Federal statistics published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that one person is injured or killed every 16 minutes in the United States, as a result of a serious truck accident. When big rig truck and tractor-trailer drivers violate Florida traffic laws and operate their vehicles in a reckless and careless manner, serious and devastating consequences can result.
If you or someone you love was injured in a serious truck accident, time may be of the essence in your case. This is because under Florida law, in most cases, an injured accident victim only has four years from the date of the accident to file a claim or lawsuit for personal injuries. If a claim or lawsuit is not filed within that four-year time period, the accident victim can forever lose the right to seek monetary damages in a truck accident case. The North Miami Beach truck accident attorneys at Sibley Dolman can ensure that your claim or lawsuit is filed in a timely manner, thereby safeguarding your legal right to recover monetary compensation for your injuries.
How Truck Accidents Take Place
There is no dispute that the highways and roadways throughout the greater North Miami Beach area are heavily trafficked—most especially with big rigs and tractor trailers rushing to arrive at their destinations ahead of schedule. These vehicles are heavy and fast, and when they strike smaller vehicles, serious accidents can ensue.
There are many reasons why truck drivers operate their vehicles carelessly and recklessly. In some cases, there is a financial incentive to drive fast and arrive at their final designation sooner than planned. In other cases, drivers may have been on the road for so long that they are physically exhausted and not giving their full and careful attention to the road. In still other cases, truckers may resort to drugs to keep themselves awake on the road for long periods of time. A summary of some of the most common causes of truck accidents—especially on North Miami Beach highways—includes:
- Speeding (including driving too fast for the existing road and weather conditions)
- Inexperienced drivers
- Reckless or careless driving
- Distracted driving (such as improper radio or cell phone use)
- Cutting curves too sharply
In some cases, truck accidents may not result from negligent truck drivers at all. Rather, they may result from improper or defective truck parts, such as brakes, or improper maintenance on the truck shortly before the accident. In these instances, the injured accident victim may make a products liability claim against the parts manufacturer or distributor, or against the truck repair facility that last performed maintenance on the truck, tractor, or trailer.
Types of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents come in all shapes and sizes—from minor fender benders to catastrophic accidents with multiple fatalities. Common North Miami Beach truck accidents include classic rear-enders, tractor or trailer overturns (often as a result of hydroplaning or cutting a curve too sharply), chain-reaction collisions, pileups, and chemical or hazardous waste spills in the roadway. One final type of truck accident occurs when a trailer’s cargo is not tied down to the trailer securely, causing it to dislodge from the trailer into the roadway. When this occurs at a high rate of speed, an oncoming vehicle may collide with the cargo, resulting in a serious, and potentially fatal, accident.
Truck Accident Injuries
Semi-truck accidents have the potential to cause an immense number of fatalities thanks to the immense size and weight of a semi-truck that can generate massive crushing forces in a collision. Those that do not lose their lives in semi-truck accidents will very rarely walk away from the ordeal unscathed. Semi-truck accidents cause brutal damage to the body through immense physical trauma, lacerations, friction, etc. and are known to cause a few especially severe injuries in comparison to injuries suffered in other kinds of motor vehicle accidents. Some of the more common Semi-truck accident injuries include:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Semi-truck accidents can cause drivers to suffer immense blows to their heads and sustain what are called traumatic brain injuries as a result. A traumatic brain injury is when someone experiences a severe blow to the head that causes damage to the brain. This damage to the brain can have severe consequences making the immediate diagnosis and treatment of a traumatic brain injury a high priority. The damage caused by a traumatic brain injury can lead to cognitive issues that manifest as debilitating symptoms that affect a person’s thinking, personality, etc. This damage to the brain also has a way of being permanent with little that can be done aside from symptom management through medication and therapy. Among the more common traumatic brain injuries that a person can suffer in a semi-truck accident are concussions, diffuse axonal injuries, coup-contrecoup injuries, penetrating brain injuries, and brain contusions to name a few.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The physical trauma caused by a semi-truck accident can inflict massive damage to a person’s back. Any severe blow to the back has a chance of doing damage to the spine and by extension, the spinal cord. The spinal cord is responsible for relaying sensory information to the brain and any damage to it can interfere with this function. The trauma inflicted on the spine because of a car accident can result in the fracturing of the vertebrae that encases the spinal cord or the misalignment of the spine in a way that can cause damage to the spinal cord either by putting pressure on it or tearing it. Spinal cord injuries are known to cause paralysis, incontinence, loss of sensation in the extremities, movement disabilities, and other organ control and sensation issues.
The internal organs of a person that has been involved in a semi-truck accident can be damaged by the physical forces at play in the collision. All kinds of things can go wrong in a way that can lead to rupture, tearing, and contusion, of internal organs which can be quite severe. This can be because of those organ’s loss of function or the internal bleeding that can lead to the damage of other internal organs.
Truck Drivers and Trucking Companies
Under Florida law, an injured motor vehicle driver cannot proceed directly against a negligent truck driver or trucking company until after his or her personal injury protection (PIP) benefits are exhausted and/or the accident victim sustained a permanent injury. It goes without saying that when truck drivers operate their vehicles in a careless or negligent manner, they can be on the line for the injuries and damages they cause. However, in addition to the negligent truck drivers, the trucking companies that employ them may also be on the line.
To show that the truck driver was negligent, the accident victim must show that the driver violated some rule of the road and that this violation directly resulted in his or her injuries and damages suffered. If the truck driver was employed by a trucking company—and drove the truck with the express and/or implied permission of the trucking company as part of an employment relationship—then the trucking company could also be sued for negligence. The accident victim may also be able to allege that the trucking company was negligent for hiring or retaining the negligent truck driver who ultimately caused the accident. Accident victims may recover the costs of their medical bills and lost wages (for example, for time missed from work as a result of the accident), as well as compensation for pain and suffering, loss of use, and lost enjoyment of life. In serious cases, the accident victim may even recover compensation for the estimated costs of any future care—including future medical procedures.
Call a North Miami Beach Truck Accident Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case
Truck accidents can cause serious injuries and a lifetime of medical care and treatments. The experienced North Miami Beach truck accident attorneys at Sibley Dolman can review your case and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Settlement negotiations in truck accident cases are a tricky business since insurance companies and their adjusters routinely try to undervalue these personal injury claims. Our attorneys will point out the strengths of your case and advocate for a high settlement number. If we cannot resolve your case out of court, we are not afraid to litigate your case through the court system or take it to trial. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a North Miami Beach truck accident attorney, please call us at (305)-676-8154 or contact us online.
1820 NE 163rd St #306,
North Miami Beach, FL 33162