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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) is a federal agency responsible for compiling and analyzing statistic relating to large truck and bus accidents. The FMSCA falls under the U.S. Department of Transportation. The goal of these federal agencies is to make our roads safer, make highway travel more efficient, all while allowing people and businesses to conduct their business.  The FMCSA compiles data from large truck and bus crashes and passes regulations designed to reduce accidents. The Miami truck accident lawyers at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano have a combined 130 years of experience representing truck crash victims and their families.

In 2014, there were 3,649 fatal large truck and bus crashes in the United States. In total, over 29,000 people lost their lives on the road in 2014.  The overwhelming majority of those accidents occurred in the eastern half of the US. Considering the number of trucks on the road and the number of miles driven by those trucks, the number of fatalities is relatively small.  In 2014, 260,350,938 registered vehicles took to the roads in the US. Among those vehicles, 8,328,759 were single-unit trucks. Meanwhile, FMCSA counted 2,577,197 tractor-trailer trucks registered in the US.  Overall, vehicles of all kinds drove 3,025.7 billion miles. Trucks traveled 279.1 billion of those miles, which is slightly over nine percent (9%) of all miles driven in 2014.  The number of non-fatal crashes was much higher in 2014. According to the FMCSA, there were 6,035,000 non-fatal crashes in the US. Among those, an estimated 472,000 involved large trucks. Continue reading →

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Trucking accidents can be dangerous events. The weight of the tractor plus the trailer causes terribly serious injuries, death, and massive property damage. Despite state and federal governments imposing stricter safety regulations upon trucks, crashes continue to occur.  If a trucking accident caused injuries to you or someone you love, the truck crash attorneys at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano could help. They have 130 combined years of experience fighting for people injured in trucking accidents through no fault of their own.

No one need look any further for evidence of the potential devastation a tractor trailer accident can cause than to a fatal crash that occurred in the Florida Panhandle in July 2016. Five people died, and 25 suffered injuries when a bus carrying a large number of individuals crashed into a tractor-trailer truck at a busy intersection. The truck driver perished in the accident as well. One of the deceased was a child riding on the bus.

Witnesses described the horrible events. The bus carried farm workers and family from Georgia into the Panhandle. Witnesses said the bus driver ran a flashing red light and failed to yield to the tractor-trailer truck traveling through the intersection. The tractor-trailer truck had the right of way. The bus slammed into the tractor-trailer, causing both vehicles to spin out of control. The vehicles crashed into each other again.  At that point, they burst into flames. Continue reading →

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Video cameras onboard a Port St. Lucie school bus captured images of the tragic collision with a speeding tractor-trailer that killed a student and left others injured. The built-in video cameras, trained on the driver and the passengers, collected video of the crash and its aftermath. Thanks to the positioning of the cameras, accident investigators had the opportunity to watch the driver’s behavior and the passengers’ behavior pre and post crash. The cameras also allowed researchers to evaluate the evacuation procedures first responders followed while responding to the scene. The National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) analyzed the data preserved in the recording system and reached conclusions as to how the accident happened. The truck accident lawyers at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, represent victims of truck accidents and their families to win them the compensation they deserve.

The tragic crash occurred on March 26, 2012, on State Road-70 which also known as the Okeechobee Road. The school bus had 30 school children onboard and one driver. The bus was traveling west and entered the left-turn lane. The bus stopped before crossing into the eastbound lane, headed onto Midway Road. The bus nearly made its way safely across the intersection when a tractor-trailer headed eastbound on Okocheebee Road at 63 miles per hour slammed into the right rear quarter of the bus. The speed limit on the road is 55 miles per hour. The impact was in the area of the right rear tires. The impact forced the bus to turn 180 degrees. The tractor-trailer continued east until it flipped when it reached the soft shoulder on the right side of the road. Continue reading →

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Tractor-trailer crashes that involve pedestrians are particularly tragic. The tractor-trailer combination creates many blind spots for the driver. Even the safest, most reliable drivers cannot see every everything at all times, despite their specialized training, examination, and experience. Pedestrians must rely on their sense of self-preservation–if they are able in the moment– to avoid a collision. Notwithstanding, the drivers must understand and be ever mindful that pedestrians present a substantial danger. Tractor-trailer drivers’ inattentiveness can lead to disaster. The South Florida truck accident lawyers at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano successfully represents truck crash victims and their families.

Many stories demonstrate the dangers of pedestrians and tractor-trailers quite clearly. In February of 2016, a pedestrian died after being run over by a tractor-trailer in Port Everglades according to the Miami Herald. The crash occurred at the Sun Terminal trucking company lot. The man who died was an employee of the terminal. The pedestrian was leaving work when the accident happened. The tractor-trailer driver pulled his rig into the terminal, near the guard shack, when the driver struck the pedestrian. The guard shack is located near the entrance to the terminal. First responders valiantly attempted rescue efforts but, unfortunately, they were not successful. Medical personnel pronounced the victim dead at the scene. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office traffic homicide investigators responded to the scene. While it is unclear who was at fault in the accident, one thing is sure: the survivability rate for a pedestrian struck by a tractor-trailer is small. Continue reading →

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Our Boca Raton truck accident attorneys recognize that while vehicle occupants injured in trucking accidents must persuasively establish the negligent conduct of the defendants, the task of gathering and persuasively presenting evidence of damages can be just as important.  While hospital and doctor bills, payroll records, vehicle repair records, diagnostic exams, medical treatment records, and other documents can provide vital evidence of damages, the medical history of an accident victim can complicate more complex damage determinations like pain and suffering, as well as permanent disability.  If a vehicle occupant is injured in a truck crash, the defendant will carefully review the injured party’s medical records for evidence of pre-existing medical conditions.  The goal of this research and analysis is to identify other causes of severe or disabling injuries other than the tractor-trailer collision.  While seeking immediate legal advice immediately after the collision can mitigate the risk of the trucking company linking your long-term medical condition to a prior injury, insurance companies often raise this issue in the litigation.

Our Florida big-rig accident lawyers recently reviewed a decision from a Florida appellate court that demonstrates the way trucking companies try to limit recoveries by relying on alleged pre-existing injuries.  In James v. City of Tampa, plaintiff, a vehicle passenger, suffered injuries when the vehicle he was traveling in was hit by a City of Tampa sanitation truck.  At the time of the collision, the garbage truck was backing up.  The driver of the vehicle in which the plaintiff was riding also attempted to back up to avoid being struck, but the effort was unsuccessful.  The City of Tampa admitted liability so that damages were the sole issue to be determined at trial. Continue reading →

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Our truck accident lawyers recognize that commercial carriers utilize many strategies to limit their exposure to liability for personal injuries and wrongful deaths caused by the drivers they engage in transporting cargo.  A common tactic involves using an “independent contractor” (IC) rather than employees to operate semi-trucks.  While a trucking company cannot necessarily avoid liability by taking this approach, this strategy can reduce the risk that the commercial carrier will be subject to vicarious liability.  Vicarious liability translates literally into the phrase “let the employer answer.”  This concept is important because it permits an employer to be held strictly liable for the negligence of the employee (driver) even without specific evidence of negligent acts or practices committed by the trucking company.  While other theories of liability might be available against a trucking company, vicarious liability often provides the easiest way to obtain a judgment against a commercial carrier, which typically will possess more extensive insurance coverage and assets to satisfy a judgment or settlement than the truck driver.

Trial Court Notes Florida Law Permits Designation of ICs as Employees

Our Florida semi-truck accident lawyers often see cases like the Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal decision, Peninsula Logistics, Inc. v. Erb, which demonstrates the importance and complexity involving a court’s determination of whether a truck driver is an employee or IC.  This case involved a crash between the plaintiff’s vehicle and a semi-truck owned by a company (O & L Transport) other than the one that retained the driver as an IC.  Although the truck driver was not directly employed by the trucking company, the trial judge ruled that the trucking company could be vicariously liable for the driver’s negligence because it fell within the definition of an “employer” under applicable trucking regulations.  At trial, the jury returned a favorable verdict for the plaintiffs. Continue reading →

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Although most motor vehicle collisions involving distracted drivers can cause catastrophic injuries, fatalities, and vehicle destruction, people would be hard pressed to imagine a more horrific scenario than a collision between a large truck and an Amtrak passenger train.  Unfortunately, this nightmare scenario was the subject of a lawsuit heard by a U.S. District Court jury in 2014.  Although a jury returned a verdict against the trucking company ordering it to pay in excess of $4.5 million in compensation to Amtrak after the big-rig crashed into the passenger train and caused the death of six people, including both the train conductor and the driver of the large truck.  The trucking company recently had its request for a new trial denied.  Our semi-truck accident attorneys highlight this tragedy as a vivid reminder of the risk to the public posed by commercial drivers who multitask behind the wheel of a large truck and engage in other unsafe driving practices.

Miami Tractor-Trailer Accident Lawyers Review Facts and NTSB Findings

During the original trial in federal court, the jury concluded that the trucking company’s driver was primarily responsible for the collision between the tractor-trailer and the westbound California Zephyr.  Evidence from a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation figured prominently in the jury trial.  The NTSB report indicated that the truck driver was inattentive because he was distracted by his cell phone and fatigued.  The horrific crash occurred when the tractor-trailer slammed into the left side of the Amtrak train passing through a grade crossing.  The carnage included the destruction of the truck-trailer, multiple passenger railcars, and a fire that engulfed two railcars and parts of a third. Continue reading →

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Most people probably assume that a party cannot be liable for causing a trucking accident unless they are an “actual cause” of the crash, but our Miami-Dade truck accident attorneys recognize that the legal concept of causation is more complicated.  The issue of “proximate cause” constitutes an important issue in a fair number of trucking accident lawsuits because multiple defendants often attempt to shift fault for the crash to another party.  One way to understand proximate cause is to understand that a variety of factors or a chain of events might cause an accident, such that any of the factors or events could be viewed as contributing to the collision.  In simple terms, the principle of proximate cause often amounts to a legal conclusion about the foreseeability of the collision.

Although proximate cause constitutes an issue that is too complicated to explain fully, our Florida trucking accident lawyers would like to call attention to a recent decision that illustrates how important this issue can be in trucking litigation.  In Sunbelt Environmental v. Gulf Coast Truck and Equipment, the plaintiff had his arm amputated while riding his bike after being struck by a garbage truck.  After the plaintiff had entered into a settlement with Sunbelt, the company filed a third party lawsuit naming the manufacturer of the truck and the company that installed a tarping device designed to prevent debris from spilling from the garbage truck.  Continue reading →

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Because large tractor-trailers transporting a maximum load under federal law can reach forty tons, any crash caused by a careless, distracted, or speeding tractor-trailer operator will typically have a devastating impact on occupants of the other vehicle.  When trucking accidents involve pedestrians, the outcome typically will be fatal.  Although pedestrians have the right-of-way in many situations, a commercial driver and trucking company will not automatically be liable when a pedestrian is struck down by a big-rig.  Our trucking accident attorneys recognize the importance of careful investigation, analysis, and presentation of evidence, which typically includes expert witnesses.

Our trucking accident lawyers note a case from Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals that provides a graphic reminder of the importance of effective legal representation of a pedestrian who suffers fatal injuries in a trucking accident.  In Ponzera v. O’Neal, the plaintiff was struck by a tractor-trailer on a roadway that was dimly lit at night.  The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, contending a lack of material facts in dispute that indicated that the truck driver’s conduct was negligent.  When considering a motion for summary judgment, the judge will view the evidence in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion.  If the judge finds that there is not a dispute of material facts, the court will determine that the party who filed the motion is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.  Summary judgment was granted by the trial judge against the pedestrian on the issue of whether the truck driver operated the vehicle negligently, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue reading →

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The trucking industry claims a high toll in loss of lives and injuries because of the massive size and weight of tractor-trailers.  Although many safety regulations and practices can reduce the toll claimed by unsafe big-rig operators, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently recognized the importance of adopting minimum standards for entry-level truck drivers.  The prospect of young drivers without a certain amount of experience operating a tractor-trailer is a frightening prospect.  Our trucking accident lawyers laud the efforts of the FMCSA to establish basic training standards for newly licensed commercial drivers.

Proposed New Commercial License Requirements

In March, the FMCSA proposed a set of mandatory training standards for entry level commercial operators of trucks and buses.  Our tractor-trailer accident lawyers view these changes as a step in the right direction toward making our roads safer.  Drivers seeking to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) would need to satisfy the prerequisite training standards for novice drivers of trucks and buses.  Under the proposal, applicants for a “Class A” CDL, which is required to operate a tractor-trailer combination weighing 26,001 pounds or more, must complete thirty hours of behind-the-wheel training program that complies with FMCSA standards.  The instruction programs must include at least ten hours of operating a vehicle in this class on a practice course. Continue reading →

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