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Truck accidents are the leading cause of death by accidents. Statistics dictate that at least 500000 truck accidents occur every year, and approximately 5000 people die due to truck accidents.
Truck accidents are the most dangerous because of the trucks’ size; consequently, most people sustain severe injuries and even death.
Where the victim has sustained serious injuries, they are forced to take care of their medical bill, which is very expensive, and most people cannot afford it because they do not have an insurance cover.
Also, the truck companies are usually quick to arrive at the accident scene with their lawyers. In most cases, car accident victims do not usually know what steps to take because of their physical state at the time of the accident.
However, various legal measures ought to be taken in such situations. This is why the victims often need a truck accident lawyer who will take all the important legal measures required in such a situation.
These truck accident lawyers are well trained and skilled in dealing with such cases. They ensure that the victim receives the appropriate remedies for the physical, financial, and emotional damages that may have been suffered.
The Different Types Of Trucks
There are various types of big trucks:
The Parties In A Truck Accident Claim
- The victim – the person who has been hit by a truck
- Truck driver
- Hiring company that contracts with the driver
- The trucking company that contracts with the hiring company
- Truck manufacturer
- Shipper or manufacturer of materials on the truck (especially where the materials in the truck are dangerous or inflammable)
What Causes Truck Accidents?
The various causes of accidents include:
Time Limitation In Truck Accident Claims
Truck accident lawyers often institute accident claims immediately for the following reasons:
Truck Log Deadlines
A trucking company is expected to keep logbooks for six months. The truck driver, however, only has to keep theirs for seven days. This means that a delay in filing a suit could lead to incriminating evidence being lost forever.
Statute of Limitations
You must file a lawsuit for a trucking claim brought in Florida within four (4) years of the accident date. If an uninsured motorist claims, the deadline is extended to five years. However, if it is a claim against a municipality or other government entity, the statute of limitations is only two years.
The Role Of A Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents are very dangerous, and it can be difficult to pursue compensation for the victims. Therefore, victims are advised to get themselves a truck accident attorney to help them get compensation. The truck accident attorney shall carry out the following roles:
It is difficult to determine liability in truck accidents because there are multiple parties involved in the accident i.e., the truck driver, the truck company, the truck contractor, the truck manufacturer, and the insurance company.
By contracting a truck accident attorney, the attorney will be in charge of determining the liable parties, and the victim shall not be overburdened by the need to find the responsible party. The attorney shall do this by engaging in a fact-finding mission where the attorney shall seek to establish the following:
Finding Important Evidence
Accident attorneys are familiar with the rules of evidence. Therefore, they are better positioned to uncover the necessary and important evidence that will benefit their victim’s case.
Most truck companies often send their attorneys to the accident scene, and they may conceal important evidence. However, suppose you contract an accident attorney. In that case, they will obtain important evidence and explain how the accident occurred and why the other party is liable.
Communicating With The Insurance Company
A truck accident attorney will find out all the insurance covers available and obtain the policy documents to enable the attorney to determine what amount will be payable as compensation.
The attorney will also prepare a demand letter that will be issued to the insurance company. The truck accident attorney is skilled and experienced in dealing with insurance companies; therefore, the attorney can negotiate on the victim’s behalf for the amount payable as compensation.
Coordinate The Victim’s Medical Treatment
The truck accident attorney shall coordinate the victim’s treatment by ensuring that the victim receives sufficient medical attention. In the process, the attorney will be able to keep a record of the victim’s pain and trauma which will be important when claiming compensation.
The coordination of treatment also ensures that the record of the victim’s expenses is kept, and any future medical treatments that shall be required are also tracked.
Providing competent legal guidance and advice
Contacting a truck accident attorney is advantageous as the attorney will guide the victim through all the claim stages. A truck accident experienced attorney will be able to deal with the complexity of truck accident cases.
A skilled accident attorney deals with a victim’s rights as the victim focuses on their recovery where they sustained serious injuries. The attorney shall carefully analyze the situation and determine whether the case can be settled outside court or it has to be taken for trial before the court.
Contact one of our experienced attorneys now and get your free case evaluation. We serve clients throughout Florida and have offices in Tampa, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Brooksville.
Types Of Lawsuits That Can Be Instituted Under Truck Accidents
This lawsuit is instituted when the truck accident was due to the driver’s negligence. Various traffic rules regulate the conduct of truck drivers while on the road. However, most of the accidents that occur result from the drivers’ disregard of the traffic rules.
A truck accident can result from the driver’s error where; the driver was driving under the influence of drugs, careless driving, driving beyond the speed limit, driver fatigue, not performing inspections, and disregarding traffic rules. The common cause of truck accidents is driver fatigue because these drivers often drive for long distances, and they rarely have time to get enough rest.
Trucking Company Error
Most trucking companies always focus on making profits, which can make them neglect certain rules, hence causing truck accidents. The truck company can act negligently by failing to maintain their trucks, failing to monitor their drivers, and hiring incompetent drivers. Some companies have a poor working schedule, which contributes to the drivers’ fatigue and bad working conditions, hence causing the accidents.
In such cases, the trucking company can be held liable for the truck accident. The federal government recognizes the trucking company’s ability to contribute to the fatigue of a driver, hence causing an accident. The federal government has put in place regulations regarding the hours a driver can be on the road, the time off that a driver can take in between shifts, and the number of hours a driver can log in a given week.
Cargo Loader Error
Most trucks are cargo trucks that facilitate the transportation of cargo from one location to another. Truck accidents can occur due to the shipment being improperly loaded on the truck. Overloading can also cause truck accidents. Therefore, the cargo loader can be held liable where the accident is a result of the cargo loader’s error.
Injuries In Truck Accidents
Truck accidents are often catastrophic, and the victims sustain various injuries, and in worse situations, it can also amount to the victim’s death. The victim can be compensated for these injuries in the form of monetary damages. The victims can seek damages for the following injuries:
Regulations Providing For The Safety Of Trucks
Determining who is liable for a truck accident can be complicated. The truck company may be at fault, and the truck driver may bear some responsibility, the maintenance company may have neglected their duties, or the loading company may have overloaded or improperly loaded the truck.
The law governing truck accidents is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration FMCSA, born out of the Federal Highway Administration in 2000 to protect and reduce motor carrier accidents and injuries on the US roads.
The FMCSA provides several measures to prevent the occurrence of truck accidents;
The FMCSA enhances the measures above by increasing data-driven policies, developing safety information, providing education messages for carriers, drivers, and the general public, and working together with other stakeholders such as law enforcement officers to increase safety.
FMCSA covers a wide range of carriers, from passenger carriers to freight motor carriers and drivers. Their work is to prevent truck crashes and save lives lost from truck accidents every year. Trucks operating in US highways and roads must strictly follow the United States Department of Transport Regulations, regulating transport safety.
The National Transport Safety Board, an independent agency, is responsible for investigating road accidents occurring in US roads and highways. They also determine the cause of accidents and assist victims who have suffered from transport accidents and their families.
The Environmental Protection Agency also regulates trucks carrying hazardous wastes. The agency holds truck companies and those responsible for environmental violations accountable and regulates the entities involved to ensure they meet government requirements.
Liability In A Semi-crash
The main role of a truck accident attorney is to determine who is liable for the accident. Therefore, the following people can be held liable for the injuries sustained by a victim in a truck accident:
- The truck owner- in Florida, the owner of a dangerous tool is responsible for the injuries or damages that the tool may cause under the dangerous instrumentality doctrine. In such a case, the truck owner will be held for the injuries caused by the truck driver. For instance, where the truck owner has failed to carry out the required inspection of the vessel to ensure that it is in good condition, the truck owner shall be held liable if an accident occurs.
- The truck driver – a driver, shall be held liable for his or her negligent acts that amount to a truck accident. Provided that the plaintiff can prove that the accident was as a result of the defendant’s negligence. The truck driver can be deemed to have acted negligently where he/she causes an accident due to overspeeding or driving dangerously and recklessly or driving under the influence of drugs and driving tired.
- The trucking company – the company that manufactures trucks can be held liable for a truck accident under the doctrine of respondeat superior. This doctrine dictates that the employer shall be responsible for the employee’s negligent acts, provided they act within the course and scope of employment.
Insurance And Truck Accident Claims
Most motor vehicle drivers have insurance policies to reduce risk in the event an accident occurs. Most insurance companies defend compensation suits due to the high compensation that the victims can benefit from such accidents. Therefore, when contracted, a truck accident attorney shall find the insurance contracted by the truck company and serve them a demand letter with the approximate value of the claim. The insurance company will carry out its investigation to determine liability and reduce the amount that the truck accident attorney claims as compensation.
The insurance company may compel the victim to give a recorded statement which may be used against the victim to deny the victim compensation. However, when you contract a truck accident attorney, he/she will deal with the insurance on your behalf. The insurance company can agree to settle, or they may reject the compensation claim.
The truck accident attorney shall use the Florida statutes to compel the insurance company to fully disclose the information. There is a mandatory Federal law requires that dictates that trucks should carry a minimum of $750,000 in terms of the insurance.
Damages In Truck Accident Claims
In truck accident claims, the victim, by the use of his/her truck accident attorney, has to prove the negligence of the defendant, i.e., the defendant owed him/her a duty of care, the duty of care was breached, and the victim suffered injury or loss as a result of the defendant’s negligent act. The attorney shall then list the plaintiff’s injuries and the estimated value of what the injuries are worth. Our attorneys will attempt to claim several types of compensation for the victim.
Truck accidents are catastrophic, and they also burden the victims with financial burdens. The victims can only exercise their right to just compensation by contracting highly skilled truck accident attorneys. Economic damages are based on the exact amount of money that the victim has spent because of the accident.
These damages are easy to calculate as they deal with actual monetary figures. When claiming economic damages, your attorney will need to know the precise amount of money you have spent, and the various receipts will ascertain this. These damages are often paid to the third parties who are mandated to offer the required services. Economic damages relate to the following expenditures:
The results of truck accidents include death. There is also some emotional damage that is suffered by the victims of these accidents that cannot be disregarded. The pain and suffering caused by truck accidents should not be underestimated.
These non-economic damages are mostly awarded regard to the pain and suffering that the victims undergo due to truck accidents. These damages are difficult to quantify because no one can put a number on the trauma suffered due to these accidents.
These accidents can cause drastic and irreversible changes in the lifestyle of a person. Consequently, truck accident victims should contract the best attorneys who will attempt to quantify an amount of non-economic damages to be awarded. Non-economic damages include damages for:
These damages are awarded where the acts of the defendant were intentional and willful. These damages seek to punish the defendant for the negligent act committed against the plaintiff. For instance, where the driver intentionally ignores the safety rules and regulations, punitive damages shall be awarded. These damages are mainly awarded where the victim sustained serious injuries, or the victim died as a result of the accident.
Types Of Truck Accidents Handled By Our Firm
- Head-on and rare-on collisions – head-on collisions describe the accidents where the trucks collide with other vehicles from the front side, and rare-on collisions describe the collisions that occur when one truck hits a vehicle from the rare side.
- Jackknife accidents –the accidents that occur when a vehicle suddenly brakes hence swinging out of the road resulting in serious injuries to people who were by the roadside or when it rolls over.
- Blind-spot accidents – these are collisions that occur where the driver loses sight of other vehicles, especially small vehicles.
- Underride accidents – these accidents occur when the truck brakes suddenly and the smaller vehicles get stuck under the tractor-trailer.
- Tire blowouts – these accidents occur when the tires of a truck fail.
Other claims that are handled by our firm include:
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