Truck accidents are on the rise in busy, populated cities like Miami, where everyone is always in a hurry. As a result of terrible truck accidents, the life of drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, or pedestrians can end suddenly.
Due to their massive size - weighing 30 times more than a passenger vehicle, semi and commercial trucks can turn what might otherwise be an ordinary collision into a severe crash resulting in devastating injuries.
The possibility of a fatality increases significantly with each ton of a vehicle's weight. An accident between a passenger vehicle and a large truck will more likely result in the injury or death of passenger vehicle occupants.
An unfortunate reality of car and truck accidents is that they can often increase the risk of subsequent accidents due to drivers trying to maneuver around closed roads and traffic slowdowns. In order to decrease the chances of an accident, it is essential for drivers to be aware of what is going on and to maintain an assured clear distance ahead.
Causes of Truck Accidents in Miami
These frequent causes of truck accidents can often be blamed on the negligence of a driver, owner, or some other party:
- Inadequate truck driver qualifications, experience, and training
- Speeding to meet unreasonable delivery schedules
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, or illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs
- Driving while drowsy or fatigued
- Becoming distracted while driving
- Changing lanes or turning without checking blind spots
- Loading cargo over the legal weight limit
- Unbalanced loading of cargo
- Under-filling tanks carrying liquids
- Improper securing of cargo
- A trailer detaching from the cab
- Failing to maintain a legally mandated inspection schedule
- Failing to perform routine maintenance tasks
- Failure to equip trucks with underride guards
- Tire separation and blowouts
- Brake failure
- Poor road maintenance or hazards left by workers in the roadway
Who is Liable for a Truck Accident in Miami?
The biggest question in cases of semi or commercial truck accidents is the question of blame. Liability in a collision involving a tractor-trailer is seldom as straightforward as those involving two or more passenger vehicles. Truck accident lawyers in Miami often must explain to victims that a number of parties may be at fault. The parties who may be liable for damages in a claim include:
The truck driver
There are many situations in which a truck driver could be at fault for an accident. If driving errors are not the cause of the crash, there are a few other things drivers may do to cause an accident. If a driver is fatigued, excessively speeding to make a delivery on time, or otherwise engaged in a reckless action, collisions may prove deadly. When truck drivers were driving under the influence, in dangerous conditions, without proper rest, or any other number of violations, they have made a reckless choice which caused the accident.
The trucking company or the owner of the truck or trailer
If a trucking company or other business owns a truck that caused an accident, the business will often have to pay the damages. Businesses have something called vicarious liability meaning they are responsible for an employee's accident during normal business operations.
Although a carrier company is required to have permits to operate its trucks, frequently, the carrier is not the owner of the truck. Sometimes a driver may independently lease a truck from a truck company and then contract with the carrier to provide transportation services. In other cases, the carrier company may own the truck but lease it to a driver with the option to purchase. The many leasing options available in the trucking industry can make it difficult to determine who is liable when a trucker causes injury to another person.
The owner or loader of the cargo
A percent of truck accidents in the U.S. can be attributed to overloaded or improperly loaded cargo. Because cargo makes a large truck heavier, whoever loads the cargo must ensure that a truck's weight meets federal regulations and is distributed evenly. Otherwise, a lane change, turn, or sudden stop could result in an accident.
The company that loads a commercial truck with its cargo is responsible for ensuring the contents are secured and safe for road travel. The truck's cargo records must be evaluated to find out if the shipment's owner, loader or transporter was liable for securing the vehicle's contents.
Third-party maintenance company
It may be possible to hold an outside maintenance company liable for damages if it was negligent in its duties to maintain or repair a commercial truck.
Manufacturer or distributor of a defective truck or truck part
If a manufacturer produced a defective part, and that part contributed to the cause of an accident, the part-maker could be liable for damages in that case. For example, a design mistake might contribute to an accident or a broken connector rod could cause problems between the vehicle and the trailer. If a defective part caused the truck accident, an attorney may be able to hold the manufacturer liable for your damages.
Although inadequate maintenance causes many of a truck's mechanical issues, the following factors may indicate a defective part caused your accident:
- Brake failure
- Faulty lighting
- Broken trailer hitch
- Tire blowouts
- Transmission failure
- Steering system failure
The vehicle's maintenance logs have to be reviewed to determine if the owner's negligence caused the mechanical issues. An attorney will also find out if the vehicle's parts or brand is known to be defective or included in a recall.
A government agency
If a truck driver is involved in an accident because a road was poorly designed, it may be possible to file a claim against the liable government agency.
Sometimes, the driver of the passenger car and the driver of the truck are both innocent, when it comes to a semi or commercial truck accident. This can happen if another vehicle on the road forced either the passenger vehicle or the truck to cause the crash. Cars that merge unexpectedly, ride in blind spots, or drive too aggressively can easily cause an accident between a semi or commercial truck and another passenger car. When another party is responsible for the crash, they should be the one to be sued for compensation.
Through a Florida wrongful death claim, you may be able to recover compensation for:
- Funeral, burial, or cremation expenses
- The loss of your loved one's earning capacity
- The loss of your loved one's services
- The loss of your loved one's companionship and society
- The loss of prospective inheritance you might one day have received from your loved one
- Mental anguish
Contact Sean M. Cleary, Miami Truck Accident Attorney
If you have lost a family member in a large truck accident, it's helpful to find an attorney you trust. A lawyer with experience can help you recover fair compensation for injuries and damages by:
- Investigating adherence to federal regulations
- Retrieving data from a truck's black box
- Reviewing the vehicle's maintenance logs
- Evaluating the truck's cargo records
Contact us at 305.416.9805 for a free consultation, we're here to listen to your story, offer a reliable evaluation of your legal options, and fight to get compensation for your tragic loss.