Hialeah Truck Accident Lawyer
Large trucks are necessary as they transport food and other necessities from one part of the country to another, including Hialeah, Florida. However, they pose high risks and are prone to traffic collisions. Accidents involving trucks are more severe than passenger vehicles due to their large size.
As such, large truck crashes result in catastrophic injuries or death. Most of these crashes occur due to driver errors, and those affected by such carelessness can file a claim for financial compensation. Beginning the process benefits by the expertise of a Hialeah truck accident lawyer. Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers can help if you ever suffer from injuries following a truck collision.What Are the Causes of Truck Accidents?
Several factors cause truck collisions in Hialeah, Florida. Below, we look at some of the most common reasons.Speeding
Whenever a driver goes beyond the posted speed limit, they are speeding and therefore breaking the rules of the road. When truck operators drive at high speed, they cannot stop in time to avoid an accident. While it takes a passenger vehicle such as a car or small pickup truck approximately 316 feet to come to a complete stop, a semi-truck needs about 525 feet to halt. The more momentum the vehicle builds, the more difficult it is to stop as the driver has less control.Distracted Driving
Every day, about eight people in the United States die from crashes involving a distracted driver. A motorist is distracted if they perform an act that affects their manual, visual, and cognitive functions. A driver needs all three of these functions to drive a vehicle appropriately, especially if they are operating a truck.Aggressive Driving
Trucking companies place truck drivers on strict schedules. As a result, trying to meet deadlines combined with being on the road for extended periods causes stress. Truck drivers may exhibit aggressive driving characteristics. For example, they might fail to yield to other vehicles, tailgate, or cut other drivers off. All these are situations that can result in a collision.Hours of Service Violations (Fatigued Driving)
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a time limit for truck drivers to be on the road. According to the agency, truckers may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after being on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend to 14 hours.
However, truck drivers often violate this law to meet deadlines, leaving them exhausted. Fatigued driving is dangerous as the motorist exhibits characteristics similar to a drunk driver. This means less alertness and reaction time, as well as three times the chances of an accident.Driving Under the Influence
Under Florida law, commercial drivers must keep their blood alcohol concentration below 0.04%. Trucks are commercial vehicles, and any trucker who drives with this BAC and more is legally drunk. Alcohol impairment affects a driver’s cognitive function, thereby increasing the chances of a collision. It’s no wonder that about 28 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes, every day. That's one person every 52 minutes.Overloaded Cargo
A truck carrying cargo that is more than its capacity would likely experience tire blowout or cause it to tip over. Overloading also makes it difficult for the vehicle to swerve or take turns. Sometimes, if not adequately secured, the cargo can fall off the truck, striking smaller vehicles and ultimately causing an accident.
Other known causes of trucking accidents are road construction, adverse weather conditions, brake/vehicle failure, and poor lighting.What Are the Common Truck Accident Injuries?
Large trucks often weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger vehicles. Therefore, when they collide with a smaller car, it could cause devastating injuries or death. Below, our Hialeah truck accident lawyers discuss some of the common truck accident injuries.Back, Neck, or Spinal Cord Injuries
These injuries are common when a truck rear-ends a smaller vehicle. It could be minor neck pain, whiplash, or dislocated discs. Recovery from neck injuries depends mainly on the severity and treatment received. If the wound affects the spinal cord, it might result in paralysis below the injury site.Broken Bones
When the body receives more pressure than it can handle, bones break. A high-impact truck collision would likely cause this injury. A broken or fractured bone could close or open, with the latter requiring surgery to fix.Burn Injuries
The impact of a truck crash may cause a fire. This is common when the large vehicle is transporting flammable substances. For example, the fire could be on impact or from liquids spilling from the truck onto the roadway.Head / Traumatic Brain Injuries
Trauma to the head is common in truck accidents. The driver could hit their head against the vehicle’s dashboard, have flying debris strike them, or be ejected onto the roadway. Head wounds can have life-altering implications if not treated on time. It is worse if it affects brain cells.Internal Injuries
Internal injuries are not visible to the eyes. Unlike broken bones, which are immediately evident, internal wounds may take time to manifest, primarily since they affect internal organs. This type of injury could be fatal, especially if the victim fails to receive treatment on time. Even if you feel fine after a trucking accident, ensure you receive a complete medical checkup.
A truck collision could also cause cuts and lacerations, rib and torso injuries, or seatbelt injuries.What Should You Do After a Truck Accident in Hialeah, Florida?
In the years we’ve practiced as Hialeah truck accident lawyers, we’ve seen several victims who created problems for their claims by failing to take the right steps after a collision. Winning a personal injury case starts from the crash scene, as your actions can make or break your claim.
Below, we discuss what you should do after a truck collision to increase your chances of success.Call 911
A 911 call does two things: it alerts the police of the crash and brings an ambulance to the scene as soon as possible. Indeed, the accident impact may knock you out and keep you from making the call, so if you are conscious, ensure you ask for help immediately.
Doing this increases your survival chances. Also, it allows the police to conduct their preliminary investigation in a timely manner. The inquiry report is essential as it serves as evidence. It also contains who the authorities believe caused the collision and could absolve you from liability.Receive Medical Treatment
Once paramedics arrive at the accident scene, allow them to attend to you. This is important even if you sustained only minor wounds. If they recommend transporting you to the hospital, you should let them. At the hospital, allow the doctors to treat you and follow all their instructions after being discharged.
The medical records are crucial evidence in proving the crash caused your wounds. The report is handy if the truck driver’s insurance provider alleges a preexisting condition caused your injuries. Additionally, our legal team will use it to compute how much you should seek in economic damages.Gather Evidence
Evidence is a critical element in personal injury actions. It’s what proves your assertions and refutes the other party’s claims. Gathering proof starts with you at the accident site. If your injury permits, take photos of your damaged car and the truck.
If you have a dashcam, preserve it to avoid contaminating the footage. Look around for security cameras and note the number. The video footage can be beneficial.
Next, check for witnesses and ask for their contact information. Also, try to record a statement from them and ask if they are willing to speak on your behalf during the claims process. Note that this is their choice, and they cannot be mandated to testify.
If you cannot do all this, don’t worry. Our lawyers can investigate and know where to look for the necessary evidence.Contact Your Insurance Company
Florida is a no-fault car accident state, meaning each party to a crash rely on their personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Contact your insurance provider immediately after the collision. Your policy should cover your injury treatment.
If the accident injury causes disfigurement, permanent scarring, or loss of a significant body function, you can also seek compensation from the at-fault party. A victim’s estate can also file a claim if a victim dies as a result of an accident.Contact a Truck Accident Attorney
This doesn’t necessarily have to be the last step. You can contact a lawyer once you start undergoing treatment for your wounds or as soon as possible. Ensure you do so before you start speaking with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This way, we will advise you on your rights and ensure you don’t say or do anything to jeopardize your case.How Do You Prove Fault in a Truck Accident?
In every collision, there is an at-fault party and a victim. The burden is on the victim to prove the other party behaved negligently. For this to happen, you need to establish the four elements of negligence:
- Duty of Care: Every driver owes other road users a duty of care. This means they must behave reasonably. An example of this is obeying traffic signals, not drinking and driving, maintaining lanes, etc.
- Breach: A person breaches a duty of care when performing a negligent action. Thus, drinking and driving will amount to a breached obligation.
- Causation: The breached duty must have caused the accident to have a valid claim. Even if a driver is drunk and speeding, you can’t blame the impaired driver if you were distracted for a moment, and it caused the crash. However, the story is different if the impaired driver ran a red light and T-boned your car.
- Damages: Finally, you must have suffered losses. Examples of truck accident losses are bodily injuries, damaged vehicles or property, psychological harm, inability to return to work, etc.
Trucking collisions fall under personal injury law, meaning you are entitled to three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.Economic Damages
These refer to losses with a fixed dollar amount. Economic damages are easy to calculate, and include:
- Medical expenses (past, current, and future)
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Vehicle repair
- Property damage
- Cost of medical equipment
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Cost of rehab and psychological therapy
- Funeral and burial expenses (this applies only to wrongful death claims)
This covers losses that do not have a fixed dollar amount, but rather are unquantifiable. Examples of non-economic damages are:
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress, etc.
Unlike the first two, punitive damages are not compensatory. They apply only in personal injury lawsuits and serve to punish the at-fault driver and deter others from the same action. Lastly, the court will only award punitive damages if there is substantial proof of malicious or grossly negligent conduct.Who Is Liable for a Truck Collision in Hialeah, Florida?
Truck accidents usually have more than one liable party. Our Hialeah truck accident lawyers can help you determine all the proper parties to an action. But first, let’s discuss those you can add as defendants in a lawsuit.Truck Driver
The driver is the first and most likely party to a truck accident claim. A motorist who breaches their duty of care to other road users would be liable for damages. The trucker will still be responsible if the crash happened outside of their working hours. If the collision occurred while the driver was still on the clock, their employer might be liable.Trucking Company
Under the tort doctrine of vicarious liability, an employer is liable for the negligent actions of their employees. Therefore, if a truck driver causes an accident during working hours, their employer may be responsible for your injuries. This also applies where a trucking company knowingly hires a trucker with a DUI or unsafe driving history.Cargo Loader
If overloaded cargo caused a crash, the cargo loader or loading company could bear the liability. The truck driver will share the blame if they fail to warn the company of the load exceeding the vehicle’s capacity. The motorist will only escape liability if they warn the cargo loader, and they fail to listen.Truck / Parts Manufacturer
If a design or part defect caused the truck accident, the vehicle or parts manufacturer may be responsible. Going against these two defendants is often challenging and could require legal counsel. This is because you first need to identify the defect.
Then, you need to prove that it was indeed what caused the crash and not the driver’s error. The truck or parts manufacturer will likely deny the assertion and have a team of attorneys working for them. Having your own legal representation on your side is well-advised.A Third-Party Driver
A third party could be responsible for a truck collision. This happens when another driver does an act that leads to the accident. For example, suppose a passenger vehicle tries to overtake a semi-truck from a blind spot. The truck driver sees the car too late and swerves to avoid a collision. However, the trucker ends up striking you. The passenger vehicle driver would be the liable party because the accident would not have happened but for their illegal overtaking.What Is the Role of a Hialeah Truck Accident Lawyer?
Some injury victims shy away from hiring a truck accident lawyer. However, it is wise to hire legal representation, especially if you decide to sue the trucking company, cargo company, or parts manufacturer. Our Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers will ensure the defendants, their attorneys, and insurance providers do not treat you as an underdog.
Also, having a legal team significantly increases your chances of winning the lawsuit. Below are other reasons why you should hire a Hialeah truck collision attorney:
- Investigation: Our lawyers will investigate the claim to make sure your story corroborates with the evidence and look into the truck driver’s story. This way, we avoid surprises and maintain your credibility.
- Filing a Claim or Lawsuit: We will handle the process, whether it’s an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. We also have years of trial experience in case the case goes to court. Additionally, we will file the suit before the Statute of Limitations runs out. Under Florida law, it is four years from the accident date.
- Negotiations: Negotiating an injury settlement requires experience, skill, and a great deal of patience. Our lawyers possess all three, and we will not back down if you receive an inadequate settlement offer.
- Legal Advice: We provide you with legal advice from your initial consultation until the case concludes. This means we’ll let you know whether we think you should pursue a claim and the chances of success. Our lawyers will also explain any unfamiliar legal terms to you and support you along the way.
At Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, we see our clients as real people who underwent a traumatic experience. We give our time and attention to help you throughout the extensive legal process. Our legal team works on a contingency basis and offer free initial consultations. Contact us today at (561) 800-8000 to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.