In the most recent Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that in 2016, 4,213 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes, and 110,000 large trucks were involved in crashes that resulted in injuries. The FMCSA sets standards and regulations to prevent unsafe practices in the trucking industry, yet truck accidents and resulting casualties remain an unfortunate reality for everyone who shares the roads.
If you have been involved in a truck accident and suffered injuries because of the truck driver's negligence, speak to a St. Petersburg truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Call a St. Petersburg Truck Accident Attorney at (727) 472-3909 or contact us online to discuss your potential claims.
Dolman's Truck Accident Results
The lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA have experience negotiating, settling, and litigating personal injury cases, including those that involve truck accidents. Recent cases include a $1.75 million verdict for a victim who sustained a mild traumatic brain injury and torn rotator cuff after a semi-truck hit his vehicle. Another victim settled for $3.2 million after a semi truck accident caused his traumatic brain injury. While these past results do not guarantee future outcomes for new claims, they represent the commitment of the St. Petersburg personal injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA in fighting to get the best possible results for our clients.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Trucks and semi trucks can be more than 20 times heavier than cars or SUVs. This extra weight, coupled with speed, cause especially dangerous accidents. Truck accident injuries are often more severe and more likely to result in fatalities than other types of accidents.
Some of the most common truck accident injuries include:
- Fractured, broken, and crushed bones;
- Neck and back injuries, including whiplash;
- Spinal cord injuries that may lead to paralysis;
- Head traumas, including traumatic brain injuries;
- Severe internal bleeding caused by breaking ribs or a punctured organ;
- Amputations; and/or
- Scarring and disfigurement due to deep lacerations, road rash, or burns.
Who May Be at Fault?
Truck accidents are usually complex cases because multiple parties may be involved, including the drivers, trucking company, and insurance carriers.
Florida is a no-fault insurance state. Before filing any type of lawsuit, a victim must report the accident to their insurance carrier under their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. The purpose of a lawsuit would be to recover damages after PIP limits are exceeded.
Some common factors reveal the potential complexity of fault in truck accident cases:
- The driver may be liable if he or she was violating traffic laws, such as by using a hand-held mobile device; driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or prescription medication; or careless driving, such as following too closely or running a stoplight.
- The trucking company may be liable for negligent hiring or training of the driver, or if they employed unsafe practices, including the driver's use of a hand-held mobile device, forced the driver to drive longer than legally allowed, or failed to maintain the truck.
- Truck manufacturer and/or parts manufacturer/s may be liable if the accident was caused by a defective truck or truck part.
Damages Incurred by Truck Accidents
Under Florida law, PIP insurance only covers medical and travel expenses for hospital and doctor visits. Non-economic damages are not covered.
Once the money limit of a policy is exceeded, a victim may sue and potentially recover damages for the following:
- Medical expenses above the PIP policy limit including ambulance services, hospitalization, doctor visits, surgeries, X-rays and other scans, and prescription medication
- Lost wages due to missed work from injury
- Future loss of income for those who might not be able to return to work
- Recovery and rehabilitation costs including physical therapy and assistive devices such as wheelchairs, canes, or prosthetic limbs
- Long-term healthcare for permanent disability that requires around-the-clock care
- Home modifications for accessibility, such as the installation of service ramps or handrails
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
How Parties Try to Avoid Liability
Florida is a pure comparative negligence state. This means a portion of fault is assigned to each party. The percentage of fault assigned to the victim will be deducted from the final award. For example: if Jane Doe sued XYZ Trucking for $3 million, but the court found she was 10 percent at fault for her injuries, her award would be reduced to $2.7 million, or 90 percent of the original award.
Comparative negligence gives defendants an incentive to shift the blame to the victim to avoid paying damages. Common defense tactics include arguing that the victim disregarded traffic laws, or was driving recklessly. The defense may also downplay the seriousness of injuries to reduce damages. When multiple parties are involved, they will often seek to put blame on each other. Examples of this would be when trucking companies and insurance carriers distance themselves from the driver, and drivers blame trucking companies for unsafe working conditions or poor truck maintenance.
Regardless of the circumstances, a skilled personal injury attorney with experience in truck accidents will anticipate the defense strategies, and effectively challenge these types of attacks and counterclaims. Their job is to ensure their client's rights are protected, and the parties with liability are held responsible for damages.
Contact a St. Petersburg Truck Accident Lawyer
Most law firms offer free consultations for potential clients to discuss the details of their case. If you have a consultation and the lawyer agrees to pursue your claims, you may not have to pay attorney fees and litigation costs up front. Personal injury cases are typically handled on a contingent fee basis, meaning the lawyer will deduct their fees and expenses from any eventual settlement or judgment.
Truck accidents are serious, and can cause life-changing damages. If you have been injured by a truck accident, contact the experienced legal team at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA in St. Petersburg at (727) 472-3909 or online for a free consultation.