Truck Accident Claims in Florida

Truck accidents can occur for a wide variety of reasons. Unfortunately, it is common for improperly loaded cargo, failure to conduct inspections, faulty manufactured parts, worn-out tires, or even a sleepy driver to cause serious crashes.

If you suffered an injury in a tractor-trailer accident, you should retain the experienced Florida truck accident lawyers at Kogan & DiSalvo to represent your interests. Truck accident cases may involve liability for multiple parties and other complex legal concepts, including regulations established by both the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

As in every type of a personal injury claim for damages, the burden falls on the injured plaintiff to prove that a defendant’s actions were the cause of their losses. This may require the lawyer to investigate the cause of the accident, evaluate the relationship between a defendant driver and their employer, and make an accurate measurement of their losses. A failure to complete any of these steps in a case may lead to a reduced compensation package or the denial of a claim.

Therefore, it may be in your best interest to consult with a legal professional. While you focus on healing from your physical injuries, our dedicated personal injury attorneys could focus on addressing your financial losses and legal needs.

Handling a Truck Accident Claim

Case Results

  • $9.03 Million
    Tobacco Smoking Class Action Claims
  • $2.1 Million
    Auto Accident Resulting in Death
  • $2 Million
    Auto Accident Resulting in Brain Injury
  • $1 Million
    Bad Faith Recovery Against Insurance Company
  • $825,000
    Pedestrian Accident
  • $750,000
    Worker Injured by Construction Crane
  • $500,000
    Slip and Fall on Wet Floor

Evaluating the Worth of Semi-Truck Accident Cases

Most plaintiffs do not have experience with civil claims and may be unsure of what their case is worth. Fortunately, a Florida attorney with experience in litigating truck accident claims could evaluate what a case may be worth based on the circumstances.

Measuring the value of a truck accident claim requires the complete evaluation of a plaintiff’s losses. The goal of most personal injury claims is to collect compensation that puts the plaintiff in the same position that they would have been in had the accident never occurred.

How We Handle Truck Accident Claims

Truck accident claims are complex. If you were injured or lost a loved one in an accident with a commercial vehicle, it is always in your best interest to hire a lawyer for assistance with your case.

An experienced truck accident lawyer can take on all aspects of building your case, including:

  • Investigating the crash site: Knowledgeable attorneys and accident investigators can learn a lot from the evidence collected at the scene of a crash with a semi truck. Photographs of debris, skid marks, and more can be analyzed to determine what happened during the course of the accident and who may be at fault.
  • Obtaining the police report and other documents: Truck accidents may be investigated by multiple agencies. State or local police are typically the first to respond, although major accidents may also be investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and/or the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Our lawyers will obtain copies of reports from all agencies investigating the crash and review them for information that may support your claim.
  • Interviewing witnesses: Witness testimony is often key for establishing what happened in the moments before the accident and as the crash occurred. Our attorneys identify witnesses from reports by the police and other investigators. We ask these witnesses to describe what they saw. If your case proceeds to trial, we can call witnesses to give testimony at depositions and/or to testify in court.
  • Investigating the truck driver and the trucking company: One of the major differences between truck accident claims and other types of auto accident cases is the number of parties that may be at fault. The first party we investigate is the truck driver, but it is also important to take into account the negligence of his or her employer. We request records from the trucking company on the driver’s training and qualifications, as well as hours of service records and maintenance logs for the truck.
  • Examining the vehicles: Damage to the semi truck, your car, and other vehicles involved in the accident can yield a significant amount of helpful information. However, the trucking company will send investigators to the scene of the accident as soon as possible to take possession of the rig. Our lawyers will send a letter of spoliation to request that the trucking company preserve the semi-truck. We hire qualified experts to assess the truck and trailer for defects and maintenance issues, as well as the size and impact of the damage.
  • Reviewing the contents of the “black box”: The event data recorder (EDR) on a semi truck logs a wide variety of important information in the event of a crash, including changes in speed, when the brakes are applied, and more. EDR data requires special software to download and expert analysis to interpret, but it is crucial for identifying possible negligence on the part of the truck driver.

Building a truck accident claim takes time and resources. Negotiating a settlement in these cases is also challenging due to the extent of injuries and damages, as well as the many different parties that may be at fault. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, our attorneys can take your case to court in order to pursue the full damages you deserve.

Bottom line: It is in your best interest to contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.

What Damages are Available in a Commercial Vehicle Accident Claim?

One of the central parts of most truck wreck claims is the medical costs associated with the physical injuries that a claimant sustains. Truck accidents can lead to a variety of injuries that may require a single trip to an emergency room or surgery and a lengthy period of rehabilitation. The most severe crashes may inflict injuries from which a plaintiff will never fully recover or even wrongful death. Therefore, a claim for compensation should demand payments for all past, current, and future medical treatment.

Accidents involving trucks and big-rigs also may have a profound emotional impact on an injured individual. These losses can lead to a significant decrease in their quality of life as well as traumas, such as PTSD, that can affect them for years.

Unlike physical injuries, it can be difficult to place a dollar value on emotional traumas. However, a comprehensive demand package should include the value of these losses to demand appropriate compensation.

Additionally, many truck collisions cause a plaintiff to lose a significant amount of money. This typically takes the form of lost wages due to an injury forcing an individual to miss time from work. Defendants who are liable in commercial vehicle accident cases are responsible for reimbursing injured motorists for all past lost wages as well as payments for reduced earning capacity due to lasting disabilities. An attorney in Florida could examine how a truck accident has affected a plaintiff and demand appropriate compensation from all at-fault defendants. Experienced truck accident lawyers can get you the compensation you deserve.

Who May be Liable in a Truck Collision Case in Florida?

A crucial part of any claim for damages is identifying every defendant who may be liable. In general, the primary defendant in these cases is the truck driver. Every driver in Florida assumes a duty to drive safely and to obey all traffic laws while behind the wheel. A driver who fails to uphold this duty may be liable for any resulting injuries and damages.

Another important party to many semi-truck accident cases is the trucker’s insurance company. These companies take on the burden of providing compensation in case of losses that result from their insured’s poor driving. In some situations, a driver’s insurance company may try to reduce their insured’s liability to avoid paying all of the injured party’s damages.

Another potential defendant is the trucker’s employer. Plaintiffs must quickly determine whether a trucker is an employee of a company or an independent contractor. An independent contractor assumes all potential liability for their negligence. However, respondent superior states that an employer is liable for the actions of their employees while they are acting within the scope of their occupational duties. As a result, if the driver is an employee of a trucking company, this employer also may be liable for a plaintiff’s losses. Our attorneys at Kogan & DiSalvo could identify all potential defendants to a truck accident case in Florida.

Causes of Trucking Accidents in Florida

Causes of Truck Accidents

Trucking accidents occur for a variety of different reasons. They can also happen due to the negligence of several different parties.

In order to determine the cause of the crash, our truck accident lawyers will investigate the following:

The Actions of the Truck Driver

Truck drivers are held to higher safety standards than the drivers of non-commercial vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has implemented myriad regulations governing the conduct of truck drivers.

Unfortunately, truck drivers sometimes disregard these rules. In other cases they commit simple errors that can have devastating consequences. Examples of truck driver negligence include:

  • Speeding
  • Driving while fatigued or ill
  • Tailgating other vehicles
  • Failure to slow down or come to a complete stop
  • Errors in changing lanes or merging
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving while intoxicated

Ultimately, the driver of the truck is responsible for his or her conduct behind the wheel. However, errors like the above can also be the result of poor or insufficient training, failed supervision, and other forms of negligence on the part of the driver’s employer.

The Negligence of the Trucking Company

Trucking companies are legally responsible for the actions of their employees when they are on the road. Therefore, the company may be liable in your claim simply because one of its drivers caused an accident in the course of his or her job duties.

Investigation of the trucking company may also reveal negligence such as:

  • Forcing drivers to work beyond the federal hours of service limits
  • Hiring drivers with inadequate training and credentials
  • Hiring drivers with records of serious accidents
  • Failure to screen drivers for alcohol and drug abuse
  • Failure to maintain and repair the truck, trailer, or both (depending on whether the company owns all or part of the rig)

Trucking companies are required to carry certain levels of minimum insurance coverage. If the company violates these regulations and does not have sufficient coverage for your truck accident injuries, it is crucial to work with an experienced lawyer who can explore all of your options for recovery.

Why You Need a Truck Accident Lawyer

Errors in Shipping and Transit

Overloaded and improperly loaded trucks are more likely to crash. Our lawyers investigate the shipping company to determine how errors in the loading and securement of cargo may have contributed to the accident.

Multiple parties may be at fault in accident claims involving overloaded or imbalanced semi trucks. The shipping company is responsible for loading and securing the cargo in or on the trailer, but the truck driver is responsible for inspecting the load at various points during the haul.

Our truck accident attorneys will investigate trucking company and shipping company records to determine how the cargo was loaded and whether or not it was inspected. You may be entitled to compensation from multiple negligent parties.

Defective Truck and Trailer Parts

Semi-trucks are massive vehicles that run on multiple parts and systems. If one or more of these components fail, the driver may lose control of the truck and cause an accident.

Product liability issues that may arise in a truck accident claim include:

  • Defective brakes
  • Defective tires
  • Defective semi-trailer coupling
  • Defective lights and electrical systems
  • Defective fuel tanks and fuel systems
  • Defective steering mechanism

An experienced product liability lawyer can pursue compensation from the makers and sellers of the defective vehicle or part. Multiple parties may be liable in defective product claims, including the manufacturer, assembler, wholesaler, retailer, and others.

Types of Injuries in Truck Accident Claims

Due to the difference in size between a tractor-trailer and virtually any other motor vehicle on the road, serious injuries are common in truck accidents. The losses you suffer as a result of a catastrophic injury may be immense, which is why it is important to work with an experienced trucking accident lawyer.

Our truck accident attorneys pursue full compensation for all of the serious and permanent injuries you suffer in the crash, including:

If your loved one was killed in a truck accident, our lawyers can pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of your family.

How Truck Accident Claims Differ from Car Accident Cases

Many accident victims make the mistake of assuming that truck accident claims proceed in the same way as cases involving other types of motor vehicles. In reality, trucking accident litigation is often much more complicated.

Some of the major reasons that your truck accident claim is different from a claim after a car accident (or a case involving a different kind of vehicle) include:

  • The injuries are generally serious: The seriousness of injuries in a car accident can vary widely depending on the circumstances. In a truck accident, however, the size and weight of the tractor-trailer generally means that the collision with a smaller vehicle will result in serious harm to the driver and other occupants.
  • The damages are often extensive: From medical bills and lost wages to pain and suffering and disability, the losses caused by a truck accident are often wide-ranging. You and your family may be entitled to significant compensation for these and other damages, but the at-fault parties are unlikely to pay up without a fight.
  • Truck accidents require thorough investigation: Comprehensive gathering of evidence is crucial in any accident claim. However, a successful truck accident claim often hinges on detailed investigation and thorough preparation. You need a lawyer who will go above and beyond to secure all pertinent evidence, elicit expert testimony, and prepare a strong case on your behalf.
  • Regulations are complex: The federal government and the State of Florida have instituted an immense body of regulations on commercial trucking. These rules generally don’t apply in other types of motor vehicle accident cases. Hiring a lawyer who knows the regulations and laws that apply in your truck accident case is crucial for achieving a favorable result.
  • Multiple parties (and their insurance companies) may be involved: It is not uncommon for the at-fault parties in truck accident claims to try to pass the blame to someone else. The insurance carriers for these parties, likewise, will try to pay as little as possible in compensation. As a result, settlement negotiations and litigation are made more challenging in truck accident cases.

You need an experienced lawyer to handle negotiations on your behalf with the at-fault parties and the insurance companies. If a fair settlement does not come, your attorney must be willing and able to take your case to trial to recover the compensation you deserve.

How Might a Plaintiff Prove Defendant Fault in a Truck Crash Case?

Once a plaintiff identifies all potential defendants to a lawsuit, they must prove that a defendant was responsible for the incident that resulted in their injuries. In other words, a claimant must prove that a trucker or another party was at-fault for their accident.

Truckers have the same duty to drive safely as all other motorists. This includes stopping at red lights, following speed limits, and refraining from texting while driving. A truck driver who violates a rule of the road and receives a conviction in traffic court is almost certainly liable for the resulting injuries.

Additionally, special rules apply to the safe operation of commercial vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration establishes maximum weights of these vehicles for certain road surfaces. There also are laws in place that limit the maximum number of hours that a driver may be behind the wheel in any given day or week. A trucker or employer who violates these regulations may be negligent for a resulting accident.

However, just because a trucker did not violate a rule of the road does not mean that they are not liable. Many semi-truck accident cases require an in-depth analysis of the collision to determine the location of the vehicles and their speeds at the point of impact. By demonstrating that a defendant exercised poor judgment while behind the wheel, plaintiffs may be able to prove negligence in their claims. A Florida commercial vehicle accident attorney at Kogan & DiSalvo may be able to establish fault in a truck wreck case.

Truck Driver Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) works to decrease the number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving trucks and busses. Florida has also created the Highway Patrol Office of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (OCVE) to enforce other laws to promote safety for all drivers on the road.

Commercial vehicles cannot be longer than 75-feet, taller than 13 feet, 6 inches, wider than 102 inches, heavier than 80,000 pounds and overhangs must be a maximum of 3 feet.

These types of vehicles can only be driven for 11 hours if carrying cargo, and 10 hours if carrying passengers according to the FMCSA. However, in Florida, truckers are permitted to drive up to 12 hours a day with cargo.

Additionally, commercial vehicle drivers can only be on duty in a 6-to-8-time span and they are required to have a 34-hour break before starting another shift. Drivers are not allowed to operate a cellphone while driving, and must consent to drug and alcohol tests at any time.

Additionally, truck drivers are required to create safe following distances. As defined by Florida law, trucks must leave at least 300 feet between them and the vehicle ahead. Exceptions are made for trucks that are passing.

What Should I Do After a Truck Accident?

After a truck accident, your first priority is to get medical attention. Call 911, then wait for emergency workers to arrive. If you can wait safely in your car, it is best to stay put and try not to move.

Paramedics will evaluate your injuries, and they may recommend taking you to the hospital immediately. For the sake of your health and well-being, it is in your best interest to follow their directions and get the care you need.

Most truck accident victims require emergency transport and immediate treatment. However, if your injuries are not life-threatening, there are steps you can take at the accident scene to begin building your truck accident claim:

  1. Photograph the accident: Take pictures of the vehicles involved, debris on the ground, and marks on the road surface, as well as traffic, weather, and lighting conditions.
  2. Speak to witnesses: Ask people at the scene to describe what they saw and get their contact information in case you and/or your lawyer needs to follow up with them.
  3. Exchange information: Get the name and contact information, driver’s license number, and insurance information for the driver of each vehicle involved in the accident. Also ask the truck driver for the name of his/her employer and information for the company’s insurance carrier.
  4. Give a statement to the police: A police officer will be dispatched to the scene of any vehicle accident involving injury, death, or property damage that meets a certain threshold. Tell the officer what you saw and experienced during the truck accident.
  5. Seek medical attention: Once you are done at the scene, you should see a doctor as soon as possible for evaluation of your injuries. Paramedics have neither the training nor the equipment to perform a full diagnosis, and it is important to have your condition assessed and documented by a physician.

Once you have received medical attention for your injuries, you should consider contacting a truck accident lawyer. The trucking company and its insurer will begin investigating the crash immediately, which puts you at a significant disadvantage. You may even receive an offer to settle your case before you have time to speak to an attorney.

Whether you have been offered a settlement or you have yet to file a claim, speak to a lawyer first. You may be entitled to significantly more compensation than the insurance company is offering, but you are unlikely to obtain a fair result without knowledgeable legal counsel.

How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help Me?

Working to Protect Claims from Aggressive Insurance Companies in Florida

Liability assigned to an injured claimant can significantly impact the value of their case. In many situations, defendants try to reduce their liability by working to convince the court that at least some of the responsibility for the accident in question lies with the plaintiff.

Although the defendant may still owe the plaintiff compensation, proving partial responsibility on their part typically reduces the compensation a plaintiff may recover in proportion to their degree of fault. According to Florida Statutes §768.81, civil courts must use comparative negligence when evaluating civil claims for damages.

Serving Truck Accident Clients Throughout Florida

Commercial trucking is big business in Florida. Due to the number of semi trucks that travel our roads every year, it is important for motorists throughout the state to stay alert when driving near 18-wheelers.

In the event of a truck accident, it is important to work with lawyers who know the local area. The attorneys at Kogan & DiSalvo serve clients in truck accident claims in Florida communities such as:

We also serve clients in truck accidents claims in counties throughout Florida, including:

If your injuries from the truck accident make mobility difficult, attorneys at Kogan & DiSalvo will come to you instead. We will travel to your home, the medical facility where you are receiving treatment, or any other location that is convenient for you and your family.

How We Handle Truck Accident Claims

Truck accident claims are complex. If you were injured or lost a loved one in an accident with a commercial vehicle, it is always in your best interest to hire a lawyer for assistance with your case.

An experienced truck accident lawyer can take on all aspects of building your case, including:

  • Investigating the crash site: Knowledgeable attorneys and accident investigators can learn a lot from the evidence collected at the scene of a crash with a semi truck. Photographs of debris, skid marks, and more can be analyzed to determine what happened during the course of the accident and who may be at fault.
  • Obtaining the police report and other documents: Truck accidents may be investigated by multiple agencies. State or local police are typically the first to respond, although major accidents may also be investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and/or the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Our lawyers will obtain copies of reports from all agencies investigating the crash and review them for information that may support your claim.
  • Interviewing witnesses: Witness testimony is often key for establishing what happened in the moments before the accident and as the crash occurred. Our attorneys identify witnesses from reports by the police and other investigators. We ask these witnesses to describe what they saw. If your case proceeds to trial, we can call witnesses to give testimony at depositions and/or to testify in court.
  • Investigating the truck driver and the trucking company: One of the major differences between truck accident claims and other types of auto accident cases is the number of parties that may be at fault. The first party we investigate is the truck driver, but it is also important to take into account the negligence of his or her employer. We request records from the trucking company on the driver’s training and qualifications, as well as hours of service records and maintenance logs for the truck.
  • Examining the vehicles: Damage to the semi truck, your car, and other vehicles involved in the accident can yield a significant amount of helpful information. However, the trucking company will send investigators to the scene of the accident as soon as possible to take possession of the rig. Our lawyers will send a letter of spoliation to request that the trucking company preserve the semi-truck. We hire qualified experts to assess the truck and trailer for defects and maintenance issues, as well as the size and impact of the damage.
  • Reviewing the contents of the “black box”: The event data recorder (EDR) on a semi truck logs a wide variety of important information in the event of a crash, including changes in speed, when the brakes are applied, and more. EDR data requires special software to download and expert analysis to interpret, but it is crucial for identifying possible negligence on the part of the truck driver.

Building a truck accident claim takes time and resources. Negotiating a settlement in these cases is also challenging due to the extent of injuries and damages, as well as the many different parties that may be at fault. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, our attorneys can take your case to court in order to pursue the full damages you deserve.

Bottom line: It is in your best interest to contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Truck Accident Settlements

The majority of commercial vehicle accident cases in Florida are settled between the lawyers representing the plaintiff and defendant. The decision of whether to settle or proceed to trial ultimately rests with the plaintiff. However, it may be less stressful and possibly more productive to settle the case prior to trial.

Plaintiffs can discuss fair settlement amounts and benefits or disadvantages of a settlement with a truck accident lawyer in Florida before making a decision. Generally, though, it is good practice for a plaintiff to do so before speaking to the truck driver’s insurance company or lawyers. If they do not, the injured claimant may leave money on the table that could have been part of their compensation.

Reach out to a Seasoned Florida Truck Accident Attorney

A commercial vehicle accident can result in painful injuries that may leave you unable to work and with costly medical bills. To increase your chances of a successful case result that brings you the compensation you need, contact the knowledgeable Florida truck accident lawyers at Kogan & DiSalvo as soon as possible for your free initial consultation.

Our law firm can take steps to protect your legal rights and pursue your claim for damages. Additionally, they could provide an initial case analysis that determines whether a claim has a possible chance for success and visit the scene of the accident to gain a full understanding of the facts of the case. Finally, they could prepare demand packages that fully outline your losses from all potentially liable parties.

Ideally, a case will end with a fair settlement that covers all of your losses. However, if a trial is necessary to bring you the damages that you deserve, our dedicated attorneys could take the necessary steps to present a case to the jury while protecting your right to fair compensation. To get started on your semi-truck wreck claim for damages, contact our office today.

Contact Us

Injury Lawyers Serving Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Stuart, & nearby FL Locations

Offering Free Initial Consultations

Our highly-skilled accident lawyers are standing by to help you. We serve all of South Florida for all types of injury and death cases. We invite you to call us with your questions, and we will be happy to help you understand your rights and your options. Our goal is to help you get justice and to maximize your financial recovery.

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One of our clients discusses working with Kogan and Disalvo following a semi truck accident.
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Semi Truck Accident

One of our clients discusses working with Kogan and Disalvo following a semi truck accident.