Truck accidents can result in very serious and catastrophic injuries and damages, as well as permanent disabilities, all of which may require long-term care and medical treatment. Although a truck accident can occur in a fraction of a second, the injuries and damages you sustain in the accident can last a lifetime. If you or someone you love has sustained a catastrophic injury in a truck accident that was caused by a truck driver or trucking company's negligence, you may be entitled to monetary recovery under Florida law.
The knowledgeable St. Petersburg truck accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can discuss the facts and circumstances of your case with you, evaluate your claim, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and, if necessary, litigate your case through the Florida court system or take it to trial.
Trucks and tractor-trailers are very large, very fast, and very heavy vehicles. When their drivers ignore or violate Florida Rules of the Road, serious accidents and personal injuries can result. Some common examples of St. Petersburg truck driver negligence include the following:
- Reckless, careless, or distracted driving
- Cellular phone use while driving
- Texting while driving
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI)
- Disobeying traffic control devices (including running red lights, stop signs, or yield signs)
- Failing to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles
- Cutting curves too sharply
- Fatigued driving
- Failing to utilize turn signals
- Abrupt lane changes
- Driving too fast for hazardous road conditions
- Failing to abide by Federal Motor Carrier Regulations (e.g., regarding trailer load sizes, overhang, escort vehicles, warning lights, and warning signs)
In order for an injured plaintiff to prove negligence against a truck driver, the plaintiff must show that the trucker failed to act as a reasonably prudent driver would have acted (or driven) under the same or similar circumstances. When truck drivers drive negligently, they are more likely to cause the following kinds of accidents, which invariably lead to life-altering and catastrophic injuries and damages:
- Multi-vehicle, chain reaction collisions
- Tractors or trailers overturning in the middle of the roadway
- Chemical or hazardous waste spills in the roadway
- Trailer cargo dislodging from the trailer onto the roadway or another vehicle)
Potential Liability of the Employer Trucking Company
When truck drivers work for a trucking company, the injured motor vehicle driver may also have a legal cause of action against that company under a vicarious liability or agency liability theory of recovery. If the truck driver was driving negligently while in the scope of her employment with the trucking company, then the trucking company could also be held accountable for all the accident victim's injuries and damages.
A trucking company may also be held liable for negligently entrusting the truck driver to operate a motor vehicle while on the roadway, for negligently supervising the truck driver, or for negligently hiring or retaining the truck driver. If the truck driver was previously fined for—or charged with—negligent or reckless driving and is a “repeat offender,” the trucking company may be on the line for negligently retaining the offending truck driver.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries in St. Petersburg Truck Accident Cases
Truck accidents often occur at highway speeds and may involve rear-end, side-impact, or even head-on collisions. As a result of a truck or tractor trailer's large size and high rate of speed, any impact with a smaller vehicle is likely to result in serious—and potentially catastrophic—injuries and damages. The most common types of catastrophic injuries sustained in Florida truck accidents include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Permanent scarring
- Facial contusions
Catastrophic injuries can result in lengthy hospital stays long courses of medical treatment or physical therapy, future medical procedures, and, in the worst cases, long-term care at a nursing home or other assisted living facility. All of these damages are compensable under the law.
In some cases, injuries sustained in a Florida truck accident can be permanent and may affect an accident victim's ability to live and work. For example, the accident victim might have to work at a lighter duty job or change professions altogether because she can no longer meet the physical demands of a particular job. Similarly, an accident victim may not be able to play sports, engage in recreational activities, or spend time with family to the same extent that he could before the accident. All the inconvenience, permanency, and lost quality of life associated with accident injuries and damages are fully compensable under Florida law.
Proving Catastrophic Injuries in a St. Petersburg Truck Accident Case
When it comes to catastrophic injuries, insurance companies are often skeptical. As such, these injuries may be difficult for an injured plaintiff to prove. Insurance company adjusters will look for any excuse to downplay the severity of a plaintiff's personal injuries and damages and may even deny liability altogether. Insurance companies usually look to one or more of the following, in hopes of limiting their liability exposure in a catastrophic truck injury case:
- Prior surgeries
- Pre-existing medical conditions and injuries
- Degenerative changes on x-rays and MRIs
- Injuries sustained in prior motor vehicle accidents
- Prior on-the-job injuries and workers' compensation claims
At trial, a St. Petersburg truck accident lawyer may be able to introduce the medical testimony of a doctor or other health care provider to prove the nature and extent of the accident victim's permanent injuries and damages—as well as the causal relationship between the catastrophic injuries sustained in the accident and all medical treatment (past and future), physical limitations, and the need for long-term or lifetime medical care.
Contact a St. Petersburg Truck Accident Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
Truck accidents can result in permanent and lifelong injuries and damages. The experienced truck accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can be your advocates at both the negotiating table and in the courtroom.
To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a St. Petersburg truck accident lawyer, please call us at (727) 472-3909 today or contact us online.Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 1663 1st Ave S. St. Petersburg, FL33712 (727) 472-3909