Florida Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog
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Big rigs and tractor trailers have trailers attached to the cabs where drivers sit. The trailers can be removed or attached as needed. Jackknife accidents happen when the trailers swing outwards during a crash, causing the trailers to be at a 90-angle from the rest of the vehicle.

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The danger with jackknife accidents in Hollywood and the rest of Florida is that the trailer can hit other vehicles or objects before it stops moving, potentially causing a lot of damage. It is not uncommon for considerable property damage or crushing injuries to happen because of jackknife collisions. If a truck is speeding when it jackknifes, a rollover accident is very likely. Jackknifing exerts a lot of force, which can lead to serious injuries and even multiple-vehicle accidents.

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Flatbed trucks are commercial trucks with a weight of at least 10,000 pounds (not including cargo or passengers). In a tractor-trailer, the cargo is hitched to the cab and the cab can be completely separated from the trailer carrying the cargo. This is not the case with the flatbed truck. With a flatbed truck, the flatbed is open and is attached directly and permanently to the truck’s chassis.

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Flatbed trucks are often used to transport large, heavy, and unwieldy cargo. For example, these vehicles are commonly used to transport manufactured homes, lumber, building materials, vehicles, logs, and other large objects. One of the dangers with this is that the cargo can shift during an impact in an accident and the cargo can become loose or can shift forward and back, causing damage to the cab guards and striking the driver.

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If you have been involved in a trucking collision in Homestead or any Florida community, one of the things you will need to decide almost right away is whether to file an injury claim or whether to simply accept the insurance benefits your car insurance or the truck carrier’s insurance company offers.

It can be tempting to accept the first offer. It may seem like a lot of money and you may want to avoid a lengthy legal battle. The employees working for the insurance company may seem sympathetic to your plight and may encourage you to simply accept the benefits you are given.

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Any trucking collision in Homestead or Florida can be terrifying. However, when your trucking collision involves a hazmat carrier, you may find yourself facing even more serious injuries or problems. The Department of Transportation estimates that about 200 fatal trucking accidents that occur annually involve hazmat carriers. These are carriers that are permitted to carry hazardous materials (HAZMAT).

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Due to the dangerous nature of the materials involved, trucking collisions involving these carriers can even more catastrophic. Trucks carrying hazardous materials may be carrying:

  • Gasoline
  • Compressed oxygen cylinders
  • Petroleum products
  • Flammable oils
  • Compressed gases
  • Flammable chemicals or other liquids
  • Chemical liquids and gases
  • Nuclear materials or other radioactive materials
  • Hazardous waste

In the event of a collision, this type of hazardous cargo can become especially dangerous. If it is flammable, it can leak onto the road, explode, or catch fire. It can expose bystanders and other drivers to radiation, chemical burns, or toxic fumes.

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At the Omnitracs Outlook User Conference last month, professionals in the trucking industry gathered together to discuss the ways that they have used technology to comply with the Federal Motor Carriers Association’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program. According to participants, technology played a major role in promoting safety, especially when truck carriers and fleets used:

1) Automated driver logs.

Rather than asking drivers to maintain logs, automated logs take care of the paperwork. They provide a more accurate view of how long truckers drive and the rest stops they take. Traditional driver logs can be easily falsified or can come into question during legal action. Automated driver logs take driver error out of the equation and ensure that the logs are always up to date.

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Truck makers are creating future commercial vehicles that will be safer, more aerodynamic, and more fuel-efficient. Walmart, for example, unveiled plans for its WAVE (Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience) in early 2014. The trucks are more aerodynamic to be more fuel efficient. One of the more unusual features is that truckers in this vehicle are placed in the center of the cab for maximum efficiency. Walmart has not commented whether this might increase safety by changing how much of the road drivers can see.

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Freightliner is another manufacturer investing in future truck designs. Among the features that future trucks will have are smart technology, lighter construction materials, and better mapping of expected fuel usage. Mercedes-Benz, on the other hand, is investing more heavily in autonomous commercial vehicles.

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When a truck driver is in trouble on the road – whether that trouble is a trucking collision in Hollywood or a stalled truck in Miami – fleet managers need to respond quickly. They also need to start to take the steps needed to protect the trucker, especially in the case of a traffic crash.

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Fortunately, technology has made fleet managers’ jobs easier. Thanks to videos in trucks and in cabs, fleet managers are able to instantly download and access information about an accident or collision, helping them show what has caused a crash.

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Workers in Florida who are injured on the job are protected by workers’ compensation in Hollywood or their communities. Employers are required by law to pay premiums on this type of insurance. After a job-related injury, this coverage is meant to ensure that workers are able to get benefits and compensation quickly while employers are protected against lawsuits.

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One problem is that not all workers are protected by the insurance. Self-employed, freelance, temp, and contract workers are not covered by workers’ compensation coverage. Unfortunately, some workers with the most dangerous jobs fall into this category. Truck drivers, for example, who are at risk of traffic accidents, back injuries, and other job-related injuries, are often independent contractors and therefore not qualified to get workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured. Truckers who work as independent contractors also do not get other employee benefits and protections that full-time, traditional workers enjoy.

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Distracted drivers in Hollywood and Florida cause all kinds of traffic collisions, including pedestrian accidents, truck crashes, and car collisions, to name just a few. When drivers are daydreaming or are focusing on mobile devices or a conversation rather than the road they may not notice another car or a pedestrian in time to avoid a crash.

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Big rigs and tractor trailers can be especially dangerous when driven by a distracted driver. These vehicles are larger and heavier, with a higher center of gravity. If a driver is distracted, 18 wheelers and commercial trucks can crush smaller cars in their way and can cause a multi-vehicle pileup. They can also rollover and cause catastrophic collisions.

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Truck drivers need to follow many federal rules. These rules are designed to help prevent trucking collisions and to keep you safe. For example, truck drivers are required by law to take rest breaks to ensure that they are not driving dangerously tired. They must also keep track of their rest stops, the visual inspections of their trucks, and their cargo. There are limits as to the amount of cargo they can carry and the amount of miles they can drive each day. Truck drivers also must pass health checkups, written tests, and practical exams to get their license.

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The problem with these regulations is that in order for them to work they must be enforced. When truck drivers or carriers ignore the rules, trucking collisions in Hollywood and Florida occur, injuring innocent people. Unfortunately, truck drivers and companies have financial incentives to break the rules. When trucks are overloaded with cargo or when truck drivers stay on the road longer than they are allowed to, the cost of the transport declines. Unfortunately, so does the safety of the delivery.

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