After the Truck Accident
If you or a loved one are suffering after a collision with a large truck in or around Tampa, there are a few things that you should do:
Report The Crash
Report the crash to the Tampa Police Department if you haven’t already. It’s also helpful to get a copy of the police report. If you don’t have it yet, don’t let that hold you back from consulting a lawyer.
Get Medical Care
If you haven’t been to a doctor, go now. Your options include going to your doctor, a clinic, or an emergency room. You have to document your truck accident injuries.
You should start collecting evidence right away. Do you have photos from the crash? Make sure you back them up. Do you know the names and numbers of witnesses? Keep that information safe. Also, make sure to get copies of your medical records and other documents.
The trucking company and their insurer will be ahead of you. They probably sent out investigators to the crash site immediately. That’s why hiring a semi-truck accident lawyer is essential. You need someone who knows how to investigate and collect evidence in these situations.
Call a Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents aren’t the same as car crashes. You need a lawyer experienced with Florida truck accident laws and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. You need someone like Brett, who has handled similar truck accident claims before.
Fault in Truck Accident Cases
The at-fault party is the negligent one. Negligence is a failure to uphold a duty of care that causes harm. Every driver has a responsibility to act like a reasonably prudent driver under the circumstances. Simply, every driver is responsible for obeying traffic laws and being careful.
To win compensation after a truck crash, you have to show someone had a duty of care toward you but failed to uphold it. You have to point out what they did wrong. Then you have to connect their behavior to the crash and your injuries. Working with a lawyer helps because there are multiple elements to prove. You need plenty of evidence about what happened and your injuries.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Some common causes of truck accidents include:
- Drowsy driving
- Violating Hours of Service regulations
- Distracted driving
- Following too closely
- Braking too late
- Blind spots
- Improper merging or lane changes
- Driving impaired due to drugs or alcohol
- Other driver errors
It’s common for truck accidents to happen because of the driver. That isn’t always true, though. Brett will get to the bottom of what happened. Lousy weather, poorly maintained roads, and vehicle defects could be to blame. Trucking companies hiring untrained or unlicensed drivers could be the problem, too.
Truck Accident Liability
You have to figure out who caused the crash. Then, you have to determine who is liable for compensating you for your truck accident injuries. Sometimes, in truck wrecks, the at-fault and liable parties are different. Although one person caused the wreck, another is responsible for paying.
Parties that could be liable for the crash include:
- Truck driver
- Maintenance provider
- Another motorist
We often pursue payment from the at-fault party’s employer. If the trucker caused the crash, then this usually means the trucking company. Employers are typically liable for the damage their employees cause while on duty.
A trucking company can be liable if we learn the business knew – or should have known – the trucker couldn’t safely operate the vehicle. Yet, it handed over the keys anyway.
If we find a design or manufacturing defect in the truck, we’ll file a product liability lawsuit. There are different laws and rules for product defect claims. Brett can help with these complicated cases.
Defenses in Truck Accident Claims
Those responsible will try and deny or limit their liability. A trucking company and their insurer will want to pay you as little as possible. They might try to push into a lowball settlement. They may blame you or someone else. These issues are why it’s crucial to have a truck accident lawyer. Brett can prepare you for these arguments.
- Comparative Negligence: The truck driver might blame you for the crash. We fight back against these allegations. Even if you contributed to the accident, you could receive compensation. Your amount of fault will reduce your recovery.
- Intervening Cause: The liable party might argue that some other event broke the link between its negligence and your injuries. In other words, a third party’s actions were so significant that they’re liable instead.
- No Duty of Care: Some parties relevant to a truck accident claim might argue they didn’t owe you a duty of care. If they didn’t owe you a specific standard of care, they couldn’t be held liable.
- No Proximate Cause: There are two types of causation. One is “cause, in fact.” If not for Event A, then Event B wouldn’t have happened. To win a settlement or verdict, you also have to prove proximate cause, and it’s trickier. You must show your injuries were a foreseeable risk of the other party’s negligent behavior.
Types of Commercial Trucks
- Flatbed trucks
- Dump trucks
- Tow trucks
- Cement trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Tanker trucks
- USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL trucks
Common Truck Accidents
- Head-on accidents
- Rear-end accidents
- Jackknife accidents
- Rollover accidents
- Tire blowouts
- Brake failure accidents
- Runaway truck accidents
- Backing-up accidents
- Left-turn accidents
- Right-turn accidents
- Underride accidents
- Override accidents
- Side-impact accidents
- Cargo spills
- Cargo overload accidents
Truck Accident Compensation
Use your health and auto insurance to cover your injuries. Your Personal Injury Protection and other policies can pay some bills. But your insurance won’t cover everything. You have to use a truck accident lawsuit to demand more.
You may get compensation for:
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of employment benefits
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Property damage
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Loss of spousal relationship
Though rare and capped, you might be able to win punitive damages after a truck crash if you can prove intentional misconduct or gross negligence. You might win punitive damages up to $500,000 or three times your compensatory damages.