What is Florida Trucking Accident Law?
Florida trucking accident law isn’t something we think of very often. Yet, we see commercial trucks out on Florida’s roads and highways every day. When we get on the busy Miami highways, the sight of large trucks causing traffic jams is hard to miss. While commercial trucks on our busy roads are the norm, the laws that regulate their safe commutes are more complicated. Statistics now show that each year, nearly 4,000 Americans suffer accidents with fatal injuries from truck drivers. These are truck drivers who fail to uphold the standard of care for public safety.
It takes a lawyer with “in the trenches” experience to successfully represent a trucking accident case. This type of case tends to be complex because they often involve both federal law as well as Florida’s state law. This includes The Department of Transportation, FMCSA, and FMCSR.
Within this article Shaked Law Resource will answer the following important trucking law related questions:
- What legal experience is necessary for trucking accident cases?
- Who is the department of transportation?
- What is Florida trucking law regulation?
- What are “Hours of Service”?
- Why does the right Florida trucking accident lawyer make a successful case?
- How do I choose the right trucking accident lawyer?
A lot of lawyers will falsely advertise they can take on a large trucking accident claim. However, they never see these cases to trial! This is deceitful advertising on the part of the Firm. Furthermore, this tactic severely hurts the client whom these “paper pusher” lawyers represent.
Trucking accidents are the cause some of the most physically painful injuries Florida Personal Injury lawyers handle. Sadly the busier Florida becomes, the more these accidents are on the rise.
What legal experience is necessary for trucking accident cases?
There are several different, specific areas of law that apply in the case of a trucking accident. In Florida trucking accident cases, victims require their lawyer provide representation in the area of worker’s compensation and employment law. The lawyer also must have experience in both federal and Florida state laws.
As a result, not every lawyer can take on a trucking accident case. Some attorneys claim to be ready to take a trucking accident case, only to give up if trial becomes necessary. This can cost clients financially, emotionally, putting further strain on their recovery.
An experienced lawyer’s ethos
Here on the Shaked Law Firm’s Law Resource Blog we expose the truth about what the insurance companies hope accident victims won’t find out!
Next, we’ll take a closer look at what truck accident law really is. We’ll break down all the confusing government regulations concisely. We’ll tie this article into October 2019’s successful Hours of Service article. Within that article, we explore how regulations are put in place to protect both the public and truck drivers. In a previous publication, we also gave our readers a better look inside liability. Specifically, what does that mean for truck drivers and their employers?
Who is the Department of Transportation?
For those commuting regularly, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t “who’s out there keeping the road safe?” In fact, we often take for granted that there’s even a governing body for exactly this reason. The office that makes road safety for the public their first priority is the Department of Transportation, or, DOT.
The Department of Transportation is strong and transparent in their one mission. On their website they clearly state that it’s their sole purpose to:
Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.
Little known federal fact: the Department of Transportation was established as a Congressional act on October 15, 1966. However, the Department’s first day of operation did not commence until April 1, 1967.
The main goal of the DOT is public safety. This means reducing the risk of accidents on every road, highway, freeway, and turnpike in the United States. Americans travel 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That’s a lot of manpower necessary year round. Forging ahead, the DOT dedicates itself to serving the public and providing for the best interests of drivers both publicly employed and private citizens. That’s why the Department of Transportation employs 55,000 government workers all over the United States each year. By maintaining a standard of public safety and regulating the laws surrounding transportation and commuting, the DOT is able to, as they state via their website, “contribute to the nation’s economic growth”.
What is Florida trucking law regulation?
There are several points one should know when navigating truck accident law for the first time. The first of these is who’s really in charge when a victim sustains injuries in a truck accident? Is a lawyer is able to prove there are clear grounds to move forward with litigation?
The answer to that question is: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or, FMCSA. The FMCSA regulates the laws surrounding driver safety, retraining, proper securing of cargo in or on a commercial carrier, and liability (also known as Hours of Service) in cases of operator fatigue. In the next paragraph, we’ll explain Hours of Service with an excerpt from our May 2018 writeup.
What are “Hours of Service”?
“[…]To ensure public safety as well as the safety of those who are employed to commute in commercial vehicles, the DOT has provided a thorough list of regulations that explicitly state the requirements that need be met to help trucking operators avoid carrier fatigue at all costs. These regulations as a whole are known as Hours of Service.”How Do Hours of Service Affect Truck Drivers in Florida?
The Department of Transportation goes on to list everything from specific mileage and/or driving limits broken down into hours, to mandatory rest breaks.
Find these federal regulations below:
- Property carrying drivers: 11-hour driving limit; a driver may only drive a maximum of 11 consecutive hours, after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- Passenger carrying drivers: 10-hour driving limit; a driver may only drive a maximum of 10 hours, after 8 consecutive hours off duty.
- Rest break requirements: a trucking operator may only drive if 8 hours or less have passed since end of driver’s last “off-duty” or rest period (must be at least 30 minutes).
- Why does the right Florida trucking accident representation make a successful case?
Who is the Federal Highway Administration?
Another point one should familiarize themselves with is the Federal Highway Administration. Also known as the FHA, this Administration governs all aspects of highway transportation. Therefore when a victim and their lawyer bring litigation in court, the liability laws set forth by the FHA apply.
The FHA is part of the United States Federal Government, as is the FMCSA and in turn, FMCSR regulations also apply.
The last but not least important point one seeking to learn the ins and outs of trucking law should be knowledgable in is the National Transportation Safety Board, or, NTSB. The NTSB involves themselves in any serious accident that occurs on a highway, though we most often see their presence on the scene of plane accident. However, any laws the NTSB sets forth would apply in a court of law when trying a truck accident case, whether for liability, hit-and-run, or wrongful death.
Why does the right Florida trucking accident lawyer make a successful case?
A Board Certified civil trial lawyer will know exactly what to do, when to do it, and how to recover the maximum compensation for a client who sustained life threatening injuries in a trucking accident. This type of lawyer, is the all-important “in the trenches” trial experience and hundreds of previous trucking accident cases. These lawyers will also be able to step up should the case be one of wrongful death, where a victim loses his or her life due to the negligence of a truck driver.
As we’ve always stressed here on the Blog, the Board Certified difference should be obvious: a board certified civil trial lawyer not only has advanced knowledge of federal, state, and specific trucking-related laws, but their overall compassion, ethics, and moral standing when trying any Personal Injury case ranks well above that of their non-board certified peers.