Being a victim of a truck accident can be both mentally and physically devastating, and unfortunately, Florida is statistically one of the most dangerous states to be both a driver and a pedestrian. In the State of Florida, there are on average 400,000 car accidents a year, and truck accidents account for as many as one in ten highway deaths. Trucks weigh significantly more than a car (on average 77,000 pounds more), so it is easy to see why a truck accident can be so dangerous to all involved. Because of the potential severity, it is important to consider hiring a skilled truck accident attorney.
If you or somebody you know has been involved in a truck accident that was not your fault, then contact a personal injury lawyer at The Law Place as soon as possible! Our law firm has 75 years of combined experience in handling cases like your own, and many of our accident lawyers are AVVO 10.0 rated, so you can be confident that your case is in skilled hands. Contact The Law Place today to organize a free case evaluation with our accident attorneys and learn what we can do for you. Call us on (941) 444-4444. Phone lines are open 24/7.
What to Do After a Truck Accident in Venice, Florida
If you have recently been involved in a truck accident and are searching for some advice, here are some quick tips to be aware of at the accident scene. However, your health is the priority, so do not do anything that could put you at risk or if you do not feel stable enough.
- Call the emergency services – If you are stable, you should call 911 immediately. It is likely that witnesses would have done this already, but if not, it is a law that 911 are made aware of an accident as per Florida Statute 316.062.
- Gather witness contact information – It is recommended to collect any witness information. This includes their full names, phone numbers, address, and any details of what they saw.
- Take photos – As time goes on, it is likely that memories will fade. It is therefore important that you have as many photos of the accident scene as possible.
- Be careful of what you say – It is very likely the truck driver or trucking companies involved will try to place the blame on you and use what you say against you. So, you should avoid saying anything that could be seen as admitting fault. Even apologizing to the truck driver could be interpreted as admitting it was your fault. You do have to tell the truth when questioned by police, but you do not have to volunteer self-incriminating information – especially without a lawyer present.
- Seek medical care – This is for your own safety, but Florida Statute 627.736 also outlines that you are required to seek medical attention within two weeks of your trucking accident, or else an insurance company can deny or devalue your claim.
- Hire a truck accident lawyer – The trucking company will do whatever they can to devalue your claim, so act quickly to avoid a low ball settlement. Therefore it is ideal to hire your own experienced truck accident lawyer to prevent you from being exploited and not receiving the settlement value you deserve. Contact The Law Place today to organize a free consultation and learn what our team can do for you.
What Are Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Venice, FL?
Truck accidents in Florida can be caused by a multitude of reasons. Below are some common examples:
- Poor maintenance of the truck or cargo being carried – This includes failure to adequately maintain the safety systems of the truck, e.g., brakes, tires, axles, and/or headlights. Poor maintenance can easily cause a large truck to crash. In terms of cargo, truck drivers could overload the truck or incorrectly secure it. This can cause the driver to lose control due to the poor weight distribution of the cargo.
- Distracted driving – Over 50,000 accidents were caused by distracted driving in 2016, according to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. This includes being on your phone, eating/drinking whilst driving, talking to passengers, etc.
- Affected performance – Fatigued driving, driving under the influence, and driving with a serious health issue can all affect how well a truck driver can drive and react to hazards, hence increasing the likelihood of a truck crash.
- Adverse weather conditions – Florida is famously prone to periodic and potentially very heavy rainfall. This can easily increase the likelihood of a semi-truck crash as truck drivers become less able to control their vehicles.
- Poor road conditions – This includes issues such as potholes, missing stop signs, debris in the road, etc. In other words, it’s anything on the road that could cause a truck crash.
- The trucking companies – It is possible liability lies with the trucking company. If the trucking companies demonstrated negligent hiring, this could cause the employment of unqualified truck drivers or drivers with a bad record. This can increase the risk of a crash. Additionally, trucking companies can put pressure on their truck drivers to deliver quickly, and this can lead to speeding or driver fatigue, limiting their ability to drive safely.
What Are the Most Common Types of Truck Accidents in Florida?
There are five commonly recorded types of truck accidents that are seen in the State of Florida. The type of truck accident can influence the seriousness of any injuries or property damage. The five types are:
- Override – This is where a truck rear-ends a smaller vehicle on the road.
- Under-ride – This is the opposite of an override collision and is where a smaller vehicle rear-ends a large truck.
- Rollover – If truck drivers drive too fast around a corner, then large trucks can roll over due to their unbalanced height. This has the potential to cause damage if they land directly onto a close-by vehicle or road lane or can cause sudden blockages that lead to domino-effect collisions further on.
- Cargo spill – As simple as it sounds, it is when cargo falls from a commercial truck. This can cause a lot of damage, either through falling into the road where vehicles crash into the cargo or through directly crashing into vehicles.
- Head-on collision – Where the front end of the truck and other vehicle involved crash into each other when traveling in opposite directions. This can occur due to improper lane usage, e.g., traveling down a one-way road in the wrong direction.
Different types of truck accidents may result in different degrees of harm, but all are just as important as the next when attempting to seek legal justice. Call The Law Place today and organize a free consultation with a truck accident attorney from our law firm to see if you have a strong case.
What Injuries Can a Truck Accident Cause?
Because of their size, truck accidents can be very dangerous, and it is very likely you will have sustained some injuries in this type of crash. Examples of common injuries that are reported following truck accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Broke, fractured, or/and crushed bones.
- Head/brain injury.
- Organ damage.
- Internal bleeding.
- Spinal cord injury.
- Cuts, scrapes, and bruises.
- Missing limbs.
- Whiplash or another type of neck injury.
No matter the specifics of your injuries, if the trucking accident was not your fault and you have had to seek medical care, then you could be owed compensation. Trucking accidents can completely turn your world upside down, so call The Law Place today to speak to a personal injury lawyer and find out what you could be owed.
What Damages Could Be Owed Following a Venice Truck Accident?
A large truck collision has the potential to cause a wide range of damages, so a reasonable settlement is important in order to help your recovery. Here are some common examples of damages you could be owed following a collision with a commercial truck:
- Lost wages – It is likely that truck accident victims will require time off work to mentally and physically recover after their collision. For any wages you lost in this period, you will be able to include this in your settlement value. Similarly, if you cannot return to work or have to change your line of work (e.g., you have to change to a less physically demanding job), then you can claim a loss of earning potential.
- Pain and suffering – Pain and suffering is a type of damages that covers any emotional and physical suffering you endured because of the accident. It also covers loss of enjoyment in life. However, this is hard to prove, provide evidence for, and to calculate as a reasonable financial value. Therefore, it is best to have experienced personal injury lawyers on your side.
- Medical expenses – Accident victims are likely to have required medical treatment following a crash. For any medical bills you receive because of your accident, you will be able to claim back these costs in your final settlement, but you must have evidence for all of these expenses. If your injuries are permanent, you may also be able to include any projected future costs too, e.g., if you have to have ongoing treatment or need to make your house wheelchair friendly.
- Property damage – Because of the severe damage a crash can cause, it is possible to claim back any unavoidable repair or replacement costs you encountered because of damage to your vehicle. You do need to keep any bills as evidence to receive this compensation.
- Wrongful death – If you have sadly lost a loved one in a commercial truck accident, you are able to file a wrongful death lawsuit under Florida Statute 768.21. A settlement from a wrongful death lawsuit will likely cover all funeral expenses and loss of consortium.
Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident in Florida?
A truck accident in Florida can have many different causes, as well as a multitude of different parties who can be found liable for the accident.
- Truck driver – Every driver in Florida owes a duty of care to behave as any reasonable person would in order to protect others around them. If this duty is breached for whatever reason (e.g., through speeding or driving under the influence) and this breach causes the collision, then the truck driver can be found liable.
- Trucking company – If the trucking company has been negligent, e.g., through negligent hiring or enforcing illegal hours on their truck drivers, then they can be found liable.
- Truck manufacturer – If a manufacturer produces and distributes a defective part that causes an accident, they can be found liable under product liability.
- Truck maintenance crew – A maintenance crew has a duty of care to ensure the vehicle is safe and in a workable condition. If they fail to notice an obvious defect that then causes an accident, they can be held liable.
- Government entity – If your truck accident was caused by something under government jurisdiction, e.g., a missing stop sign or a dangerous pothole, the relevant authority could be held liable.
How Does Comparative Negligence Affect My Case?
Florida personal injury law operates using comparative negligence laws, as described in Florida Statute 768.81. This means that multiple parties can be found liable if necessary. Courts will assign liability and then award a settlement based on this. For example, if your truck accident was mostly caused by the truck driver being intoxicated, but you were also proven to be speeding, then the Judge may reduce your settlement by up to 10%. This reduction will reflect your own liability in the collision.
What Is No-Fault Insurance?
Florida Statute 627.7407 explains that no-fault laws mean that if you’re in an accident, then all parties involved must rely on their respective insurance companies to make claims, regardless of who is at fault. Because of this, drivers in Florida must have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance within their auto insurance policy.
PIP insurance covers any medical bills and lost wages, as well as any other costs (e.g., childcare costs). However, PIP insurance does have a threshold. If your expenses go over a certain amount, then you may have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to make up this gap.
The Clock Is Ticking!
If you or a loved one have recently been injured in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, then it is vital you act as soon as possible and hire an experienced truck accident lawyer. Florida Statute 95.11 explains that in Florida, there is a very strict time limit on how long you will have after your accident before you are unable to receive compensation. The statute of limitations means that after a truck accident in Florida, you will have four years from the date of your crash to present your case before it is permanently barred. If you have sadly lost a loved one and wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit, this time limit is reduced to two years. If these time limits pass, it means you will legally not be allowed to claim back any costs.
Additionally, as per Florida Statute 627.736, you will be required to seek medical treatment within two weeks of a car accident. This is not only for your own health and safety, but it is also for insurance companies. If two weeks elapse, then insurance companies or the trucking company can use this fact to devalue or completely deny your claim.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney at The Law Place Today!
If you have been a victim of a truck accident that was not your fault, then contact The Law Place today. Our attorneys recognize how catastrophic the fallout of such a collision can be and will do everything in our power to ensure our clients get the compensation they deserve. With 75 years of combined experience in dealing with cases such as your own, you can be confident our personal injury lawyers will be doing their very best and can guarantee a dedicated, confidential attorney-client relationship.
If you are looking to hire a truck accident attorney, then contact The Law Place today to organize a free consultation with a member of our team and learn what we can do for you. Call us at (941) 444-4444. Phone lines are open 24 hours, 7 days a week.