WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT TRUCK ACCIDENTS IN MIAMI
A truck accident in Miami, or any other Miami-Dade city or suburb, can result in damages and injuries that will require legal representation by a professional truck accident attorney. Why? Because over half a million trucking accidents occur yearly across the U.S., with roughly 10% of those truck accidents ending in fatality. Furthermore, filing an insurance claim for compensation against an insurance company is no walk in the park, as insurance providers are in the business of making money not spending it. Thus, insurance companies will most often offer accident victims a settlement which is lower than their real claim value. Only a dedicated and experienced truck accident lawyer will be able to maximize an insurance claim and make sure just compensation is granted to the accident victim.
In Miami, a truck accident on a congested street can affect, not only other motorists, but also bikers, joggers, pedestrians, and anyone making their way amid traffic. This is because city streets are now designed for trucks, and neither is today’s modern society; which spends more time looking down at their phones rather than where their going. In other words, cell phones are distracting people when they are walking, driving, eating, and partaking in any activity in which their hands has access to their phones. Texting and driving among passenger cars, for example, is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents in Miami. A truck driver negligently using a cellphone to text & drive, or that is distracted by a GPS service, can easily be involved in an accident. At present, private and commercial vehicles are relying heavily on GPS service such as Google Maps and Waze to help them reach their destination more quickly. This has led to a rise in traffic along suburban streets and a cause for concern among rural communities as well.
COMMON CAUSES OF TRUCK ACCIDENTS ON CITY STREETS
- Negligent truck drivers or other motorists
- Negligent third-parties such as bikers or pedestrians
- Poor vehicle maintenance
- Poorly loaded cargo
- Poor weather conditions
- Poorly lit streets or roads
- Reckless driving or driving under the influence
- Negligent cell-phone use by people in general
TRUCKS AND THE LAW
Though truck accidents on high speed roads and highways are much more severe than on city streets, victims usually suffer injuries and damages that require legal representation. Furthermore, delivery businesses are growing, and commercial vehicles are required to carry insurance and meet certain safety standards. For example, truck drivers are limited to the number of hours they may spend behind the wheel and small business must use trucks of certain dimensions. Furthermore, small business operators must meet Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) regulations, which includes random drug testings of their drivers and mandatory testing after a fatal accident. Commercial truckers must have a commercial driver’s license to operate trucks with a gross weight over 26,000 lbs or that hauls hazardous substances. Passenger vehicles transporting 16 or more people, must also have a driver that holds a commercial driver’s license.
TRUCKS AND INSURANCE COVERAGE
As with all motor vehicles, trucking companies and truck owners, must carry insurance with which to compensate victims that suffer injury or loss. In Florida, registered vehicle owners must carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage (PD). However, different laws apply to truck operators and trucking company owners.
There are seven common truck insurance policies that commercial trucks can carry. They are:
- General Liability Insurance
- Trucking Liability Insurance
- Non-Trucking Insurance
- Bobtail Insurance
- Physical Damage Insurance
- Motor Truck Cargo Insurance
- Worker’s Compensation Insurance
General Liability Insurance: Covers injuries and damage to third-parties when it involves an accident that is not linked to the operating of a truck. This may include an individual that trips and falls over a box or has an accident classified as a business risk.
Trucking Liability Insurance: Covers third-party injuries and damages when the truck driver is found at fault for a trucking accident. The minimum amount of liability insurance stands at $750,000 for vehicles operating along interstate roadways and that carry non-hazardous substances.
Non-Trucking Insurance: Covers third-party injuries and damages when a truck is being operated for reasons that go beyond business purposes; such as drivers hired by a trucking company that have accident while not providing a service.
Bobtail Insurance: Protects a semi-truck owner while operating their truck for business purposes and with no cargo aboard; for example: between jobs, on route to a pick up or following a drop off, or after work. As opposed to the other three types of insurance above, Bobtail insurance covers legal fees in the event of a lawsuit brought on against the truck driver or owner.
Physical Damage Insurance: Covers the cost of repairs from damages brought on by an accident, a natural disaster, theft, or vandalism. It is highly recommended though not required by law unless a truck is financed or leased.
This type of insurance can include:
- Collision Insurance
- Comprehensive (see Insurance Policies).
Motor Truck Cargo Insurance: Covers liability for the cargo being hauled in the event it is damaged or lost. Though not legally mandated, it is highly recommended for commercial vehicle operators transporting goods which may be damaged as a result of:
- A collision
- A fire or explosion
- Theft or vandalism
- Loss of refrigeration or heat
Worker’s Compensation Insurance: Covers the employee’s medical expenses and lost wages from injuries sustained in a trucking accident. Though not mandatory in all states, it covers:
- Severe injury following an accident
- Injuries as a result of the loading or unloading of the cargo hauled
- Falling ill from being exposed to hazardous substances
WHAT TO DO FOLLOWING AN ACCIDENT INVOLVING A TRUCK
-Do not give a statement.
-Do not move or let anyone move you, or your car, unless there is a threat of further injury. Wait for the paramedics and the police.
-Seek medical care and give a complete description of all injuries immediately following the car accident.
-If no injuries are evident, take pictures of all damage to the vehicles involved in the car accident (and photograph the VIN and license plate for identification)
-Take pictures of injuries (all cuts, bruises, wounds, burns or other injuries no matter how small as the insurance company may dispute that a specific part of the body was injured or affected by the accident later on.
-Gather all of the trucking company’s insurance policies and Group Health Insurance information to assist with the processing of payment for your treatment and lost wages while your claim against the negligent party is ongoing.
-Notify your insurance company of the trucking accident (your auto insurance policy requires that you contact them immediately after the accident and failure to do so may jeopardize your coverage).
-Visit your family doctor for a follow-up.
-Contact the Perazzo Law Firm as soon as possible.
THE TYPES OF VEHICLES INVOLVED IN TRUCK ACCIDENTS
- Tractor trailers
- Semi Rigs
- Big Rigs
- 18-Wheel Rigs
- Delivery Trucks
- Tow trucks
- Dump Trucks
- Trash Trucks
- Long Distance Buses
- Emergency Rescue Vehicles
- Road Maintenance Trucks
- Ride-share Trucks
- Transit Buses
- And more…
If you, a friend, or relative has been injured in a Trucking Accident in Miami-Dade or Broward County Cities and Suburbs, Contact Perazzo Law Online or call (786) LAWS-411 for a FREE consultation . See CITIES WE SERVE.
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