How Are Miami Truck Accidents Different Than Car Accidents?

How Are Miami Truck Accidents Different Than Car Accidents?Truck accidents are deadly. Commercial trucks cause more catastrophic injuries than accidents involving only cars. And commercial trucks are heavily regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a federal agency. FMCSA issues regulations for drivers, vehicles, and the truck owners and operators. The trucking company is subject to FMCSA regulations if it operates a commercial vehicle across state lines in any of the following scenarios:

  • The gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating is 10,001 pounds or more.
  • The vehicle is designed to carry between 9 and 15 passengers for compensation of any kind.
  • The vehicle is designed to carry 15 or more passengers, regardless of compensation.
  • You are transporting hazardous materials.

These regulations are numerous and complicated. Many of these regulations are for your safety, the safety of all of us on the roads with these large commercial trucks. The regulations address the amount of sleep and rest the drivers of commercial trucks get and the inspections and repair of the vehicles, for example. And the regulations require that the owner have liability insurance on the truck for the benefit of the person injured by that truck.

This is why you don’t just want a lawyer – you NEED a lawyer. And you need a lawyer who has the experience, resources, and passion to fight for you. At Hickey Law Firm, our Miami truck accident lawyers understand the unique challenges involved with truck accidents. We work with investigators who examine the cause of the accidents, trucking professionals who understand when trucking industry standards are violated, and truck parts experts who understand when truck parts are defective. Our lawyers demand compensation for all your economic and personal damages. We have obtained numerous multimillion dollar settlements and verdicts for our clients.

Founding attorney John H. (Jack) Hickey is known nationwide for his success in handling personal injury claims. This success is earned through the firm’s experience, leadership, and results. We treat every client’s case with the attention and compassion that it deserves.

The lawyers who defend these trucking companies fight hard. Hickey knows. Hickey used to defend corporations. For the first 17 years of his career, he represented the corporations and insurance companies, much like the ones who insure trucking companies. Now, Hickey is putting his experience and skill to work for YOU, the seriously injured person.

Hickey is well known to judges and lawyers alike. He is a leader in the legal world. Hickey has served as President of the Dade County Bar Association, the largest voluntary bar association (association of lawyers) in Florida.  He served for 12 years on the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Florida Association for Justice (FJA, the statewide trial lawyers’ association) and on the Board of Governors of the American Association for Justice (AAJ, the nationwide association of trial lawyers).

You need on your side someone who has experience, leadership, and results. At Hickey Law Firm we have all three.

Did you know?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 108,000 injury collisions involving large trucks or buses in 2020, leading to about 160,000 injuries and 5,125 fatalities.

‍How are cars and trucks different?

The main difference is their size. A tractor-trailer is approximately 4-5 times longer than a car, twice as tall, and one and half times as wide. But the biggest difference is in their weight. Tractor-trailers are about 20 times heavier than a car. Trucks generally require much more distance to come to a complete stop.

You don’t need a Ph.D. in physics to understand that when a large truck collides with a car, that the car will absorb most of the force of the accident. The truck can drive away practically untouched. The car can be totaled.

How do the types of car and truck accidents compare and differ?

Both cars and trucks can be involved in the following types of accidents:

  • Head-on collisions where the fronts of each vehicle collide
  • Broadsides where the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another vehicle
  • Rear-end collisions involve the front of one car striking the rear of the car in front
  • Sideswipe accidents where the right side of one vehicle strikes the left side of another vehicle
  • Single-vehicle accidents which are usually caused by speeding, reckless driving, drunk driving, or distracted driving
  • Multiple-vehicle accidents involving more than two vehicles

Trucks may also be involved in these deadly and serious accidents:

  • Rollover accidents often due to the different center of gravity for trucks than cars
  • Jackknife accidents that cause a tractor-trailer to be at a right angle to the cab of the truck
  • Underride accidents where a small car slides completely under a truck
  • Blind spots accidents caused because the dimensions of a truck and the lack of windows make it hard for drivers to see around all sides of the truck
  • Cargo accidents that involve shifting cargo and cargo that spills onto the highway
  • Wide turn accidents that often crush cars that are near the truck when the truck turns at an intersection
  • Overpass accidents when trucks do not have enough clearance to pass through a part of the highway

Trucks generally have more difficulty when the roads are icy, it’s foggy, it’s raining, or it’s too sunny – because trucks are generally harder to control. The bad weather only makes control of the truck even more difficult.

Liability for truck accidents as compared to car accidents

When a car accident occurs, a negligent driver that causes the accident is the primary person liable for your injuries or for the death of a loved one. The owner of the car may be liable too. Other responsible defendants for car accidents in Miami may include:

  • The employer of the driver of the truck;
  • The bar or restaurant which sold alcohol to the driver of the truck; or
  • State entities responsible for roadway maintenance such as the Florida Department of Transportation.

When a truck accident occurs, the same people or companies identified above may be liable for your accident. Generally, most truck drivers do work for an employer while most car owners drive for their own benefit – not an employer’s benefit.

Also, the repair shop or other businesses responsible for inspecting, maintaining, or repairing the truck or car which caused the accident can be responsible. If a brake repair was not done correctly or if a tire was not mounted correctly, the repair shop can be responsible.

The manufacturers and distributors of cars and trucks also can be responsible. If there is a defective part which causes the accident, we investigate the product liability case. The manufacturers and distributors can be liable under one or more of the theories of negligence, strict liability, and breach of warranty (express or implied).

We look for a recall by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of some part of the vehicle. We know from a recall that there is a record of other failures of this or other parts of the vehicle. We also need access to the vehicle to investigate and to preserve the evidence. The evidence is the entire vehicle itself.

The laws and regulations that govern car and truck travel

Both cars and trucks are required to comply with the Florida traffic laws. These are all of the rules listed in Chapter 316 of the Florida Statutes. Drivers who speed, text while driving, drive while intoxicated, pass improperly, run through stop signs or red lights, and commit other violations should be held liable for the accidents they cause. In the complaints we prepare to file in Court, we list all of the violations of which we have some evidence at the time.

Truck drivers and truck owners must comply with additional laws and regulations including:

  • FMCSA regulations including hours of service rules. These rules establish how much rest drivers need on a daily and weekly basis before they can get on the road. Truck drivers and owners are required to keep log data that shows when the truck was in operation.
  • OSHA loading and unloading rules. There are rules for how much cargo can be loaded on a truck, how the cargo should be loaded, and other rules – which also depend on the type of truck and the type of cargo. If cargo shifts while the truck is in operation, the truck driver may lose control of the truck. If the cargo spills, then multi-vehicle accidents are likely as nearby vehicles seek to avoid the spilled cargo.

What damages can I seek for injuries from a Miami truck accident?

Truck accidents often cause serious injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, traumatic amputation, burn injuries, and broken bones. Because of the mass of commercial trucks and the speeds at which they are driven on interstates, these commercial truck accidents are almost always high impact/high energy accidents. This also can cause huge claims for medical expenses and bills, lost income, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, physical injury and impairment, and scarring and disfigurement, all in the past (from the date of the accident to now) and in the future (from now to the end of your life expectancy).

In cases where your loved one is killed by a crash with a big-rig or other commercial truck, we can help you with a wrongful death claim. No amount of money is going to make up for the loss of your loved one, but it CAN force accountability on negligent drivers and trucking companies. In these cases, the Florida Wrongful Death Act, Florida Statute Section 768.16 et seq. applies. You as a “survivor” under that statute can receive compensation for your losses as well.

Whether you were injured in a car or a truck accident, you need an experienced trial lawyer on your side – a lawyer ready and able to fight the large insurance companies and their high-priced defense lawyers. To assert your rights, call the Miami truck accident attorneys of Hickey Law Firm or fill out our contact form to schedule your free consultation.