In a Florida Truck Accident?
What to do next
Truck accidents can be very serious, and they can result in catastrophic injuries or even death. If you have been injured in a truck accident in Florida, it is important to know what to do next. Here are some important steps to take:
- Stay calm and assess your injuries. If you are able, move to a safe location away from traffic. If you are injured, call 911 for medical assistance.
- Exchange information with the truck driver and any witnesses. This includes their name, address, insurance information, and driver’s license number.
- Take pictures of the accident scene. This includes damage to your vehicle, the truck, and the surrounding area.
- File a police report. This is important to document the accident and to help you with your insurance claim.
- See a doctor. Even if you don’t think you are injured, it is important to see a doctor to get checked out. Some injuries, such as concussions, may not be immediately apparent.
- Contact your insurance company. Let them know about the accident and file a claim.
- Get legal help. If you have been seriously injured, you may want to consider getting legal help from a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options, and they can help you get the compensation you deserve.
If you have been injured in a truck accident in Florida, it is important to take these steps to protect your rights. By following these steps, you can increase your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.
When is a vehicle considered a “truck” in a lawsuit?
…and why is it important?
Legally speaking, its important to understand what is classified as a truck because it can affect the liability of the parties involved. For example, if a car collides with a truck / commercial vehicle, the car driver may be found at-fault if the truck was properly operated and was not violating any traffic laws. However, circumstances may change if the truck was overloaded, the driver was fatigued, or found in violation of company policy.
Determining when a vehicle is a truck in a truck accident lawsuit involves:
- Size, Weight, Purpose, Registration / Licensing: Trucks are typically larger and heavier than cars. but this may not always be the determining factor. For example, a van that is used to transport construction materials may be considered a truck, while a truck registered as personal transportation may not be.
Vehicles classified as trucks in a lawsuit could include:
- Garbage / dump trucks
- Tow trucks
- Tanker trucks
- Concrete mixers
- Construction transports
- Delivery trucks
- Logging haulers
- Flatbed trailers
- Post Office mail trucks
- UPS / FedEx trucks
Trucker Fatigue: A Serious Safety Hazard
Trucker fatigue is a serious safety hazard that can lead to accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Federal regulations are implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to limit the number of hours that truckers can drive during the week, but these regulations are often ignored.
The consequences of trucker fatigue can be deadly. In 2023, there was approximately 4,200 fatal crashes involving large trucks in the United States. Of these crashes, 815 were attributed to driver fatigue.
Truck lobby groups argue that regulations are too restrictive and make it difficult for their members to make a living, while safety advocates argue the regulations are not strict enough.
Not all truck accidents are a result of fatigue, some other factors include:
- Using electronic devices while driving
- Not properly securing cargo
- Exceeding weight and/or size limits
- Losing control during adverse weather conditions
- Operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol
How a Florida truck accident attorney at Winegar Law can help
- Investigating the accident: Our truck accident attorneys will investigate the accident to determine who was at fault. We will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and consult with experts to build a strong case.
- Negotiating with insurance companies: We will negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf to get you the maximum compensation possible. We have a proven track record of success in getting our clients fair settlements.
- Going to court: If necessary, we will take your case to court to fight for your rights. We have the experience and resources to win your case.
- Fighting for the compensation you deserve: We work tirelessly to recover for your injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Recovering damages after a Florida truck accident
If you have been injured in a truck accident in Florida, you may be entitled to recover damages for your losses. The types of damages that you can recover will depend on the specific circumstances of your case.
Some of the most common types of damages that are recoverable in Florida truck accidents include:
- Medical expenses: This includes the cost of all medical treatment that you have received or will need to receive in the future, including doctor’s visits, hospital stays, surgery, and prescription medications.
- Lost wages: This includes the money that you have lost or will lose as a result of being unable to work due to your injuries.
- Pain and suffering: This is a non-economic form of damages that compensates you for the physical and emotional pain and suffering that you have experienced as a result of the accident.
- Property damage: This includes the cost of repairing or replacing any property that was damaged in the accident, such as your car or your belongings.
- Loss of consortium: This is a type of damages that is available to spouses who have been injured in a truck accident. It compensates them for the loss of the companionship, love, and support of their spouse.
You may also be able to recover other damages. Punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant for their reckless or intentional conduct. Emotional distress damages are awarded to compensate you for the emotional pain and suffering that you have experienced, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
The amount of damages that you can recover depends on the specific circumstances of your case:
- The severity of your injuries
- Amount of lost wages
- Determining percentage of fault
Here are some additional tips for recovering damages after a Florida truck accident:
- Get medical attention immediately. This is important to document your injuries and to start the process of getting treatment.
- File a police report. This is important to document the accident and help understand who was at fault.
- Gather evidence. Take pictures of the accident scene, getting the names and contact information of witnesses, and preserving any medical records or other documentation related to your injuries.
- Hire an attorney. An experienced Florida truck accident lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options, and help you navigate complex legal procedures.
7 Mistakes to avoid when dealing with a Florida truck accident
- Admitting fault. Even if you think you are at fault, it is important to avoid admitting fault to the other driver or to the insurance company. Anything you say can be used against you later.
- Signing anything from the insurance company. The insurance company may try to get you to sign a release or a settlement agreement before you have had a chance to fully understand your legal rights. Do not sign anything without first talking to an attorney.
- Not getting medical attention. Even if you do not think you are injured, it is important to get medical attention after a truck accident. Some injuries, such as concussions, may not be immediately apparent.
- Not taking pictures of the accident scene. Taking pictures of the accident scene can help you document the accident and to prove your case later.
- Not getting the names and contact information of witnesses. Witnesses can provide valuable information about the accident, such as what happened and who was at fault.
- Not hiring an attorney. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options, and they can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
- Waiting too long to file a claim. Time limits exist for filing an accident claim in Florida, also known as the statute of limitations.
Cities in Florida where the most truck accidents occur
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the following cities have a higher percentage of truck accidents compared to others in the state:
- Orlando: Major transportation hub with many theme parks and tourist attractions.
- Tampa: Home to a large seaport making it a vital destination for trucks
- Miami: Major shipping port and popular tourist destination.
- Fort Lauderdale: Large airport and core trucking routes
- Jacksonville: The largest city in Florida.
Some reasons why these cities have the most truck accidents are:
- High traffic volume, Heavy truck traffic, Congestion, Weather conditions
Florida is known for its hot weather and rain, which can make the roads slippery and dangerous. This can lead to more accidents, especially involving trucks.
Here are some tips to help avoid truck accidents:
- Give trucks plenty of space when driving.
- Do not tailgate trucks.
- Be patient and do not try to pass trucks in dangerous situations.
- If you see a truck that is driving erratically, pull over and let it pass.