Articles Posted in Truck Accidents

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While warm weather and an abundance of amenities that appeal to seniors make Florida a magnet for aging Baby Boomers, the state’s high number of seniors appears to have had a potentially worrisome side effect.  Florida is the site of more accidents involving elderly drivers than any other state in the U.S.  While this trend would be alarming regardless of the type of vehicle driven by these seniors, a recent story from CBS News suggests that elderly truck drivers might be the cause of an increased traffic safety threat.  A significant shortage of truck drivers throughout the U.S. has inspired commercial carriers to undertake a new recruiting strategy of hiring older retirement aged truck drivers.  In this blog, our tractor-trailer accident attorneys examine the threat to public safety suggested by the results of this new study.

Older truck drivers point out that they tend to have more experience, understanding of their rig, and cautious driving habits.  However, the age-related declines in physical and mental faculties of the elderly could impair their ability to handle vehicles that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds.  Elderly truck drivers face a more daunting task than older drivers of passenger cars.  Truckers must cope with driving long distances frequently under difficult traffic conditions and tight time constraints.  Although a fair portion older truck drivers might be among the safest and most skilled truck drivers, trucking companies generally do not screen employees to differentiate between these safe drivers and elderly drivers that should be removed from service. Continue reading →

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The bulk, length, and weight of a fully loaded tractor-trailer mean that many trucking accidents often cause incredible carnage.  Most drivers have been stuck at traffic backups while emergency responders attempt to clear the wreckage of a semi-truck accident.  The ensuing chaos often ties up multiple lanes of traffic for hours.  The resulting interruptions in traffic flow, obstacles in the roadway, and presence of emergency responders increases the risk of multi-car pileups.  These types of accidents raise complicated litigation issues because they frequently involve multiple impacts, injury victims, negligent parties, and insurance companies.  In the midst of this confusion, sorting out the responsible parties is complicated as the many parties and their insurance companies attempt to shift the blame.  In this blog, our Miami tractor-trailer accident lawyers discuss an appellate decision from another state that illustrates the challenges raised by a traffic back-up caused by a tractor-trailer that is involved in an initial collision.

In Ready v. RWI Transportation, a trucker employed by the defendant trucking company made an illegal lane change on a highway.  This unsafe driving maneuver caused a collision with another vehicle. The semi-truck and the other vehicle involved in the accident were disabled and obstructed the roadway.  The disabled vehicles caused a lengthy traffic backup.  Continue reading →

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Given the massive size and weight disparity between a tractor-trailer combination and a passenger car, collisions between a big-rig and a car tend to cause severe injury to occupants of the automobile.  Because trucking companies recognize their drivers log enough hours on the road that there is a high probability they will be involved in a trucking accident, commercial carriers prepare for future litigation in anticipation of future lawsuits.  These strategies include on-call rapid crash response teams, extensive litigation resources, and creative use of independent contractor relationships.  Our experienced semi-truck accident lawyers are familiar with these tactics and employ appropriate strategies for obtaining successful outcomes in trucking accident injury lawsuits.  In this blog post, we examine a court decision where an appellate court rejects a trucking company’s attempt to use independent contractor status to shield itself from liability.

In Vargas v. FMI, Inc., the plaintiff was in the sleeper berth when the truck driver lost control of the tractor-trailer before it rolled over.  The plaintiff suffered serious injuries and sued the truck driver for negligence, as well as the motor carrier, the tractor owner, and the trailer owner based on the theory of vicarious liability.  The plaintiff contended that the motor carrier/tractor owner and owner of the trailer were vicariously liable for the negligence of the truck driver.  The motor carrier defended based on the contention that it could not be liable for the truck driver negligence because he was an independent contractor.  The trial court accepted the implicit position of the motor carrier that they delegated any duty they owed the contractor and contractor’s employees to provide workplace safety.  The trial court ruled in favor of the defendants finding that the driver’s independent contractor status meant the motor carrier and the owner of the trailer were not subject to vicarious liability of the driver. Continue reading →

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While tractor-trailer accidents inherently involve complex issues, multi-car accidents are common when big-rigs are involved in a crash because the large vehicles can obstruct multiple lanes of traffic.  When a collision involves the independent negligent actions of third parties who cause a single injury, defendants often point their finger at one another attempting to shift financial responsibility to the other party.  This strategy can raise problems for injury victims because a trucking company typically will have far more insurance coverage than the truck driver or a third party driver.  Causation issues also might arise when there are multiple drivers who independently contribute to the same injury.  In this blog, our Miami semi-truck accident lawyers consider an appellate decision that reveals the complications involved when multiple drivers cause an accident.

In Granger v. MST Transportation, LLC, the plaintiff’s car was struck by another driver causing the plaintiff’s vehicle to be hurdled into a tractor-trailer.  The truck driver was returning from a run to Florida, but he ran out of gas in the right lane of traffic before the big-rig could be returned to the trucking company’s storage yard.  When the truck ran out of fuel, the driver placed three reflective traffic cones behind the truck but did not leave the flashing lights enabled.  While the driver was making multiple trips to obtain gas, the plaintiff’s vehicle was struck from behind.  The driver who was rear-ended was traveling in the middle lane adjacent to the disabled tractor-trailer when hit from the rear.  The plaintiff’s vehicle caromed into the semi-truck.  The plaintiffs filed a personal injury lawsuit against the trucker, the commercial carrier, and and the trucking company’s insurance company. Continue reading →

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Our Miami semi-truck accident attorneys recognize that trucking collisions differ from other motor vehicle accidents.  A big-rig crash is not just a collision involving a large vehicle, a collision involving a vehicle that outweighs the other vehicle by 25 times poses special dangers.  When a semi-truck collides with an automobile, any resulting serious injury almost always involves occupants of the other vehicle.  Because trucking companies anticipate potential liability, they frequently are geared up to dispatch investigators to a crash site within a few minutes.  The trucking industry also is notorious for manipulating evidence.  For example, driver logbooks that are used to track hours of service and maintenance are derisively referred to in the industry as “lie books.”  This practice means that the issue of “spoliation” of evidence often arises in trucking litigation.  While spoliation of evidence often is alleged against the trucking company, this blog examines a court decision in which the victim of an unsafe trucker faces these allegations.

In Cook v. Tarbert Logging, Inc., the plaintiff’s pickup was struck by a semi-truck driven by an employee of a logging company.  Several months after the collision, the plaintiff retained an attorney, as well as an expert to examine the pickup.  The expert’s investigation included taking measurements and photos, but the airbag control monitor was not accessed.  This omission became a serious issue because the airbag control monitor could have revealed speeding by the plaintiff at the moment of impact. Continue reading →

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Although the analysis of tractor-trailer accident lawsuits is not new to this blog, this article focuses on a tractor-trailer that was parked at the time of the collision.  The enormous size and weight of semi-trucks create potential dangers even when the vehicles are stationary.  The length and height of a tractor-trailer cause many blind spots for truck drivers, which are referred to as “no zones.”  These vehicles obscure the visibility of other motorists more significantly than a typical passenger car or even a large SUV.  In this blog post, our experienced Miami tractor-trailer accident attorneys examine a Florida Court of Appeals decision involving a collision between a plaintiff and a parked semi-truck.

In Newsome v. LinkAmerica Express, the defendant was the owner and operator of a tractor-trailer.  The truck owner routinely parked his big-rig on the street in front of his home to facilitate frequent use of the vehicle.  On the day of the crash, the plaintiff was traveling on the defendant’s street on the side of the road where the large truck was located.  The plaintiff alleged the sunlight reflecting off the windshield of his vehicle led to him being briefly blinded.  Although the plaintiff slowed his vehicle to cope with the glare, he slammed into the back of the semi-truck because he could not see it in time. Continue reading →

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While it might be tempting to assume commercial carriers step up and compensate trucking accident victims for their injuries, the truth is far more ominous.  Trucking companies recognize they face a heightened risk of liability because of the permanent life-altering injuries and carnage caused by semi-truck crashes.  When a fatigued driver or poorly maintained semi-truck causes a collision between a big-rig and a passenger car, trucking companies rely on investigators that can be dispatched quickly, experienced insurance defense attorneys, industry experts, and extensive litigation resources.  Trucking accident victims sometimes go uncompensated because they lack legal representation.  In this blog, our experienced Miami tractor-trailer accident lawyers review a federal appellate court decision that involves multiple defense strategies often used in trucking accident lawsuits.

There are situations where a truck driver and trucking company have no basis for disputing liability, so the defense will focus on contesting damages as evidenced in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit decision of Guzman v. Jones.  The plaintiff was injured when his vehicle was struck by a tractor-trailer driven by one defendant and owned by another defendant (the trucking company).  The trucking company conceded liability based on both negligence and vicarious liability (Florida law permits an employer to be held liable for the negligence of an employee for injuries caused in the course and scope of employment). 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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