- What Is a Clearwater, FL, Truck Driver DUI?
- Can I Sue a Trucking Company?
- How Is Responsibility Determined in a Clearwater Truck Accident?
- Do Clearwater DUI Truck Accidents Go to Trial?
- What Does No-Fault Law in Florida Mean?
- What Is the Serious Injury Threshold in Florida?
- What Is the Average Settlement for Clearwater, FL, DUI Truck Accidents?
- Consult The Law Place Clearwater, FL, Drunk Driving Truck Crash Attorneys Today
Truck crashes are already one of the scariest things to happen on the road, but when a driver is intoxicated, the results can be even more catastrophic. Clearwater and New Port Richey are some of the more dangerous car and truck accident areas in Florida. Knowing your rights and what to do in the event of a truck accident is extremely important if you decide to move forward with a lawsuit.
If you have suffered a personal injury due to a DUI truck crash, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a qualified truck accident attorney at The Law Place today. Our team has over 75 years of combined experience and can guarantee a thorough investigation on your behalf and an excellent attorney-client relationship. We offer a free consultation with a partner of our law group, where we will go over your options and our fee structure.
Our lines are open 24/7, and our law firm representatives are waiting for your call.
Call The Law Place at (727) 217-9795.
What Is a Clearwater, FL, Truck Driver DUI?
Truck drivers and other commercial drivers are regulated by strict alcohol intake laws relative to your average motorist. Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles regulations state truck drivers are considered to be drunk driving at half of the state’s allowed BAC. Under Florida law, this means having a BAC of .04 instead of .08. Due to the truck’s size and heavy load, a driver with any alcohol or drugs in their system poses a much bigger threat to other drivers than a smaller vehicle would. A truck accident can be devastating for all parties involved, and the laws regulating large trucks are equally severe.
Police can determine alcohol consumption by using field sobriety tests and a breathalyzer, which measures BAL (Breath Alcohol Level). Prescription or illicit drug use is harder to detect without a blood or urine test. However, police are trained to spot the signs of intoxication and are within their rights to detain an individual for suspected consumption and impound the vehicle. If the truck driver is found to be driving under the influence, their commercial driver’s license (CDL) will be revoked, and they may have criminal charges pressed against them.
It is important to note that a DUI case and any potential civil lawsuit are two separate processes. Even if a truck driver is not convicted of DUI, they may be held liable for damages in a pain and suffering case.
Can I Sue a Trucking Company?
In the course of an investigation into your trucking accident case, liability will be determined to fall on the truck driver, trucking company, independent contractor, or other involved parties. If trucking companies are held responsible for the crash, even if the truck driver was at fault for being over the legal BAC limit, you have legal rights to sue them for damages.
If you choose to sue the trucking company, you will need a qualified personal injury and accident lawyer on your side to help fight your case. A large truck company will have a team of lawyers and a big insurance company to help defend them and devalue your case.
If your accident resulted in serious injury, you have legal rights to pursue a lawsuit against negligent and responsible parties. However, if you only sustained minor injuries or property damage, Florida No-Fault law rules that personal insurance companies will have to cover damages related to the incident, regardless of responsibility.
How Is Responsibility Determined in a Clearwater Truck Accident?
Liability is a key factor in any motor vehicle accident claim. Accidents occurring in the trucking industry are unique in that multiple parties may be liable to any potential claim. A catastrophic injury can, unfortunately, happen in the case of a trucking accident. Who is held liable is determined through investigations performed by insurance representatives, police, and lawyers hired by various parties involved in the crash.
Commercial truck drivers are often not the only party considered liable in an accident claim. Depending on the cause of the incident, different entities may be liable for your compensation claim. Although the truck driver may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, culpability does not end with them. Liability can be determined to fall on the shoulders of the following parties:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The motor carrier
- The truck manufacturer
- The truck parts manufacturer
- Third-party companies
- Other drivers
Determining which party is liable can be complex and confusing. Hiring a qualified truck accident lawyer from a reputable law group will help to start the investigative process as soon as possible. Finding out whether it should be the truck drivers or trucking companies who should be held responsible is an integral part of this process and will dictate which parties can be sued by victims of the crash.
Do Clearwater DUI Truck Accidents Go to Trial?
These types of cases can definitely go to trial. However, it is usually in the best interest of a trucking company and insurance company to settle with the victim if they have a strong case in their favor. If, for some reason, the companies choose to fight the case, your lawyer will take your pain and suffering claim to trial where a judge or possibly a jury will issue a verdict.
Truck drivers charged with a DUI will face criminal prosecution as well. This will be a separate matter from any lawsuit you may bring against the driver or company found responsible for the crash. Lawsuits are settled in civil court, while a DUI is tried in criminal court.
What Does No-Fault Law in Florida Mean?
Florida is one of around twelve states that abide by the No-Fault law in relation to car and truck accidents. According to Florida Statute 627.7407, this means that car accident claims cannot be brought to civil court and that insurance companies must cover the accident, no matter whose fault it is. How much is covered depends on the individual policy of the insured. Only when a serious injury occurs can additional damages be claimed and sued for in court.
Florida Statute 627.7407(4) states all operators of a motor vehicle must be covered by auto insurance. Without insurance, involved parties must pay the determined damages out of pocket and may be subject to fines for being uninsured. Truck drivers are usually covered by their employer’s commercial insurance. If they freelance and own their vehicle, they must carry commercial insurance themselves.
What Is the Serious Injury Threshold in Florida?
Victims of truck accidents can only pursue damages for pain and suffering if their crash resulted in:
- Permanent or significant injury
- Loss of mobility or function
- Significant disfigurement or permanent scarring
Unless your injuries meet these criteria, you will not be able to claim general damages for serious injury and will be directed to your insurance coverage under Florida No-Fault law. A personal injury lawyer can help you determine whether your injuries qualify for additional damages.
What Is the Average Settlement for Clearwater, FL, DUI Truck Accidents?
You may be getting frustrated by the lack of information online about the average settlement amount for Clearwater drunk driving truck accidents. This is due to the simple fact that there is no average. Each case is unique, and calculations for economic and non-economic damages are equally unique to the individuals involved. Personal income, injuries sustained, and the specific amount of trauma endured all factor into any settlement amount. One victim may receive $150,000 in a settlement, while the next may take their case to trial and be awarded $1 million.
The only caveat to this is that claims made against state or county bodies in Florida have a maximum pain and suffering claim of $200,000. Legally, you will not be able to get more than that. Any car accident involving government vehicles or employees may fall under this rule.
Consult The Law Place Clearwater, FL, Drunk Driving Truck Crash Attorneys Today
Have you been injured in a car accident involving a drunk driving truck driver in the Clearwater or New Port Richey area? Are you being intimidated by truck drivers, the trucking company, and insurance adjusters trying to devalue your claim?
Contact a Clearwater and New Port Richey truck accident attorney at The Law Place today. Our law group guarantees an excellent attorney-client relationship and a strong, aggressive lawsuit on your behalf. We have the combined experience of 75 years, so you know your case is in good hands. We offer a free consultation with a qualified Fort Myers truck accident attorney who will go over your options and our fee structure.
Our lines are open 24/7, and our law group representatives are always waiting for your call.
Call The Law Place now at (727) 217-9795.