found that highway safety advocates worry that the new administration may not take action on the speed limiter proposal.

At Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, our South Florida 18 wheeler accident lawyers have witnessed firsthand the devastation that a speeding truck can inflict on a smaller passenger motor vehicle. We help truck accident victims seek the financial compensation they are entitled to from the at fault trucker that caused their injuries.  Our firm knows that a serious injury can greatly impact your life and livelihood. We seek to help you achieve financial compensation to mitigate these losses.

Speed Limiters Could Prevent Fatalities

Speed limiters can be installed on heavy trucks, and are already being installed in newer vehicles.  These devices will set a speed cap, not allowing the truck to exceed this rate.  Safety advocates say that speed limiters could help save lives, and their support for this theory lies in simple physics.  The faster a truck is going, the more damage it can inflict.  By slowing down heavy commercial trucks, the incidence of serious or fatal truck accidents should diminish.  Even further, speed limiters would take care of a known problem in the industry—trucks traveling too fast for their tires.  A study released last year found that most truck tires cannot handle speeds over 75 miles per hour, yet many trucks can currently go up to 80 miles per hour. Continue reading →

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