Each year over 500K truck accidents are reported in the U.S., ending up in approximately 5K fatal accidents and over 140K serious injuries. Every 16 minutes, a U.S. resident is killed or injured in a big rig accident. According to DHSMV, 17 Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) fatalities and 921 CMV injuries occur annually in Miami-Dade County.
Most of the time people that are injured in accidents involving trucks suffer from injuries that need long-term observation and medical care. If you or a loved one got injured in a trucking accident in Miami, seek immediate advice and counsel from an experienced truck accident lawyer. Call Miami truck accident lawyer Sean M. Cleary, right away.
Truck accidents represent some of the most serious cases we handle at The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary. Knowing what to do after a truck accident in Florida can be overwhelming. Even knowing where to start can be confusing. We can help. We have years of experience handling 15-wheeler accidents on I 95, SR 112, SR 826, and other highways and roads in Miami and the rest of Florida. We’re familiar with the common causes of truck accident injuries. We’re here for you and ready to fight for your rights. Obtaining compensation for serious injuries caused by truck accidents is no easy matter. Truck accident cases can be complex and can involve many factors and parties large enough to fight liability vigorously.
After you are involved in an accident with a commercial truck you will likely be frustrated and not know how to react. Despite this, it is important to act in order to protect your rights. There are some steps you should make immediately after the accident: call the police and file a report, take pictures of the scene, identify any possible witnesses, go to the emergency room or a doctor – you can subsequently take the following steps:
- You can get an accident reconstruction performed by an engineer. You can request the data recorder from the truck and your car if they exist and can be located, as not all trucks have them.
- You can check with your insurance company, who will then contact the truck driver’s insurance company on your behalf. A claim representative will be assigned to your case and that representative will work with the liability insurer to decide who is at fault for the accident and what percentage of fault they will accept.
- But chances are, nothing will do as much good or work as fast as filing a personal injury claim. Just because your insurance company decided that you were 40% liable for the accident does not mean that you are now “legally” 40% liable or a court has to decide the same.
It takes experience and very careful preparation to overcome all the obstacles that insurance and truck companies will place in your path. At The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, you have the advantage of a Miami personal injury law firm with over 20 years of experience in truck accident cases and experts that have the technology needed to:
- Investigate the accident, review accident reports for inconsistencies, investigate a trucking company’s safety record, investigate a truck driver’s accident history, consult with accident reconstruction experts if necessary.
- Prepare discovery requests to obtain all the important documents, objects, or tangible things that may be in the possession of adverse parties, like the trucking company.
- Gather all the evidence and determine if government regulations have been violated
- Present the evidence (accident reports, witness testimony) that allows a jury to understand the important technical and legal details of trucking.
- Calculate the damages caused by the specific injuries you have suffered.
To enlist the help of our truck accident lawyer in Miami or surrounding counties, contact us today. The sooner you call us, the better our chances to identify and preserve the evidence in your favor. We prepare for trial those cases that are likely to go to trial, and we put in posture for settlement those cases that are going to be settled which leads to both better and quicker verdicts and settlements.
Compensation for Truck Accident Damages in Miami
Due to the sheer size of large commercial trucks and the force of impact, truck accidents cause a large number of catastrophic injuries. As a result, if you were involved in a truck accident you will likely require intensive and long-term medical treatment.
Fortunately, you can often recover significant compensation for your injuries. Tort law seeks to put you back into the position in which you were before the accident by compensating you for your injuries as much as possible. However, serious or fatal truck accidents can be extremely complicated and you may have only one opportunity to obtain the financial compensation to which you are entitled. Don’t take chances with your future. Contact us. We have expertise in the state and federal laws governing trucking accidents. We know how to successfully resolve complicated legal cases.
There are different types of damages you may claim in the State of Florida when you have sustained injuries after a trucking accident. Most damages that are awarded in personal cases are compensatory damages, meaning that they seek to reimburse you for a loss you suffered because of an injury.
Our attorney, Sean Cleary will assist you in making a claim for personal injury for both your economic and non-economic damages that relate to your quality of life. Economic compensatory damages in the State of Florida may include:
- Cost of current and future medical expenses
- Cost of personal and household services
- Cost of transportation to medical appointments
- Lost earnings and future earning potential
- Cost of rehabilitation
- Cost of psychological counseling
- Cost of medical and assistive devices
- Cost of refitting home and vehicle to accommodate your disability
- Any other out-of-pocket expenses necessitated by the accident
Non-economic compensatory damages may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
These are some examples of the types of compensatory damages that may be available in your case. Also, depending on the circumstances, there may be punitive damages available after your truck accident case designed to punish a trucking company for its willful violation of safety regulations. Florida law allows punitive damages to be evaluated in limited circumstances, but the conduct of truckers and insurance companies in accident cases often fits these limited circumstances so punitive damages are typically awarded in truck accident cases.
If you prevail on the punitive damages claim, the amount awarded would most likely be capped:
- Under Florida law punitive damages are limited to three times the amount of compensatory damages of $500K, whichever is greater.
- The cap can be set at four times the amount of compensatory damages or $2, whichever is greater when it can be shown that the trucking company was motivated solely by unreasonable financial gain
- In rare cases (an example might be a road rage incident) when “specific intent to harm” can be shown, the amount awarded would not be capped.
Our aim is to seek maximum recovery for you and your family beyond seeking compensatory damages and seeking recovery of punitive damages as well. If you would like to learn more about seeking damages in a truck accident case that has impacted you or a family member please contact the seasoned truck accident attorney Sean, owner, and president of The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary for a free consultation about your case.
Our thoughts and hearts go out to all those affected by truck accidents. We’ve helped numerous clients or families of victims killed in truck accidents to recover the money they deserved and we’re here to help you too. Here are some informative examples of Miami truck accident cases and their verdicts and settlements:
- A couple was killed after a tractor-trailer rear-ended their van and pinned it against another tractor-trailer stopped in an intersection in Miami. The tractor-trailer was traveling above highway speed - $5.5M
- A truck driver in Florida ran a red light striking a car and causing brain injury to the driver of the passenger vehicle - $20
- A man was injured when his car slid underneath a trailer after the truck attempted a U-turn on a Miami highway at night time - $1.8M
- A woman was struck by a commercial delivery truck while riding her bicycle in Miami - $6M
- The driver of a bus was killed when a tractor-trailer attempted to merge in front of him, resulting in a collision on a highway in Miami - $4.8M
- A tractor-trailer changed lanes into a vehicle causing a man’s death - $1.5M
- A tractor-trailer collided in an intersection in Florida with a stopped vehicle causing a man to suffer a mild traumatic injury - $1.125M
- A driver was killed in a crash caused by a propane truck that ran out of control - $1.395M
- A wheel came off a tractor-trailer and hit a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction, causing it to roll over - $16M
- A tractor-trailer collision resulted in an axle crossing the medial wall and hitting a man’s vehicle - $4.3M
- A logging truck turned and the logs penetrated a car’s windshield - $2.25M
Common Truck Crash Injuries
During a truck accident, people may suffer multiple types of injuries as vehicles crumble under pressure and bodies are thrown forward and back upon impact. You or a loved one of yours can sustain a significant injury that can render you unable to move or work for a very long time.
Accidents involving large commercial vehicles often result in the death of a driver or passenger in another vehicle. These devastating accidents wreak havoc on families’ lives when you lose a loved one due to the reckless behavior of a commercial truck driver.
Injuries caused by commercial trucking accidents cover a wide range. Some of the most common and serious ones we encounter at The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary include:
Whatever types of injuries you or your family are dealing with you must seek immediate medical attention. Make sure you take your injuries seriously right from the start. Contact The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary.
We have also been advocating on behalf of the injured and families who lost loved ones for more than 20 years. One case result for a fatally injured truck accident victim was a $5.5M settlement. In case after case, we have consistently obtained sizable verdicts and settlements for injured individuals throughout Florida.
Liability in Truck Crash Cases in Florida
The law involving truck accidents, for the most part, follows the law of motor vehicle accidents: that is, you must establish negligence, causation, and damages.
When it comes to determining liability in a truck accident, several entities might be responsible, according to Florida State Law. A detailed investigator is often necessary to identify who was responsible for what and who acted carelessly or negligently and, therefore, caused the crash. Any of these parties may be legally liable for an accident, depending on the circumstances.
- Truck driver: if he or she acted in a reckless manner; failed to obey traffic laws, was distracted, or operated the vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Trucking company: in case they failed to meet federal regulations or required their drivers to work beyond the legal limit.
- Shipper of goods: in case the accident was the result of a hazardous material transported in the vehicle
- The firm which contracted the truck’s lessee to do a pick-up or delivery: was it responsible for ensuring that the driver was qualified to drive the vehicle and checking the driver’s safety record?
- The company whose goods are being hauled: was it responsible for loading?
- The company whom the goods must be delivered
- Truck manufacturer or seller: if the crash was the product of a defective design like defective tires or faulty brakes
- Truck repair shop: in case the truck recently underwent a repair that hasn’t been performed correctly
- Government entities: in case the accident resulted from unsafe road conditions - improper lightning or broken traffic signal
Other unique aspects of truck accident litigation may include:
- Special Vehicle Code sections that apply only to commercial trucks and other trucks
- The special licensing and training of commercial truck drivers
- In some cases, the need to retain expert witnesses with truck expertise
If the truck driver was injured in the crash without being at fault, he or she might also sue the employer or other responsible parties. With so many potential defendants it is important to work with an experienced Florida trucking accident lawyer who can investigate the circumstances at the scene, analyze the vehicles involved, conduct interviews, and carefully review State and Federal statutes to determine the compensatory damages that may be recovered in a claim.
Florida Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims
Under Florida’s Statute of limitation, you have four years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. If you lost a loved one in a truck accident, you have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If an injury sustained in the accident was not discovered until later, the four years would begin with the date of diagnosis. If an accident victim was a minor at the time of the crash the rage can impact the statute of limitations on a lawsuit.
Regardless, keep in mind that truck accidents are complex. Multiple parties may need to be investigated, and experts may need to be consulted. Trucking companies usually have aggressive lawyers and insurance agents who will start working on the case as soon as possible and they will aim to minimize the settlement you’re entitled to reserve.
We suggest scheduling an initial consultation with the experienced truck accident attorney Sean M. Cleary, who successfully handles Florida cases. The sooner you file your legal claim, the better your chances of receiving full compensation for the damages you’ve suffered.