As a Hollywood car accident attorney, I was sorry to see that a man was seriously injured in a rear-end accident with a semi truck. As the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Jan. 21, 78-year-old Luis Barcelo was seriously injured in a chain-reaction crash near the Broward-Collier county line, in the area called Alligator Alley. Barcelo was driving east on Interstate 75 when trucker Rafael De La Fuente, 26, rear-ended Barcelo’s vehicle. The accident was attributed in part to thick fog on the road, and in fact Florida Highway Patrol officers were closing the highway just as the accident took place. Barcelo’s passenger Oderta Herrada Rosada, 74, suffered minor injuries.
The accident took place just after 7 a.m. on the Collier County side of the border. Traffic had slowed because of the thick fog, including Barcelo’s vehicle. De La Fuente reportedly told investigators that he hadn’t noticed the slowing in time. A witness told the newspaper that the truck was going 60 or 70 mph when it slammed into Barcelo’s car, causing it to spin out on the highway. That car hit a second vehicle, an SUV with five passengers. Neither those people nor De La Fuente were seriously injured, but the witness said the crash “just crushed” Barcelo’s car, sending both Barcelo and Rosada to the hospital. It wasn’t clear whether poor visibility contributed to the accident, but the FHP said charges were pending.
If I were the Weston auto accident lawyer involved in this case, I’d be extremely interested in the truck driver’s activities up until the moment of the crash. Unfortunately, distracted driving is an issue for everyone on the road, which is why the federal government is campaigning aggressively against it. However, it’s especially bad news with truck drivers, who are in charge of vehicles that can weigh as much as 20 times more than an ordinary passenger car. In a crash, all that extra weight is translated into force, causing a very bad accident. If fog is the explanation for De La Fuente’s statement that he didn’t see the slowing traffic, it would be interesting to know why he felt it was safe to drive at highway speeds when other drivers did not. Another explanation is distracted driving — driving while eating, using a phone or otherwise taking eyes off the road, which is almost always an act of negligence.
At Cohn, Smith & Cohn, we represent Florida residents and visitors who were hurt by someone else’s bad or illegal decisions. That includes careless driving of all kinds, including driving done as part of a job. When a trucker or other commercial driver causes a serious accident, injured people can sue that driver just like they would a private party. They can usually also sue the driver’s employer if its negligence contributed to the crash — such as hiring an unsafe driver or failure to maintain the truck. Our Pompano Beach auto accident attorneys represent people who are fighting for this compensation from truckers and trucking companies, who are often backed by experienced and cost-conscious insurance companies. We help clients get the money they need for medical care and to compensate them for all of their personal, emotional and financial losses.
If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a car crash in south Florida, call Cohn, Smith & Cohn for help. To set up a free, confidential consultation, call our main Pembroke Pines office at (954) 431-8100 or send us a message online.