Sometimes conditions on the road require drivers to stop in a shorter distance than expected. If a truck driver has failed to maintain enough space between his or her tractor-trailer and another vehicle, these sudden stops can lead to serious crashes. Miami truck accident attorney Robert Dixon has the experience to represent victims who have been injured in these situations. Our team assists clients in Broward County, Miami-Dade County, and Palm Beach County, as well as elsewhere in South Florida. We can help you investigate what may have led to a truck crash and assert your right to compensation.Safe Stopping Distance
Stopping distance is how far a vehicle has to move between when the driver hits the brakes and when the vehicle actually stops. Since trucks are considerably bigger than an average car, they can require twice the amount of stopping distance in order to prevent an accident. Size is only one factor in determining what the distance necessary for a safe stop may be. Other considerations include weather, the driver’s reaction time, tire conditions, the vehicle’s speed, and any cargo on a truck. Brake conditions and whether they meet federal safety standards may also affect what a proper stopping distance may be.
Commercial drivers as well as their employers must inspect their vehicles to make sure that all brakes, tires, and other parts are working properly and maintained in a safe manner. Truckers should be particularly attentive to how their brakes work so that they know the amount of time it takes for their tractor-trailer to stop in order to avoid a collision.Protect Your Rights With a Negligence Lawsuit
Every driver on Florida roads has a duty to act as a reasonable person would behave in similar circumstances. Failure to leave enough space to avoid a collision could indicate negligence on the part of the truck driver. If you’ve been hurt as a result of a commercial driver’s careless actions, you may be able to file a negligence claim against the driver and possibly the trucking company. To prove negligence, the injured person must show:
- The driver owed a duty of care;
- That duty was breached, such as by a truck following too closely;
- The breach caused the victim’s injuries; and
- Actual damages resulted from the breach.
If all of these elements are shown, the victim may be able to recover compensation. Other parties also may be held liable if they acted negligently. For instance, trucking companies have a duty to make sure their vehicles comply with federal safety requirements. Failing to properly inspect and maintain a truck’s brake system can indicate the trucking company has violated its obligation and therefore is partly responsible for the accident. In addition, a truck driver’s employer may be vicariously liable for damages if the driver was acting within the scope of his or her employment when the collision occurred.Evidence Spoliation and Available Damages
Tractor-trailer crashes are often investigated by multiple parties who have a stake in their outcomes. This means that a lot of issues can arise. One such issue is “spoliation” of the evidence, which is when important records or items are altered, destroyed, or simply lost in an effort to hinder a lawsuit. When spoliation occurs, Florida courts may impose sanctions on the offending party, such as excluding testimony or sometimes even dismissing a claim.
Once liability is established, a victim of a stopping distance accident may receive damages for his or her harm. Compensation that may be awarded include lost income, past and future medical costs, property damage, and pain and suffering. If an accident results in the death of a loved one, certain family members may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.Discuss Your Truck Crash Case With a Fort Lauderdale Attorney
Since truck accidents can often be complex, it is important to consult a knowledgeable attorney to ensure your rights are protected and the accident is investigated properly. If you’ve been injured as a result of a truck driver’s negligence in failing to maintain a proper stopping distance, Fort Lauderdale accident lawyer Robert Dixon can guide you through the legal process. Our staff will work tirelessly to strengthen your chance of receiving fair compensation for your injuries. Please call (877) 499-4878 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your claim.