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Seeking Justice after a Truck Accident? Hire a Fort Lauderdale Truck Accident Lawyer

When a semi-truck or a big rig weighing up to 80,000 pounds collides with a regular car, which averages around 4,000 pounds, the consequences for the injured victims can be catastrophic. The sheer size and weight of commercial tractor-trailers can make any impact far more severe for the passenger vehicle. Rarely are trucking accidents minor.

Whenever you are sharing a road with a truck, you need to keep a safe distance from truck drivers, stay out of blind spots, and be ready for the unexpected. At Englander Peebles, our Fort Lauderdale truck accident attorneys have a proven track record of collecting the highest amount of damages for victims of truck accidents so they can recover physically and financially after a crash with commercial motor vehicles.

Englander Peebles is a leading law firm in Fort Lauderdale, carving a niche in the legal landscape with a specialization in truck accident cases. Our firm’s experience in handling complex truck accident claims sets us apart, offering invaluable services to you as a truck accident victim. When seeking legal recourse, you can trust a Fort Lauderdale truck accident attorney from our team. Englander Peebles is committed to providing comprehensive assistance, from conducting thorough investigations into truck accidents to navigating the intricacies of insurance claims and negotiations. With a team of seasoned attorneys who focus on Fort Lauderdale truck accidents, our firm ensures that clients receive legal representation tailored to the specific challenges posed by truck accidents. Contact us today to learn more about the crucial role a truck accident lawyer in Fort Lauderdale plays in securing justice and fair compensation for those affected by the aftermath of truck accidents. Call our personal injury law firm at 561-556-6786 or get in touch with us online to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

Truck And Light Vehicle Front Collision

Commercial Truck Accident Laws and Regulations in Fort Lauderdale

All commercial trucks in the U.S. are subject to certain federal guidelines regarding their weight limits, such as:

  • The weight limit for a single axle is 20,000 pounds.
  • The limit for a tandem axle (two axles close together) is 34,000 pounds.
  • The gross vehicle weight (total weight of the truck plus its cargo) should not exceed 80,000 pounds on most interstate highways.

In addition to these, every state has its own set of rules as well. For example, in Florida, the maximum gross weight allowed varies based on the distance between the first and last axles. It can range from 44,000 pounds for trucks with axles 4-8 feet apart, up to 73,271 pounds for trucks with 36 or more feet between the first and last axles. For specialized semi-trucks like dump trucks, the maximum gross weight (based on the width of their tires) is up to 70,000 pounds. No axle may exceed 22,000 pounds, regardless of tire size.

These laws matter because if a truck exceeds these state-specific weight limits and gets into a crash, the negligent truck driver or the transportation company can be held liable for any resulting truck accident injuries. Overloaded trucks are harder to control, require longer stopping distances, and can cause more severe damage when in a collision. Your attorney can use this as evidence of negligence and obtain higher compensation for you.

There are several static and weigh in motion (WIM) truck weigh stations operated by the Florida Department of Transportation Motor Carrier Size and Weight (MCSAW); this is where commercial trucks are required to stop for weight checks. In static stations, trucks must come to a complete stop on a large scale to be weighed; in WIM stations, trucks do not have to stop as there are sensors embedded in the road to measure their weight as they pass over them at a reduced speed.

As your Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyer, we will collect the truck’s records from these weighing stations to see if the truck violated any weight regulations. If the truck was found to be within legal weight limits, it might not absolve them of all responsibility, but if they were overweight, your truck accident lawsuit would be that much stronger.

What Steps Should You Take After a Trucking Accident?

Since every commercial truck is required to follow several state and federal laws, proving the driver’s or their employer’s negligence is not easy. To increase your chances of a successful claim, you need to take all the right steps from the get-go.

Start by calling 911 – even if you do not think you are seriously injured. During a situation as stressful as a traffic accident, your body releases a whole lot of adrenaline that can mask the symptoms of injured muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It can take hours or days for the pain and swelling to set in. An immediate, thorough medical examination will either rule out or catch any internal catastrophic injuries, concussions, and whiplash in time before they turn deadlier. And of course, a medical record will serve as an important piece of evidence later on.

If possible, move your vehicle out of the flow of traffic to a safe location. Turn on your hazard lights. While you wait for the cops to arrive, take plenty of pictures of the crash site, your car, the truck, and any relevant road conditions or signs.

Also, note the truck’s license plate and any company logos or identifying marks. Get the truck driver’s license, insurance, and employer information. Unlike a car accident, multiple parties could be liable here, including the truck driver’s employer and truck manufacturer.

When the police officers come, they will create a preliminary report of what happened. Make sure to get a copy of this report.

Next, get in touch with our personal injury lawyers as soon as you can in order to preserve key evidence. We will send a “spoliation letter” to the trucking companies right away. This is a legal document formally requesting the other party to not destroy, alter, or lose the following evidence:

  • Driver logs
  • Truck maintenance records
  • GPS data
  • Dashcam and onboard camera footage
  • Cargo Records
  • Correspondence between the driver and the transportation carrier around the time of the accident

Having these documents will go a long way in strengthening your case and increasing the amount of settlement (or court verdict) you can get. If the truck driver’s employer fails to comply with the spoliation letter, it would not look good in front of a judge.

One more thing: you will need to notify your own car insurance company about the accident. Do not do it without legal representation. It is natural to be confused and stressed out after going through such a major event; you might say something that could jeopardize your claim. Our experienced truck accident attorneys can keep the focus on the facts when communicating with insurance providers. Plus, we know the tactics they use to reduce or deny payouts and can counteract them effectively.

Truck Accident Hitting Side Road Barriers

Statute of Limitations for Truck Accident Claims in Fort Lauderdale, FL

One of the recent changes to Florida’s personal injury laws, as implemented in March 2023, is that motor vehicle accident victims and their families only have two years to file a lawsuit, instead of four years. Remember all the steps we talked about earlier that you must take to successfully recover compensation? You have a much shorter window to implement them.

Another notable change is that Florida has shifted from a “pure” comparative negligence system to a “modified” one. This means if you are determined to be more than 50% at fault for your crash, you may not recover damages from any defendant. This rule does not apply to personal injury or wrongful death cases arising out of medical negligence.

You can imagine the importance of contacting a skilled truck accident attorney right after. Not only will it help you meet the critical deadlines, but also prevent the at-fault party from blaming YOU for the crash. Remember, if the other side is able to prove that you are at least 51% responsible for what happened, you will not receive any compensation at all. Our truck accident lawyers have obtained over $10 million in out-of-court settlements and court verdicts, and they can leverage that expertise for your benefit.

Why Is an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney so Important?

Understanding the complex nature of truck accident cases is essential for anyone navigating the aftermath of such incidents. Truck accidents involve unique complexities compared to typical car accidents, often due to the size, weight, and regulations governing commercial trucks. The severity of injuries and damages is often higher, and determining liability can be intricate, involving multiple parties such as trucking companies, drivers, and maintenance entities. Gathering and preserving evidence, including black box data and maintenance records, becomes crucial in establishing the cause of the accident.

Seeking legal representation from a Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyer immediately after a truck accident is of the utmost importance. A Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyer can swiftly initiate an investigation into whether or not trucking regulations were followed, gather evidence, communicate with the trucking company, engage with insurance companies, and protect the victim’s rights. As with all car crashes, early legal intervention ensures that critical evidence is preserved, witnesses are interviewed promptly, and the legal process is navigated effectively. This enhances the chances of securing just compensation for the victim’s injuries, medical expenses, and other losses. In the intricate landscape of truck accident cases, timely legal assistance is instrumental in achieving a favorable outcome. We have a successful track record of achieving favorable outcomes for our clients who have suffered after accidents involving large trucks. Please tell us about your accident and we’ll discuss moving forward with a personal injury lawsuit.

How a Fort Lauderdale Truck Crash Lawyer Can Help

In a Florida truck accident, we will identify all the liable parties to maximize your compensation and find evidence to show that the other party was at fault. The potential liable parties could be:

  • The truck driver
  • Trucking company
  • Cargo loaders
  • Truck manufacturer
  • Components manufacturer (i.e., whoever made the tires, brakes, lights, etc.)
  • Third-party maintenance provider
  • Freight owner (the company that owns the cargo)
  • Truck leasing company
  • Local or state government (if they failed to keep the roads in proper condition)
  • Other drivers (in case of multi-vehicle accident)

Unlike regular passenger vehicles, commercial trucks in Florida are not covered by the state’s “no-fault” insurance laws, so you will need to file a claim against the truck driver’s insurance or sue them to get compensation.

Our first step to establish liability includes checking how well the driver and the truck and cargo owners were following the rules. For example, commercial drivers are limited in how many hours they can drive without taking a break. If they violated these rules, that is a clear sign of negligence as they may have been fatigued while driving.

These drivers also need to have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), undergo regular drug and alcohol testing, carry a certain amount of insurance coverage, and secure the cargo on the truck in a very specific way. Our legal team will further investigate the truck to see whether or not it had any design/manufacturing defects and if it was properly maintained. Our accident lawyers will go over each of these rules to check which ones were breached, establish liability of the defendants, and build a compelling case for damages.

Potential Damages You Can Recover

In truck accident cases, victims may be entitled to recover compensation to address the physical, financial, and emotional repercussions of the incident. These are often serious accidents and specific damages recoverable can include:

Medical Expenses: Compensation for current and future medical bills related to injuries sustained in the truck accident may include hospital stays, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical care.

Property Damage: You may be entitled to reimbursement for the repair or replacement of your vehicle and other personal property damaged in the accident. This is one reason the importance of thorough investigation and evidence gathering in truck accident cases cannot be overstated. We’ll leave no stone unturned when it comes to gathering evidence for any and all potential property damage.

Lost Wages: Compensation for income lost due to the inability to work during recovery, including wages, bonuses, and other employment benefits may also be available.

Pain and Suffering: Florida law also allows for non-economic damages to address physical pain, emotional distress, and the overall impact on the victim’s quality of life.

Loss of Consortium: A personal injury lawyer can help you fight for compensation for the negative impact the accident has on your relationships with your spouse, including loss of companionship, support, and intimacy.

Disability and Impairment: These are damages for permanent injuries or disabilities resulting from the truck accident, considering how the impairment affects your life and future earning capacity.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit: In cases where a truck accident results in the death of the victim, surviving family members may be eligible for compensation for funeral expenses, loss of financial support, and emotional distress through a wrongful death claim.

Punitive Damages: In cases of extreme negligence or intentional misconduct, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the at-fault party and deter similar behavior in the future. This would be in a situation like if the truck driver was drunk and caused serious injuries due to his impairment.

Recovering compensation in personal injury cases after an accident involving a large truck often involves negotiations with insurance companies or litigation. Working with a skilled truck accident lawyer is crucial to accurately assess the damages, build a strong case, and advocate for the maximum compensation possible. Due to the complexities of these cases, consulting with legal professionals who practice truck accident cases ensures financial recovery. By working with our team, you have the best chance of securing fair and just compensation for your medical treatment, emotional damage, and lost wages.

Truck Almost Hitting Another Vehicle Head to Head

Schedule Your Truck Accident Case Review Today

At Englander Peebles, our truck injury law firm attorneys prepare every case assuming it will go to trial. This gives us an edge when dealing with insurance companies because they can see our scale of evidence, trial readiness, and our formidable record of settlements and verdicts. Knowing that we are prepared to go all the way makes them much more willing to negotiate a fair settlement.

If you have sustained injuries in a truck accident, or you have lost a loved one in such a crash, call us at 561-556-6786 or complete this form to set up a free consultation today. We will leave no stone unturned to recover the maximum damages you are entitled to for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.