Miami is one of the largest and most metropolitan cities in the country, filled with thousands of products that its residents use every day. The majority of these products were manufactured in other parts of the country or the world and shipped into the area, often by commercial trucks. While the presence of these trucks is vital to Miami’s economy, hazards associated with commercial trucks place other users of the roadway at risk of injury or death.
If you have sustained injuries as a result of a Miami truck accident that wasn’t your fault, you may qualify to pursue compensation for the expenses and impacts to your life that your injuries have caused. Read on for more information, and contact the truck accident attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, for answers to specific questions regarding your situation.
About Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
The attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, represent individuals in personal injury claims and other civil suits that stem from preventable accidents.
At Sibley Dolman Gipe, NBC, Fox, and ABC have showcased our work, and our attorneys have won numerous state and national awards. We combine the resources of a big law firm with the accessibility and personality of a small firm, which allows us to achieve big-firm results without compromising client services or satisfaction.
Since our founding in 2009, we have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients, and we’ve opened offices throughout Florida. Our rapid growth has allowed us to expand our resources and skills, and our focus remains on providing every client with the best legal representation possible. We offer prospective clients a free consultation, during which they can discuss their accident and determine their eligibility to seek compensation.
Our Truck Accident Case Results
At Sibley Dolman Gipe, we have successfully represented numerous clients who sustained injuries in Miami truck accidents. We’ve won cases at trial, and we’ve negotiated favorable settlements.
While we cannot guarantee a favorable result in your case, we can point to our past case results as evidence of our knowledge and experience.
- We recovered $3.2 million in compensation during pretrial mediation on behalf of a client who sustained a traumatic brain injury in a truck accident.
- We also recovered $1.75 million for a client who sustained a partially torn rotator cuff and a mild traumatic brain injury in a truck accident. Before retaining Sibley Dolman Gipe, the highest settlement offer was $265,000, but we presented evidence that the truck was improperly maintained and thus significantly increased the settlement amount.
Where Do We See Miami Truck Accidents?
Truck accidents happen all over Miami, but some intersections are more dangerous than others. Roadways that have frequent semi-truck traffic are particularly dangerous. Drivers should try to avoid accident-prone intersections if possible, especially during peak traffic hours.
Some of Miami’s most dangerous intersections include the following:
- NE Second Avenue and 36th Street in Midtown Miami
- SW 117th Avenue and Kendall Drive in West Kendall
- South Dixie Highway at every intersection south of I-19 in Coconut Grove/Coral Gables
- SW 117th Avenue and 152nd Street in South Miami-Dade
- A1A and Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale
- Alton Road and Dade Boulevard in South Beach
- NW 87th and 36th Streets in Doral
- The Brickell Avenue Bridge in Brickell
- NE First Avenue and NE Sixth Street in Downtown Miami
- Pines Boulevard and South Flamingo Road in Pembroke Pines
Why Are Miami Commercial Trucks so Dangerous?
Commercial trucks—commonly referred to as tractor-trailers, big-rigs, or 18-wheelers—are massive vehicles, capable of pulling up to 80,000 pounds of weight on interstate highways without a permit. Because commercial trucks must pull such heavy weight, they must be large, as well. The standard commercial truck is about 72 feet long, 13.5 feet tall, and 8.5 feet wide.
This size creates several difficulties with maneuvering the truck, including:
- Significant blind spots: A blind spot is an area, generally on the rear sides of a vehicle, in which the driver cannot see by using his or her side-view mirrors. While all cars have blind spots, commercial trucks have significant ones on all four sides.
- Wide turns: Because the truck is so long, it is difficult to maneuver around sharp corners. To make a turn, the truck must sometimes swing wide into other travel lanes, creating a hazard for other drivers in those lanes.
- A high center of gravity: Because the vehicle is so tall, the center of gravity is higher. This increases the risk of the truck rolling over while trying to negotiate a sharp turn or when attempting emergency maneuvers, such as swerving to avoid an accident.
- A high ground clearance: The space between the bottom of a truck and the roadway is just large enough for a smaller vehicle to slip beneath the moving truck during an accident. This often-deadly occurrence is known as an underride.
- Increased stopping distance: All vehicles require a certain amount of distance to come to a safe stop after the driver has perceived a danger. The heavier the vehicle, the longer distance needed for the brakes to pull the truck to a complete stop. This distance is further increased if the roads are wet or icy.
Causes of Miami Truck Accidents
Despite several federal regulations aimed at increasing the safety of the trucking industry, truck drivers face the same potential for error as do other drivers.
Some of the common causes of accidents involving a commercial truck include:
- Driver fatigue: According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)—the government agency that oversees the trucking industry—approximately 13 percent of truck drivers involved in fatal collisions report being drowsy at the time of the accident. The FMCSA has attempted to address the issue of fatigued drivers through electronic monitoring of the hours a driver works before being required to take a break. However, many truck drivers suffer from a breathing condition known as sleep apnea, which results in a temporary pause in individuals’ breathing while they sleep. For some sufferers of sleep apnea, these pauses can happen dozens of times a night, leaving the individual exhausted even after obtaining the recommended hours of sleep.
- Distracted driving: Truck drivers are tempted by the same driving distractions as other drivers, such as texting and other cell phone use, eating or drinking, or messing with the vehicle’s controls. There are three types of driving distractions that can lead to a truck accident, including manual distractions that cause the driver to take his or her hands from the wheel; visual distractions that draw the driver’s eyes from watching the road; and cognitive distractions that pull the driver’s thoughts away from the task of driving safely.
- Impairment: Truck drivers are required to submit to regular drug and alcohol testing. Despite that, many drivers still indulge in psychoactive drugs, including alcohol, prescription medication, over-the-counter drugs, or even illegal drugs. Alcohol and drugs are dangerous for drivers, as these substances impair the skills needed for driving safely, including the ability to track a moving target, pay attention to the roadway, brake and steer effectively, maintain one’s own travel lane, or exercise good judgment in an emergency driving situation.
- Speeding: In truck accidents, speeding can refer to both driving faster than the posted speed limit as well as driving too fast for the conditions of the road, such as heavy traffic congestion or roads that are slick from rain. Nearly a quarter of large truck crashes occur because of drivers going too fast for the conditions of the road. The FMCSA recommends that truck drivers reduce their speed by a third in rain to avoid a collision caused because they cannot stop a fast-moving and heavy vehicle on slick roads.
- Wrong-way driving: Truck drivers are required to travel to many locations, some of which they are not familiar with. This can cause a truck to enter a one-way road or a freeway entrance when traveling in the wrong direction, which can cause a head-on collision.
- Lack of training: Truck drivers are required to obtain a special license to drive a commercial truck. To obtain this license, drivers must demonstrate that they have mastered the basic skills needed to operate the truck. The training should not stop here, however. The trucking company that hires the driver is required to ensure that the driver is properly trained to handle the rigors of day-to-day operations involved in driving a truck. Failure to do so can lead the driver to commit a potentially fatal error due to inexperience.
- Poor truck maintenance: The trucks used to ship freight around the country travel many times more miles than personal vehicles do. Because of this, the FMCSA requires that truck drivers visually inspect the vehicles before each trip to see any signs of excessive wear. Additionally, trucking companies are required to have the vehicles regularly maintained, but companies often fail to perform this maintenance as often as needed, resulting in accidents caused by tire blowouts, failed brakes, and other issues.
- Defective parts: Even with regular maintenance, there is a risk that an improperly designed part used on the truck can fail, resulting in a crash. The manufacturers and distributors of auto parts used in commercial trucks are required to ensure that the parts perform as expected when used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Other drivers: Not all truck accidents are the fault of the truck driver. Other drivers’ actions can also cause truck accidents, including cutting the truck off when changing lanes or following the truck too closely.
Obtaining Compensation for Your Miami Truck Accident Injuries
Truck accidents often result in catastrophic or even fatal injuries to the occupants of other vehicles on the roadway. If you were injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, you can obtain compensation for the expenses and impacts that you have incurred as a result of your injury through a Miami truck accident lawsuit. This is a legal claim filed in civil court that seeks to prove that someone else caused the accident that caused your injuries and to present evidence of the expenses you have incurred as a result.
If you have lost a loved one due to a truck accident, you may also qualify to obtain compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. This is a lawsuit filed by a named or appointed representative of your loved one’s estate who seeks to recover damages on behalf of both the decedent’s family and estate.
The Time Limit for Filing Your Miami Truck Accident Lawsuit
In each state, lawmakers have set a deadline for when plaintiffs must file legal actions, such as truck accident or wrongful death claims. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. In Florida, the statute of limitations on Miami truck accident actions is four years from the date on which the accident causing the injury occurred. The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is two years from the date of the decedent’s death.
Proving Liability for a Miami Truck Accident
Liability is the legal responsibility for the accident that occurred as well as the financial and emotional expenses of the resulting damage.
To have a successful outcome to your Miami truck accident or wrongful death claim, you must prove:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care, which is based on how a reasonable person would have reacted under the same circumstances. For example, truck drivers owe other users of the roadway a duty of care to operate their trucks safely and in compliance with state and federal regulations.
- The defendant breached the duty of care. This breach refers to the actions that the at-fault party took that violated the duty of care.
- The breach in the duty of care resulted in the accident, which caused you to experience an injury that resulted in financial and psychological impacts.
Damages That You May Recover Through a Miami Truck Accident Lawsuit
Florida law allows individuals who have sustained injuries or lost a loved one in an accident involving a commercial truck to seek both economic and non-economic damages. Damages refer to compensation intended to compensate injured individuals for their expenses and suffering. Economic damages are intended to cover expenses incurred as a result of the injury. Non-economic damages are intended to compensate individuals for how their injuries have impacted their quality of life. Here are examples of the type of expenses and impacts that are commonly included in damage claims for truck accident cases.
Personal Injury Cases
- Medical expenses, including emergency treatment at the scene or in the emergency department, transport to the hospital via ambulance or air, diagnostic testing, hospitalization, physician and surgical services, prescription medication, physical therapy, and rehabilitation.
- Lost income if you are too injured to work or must miss work to attend an injury-related medical appointment.
- Loss of future earning capacity if your injury results in a permanent disability, and can no longer work or earn the same amount as before the accident.
- The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle that sustained damage in a truck accident.
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of the enjoyment of life.
Wrongful Death Claims
- The value of support and services provided by the deceased to his or her family members.
- Loss of companionship, protection, and guidance that the decedent provided.
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering due to the loss of a child.
- Medical expenses for the treatment of the deceased’s final injury or funeral and burial expenses paid directly by a family member.
- Lost wages, benefits, and earnings, including the earnings the deceased would have reasonably expected to earn if not for the accident.
- Loss of prospective net accumulations.
- Medical and funeral expenses paid directly by the estate.
Have You Sustained Injuries in a Miami Truck Accident?
Truck accidents are complex, generally requiring significant legal knowledge, not only of the process of obtaining compensation but also of gathering an extensive amount of evidence from the truck driver and the trucking company before that evidence is lost.
At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we combine our legal experience, including winning cases at trial and negotiating favorable settlements with at-fault insurance companies, with compassion and understanding. We know that sustaining injuries or losing a loved one in a truck accident can prove a traumatic experience, and we are here to ensure that your legal rights are protected.
One of the experienced Miami truck accident lawyers at Sibley Dolman Gipe can offer that knowledge, as well as other important services focused on recovering maximum compensation on your behalf.
Contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA After Your Orlando Truck Accident
If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a Miami truck accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, to handle your case, so you can focus on your physical and mental recovery. Retaining an attorney to handle your truck accident claim will also send a message to the at-fault party (and insurance company) that you’re serious about your quest for compensation.
At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we offer prospective clients a free consultation. If you retain us to handle your truck accident claim, we will use our resources and experience to pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.
With offices across both Florida coasts, you can easily contact our award-winning legal team online or phone us at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH) today for your free consultation.
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