Fort Lauderdale 18-Wheeler Accident Attorney

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Fort Lauderdale 18-wheeler accident lawyerWhen you’re out and about in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the last thing on your mind is the potential for a devastating truck accident. Yet, finding a dedicated Fort Lauderdale 18-wheeler accident lawyer becomes essential when life throws such unexpected challenges your way.

Imagine driving home on I-595 after cheering for your favorite team at the DRV PNK Stadium when out of nowhere, an 18-wheeler loses control due to brake failure and collides with your vehicle.

Or picture yourself leaving New River Middle School with your child in tow, only to be rear-ended by a speeding 18-wheeler as you merge onto I-95.

These situations aren’t mere worst-case scenarios; for some, they’re unfortunate realities. With their towering presence, trucks carry a potential for significant damage, especially when colliding with smaller vehicles. From large commercial trucks to box trucks, and from Uber drivers to pedestrians, the range of accidents and victims varies.

At Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys, our 18-wheeler accident attorneys in Fort Lauderdale are here to guide and support you. Our friendly and professional approach ensures you’re not alone after a collision. We understand the trauma and challenges of such accidents and are committed to advocating for your rights every step of the way.

18-Wheelers in Fort Lauderdale and the Trucking Industry

As 18-wheeler accident lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, we know that the trucking business is critical to Florida’s economy, acting as the backbone for various agricultural and manufacturing industries. Given its strategic location, Fort Lauderdale sees an increasing number of 18-wheelers traveling on its roadways, guaranteeing the seamless movement of products and commodities inside and beyond the state’s boundaries.

The state of Florida recognizes the importance of this industry and provides a host of resources to ensure its efficient operation. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has dedicated a significant section of its website to trucking and motor carrier resources, reflecting the state’s commitment to fostering a safe and efficient environment for the industry.

Florida guarantees that the trucking sector runs under the highest standards, from safety rules to permitting, benefiting drivers and the general public. As the trucks full of cargo continue to make their way down Fort Lauderdale’s streets, it’s clear that the city’s relationship with the trucking sector is one of mutual growth and support.

Do Accidents Involving18-Wheelers Happen Often?

As Fort Lauderdale 18-wheeler accident attorneys we are often asked how often these accidents occur.

We all know that 18-wheeler accidents, given the sheer size and weight of these vehicles, can result in some of the most devastating road incidents. But just how often do they happen?

In 2021, Florida provided some insightful statistics regarding trucks and commercial vehicles. According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) Crash Facts Report, there were 30 fatalities regarding drivers and passengers in medium or heavy truck accidents in 2021. There were also 148 incapacitating injuries due to these accidents and 560 non-incapacitating injuries. These incidents highlight the potential risks of these massive vehicles on the road.

Also, it’s worth noting that Florida’s challenges with truck-related accidents are not isolated. On a national scale, the state stood out with concerning numbers. In 2021, Florida had the third-highest number of fatal truck accidents in the country, as highlighted by the data from the National Safety Council.

These statistics underscore the importance of road safety awareness, not just for truck drivers but all road users. It’s a collective effort to ensure that roads remain safe for everyone, especially in regions with high commercial traffic like Florida.

What Causes So Many 18-Wheeler Accidents in Fort Lauderdale?

These massive vehicles pose significant risks on the road, and understanding the causes behind these accidents can be the first step to prevention. So, why do so many 18-wheeler accidents occur in Fort Lauderdale? Our 18-wheeler accident attorneys in Fort Lauderdale take a look at the biggest contributors below.

Driver Responsibility

Astonishingly, the driver is found to be responsible about 87% of the time in these incidents. Here’s a breakdown of the reasons:

  • Decision (38%) – These situations often arise from poor judgment. Examples include driving too fast for the current road conditions, misjudging the speed of other vehicles, or tailgating another car.
  • Recognition (28%) – These accidents result from a lapse in the driver’s awareness. They could be distracted by a phone call, a billboard, or even just lost in thought. Perhaps they failed to notice a vehicle braking ahead or didn’t realize a traffic pattern had changed.
  • Non-Performance (12%) – Non-performance is when things happen suddenly, catching the driver off guard. Maybe they fell asleep at the wheel, suffered from a heart attack or seizure, or were physically impaired due to some other unforeseen issue.
  • Performance (9%) – Here, it’s not about making the wrong decision but rather about reacting incorrectly. A driver might panic when they see an obstacle, swerving too hard, or overcompensating for a minor road hazard.

Vehicle Issues

The truck itself can sometimes be the culprit.

  • Brake Problems (29%) – These large trucks require robust braking systems. However, when those systems fail, it can lead to catastrophic results.
  • Tire Problems & Cargo Shift (4%) – A blown tire or improperly secured cargo can change a truck’s trajectory or balance, leading to severe accidents.

External Factors

As Fort Lauderdale 18-wheeler accident lawyers we see that external factors can also contribute to the broad range of accidents in the city, and the most common factors include:

  • Traveling Too Fast for Conditions (23%) – This doesn’t just mean speeding. It can also mean going too fast during heavy rain, fog, or other challenging weather conditions.
  • Driver Unfamiliarity (22%) – Not all truckers know Fort Lauderdale’s roads. An unfamiliar route can mean missed exits or unexpected lane changes, leading to accidents.
  • Roadway Problems (20%) – Potholes, inadequate signage, or sudden lane closures can all pose hazards, especially for large 18-wheelers.

Why You Need an 18-Wheeler Accident Attorney in Fort Lauderdale

If you’ve been in an 18-wheeler accident in Fort Lauderdale, it’s crucial to navigate the complexities of identifying all responsible parties. An experienced 18-wheeler accident lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can be invaluable. Let’s see why:

  • Automobile Manufacturers – If a flaw in a truck’s design or manufacturing caused an accident, you may have a legal claim against everyone from the manufacturer to the retailer.
  • Employees and Employers – In Fort Lauderdale, if an employee of a business causes an accident while on the job, you can hold the employer liable.
  • Ridesharing Companies – Given the popularity of Uber and Lyft in Fort Lauderdale, it’s important to remember that you can hold these companies liable for any mistakes their drivers make.
  • Truck Drivers – You are responsible for certain things with a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Truck drivers must not only be cautious, but they must also follow specific safety rules and federal motor carrier regulations. Even when the other party is not cooperating, a good 18-wheeler accident lawyer in Fort Lauderdale knows what questions to ask, what documents to look at, and what options to investigate.
  • Trucking Companies – If an 18-wheeler accident in Fort Lauderdale was due to driver negligence or recklessness, the trucking company may be liable under Florida law, as they’re generally accountable for damages caused by their employees during work.
  • Vehicle Owners – Under Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine, if a truck causes harm with the vehicle owner’s permission, that owner can be held liable. This encompasses both individual truck owners and companies.

Can I Sue a Trucking Company If the 18-Wheeler’s Driver Was Negligent?

In many cases, trucking companies can be held liable for their drivers’ actions, primarily if the incident occurred while the driver was on the job. This legal concept, in which an employer is held liable for its employee’s actions performed within the scope of their employment, can be critical in pursuing compensation through a personal injury claim following an accident.

Suppose the driver of an 18-wheeler gets caught texting or drinking while driving, resulting in a fatal accident. If that driver had a history of impaired driving, you or your Fort Lauderdale 18-wheeler accident lawyer could hold the trucking company liable by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The logic here is that the company should be accountable for their employees’ actions, especially if they were aware of (or should have been aware of) such behavior. Additionally, you may be able to hold the trucking companies directly liable in several situations:

  • Encouraging Rule Breaking – Trucking regulations are in place for safety. If a company encourages its drivers to disregard these rules—such as driving more hours than legally allowed without breaks—you can hold them directly responsible for any resulting accidents.
  • Hiring Issues – If a company knowingly employs a driver with a tainted driving record, a criminal background, or a history of health issues that could impair their driving, you could hold them liable.
  • Supervisory Negligence – Proper supervision is critical in the trucking industry. If a company fails to monitor its drivers correctly, resulting in negligent behaviors, it can be held accountable.
  • Training Deficits – Trucking is a profession that requires rigorous training. If an accident occurred because a driver didn’t get adequate training, the onus might fall on the company.

FMCSA Trucking Laws and Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established extensive regulations designed to protect both truck drivers and the general public. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most important rules:

  • Cargo Securement and Loading Regulations – Ensuring cargo is secured correctly is crucial to prevent accidents caused by shifting or falling loads. FMCSA has specific rules regarding how companies should secure different types of freight to ensure safe transportation.
  • Drug & Alcohol Testing – Trucking companies must implement drug and alcohol testing for their drivers. This includes pre-employment, post-accident, random, and reasonable suspicion testing to ensure that drivers are not operating vehicles under the influence.
  • Hours-of-Service – These rules limit the number of hours a truck driver can be on the road to prevent fatigue-related accidents. For instance, a driver is generally limited to 11 hours of driving within a 14-hour workday after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
  • Qualification of Drivers – To operate a commercial vehicle, drivers must meet specific qualifications. This includes possessing a valid CDL, undergoing a medical examination, and maintaining a clean driving record.
  • Truck Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance – Trucks must undergo regular inspections to ensure they’re safe for the road. Any defects or issues identified during inspections must get addressed and repaired promptly. They must also keep accurate records of all inspections, repairs, and maintenance activities.

Types of Fort Lauderdale 18-Wheeler Cases Our Law Firm Handles

At Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys, we’re the dedicated 18-wheeler accident lawyers in Fort Lauderdale who have experience taking on a broad range of 18-wheeler cases, including the following:

Alcohol-Related Crashes

It is illegal for truck drivers to drink alcohol 4 hours before operating a commercial vehicle. If significant damage requires towing after an accident, drivers must submit to an alcohol test. If the investigation does not get completed within 2 hours of the accident, the carrier must explain the delay in court. Failure to administer these tests may indicate cover-ups.

Drowsy Driving Crashes

Truck drivers can only drive for 11 hours before taking a 10-hour break. They cannot work more than 14 hours in a row and must take a 30-minute break every 8 hours. Despite these regulations, some drivers, especially those under pressure, exceed these limits, resulting in fatigue-related accidents.

Intersection Accidents

Commercial trucks have limited maneuverability due to their size and weight. If a truck driver attempts to clear a traffic light too quickly or fails to stop in time at an intersection, the risk of severe accidents, such as T-bone collisions, increases significantly.

Rear-End Collisions

Commercial trucks weighing up to 80,000 pounds require a longer distance to come to a complete stop. Instant stops are impossible despite their advanced braking systems. Truck drivers who misjudge distances or react late frequently cause devastating rear-end collisions.

How Florida’s Pure Comparative Negligence Laws May Impact Your Claim

In Florida, the concept of “pure comparative negligence” plays a crucial role in personal injury claims. But what exactly is it, and how might it affect your case?

Pure comparative negligence allows an injured party to recover damages even if they were partly at fault for the accident. However, the court will reduce the compensation awarded by the percentage of fault. For example, if the court finds you to be 30% responsible for an accident, you would be entitled to recover 70% of the total damages. Two key references govern this principle in Florida:

  • HB 837 – This bill provides detailed insights into various aspects of Florida’s negligence laws.
  • F.S.A. § 768.81(2) – This statute explains how comparative fault works in Florida, including the rules and procedures for reducing damages based on an individual’s level of responsibility.

Understanding Florida’s pure comparative negligence system is critical when filing a personal injury claim. It enables a more in-depth approach to determining responsibility and compensation, ensuring that even if you were partially to blame, you could still receive a portion of the damages. Always ask for the advice of a Fort Lauderdale 18-wheeler accident lawyer to help you confront the complex nature of this system and maximize your potential recovery.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

You must receive immediate and appropriate care if you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Aside from immediate medical needs, your vehicle may also require attention. Fortunately, Fort Lauderdale has some excellent resources to help you, including:

  • Kindred Hospital South Florida in Fort Lauderdale – Specializing in long-term acute care, Kindred Hospital South Florida in Fort Lauderdale provides services to support patients through long recovery processes. Their team of dedicated professionals ensures you receive the necessary medical attention tailored to your specific needs.
  • Broward Health Medical Center – Broward Health Medical Center offers comprehensive medical services and is a renowned medical center in the heart of Fort Lauderdale. Their state-of-the-art facilities and experienced medical staff ensure you receive top-tier care during your recovery.
  • Southport Auto Repair – Accidents often leave vehicles in need of repair or thorough checks. At Southport Auto Repair, you’ll find a team of skilled mechanics ready to assess and fix any damages your vehicle might have sustained. Their expertise ensures your vehicle is safely back on the road in no time.

Experienced Fort Lauderdale Law Firm

At Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys, we take pride in our extensive experience as Fort Lauderdale 18-wheeler accident lawyers. Our history in the area demonstrates our commitment and expertise in handling complex trucking accident cases. Schilling & Silvers offers outstanding legal representation when you need it the most, focusing on thoroughness and a commitment to our clients’ needs.

In addition to Fort Lauderdale, the experienced legal team at our law firm also serves Pompano Beach, Miami, Weston, Plantation, Hialeah, Sunrise, Davie, and more.