Southern Florida has thousands of miles of roadways and these roads are used by innumerable trucks to haul goods and supplies to locations throughout the region. When federal, state, and local authorities take the appropriate steps to maintain these thoroughfares, truckers are able to complete their jobs and return to their home base without incident. However, when a defect in the surface of the road, uncleared debris, or even a poorly designed section of road result in a truck accident, the consequences are devastating. If you have been involved in an accident involving a truck and suspect that a defective roadway played a significant part in the horrific event, our expertise might be exactly what you need.
For example, our firm sued the Florida Department of Transportation over a poorly maintained bridge who’s worn road surface led to a catastrophic cross-over crash. Our Miami Truck Accident lawyers recovered a $22 million dollar settlement.
There are many different scenarios that lead to truck accidents. These vehicles are exceptionally heavy, long, and unwieldy. It is not possible to stop a truck traveling at a high rate of speed quickly and steering to avoid a collision is extremely difficult. When you add aggressive driving, sleepy drivers, overloaded trailers, or poorly maintained vehicles and equipment into the equation, there is a recipe for disaster, but what happens when an external factor out of the control of everyone on the road causes or contributes to an accident? A roadway that has some sort of structural issue, is in desperate need of repairs, was designed with an innate flaw, or is not maintained puts everyone at risk, but may be exceptionally hazardous for truck drivers.
A defective roadway may be obvious to those traveling over the road or may hide its dangers until it is too late to avoid the trap. Some of the common hazards caused by insufficient or ineffective maintenance include:
• Potholes that have grown into treacherous pits;
• Trees that have grown to the point where they obstruct visibility or actually overhang the roadway;
• Trees that are diseased or dead and pose an immediate threat of falling into the roadway;
• Other vegetation that impacts line of site or causes a physical intrusion; and
• Debris that remains in the road long after it reasonably should have been cleaned up or removed.;
• Road surfaces which have been so worn down as to cause a loss of traction;
• Traffic signals which have been broken and not repaired
Although freezing weather is not as much of a problem in South Florida, icy roads that are not handled appropriately by road crews pose a serious danger to all types of drivers in other areas.
In addition to the threats from improper road maintenance, structural and design defects create an inherent risk. The danger from these flaws is that it is difficult for truck drivers to perceive the potential for tragedy. A road may contain an ill-conceived curve before a short merge, an intersection may have been constructed with a permanent line of sight obstruction, lighting may not be sufficient to allow truck drivers to react to pedestrians in time to avoid impact, signage may be ineffective or misleading, leading to distraction or improper turns, among other dangerous consequences. In addition, the roads may be open to truck drivers and their over-sized tractor trailers, but were not actually designed to handle these vehicles. These errors could include lanes that are not sufficient to accommodate the size of the trucks or materials that do not hold up to the wear and tear caused by trucks.
An accident caused by a defective roadway is particularly challenging from a litigation standpoint. Governmental authorities and departments are responsible for most road work. Bringing a legal action against governmental entities and officials may be hindered by:
• Constitutional restrictions/ limitations on civil tort claim actions;
• Discretionary function exemptions that may exist and limit state liability under certain circumstances;
• Imposed caps on the award of damages; and
• Disallowance of the award of punitive damages.
This type of litigation requires expertise in truck accident cases as well as an in-depth understanding of how to achieve justice when the local, state, or federal governmental entities are at least partially responsible for the harm suffered by an accident victim. Our firm has successfully handled a number of Claim Bills that have become law in Florida resulting in large monetary awards to our clients.
If you have suffered serious harm resulting from impact with a tractor trailer or other over-sized vehicle, the Miami truck accident attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano have the expertise to help you. We are ready to sit down with you and talk about the specific facts of your case. Our personal injury attorneys have reached successful jury verdicts and settlements in Miami and throughout South Florida for decades. It is important to start to gather evidence in support of your case as soon as possible, so call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or contact us through our website to schedule a free consultation.