Most accidents are serious, but they can be especially serious where trucks are involved. If you have been in a truck accident a Tampa truck accident attorney can help.
These enormous hunks of metal can do an incredible amount of damage when they collide with something. This can mean severe damage to vehicles and also serious injuries to the people involved.
Accidents involving trucks can have their own unique problems when it comes to settlements. Our auto accident attorneys know how to deal with truck accidents to help you get the right settlement. Below are some examples of what needs to be done when dealing with truck accidents.
Truck Accidents Are a Different Breed
When you are involved in an accident with a truck, the trucking company will spring into action immediately. They will send lawyers to the scene straight away. In some cases, the lawyers will even arrive before the police do.
These lawyers are there to protect the trucking company’s interests. It is not unusual for evidence to mysteriously disappear from the scene when the lawyers get to the scene first. This can include evidence such as the driver’s driving logs and the black box that contains essential information. These will usually contain evidence that will help you get the auto claim settlement that you deserve.
Deadlines in a Tampa Truck Accident Case (Why We Often File Suit Immediately)
When filing a lawsuit for an accident against a trucking company, it needs to be done very quickly. A trucking company is expected to keep their log book for 6 months. The truck driver, however, only has to keep theirs’ for 7 days. This means that a delay in filing a suit could lead to incriminating evidence being lost forever.
Such an accident will likely be a very emotional and stressful time for all involved, though. This means it is necessary to approach a lawyer even when there are other very urgent things that need to be focused on. Sadly, time is a luxury that is rarely available in these cases and action needs to be taken quickly. If action is not taken quickly enough then reaching a settlement may not be possible. This will leave you without deserved compensation for the accident.
Types of Trucking Law Suits
Types of trucking law suits include:
Negligence: The most common cause or type of lawsuit in trucking accident case is a negligence lawsuit. Simply, the allegation is that the driver had a duty of care to the injured party to drive reasonably on the roadways of Florida and the driver didn’t do that.
Negligent Entrustment: Similarly, our truck accident lawyers bring negligent entrustment claims against the trucking company. These are cases where the driver may have a bad history of doing wrong or driving without getting enough sleep or even driving on a suspended license, and the trucking company who hired the driver should have known better and shouldn’t have been trusted such a dangerous vehicle to the driver.
Wrongful Death: a special kind of trucking lawsuit and unfortunate one is that a wrongful death. Florida has a unique and specific law when it comes to Bringing lawsuits when somebody has died as the result of the negligence of another.
We call these wrongful-death actions and they have their own specific claim in the lawsuit.
Product Liability: Defective products like a blown out tire can cause catastrophic injury. We bring these actions against the product manufacturer as supposed to just bring the action against the driver of the vehicle or the owner of the trucking company. We call these product liability claims.
Average Settlements in Trucking Cases in Tampa Florida
Settlements from truck accidents will vary a great deal from case to case so there is little point in looking at averages. When settlements are decided, the amounts are based upon compensating you for what you have personally lost as a result of the accident. The system doesn’t work perfectly, but it is the best system that we have available to us.
The losses that you have incurred from an accident will fall into two main categories:
Economic damages are calculated as the financial costs the accident has caused you. This will include items such as the wages that you will lose as a result of not being able to work. Medical bills are also taken into account when deciding on settlements. This part of the settlement is generally not to compensate the victim directly but to compensate 3rd parties such as insurance companies and medical providers. These will generally be paid directly to the 3rd parties involved.
Any kind of vehicle accident is likely to be a physically and emotionally traumatic experience. The potential devastation caused by a truck accident can make them very traumatic indeed. Non-economic settlements look to compensate the victim for the pain and suffering they have been caused by the accident. Victims are also compensated for any loss of enjoyment in life they might experience. This will include no longer being able to take part in their favorite activities due to injuries and/or emotional trauma.
In many legal compensation cases, the settlements are influenced by the amount the guilty party is able to pay. It is a legal requirement, however, for truck drivers to be insured for a minimum of $750,000. This is significant because it helps to ensure victims can be granted settlements that represent a fair value of the losses they have occurred.
Your own liability in the accident will also need to be assessed. Quite often, both parties can be at fault for an accident to an extent. The degree to which each party is at fault will also have a bearing on any settlement. Gathered evidence will be used to determine who is at fault and to what extent.
Punitive Damages: Finally, in some trucking accident cases you can collect punitive damages. This is when the actions were willful malicious or intentional.
For example, when a truck driver is intentionally driving even though he has not done the sleep that’s required under federal statute a truck accident lawyer may claim for punitive damages in Florida.
Types of Truck Accident Accidents in Tampa
Jackknifing Articulated trucks consist of two main parts: The trailer, and the vehicle in front towing it. In some instances, such as if the towing vehicle skids on the road surface, the trailer can push from behind. This pushing can cause the towing vehicle to spin, leaving it facing backwards. This maneuver is known as a jackknife and is a common cause of accidents with trucks.
Rear Ends Trucks are very large and much harder to handle than cars and other smaller vehicles. They can also take a lot longer to stop than other vehicles because they are so heavy. Rear end accidents happen when the truck drives into the back of another vehicle. They can be caused by erratic driving from the drivers in front. They can also be the fault of the truck driver behind or other reasons.
Driver Error Truck drivers are responsible for the majority of accidents involving trucks in the United States. Although regulations are strict, they are not always followed. Truckers might sometimes violate laws regarding safety, leading to accidents. Examples can include aggressive driving, not performing inspections and breaking road traffic laws. A common cause is fatigue because the driver has not been taking sufficient breaks.
Trucking Company Error Trucking companies are usually out to make as much money as they can. Sometimes this can encourage them to cut corners and act negligently. This can include failing to maintain the fleet, failing to monitor their drivers and even hiring drivers that are not sufficiently qualified. Some might even actively encourage unsafe driving among the drivers they employ
Cargo Loader Error It is important that a truck is correctly loaded for it to be safe. Accidents can occur if the cargo is not properly secured. Overloading is another safety hazard, while under-loading liquids can also be dangerous in tanker trailers. Cargoes are sometimes loaded by a 3rd party instead of the trucking company and this can result in more errors.
How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You After Your Accident
Given the catastrophic damage caused by trucking accidents there is often a lot of money at stake for the insurance company representing the trucking company.
Under federal law the trucking company is required to carry a minimum of $750,000 and insurance on each truck. As a practical matter, most trucking companies are self-insured usually for up to a million dollars and then often stack additional coverage on top of that.
With potentially so many dollars at stake the trucking company and their insurance company start to defend a trucking accident case immediately after an accident.
That means while their victim is in the hospital or recovering from injuries. The insurance company is already at the scene of the accident gathering evidence trying to defend from a future claim from the injury.
Perhaps more so than any other type of auto accident case, it is vital that the injured party hire a truck accident attorney as close as possible to the accident.