Consider a Sarasota Truck Accident Attorney
During 2017, there were more than 6,000 crashes on Sarasota County roadways according to Florida’s Integrated Report Exchange System (FIRES). Commercial trucks accounted for nearly 10 percent of those accidents. Anyone ever involved in a car accident understands the potential for injury. Those who are involved in an accident involving a truck are likely to suffer more serious injury, thanks in large part to the size of the vehicle involved.
Commercial Truck Regulations
Everyone who travels on Florida roadways must follow the rules of the road. Truck drivers face more regulations than ordinary drivers; there are regulations which govern the number of hours a driver may be on the road, what safety equipment must be in use, and rules which govern what medications must be avoided when driving a commercial truck. Unfortunately, these rules are sometimes violated, which can mean an accident resulting in serious injury.
Liable Parties Potentially Responsible for Truck Accidents
All personal injury cases require identification of the at-fault party. When dealing with a truck accident, this process can be very cumbersome. This is largely because the driver may not be the only person who is at fault for an accident. Some of the responsible parties may include:
- Employer of the driver: Should an employer encourage a driver in their employ to work hours beyond what regulations state should be worked in a given period, the employer may be held liable in the event of an accident.
- Vehicle owner: While a truck may be owned by the driver, or may be owned by their employer, some trucks may be leased. If the leasing company has failed to maintain the vehicle properly and the result was an accident causing an injury, the owner may be responsible.
- Manufacturing party: Should a defective part, such as tires, cab, or trailer, fail during the operation of a truck and cause an accident, the manufacturer may be held responsible for injuries suffered by a victim. Should a defective part result in an accident being worse than it might otherwise have been, the manufacturer could be held jointly liable.
- Loading party: Some accidents are the result of a truck being improperly loaded. When this occurs, the person loading, or their employer may be partially responsible for the injuries suffered because of a truck accident.
- Repair and maintenance: When a company, or a driver, hires an outside mechanic to maintain, inspect, or repair a truck, should shoddy repair work result in an accident, the repair crew could face liability for any injury suffered during an accident caused by the poor workmanship.
The severity of Truck Accident Injuries
Automobile weights vary significantly based on numerous factors. Cars, pickup trucks, and Sports Utility Vehicles generally do not weigh less than 2,500 pounds, and not more than 5,000 pounds. For comparison, a fully-loaded commercial truck can weigh as much as 30,000 pounds; this means those who are driving anything except a commercial truck are at a significant disadvantage if they are involved in an accident with a larger vehicle.
When factoring in the disparate weight between standard vehicles and trucks, it is no surprise the injuries a victim of a commercial vehicle accident suffers can be serious. Head or neck injuries, crushed or broken bones, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, internal injuries, and death are all common when a driver, or passenger vehicle occupant, is involved in a collision with a commercial truck. Victims are often faced with long-term hospitalization, the necessity for rehabilitation therapy after they recover, and may also have to deal with lifelong pain, disability, or disfigurement. The cost of treatment, rehabilitation, and pain medication can be overwhelming, particularly if the victim is unable to return to work.
Florida Car Insurance Laws and Commercial Trucks
Florida auto insurance regulations mandate every vehicle operating on the roadways maintain a minimum level of coverage. Those who drive a passenger vehicle that is operated for personal use must carry at least $10,000 in property damage liability insurance and personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Commercial vehicle operators are required to carry substantially more insurance, a minimum of $50,000 and a maximum of $400,000 based on various factors.
However, there is still one facet of being involved in an accident which does not change for victims. Florida is a no-fault state, meaning your claim is initially filed with your own insurance company. Since most drivers carry only minimum required insurance, chances are your losses will be much greater. This means your insurance company may only cover a small portion of the amount you are out of pocket after a commercial truck accident. This is when it is imperative you contact a commercial truck accident attorney in Sarasota as soon as possible.
Why Contact a Sarasota Truck Accident Attorney?
Recovering from your injuries after an accident with a truck can be a painstaking, life-altering process. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you could face weeks, months, or even years in recovery. Very serious injuries may result in permanent disability. Keep in mind, insurance adjusters are not your friend when it comes to resolving the financial aspect of an accident. Their job is the same, regardless of how seriously you are injured: to keep the costs to the insurance company as low as possible.
You have the right to avoid the financially devastating consequences of a truck accident that was not your fault. Because of this, it is best to contact a Sarasota truck accident lawyer as quickly as possible after an accident. While the statutes of limitations in Florida allows you to file a claim for up to four years after a truck accident, there are numerous issues which must be addressed quickly, including establishing who is at fault for your injuries, collecting evidence and testimony, and identifying the scope of damages inflicted upon the victim. Hesitating or waiting too long to file a claim can seriously impact a victim’s chance of recovery.
Compensation is Possible After a Truck Accident
The responsible party’s insurance company should pay for damage to your vehicle, wages you lose, future earnings when you cannot return to work, treatment for your injuries, any special equipment you may need after an accident, and rehabilitation costs. Victims who suffer a permanent disability including losing a limb, loss of vision or hearing, or loss of function of an internal organ because of an accident could face serious issues for the rest of their lives.
A Sarasota truck accident attorney will take numerous factors into consideration when filing a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. Careful calculation of wages you lost while recovering, consultations with specialists about your condition and the chances of rehabilitation, the amount of pain you suffered after an accident, or the pain you may suffer for the rest of your life will all be taken into consideration when filing a claim.
A family who has lost a loved one after a commercial truck accident may also file a claim for the medical expenses incurred because of the injury, pain and suffering, funeral expenses, and may be able to claim other, non-monetary losses. You should discuss your options with an attorney who has experience dealing with truck accident claims immediately and find out what rights you have.
We understand no amount of money can compensate a family when they have lost a loved one. Money cannot replace a missing limb, make up for years of pain you may suffer after an accident, or improve your cognitive abilities after a brain injury suffered in a truck accident. However, getting compensation can lessen the financial strain of needing round-the-clock medical attention, the cost of specialized equipment, or the ongoing medical expenses you can face after a truck accident.
What to Avoid After a Truck Accident
Those involved in a truck accident are often taken to the hospital by ambulance; few people escape unscathed. However, there are a few simple mistakes you can make that can undermine a personal injury lawsuit. For example, when speaking with law enforcement professionals, avoid taking any responsibility for the accident, whether direct or implied. Keep in mind, insurance adjusters are going to look for police reports, medical records, and witness statements to try to show you were at least partially responsible for the accident that resulted in your injuries.
Make sure you follow up with any specialists the doctor recommends; immediately after an accident, our bodies are often flooded with pain-blocking adrenaline. This means some injuries may be masked for hours, days, or even weeks. Document any changes in your pain levels, keep a record of the visits to specialists, and any medications you are taking. This information may be important later if your personal injury attorney files a lawsuit.
Call the Dolman Law Group if a Truck Accident Injures You
An attorney at Dolman Law Group will review your case, tell you what options are available to you, and help you decide the best course of action. Should we decide to go forward with a personal injury lawsuit, we will thoroughly investigate the reasons for the accident, make sure the proper parties are held accountable, and serve as your advocate throughout the process.
The legal team at Dolman Law Group represents clients who need help filing insurance claims after a truck accident. We also represent victims who have personal injury following serious accidents. If you were injured in a commercial truck accident, or you lost a loved one in an accident, contact us immediately for assistance. We can be reached by calling (941) 210-7586, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Dolman Law Group
8039 Cooper Creek Blvd
University Park, FL 34201-3007