West Palm Beach Truck Accident Lawyers

Joshua Winegar and Steven Winegar Florida Personal Injury Lawyers at Winegar Law

West Palm Beach Truck Accident Lawyers

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West Palm Beach Truck Accident Lawyers

If you’ve been hurt in a collision with a commercial truck, the West Palm Beach truck accident lawyers at Winegar Law Injury Lawyers have specialized knowledge than can help you maximize your recovery and compensation. You don’t pay unless we win!

Truck accidents are usually very serious, and can result in catastrophic injuries or even death. From investigating the root causes to understanding regulations governing the trucking industry, We are committed to your recovery

First steps after a West Palm Beach truck accident

  1. Stay calm and assess your injuries. If you are able, move to a safe location away from traffic and call 911 for medical assistance if needed.

  2. Exchange information with the truck driver and any witnesses. This includes their name, address, insurance information, and driver’s license number.

  3. Take pictures of the accident scene. This includes damage to your vehicle, the truck, and the surrounding area.

  4. File a police report. This is important to document the accident and to help you with your insurance claim.

  5. See a doctor. Even if you don’t think you are injured, it is important to see a doctor to get checked out. Some injuries, such as concussions, may not be immediately apparent.

  6. Get legal help. If you have been seriously injured, let the expert West Palm Beach truck accident lawyers at Winegar Law contact the insurance company on your behalf.  You may be pressured to accept a low settlement or make statements that can be misunderstood and impact your case negatively.

If you think you might pursue legal action, don’t delay! The Florida statute of limitations for personal injury claims regarding truck accidents in West Palm beach is now 2 years.

When is a vehicle a truck according to West Palm Beach truck accident lawyers

When is a vehicle considered a “truck” in a lawsuit?

..and why is it important?

Determining when a vehicle is a truck in a truck accident lawsuit involves size, weight, purpose and registration / licensing. Although trucks are typically larger and heavier than cars, this may not always be the determining factor. For example, a van that is used to transport construction materials may be considered a truck, while a truck registered as personal transportation may not be.

Vehicles classified as trucks in a lawsuit could include:

  • 18-wheelers
  • Tractor-trailers
  • Garbage / dump trucks
  • Tow trucks
  • Tanker trucks
  • Concrete mixers
  • Construction transports
  • Delivery trucks
  • Logging haulers
  • Flatbed trailers
  • Post Office mail trucks
  • U-Hauls
  • UPS / FedEx trucks
  • Vans

Why is it important to know the difference between commercial trucks and other vehicles when considering a lawsuit?

Commercial trucks are usually operated by trucking companies or business owners, which introduces an additional layer of legal liability and regulations.  Trucking accidents can involve multiple parties like the trucking company, the cargo owner, the truck driver themselves as well as the accident victims.

Truck accident law requires specialized legal expertise

Our top rated truck accident lawyers in West Palm Beach will look specifically to hold the driver and the companies they work for accountable for actions that were caused by not following trucking regulations set forth by federal, state and local authorities. 

Some examples include:

  • Driver qualifications
  • Regular truck maintenance
  • Mechanical Defects
  • Properly secured cargo
  • Weight Distribution
  • Hours of Service

If a car collides with a truck / commercial vehicle, the car driver may be found at-fault if the truck was properly operated and not violating traffic laws. However, circumstances change if the truck was overloaded, the truck driver was fatigued due to driving longer than permitted by law, or found in violation of a trucking company policy.

Well funded trucking companies may have advance legal strategies

Financial strength enables large corporations to prepare a vigorous defense. If you’re faced with the hardship of taking your truck accident to court, you’ll need a legal team that’s equally well-versed in transportation laws, regulations and overcoming liability defenses. In addition, insurance companies associated with the case are experts in deflecting liability and may offer settlements far below what you are entitled to.

Large truck accidents often cause catastrophic injuries and death

While the legal gross vehicle weight across much of the US is 80,000 pounds for commercial vehicles, permits can be requested to allow trucks on the Florida Turnpike up to a whopping 199,000 pounds!

All accidents can be deadly, but an impact with such a massive object is more likely to result in catastrophic injuries and even death.  Our lawyers can help you obtain compensation for top notch medical care and other financial losses.  In the event of fatal accidents, surviving spouses can also pursue a truck accident wrongful death case.  

The experienced truck accident lawyers at Winegar Law Injury Lawyers will advocate on your behalf and work to ensure you are compensated fairly.

Ten common truck accident types in West Palm Beach

Each type of accident presents unique considerations for truck drivers and the drivers of smaller vehicles alike.  Being aware of what could happen on the road is often the first step towards prevention and adopting defensive driving strategies.  Here’s a list of the 10 most common types of truck accidents to be familiar with:

Rear-End Collisions:
When a truck collides with the vehicle in front of it. Can be caused by tailgating, distracted driving, or sudden stops.

Jackknife Accidents:
When the trailer of a truck swings outward, forming a 90-degree angle with the cab. Slick roads, speeding, or sudden braking can cause jackknifing, resulting in multiple collisions.

Underride Accidents:
During an underride accident, a smaller vehicle slides underneath a truck. The risk of serious head and neck injuries is especially high for occupants of smaller vehicles.

Rollover Accidents:
A rollover happens when a truck tips over on its side or roof. Excessive speed, sharp turns, uneven surfaces, or improper loading can all cause rollovers.

Blind Spot Accidents:
Side and rear blind spots are common on trucks. Truck drivers get in accidents when they don’t see another vehicle in their blind spot.

Wide Turn Accidents:
Drivers of trucks may swing wide to navigate them since they require more space to turn. Other vehicles may be caught off guard, causing collisions, especially if the truck doesn’t use its turn signal.

Tire Blowouts:
Having a tire blowout on a truck can cause an accident. Tire defects, improper maintenance, and overloading can cause blowouts.

Cargo Spills:
Overloaded or improperly secured cargo can spill on the road, posing a hazard to other vehicles and causing accidents.

Mechanical Failures:
Poor maintenance can lead to brake malfunctions, steering issues, and engine problems that can cause truck accidents.

Drowsy Driving Accidents:
Many truck drivers are under pressure to meet tight deadlines, which leads to fatigue and drowsy driving. Having a sleepy driver or being unable to react in time can cause serious accidents.

Trucker Fatigue Explained by West Palm Beach Truck Accident Lawyers

Trucker Fatigue: A leading cause of truck accidents with devastating consequences

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 13% of Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers were considered to have been fatigued at the time of a serious trucking accident.

Legislation aimed at reducing truck accidents related to fatigue

Overseeing trucking company operations is a complex issue with a diverse set of perspectives. Lobby groups representing trucking interests argue that regulations are too restrictive and make it difficult for their members to make a living, and also affects the bottom line of businesses who rely on fast shipments. Safety advocates argue that current policies designed to encourage safer roadways aren’t effective or transparent enough, and are hard to enforce.

Hours-of-service

Federal regulations are put in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to limit the number of hours that truckers can drive during the week. Hours-of-service regulations are aimed at promoting adequate rest periods and discouraging excessive driving hours to reduce the amount of fatigued truckers on the road.

The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate

An ELD is a device most people can recognizing by comparing it to the “black boxes” aircraft use to determine the cause of crashes. They are also known as electronic recording components or event data recorders.

In 2017, an ELD mandate took effect which require carriers and drivers who fall under the hours-of-service regulations to to use ELDs that meet the FMCSA’s technical specifications.

Some credit the usage of ELDs as being a step in the right direction. One primary reason is before the advance in technology, handwritten logs offered a way to falsify records.

The higher level of transparency and accuracy makes evidence surrounding trucking accidents harder to tamper with. It also makes it easier for law enforcement to prosecute on confirmed violations.

A Balancing Act: Achieving Safety in Trucking Legislation

The balancing act of encouraging safety in the trucking industry while also considering business concerns is a tough one. We’ve shared just a couple insights into the challenging legal world of truck accidents.  Despite everyone’s best efforts to eliminate trucker fatigue and other conditions that cause accidents, they will still happen. 

If you or a loved one has been affected, let our truck accident attorneys in West Palm Beach apply our experience to help you uncover the causes and stand up for your rights.

Commercial trucks have “black boxes” that record conditions and can help prove liability.

The West Palm beach truck accident attorneys at Winegar Law can request logs from the event data recorders found in many commercial trucks to support your case

Officially known as Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) — they may also be called electronic recording components or an event data recorder depending on which part of the system you reference. Considering modern cars also have their own event data recorders, you claim is strengthened when the information found on the truck’s logs matches the data on other vehicles involved.

What type of information do Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) track?

These devices capture data directly from the engine and could include information like:

  • Engine On / Off Status
  • Miles Driven
  • Vehicle location
  • Average speed & highest speed
  • Time spent driving over 65mph
  • Braking habits like hard stops
  • Engine RPM’s
  • Airbag status
  • … and more

The information stored is essentially a digital eyewitness that provides objective information about the incident. Despite how crucial it can be to your truck accident case, some investigators may not be aware of their existence. Additionally, in the flurry of activity immediately following a crash, it may not be the first thought and consequently may not get the attention it deserves.

Black box data is only available for a limited time

Electronic logging devices have limited storage space. To make room for new information, older data is overwritten. Its extremely important to to gain prompt access before its lost. Starting early offers the best chance of success because the process can be time-consuming and complicated, even for truck accident lawyers in West Palm Beach and Florida as a whole.

How can you access the data on a truck’s “black box”?

To access information contained on the recorder, it starts with obtaining permission from the owner of the truck or their legal representation. It may not be so straightforward, especially if incriminating evidence could be found. Negotiations with multiple parties and warrants may be needed.

On top of all this, if your truck accident occurred in West Palm Beach, there are local laws and specific regulations governing the access. A local truck accident lawyer familiar with the hurdles and how to overcome them will go a long way towards achieving the most favorable outcome.

West Palm Beach truck accident lawyers can help

How truck accident lawyers at Winegar Law can help

Our West Palm Beach truck accident attorneys can help with determining who was at fault and proving your case. There’s no fee unless we win your case!

CALL FOR A FREE CASE EVALUATION
(561) 717-0447

Investigating the accident

The resources we have available at our law firm give us access to evidence that might be hard to obtain otherwise. In addition to gathering and reviewing police reports and medical records, we can request traffic cam footage, onboard event recorder data, reconstruct accident scenes and hire expert witnesses.

Establishing Liability

Since truck accident cases usually involve a trucking organization, there are multiple avenues to examine beyond typical accidents. Our West Palm Beach truck accident lawyers conduct thorough searches into driver logs, compliance with trucking regulations, mechanical defects or lack of maintenance — among many other possibilities.

Truck operators and the companies they work for have an obligation to a duty of care and when its breached this can form the foundation of proving liability in your case. Call us for a free case evaluation 24 hours a day / 7 days a week.

Comparative Negligence

In 2023, Florida made changes to the way it handles compensation. The new law states if you are 50% or more to blame for the accident, you will not be legally entitled to any compensation. This makes it more important than ever to let our truck injury attorneys in West Palm beach advocate on your behalf and dispute arguments that try to shift the majority of the blame on you.

Negotiating with insurance companies

Accidents involving commercial trucks can involve well funded trucking companies who may have more resources at their disposal than an average citizen. We have a proven track record of success in getting our clients fair settlements.

Should you settle your truck accident or take it to court?

We’ll help evaluate the pro’s and cons of settling vs. going to trial. Which is better depends on your circumstances. Settling can offer a faster route with more certainty, while the court system allows a jury to have input on how much compensation should be awarded based on the evidence.

This is only a short summary of what our team does for you! Remember, trucking companies have experience with liability defenses, and without searching for the best truck accident lawyer near me, you may be exposed to decisions that compromise the amount of compensation possible, or forfeit it entirely.

How much is your West Palm Beach truck accident case worth?

Key factors that influence the amount of compensation in a truck accident case

  • The severity of your injuries and medical condition
  • The extent of property damage
  • Amount of lost wages and future earnings
  • The percentage of fault attributed to each party

Each case is unique, however, learning more about what you are eligible for can help you prepare and achieve everything your entitled to. A good personal injury lawyer that specializes in truck accidents knows how to maximize all opportunities for compensation.

Some of the most common types of compensation available are:

  • Medical expenses: This includes the cost of all medical treatment that you have received or will need to receive in the future, including doctor’s visits, hospital stays, surgery, and prescription medications.

  • Lost wages: This includes the money that you have lost or will lose as a result of being unable to work due to your injuries.

  • Pain and suffering: This is a non-economic form of damages that compensates you for the physical and emotional pain and suffering that you have experienced as a result of the accident.

  • Property damage: This includes the cost of repairing or replacing any property that was damaged in the accident, this includes the vehicle itself as well as belongings.

Additional types of compensation include:

  • Punitive damages: Awarded to punish the defendant for especially reckless behavior
  • Emotional Distress: If your suffering from clinical anxiety, depression, PTSD, or similar
  • Loss of Consortium: Offered to spouses for loss of companionship, love and support
  • Disfigurement and Scarring: The impact of distress associated with changes in appearance.
  • Permanent Disability: Loss of earning capacity
  • Funeral Expenses: Can be covered in a truck accident wrongful death case.

Steps you can take to form a strong truck accident case

  • Get medical attention immediately. Document your injuries and start the process of getting treatment.

  • File a police report. Make an official account of the incident as soon as possible.

  • Gather evidence. Take pictures of the accident scene, getting the names and contact information of witnesses, and preserving any medical records or other documentation related to your injuries.

  • Hire an attorney. An experienced West Palm Beach truck accident lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options, and help you navigate complex legal procedures.

Other common causes of truck accidents in West Palm beach include:

  • Using electronic devices while driving
  • Not properly securing cargo
  • Exceeding weight and/or size limits
  • Losing control during adverse weather conditions
  • Operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol

7 Mistakes to avoid when dealing with a truck accident in West Palm Beach

  1. Admitting fault. Even if you think you are at fault, it is important to avoid admitting fault to the other driver or to the insurance company. Anything you say can be used against you later.
  2. Signing anything from the insurance company. The insurance company may ask for a release or settlement agreement before you’ve had a chance to fully understand your legal rights. Do not sign anything without first talking to an attorney.
  3. Not getting medical attention. Even if you do not think you are injured, it is important to get medical attention after a truck accident. Some injuries, such as concussions, may not be immediately apparent.
  4. Not taking pictures of the accident scene. Taking pictures of the accident scene can help you document the accident and to prove your case later.
  5. Not getting the names and contact information of witnesses. Witnesses can provide valuable information about the accident, such as what happened and who was at fault.
  6. Waiting too long to file a claim. Time limits exist for filing an accident claim in Florida, also known as the statute of limitations.
  7. Oversharing information on public sites. Be careful about disclosing the details of your case publicly on social media or other online communities. Many details are under investigation and are better left in the hands of your truck accident lawyer.

Recent Truck Crash Statistics in West Palm Beach

Based on accidents reported as involving commercial motor vehicle operators with serious injuries or fatalities. Statistics show Palm Beach County on average accounts for about 5% of trucking accidents in Florida. The city of West Palm Beach is involved in 10% or less of truck accidents in Palm Beach county.

2023 (Year to Date – through June 29th 2023)

  • Florida: 673
  • Palm Beach County: 26
  • West Palm Beach: 3

2022

  • Florida: 1,350
  • Palm Beach County: 61
  • West Palm Beach: 6

2021

  • Florida:1,400
  • Palm Beach County: 63
  • West Palm Beach: 5

2020

  • Florida: 1,282
  • Palm Beach County: 70
  • West Palm Beach: 10

Which cities in Florida have more truck accidents than others?

When is it time to hire a truck accident lawyer in West Palm Beach?

We understand that the initial situation can be overwhelming, and consulting with a car accident attorney may not be your first thought. However, it’s vital to take action promptly because evidence can disappear, memories can fade, and the statute of limitations may run out.

If you are experiencing any of the following due to your accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our experienced West Palm Beach truck accident lawyers.

  • Facing financial stress and income loss
  • Suffering injuries from a preventable accident
  • Dealing with unclear or challenging fault determination
  • Meeting resistance or opposition
  • Engaging in negotiations with insurance companies

How to choose the right West Palm Beach truck accident lawyer

When it comes to your truck accident claim in West Palm Beach, here are some key factors to consider

  1. Expertise: Seek a lawyer with a deep understanding of the complexities involved. Ensure they have a proven track record of success.
  2. Reputation and Track Record: Consider reading reviews from past clients to assess their reliability and credibility.
  3. Effective Communication:  Confirm that the lawyer is responsive and sympathetic.  You should feel comfortable discussing your truck accident case with them and have the freedom to ask questions.
  4. Access to Resources: A well-established law firm with a team of experts, like Winegar Law, can provide additional support and specialized knowledge for truck accident cases.
  5. Transparent Fee Structure:  Have a clear discussion about the lawyer’s fee structure upfront to avoid unexpected financial surprises.

Winegar Law Injury Lawyers offer services on a contingency fee basis which means:

THERE IS NO FEE UNLESS WE WIN!

Taking the First Step: Your Initial Consultation

What happens during the call?

  • You share the details of the accident
  • We assess your case’s potential.
  • Explain your legal rights and options.
  • Ask questions and clarify concerns.

Give us a call or use our online form to get started today!
(561) 717-0447

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West Palm Beach, FL 33407

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