Were You Injured in a Trucking Accident?
When a trucking accident results in a fatality, statistics show there is a 97% chance that the death will be of the person (or persons) in the car. Vehicle occupants who do survive are often left with injuries that are severe and life-altering.
If you or a family member has been seriously injured as the result of a tractor-trailer or 18-wheeler wreck on Florida’s crowded roads, there are sure to be many things on your mind. One of them is probably getting proper financial compensation to help rebuild your life.
If you have suffered a serious injury, we can help you. At Panter, Panter & Sampedro, we are an experienced personal injury and motor vehicle accident law firm that has obtained verdicts and settlements in excess of $100 million for our clients over the years. Call 305-662-6178 for a FREE CONSULTATION to discuss your specific case. Based in Miami, we serve clients throughout South Florida.
Why You Need a Truck Accident Attorney
When it comes to Truck Accident cases, they’re often filled with complexities that can overwhelm anyone unfamiliar with the legal system and the unique challenges involved. Some of the most common challenges when it comes to dealing with a truck accident include:
- Determining liability among multiple parties
- Interpreting federal and state regulations involved in the trucking industry
- Assessing the severity of injuries and damages caused by the accident
- Collection of crucial evidence at the scene of the accident
- And negotiating with insurance companies.
Hiring an attorney who is skilled in the area of trucking accidents can help lessen the stress of dealing with the aftermath. These legal professionals possess a deep understanding of industry nuances, including driver fatigue, maintenance issues, and complex insurance policies. They have the expertise to collect crucial evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and, if necessary, take the case to court. An expert trucking accident attorney’s knowledge can help victims secure the compensation they deserve, providing peace of mind during a difficult and trying time.
Panter, Panter & Sampedro Expertise in Commercial Trucking Accidents
Truck accidents can be very complex. Our Miami truck accident lawyers’ experience with these difficult, hard-fought cases has made us a trusted personal injury law firm for referrals from other attorneys and outside sources. Our success has been no accident. Preparation is the key. To maximize results in each case, we work with accident reconstruction experts, highway safety engineers, and other professionals to put together a clear picture of what happened and why.
We then take that picture and use sophisticated courtroom models, demonstrations, medical illustrations, computer simulations, and other materials to frame that picture in the most compelling way we can. Often, this meticulous preparation helps persuade insurance carriers and corporate representatives to settle a claim rather than have our evidence presented to a jury. Our trucking accident attorneys are Florida board-certified trial attorneys.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Florida
Truck accidents can result from a variety of factors, and they often involve significant consequences due to the size and weight of commercial trucks. These factors can be categorized into several key areas:
- Driver Error:
- Fatigue: Long hours on the road can lead to driver fatigue, impairing judgment and reaction times.
- Distraction: The use of smartphones, radios, or other distractions can divert a driver’s attention from the road.
- Impairment: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can severely impair a truck driver’s abilities.
- Speeding: Excessive speed reduces a driver’s ability to react to sudden changes in traffic conditions.
- Vehicle-Related Factors:
- Mechanical Failures: Poorly maintained trucks can experience brake failures, tire blowouts, or other mechanical issues.
- Improper Loading: Overloaded or improperly balanced cargo can affect a truck’s stability and handling.
- Defective Parts: Faulty truck components, such as brakes or steering systems, can contribute to accidents.
- Environmental Conditions:
- Weather: Rain and strong winds can reduce visibility and traction, making accidents more likely.
- Road Conditions: Potholes, uneven surfaces, and poorly marked construction zones can create hazards for truck drivers.
- Traffic Conditions:
- Congestion: Heavy traffic can lead to rear-end collisions, especially if the truck driver is following too closely.
- Lane Changes: Unsafe lane changes, merging, and weaving in and out of traffic can result in accidents.
- Regulatory Violations:
- Hours of Service (HOS) Violations: Some truck drivers exceed federally mandated driving hour limits, leading to fatigue-related accidents.
- Overweight and Oversize Loads: Trucks carrying loads that exceed legal limits can become unstable and difficult to control.
- Inadequate Training:
- Lack of Experience: Inexperienced truck drivers may struggle to handle challenging situations on the road.
- Inadequate Training: Insufficient training in defensive driving, emergency procedures, and load securement can contribute to accidents.
- Driver Health:
- Medical Conditions: Uncontrolled medical conditions like sleep apnea or epilepsy can impair a driver’s ability to operate a truck safely.
- Stress and Mental Health: High stress levels or untreated mental health issues can affect a driver’s concentration and decision-making.
- Other Road Users:
- Aggressive Drivers: Aggressive or reckless behavior by other motorists can lead to collisions with trucks.
- Pedestrians and Cyclists: Failure to notice or yield to pedestrians and cyclists can result in accidents, especially in urban areas.
- Inadequate Safety Practices:
- Failure to Use Mirrors and Signals: Neglecting to check blind spots or use turn signals can lead to collisions during lane changes or turns.
A truck driver may be held liable for an accident if it can be shown that they acted negligently. Some examples include traveling at unsafe speeds, carrying cargo over the weight limit that causes them to lose control of the vehicle, driving more hours than allowed by state and federal law, driver fatigue, unsafely merging into another lane, and colliding with the rear end of another vehicle in the truck’s travel lane.
In addition to the driver of the passenger vehicle and the truck driver, the fault may be found to lie with the trucking company, owner of the truck, cargo loaders, or manufacturers.
Types of Truck Accident Cases
Truck accident attorneys handle a wide range of cases related to accidents involving commercial trucks and tractor-trailers. These cases can be complex due to the size and weight of the vehicles involved, as well as the potential for serious injuries or fatalities. Common types of truck accident cases that attorneys may include:
- Truck Driver Negligence: Attorneys may represent victims of accidents caused by truck driver negligence, such as speeding, reckless driving, distracted driving, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Fatigue-Related Accidents: Truck drivers are often subject to strict hours-of-service regulations. Attorneys may handle cases where accidents are caused by driver fatigue due to violations of these regulations.
- Mechanical Failures: When accidents result from mechanical failures in the truck itself, such as brake failure or tire blowouts, attorneys may pursue claims against the trucking company or the manufacturer of the faulty equipment.
- Improper Loading: Accidents can occur if a truck is improperly loaded or overloaded, leading to issues with stability and control. Attorneys may represent clients injured in accidents caused by improper loading practices.
- Maintenance Negligence: Trucking companies are responsible for maintaining their vehicles in safe working conditions. Attorneys may handle cases involving accidents caused by inadequate maintenance or inspections.
- Negligent Hiring: If a trucking company hires drivers without proper qualifications or fails to conduct thorough background checks, attorneys may pursue claims for accidents caused by incompetent or unqualified drivers.
- Manufacturer Liability: When accidents are caused by defects in the truck or its components, attorneys may pursue product liability claims against the manufacturer.
- Multi-Vehicle Accidents: Truck accidents often involve multiple vehicles. Attorneys can help victims of truck accidents navigate complex cases involving multiple parties and insurance companies.
- Wrongful Death Claims: In cases where truck accidents result in fatalities, attorneys can assist surviving family members in pursuing wrongful death claims to seek compensation for their loss.
- Cargo Spills: Accidents can occur when the cargo being transported by a truck spills onto the road. Attorneys may handle cases involving accidents caused by cargo spills and pursue claims against those responsible for loading and securing the cargo.
- Insurance Disputes: Truck accident attorneys may also assist clients in dealing with insurance companies to ensure they receive fair compensation for their injuries and losses.
The Trucking Accident Claim and Legal Process
Pursuing a truck accident claim in Miami and throughout South Florida involves several legal steps to ensure that you can seek compensation for your injuries and damages. The following is a general outline, and specific details may vary depending on the circumstances of your case. It’s highly recommended to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in South Florida to guide you through the process. The legal steps involved include:
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention:
- The first priority after a truck accident is to seek medical attention for your injuries. Your health and well-being should be the top concern.
- Contact Law Enforcement:
- Report the accident to the local police or Florida Highway Patrol. An official accident report will be generated, which can be crucial evidence for your claim.
- Gather Evidence:
- Collect as much evidence as possible from the accident scene, including photographs, witness contact information, and any other relevant documentation.
- Contact an Attorney:
- Consult with a personal injury attorney experienced in handling truck accident cases in South Florida. They can assess the strength of your case and provide legal guidance.
- Insurance Claims:
- Notify your insurance company about the accident. Be cautious when speaking to insurance adjusters, as their goal is to minimize the payout. Consult with your attorney before providing statements or signing any documents.
- Identify Liable Parties:
- Your attorney will investigate the accident to determine liability. This may involve examining the truck driver’s actions, the trucking company’s policies, and any third parties that may have contributed to the accident.
- Demand Letter:
- Your attorney will draft a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company, outlining your injuries, damages, and the compensation you are seeking.
- Negotiations with the insurance company will likely ensue. Your attorney will work on your behalf to secure a fair settlement. If negotiations fail to reach a satisfactory agreement, you may proceed to litigation.
- Filing a Lawsuit:
- If a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will file a lawsuit in the appropriate South Florida court. This initiates the formal legal process.
- Both sides will exchange information and evidence related to the case during the discovery process. This includes depositions, interrogatories, and document requests.
- Pre-Trial Motions:
- Your attorney may file pre-trial motions to address various issues related to the case, such as evidence admissibility or summary judgment.
- If a settlement is still not reached, the case will go to trial. Your attorney will present evidence, witnesses, and arguments to the court, and a judge or jury will decide the outcome.
- Judgment and Appeals:
- If you win the trial, a judgment will be entered in your favor. If the opposing party wishes to appeal, the process may continue to a higher court.
- After a successful judgment, your attorney will work to collect the awarded damages from the at-fault party or their insurance company.
- Case Conclusion:
- Once the compensation is received, or if a settlement is reached at any point in the process, your truck accident claim concludes.
Throughout the process, it’s essential to have legal representation to protect your rights and maximize your chances of obtaining fair compensation for your injuries and damages resulting from the truck accident. Legal requirements and procedures can be complex, so consult with a South Florida attorney who specializes in personal injury and truck accident cases for personalized guidance.
Our successful verdicts are the result of meticulous preparation. To maximize results in each case, we work with accident reconstruction experts, highway safety engineers, and other professionals to understand and present a clear picture of what occurred and why it occurred.
We also take pictures and use sophisticated courtroom models, demonstrations, medical illustrations, computer simulations, and other materials to frame the accident in the most compelling way possible. Often, this fastidious preparation helps persuade insurance carriers and corporate representatives to settle a claim rather than have our evidence presented to a jury.
File Your Truck & Auto Claim Within The Legal Time Limit
You only have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit for an auto accident as dictated by your state’s personal injury statute of limitations. In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a car accident claim is four years from the date of the incident. Failing to file a claim within that time means that you can no longer obtain compensation, and the liable party will not be responsible for paying any damages for the accident. The earlier you act, the better off you and your case are likely to turn out.
*On March 24, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill (HB) 837 reducing Florida’s statute of limitations for general negligence cases from four years to two years. In other words, a lawsuit alleging negligence that occurred after March 24, 2023, must now be filed within two years of the date of the alleged negligence or the claim will be forever barred.
Our skilled truck accident lawyers at Panter, Panter & Sampedro can help you understand your options and seek compensation to cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. We understand the significant effect that a truck or auto accident can have on your life. Let us take care of the heavy lifting while you rest and recover from your injuries. Call us today at 305-662-6178 for a FREE CONSULTATION with our experienced South Florida truck and auto accident attorneys.
How Much Is My Trucking Accident Case Worth?
Since each trucking accident is unique, there is no average payout to victims of a truck collision. This includes how much coverage is available from the negligent party and the amount of medical expenses and other economic portions of the claim. For example, property damage and loss of wages. An individual would also need to consider the non-economic aspects of the case, like pain and suffering. Another variable is whether there is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage available. Similar questions and challenges should be discussed with an attorney.
Truck accident victims may be entitled to various types of compensation, depending on the circumstances of the accident, the severity of their injuries, and applicable laws in their jurisdiction. It’s important to consult with an attorney who specializes in personal injury or truck accident cases to understand the specific compensation you may be eligible for. The following are some common types of compensation available to truck accident victims:
- Medical Expenses: Truck accident victims can typically seek compensation for their past, current, and future medical expenses related to their injuries. This may include hospital bills, surgeries, doctor visits, prescription medications, rehabilitation, and any necessary medical equipment.
- Lost Wages: If the victim is unable to work due to their injuries, they may be entitled to compensation for lost wages. This can cover income that was lost while recovering from the accident and, in cases of severe injuries, compensation for the inability to earn a future income.
- Property Damage: Compensation may be available to repair or replace any damaged property, such as the victim’s vehicle or personal belongings inside the vehicle at the time of the accident.
- Pain and Suffering: Victims may be entitled to compensation for the physical pain and emotional suffering they endured as a result of the accident and their injuries. This can be a more subjective type of compensation and is often determined based on the severity of injuries and their impact on the victim’s life.
- Wrongful Death Damages: If the truck accident results in a fatality, the surviving family members may be entitled to wrongful death damages. These can include funeral expenses, loss of financial support, and compensation for the emotional distress caused by the loss of a loved one.
- Punitive Damages: In cases where the truck driver’s actions were particularly reckless or negligent, punitive damages may be awarded. These are intended to punish the at-fault party and deter similar behavior in the future.
- Third-Party Liability: In some cases, there may be multiple parties involved in the accident, such as the truck driver’s employer, the trucking company, or a manufacturer. Victims may be able to pursue compensation from these third parties.
- Insurance Coverage: Compensation can also come from various insurance policies, including the truck driver’s liability insurance, the trucking company’s insurance, and the victim’s own insurance policies, such as uninsured motorist coverage.
To determine the types and amount of compensation you may be eligible for after a truck accident, it’s crucial to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who can assess your specific case and help you navigate the legal process. Keep in mind that laws and regulations regarding compensation for truck accidents can vary by jurisdiction, so it’s essential to understand your rights and options based on the laws in your area.
Trucking Accident Frequently Asked Questions
Do you offer free trucking accident case evaluations?
Panter, Panter, and Samepro offer free trucking accident case evaluations. The process as well as any potential settlements are particular to each case. No average length of time or monetary amount is common to all cases.
Do I really need the assistance of a trucking accident attorney?
Trucking accidents are often complicated, requiring experienced attorneys who specialize in personal injury and truck accident cases. An experienced truck accident attorney will be able to maximize results in each case. At Panter, Panter, and Sampedro we work with accident reconstruction experts, highway safety engineers, and other professionals to understand and present a clear picture of what occurred and why it occurred. It’s through this meticulous preparation that we can present a compelling argument that maximizes results for our clients.
How long will the process take?
Each trucking accident is unique. Therefore, there is no average amount of time for trucking accident claims to reach a conclusion.
When can I expect a settlement?
Since each trucking accident is unique, there is no average payout to victims of a truck collision.
It is important to note that laws governing traffic accidents may change from time to time. Therefore, it is important to keep abreast of the latest developments. What follows are a few additional resources to help our South Florida community remain informed:
- Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT):
- The FDOT website contains information on safety regulations and guidelines related to commercial trucks and transportation in Florida.
- Website: FDOT
- Florida Highway Patrol (FHP):
- FHP is responsible for enforcing traffic laws on Florida’s highways and can provide information on truck accident statistics and safety measures.
- Website: FHP
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):
- FMCSA is a federal agency that regulates the trucking industry, and its website contains a wealth of information on truck safety regulations.
- Website: FMCSA