These Florida tractor-trailer crashes cause serious and, in some cases, fatal injuries. Although victims have the right to pursue compensation when negligence plays a part in their collision, the complexity of the trucking industry makes the legal process challenging for injured victims who deserve fair compensation for the injuries and losses they suffered. If you or a loved one is recovering from an 18-wheeler or commercial vehicle crash, a Florida perosnal injury lawyer from the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can provide legal help.
The Florida tractor-trailer lawyers at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine are proud of our long track record of success with truck accidents and other personal injury cases in Florida. Our law firm is well-equipped to take on the massive corporate entities that stand in the way of you getting the compensation you deserve. We have a full team of investigators, and medical and legal support experts, who help us construct solid cases built on firm evidence.
Our Florida personal injury attorneys and staff dedicate themselves to handling our clients with extreme care and professionalism. We are available to clients every day, all day, and we go the extra mile for them. Our staff will help you schedule any appointments you require after a truck collision — we will even help you get your car repaired.
We Have Offices Throughout Florida to Help Truck Accident Victims
Our truck accident lawyers serve clients in many Florida communities. For your convenience, we operate out of multiple offices, so you can seek help from the location nearest you. You will find a local office in most major cities, including:
- Fort Lauderdale
- Fort Myers
- West Palm Beach
Even if your city isn’t on this list, we still want to hear about your case. Our attorneys can even come to you if you cannot travel; we can visit you at home, work, or in the hospital if necessary to discuss your legal options. These visits are free of charge.
Once You Hire Us for Your Truck Accident Case, We’re Available 24/7 to Help You
You should not have to track down your attorney for case updates or answers to questions or concerns that come up. That’s why we give our clients 24/7 access to our team. We want to give you peace of mind and confidence that your case is in good hands, and that means offering support when you need it most.
Hear About Our Level of Service Straight From Satisfied Clients
Throughout our decades of service in Florida, we’ve helped many clients and received hundreds of reviews in response. No one speaks to our level of professionalism and dedication better than those our firm has helped in the past, so we’ve provided a few Google reviews below:
- “Shire promised to under promise and over deliver and that he did, he kept me in the loop from day one. I would recommend the offices of Anidjar and Levine to anyone I know that needs an attorney.” — Jorge Asencio.
- “The law firm staff were awesome and always returned my calls or texts promptly. I was happily surprised at the relative speed of the resolution. A huge thanks to everyone involved in settling the case and looking after my health and recovery. Anidjar and Levine was my first call, I recommend they are yours.” — Stephen Ash.
With every case our truck accident attorneys handle, we hope to inspire confidence and provide the support our clients need as they recover and seek compensation.
Our Payment Structure Means No Win, No Fee
Finally, because our Florida truck accident attorneys work on injury cases on a contingency fee basis, you pay us only when and if we win a settlement or court judgment on your behalf. We:
- Charge no surprise fees while working on your case
- Never ask for any payment up front or out of pocket
- Only take our fee as a percentage of the compensation we win for you
- Explain this fee arrangement before you decide whether to hire
Your initial consultation is also entirely free. If you are wondering how much it costs to hire a personal injury lawyer, you have nothing to lose by calling.
Your Florida Truck Accident Case Is Likely Worth More Than You Think, and Our Lawyers Will Seek Your Full Recovery
Every truck accident is different — with different causes and different outcomes. However, the sheer mass of a commercial truck keeps one outcome relatively consistent: losses can be severe.
The force of impact of an 18-wheeler on a car passenger, bicyclist, or pedestrian can cause multiple injuries, in fact, with the chance of victims having to receive lifelong treatment.
Many such victims miss long periods of time at work, which translates to seriously reduced incomes. On top of their painful injuries, accident victims also endure the stress of providing for their families: paying rent/mortgage, buying food, and so on.
Recoverable Damages in a Florida Truck Collision
When negligence causes the injuries that impart this type of damage on a person, our truck accident attorneys want to help with victims’ financial recovery. The amount of this recovery depends on the type and severity of the injuries. Examples of just some of the types of damages we could fight to recover for you include:
- Medical bills, past and future
- Emergency transportation
- Ongoing physical rehabilitation and therapy
- Loss of income and benefits
- Diminished future potential earnings
- Property damage (the replacement or repair of your vehicle)
- Home modifications, like wheelchair ramps
- Replacement services, like lawn care and housekeeping
- Impaired quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Wrongful Death Damages
Unfortunately, some truck collision victims succumb to fatal injuries. If you lost a loved one due to injuries they sustained in a Florida truck accident that someone else’s negligence caused, we might be able to pursue a wrongful death action on your behalf. Our wrongful death attorneys can seek financial recovery for:
- Funeral expenses
- Burial or cremation costs
- Outstanding medical bills for treatment your loved one received before they passed
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship, guidance, and consortium
Ultimately, the damages you could collect will depend on your case’s details. Our lawyers will identify and assess the extent of damage and each recoverable loss’ financial value.
Florida Trucking Companies Could Try to Undervalue Your Case – Our Attorneys Will Protect You
When a collision with a big rig occurs, it is in a trucking company insurance provider’s best interest to settle your case quickly while you are still reeling from the trauma of the crash. Do not be surprised if you receive a call from the insurer offering a settlement soon after the crash. You can call our trucking accident lawyers, who know Florida law and your rights, before you talk to them.
Make no mistake, whatever the insurance company offers you in terms of a settlement after a tractor-trailer accident could be drastically less than what your case is worth. Insurance carriers can use sophisticated algorithms that can quickly tell them what you might get from a jury award should your case go to court.
Their job is to undercut that amount as much as possible. Their best hope of doing that is to take advantage of your mounting stress about all the expenses your injuries are costing you.
We Will Communicate With the Insurance Company About the Truck Accident on Your Behalf
If you talk to an insurance adjuster, say as little as possible because whatever you say will potentially be used against you. Stick to the facts.
Better yet, you can let our Florida truck crash lawyers do the talking for you. We know how these representatives work, and we will not be intimidated by them. Lastly and most importantly, do not sign any document the insurance company asks you to sign without legal counsel. We will seek the maximum compensation in your case so that you can cover your medical expenses and other damages from the crash.
Truck accidents are often complex matters. With drivers, carriers, shippers, loaders, third parties, and sometimes government agencies and manufacturers acting as different moving parts in the accident’s occurrence — it can be a lot to untangle. It can also be daunting for someone who is just trying to manage life after sustaining serious injuries.
Our Florida-based team of legal professionals will handle every aspect of your truck accident claim or lawsuit, leaving you to do the most important job of all — recovering.
It is not enough to show that a commercial truck driver caused an accident. To collect damages, an injured person needs to be able to prove that the at-fault party’s actions constitute negligence—and that this negligence is the reason for the accident that caused the victim’s injuries.
Specifically, tort law requires that we prove each of the following in your case:
- Duty of care: Someone had a legal responsibility to take reasonable steps to keep you free from harm or injury.
- Breach of duty: This party failed to fulfill its duty of care.
- Causation: This violation of duty caused the truck collision.
- Damages: You sustained physical and emotional injuries and financial loss.
Gathering Records and Documentation From the Carrier
In a truck accident, we will investigate whether the carrier complied with regulations that limit the maximum number of hours per day that a truck driver can drive. Drivers must document all working hours in their logbooks, and if they exceed the maximum hours and cause an accident, our attorneys will know about it.
The same holds true for maintenance records for the rig. If the truck driver’s handling of the rig caused the accident that led to your injury, it could be because the operator was not adequately trained—or perhaps the trucking company hired the driver despite a poor driving history or a history of drug or alcohol abuse.
Upon receiving a truck accident case, our truck accident lawyers immediately demand documentation for these and other areas of compliance from the trucking company. They will serve as important elements in establishing liability.
The Investigation Continues
Our tractor-trailer crash attorneys do not stop there in a Florida trucking case. To investigate the cause and identify negligent parties in your truck accident, we will:
- Visit the Florida collision scene.
- Review footage from traffic cameras and nearby surveillance cameras
- Get the police accident report.
- Interview witnesses and document their accounts of what happened.
- Gather all your accident-related medical records.
- Work with accident reconstruction specialists.
More Than One Person or Entity May Owe You Money – We Can Sue Multiple At-Fault Parties in a Florida Truck Accident Case
Although truck collisions often stem from a truck driver’s behavior, several other parties could also be responsible for the negligence that caused your injuries. These crashes can cause serious injuries and generate massive, costly damages.
To make the most of victims’ financial recovery, it is important to identify every liable party in a commercial truck accident. Having multiple defendants in a truck accident lawsuit is not uncommon. Our truck accident lawyers will take on this task while you focus on healing after the accident.
If a truck driver was driving while distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol—or if they were speeding or otherwise operating the vehicle in a negligent manner—their negligence could make them liable for your accident injuries. Some driver behaviors could also result in criminal charges against the truck operator.
Even maintenance and cargo loading issues that contribute to a collision can point to the driver’s negligence. They may have failed to inspect the truck before operating it to check if it had been properly maintained and loaded.
Under the rule of vicarious liability, an employer is responsible for the negligent actions of its employees while they are acting within the scope of their employment. This rule applies to carriers and their truck drivers. This means if a driver is texting and driving while on the job and causes an accident, the carrier might be held vicariously liable for the truck driver’s actions.
Trucking operations can be quite complex. In cases where companies contract with carriers to ship cargo, the transported items cross through several “hands.” The company that originates the cargo, as well as the parties that ship, load, and transport the cargo, must comply with a slew of state and federal trucking regulations.
If anyone along this chain is negligent in their roles, resulting in cargo that shifts or causes other problems that provoke a collision, such parties can be held liable for accident injuries.
Sometimes, a truck component fails, causing the rig to malfunction and making it difficult for the truck driver to control the tractor or trailer. Anything from failing brakes, tires, or kingpins can lead to disaster. In some cases, these failures stem from a lack of adequate maintenance. However, in othersituations, the problem can be traced to a part that came defective right from the manufacturer.
When truck crashes occur because a manufacturer designed, produced, sold, and/or distributed a defective part or system, the manufacturers and various distributors along the supply chain could bear responsibility.
Ensuring that public roads are properly maintained falls on the shoulders of various government agencies. For example, Florida county commissioners are responsible for keeping county roads “in good repair” (you can read more about Florida legislation regarding county roads on The Florida Senate’s website, Chapter 336).
If a poorly maintained road causes or has a role in a truck accident in Florida, you could hold the appropriate government agency accountable for damages from the accident.
Furthermore, if this agency hired a contractor to handle this maintenance, and they were negligent in their duties or created a problematic work zone that contributed to the truck collision, the contractor could also be held liable.
With so much to deal with after a crash, it can be challenging for truck crash victims to focus on the task of filing an insurance claim or lawsuit. Taking care of any injuries is a priority, of course. But injured parties should know about some time-related constraints that might prompt them to act sooner rather than later if they wish to recover compensation for a truck accident in Florida.
You May Be Competing With Other Injured Parties for Your Share of Insurance Coverage
Just as multiple parties could be responsible for a truck collision in Florida, multiple parties can also sustain physical injuries and financial loss from the accident. Insurance companies apply their commercial truck insurance coverage per incident, not per victim. This should be factored into time considerations when filing a claim or lawsuit after a collision with a commercial truck.
Accident victims must consider that other involved parties will likely take action to recover their damages. An early filing could give one victim’s lawsuit precedence over others that come in later. In a game of “first come, first served,” it literally pays to get an early start on filing and potentially receive a greater share of the money parsed out from the carrier’s insurance coverage.
Florida’s Statute of Limitations for Injuries Applies to All Truck Accident Cases
In Florida, people who sustained injuries because of another party’s negligence have a definite window of time in which the state allows them to file a lawsuit to recover damages from the negligent party.
According to Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(a), a truck accident victim generally has two years from the date of the collision in which to file a lawsuit. If a person was killed as the result of injuries from a truck accident, their loved ones typically have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit under Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(e).
It is important to keep in mind that a lot must happen in this time frame.
What Happens Before Our Lawyers File a Lawsuit in a Florida Truck Accident Case
At the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, we conduct thorough investigations of our clients’ accidents — uncovering evidence to support our claim of negligence and establish liability. It takes time to gather the evidence, interview witnesses, and work through the red tape that the carrier and their insurance provider will likely present.
Our lawyers tend to wait until our clients have reached their maximum possible recovery before we calculate damages. If a client has suffered multiple and/or serious injuries, this recovery time could take months or even years.
After we have crafted a demand letter for the defendant’s insurance company, we will attempt to negotiate a fair settlement. If these negotiations do not result in an offer that represents the semi-truck damages you have sustained, we will file a lawsuit to have the civil court decide the matter.
This needs to happen before the statute of limitations expires. The sooner you hire us to work on your case, the sooner we can get to work and handle everything that needs to happen before your time runs out.
State and federal regulations require Florida trucking companies to carry insurance policies with substantially larger coverage than what is required of passenger vehicle owners.
Insurance Coverage for Trucks That Haul Out of State
For interstate travel, commercial trucks must carry public liability insurance that covers bodily injury, property damage, and environmental restoration in the event of an accident. The minimum coverage amounts are as follows:
- Passengers: $5 million ($1.5 million for vehicles that seat 15 or fewer passengers)
- Freight: $300,000 for non-hazardous freight in trucks that weigh 10,000 pounds or less; otherwise, $750,000 – $5 million, depending on the cargo
Insurance Coverage for Trucks That Haul Within Florida
According to Florida Statutes § 627.7415, commercial motor vehicles that transport cargo within the state must be insured with minimum levels of combined bodily liability insurance and property damage liability insurance. The minimum coverage amounts are per occurrence, based on the truck’s gross vehicle weight, as follows:
- $50,000: 26,000 pounds – 34,999 pounds
- $100,000: 35,000 pounds – 43,999 pounds
- $300,000: 44,000 pounds or more
Furthermore, according to the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) enforces additional insurance coverage requirements. The minimum levels set forth in this code are based on the type of carriage and the commodity that is being transported, as follows:
- $750,000: 10,001 or more pounds; non-hazardous property
- $1,000,000 – $5,000,000: 10,001 or more pounds; oil or hazardous substances (value depends on the type of hazardous substance) or bulk quantities of explosives with mass explosion hazard, poisonous gas, high-danger substances, and similar materials
- $5,000,000: Less than 10,0001 or more pounds; any quantities of explosives with mass explosion hazard, poisonous gas, high-danger substances, and similar materials
However, do not mistake the figures above for the number of damages a court can award in a truck accident personal injury lawsuit. Rather, these amounts merely reflect the minimum amount of coverage that trucking companies must maintain to transport cargo. Our Florida truck accident lawyers can explain how any local, state, and federal laws apply to your case.
The destination of a commercial truck’s cargo dictates the rules and regulations by which the trucking company must abide. Many Florida truck drivers haul their cargo from Florida shipping ports into Georgia or Alabama.
When a truck crosses Florida state lines to deliver its cargo, the transport constitutes interstate commerce, which makes the truck beholden to United States Department of Transportation and Department of Commerce rules and regulations.
Trucks that travel within Florida’s boundaries when delivering cargo are engaged in intrastate commerce, which means that the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) governs the truck’s operations. The type of commerce a truck engages in also dictates how much insurance coverage it must carry.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) publishes data it has gathered about collisions involving large trucks throughout the United States. For instance, Florida saw 8,604 vehicles involved in large truck crashes in 2020, according to its data.
Per the organization’s 2020 report, based on fatal crashes that occurred between 2016 and 2018, these are the first harmful events in those accidents:
- Collision with a vehicle in transport
- Collision with a fixed object
- Collision with pedestrian
- Collision with pedal cycle or other personal conveyance
- Collision with parked motor vehicle
- Collision with train
- Collision with another object
- Collision with animal
- Pavement surface irregularity
- Cargo equipment loss or shift
While it is useful to understand the first harmful event that led to a crash, when it comes to seeking compensation for injuries resulting from a truck accident, you must also establish the root cause of the collision.
The Federal Motor Carrier Association (FMCSA) partners with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to study the causes of serious large truck crashes. According to their intensive research, the factors that ultimately cause a truck accident can occur moments before the collision, months before the crash, or any unit of time in between.
Furthermore, rarely does one single factor cause a truck collision. Rather, multiple factors come together to create the perfect storm for a crash, and this makes these collisions particularly complex and difficult to untangle.
Critical events are the risky variables that put a large truck on the path of an inevitable crash. The top three most common critical events in truck accidents are:
- Deviating out of the travel lane
- Loss of control of the truck
- Rear-ending another vehicle in the truck’s lane
Critical reasons define the immediate failure that preceded and led to the truck collision.
The groups classify critical reasons into three categories: driver behavior, vehicle, and environment.
If investigators code the causation for a truck accident as “driver,” it could be for:
- Non-performance, like falling asleep or having a heart attack.
- Recognition, perhaps because the driver was distracted or not paying attention.
- Decision, which includes misjudging how fast other vehicles are traveling, driving too fast for conditions, or following other vehicles too closely.
- Performance, such as not controlling the direction of the truck, overcompensating, or panicking.
The top factors that contribute to the above driver-based reasons for an 18-wheeler accidents and other truck collisions include:
- Malfunctioning or defective brakes (mechanical failures)
- Driver under the influence of prescription drugs
- Driving too fast for conditions (aggressive driving)
- Problems with the road (e.g., road hazards)
- Forced stop before the collision
- Driver under the influence of over-the-counter drugs
- Inadequate surveillance
- Pressure from the carrier company
- Illegal maneuver
- Not paying attention (distracted driving)
- External distraction
- Equipment failure
- Tire problems
- Shifting cargo
- Cargo loading problems
- Driver sickness
- Internal distraction
- Driving under the influence of illegal drugs
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
If You Are Recovering From a Truck Crash, Call Our Florida Truck Accident Lawyers Today – We Can Help
The first thing you must do after a truck collision is to take care of your physical health and well-being—seek medical treatment immediately. Once you have sought medical attention, consider calling us. Legal representation may lift a tremendous weight off your shoulders at a time when you could really use some relief. We know you will want to stay apprised of your case, so we will give you frequent updates.
If you want to call us, we’re ready to talk with you about your case. When you hire our firm to handle your Florida truck accident claim or lawsuit, you will get your attorney’s phone number so you can call them any time you have a question. Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine today for a free consultation.
We Can Help.