Truck accidents are a particularly stressful and traumatizing experience as they often result in serious injury or death. Statistics by The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles indicate that, on average, over 32,000 truck accidents happen on the roads of Florida each year. In 2019, these collisions resulted in 33 fatalities in addition to over a thousand injuries. 18-wheeler truck accidents are also more likely to result in victims suffering far more severe injuries due to the size and weight of the vehicles.
For many victims, getting compensation for injuries can be long and difficult, often resulting in them being ripped off by their insurance company and having to go out of pocket to pay for their medical care. Filing a personal injury claim is usually the best way to get fairly compensated, as the majority of these claims result in settlements. There are no average truck accident settlements but having the backing of an experienced accident attorney will increase your chances of receiving a much higher amount.
Here at The Law Place, we have been managing these cases for over 75 years, and our personal injury lawyers are experienced in getting our client’s large settlements for semi-truck accidents. Our law firm offers a free consultation where you can receive skilled legal advice from an accident attorney regarding your case. If you have been involved in a truck accident, you should contact us as soon as possible to ensure that you are adequately compensated for the harm you’ve suffered.
Call us today at (941) 444-4444 to schedule a free consultation. Our phone lines are always open.
Establishing Liability for 18-Wheeler Truck Accidents
In order to receive any sort of compensation for your 18-wheeler truck accident in Florida, it is necessary to demonstrate that another party is liable for your injuries. In these types of cases, there may be a number of parties who are possibly at fault. An experienced truck accident attorney can investigate your case to determine which party you should file an injury claim against to ensure you receive a fair settlement. Some people that could be at fault include:
- The driver – For most victims, the first party they suspect to be at fault for the accident is the truck driver themselves. Semi-truck drivers are required to work long hours, which can result in them being fatigued or driving recklessly. Some examples of reckless driving include driving under the influence (DUI), speeding, using their phone while driving, or failing to obey traffic signals.
- The trucking company – It is common for trucking companies in Florida to overwork their employees by making them drive for long hours and setting strict deadlines for them to meet. Additionally, trucking companies may try to cut operating costs by not carrying out vehicle maintenance or failing to perform background checks on employees. In these situations, a victim can try to get a settlement from the trucking company for the harm they’ve suffered.
- Truck manufacturers – It may be the case that an 18-wheeler truck accident was caused by faulty or defective parts. If so, the truck manufacturer can be held liable for the accident.
- Loading companies – If a tractor-trailer has been incorrectly stacked or has been overloaded, the loading company may be the at-fault party.
To ensure that you receive a fair settlement and to find out who was at fault for your 18-wheeler truck accident in Florida, you should contact our law firm and arrange a free case evaluation today.
Determining the Amount of an 18-Wheeler Truck Accident Settlement
Every truck accident settlement is different, and there is no real way of determining what an average one is. However, depending on the level of harm you suffered, an accident attorney can fight to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation possible. Some damages that they could try and claim for you include:
- Medical bills – If you have been injured in the accident, you can make a claim to recover any medical expenses. This could include medical bills for hospital appointments, transport to and from these appointments, and if you have long-lasting injuries, you can claim future medical bills.
- Lost wages – As 18-wheeler truck accidents are often severe, victims may be put out of work for a long period of time. If you are in this situation, you can recover any lost wages, including potential future earnings.
- Pain and suffering – Physical injuries are often only part of the harm that victims suffer. These types of accidents can be traumatizing and can result in victims being physically or emotionally distressed. A personal injury attorney can increase your settlement by filing for pain and suffering damages to compensate you for your distress.
- Property damage – If your vehicle or valuable items contained inside were damaged in the accident, you could make a claim to cover repair or replacement costs.
- Wrongful death – If you have lost a loved one in an 18-wheeler accident, you can file a wrongful death claim against the party responsible to cover funeral costs and a loss of consortium.
Florida law allows you to file for multiple types of damages for the same 18-wheeler accident, provided you can prove your harm to a court. Your truck accident settlement value can be increased by filing for different damages and by having the backing of an experienced personal injury attorney to help you with your claim.
Factors That Influence Commercial Truck Accident Settlements
Aside from the damages you can claim from an 18-wheeler accident, there are a number of different factors that will influence the amount of money you receive from your settlement. Some main influencing factors include:
- The extent of the injuries you’ve suffered.
- The length of time you have been unable to work.
- The limits of the insurance policy both you and the truck driver have.
- Circumstances surrounding the accident.
- The costs of your medical expenses and bills.
To ensure that the settlement amount for your commercial truck accident in Florida is as high as possible, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer who can build a strong injury case on your behalf.
Typical Injuries Resulting From 18-Wheeler Truck Accidents
To receive compensation for any motor vehicle accident, it is necessary to show that you suffered some sort of injury or property damage. Some common physical injuries resulting from large truck accidents include:
- Fractured, sprained, and broken bones.
- Bruises, cuts, and gashes.
- Spinal cord injuries.
- Brain injuries, including traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- Injuries to the neck, including whiplash.
- Wrongful death.
The settlement you are awarded will be higher if the injuries you suffered are more severe. It is important that you keep all of your medical records, including hospital bills, medication, and any proof of lost wages resulting from your injuries. A lawyer will use this documentation to ensure that your accident claim is successful and that you receive the highest settlement possible.
How Do I Get Awarded Damages From a Commercial Vehicle Accident?
Florida Law requires that you contact your own insurance company immediately following any truck or car accident. In general, you have 48 hours from the time of the accident to contact them. However, this will depend on your particular policy. It is also a requirement that all drivers in Florida have personal injury protection (PIP) of at least $10,000 in addition to property coverage of the same amount. This is to ensure that those involved in an accident are able to receive some sort of compensation for their pain and suffering.
In many cases, and particularly with large truck accidents, the amount of compensation required to cover medical costs and other expenses goes far beyond the limits of their own policy. It is possible to make a claim against the insurance companies of the other parties involved but this can be difficult, particularly if you are attempting to file a claim against a large trucking company. In addition, the truck driver may also have a low level of coverage that does not cover your expenses.
If this is the case, your only option may be to file a personal injury claim to ensure that you are adequately compensated for your pain and suffering. By doing this, you increase your chances of receiving compensation, and you are more likely to get a larger settlement.
Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Laws
Florida Statute 627.7407 provides that if you have been involved in an accident, the amount of compensation you receive will depend on your level of fault. If you are found to be partly responsible for a semi-truck accident, the settlement you receive will be reduced accordingly. For example, if a judge determines that you were 40% at fault for the accident because you were negligent at the time the crash occurred, for example, if you were using your phone while driving, the value of your settlement will be reduced by 40%.
It is recommended that you speak with an accident attorney who can ensure that you are not found to be at fault for your accident. This way, they can prevent you from losing out on money that you are owed for the harm you’ve suffered.
What to Do if You’ve Been Involved in a Truck Crash in Florida
Many people are unsure of what to do when they get involved in a collision on the roads of Florida. It is important that you take a number of steps to ensure that you not only receive the maximum amount of compensation possible but also to ensure your own safety. These steps include:
- Ensuring your own safety – It is essential that you get to safety as soon as possible following a tractor-trailer accident. You should get a safe distance from the accident scene to prevent yourself from being injured further.
- Seek medical assistance – The next step you should take is to check whether you have been injured and also if the other parties involved have been injured, if possible. We recommend that you seek medical attention regardless of whether you have suffered serious injuries or not. This will be important for your claim and to ensure that any injuries that you are unaware of are noticed. Additionally, if you want to seek compensation for your injuries, Florida Statute 627.736 requires that you get them seen within two weeks.
- Contact law enforcement – It is required that you call the police as soon as possible following the accident to report it to them. They will write up a police report and gather evidence that will be essential for your claim.
- Gather information from the truck driver and witnesses – You should collect the personal information of both the truck driver involved and witnesses to the scene, including full names, driver information, vehicle registration number, contact details, and insurance information.
- Contact your insurance company – As noted above, the law requires that you speak with your insurance company immediately following an accident. When speaking with them, we recommend that you don’t give too much information as it is common for insurance companies to devalue your claim using the information you’ve given them.
- Speak with an attorney – Once you have done all of this, you should seek legal assistance from an injury lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that you get the settlement you deserve.
Contact The Law Place Today
If you or a loved one have been involved in an 18-wheeler truck accident in Florida and are wondering what type of settlement you can get, you should speak with our law firm today. We have over 75 years of combined experience in multiple practice areas, meaning you will benefit from a wide range of skills and knowledge. Although there is no average settlement for these types of cases, our lawyers can use their experience to advise you on what type of settlement you could get for your accident claim.
We offer a free consultation where you can receive skilled legal advice with no strings attached. This means you don’t have to commit to a lawyer if you are worried that you may not be able to get a good settlement.
Call us today at (941) 444-4444 to schedule a free consultation. Our phone lines are always open.