Tractor Trailer and Truck Accident Lawyers In West Palm Beach
If you have landed on this site, it is probable that you or a loved one have been involved in an accident, in Palm Beach County, involving a tractor trailer or big rig, also known as semi-trailers. You are wondering what to do next. We can help answer your questions and immediately start working on your case. We will immediately inform doctors and other medical professionals to NOT contact you regarding payments. So the annoying bill collector calls will be stopped. To start discussing your accident case contact us at (561) 746-7076.
The tractor trailer accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Roger P. Foley in West Palm Beach provide representation for those injured in trucking accidents. Our attorneys recognize that being involved in a trucking crash is serious. You have physical injuries that may permanently change the course of your life. Dealing with that very thought may cause you and your family tremendous stress. There are legal questions and we can provide the answers. As semi-truck accident attorney(s) we are able to put in the time needed for the legal case so that you can concentrate on recovering from your injuries.
Truck Accidents Information
- Top 4 Questions Asked by Tractor Trailer Accident Victims
- Top Five Reasons to Hire a Palm Beach County, Florida Truck Accident Lawyer
- Top Eight (8) Types of Trucking Accidents or Wrecks
- Four Main Reasons Commercial Trucking Accidents Occur
- Truck Accident Investigations Related to Serious Bodily Injury and Death
- The Process of Commercial Truck Accident Investigation
- What are the Different Types of Compensation for a Truck Accident victim?
- Four Things to Know Regarding Punitive Damages in Truck Accident Cases
- Comparative Negligence and How it Affects Your Truck Accident Case
- Types of Semi-Truck Accident Injuries
Top 4 Questions Asked by Tractor Trailer Accident Victims 1. I am injured and can’t work how will I pay my bills?
Our law firm will send a letter notifying medical providers that you are represented by legal counsel and request that they forward all bills to our office and that they not contact you via telephone or any other means.2. How long will take to recover and is my injury permanent?
Your doctors and medical team will share that information with you as each individual heals at a different rate.3. How do I get paid for my injuries when involved in a semi-tractor trailer accident?
- Determine the negligent party and contact their insurance company.
- Determine how much insurance coverage is available.
- In Florida, trucking companies must carry liability insurance on their vehicles, that range between $300,000 to $5,000,000. This is the minimum coverage required depending on what is being transported in the semi-tractor trailer. If the insurance company offers maximum policy limit payout of their insured, then you will be paid immediately.
- Multiple defendants and insurance companies
- Multiple victims involved in accident
- Medical professionals need to determine future treatments (example: did the first surgery correct the issue or do you need additional surgeries/treatment)
- Accident victim failing to treat in a timely manner. Example: missing doctors’ appointments
- Lengthy mediation due to conflicts between everyone involved in the case
- Coordinating depositions (depositions are sworn statements of victims, defendants, witnesses and experts)
- A quick settlement may cause the victim to lose money
- Time it takes to go to trial can be lengthy, generally 2-4 years so all injuries can be properly documented
Act Now! Contact Your Palm Beach County Trucking Accident Attorney
When you are involved in a wreck with a semi-tractor trailer it is important that you hire a personal injury lawyer because the clock is ticking. You must start treatment immediately so that your lawyer has the documentation to prove your injuries and help you get the most money possible. The statute of limitations is four years. However, you do not want to wait four years to get your money. Contact our office to discuss your options regarding your Florida trucking accident. We are located at 1555 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., Suite 1555, West Palm Beach, Florida, 33401. Contact us at (561) 746-7076.
Top Five Reasons to Hire a Palm Beach County, Florida Truck Accident Lawyer Identify those legally responsible
When involved in an accident with a big rig truck it may not be immediately obvious who is liable for your damages. Liability may fall with the driver, his company or corporation, the manufacturer of the truck, independent contractors involved in maintenance of the semitrailer, or a parts manufacturer. Your West Palm Beach tractor trailer crash lawyer will determine who is at fault, who is insured the most, and who has the most culpability so we can get you paid as quickly as possible. Sometimes you may reach a quick settlement with one of the liable parties while you negotiate or file a lawsuit against another party responsible.
Lead complex negotiations
In a tractor trailer accidents, it is common that several vehicles are in involved, that means multiple defendants. It is a battle fighting multiple parties in civil litigation as they defer blame to you and others in an attempt to minimize their payout. Therefore, you need a skilled negotiator and litigator that can handle multi-defendant accident cases and maximize the financial outcome you receive for your case.
Plan and execute legal strategy
You are a victim of their negligence and may not know how to get the most for your injuries. Your lawyer will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the case, review and challenge any contradicting evidence or witnesses and be prepared to assist you in acquiring the maximum compensation for your injuries.
Make certain arguments regarding comparative negligence are properly addressed
In Palm Beach County and throughout the State of Florida, comparative negligence may be applied, it’s the law. If it is determined that a portion of the accident was your fault, your settlement or trial verdict award will be lessened. If you are deemed 20% liable on a one million dollar case the amount received by you will only be eight hundred thousand. ($1,000,000,00 - $200,000 = $800,000.00).Your experienced West Palm Beach accident lawyer will take the necessary steps to minimize any liability on your behalf.
Your attorney will guide you through the civil litigation process
A lawsuit is complex. Most often you are dealing with insurance companies that build their financial fortunes on not paying out when a legitimate claim is demanded. Your West Palm Beach tractor-trailer truck crash attorney will deal with all the red tape while you concentrate on recovering and return to your normal life. As personal injury attorneys, representing plaintiffs, it is our job to achieve the maximum amount for your bodily injury claims. Your job is to concentrate on your recovery while we work for you.
If you or a loved one was injured in a commercial trucking accident in the Palm Beach County please get in touch with our office via phone (561) 746-7076.
Top Eight (8) Types of Trucking Accidents or Wrecks
- Rear-end impacts by an 18-wheeler are always serious. The maximum weight allowed by law for a tractor trailer in the United States is 80,000 pounds. The average car in 2021 was 3280 pounds. Trucks need more time to stop than the any car. The average car traveling at a rate of speed of 65 mph will need approximately 320 feet to come to a complete stop as opposed to a tractor trailer that needs more than 520 feet. This is a major reason for rear end collision by truckers. These crashes often cause serious bodily injury and/or death to the occupants of the smaller vehicles.
- Rollover accidents by a 18-wheeler or commercial truck are categorized in two ways, tripped and un-tripped. A tripped rollover is when a truck skids and tires get caught in grass or hit another object causing the semi to rollover. Whereas un-tripped rollover is caused by top heavy vehicles that are speeding and lose control resulting in a rollover. (Source: ieeexplore.ieee.org)
- Jackknife accidents occur when cab of the truck goes in one direction and the trailer goes in a different direction causing the two components (cab and trailer) to skid out of control. Jackknife accidents are often caused by faulty or improperly maintained brakes, traveling at high rate of speed and attempting to brake hard, evasive maneuvers at speed, loss of traction by worn tires, and driver inexperience.
- Cargo spill accidents occur when the freight carried becomes detached from the trailer. This often occurs from when the cargo is improperly loaded or has faulty tie-down straps. Cargo spills often results in multi-car accidents and often include life threatening injuries and wrongful death.
- Underride accidents occur when a passenger vehicle rear ends a tractor trailer or when automobile has a side collision with the 18 wheeler and goes under the trailer portion of the truck. Underride collisions are often fatal or result in severe injuries. The Stop Underrides Act has been introduced in Congress as a preventive measure to minimize these serious accidents and will be determined in 2022.
- Runaway truck accidents are the result of a tractor trailer, semi or big rig whose brakes have malfunctioned while going down a steep road. A runaway truck can obliterate anything in its path and cause devastating injuries .
- Wide turn accidents often occur due to driver negligence. An individual who has a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) is trained to turn slowly, be extra cautious while making right turns to avoid hitting automobiles and other objects.
- Blind spot accidents in trucks are caused when the truck driver has reduced visibility. A big rig or 18-wheeler has larger bling spot areas than a car. Blind spot accidents with 18 wheelers often result in underride accidents, see number 5 above.
Four Main Reasons Commercial Trucking Accidents Occur
- Truck Driver’s error
- Failure to keep a lookout/blind spots
- Distracted truck drivers
- Fatigued truck drivers
- Impaired truck drivers
- Defective truck equipment
- Reckless driving
- Defective equipment on Truck
- Defectively designed trucks or parts
- Mechanical failure (example:brakes or tires)
- Weather and road conditions
- Road construction
- Poor weather or road environment
- Other driver’s fault
Truck Accident Investigations Related to Serious Bodily Injury and Death
A victim or their family are required to prove by a preponderance of evidence that the defendant was negligent in some manner. The initial investigation by law enforcement may not be enough and your West Palm Beach truck accident lawyer will need to further his investigation by initially determining what parties are at fault. There may be several parties at fault as semi-truck accidents usually involve multiple vehicles due to their large size. In addition to the investigation completed by law enforcement, private investigators are often used to go to the scene, obtain additional information about the parties, look for witnesses and provide further insight to how the trucking accident occurred. A private investigator will also contact the trucking companies as they are required by law to cooperate with investigation related to the wreck and provide past records of the their cdl driver.
The Process of Commercial Truck Accident Investigation
When there is a trucking accident the road is often closed and local law enforcement are on scene to conduct an accident investigation. Law enforcement does the following:
Interview witnesses, drivers and passengers as eyewitness observations are extremely important. Unfortunately, injured parties may not be able to be interviewed so any third parties that witnessed the accident are extremely important.
Preservation of evidence is essential in serious accidents. It starts with pictures and video of the scene, measurements of skid marks and disintegrated parts that will provide a comprehensive account of the scene.
Review truck drivers log book to determine the amount of hours the driver has been on the road. Also referred to as records for service hours.
Examine the vehicles and scene to determine if there are any obvious defects with the truck to determine if there was an equipment failure or obvious loading error. (For example, excessive truck weight, failure to tied down load properly, knowledge of impeding tire blowout). Look for obvious obstacles or causes that led to accident.
Collection of blood samples in serious bodily injury cases and fatalities are conducted by law enforcement and is required under Florida statutes. Samples are taken and tested with results typically taking six weeks or more.
Semi-Truck Accident investigation conducted by the law firm is more in-depth because law enforcement is not searching for regulatory violations, improper hiring practices, accident history, failure to properly maintain the tractor trailer and any other factor that demonstrates a reckless disregard for the safety of others. Such an investigation assists you in disproving the trucking companies claims of non-negligent conduct and helps you achieve maximum compensation.
Identify video records as many truckers keep dash cameras to record their movement. On I95 and the Florida turnpike may provide live feeds but are not recorded by the state. However, these feeds may be obtained by news outlets who generally record the live feeds. Private investigators will track them down.
Expert Consultations are completed by your attorney. Crash reconstructionist, trucking industry experts, toxicologists, and doctors and other medical professionals are often necessary to assist in proving a negligence claim.
Collection of black boxes in serious bodily injury and fatalities are sometimes done by law enforcement but if not our investigators will acquire. These data recorders are important to any crash investigation as most vehicles contain them and they are helpful in accident reconstruction. In trucks they are called Heavy Vehicle Event Data Recorders (HVEDRs) and often include truck speed, rpms, and breaking prior to the wreck. The recorder will tell us whether driver changed gears or made sudden steering changes prior to accident and if airbags deployed. Tons of information that can help determine who was at fault.
Drivers employment history including employment applications and annual reviews, training certificates, medical records including drug and alcohol testing, and road test results.
Trucking companies will provide detailed information because the law requires them to cooperate. See Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Title 49 §390.15
Inspection of the tractor trailer or semi-truck by experts are important to determine if there was a failure to properly maintain the truck, defective truck parts, look for installed crash avoidance technologies, and carefully look at the breaking system. For further information click here
What are The Different Types Of Compensation For A Truck Accident Victim?
As an accident victim involved in a trucking accident you may be entitled to money for your damages. The following are recoverable damages in trucking accidents in Florida. Your big rig accident lawyer will seek money for:Economic Damages are actual monetary losses and easily calculated
- Cover all past, current and future medical bills and expenses related to your treatment.
- Permanent disability resulting from your injuries
- Past lost wages and future earnings
- Property damage
- Funeral costs
Non-Economic Damages are subjective and more speculative
- Pain and suffering which may be three times your economic damages and sometimes higher depending on the injuries sustained.
- Mental anguish or emotional distress caused by the accident and life changing injuries
- Deprivation of Family Relationship/ Loss Consortium
As stated above, non-economic damages are subjective but there are ways to calculate a monetary amount when you consider the seriousness of the injury, medical treatment necessary for recovery, the length of time required in physical therapy to attain some semblance of normalcy, and the long lasting or permanent disabilities received.
Four Things to Know Regarding Punitive Damages in Truck Accident Cases
- Punitive damages are limited to $500,000 or 3 times compensatory damages whichever is greater
- Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant
- Plaintiff must demonstrate a reasonable basis for recovery meaning intentional misconduct or gross negligence by the defendant
- Gross negligence is more successfully argued in truck accident cases when driver or trucking company fail to adhere to federal regulations and/or state traffic laws. Examples include but are not limited to:
- drivers failure to log hours or falsifies is hours of service,
- a disabled truck where the driver fails to put out reflective cones and triangles to warn motorists of potential danger
- a cdl driver with previous history of impaired driving causes accident while intoxicated (DUI)
- negligent hiring when trucking company failed to do a driving record check and the driver had history of traffic violations, dui, or accidents
- trucking company failed to properly maintain vehicle knowing it needed replacement tires
As West Palm Beach trucking accident attorneys our goal is get you paid the maximum amount for your injuries while minimizing your stress levels. You will focus more on your recovery knowing that you are in good hands. We work hard to achieve the best results possible. We will seek economic, non-economic damages and when the situation calls for we will request punitive damages. The Law office of Roger P. Foley is located in West Palm Beach and we are available to assist you. Call us at 561-746-7076
Comparative Negligence and how it Affects your Truck Accident Case
The law in Florida allows for comparative negligence. In simple terms, that means that both drivers in an accident can be at fault. For example, if a woman is injured and brings a plaintiffs claim for damages, the jury numerically assign a percentage of fault to each party. For a simple example and ease of mathematical computation, lets use the following example: There is rear end collision between a truck and woman driving a Honda pilot. The driver of the Honda was a woman and her injury was a permanent scar to her face. If the driver of the semi-truck was 100% responsible for the accident the woman would be entitled to $100,000 for her injury. However, the jury said that the woman was ten percent responsible for the accident. As a result, the woman would only receive $90,000. ($100,000-$10,000=$90,000) because 10% of the accident was her fault thereby losing $10,000 of the maximum payout.
Your West Palm Beach Truck car accident attorney will investigate and determine if the other side will be able to claim comparative negligence in good faith. If they can your lawyer will argue to minimize the amount by doing an intense investigation. See law firm investigation above
Types of Semi-Truck Accident Injuries
Tractor Trailer Truck injuries often result in death or devastating permanent disability. The amount of pain and suffering a victim must endure is devastating. Some of the most common types of injury include:
Back, Neck, and Spinal Injuries
Injuries to the spine can cause paralysis or limited mobility resulting in intense pain. Back and neck injuries can be the result of ruptured disks, whiplash, damage to spinal joints.
Big rig wrecks are catastrophic due to the weight disparity between trucks and cars. The impact of the crash can easily cause fractured bones throughout the body.
Head or Cranial Injuries
Impacts from semi-trucks can cause brain bleeding resulting in permeant brain damage.
Internal Bleeding and Damage to organs
Internal injury is very scary because you may not be immediately aware of the life threatening situation. Such injuries include Abdominal Aorta Aneurysm(rupture of the stomach abdominal aorta), liver and kidney injuries, or a ruptured spleen. Most internal injuries require surgery.
Lacerations can occur on the body’s exterior resulting in scars or internally. It is not uncommon to have a lacerated liver, spleen, or kidney in a trucking crash.
Broken Rib and Torso Injuries
Broken ribs are dangerous because they can puncture or lacerate internal organs resulting in possible death. A rib can also puncture a lung, causing a deflated lung known as Pneumothorax.
The crushing impact of a truck or rollover can cause a limb such injury that amputation is required.
Big Rig accidents or 18-wheelers make up approximately eleven percent of all accident fatalities in the United States. Although Florida law allows family of the deceased to bring legal action, financial compensation pails in comparison to the loss of a loved one.
Law Office of Roger P Foley Can Help With Your Truck Accident Injury In Palm Beach County, Florida
If you are a victim of a trucking accident, contact our personal injury law firm located at 1555 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., Suite 1555, West Palm Beach, Florida, 33401. Call us at (561) 746-7076 Mr. Foley will discuss your case with you personally and determine the best way to handle your case so that you receive maximum compensation.