Articles Posted in Truck Accident

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Semi-trucks are among the largest, most dangerous vehicles on the road, and as a result are involved in more than their share of Florida automobile accidents. Indeed, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported that in 2016 there were 293 fatal Florida semi-truck accidents. Also concerning is the fact that as a percentage of the total number of accidents, Florida semi-truck crashes continue to rise.

One type of semi-truck accident that has been getting significant attention over the past few years is an underride accident. An underride accident occurs when another vehicle gets wedged underneath a semi-truck during a collision. This normally occurs when a motorist rear-ends a stopped or slowing semi-truck at a significant speed; however, underride accidents may also involve a vehicle being dragged underneath the front side of the truck as well.

Trailer manufacturers have long been required to install rear underride guards on their trucks. These guards reduce the likelihood that a vehicle will get dragged underneath the rear of the truck in the event of a rear-end collision. However, more recently, lawmakers have been pushing to require trailer manufacturers to install front- and side-underride guards as well.

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Earlier this month, a Florida auto accident between a car and a dump truck claimed the life of a mother and her eight-year-old daughter. According to a local news report, the accident occurred on John Young Parkway at around 3:50 in the morning.

Evidently, the mother was traveling northbound on the Parkway when she entered the right-turn lane. However, as she did so, she ran into the rear of a dump truck carrying a load of asphalt that had been parked on the road shoulder but was partially extending into the lane of traffic. No one was in the truck at the time, and it has not yet been determined why the vehicle was left partially obscuring a lane of traffic.

Tragically, the young mother was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The child was transported to a nearby hospital, but doctors were unable to save her life. The accident is still under investigation.

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The highways of South Florida see a large number of commercial trucks every day. As a result, it isn’t surprising to learn that there are a significant number of truck accidents across the state. Indeed, according to a recent government study, there were nearly 300 fatal Florida truck accidents in 2016 alone. Miami-Dade and Broward Counties see the highest number of fatal Florida traffic accidents each year.

Due to the dangers presented by large trucks, Florida truck drivers are required to obtain a special license prior to operating a large truck. In order to obtain a commercial driver’s license, an aspiring truck driver must pass several written tests, as well as a pre-trip inspection test and a road test. In addition, truck drivers who plan on carrying hazardous materials, school children, or extra-long trailers must obtain additional endorsements.

When it comes to determining whether a truck driver can be held liable for an accident, courts apply the law of negligence. Essentially, to establish that a truck driver is liable for injuries related to an accident, the accident victim must prove that some negligent action taken by the truck driver resulted in the accident victim’s injuries. This is normally broken down into four segments:  duty, breach, causation, and damages.

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Every person on the road has to be wary of other drivers, especially those drivers who are fatigued and may not be safely operating a vehicle. A recent news article highlights the dangers associated with the transportation of agricultural workers, a danger all Florida drivers face.

In a Florida auto accident involving a truck and a bus, four people were killed in an early morning collision near St. Marks. According to federal investigators, the crash highlighted problems with safety regulations concerning the transportation of migrant farmworkers. The crash occurred at around 5:00 AM and was deemed to be the fault of the bus driver. The bus was being driven by a migrant farmworker who had finished a day’s work picking crops.

Investigators determined that the bus company failed to adequately oversee the driver. It also found there was a lack of effective oversight by the Department of Labor and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In addition to the four people killed in the crash, 29 others were injured. The investigation thus far shows that the driver failed to stop at a blinking red light and stop sign at an intersection.

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Last year, a Tesla car equipped with auto-pilot technology was involved in a fatal accident with a semi-truck. According to news reports released shortly after the accident, the car was traveling straight on the highway when a semi-truck pulled out in front of the car. Both the driver of the vehicle as well as the vehicle’s auto-pilot system failed to detect the bright-white side of the semi-truck, and the car collided with the side of the truck at full speed.

In the wake of the accident, many questions arose not just about the safety of self-driving cars but also regarding the many legal issues that the use of self-driving cars brings up. For example, when a person is operating a self-driving car in auto-pilot mode and a collision occurs, is the manufacturer liable for any injuries to a third party? What about the “driver” of the self-driving car?

These questions are no closer to being answered today than they were at the time of last year’s accident; however, as cases involving self-driving cars work their way through the court system, eventually courts will have to come up with answers to these questions.

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According to an October 12, 2016 CBS News article, the number of teenagers involved in deadly car crashes is rising for the first time in nearly a decade. In 2015, there was a 10-percent increase in teen driving deaths. “In fact, teenage drivers are more than one-and-a-half times more likely than adults to be involved in a deadly crash,” said personal injury attorney Erick Santana, a founding partner at Cecere Santana.

To help prevent fatal accidents involving teens, Santana and Cecere Santana co-founder Michael Cecere share the following three tips:

No. 1: Always wear your seat belt. “Of the teens who died in passenger vehicle crashes, approximately 55% were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash,” said Cecere. “Research shows that seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half.”

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Insurance contracts can be confusing. Often, the party purchasing the insurance only reads the “declarations” page, which is only a very brief overview of what their coverage entails. However, the actual insurance contract itself is often much longer and much more complicated, and it may even contain seemingly contradictory clauses.

When an insurance contract contains a clause that seems contradictory, the court system often must step in to resolve the conflict if the insured and the insurance company cannot agree. In most cases, if the court determines that there are contradictory terms, the conflict will be resolved in favor of the insured. However, the plaintiff does have the initial burden to prove that a contradiction exists. If no contradiction exists, the court will likely interpret the contract as it was written, even if this seems unfair because the insured thought that they were entitled to more coverage. A recent case decided by a federal court of appeals illustrates how a court may be asked to make a final interpretation of an insurance policy.

ACE Fire Underwriters v. Romero

Romero was the executor of an estate belonging to a man who was killed after he was involved in a tractor-trailer accident. There was no dispute that the operator of the tractor-trailer was at fault. However, since the accident was caused when the tractor became disconnected from the trailer, the issue arose of what the insurance pay-out limit was. Specifically, Romero claimed that it was $2 million, $1 million for each of the two vehicles involved. The insurance company, on the other hand, claimed that the policy maximum was $1 million, regardless of how many vehicles were involved.

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Earlier this month in Miami-Dade County, a Florida Highway Patrol ranger was killed when he was struck by an out-of-control dump truck. According to one local news report, the accident took place on the Florida Turnpike near Southwest 120th Street. The accident took place at around 12:30 in the afternoon.

According to one local news source, the accident occurred in the northbound lanes of the Turnpike, as the ranger was assisting the occupants of a Ford Mustang that had broken down. The ranger was standing in or near one of the northbound lanes of traffic, attempting to get drivers to slow down for the occupants of the Mustang. However, not long after he arrived on the scene, a dump truck traveling in the northbound lanes lost control of his brakes as he attempted to slow down.

The dump truck struck a nearby light pole and then came careening towards the ranger. Although the ranger attempted to get out of the way of the truck, he was unable to do so and was struck and killed by the force of the collision.

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Towards the end of last month, a fatal accident in Pembroke Pines took the lives of two people and injured several others when a semi-truck pulled out in front of a Mitsubishi, causing a chain-reaction accident. According to one local news source, the accident occurred a bit before midnight in the southbound lanes of Interstate 75.

Evidently, a semi-truck loaded with a concrete barrier was pulling out of a construction site and onto the highway when it was hit by the Mitsubishi. The Mitsubishi slid under the truck, ripping off the roof of the car. After the initial collision, a BMW crashed into the back of the disabled semi-truck, causing part of the truck’s load to come free. As the barrier slid off the truck, it landed on top of the BMW.

Another semi-truck was the fourth vehicle to become involved in the accident, when it was unable to stop in time to avoid colliding with the concrete barrier that had fallen from the truck.

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A massive six-vehicle collision that occurred on April 1 in Miami-Dade County has left one woman in critical condition and countless others shocked by the chaos and destruction of the rush-hour crash. According to an NBC 6 South Florida report, the accident occurred during the morning commute on the southbound Florida Turnpike near exit 25 at Southwest Eighth Street, when a wheelbarrow fell from a pickup truck into the roadway. This caused other vehicles behind the pickup, including a double-trailer semi-truck, to swerve out of the way. The semi-truck lost control and overturned across multiple lanes of the roadway and was struck by several cars. The southbound lanes remained closed for most of the day.

Semi-Truck Accidents are More Dangerous than Other Crashes

Semi-truck accidents cause hundreds of injuries and deaths in Florida each year, and semi-trucks are likely the most dangerous threat to other drivers on our larger highways and interstates. Semi trucks weigh 10 to 20 times more than most other vehicles on the road and are sometimes even heavier than that.

The size of the semi-trailers, especially double and triple trailers, makes all that weight very difficult to control. Most truck drivers are highly trained professionals who drive with extreme caution, but when something falls into the road in front of the truck it can be difficult for even the most skilled truck driver to maintain control. When a truck driver loses control in heavy traffic, his heavy load can become a dangerous weapon. Whether the truck driver is at fault for the accident last week or not, it was the overturned semi-truck that caused the injuries and was at the center of the massive crash.

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