Tow trucks are a common sight on the roads of Florida. They are a type of vehicle specifically used to move improperly parked, disabled, impounded, or otherwise immovable vehicles. Tow trucks will often be called to the scene of a car accident or other broken-down vehicles. Despite how useful they may be in these scenarios, they are also known to sometimes be the cause of truck accidents. Due to the sheer size and weight, and the unique design of a tow truck, an accident of this type can be considered to be a lot more dangerous than a standard car accident. Here at The Law Place, our accident lawyers realize how serious the fallout of a tow truck accident can be, and we are here to help you.
If you or a loved one have recently been a victim of a tow truck accident that was not your fault, then you could be entitled to financial compensation. Here at The Law Place, our team of accident lawyers boasts over 75 years of combined experience in dealing with cases such as your own, and many are AVVO 10.0 rated, so you can be comfortable that your case is in skillful hands. We will dedicate our knowledge and resources to ensure that you get the settlement you deserve without having to do any of the legal work. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated truck accident attorney on our team.
Call us at (941) 444-4444. Phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for your convenience!
Why Are Tow Trucks Considered Potentially Dangerous?
There are many reasons to explain why a tow truck can be a lot more dangerous than a standard car. One example is that tow truck drivers are required to drive through both busy highways and residential streets to aid with either a car accident or a broken-down vehicle. In doing so, they will often have to maneuver at awkward angles or in tight spaces, all whilst having another vehicle attached to them. This poses a danger to the vehicles and pedestrians around them if something goes wrong.
Furthermore, the process of actually towing a vehicle supplies its own set of dangers. The truck drivers employed to use and drive these trucks are required to be properly trained and supervised (if new) when towing so as to ensure the safety of themselves and those around them. If a driver is not adequately trained, a lot can go wrong.
Additionally, for a tow truck to function properly, it has its own unique set of components specific to a tow truck. These can bring about some risks. For example, if the cable that attaches to the truck and vehicle is improperly handled or malfunctions, then the vehicle being moved could come loose. This could cause a very serious truck accident. Similarly, if the truck driver fails to correctly connect the tow truck’s braking system to the brake lights of the transported vehicle, then it will leave other drivers in danger of stops without any warning. This would also cause a severe truck accident.
What Are the Most Common Types of Tow Trucks in Port Charlotte, FL?
There are four commonly used types of tow trucks in Port Charlotte, FL. These include:
- Hook and Chain tow truck – This is probably the most common type of tow truck to see on the roads of Florida. This type will use chains with a hook at the end to tow the vehicle.
- Wheel-lift truck – This truck is very similar to a hook and chain truck and can be confused. It instead fastens the vehicle from underneath so as not to cause any unnecessary damage to the car, more specifically, the paintwork.
- Integrated truck – These types of trucks use two different mechanisms and are most commonly used to tow larger vehicles, most often buses, due to their extra axles that provide additional stability.
- Flatbed truck – This is most often used on cars or motorcycles. It uses a hydraulically powered flatbed to move the broken-down vehicle from the road and onto the flatbed.
What Are the Most Common Types of Tow Truck Accidents in Port Charlotte?
As with driving any vehicle, a truck driver is capable of driver error or themselves being a victim of a truck accident. There are several types of possible truck accidents. The most commonly reported in Port Charlotte include:
- Head-on collision – This is when the front ends of a truck and another vehicle collide with each other when driving in different directions. It commonly occurs due to a breach of the right of way and can be extremely dangerous.
- T-bone collision – This is when the front of a vehicle crashes into the side of another, most common at intersections.
- Rear-end collision – When a vehicle crashes into the one ahead of it.
- Sideswipe collision – This is when the right side of one vehicle collides into the side of another vehicle, similar to T-bone crashes.
- Underride collision – This is when a smaller vehicle (such as a motorcycle) gets stuck underneath a much larger vehicle.
No matter what type of crash you have been involved in, all truck accidents have the potential to cause an immense amount of damage to yourself and your vehicle. Therefore, if you have been involved in one, you must call our law firm to see if you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Tow Truck Accidents in Port Charlotte, Florida?
There is a great multitude of factors that can cause a truck accident in Port Charlotte. Therefore, it is important to always be as safe and aware as possible whilst driving. Some of the most commonly reported causes of truck accidents include:
- Reckless or negligent driving – Because of the size and weight of a commercial truck, it means they are more dangerous than a car. Consequently, if a truck driver makes a mistake or behaves recklessly, then they could cause a truck accident.
- Driver fatigue – If a driver has been working unmanageable hours, then it is easy for them to become fatigued. However, this can significantly impair their reaction times and ability to drive safely.
- Unsecure vehicle – If the vehicle being towed becomes unsecured in transit, then this could cause a serious accident. The vehicle being towed has no driver in control and could crash into multiple vehicles/pedestrians.
- Driving under the influence – As with driver fatigue, driving under the influence will reduce a driver’s ability to react and drive appropriately, increasing the risk of negligent mistakes.
- Distracted driving – There are multiple distractions in a car (e.g., using a phone or eating). If the driver isn’t paying attention to the road, then the likelihood of an accident increases.
- Poor weather conditions – Florida hosts a multitude of extreme weather conditions. Adverse conditions (e.g., heavy rain or high winds) can make driving any vehicle difficult, this only increases with commercial trucks.
- Poor truck maintenance – Tow trucks have to be regularly inspected and maintained to ensure that they are safe to drive. Even a slight issue could cause severe truck accidents.
Call our law firm today. Our accident lawyers will be able to gather all of the necessary evidence to prove the exact cause of your accident on your behalf.
How to Determine Liability Following a Port Charlotte Truck Accident
All trucks will require routine maintenance and inspections to make sure they can legally be on the road. However, despite the safety regulations in Florida, the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NSHTA) reported that big trucks were involved in roughly 4,000 accident fatalities and over 100,000 injuries every year in the United States. If you have been involved in a truck accident, four important factors will determine liability.
- Was there a duty of care – All personal injury cases will need to be able to prove that somebody owed you a duty of care. This is relatively simple with truck accidents as all drivers owe a duty of care to others on the road to act as a reasonable person to ensure the safety of everybody.
- Was this duty breached – To prove that this duty of care was breached, a personal injury lawyer must be able to prove that the person being blamed was behaving at a level of negligence that could be considered unreasonable. In the case of a truck accident, this could involve speeding, drunk driving, or incorrectly connecting the vehicle they were towing.
- Did this breach cause your injuries – In other words, your injuries had to have been the direct result of this person’s act of negligence.
- Did your injuries result in damages – The specific damages are explained below. The proof for these will vary, so it is important to keep evidence of everything, e.g., keep all medical bills.
The accident lawyers here at our Port Charlotte office will be able to accurately determine and build up evidence to prove these four factors. Contact us today to schedule a free case review to see what we can do for you.
The Most Common Damages Following Truck Accidents in Florida
If you have suffered from a serious injury because of an auto accident that was not your fault, then you could be entitled to certain forms of compensation. A truck accident lawyer will be able to explain these to you, but some of the most common forms of damages include:
- Medical bills – It is likely that if you sustained a serious injury in a truck accident, then you would have had to seek professional medical care. For any consequential medical bills, these costs can be included in your final settlement. If your injuries are long-lasting and will require ongoing costs, you could also include any projected expenses.
- Lost wages – If you have had to have some time off from work after a truck accident, then any income you lost out on can be claimed back in your settlement. Similarly, if you are unable to return to work or have had to change fields, then you could also claim a loss of earning potential.
- Pain and suffering – Pain and suffering is a complex form of damages that covers and mental and physical suffering, as well as any loss of enjoyment in life. (E.g., being unable to play on a sports team you once enjoyed regularly because of your injury). This is hard to prove and calculate into a settlement value, so it is best to have personal injury lawyers do this for you.
- Property damage – If you face any repair or replacement costs because of your accident, then these expenses can be covered in your settlement.
- Wrongful death – Florida Statute 768.21 covers all necessary information surrounding a wrongful death lawsuit. If you have sadly lost a loved one in a truck accident, then a settlement from this type of lawsuit should cover all necessary funeral expenses and loss of consortium.
Who Is Liable for Your Port Charlotte, FL., Truck Accident?
Truck accident claims vary case by case, and who is liable for your collision could be a multitude of parties. Therefore, it is best to have accident lawyers on hand to determine this for you. Some examples of parties who could be found liable include:
- Truck drivers – In plenty of commercial truck accidents, the fault will lie with the driver. If driver error caused your accident, this would most likely be the case. Driver error includes drunk driving, distracted driving, driver fatigue, speeding, etc. Every driver will owe those around them a duty of care, so if this is breached, then the liability will most likely lie with them.
- Trucking company – A trucking company can be found liable ever through vicarious liability or by a direct action (e.g., knowingly hiring an unqualified driver). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets out that a trucking company can be held liable for a truck crash if it involved one of their trucks or drivers, regardless of employment or ownership status.
- Government entity – A government entity within the State of Florida can be held liable for a commercial truck accident if it was caused by something under their jurisdiction. For example, potholes, bad road design, or missing road signs could all lead to a government entity being found at fault.
- Maintenance crew – If the accident was caused by the maintenance crew making crucial errors when inspecting, maintaining, or repairing the vehicle, then this could make the team liable for the accident and any consequential damages.
- Truck manufacturer – If a parts/truck manufacturer has assembled and distributed defective parts then goes on cause a malfunction that contributes to a truck accident, then they could be held liable due to the negligent distribution of products.
- Third-party driver – As with a truck driver, all drivers owe a duty of care, so if a third-party driver has breached this, then they will be held liable.
How Will Comparative Negligence Laws Affect Your Case?
Florida Statute 768.81 may affect your settlement value if you have been involved in a truck accident in Port Charlotte. The courts will place liability with who they believe caused your car accident, and your settlement will then be determined by the rules of comparative negligence. This means that your judge will reduce your settlement by whatever percentage of fault was proven to be your own (if any).
For example, if your truck accident was caused by a drunk driver, but you were also proven to be speeding at the time, then your settlement may be reduced by up to 10%. This deduction will reflect your own liability. Because of these laws, it is highly recommended to have an experienced truck accident lawyer on your side to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Call our office today to organize a free consultation with our truck accident lawyers.
What About No-Fault Insurance?
Florida Statute 627.7407 makes clear that if you have been involved in any kind of car accident in Port Charlotte, then all of the drivers involved must rely on their own insurance company to make a claim. It does not matter who was actually at fault. So that your insurance company can cover this, all drivers in Florida are required to take out Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance with their auto insurance company.
PIP insurance should cover all common damages (i.e., medical bills and any lost wages). However, it does have a threshold. If your entire claim is not covered by your insurance company, then you may wish to file a separate lawsuit against the at-fault driver to make up the cost. It is recommended to have a personal injury lawyer if you wish to do this. Call The Law Place today to organize a free consultation with our personal injury lawyers.
There Is a Time Limit on Your Personal Injury Claim!
If you have recently been injured in a Port Charlotte car accident that was not your fault, then you must act quickly and hire an experienced truck accident attorney from our law firm. Florida Statute 95.11 outlines that after a car accident, there is a very strict statute of limitations on your personal injury claim. This statute of limitations means that you will have four years from the date of your car accident to put forward a claim. If these four years pass, then you will be unable to receive the compensation you deserve. In the unfortunate case, you have lost a loved one, then the statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is instead two years.
In addition to this, Florida Statute 627.736 explains that you must receive medical care within two weeks of your truck accident. You may seem fine, but some injuries can only be uncovered by a medical professional, such as internal bleeding. This statute is to ensure your safety, but it also for the respectable trucking companies and insurance companies involved. If you have not received medical attention within two weeks of an accident, then these companies can legally use this against you as a means to devalue or deny your claim.
Contact the personal injury lawyers at our law firm in Port Charlotte, FL., to organize a free consultation. Our accident lawyers will be able to make sure you meet all of the necessary legal deadlines to ensure you get the justice you deserve after a commercial truck accident.
Contact a Port Charlotte Truck Accident Attorney at The Law Place Today!
The Law Place is a law firm operating across the State of Florida, so if you have recently been involved in a truck accident in Port Charlotte, FL., it is easy to find a lawyer near you. The accident attorneys at our law firm possess over 75 years of combined experience in dealing with cases such as your own, and many are even AVVO 10.0 rated. We will use our wealth of skill and knowledge to ensure that all of our client’s rights are protected, and they can get the justice they deserve! Our accident attorneys realize how traumatic a truck accident can be and that compensation will not fix what you have been through. However, we hope it can be a step in the right direction for your recovery.
If you have suffered damages because of a Port Charlotte truck accident that was not your fault, then do not hesitate to contact The Law Place. We can offer you a free case evaluation with our dedicated accident lawyers so you can learn more about what we can do for you. Call us today to discuss your rights and get your answers questioned at (941) 444-4444. Phone lines are open 24 hours, 7 days a week!
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