Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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Just last year, five innocent nursing students were killed in a horrific Georgia trucking accident.  The five women were at a standstill when a tractor-trailer slammed into the back of the young women’s vehicles.  The tractor trailer was traveling at 68 miles per hour.  The young women did not have a chance.  After one year of pain and suffering, the families of these victims have reached a settlement agreement with the trucking company that employed the truck driver.

The trucking company admitted that it should never have hired the truck driver in the first place, who was terminated from his last job for falling asleep at the wheel.  Over the course of the lawsuit the families filed against the trucking company for the wrongful death of these five young women, the truck driver admitted he was at fault for the accident, but claimed he was not asleep at the time the accident occurred.

The truck accident lawyers of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano have faced tragic accidents like this one.  This is a situation where it is clear that the truck driver and the trucking company were both at fault for causing the untimely death of these young women.  Our law firm has extensive experience helping families fight on behalf of their deceased loved ones, seeking justice even after they have passed.  We truly understand what it takes to represent a deceased individual’s rights and interests to the fullest extent possible. Continue reading →

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The worst case scenario for any accident is that a person may lose his or her life.  This heart-wrenching consequence is one that occurs all too often, leaving loved ones with questions that may not have good answers.  Loved ones of a lost family member are still mourning after an October 2015 accident that involved a collision between a passenger vehicle and a tractor-trailer.  The details of the accident are not entirely clear, but the estate of a deceased man has filed a lawsuit alleging negligence and wrongful death, seeking to hold both the trucking company and the truck driver responsible for the untimely death.

At Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, our truck accident lawyers have extensive experience handling wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits relating to injuries suffered as a result of trucking accidents.  We know all too well just how devastating it can be to face and overcome debilitating injuries.  Injured victims do have options available, and by speaking with one of our attorneys, injured individuals have a better understanding of their situation and whether or not their injuries are the fault of someone else. Continue reading →

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While pedestrians generally have the right of way when crossing the street, this generalization occasionally is interpreted to mean that motorists are always at-fault in a pedestrian accident.  Many pedestrian accidents are caused by driver negligence, but the liability of a motorist is not guaranteed.  The injured pedestrian, or the estate in the case of a fatality, must establish that the driver failed to exercise reasonable care to avoid hitting the pedestrian.  One of the most common strategies employed by insurance carriers in pedestrian accidents is to shift blame for the collision to the injury victim.  The recent case, from the 2nd District Court of Appeals for Florida, Panzera v. O’Neal, demonstrates the importance of evaluating and presenting persuasive evidence of negligence by a driver when pursuing damages in a pedestrian accident lawsuit.

The estate of Mr. Panzera brought a wrongful death lawsuit against a truck driver and his employer Publix Supermarkets, Inc.  Evidence produced at trial revealed that Mr. Panzera was struck by the tractor-trailer when he attempted to walk across a multilane interstate.  In a motion for summary judgment, defendants argued that the plaintiff was the sole proximate cause of the semi-truck’s collison with the pedestrian.  The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant based on a lack of admissible evidence establishing negligence by the truck driver. Continue reading →

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Truck accidents are more likely to result in fatalities than car accidents due to the immense size of the vehicles involved.  Large trucks in Florida routinely weigh up to 88,000 pounds, some of the heaviest in the nation.  Truck accidents are not only often deadly, but they also commonly result in complex legal cases.  The families of fatal truck accident victims will require the assistance of experienced counsel well versed in this field of law in order to protect their legal rights. The following is a look at wrongful death actions in Florida and some of their unique liability issues.

Wrongful Death Claims in Florida

A wrongful death is any death caused by negligence, recklessness, or intentional acts.  Accordingly, death caused by a truck accident will generally fall into the realm of wrongful deaths.  Following a fatal truck accident, there are two categories of claimants who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit.  The first is the personal representative of the decedent’s estate.  The personal representative can bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate, to be distributed to the beneficiaries of the estate.  Continue reading →

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A tragic hit and run truck accident recently claimed the life of a 42 year old in Jacksonville.  The accident happened at the intersection of W. Beaver Street and Chaffee Road shortly after 6 a.m.  Investigations show that the tractor trailer ran over and dragged a woman as she exited the gas station.  She was found in the middle of the intersection.  The driver fled the scene following the incident and police currently have no indication as to who the driver was or whether the driver realized he or she had run over the pedestrian.  Sadly, the pedestrian did not survive the hit and run.  She was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.  Police are now seeking surveillance video from a nearby store in an attempt to uncover the identity of the runaway truck driver.

The Causes of Hit and Run Truck Accidents

Hit and run accidents are devastating for accident victims, leaving them unable to identify the person who so injured them and at times without an avenue for adequate compensation.  Florida law requires that all drivers, including commercial truck drivers, stop in the event of an accident.  This requirement is critical for the safety of all involved in the accident and for liability purposes as well.  Had the truck driver in this instance stopped to call 911 and attempt to render aid to the downed pedestrian, perhaps the outcome of this horrific accident could have been different. Continue reading →

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Back in March, a devastating truck accident involving a tractor trailer that detached claimed the lives of four people and injured two others.   The accident occurred on U.S. 27 in Palm Beach County in the early morning hours.  A trailer suddenly became detached from a truck, coming to rest in the middle of the roadway.  The trailer was shrouded by the fog and multiple crashes resulted from drivers running into the trailer.

The first accident involved a 2008 Ford Focus driven by 39 year old Carolina Ortiz.  She swerved to avoid the trailer, but ran into its right rear corner.  Moments later, an approaching tractor trailer slammed into the Focus and sent it spiraling to the side of the highway.  Ortiz was carrying four passengers.  Two other vehicles then crashed in an attempt to avoid the trailer.  Ortiz and three of her passengers were killed in the accident.  Continue reading →

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According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are nearly 4,000 fatal truck accidents each year.  Most of these deaths involve the driver or passengers of the smaller motor vehicle involved in the accident.  Many of those killed will leave behind grieving spouses, children, and other family members.  Losing your loved one in a truck accident is devastating and life changing.  You may find yourself emotionally and financially vulnerable following your tremendous loss.  There are steps that surviving spouses can take following the loss of their husband or wife to obtain compensation from the at-fault truck driver or trucking company.

Florida Wrongful Death Claims

The Florida Wrongful Death Act allows the survivors of a deceased individual killed due to negligence, recklessness, or deliberate actions to seek compensation for their lost support and services from the at-fault party.  Survivors able to bring the action include spouses, children, and parents.  In Florida, a wrongful death lawsuit will identify all potential beneficiaries to the action, including the estate. Each qualifying party can recover the value of their lost support and services from the date of the accident and including future loss of support.  Continue reading →

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The prospect of a rogue trucking company placing a hazardous semi-truck on the road with an unsafe driver behind the wheel seems like a frightening scenario.  However, our truck accident lawyers found a wave of trucking company shutdowns through the first six months of 2015 that suggest that drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians who share the roads with large commercial trucks could easily be placed at risk by a dangerous vehicle or an unqualified driver.

While these trucking companies might not be based in Florida, these commercial carriers operate in interstate commerce (i.e. across state lines), so they could easily end up next to your vehicle while you are traveling down the roadways of Florida.  The extent of the danger posed by commercial carriers indifferent to public safety is reflected by the scope and severity of violations by trucking companies shut down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) so far this year.  Examples of trucking companies that have been forced to take their trucks off U.S. roads through the first six months of 2015 are provided below.

Mortise Trucking

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The toll in permanent debilitating injuries and fatalities claimed by crashes involving large commercial trucks continues to rise as the economy expands.  A fatal trucking accident occurs eleven times every day according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) data.  These devastating collisions cause the death of 4,000 people and injury to a 100,000 more who share our roadways each year.  Trucking collisions do not attract media attention comparable to commercial plane crashes even though these numbers are the equivalent of a commuter jet crash every week of the year with a 100 percent fatality rate.

Although thousands of deaths per year would prompt calls for increased regulation and improved safety standards in most industries, the response to the epidemic of trucking accidents has been relatively muted.  Presumably, this muted response is attributable to the distribution of deaths at disparate times in small numbers across the U.S.  The media’s focus on the recent fatal crash involving a Walmart truck and Tracy Morgan was an exception.  A key reason that the number of trucking accidents has continued to rise in recent years involves the growing phenomena of “chameleon” trucking companies.

A “chameleon carrier” is a trucking company that re-registers with the U.S. Department of Transportation to avoid liability issues or problems with their safety rating.  When trucking companies cannot get a satisfactory rating, which indicates that they are in compliance with FMCSA regulations, they often close the company and evade paying fines by starting up a new company.  This strategy has allowed commercial carriers and drivers with abysmal safety records to remain on the roadways of Florida.

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Truck accidents claim the lives of about 4,000 people each year, and Florida is home to many of these truck accident fatalities.  Commercial trucks often weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds.  When these vehicles collide with a car, the results can be catastrophic.  When the driver or passenger in an automobile is killed due to the negligent actions of the truck driver or his or her employer, the death will generally be considered a “wrongful death.”  Though the loss of a loved one is difficult no matter the circumstances, wrongful deaths make the loss all the more hard.

The family members of those killed due to truck driver or trucking company negligence can seek compensation for their loss through a wrongful death action.  Our Miami truck accident lawyers take a look at wrongful death actions stemming from fatal truck crashes in Florida:

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Suit in Florida?

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