Fort Lauderdale Truck Accidents
Each year there are around 32,000 truck accidents in Florida, many of them on I-95 just outside of Fort Lauderdale. Unfortunately, because trucks are many times bigger than cars, the extent of damage and injuries caused are much more severe. Besides fatalities, hundreds of Fort Lauderdale citizens in passenger vehicles are seriously injured in truck accidents every year.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Florida
There are many reasons Fort Lauderdale drivers end up in truck accidents. Here are some of the most common.
- Distracted Driving: This is one of the single most common reasons behind truck accidents. It’s often tough for drivers to stay focused, and typically, drivers are trying to do more than one thing at a time like eating, drinking, talking on the phone, or even texting. Just a few seconds of distraction can prove deadly on the roads in and around Fort Lauderdale.
- Maintenance Failures: By law, all trucks have to be maintained and the company has to keep an active logbook of all the repairs and maintenance work across the United States. However, because trucks are in great demand, some companies often cut corners and neglect maintenance of the truck. Almost every day, there are trucks on I-95 and many other highways with poor brakes, balding tires, steering wheel problems, and more. All of this can lead to one serious problem – accidents in Fort Lauderdale.
- Impaired Driving: Truck drivers always have deadlines to meet and when they do reach their destination early they get a bonus. Hence, it is not unusual to see fatigued truck drivers. Some may use medications to remain awake; others may rely on prescription pain pills and some may even drink alcohol and drive. This could mean they’re slow to react, and that frequently leads to an accident.
- Overloaded Cargo: Even though there are strict limits on how much cargo a truck can carry, in some cases, the company will go overboard with the cargo. This not only makes the truck heavier, but also increases the risk of the cargo moving inside the truck and affects the balance of the vehicle. This can prove to be very dangerous around corners and sharp bends.
- Drowsy Driving: Driving a truck is a tough job; sitting in a small space for hours on end can tire the body and the brain. With fatigue and sleepiness, the reflexes can slow down and the reaction time can be prolonged. By law, all truckers are only supposed to drive a set number of hours a week and take regular breaks. Drivers earn a bonus for faster and timely deliveries, though, so it is not uncommon to see them driving even when they can barely open their eyes.
- Speeding: Another very common cause of truck accidents is excess speed. Because truck drivers are always under pressure to meet deadlines, they are often known to speed above the posted limits. Moreover, they are known to overtake cars at breakneck speeds, change lanes abruptly, merge without showing signals, and tailgate- this is a recipe for disaster.
The Serious Consequences of Fort Lauderdale Truck Accidents
Truck accidents have disastrous outcomes for those involved, and in the aftermath, you may be physically injured, traumatized, and confused. What’s more, though, is that the bills will begin to pile up soon after your accident. After all, at the very minimum, your car must be repaired. You may have injuries that need to be treated, which can result in lost wages. You may even be dealing with the death of a loved one.
A truck insurance attorney in Fort Lauderdale will fight for your rights and get you the compensation you deserve. While the exact amount of compensation you will get will depend on the severity of your injuries and the extent of the other party’s negligence, in general, you can expect to be reimbursed for the following:
- All your medical expenses, including any surgery, follow-ups, prescription medications, and the cost of rehabilitation
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capability
- Emotional anguish
- Physical disability
In some trucking accidents, you may also be entitled to punitive damages. These damages are usually awarded when the court finds evidence of vindictive negligence or when the other party intended to cause you intentional harm. Punitive damage may also be awarded when the driver is found to be under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or was distracted.
Determining Liability in Fort Lauderdale Truck Accidents
When it comes to a truck accident, the biggest issue is determining liability. Many people can be at fault in Fort Lauderdale truck accidents including:
- The Driver
- The Company and Maintenance Team
- The Loaders
- The Truck Manufacturer
It may be that one or all of them may be responsible for the truck accident. A good truck accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale, though, will do several things to help determine liability. Your attorney should:
- Subpoena the black box on the truck before the company can erase or delete any important information.
- Get the company logbook on truck maintenance.
- Prevent the trucking company from transporting the damaged truck to a wrecking yard where the evidence can be destroyed.
- Get the Fort Lauderdale police report and speak to any witnesses.
- Speak to truck experts to determine the cause of the accident and even recreate the scene.
Your Time to File is Limited
In Fort Lauderdale, your time to file a claim after a truck accident is limited. The statute of limitations in the state of Florida is four years from the date of the accident if you plan to file a personal injury claim against the truck driver/company. While this may sound like a long time, a trucking accident investigation and claim can easily take one to three years. If there was a death as a result of the truck accident, then the statute of limitation is two years to file a wrongful death claim.
Speak with a Certified Truck Accident Attorney in Fort Lauderdale Now
If you have been injured as a result of the negligent actions of a truck driver, let a personal injury lawyer help you get the maximum compensation you deserve. Remember, the trucking company will try to minimize its role in the accident, and the sooner you get in touch with a lawyer, the earlier all the evidence can be gathered and preserved. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help build a solid case, advise you of other options and represent you in court.