Florida’s roads see many large trucks pass through, and although all types of motor vehicle accidents have the potential for great harm when trucks are involved, the likelihood is that it is a serious crash. The size and weight of trucks also result in the possibility that more than one vehicle is affected.
Truck accident victims are commonly left with severe and life-changing injuries and trauma, leading to financial burdens.
If you or a loved one has been in an accident with a truck, then contact The Law Place today. We are committed to fighting for the compensation you deserve, and with over 7 decades of combined experience, we have the knowledge and skills necessary to support your truck accident case.
Trucking companies often have large insurance firms behind them, and they won’t pay out large amounts easily. But with an attorney by your side, the proper evidence can be obtained to show why you deserve compensation.
We offer a free consultation, so you have nothing to lose by giving us a call. Contact us today at (941) 444-4444.
Move Somewhere Safe
Check-in with yourself and anyone else in your car. If you are able to, then move somewhere safe, out of the way of oncoming traffic. However, if anyone is seriously injured, then you may need to stay where you are.
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Following an accident with a large truck, you must call 911. In accordance with Florida Statute 316.062, if there has been personal injury or serious property damage, then you must call the police to the scene. If a large truck is involved, then this is likely always true.
When the police arrive, they will want to know what happened leading up to the collision. Try and get the details of the officer as they will make a police report which could be a good source of information for your attorney when investigating your truck accident case. Although generally, they cannot be presented to the court as evidence.
The Value of a Police Report
The police report could contain:
- Sketch of the accident scene.
- The police officer’s opinion about who was at fault.
- Statements from each involved party.
- Witness statements.
- Contact information for each involved driver.
When you agree to representation from The Law Place, one of our truck accident attorneys will become your advocate. They will review the police report and work with experts and investigators to help prove liability. For example, an accident reconstruction specialist may be brought in to create a report that can be used as evidence.
It is not uncommon for insurance companies for trucking companies to engage in aggressive defense tactics. They will look for a way to blame you and limit their liability. Florida Statute 768.81, or Florida comparative fault law, means that the insurance company can look for ways to limit their liability (and therefore the amount they have to pay out in compensation), even if the truck driver was clearly at fault for the accident. For example, they may argue that you were in the truck driver’s blind spot, and therefore you were 30% at fault for the accident. If they are successful, this will reduce your compensation by 30%.
If the insurance company attempts these sorts of tactics, then your attorney can look at the police report to build evidence that clearly shows the liability of the driver in order to secure fair compensation for your losses.
Collect Evidence at the Accident Scene
If you are able to, then you should collect evidence at the scene that could benefit your truck accident claim. This helps to preserve details and prevents them from being falsified or altered. If you are unable to, see if you can ask someone else to do it for you. Valuable evidence from the scene of the accident could include:
- Get the name and contact information of any witnesses. They will act as an unbiased witness and could be invaluable in your case. The police may also ask them to give a statement.
- Exchange information with any other drivers involved, their phone number, insurance information and car details, the name of the trucking carrier, and the number of the truck. This information could help speed up the claims process.
- Take photos of the damage, the road, tire skid marks, injuries, and anything else that could be relevant.
- As soon as you can, write down everything you remember about the accident.
Get Medical Help
Following a truck accident, seeking immediate medical attention is essential. Because of the disparities between the size and weight of commercial trucks and other vehicles, truck accidents often result in serious injuries.
Certain injuries following a road traffic accident are not always obvious right away, especially when adrenaline is high. For example, internal injuries, a traumatic brain injury, or severe whiplash may not always be immediately obvious. It is essential you seek a medical evaluation to get a clear picture of your physical condition. If you don’t, you could unknowingly make your condition worse.
From the perspective of obtaining fair compensation, it is also a good idea to seek medical attention quickly. In accordance with Florida Statute 627.736, you have 14 days to seek medical care after an incident if you wish to make a claim. However, in reality, the sooner, the better, as it will be easier to prove the correlation between the accident and your injuries.
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Talk to a Truck Accident Attorney
It is a good idea to talk to a truck accident lawyer quickly after an accident. They will prepare you for the next steps and advise you about how to keep your case strong. Once you agree to representation, they can also speak with insurance companies on your behalf.
For example, an insurance adjuster from the trucking companies will likely send investigators to the scene of the accident to start building a case. They may also contact you for a signed statement. You should not provide any statement or sign any documents without speaking to an attorney first. They may be eager to offer you a low settlement in hopes you will accept and prevent yourself from being able to fight for more. Or they may look for you to admit liability in some way.
Speak to Your Insurance Company
Most insurance policies give you a time frame in which you have to report any accident. Often this is 24 hours, but it can be different depending on your policy.
It is important not to admit any liability, even to your own insurance company. Initially, you just need to tell them that an accident occurred, try and keep to the strict facts of your case, and nothing more. Once you have a truck accident lawyer, they can handle the communication for you to ensure that you do not accidentally harm your case.
Steps Taken With Your Truck Accident Attorney
At this point, you may have decided to hire an experienced truck accident attorney, or you may decide to handle the battle on your own. Either way, the next steps will include:
Find Out Who the Truck Driver Was Employed By
Trucking companies are vicariously liable for the negligent actions of their employees, so long as, at the time of the accident, the employee was acting within the scope of their employment. This means that once you prove who the truck driver was employed by, you can seek compensation from their employer.
Draft a Demand Letter
Once your claim has been investigated and liable parties have been identified, a draft demand letter can be formulated and sent to the insurance companies. Other liable parties may include the truck driver, the trucking company, a mechanic, truck manufacturer, another driver, and a body responsible for maintaining the road.
This letter should include details of your injuries and the amount you are demanding to settle your claim. Your settlement amount should include the cost of medical bills and lost wages both present and future, as well as the cost of property damage and a figure designed to compensate you for your emotional suffering. Your attorney will help you to evidence the amount they believe you should be owed.
Following negotiations, the insurance company can accept it, deny it, or make a counteroffer. If a fair settlement cannot be agreed upon, your attorney will help you decide whether to accept a lower offer, continue negotiating, or pressure a lawsuit.
Most personal injury cases never go to court. This benefits all parties as court cases can take a long time and cost a lot of money. However, if your case does warrant a lawsuit, then you need to make sure you have an attorney who is prepared to fight your case in court and has a history of successful court cases.
Contact The Law Place Today
Serious truck accident cases are far too frequent in Florida, and victims are often left with severe physical injuries and emotional trauma. Any car accident is frightening, but when a commercial truck is involved, it can be especially traumatic.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, then you should seek help from a reputable law firm such as The Law Place.
Most of our attorneys are AVVO rated 10.0, the highest possible rating. This has been based on awards, years in service, client reviews, and more. With your permission, we discuss your case as a team so that it can benefit from our combined knowledge and experience. At the same time, one of our attorneys is assigned to your case to be your advocate and be on hand to offer support and guidance.
At The Law Place, you get the intimacy of a small firm and the resources and knowledge of a larger firm. You receive a knowledgeable advocate while a team of attorneys supports your case.
Our phone lines are open 24/7, so contact us now! Call us at (941) 444-4444 and schedule your free case review.