Fort Lauderdale has the third-highest accident rate in Florida and is one of the state’s most dangerous cities for motor vehicle accidents. If you or a loved one was seriously injured or killed in an accident involving a heavy truck, you may file a personal injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit with a Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyer.
Contact the experienced Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyers at Kaiser Romanello to evaluate your claim, identify the parties at fault for your injuries, and fight for compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages. We provide tailored solutions to help our clients seek rightful compensation.
Our Fort Lauderdale office serves clients throughout South Florida.
Call us today at (844) 877-8679.
Why Choose Kaiser Romanello for Your Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Claim?
The legal team at Kaiser Romanello P.A. is experienced in handling Fort Lauderdale truck accident claims involving catastrophic injuries or wrongful death. We have nearly half a century of combined experience handling these cases. These cases are more challenging because of the size and weight of trucks, which often lead to more severe injuries in a crash, the state and federal regulations surrounding commercial truck operations, and the fact that truck crashes often involve multiple vehicles.
Our main office is in Fort Lauderdale, and our attorneys are familiar with the local people and places that may factor into your personal injury lawsuit and are accessible to you throughout the litigation process. We take the time to listen to your needs and develop a plan together with you.
There is no cost or obligation to talk to one of our personal injury attorneys. Contact us today for a free consultation and evaluation of your case.
Our Fort Lauderdale Office Location and Headquarters
Kaiser Romanello P.A. is located at 11555 Heron Bay Boulevard in Broward County, Florida, approximately 23 miles north of Miami and 42 miles south of Palm Beach. You can call us at (844) 877-8679 to meet with one of our personal injury attorneys to discuss your claim.
Fort Lauderdale Truck Accident Statistics
In one recent year, half a million large truck accidents occurred in the United States, with 5,788 deaths attributed to traffic crashes involving large trucks. Florida accounted for 373 deaths and had the third-highest rate of deaths connected to large truck accidents.
Fort Lauderdale is one of Florida’s most dangerous cities for motor vehicle accidents. It has the third-highest accident rate in Florida. Although it is only the tenth most populous city in Florida, it sees an average of 5,648 traffic accidents per 100,000 residents.
Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), on its Florida Crash Dashboard, reports 276,492 crashes in the state as of September 2023, accounting for 2,331 deaths and 176,029 injuries. Broward County reported 28,249 crashes with 135 fatalities and 17,264 injuries.
Types of Truck Accidents
An 18-wheeler, also known as a semi-truck or tractor-trailer, typically weighs significantly more than an average passenger vehicle. While the weight can vary depending on the specific truck and its cargo, a typical unloaded 18-wheeler can weigh around 35,000 to 45,000 pounds. The average passenger car in the United States weighs around 4,000 to 5,000 pounds.
The sheer mass of an 18-wheeler makes it capable of causing severe damage and injuries in the event of a collision with a smaller and lighter passenger vehicle.
Rear Underride and Side Underride Crashes
The most dangerous types of truck accidents involving 18-wheelers and passenger vehicles are underride crashes.
Rear and side underride accidents often lead to severe consequences, including catastrophic injuries and wrongful death.
- Rear underride accidents occur when a smaller vehicle collides with the rear of a truck and slides underneath it. Rear underride accidents are hazardous because the smaller vehicle can wedge under the back of the truck. Rear underride crashes may result in severe injuries or fatalities, including decapitation. Federal regulations require tractor-trailers to have rear underride guards that meet a minimum standard for safety.
- Side underride accidents happen when a smaller vehicle collides with the side of a truck and slides underneath it. These accidents can occur when a truck makes a wide turn, changes lanes without seeing the smaller vehicle, or if the smaller vehicle tries to pass the truck on the side. These accidents can also kill the occupants of the passenger vehicle.
Other Common Types of Truck Accidents
- Blind Spot Collisions: Trucks have large blind spots, and accidents can happen when smaller vehicles are in these areas.
- Tire Blowouts: Sudden tire failures can lead to loss of control and accidents.
- Wide Turns: Trucks need more space to turn and accidents can occur when they swing wide.
- Cargo Spills: Improperly secured cargo can spill onto the road, causing accidents.
- Jackknife Accidents: This happens when a truck’s cab and trailer fold at an acute angle, often due to braking issues or slippery road conditions.
- Rollover Accidents: When a truck tips over on its side, usually caused by excessive speed or abrupt steering maneuvers.
Who May You Hold Liable for a Truck Accident?
An experienced truck accident attorney is an important person to have on your side when sorting out a complex truck accident claim. You may hold multiple parties liable in a Fort Lauderdale truck accident, including one or more trucks and passenger vehicles. Commercial trucking companies also operate under state and federal regulations that may affect liability.
Liable parties may include:
- Truck Driver: The truck driver can be held liable if their actions, like speeding, reckless driving, driving under the influence, or fatigue, contributed to the accident. Truck driver negligence can contribute to trucking accidents in various ways due to the unique challenges and responsibilities of operating large commercial vehicles.
- Speeding: Speeding, especially on highways or in adverse weather conditions, can reduce a truck driver’s ability to react to unexpected situations, leading to accidents.
- Fatigue: Truck drivers often work long hours and may become fatigued, which impairs their alertness and reaction times. Fatigue can lead to poor decision-making and accidents. Truck drivers are required by law to follow Hours of Service (HOS) regulations to limit drive time and ensure rest periods. Your lawyer will examine these records as part of the investigation.
- Distracted Driving: Engaging in activities like texting, using a smartphone, or eating while driving can divert a truck driver’s attention from the road, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Impaired Driving: Operating a truck under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications can impair a driver’s judgment, coordination, and reflexes, making accidents more likely.
- Trucking Company: The trucking company that employs the driver may be held responsible for accidents caused by their driver’s negligence, as well as for issues related to maintenance, training, or scheduling that could have contributed to the accident. Trucking companies must prioritize safety and comply with federal and state regulations. When they fail to do so through negligence, you can hold them liable for accidents that result.
- Inadequate Hiring and Training: If a trucking company fails to properly screen, hire, and train its drivers, it can lead to accidents. This includes not checking a driver’s qualifications, experience, or driving record.
- Hours of Service Violations: Trucking companies may pressure drivers to meet tight delivery schedules, leading to violations of hours of service (HOS) regulations. Fatigued drivers are more likely to cause accidents.
- Negligent Supervision: Companies should ensure drivers follow safety protocols and avoid dangerous behaviors like speeding or distracted driving.
- Negligent Dispatch Practices: If dispatchers push drivers to take on more loads than they can safely handle or encourage speeding to meet delivery deadlines, it can lead to accidents.
- Lack of Safety Policies: Trucking companies should have comprehensive safety policies. Failure to implement and enforce these policies can result in accidents.
- Failure to Address Driver Complaints: If drivers report safety concerns or issues with their vehicles and the company fails to address them, it can contribute to accidents.
- Inadequate Maintenance: If a trucking company neglects regular vehicle maintenance, it can lead to mechanical failures on the road, such as brake or tire issues, which can contribute to accidents.
- Overloading or Improperly Loaded Cargo: Trucking companies must correctly load, secure, and distribute cargo. Overloaded or improperly loaded cargo can affect a truck’s stability and handling, leading to accidents.
- Failure to Inspect and Repair Vehicles: Neglecting inspections and necessary repairs can result in dangerous vehicles on the road. Trucks with faulty brakes, lights, or other equipment pose a significant risk.
- Truck Manufacturer: If a defect in the truck’s design or manufacturing contributed to the accident, the manufacturer of the truck or its components may be liable.
- Maintenance or Repair Companies: Companies responsible for maintaining or repairing the truck may be held liable if inadequate maintenance or repairs contributed to the accident.
- Cargo Loading Companies: If improper loading or securing of cargo leads to an accident, you may hold the company responsible for loading the truck liable.
- Government Entities: Poor road conditions or inadequate signage can sometimes contribute to truck accidents. In such instances, government entities responsible for road maintenance and safety may be held liable.
- Other Drivers: Other drivers on the road can cause a truck accident. You can hold them liable if their actions, such as sudden lane changes or failure to yield, led to the accident.
Vicarious liability, also known as “respondeat superior,” holds an employer or company responsible for the actions of their employees or agents when those actions occur within the scope of employment.
In truck accidents, if a truck driver employed by a company or a carrier is involved in an accident while performing their job duties, you can hold the company or carrier liable for the driver’s actions. This liability can extend to cover damages and injuries resulting from the accident, especially if it can be demonstrated that the driver’s actions were within the scope of their employment.
An attorney experienced in truck accident cases in Florida can provide a comprehensive understanding of liability issues in a particular situation and how this can affect the application of vicarious liability.
Evaluating a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Claim
To determine whether you have a valid truck accident claim in Fort Lauderdale, your lawyer will need to establish:
- Duty of Care: You must demonstrate that the party you hold responsible (often the truck driver or trucking company) owed you a duty of care. Truckers must operate trucks safely and comply with traffic laws and regulations.
- Breach of Duty: You must show that the responsible party breached their duty of care. This could involve demonstrating the truck driver’s negligence (e.g., speeding, distracted driving, or fatigue) or negligence on the part of the trucking company (e.g., inadequate maintenance, pressure to violate Hours of Service regulations).
- Causation: Your lawyer will establish that the breach of duty was the direct cause of the accident and your injuries. This involves showing a clear link between the negligent actions and the accident.
- Damages: You must have suffered actual damages because of the accident. Damages include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and other losses.
In the tragic event that someone dies in a truck accident, your lawyer will use a similar process to establish a wrongful death claim. Evaluating a wrongful death claim is a complex and emotionally charged process. Our compassionate legal team brings a deep understanding of the legal framework and a commitment to seeking justice for the deceased.
Among the elements we will evaluate are:
- Causation: You must establish a direct link between the defendant’s actions or negligence and the victim’s death. This often involves gathering evidence, such as medical records, expert testimonies, and accident reports.
- Negligence or Wrongful Act: Demonstrating that the death resulted from someone else’s negligence, reckless behavior, or intentional harm is essential.
- Legal Standing: Typically, immediate family members such as spouses, children, or parents of the deceased have the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Damages: Calculating the damages suffered because of the death is a complex process. This can include economic damages like medical bills and lost income and non-economic damages like pain and suffering or loss of companionship.
- Statute of Limitations: Filing a wrongful death claim within the applicable statute of limitations will preserve the legal rights of the survivors.
How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Case in Fort Lauderdale?
Florida’s statute of limitations for a personal injury or wrongful death claim is typically two years. If you don’t file your claim within the required timeframe, you may lose your right to seek compensation. Your lawyer will tell you how the statute of limitations applies to your claim.
What Compensation Can You Recover for a Fort Lauderdale Truck Accident?
In personal injury cases, damages can be categorized into two main types: economic and non-economic damages for different aspects of the harm suffered by the injured party.
Economic or special damages are tangible losses with a clear monetary value. They are relatively straightforward to calculate because they involve actual financial expenses and losses incurred because of the injury.
- Medical Expenses: Costs related to medical treatment, including doctor visits, surgeries, hospital stays, medications, rehabilitation, and therapy.
- Lost Wages: Compensation for income lost due to the injury, including past and future earnings. This can encompass wages, salaries, bonuses, and benefits.
- Property Damage: Expenses for repairing or replacing damaged property, such as a vehicle in a car accident or personal belongings.
- Out-of-Pocket Expenses: Any other expenses directly related to the injury, such as transportation costs for medical appointments, medical equipment or devices, and home modifications.
Non-economic damages, also known as general damages, are intangible losses that don’t have a fixed dollar value and can be more challenging to quantify. They aim to compensate the injured party for the emotional and non-monetary suffering resulting from the injury.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the physical and emotional pain and discomfort caused by the injury. This may include chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and reduced quality of life.
- Emotional Distress: Damages for psychological trauma, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) resulting from the injury or accident.
- Loss of Consortium: Compensation for the injury’s impact on a person’s ability to enjoy a normal relationship with their spouse or family.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Damages are awarded when the injury reduces a person’s ability to participate in activities they once enjoyed, such as hobbies, sports, or social activities.
- Disfigurement or Scarring: Compensation for any visible physical changes or scarring resulting from the injury.
Punitive damages may sometimes punish the defendant’s especially reckless or intentional conduct.
To estimate your personal injury claim’s worth accurately, consult a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney. They can review the specific details of your case, assess the above factors, and provide you with a realistic estimate of what you may receive.
How Much Does a Fort Lauderdale Truck Accident Attorney Cost?
Kaiser Romanello works with clients on a contingency fee basis, meaning fees depend on the case’s successful outcome. There are no upfront costs to you. The attorney only gets paid if we obtain a favorable settlement or win the case in court.
Contingency fee arrangements level the playing field, making it possible for individuals to obtain fair compensation from a big insurance company and its team of lawyers. They also align the attorney’s interests with the client’s by incentivizing the attorney to secure the best possible outcome, tying their fee to the case’s success.
Contact Kaiser Romanello Today
If you or a loved one has suffered a severe personal injury after a truck accident, contact the experienced team of Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at Kaiser Romanello today. A serious truck crash can leave you with catastrophic physical and emotional injuries, medical costs, chronic pain, reduced quality of life, and lost wages. Truck accidents also can result in wrongful deaths.
We have 20 years of experience and know what to look for in establishing liability for your truck accident claim. Kaiser Romanello P.A. offers a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with our lawyers to evaluate your potential claim.
Call us today at (844) 877-8679 to set up a free consultation, or fill out the contact form on our website. Our legal team will fight for your right to fair compensation for your injuries, providing you the peace of mind and freedom to focus on your recovery.