We’ve all experienced the roar of a huge 18-wheeler rumbling by us on I95, I75 or a Florida state highway in the Greater Miami area. Tractor-trailer trucks and other commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) play a huge role in the economy of South Florida and the nation. But when things go wrong with a commercial truck or the truck driver, and a semi is involved in a crash, the destruction can be terrible.
Tractor-trailer crashes can cause catastrophic injury and death, as well as widespread property damage. Truck accidents are often caused by driver negligence or negligence in maintenance of the truck. In some cases, the trucking company that put the truck on the road is negligent in its operations, from its hiring and training of drivers, to the demands it puts on truckers and lack of concern about the poor condition of its vehicles. An individual or family dealing with the devastation of a catastrophic commercial truck accident needs to seek the experienced and aggressive legal help Payer & Associates provides. Trucking companies will move quickly after a significant accident to protect their interests. While victims of a truck accident are under medical care, worrying about recovery, a truck driver will be immediately surrounded by company lawyers and insurers working to shore up a defense and rebuff any claims by the injured. This is what they are hired to do and they start right after the accident.
So don’t hesitate, contact Payer & Associates as soon as possible after being injured in a commercial truck accident in the Greater Miami area of Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties. We can act quickly to protect your interests, and our Miami truck accident lawyers will work over the long haul to seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries and other losses. We are available 24/7 and will come to your hospital or home to meet with you. Do not delay.
We Know Trucking, Truckers and Truck Accidents
Commercial trucking and commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) that use Florida highways and interstates are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Florida state law administered through the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). These voluminous rules include requirements for driver duty logs, “black box” recording devices on trucks, and additional safety measures affecting drivers, trucks and cargo.
After a truck accident, it is crucial that evidence is preserved and examined. This requires quick action in most cases. An investigation into an accident requires gathering physical evidence at the crash scene, from the truck and from the trucking company offices. It requires interviews and, in many cases, technical forensic examination and analysis by consulting experts.
Seeking restitution for your losses after a truck accident also requires legal assistance from an aggressive law firm like Payer & Associates that won’t back down from a trucking corporation and its hired help.
As a client of a truck accident lawyer from Payer & Associates, you know you are not alone. You have someone to call upon 24/7 with your questions and concerns. And you have your attorney fighting for you.
In Commercial Truck vs. Passenger Vehicle, Car Drivers Will Be Injured
If a passenger vehicle is hit by a commercial truck, the driver and any passengers in that car are almost certain to be badly injured, if not killed. It’s not uncommon for many vehicles to be swept up in a crash if a trucker loses control of his rig and it jackknifes, or the trailer careens across several lanes of highway.
Large commercial trucks are particularly destructive when involved in car crashes in Miami because of their size and weight. These vehicles weigh more than 10,000 pounds and can carry up to 88,000 pounds of cargo in Florida. In the impact between a large, heavily loaded truck moving at 70 mph or more and a passenger vehicle, the likely results are easily understood.
Commercial trucks are also taller than passenger cars, which can add to the destruction in a wreck. Truck bumpers that sit higher can smash through windshields and side windows of cars and small trucks. The height of trailers can lead to “underride,” in which the lower portion of a car slides under the trailer and the passenger compartment is smashed or sheered by the trailer structure. And because the center of gravity on a large truck is higher, they are more likely to be involved in rollover crashes, which can spill cargo and lead to additional wreckage.
All of this makes a commercial truck crash more destructive, and more complicated. The cause of a truck accident is not always apparent in a particularly bad crash. As Payer & Associates investigates truck accidents, we often turn to consulting investigators and accident reconstruction experts to get a full picture of the crash and its causes.
We work aggressively and quickly, because we know how evidence disappears naturally and sometimes otherwise after a wreck. It is why we urge potential clients injured in commercial truck accidents to contact us as soon as they can. A semi truck accident lawyer should always be contacted immediately after an accident.
Common Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents
Any kind of careless and reckless driving or negligence in maintenance of the commercial truck itself can lead to a truck accident. In some cases, the causes run deeper, and involve negligence in trucking company (or “carrier”) operations. However, there are some commonly seen truck accident causes, including:
- Fatigue or drowsy driving. Truck drivers work long hours and too often suffer from sleep deprivation or disruption of normal sleep / rest cycles, and this can lead to fatigue. Under federal hours-of-service (HOS) regulations, drivers of large trucks are allowed behind the wheel for as long as 11 hours at a stretch. But research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has shown that many drivers violate regulations and work longer than permitted. Some carriers push drivers to meet unreasonable delivery deadlines, which leads to fatigued driving.
- Distracted driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates large trucks and buses, has published rules that restrict texting and the use of hand-held cell phones while operating a commercial motor vehicle. Still, the problem persists and leads to crashes, just as it does among negligent drivers in passenger vehicles.
- Aggressive driving. This form of recklessness includes such unsafe behavior as speeding, tailgating (following too closely), cutting off other vehicles off, and unsafe lane changes. Any of these may result in a collision or loss of control of the truck.
- Impaired driving (drunk driving and drugged driving). Actually, the testing regime that commercial truck drivers are subjected to makes drunk driving accidents rare in the trucking industry. Drunk driving occurs, but illicit drug use, such as using amphetamines / methamphetamines, cocaine or marijuana, is more common among long-haul truck drivers. Truckers may even be impaired by prescription or over-the-counter medications.
- Improper truck maintenance. An IIHS study says that post-crash inspections of trucks indicated that almost 55 percent had at least one mechanical violation, and almost 30 percent had at least one condition serious enough to have required the vehicle to be taken immediately out of service. Of all equipment violations, violations in the brake (36 percent) and lighting (19 percent) systems were the most frequent.
- Cargo shifts and spills. If heavy cargo in a commercial truck is not properly loaded and secured, it can move and/or break free in a sharp or fast turn, a quick stop or on a hill. The moving weight in a cargo shift can cause a truck driver to lose control of the vehicle and crash. A cargo shift could even cause a rollover accident. A cargo spill can lead to additional wrecks, and spills of hazardous materials can lead to widespread property damage, as well as injuries
In most cases, it will require a third-party investigation with expertise in commercial truck accidents to determine what really caused a catastrophic truck accident and who should be held accountable. Payer & Associates has the knowledge, skill and dedication necessary to cut through the obstacles erected by trucking company lawyers and insurers to get to the facts for you and seek compensation for your losses. Even if you have been in an accident with a larger truck and are in need of assistance form an 18 wheel accident lawyer, our law firm will be able to assist.
Don’t rely on your insurance company doing what’s right. You need someone by your side who’s ready to fight.
Contact Our Miami Truck Accident Lawyers Today
If you of a loved one of yours has been injured in an auto accident involving a tractor-trailer truck or similar CMV, call our Miami truck accident lawyers at Payer & Associates today. We can investigate the cause of the accident and your injuries and other losses, and seek compensation for you. Call or a free initial consultation, and let us get started on making things right for you.