Fort Lauderdale Truck Accident Attorney

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Leading Causes Of Truck Accidents

Fort Lauderdale Truck Accident Accidents involving commercial trucks are typically much more dangerous than typical motor vehicle accidents. This is because of a number of factors, though mainly due to the massive size and weight of the truck. An average 18-wheeler weighs approximately 80,000 pounds, whereas an average passenger vehicle weighs approximately 4,000 pounds. Trucking accidents are serious in nature and often result in serious personal injuries to the passenger vehicle occupants or even death. If you are involved in a truck accident, be sure to call a truck accident attorney at Weinstein & Scharf, P.A. to help you with your case.

There are some measures you can take to help prevent trucking accidents when you are on the road. In order to avoid a trucking accident, it is important to be aware of the circumstances that most often lead to truck accidents so you can be better prepared.

Passenger Vehicle Driver Error

Negligence on the road is common among all drivers. While truck drivers are no exception to this, studies show approximately 81% of trucking accidents are actually caused by the passenger vehicles.

Other causes include:

  • Driver failing to pay attention to movements of the truck (driving in a blind spot or failing to recognize a truck that is decelerating, making a turn or changing lanes)
  • Making a left turn in front of the truck
  • Driver failing to properly pass a truck
  • Driver’s failure to compensate for a truck’s air resistance (this results in a vehicle becoming caught in the commercial truck’s crosswind)
  • Driving in between two trucks
  • Changing lanes dangerously
  • Failure to signal
  • Driving in the truck’s blind spot– It is important to be aware of all blind spots on large trucks.

One of the most common causes of trucking accidents is motor vehicles traveling in a truck’s blind spot. This is avoidable if you educate yourself on the 4 most common blind spots. These include:

a. The front of the truck cab
b. Behind the driver side window
c. The right side of the truck
d. Behind the driver storage area

A truck accident attorney at Weinstein & Scharf, P.A. can help if you have been involved in a truck accident due to any of the reasons stated above. An experienced truck accident attorney has seen many different types of cases and will be able to know how to fight to get the compensation you deserve.

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Truck Driver Error

Truck drivers have special circumstances surrounding their profession and are typically on the road for hours at a time. There is a chance for mistakes to happen due to truck driver error. Some drivers may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, drive recklessly, drive while distracted, or become drowsy due to fatigue. An experienced truck accident attorney knows just how catastrophic it can be when a truck driver makes an error on the road. A Weinstein & Scharf truck accident attorney will be able to explain your rights and manage your expectations when dealing with a case like this.
Common truck driver errors include:

Fatigue

Overall, there has actually been a slight decrease in the number of truck accidents in the past few years. However, accidents related to fatigue have not declined in conformity with this overall decrease. Studies have shown that driving while fatigued is just as dangerous as driving while under the influence or intoxicated. This is supported by the fact that many trucking accidents do take place between the hours of 12 AM and 3 AM. Due to this, the Hours of Service (HOS) regulation was passed by the Federal Government in an effort to address this problem and attempt to decrease the number of accidents that occur. The idea was to limit commercial drivers’ time during which they could operate their vehicles. It states that a driver who carries products is required to rest for at least 10 consecutive hours before being able to drive up to a maximum of 11 hours. Such drivers also must sleep for at least 8 hours and take another 2-hour break. Trucks that carry passenger vehicles must be off-duty for 8 hours before they are allowed to drive for a maximum of 10 hours and must also spend at least 8 consecutive hours in what is known as the sleeper berth (a sleeping compartment in the vehicle).

Speeding

A speeding truck is incredibly dangerous for numerous reasons. Firstly, it is more difficult to stop a speeding truck than it is your regular passenger vehicle. Trucks are much larger and heavier and because of that take longer to slow down than regular vehicles. A truck that is speeding on a slick roadway is also more prone to lose traction. This can result in a truck hydroplaning and sliding on the road, almost always into other vehicles. Trucks that speed around curves are more likely to lose control compared to those drivers who are abiding by the speed limit. Once a truck driver does lose control of his vehicle, the load may shift, causing the truck to jackknife or rollover. Both of these actions can have devastating effects on the vehicles and the other drivers who are sharing the roadway.

Lack of attention or distracted driving

There are three major categories of motorist distractions:

a. Visual – these distractions take the driver’s eyes off the road
b. Cognitive – these distractions take the driver’s mind off the task at hand
c. Manual – these distractions take the driver’s hands off the wheel

Truck drivers have a schedule upon which they must deliver their items, but traffic and things outside of their control can cause them to sometimes fall behind. Sometimes, in an effort to get back on track, drivers may engage in activities that are considered visual, manual and cognitive distractions to make up lost time. This normally means multitasking and doing other activities while also driving. Since truck drivers spend long hours inside their trucks, many truck drivers eat their meals behind the wheel. They are also known to make use of a CB radio, talk on their cell phone, may attempt to navigate using a GPS system while driving, send text messages, smoke, and some even shave while driving! Other vehicles, billboards, and landmarks are the three main distractions outside of the truck that contribute to the estimated 11,000 truck crashes that have taken place over a three-year span. All of these things mentioned are well-known causes of distracted driving accidents and a truck accident attorney especially knows and has seen just how devastating it can be for others when drivers engage in these behaviors.

Driving under the influence of alcohol, medication or drugs

Truck drivers will sometimes drink too much before their shift starts or on a break during a shift and then operate their vehicle under the influence. This act is considered negligent and criminal behavior since you are putting others at risk. A trucker’s blood-alcohol level must be below .04 percent, pursuant to Commercial Drivers’ License requirements. This is lower than the .08 percent requirement for passenger vehicles. The .04 percent threshold is fairly easy to reach and this limit is set for good reason; governmental authorities do not want truck drivers driving even with the tiniest amount of alcohol in their system. Alcohol is notorious for impairing bodily functions that are critical to driving such as hearing, coordination, judgment, and – most importantly – vision.

Poor Vehicle Maintenance

Truckers drive an enormous amount of miles daily. This constant usage leads to a high rate of wear and tear on these trucks that requires regular maintenance. Some main maintenance issues include:

Cracked windshields

A cracked windshield weakens the roof of the truck and increases the likelihood of a roof collapse either before or during a crash. Big trucks are more prone to having cracked windshields since they are larger than those in passenger vehicles and all asphalt, rocks, and debris kick up into the air, often striking a truck’s windshield at a high rate of speed. A cracked windshield can impair vision and alter depth perception, leading to an increase in trucking accidents.

Worn out brake pads

The failure to regularly have brake pads checked and replaced after a certain number of miles is a common cause for truck brake failure. It is crucial to check your brake pads and ensure they are replaced if need be.

Tire issues

Truck drivers are supposed to regularly check their tires before the start of any trip. Trucking companies bear even more responsibility than the individual driver and are obligated to replace tires that are worn out or defective. Unfortunately, this does not happen in many cases, leading to tire blowouts that could have been prevented. Blown out tires are one of the leading causes of truck accidents. Since a fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, having properly inflated tires is critical in order to properly handle your vehicle. Having good treads and minimal wear is equally important.

Cargo Overload

The trucking industry has very specific rules by which truckers must abide when it comes to a commercial truck’s bed. There are length, width, height, and weight restrictions and limitations on the size of the load placed on the bed. There are also special methods to secure the cargo for purposes of transportation and any mistakes that are made during the loading process can cause a load to pull into another traffic lane, causing an accident. The entire balance of the truck can be thrown off if the cargo is overloaded, not balanced, or not properly loaded and this can easily cause a truck to jackknife and topple over.

Truck drivers are expected to check their trucks at the start of their shift and to fill out and file a maintenance report. Unfortunately, this is also not always completed and the results of skipping this can sometimes be catastrophic.

Equipment Failure

Trucks travel throughout the night and in all types of inclement weather. Training and preparation to drive in such conditions should be taken seriously since bad weather is a leading cause of accidents. Rain, snow, ice, sleet, fog, hail, and strong winds are all conditions that can cause the driver to lose control of their truck, resulting in major accidents. If you have been involved in an accident due to poor weather conditions, it is important to speak with a truck accident attorney to hear what your options are.

Lack Of Skill

Trucks travel throughout the night and in all types of inclement weather. Training and preparation to drive in such conditions should be taken seriously since bad weather is a leading cause of accidents. Rain, snow, ice, sleet, fog, hail, and strong winds are all conditions that can cause the driver to lose control of their truck, resulting in major accidents. If you have been involved in an accident due to poor weather conditions, it is important to speak with a truck accident attorney to hear what your options are.

Undiagnosed Medical Conditions

Truck drivers spend the majority of their time on the road and inside of their truck. Drivers have little time for exercise or flexibility to allow room for healthy eating choices. This has led to approximately 86% of truck drivers being obese or overweight. Obesity typically comes with other medical conditions or issues including such things as diabetes, sleep apnea, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Truck drivers who do suffer from any of these conditions and experience symptoms while operating their truck, can be in danger of losing control. The driver can then experience devastating and fatal accidents without even being aware of it.

A Truck Accident Attorney Can Help You Recover

If you have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, it is important that you consult with and retain an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Motor vehicle accidents that involve trucks are subject to different laws than passenger vehicles. An experienced truck accident attorney at our firm can explain more to you and let you know how the process will work.

Your truck accident attorney will make contact with the insurance carrier on your behalf as well as the lawyers representing the offending vehicle. A truck accident attorney will work on your behalf while you recover from any injuries that you might have sustained during the collision. Attending doctor’s appointments and recovering from injuries to your back, neck, upper and lower extremities will require all of your effort and focus. A skilled truck accident attorney at Weinstein & Scharf, P.A. will make contact with the insurance carriers, deal with your medical billing, and aggressively pursue maximum recovery for your injuries.

Contact A Truck Accident Attorney At Weinstein & Scharf, P.A. Today

In the event your case is unable to settle, your truck accident attorney will file a lawsuit against the offending owner and operator of the commercial truck. Your truck accident attorney will fight for your rights from the start of the lawsuit until the time of trial. This will require complicated legal maneuvers that only an experienced truck accident attorney is qualified to handle.

If you have been involved in an accident involving a truck, your first order of business should be to consult with a truck accident attorney in your area today. At the law offices of Weinstein & Scharf, P.A. we believe in working with our clients and listening to their concerns. We are here to take the stress of the legal process off of you. Contact a truck accident attorney at Weinstein & Scharf, P.A. today to schedule your free consultation.

Contact Weinstein & Scharf, P.A.

(954) 519-7226

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