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As highly experienced Miami truck crash attorneys, we have learned that large truck safety involves more than obeying the speed limits. Properly securing cargo is a critical aspect of safe transport for 18-wheelers, car haulers, flatbeds, and especially oversized loads. Failing to secure loads can throw the truck off balance, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Federal regulators from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) passed safety regulations which dictate how cargo must be secured.  The rules establish a minimum standard for safety, however, additional security measures may apply depending upon the load transported by the carrier.

The FMCSA passed the cargo securement safety rules to prevent, or limit, cargo movement in three directions. Regulators concerned themselves with forward movement when stopping, backward movement when accelerating, and sideways movement when turning. Regulators also took into account the dynamics of load shifting while backing into a cargo bay as part of their analysis.  The FMCSA developed these standards from thorough research into how loads shift while accelerating, decelerating, and turning. The rules assume the truck is equipped with anti-lock brakes that the driver has properly warmed and tested before setting out on his or her journey.  Continue reading →

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As truck accident attorneys, we frequently see cases that involve the truck driver, or trucking company violates a state law, state regulation, or federal regulation. We try to use the violation to hold the driver and company liable for your injuries by arguing a legal theory of “per se negligence.” Under Florida law, the legal theory means that the person who broke the law is automatically liable for the injuries caused by the violation. We like to use per se negligence as often as we can because application of the theory resolves the question of liability in our clients’ favor.  Unfortunately, per se negligence does not apply in every case. In some instances, the question of responsibility for the truck crash remains even though the driver or the trucking company violated a law because the violation of a traffic statute is merely evidence of negligence.

The question of whether a violation of the law is per se negligence in Florida arose recently in 2015 in the case of Nadia Registe et al. v. Link America Express, Inc. et al.  In that case, Nadia was driving her children on the highway in Florida when another car swerved in front of Nadia. In response, Nadia took evasive action and pulled to the right. She then over-corrected and struck a guardrail. The minivan Nadia drove spun back into traffic and came to rest perpendicular to the travel lanes, facing the breakdown lane. The minivan became disabled, and Nadia tried to free her passengers. An adult passenger went to relative safety in the breakdown lane. Nadia tried to remove her children from their car seats when an 18-wheeler approached. The truck driver swerved to the right in an effort to avoid striking the minivan. However, Nadia’s adult passenger was on the right shoulder. The truck driver pulled to the left to avoid hitting the passenger but could not avoid striking the car. Nadia and her children suffered injuries in the crash. Continue reading →

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Our Miami truck accident attorneys report that Tesla, Google, Uber, and others have developed self-driving, or autonomous, vehicles. Self-driving tractor-trailer trucks are the next big thing to hit the market. Developers proclaim that the autonomous tractor-trailer units are much safer than their human counterparts. But will they be? While autonomous vehicles potentially can remove human error from the driving equation, no one can be certain that no errors will occur. One can easily envision a scenario where the self-driving truck loses control because of a computer error, whereas a human driver would have been able to stop or control the truck.

Uber, which is a trend-setting company that stood the traditional taxi system on its head, claims it has an autonomous truck on the road near its headquarters daily. While technology is evolving, the self-propelled system operates with a combination of global positioning satellite, laser technology LIDAR, and mounted video cameras working harmoniously creating a 3-dimentional map to guide the truck.  The lasers measure distances from mounts on the front and sides of the vehicle. The underlying philosophy the startup company Otto (Uber bought Otto a short time ago), who developed the technology for autonomous trucks, came from the idea that computers would act as co-pilots for weary drivers. Initially, Otto’s plan was to outfit the computer-based co-piloting system on tractor-trailers to allow drivers to sleep during long highway stretches. The truck would come to a stop and allow the operator to resume control to exit the freeway.  Otto proclaims the safest means to accomplish the changeover from computer to driver is to stop at a designated rest area. Continue reading →

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A tragic tractor-trailer accident occurred on Interstate 95 in West Melbourne Florida this summer. A 59-year-old man lost his life to a freak, yet probably avoidable, tractor trailer crash. Proper truck maintenance could have saved the man’s life. The truck accident attorneys at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano have a combined 130 years of experience litigating truck crashes and other personal injury cases and understand that truckers and trucking companies must conduct proper maintenance and safety checks of the entire rig, especially the tires.

The accident happened when a tractor-trailer towing a large piece of construction equipment called an excavator, experienced tire failure. As a result of the tire failure, the tractor-trailer slammed into the barrier separating the north and southbound lanes of I-95. The excavator dislodged from the trailer and entered the roadway on the northbound side. The deceased driver slammed into the excavator and died on scene. The tractor-trailer driver suffered serious injuries in the crash. There were no indications any else was wrong with the truck except the tire that failed. Continue reading →

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Some big rigs are independently owned and operated, while others belong to a company who employ drivers to operate their trucks. In the latter scenario, the employer is liable for damages caused by the employee even if the employer did not commit a wrong. The legal theory in play here is called the Doctrine of Respondeat Superior (the “Doctrine”).  The Doctrine remains valid under Florida law and is also referred to as “vicarious liability.” Usually, the employer is only liable for ordinary damages even if the employer was not negligent. Some cases allow plaintiffs to collect punitive damages from a trucking company and not merely the employee. We at Miami truck accident firm of Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano have seen cases like that in our combined 130 years of litigation experience.

The question of whether an employer is ever liable for punitive damages assessed by a jury for actions committed by the employee appeared in the 1981 case of Mercury Motor Exp. Inc., v. Smith.  In Smith, the driver of a tractor-trailer lost control of his rig and left the roadway. Upon leaving the roadway, the tractor-trailer struck a person along the side of the road and killed him. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit alleged that the truck driver operated the tractor-trailer while under the influence of alcohol to such an extent that the alcohol consumption diminished his ability to drive the tractor-trailer safely. The truck driver was on-duty and working for Mercury Motors when he killed the pedestrian. Continue reading →

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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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