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Fort Lauderdale Truck Accident Lawyer

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David is awesome! Settled my case quickly and is definitely the right man for the job. Highly recommended.”

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Many individuals lump truck accidents into the same category as car crashes. However, a collision involving a large commercial truck is a far cry from a typical collision between two personal vehicles. Because commercial trucks tend to be much better and heavier than passenger cars, they can cause significant amounts of property damage, catastrophic injuries, and fatalities.

If you were injured in a car accident with a semi-truck or other large commercial vehicle, it is time to contact a Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyer at David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A.. When a negligent truck driver, trucking company, or truck manufacturer is responsible for your injuries or loss, you are going to need a personal injury lawyer who is highly experienced with truck accidents to pursue your claim.

Contact David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. through our online form, or by calling (954) 568-3636 to schedule a free consultation.

What is a Commercial Vehicle?

Commercial vehicles are generally defined as being used for business as opposed to private purposes. Florida Statute 320.01 (25), however, specifically defines a commercial vehicle as:

  • Not being owned or operated by a government entity
  • A vehicle that uses special fuel on public highways
  • Has a gross vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds or more
  • Has three or more axles, regardless of weight
  • When used in combination has a gross vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds or more

This definition focuses almost exclusively on size and weight. The definition of a commercial vehicle listed in the Broward County Code is perhaps more helpful. It defines a commercial vehicle as “any vehicle designed, intended, or used for transportation of people, goods, or things, other than private passenger vehicles and recreational vehicles.”

Types of Commercial Vehicles

The Broward County Code includes several examples of commercial vehicles:

  • Semi-truck
  • Buses and vehicles designed to carry 10 or more people
  • Dump trucks
  • Tow trucks
  • Utility vehicles
  • Any vehicle with a business name displayed on it

Most people would consider a semi-truck or bus to be a commercial vehicle, but there are many other commercial vehicles that people tend to overlook:

  • Hotel shuttle vans
  • Company cars
  • Utility vans
  • Pick-up trucks

It’s important to also note that many commercial vehicles don’t look like commercial vehicles. You may be hit by someone who’s driving their company car while doing their job, or their job may require them to use their personal vehicle. Whatever the case, accidents in these situations require special consideration, and should be handled by an experienced Fort Lauderdale commercial vehicle accident lawyer.

Common Types of Truck Accidents

Attorney David Fuchs has handled a wide range of truck-related cases, including:

Delivery Truck Accidents

Whether you incurred injuries in a crash with a USPS, UPS, FedEx, or another type of delivery vehicle, call an attorney right away. A truck accident lawyer will thoroughly investigate the accident and determine who was responsible for the collision. It is important to determine whether the truck driver was at-fault, or whether the business or truck manufacturer was responsible for the cause of the wreck.

Tractor-Trailer Accidents

A tractor-trailer is a truck that is a combination of a semi-tractor – which holds the engine, and a trailer – which carries the cargo. This type of truck is also called a semi. If a semi-truck hit you, contact a tractor-trailer accident lawyer as soon as possible.

18-Wheeler Crashes & Tire Blowouts

An additional term for a conventional tractor-trailer/semi is an 18-wheeler. This name stems from the fact the vehicle has 18 tires – two under the tractor, eight wheels on the two axles of the tractor, and eight wheels on the two axles at the back of the trailer. If you were injured when an 18-wheeler hit your car, contact David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. right away. Causes of this type of incident include jackknifing, a tire blowout, brake failure, truck driver negligence, or a part defect. An 18-wheeler accident lawyer will get to the bottom of the accident.

Truck Driver Operator Error

If a semi-truck hit your car, reach out to a Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. By hiring a semi-truck accident attorney, you have someone to take steps to preserve potentially important evidence, and to conduct a thorough and independent investigation.

Truck Employer Negligence

Many truck accidents are not the fault of the driver. Instead, fault and liability lie with the driver’s employer – the trucking company. When a semi-truck accident attorney finds that the business is responsible for your injuries due to its negligent conduct, attorney David Fuchs will fight hard for you to receive the compensation you are owed.

Common Causes of Trucking Accidents

Most truck drivers are professionals who strive for safety, but many of them, especially long-distance truckers, often work long hours and are under enormous pressure from trucking companies to stay on schedule. This constant pressure can lead to stress, fatigue, and, ultimately, driving errors. Truck driver inexperience can also lead to judgment errors, as can improper training of drivers. All of these actions can, unfortunately, lead to devastating wrecks.

Some common causes of Florida truck accidents include:

Intoxicated Driving

Alcohol and/or drug use by truck drivers or drivers of other vehicles can lead to crashes. Unlike the .08% alcohol limit for most drivers, the blood alcohol limit (BAC) for truckers is .04%.

Distracted Driving

Texting and other phone use, eating and drinking, and other distractions can cause truck drivers to remove their hands from the wheel and their eyes from the road.

Speeding and Aggressive Driving

Due to their sheer size and weight, large trucks require a longer stopping distance than passenger vehicles. A tractor-trailer going 65 mph will take almost quite some time to stop, compared to about the average car going that speed. Semi-trucks that tailgate other vehicles are especially dangerous, because it takes them longer to stop.

Unsecured or Overloaded Cargo

Loading trucks in an unsafe manner can lead to the vehicles becoming unbalanced and cause tip overs and other accidents.

Parts Defects and Equipment Malfunctions

Brake failures, tire blowouts, coupling malfunctions – which can cause semi-trucks to jackknife – and other equipment problems can lead to crashes.

Violating Trucking Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has trucking regulations in place to make the industry safer. When these regulations are violated, either by trucking companies or drivers, accidents can happen. Regulations stipulate how many hours drivers can be behind the wheel within certain time periods, how often trucks must be inspected, how heavy a load trucks of specific sizes can carry, and what kind of licenses drivers need to operate different types of commercial trucks, and more.

Road Construction or Poorly-Designed Roads

Sometimes road construction and other road conditions cause dangers for trucks. Bad weather can also be a factor.

Other Motorists

The dangerous actions of other drivers may cause large trucks to crash and potentially harm innocent drivers on the road. For example, a vehicle might cut a truck off, and because large trucks can’t maneuver quickly, the truck might swerve to avoid crashing with that vehicle and hit other vehicles on the road.

Truck accidents can also result from

  • Truck driver error
  • Driver fatigue
  • Failure to maintain a proper lookout
  • Inexperienced truck driver
  • Negligent maintenance
  • Trucking company negligence
  • Negligent hiring or retention

There are many people and companies involved in commercial vehicles, which is why it is dangerous to jump to conclusions regarding what caused a crash and who is at fault. You need to have truck wreck lawyer preserve evidence and conduct an independent investigation.

In many Fort Lauderdale truck accident cases, it is essential that you file a lawsuit as soon as possible. By pursuing a lawsuit, your attorney has the opportunity to gain additional evidence through the discovery process. Your lawyer can use interrogatories, requests for documents, and depositions to gain information and records from the trucking company and other businesses involved in the case.

Common Truck Accident Injuries

At David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A., our 18-wheeler accident attorney has handled many truck accident claims involving different types of injuries suffered by victims, including:

Truck Accident Statistics

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 1,206 Florida truck accidents in which the driver of a medium or heavy truck suffered an injury or passed away in 2017. There were 273 truck crashes in which a passenger was injured or killed.

Commercial Vehicle Crash Stats

Unfortunately, there are more than a thousand commercial vehicle wrecks in Florida every year. These involve all types of vehicles from delivery trucks to big rigs, and in many cases, they lead to serious injuries and fatalities.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were more than 44,000 commercial vehicle accidents in the state of Florida in 2018. Almost 4,500 of those accidents occurred in Broward County alone.

Perhaps even more alarming, fatalities involving large trucks (the category of which includes many commercial vehicles) appear to be on the rise. In an October 2018 press release, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 2017 saw a nine percent increase in fatal accidents involving large trucks. This includes an increase of almost six percent involving semi-trucks, and an increase of more than 18 percent involving single-unit trucks.

To learn more about Florida truck accident statistics, contact a Fort Lauderdale truck accident attorney at David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A..

Why Commercial Vehicle Accidents are Unique

It’s important to understand that commercial vehicle accidents differ from typical car accident cases in several important ways. The first difference is the fact that commercial vehicle accidents often present a much greater risk of serious injury due to the large size and heavy weight of many vehicles. Not only are you more likely to be injured, but your injuries are also more likely to be severe.

More importantly, commercial vehicle accidents typically require that you pursue the corporate entity and their commercial insurance carrier if you need to make a claim. While insurance companies are never easy to deal with, the claim process may become even more complicated in the context of a commercial vehicle accident. The business may have set up its corporate structure specifically to shield itself from claims, and may not even be responsible for owning and operating the vehicle. They will work closely with their lawyers to dispute your claim and make sure they don’t have to pay more than the absolute minimum.

Commercial vehicle accidents also raise a number of unique issues, due to the fact that the driver of the vehicle was likely driving as part of his job. Some of the issues that should be investigated to ensure that you are properly compensated for your claim include:

  • Was the driver properly trained?
  • Did the driver have the necessary license or other certifications to operate the vehicle?
  • Does the company regularly provide additional training to its drivers to ensure that they are driving safely?
  • Does the company adequately supervise its drivers? Does it promptly respond to complaints concerning unsafe driving and take appropriate corrective action?
  • Does the company encourage unsafe driving practices?
  • Was the vehicle properly and regularly maintained?

The unfortunate reality in many commercial vehicle accidents is that the company values its profitability over your safety.

Trucking Accident Law & Regulations

Commercial vehicles are heavily regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This federal agency creates and enforces trucking regulations. When you are hit or rear-ended by a semi-truck, attorney David Fuchs will gather as much evidence as possible to determine what happened and why. He will scrutinize the cause of the accident to determine if one or more trucking laws have been violated. Evidence of a regulatory violation may be useful in proving the other party was negligent and is liable for your injuries.

There are many trucking regulations companies and truckers must follow, including:

  • Hours of service regulations, which define how long a trucker can drive within a certain period.
  • Intoxication regulations, which place the legal limit for a trucker’s blood-alcohol level at .04 percent – not the typical .08 percent.
  • Load regulations, including the maximum size and weight of the vehicle with the cargo.
  • Inspection regulations, including when and how often a truck driver must inspect the vehicle.
  • Hiring regulations dictate that trucking companies cannot hire drivers with histories of DUIs, poor driving records, or other issues that make them unable to drive safely.
  • Licensing regulations require that truck drivers have a valid commercial driver’s license and any additional endorsements necessary for specific types of trucks or cargo.

Preserving Evidence After an Accident With a Truck

A major issue after a trucking accident is that the truck driver, trucking company, and the truck manufacturer have control over a lot of information, records, and even physical evidence you may need to make your case. You need to be sure that all of this potential evidence remains available and intact while your Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyer takes steps to obtain it.

To do this, your attorney will send the other parties involved in the accident a preservation letter. This informs the other party of the existence of your claim and potential litigation. It demands that the party receiving the letter preserve all evidence that may be relevant to your case.

This letter cannot guarantee that evidence will not be lost or degraded. However, it does place the other parties on notice that there may be consequences if they improperly dispose of evidence.

Compensation for Truck Accident Injuries

When you are injured in a trucking accident in Fort Lauderdale, a personal injury attorney from David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Depending on the circumstances, attorney Fuchs may pursue a claim with the truck driver or trucking company’s insurer and/or a lawsuit directly against the liable party.

Through this claim or lawsuit, you can seek compensation for your:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Reduced earning potential

If you were hit by a semi-truck, a settlement might be your best option. By working with an experienced attorney who will negotiate your settlement, you can have the funds you need to move forward in life months before a lawsuit would be resolved.

Before you rely on a truck accident settlement calculator available online, call David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. at (954) 568-3636 and schedule a free consultation. It is impossible for anyone to give you a potential value for your claim without going through an in-depth investigation of your case.

Too many factors can influence your potential recovery. By hiring a Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyer, you ensure you receive accurate information and experienced insights each step of the way. Attorney Fuchs will work closely with you, your medical providers, and various experts to calculate your damages and to determine the best and worst-case scenarios for a settlement or jury award.

Common Questions After A Truck Accident

IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRUCK ACCIDENTS AND CAR ACCIDENTS?

Yes, there is. Generally, the weight and size of tractor-trailers and other large trucks will substantially change the outcome of a collision with a much smaller automobile, particularly with respect to the amount of property damage and the severity of the injuries incurred. Unfortunately, truck accidents are typically much more severe than car-on-car accidents, and the litigation surrounding truck accidents is usually far more complicated than car crashes.

I WAS INVOLVED IN A COLLISION WITH A TRUCK, BUT I DON’T FEEL ANY PAIN. DO I STILL NEED TO VISIT A DOCTOR?

The quick answer to this question is “yes.” All too often, symptoms stemming from an accident do not manifest until many days (or sometimes weeks) after an accident occurs. Still, victims are advised to seek medical attention right away after an accident, even when they feel fine, as this will provide the necessary documentation that may be requested in the event your case goes to court.

HOW MUCH TIME DO I HAVE TO FILE A CLAIM AFTER A TRUCK ACCIDENT?

Injured individuals have four years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit or settle their claim for injury. If they fail to file or settle within that timeframe, they may forever lose their rights to seek compensation for their injuries and other damages. That said, just about any personal injury lawyer will tell you that it is best to file a claim as soon as possible after an accident to ensure your rights are preserved.

WHO MIGHT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DAMAGES SUSTAINED IN MY TRUCK ACCIDENT?

When it comes to truck accidents, there may be several individuals or entities that may be found legally responsible for the injuries and property damage sustained. For instance, depending on the circumstances of the case, the trucker, his or her trucking company and even the manufacturer of a faulty part might be held responsible for the accident. This is why it is important to work with a skilled attorney who can review the facts of the case, gather the appropriate evidence and ensure that all possible parties are held accountable for the accident.

Fatal Truck Accident Claims

Attorney Fuchs also represents families of those lost in trucking accidents. He will explain Florida’s wrongful death law, whether you have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit, and if so, the potential compensation you are and your loved ones may receive.

Your loved one’s estate and the surviving family members may have the right to compensation for:

  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Future earnings
  • Lost support and services
  • Lost companionship and protection
  • Lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance
  • Mental pain and suffering

Contact a Fort Lauderdale Truck Accident Lawyer Today

After a serious trucking accident in Florida that leaves you injured or mourning the loss of a loved one, call attorney David Fuchs as soon as possible. By hiring a semi-truck accident lawyer right away, you have someone to guide you in obtaining appropriate medical care and preserving your rights for a truck accident claim. An attorney will gather evidence to support your claim for compensation, and will fight hard to obtain you the financial recovery you deserve.

To talk with a Florida truck accident attorney, contact David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. online, or call (954) 568-3636 to schedule a free consultation.

If you cannot come to the Fort Lauderdale office, accident attorney David I. Fuchs will send a representative to see you. His staff speaks English and Spanish. Se habla Inglés y Español.

Llame a David Fuchs abogado de accidentes en la Fort Lauderdale. Ofrece consultas gratuitas.