A South Florida woman has died of injuries she sustained after a collision with a garbage truck in Tamarac recently, after spending a week in the hospital fighting for her life.
She had been just a mile from her home when the crash occurred around 5:45 a.m. Investigators are still piecing together what happened, but they do know decedent’s entire driver-side compartment of her vehicle was crushed.
Crashes involving large trucks and other commercial vehicles tend to be especially devastating because the reality of physics is passenger cars don’t stand a chance against big trucks, which often weigh 20 to 30 times the weight of a smaller car.
The latest annual report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on “Large Trucks,” released just last month, reveals an uptick in the number of fatalities involving these large vehicles – nearly 4,000 in 2013. That’s just a half a percent higher than the number of those who died in 2012, but it was an astonishing 14 percent higher than the number of those killed in large truck crashes in 2009.
Our experienced Fort Myers truck accident attorneys are committed to securing compensation for our clients who are victims of large truck crashes. We fully understand and have experience in overcoming the many challenges these cases present.
First of all, the trucking industry is quite fractured, so vicarious liability – holding the employer accountable – becomes tougher. In the case of a garbage truck, our strategy would depend on whether the truck and operation was part of a local government function or was the work of a private contractor.
In private commercial trucking, there are often a host of players. There is the owner of the tractor. Then there is the owner of the trailer. Then there is the carrier, who is often assigned to transport goods for another company through a broker, often using a driver who is an independent contractor. This can make for extremely complex litigation.
It can get even tougher when you consider that while trucking companies are required to carry insurance, deregulation in the 1980s has meant some companies can get away with policies that offer as little as $750,000 in coverage, or $1 million if they are carrying hazardous goods. This might sound like a lot, but when you start factoring in the devastation these vehicles can cause in a crash, it’s often not even enough to cover everyone’s medical bills.
That’s why it’s so important to identify all potential defendants involved in the transportation cycle and determine their possible liability at the outset, so they can be properly added early on to any litigation.
Of the 3,964 people killed in trucking crashes in 2013, the overwhelming majority – 71 percent – were occupants of other vehicles. In an additional 11 percent of cases, it was non-occupants who were killed (i.e., bicyclists, pedestrians, etc.). It was only in a small percentage of these cases that truck drivers themselves were killed.
In addition to that, there were 95,000 people injured in large truck crashes. Here again, most of those were occupants of other vehicles.
Although truck drivers were less likely than other drives to have a previous license suspension or revocation, they were more likely to have speeding tickets and also to have a previously-recorded crash.
If you have been a victim of a traffic accident, call Chalik & Chalik at (954) 476-1000 or 1 (800) 873-9040.
Driver dies week after crash with garbage truck, May 20, 2015, Emily Miller, Sun-Sentinel
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