There’s no worse way to spoil your day than finding yourself involved in a car accident. Unfortunately, Florida roads are congested and you may find yourself involved in an accident through no fault of your own.
Traffic accidents can always be traumatic events no matter what type of vehicles are involved. If the vehicle that hits your car is a large commercial truck, however, a crash can often derail your life. Commercial trucks are much larger than other vehicles on the road. They take longer to slow down and their weight creates more damage when they hit you.
If you or a loved one were injured by an accident with an 18-wheeler, you deserve legal representation from our Tampa Truck Accident Attorneys to get you the results you need.
We understand how frustrating it can be to experience a truck accident. You may face challenges as a result of your injuries but you may also face difficulties getting the compensation you’re owed from the negligent parties.
The experienced legal team at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA has worked with many truck accident victims throughout Florida, and has witnessed the extreme hardships victims suffer after this type of crash. We know that truck collisions can cause extensive physical, emotional, and financial injuries.
We also know how complicated it can be for victims to receive the compensation they deserve after a truck accident. We are committed to providing the highest quality of representation for every truck accident victim. We have a thorough understanding of the trucking industry, including laws and regulations that commonly arise in truck accident cases. Our firm also has the resources needed to take on trucking companies and their insurers to ensure your rights to compensation are protected.
Because truck accident cases can be very different from other traffic injury cases, you want to have an attorney handling your case who has specific experience representing truck accident victims. To learn more about how Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can help you, please call our office for free today.
Were You in a Commercial Truck Accident?
If you were a victim of a commercial truck accident and you incurred losses due to injuries, you should not wait to have an attorney at the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA evaluate your situation. Our attorneys can assist you in a variety of ways, including:
- Listening to your side of the story and evaluating if you have a valid claim
- Investigating the circumstances of your truck accident to determine liability
- Identifying your losses and estimating the value of your case
- Communicating with the truck insurance companies to attempt to reach a favorable settlement
- Filing a personal injury claim in court if needed to seek the damages you deserve
- Presenting evidence to support your claims
- Guiding you through until the end of the litigation process
Damages You Can Pursue
Your injuries are severe. Truck accident injuries are usually never minor. Severe injuries can result in life-altering consequences. We can fight to get you compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Loss of companionship
- Lost earning potential
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
Medical costs are often the largest component of a client’s injuries, and they can quickly put you into financial hardship. With severe injuries resulting from your truck accident, your medical costs will escalate.
If you played no part in causing the accident, you should bear no responsibility for the resulting bills. But the negligent driver’s insurance company may try to take advantage of you. They know you’re likely out of work and have bills piling up. They know you need fast cash. They will offer you a low-ball settlement that won’t cover your future bills.
Don’t take this offer without speaking with a trusted personal injury lawyer. The insurance company is in the business of making money and wants to settle your case for as little as possible. If you sign the settlement, you may waive your right to bring a claim against the driver or the insurance company in the future. This means you could end up paying out of pocket for your future medical costs.
Don’t let this happen to you. By working with us, you gain access to years of experience helping truck accident injury victims like yourself. Our results speak for themselves.
We can help you create an accurate estimate of your future medical bills so you don’t end up paying for them out of pocket. We know the tactics the insurance company will use and we know how to negotiate with them to get a fair settlement for your claim. While most personal injury cases settle out of court, if the insurance company isn’t reasonable, we’re fully prepared to take your case all the way to trial, if necessary, to get you the compensation you need to get better.
Who Can You Hold Liable for Your Truck Accident Losses?
Once you have determined the cause of your truck accident and the losses you incurred, you must then identify who you can file a claim against to seek financial recovery.
Truck accidents are different than many other types of auto accidents, so you need to speak with an attorney who has experience helping truck accident injury victims. Truck accidents are more complex than other car accidents.
Different parties may be held liable for causing a truck accident, including the following:
- Truck drivers – The majority of truck crashes are caused by an error on the part of the commercial driver, who can be held liable for the losses of victims.
- Trucking companies – Trucking companies can often be held legally responsible for the actions of their employees (e.g. truck drivers). In addition, trucking company management can also negligently hire or supervise drivers and contribute to a crash.
- Truck manufacturers – Some trucks crash because part of the truck malfunctioned and caused the driver to lose control. In cases when a defective truck part malfunctioned, the manufacturer that sold the part may bear liability.
Aside from the above parties, the owner of the truck, the maintenance technician, and the owner of the body shop could bear liability. So could third party cargo loaders.
In many cases, multiple parties may be held responsible, which can help to ensure you receive the full amount of financial recovery you deserve. This complexity isn’t something you want to hand off to any attorney. You need someone with experience dealing with:
- Multiple insurance companies
- Expert witnesses
- Complex depositions
- Industry experience
There are many facets of a truck accident case that most clients don’t even think about. We’re here to help you so you don’t have to think about these things. Let us handle the complex legal work while you focus on your recovery. The team at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA knows how to identify all possible defendants in your truck accident case to best protect your rights to recovery.
Legal Issues in Truck Accident Claims
Aside from determining negligence, losses, and any possible liable parties, several other legal issues may arise in truck accident claims that are not in play in other types of traffic cases. For example, the following laws may play a role in your truck accident case:
- Commercial DUI limits – The legal limit for a driver who has had a drink is a blood alcohol content of 0.08. Commercial truck drivers, however, have a limit half that, 0.04 percent. Because truck drivers are on the road for their job, it is expected they will not be drinking while on the job. As a result, the limit for them is stricter than it is for everyone else.
- Alcohol and drug testing – Employers of truck drivers are expected to administer random drug and alcohol tests on drivers. If an employee fails, the employer is supposed to take action. If they don’t, the employer could be liable for your accident in addition to the driver. Besides that, if the employer fails to administer testing altogether, they could also be held liable for your injuries if alcohol or drugs were at play in the truck accident.
- Commercial driver’s license (CDL) requirements – Drivers must meet strict requirements to get or to renew a CDL. If a driver does not meet certain requirements, they should not operate commercial vehicles.
- Record-keeping requirements – Both drivers and companies are expected to keep certain records and such records—or lack thereof—can demonstrate a violation of regulations or other types of negligence.
- Hours of service restrictions – Drivers are limited to a certain number of consecutive hours or days on the road. This is done to combat fatigue and prevent drivers from falling asleep behind the wheel. Any violation of these requirements could lead to an accident.
Your Florida truck accident lawyer must know all relevant trucking regulations and laws and how to apply these laws to your case.
Severe Injuries and Losses Caused by Truck Crashes
Big rigs are given that name for a reason. When they hit a car, even at slow speeds, the force of the impact from such a massive truck can leave the driver of the smaller vehicle facing serious or even catastrophic lifelong consequences. Many victims suffer a lengthy and painful recovery.
Some examples of severe truck accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and concussions
- Head trauma
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injury and paralysis
- Shattered or crushed bones
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ injuries
Truck accident injuries can require emergency medical attention and some victims will undergo a lengthy course of treatment before they recover. Other victims may never fully recover from their injuries and may face lifelong disabilities and impairment, including the need for ongoing medical care for the remainder of their lives. Medical treatment for severe injuries can include the following and more:
- Emergency trauma care
- Hospitalization and possible time in the ICU
- Surgical procedures
- Medications and medical equipment
- Home healthcare
- Rehabilitative and physical therapy
- Adaptations to the home to accommodate a disability
These medical procedures, prescriptions, and modifications don’t come cheap. All of the above can result in thousands or even millions of dollars in medical bills. Such bills can cause severe stress in addition to concerns over physical recovery. We’ve seen many clients face financial ruin because of their medical bills.
Don’t let this happen to you. Working with a skilled and trusted truck accident injury lawyer in Tampa can give you the peace of mind you need so you can focus on your recovery.
Truck accident victims commonly incur far more than medical bills. Many serious injuries will require a victim to take a substantial period of time off work, which can mean lost wages that can cause additional financial stress. Furthermore, a disabling injury may prevent you from ever returning to your previous job—or even from working at all. This lifetime of lost earning capacity is also an important loss to consider after a truck crash.
In addition to past and future lost earnings and medical expenses, you can also recover for intangible losses, as well. Such losses may include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of everyday life, emotional distress, and similar effects of your injuries. Because these losses are not directly measurable, it can require the assistance of expert opinions to show proof of the value of your losses. The attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA know how to identify all types of losses you incurred and will always seek to prove you deserve the maximum amount of compensation in your case.
Types of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents vary as greatly as regular car accidents. But truck accidents are usually more severe. Common accidents include:
- Tire blowout
- Failure to yield
- Mechanical failure
Commercial truck accidents happen every day. Whether you’re injured in a rear-end collision or you’re hit by a tire blowout, you deserve to have a truck accident lawyer on your side who has the experience you need to help you get back on your feet.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles 2017 Crash Facts, there were over thirty thousand accidents involving commercial trucks that year. That’s about 5 percent of all vehicle crashes on Florida roads in 2017. That may not seem like much but those accidents accounted for a large portion of the fatal and incapacitating injuries for the year.
Common Reasons Why Semi-Truck Collisions Happen
As is the case with automobile accidents, truck accident causes vary. Many factors can cause big rig accidents. These can be human, mechanical, or both. Human errors may or may not involve the driver. A mistake by a maintenance technician could have caused your injuries. The mechanical components of a commercial truck are varied and complex. It could be difficult to figure out exactly what components contributed to the truck accident that caused your injuries. That’s why it’s important to work with a skilled truck accident lawyer in Tampa who can help you hold the negligent parties at fault for your injuries.
At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we know that determining the cause of a crash can help truck victims prove negligence, and therefore the right to collect compensation.
The following are only some causes of truck accidents in Tampa:
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol
- Texting, talking on a handheld phone, or engaging in other forms of distracted driving
- Engaging in excessive speeding, tailgating, improper passing, or other aggressive driving maneuvers
- Violating hours of service restrictions or otherwise driving while fatigued
- Not following conspicuity requirements for trailers to be seen at night
- Not properly inspecting a truck before a driving shift
- Improper cargo loading or securement
- Violating the speed limit, failing to yield, or other traffic violations
- Violating any safety regulation enacted by the FMCSA
- Having trucks that are not adequately maintained or inspected
- Hiring unqualified or potentially dangerous truck drivers, or not training them properly
- Trucks that have defective tires, brakes, or other parts
These are only some of the many causes of commercial truck crashes and our law firm has the resources to investigate what happened and determine the cause in your specific situation.
Holding the negligent party at fault in your truck accident is key to making sure you get the compensation you need to get better. The skilled truck accident injury team at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman is standing by to help you.
Steps to Take to Protect Your Rights as a Truck Accident Victim
After any type of accident—especially a serious truck accident—it can be difficult to know what to do and what not to do. You may be disoriented and unsure of exactly what to do next. You’ve likely received injuries, even if you don’t yet feel them. The adrenaline is pumping, putting your body in a fight-or-flight response, and that could mask some or all of your pain. No matter what, make sure you seek medical attention.
Taking the following steps can work to protect your rights if you later file a legal claim:
- Call emergency services – Someone on the scene should call 911 as soon as possible after an accident. Many people may require emergency medical attention because of the severity of a truck crash, so EMTs must arrive on the scene and determine the status of victims. Listen to the medical professionals if they advise you to take an ambulance. Make your health and physical stabilization your top priority after a crash. If you are cleared to remain at the scene of the crash, the police can talk to you there, gather information from you and others, and write a report regarding what happened.
- Collect information – Though police officers should also be collecting information, you should also gather as much as you can. Take photos of the truck, your vehicle, and any other conditions at the scene of the crash. Write down all contact information for the truck driver, and the trucking company that employed the driver. Because truck accidents can involve numerous drivers, make sure you get contact and insurance information for all of the drivers involved. Not all witnesses will stick around to give a statement to the police, so quickly get contact information for witnesses, too. See if anyone got a video of the accident on a cell phone.
- Don’t admit fault – The moments after an accident are often chaotic, with many people asking you questions, including the truck driver and law enforcement officers. You may realize that the accident wasn’t your fault. But what many people don’t realize is that even innocent comments can be taken as an admission of guilt. It can be easy to say something such as, “I only looked down for a second” or “I was in a hurry.” However, such statements can be used against you to prove that you may have been at fault in the crash and not the truck driver. Consult an attorney before you make any statements that may be construed as admitting fault.
- Get medically evaluated – Even if you did not need an ambulance ride, you should still seek medical attention to diagnose and treat any injuries you may have. Even seemingly minor injuries can require costly treatment and can keep you from working and a timely examination is important to receive compensation for your losses.
Perhaps one of the most important steps you can take as a truck accident victim is to discuss your options with an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can help you navigate the legal process from this point forward and help you recover the compensation you need to get better.
A Commercial Truck Accident Can Happen to Anyone
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the federal agency dedicated to ensuring safety when it comes to commercial trucks and drivers. As part of its efforts, the FMCSA regularly releases statistics to educate motorists on the prevalence of truck accidents in the United States. The following statistics from 2015 should illustrate how common these dangerous crashes can be:
- There were 11,777,983 commercial trucks registered to drive in the U.S.
- Commercial truck crashes caused an estimated 138,000 injuries that year
- More than 4,300 people did not survive their truck accident injuries
- Almost 85 percent of fatalities were motorists in other vehicles or individuals outside the truck, not the truck driver
According to these statistics, every hour brings about 16 new injured truck accident victims in the United States. It is important to realize that anytime you drive alongside large commercial vehicles, you are personally at risk of being one of these injured victims. For this reason, you should be prepared in the event of a crash and should never hesitate to call the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for assistance.
The Tampa Truck Accident Attorneys of Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA Are Here to Help
If you didn’t cause the accident, you shouldn’t bear any of the responsibilities associated with your injuries. Because of the nature of truck accidents, your injuries are severe and severe injuries come with extremely high medical costs. Don’t end up in a bad financial situation: Let our Tampa truck accident lawyers help you today.
When you meet with us, we work with you to get a full understanding of your case. We’ll do our own investigation, if necessary. We’ll review all the evidence and the facts. And then, we can get to work fighting to get you the full value of your claim. We work on a contingency basis, meaning our associates only get paid if you win.
At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we provide personalized representation for every client and are available to address your questions and concerns. We assist clients throughout Florida and will stand up for your rights to compensation after a truck accident.
Please contact our office or call us at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH) for a free consultation today.