Truck Accidents Lawyer Fort Lauderdale
Truck accidents occur every day and every hour in the United States. Many accidents occur on the Florida Highways of I-95, I-75 and the Florida Turnpike. Truck Drivers transport commodities that are imported, exported, and exchanged intrastate and interstate. If you are involved in an accident involving a tractor trailer truck or any commercial truck, the Accident and Injury lawyers at the Broward County Law Firm of Berman & Tsombanakis, L.L.C. want you to know that liability and other important factors may be difficult to establish and therefore it is important to know your rights.
Determining which party is responsible for a trucking accident is an essential issue when determining if there is a valid claim in a lawsuit. The questions of who is responsible and what actually caused the accident are often much more complicated than in a simple traffic accident. With a trucking accident there will be the question of whether the person was an independent contractor or if they worked for a company.
It is very important that one understands the dynamics of the trucking industry when they are involved in an accident and that there may be multiple defendants when deciding to file suit against a trucking company. This will also help one determine if their claim against those party/parties is even valid.
TRUCK ACCIDENT STATISTICS
Truck accidents have increased by more than 20%, according to the Federal Motor carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Additionally, in 2002, 4,897 individuals died and 130,000 people were injured in crashes that involved a large truck. Large trucks are responsible for only 3% of injury-causing motor vehicle accidents, but truck accidents typically cause more damage and injuries than normal traffic accidents. This is due to the weight on most trucks and their large sizes.
FEDERAL AND FLORIDA LAWS THAT GOVERN TRUCKING ACCIDENTS
Federal laws and regulations govern the trucking industry. These laws establish certain standards that trucking companies, owners, and drivers must meet, and often determine who is responsible for a trucking accident. The bulk of federal regulations dealing with the trucking industry can be found in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
Truck drivers are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In addition to these two agencies, Florida is regulated by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle. Each and every state also has a department of transportation with its own set of trucking regulations. When traveling from state to state upon entry into each state there is a weighing and inspection station which helps to enforce these laws as well.
The following individuals may be a party to a lawsuit and thus be held accountable in court:
- the driver of the truck
- the owner of the truck or trailer
- the person or company that leased the truck or trailer from the owner
- the manufacturer of the vehicle, tires, or other parts that may have contributed to or was the proximate cause of the accident, and
- the shipper or loader of the truck’s cargo (in cases involving improper loading).
In most cases, the trucking, hauling, and leasing companies will try to place the blame on the other party. They are often at odds amongst themselves over whose insurance will compensate the victim. For example, the truck company might claim that the accident was caused by defective tires. On the other hand, the tire company might place the blame on the company that leased out the truck to the trucking company. They may claim that they failed to check the tires and keep them in good condition.
CAN TRUCKING COMPANIES AVOID LIABILITY?
Trucking companies for many years have tried like many other major companies to put measures in place to avoid liability in accidents, as much as possible. Trucking companies lease a lot of equipment, trailers and tractors they also hire drivers as independent contractors instead of hiring the driver as an employee of their company. In many case when they are independent contractors not only does this help to limit liability but they will most likely require the contractor to have their own truck insurance, as well as health and other insurance. They may even require them to pay for their tags, title, registration & licensing. When you are an employee of the trucking company these things are usually paid by the trucking company.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident, please email or call one of the lawyers at the Injury and Accident Law Firm of Berman & Tsombanakis LLC. at (954) 764-6099 or (954) 728-8885. We provide free consultations and can meet you at our office in downtown Fort Lauderdale or at your residence or any other convenient location. We handle most injury, car and truck accident cases on a contingency basis, meaning you do not pay us at all unless there is a financial recovery in your case. We will utilize all of our combined resources to insure that you are fully compensated for your injuries.