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Frequently Asked Questions about Truck Accidents

Who should be held accountable in Florida for 18-wheeler or semi-truck accidents involving equipment failure?

There are many potential parties that you could receive damages following an accident involving equipment failure. It all depends on who did not act with due care in making sure the truck was safe to drive. This could be the driver, the trucking company, or a third party maintenance company. A thorough investigation should be conducted following a truck accident to determine exactly what went wrong and who is at fault. It is important to contact an experienced truck accident attorney to conduct an investigation following an accident with an 18-wheeler or semi-truck.

How much will it cost me to hire a truck accident attorney in Florida?

The lawyers at the Coye Law Firm will work for a contingency fee when representing you following a truck accident in Florida. This means you pay nothing unless your case is successful and that payment comes directly out of the settlement. You never have to write a personal check.

How common are serious injuries from 18-wheeler or semi-truck accidents in Florida?

18-wheeler or semi-truck accidents in Florida inherently carry a much greater risk of serious injury or death. Estimates show that 1 in 8 traffic fatalities are caused by accidents with 18-wheelers or semi-trucks in Florida. Sheer size makes these vehicles extremely dangerous. They also spend most of their time on the highway or interstate, moving at fast speeds, further raising the severity of any accident. Driver fatigue is a chronic problem in the trucking industry where the incentive is high to log as many hours as possible every day. An experienced Florida truck accident attorney can properly identify possible acts of negligence and help you secure the maximum benefits for your claim.

A big rig lost control causing a major accident that injured me. Can I recover in Florida against the driver of the big rig?

If it can be shown that the driver of a big rig was negligent then a claim can be brought against the company that the driver works for or the driver if they are not working for a company. This happens all too often. Driver fatigue is a widespread problem for big rig drivers, especially with time constraints incentivizing drivers to log an unsafe amount of hours on the road every day. If the driver can be shown to have been driving in an unsafe manner or if he or she was under the influence of alcohol then negligence can be proven as well. These are just some examples of cases where the driver, as well as the trucking company and their insurance, can be sued for your injuries, lost wages, or even wrongful death following a truck accident in Florida. An aggressive truck accident lawyer can help prove driver negligence.

Who can sue in an 18-wheeler or semi-truck injury or death case in Florida?

If the negligence of an 18-wheeler or semi-truck driver has resulted in severe injury or the wrongful death of a family member, then a personal representative can bring a lawsuit to cover damages. A personal representative is typically a family member. If the injury results in a severe injury, guardianship may have to be established for a lawsuit to be concluded by the personal representative. In many cases, the passenger in one of the vehicles involved in the wreck can sue as well. An experienced truck accident lawyer can advise you on the best course of action.

What amount of damages can I receive if I am injured in an 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident in Florida?

An 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident often results in debilitating injury, lost wages, and emotional trauma. Depending on the particulars of your accident you may be able to recoup monetary benefits for all of these reasons and more. Also, any passengers or family members in the truck accident who were also affected will have a claim to sue as well.

Who are the stakeholders in an 18-wheeler or semi-truck lawsuit?

Besides you and your family, there could be a number of stakeholders in an 18-wheeler accident. The truck driver and the trucking company are stakeholders. Anybody who worked on the vehicle and may have had some part in the accident, like a negligent maintenance crew or workers that improperly loaded cargo at the source of shipment are also stakeholders. Depending on the intricacies of the accident, there could be numerous stakeholders.

I was a passenger in an 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident in Florida. Who will pay my medical bills?

There are a few ways you can have your medical bills paid for if you were the passenger in an 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident. The at-fault driver may pay for some or all of your medical bills. The insurance covering the truck may still cover you in an event of an accident. Also, any insurance coverage you have may extend to an accident in which you are a passenger in an 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident.

How long do 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident cases last in Florida? Do most cases settle or go to trial?

Many truck accident claims can be settled through negotiation or meditation without ever having to go to court. However, sometimes, if the case is particularly complex or the insurance company is abstaining from paying your due benefits, cases do go to trial. This process can often takes months or even years to ensure you receive the benefits you deserve.

What do I need to know about insurance companies in regard to 18-wheeler and semi-truck accidents?

The insurance companies of trucking companies are absolutely not looking out for your best interest. Following a truck accident in Florida, where the truck driver was at fault, they want to limit your access to benefits in any way possible. An insurance adjuster will likely try to contact you, or even show up at the scene of the accident. It is not in your best interest to disclose information to an insurance adjuster for the trucking company. They will attempt to use this information against your claim. It is important to contact an experienced truck accident lawyer before speaking to any insurance adjusters or providing them information.

How are traffic accidents involving 18-wheeler and semi-trucks different from accidents involving passenger cars in Florida?

Accidents involving 18 wheeler and semi-trucks are typically much more catastrophic than accidents between comparably-sized cars. A fully loaded commercial truck can weigh over 80,000 pounds while the typical car weighs only about 3,000 pounds. The laws of physics dictate that a collision with a large truck can be disastrous, often resulting in serious injuries or fatalities. Also, semi-trucks may carry dangerous or hazardous materials that may compound the severity of the accident.

I was hit by a commercial vehicle and their insurance company wants a statement from me. Do I have to give one?

No you are not required to give a statement to the commercial vehicle’s insurance company. Actually, it is normally not in your best interest to give a statement to the insurance provider of the commercial vehicle before talking to a truck accident attorney.

How are damages determined for serious physical injuries or death in an 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident?

The ultimate goal in compensating the victim in a semi-truck accident is restitution – to return them to their state before the accident occurred. After a debilitating accident it may be impossible to completely restore a person’s health, working capacity, and psychological state. Truck accident damages are determined in two categories – economic and non-economic. Examples of economic damages that are compensable from the at-fault driver are medical bills, lost wages, and lost earning capacity. Non-economic damages are hard to estimate and can include the emotional and psychological toll on the victim of a traumatic accident involving an 18-wheeler or semi-truck.

I was in an accident and the other vehicle was a semi-truck. What do I do now?

First and foremost, seek medical treatment for your injuries. Also, contact a truck accident attorney . The trucking company will have experienced attorneys and insurance adjusters who want to limit your claim as much as possible. They are not acting in your best interest. Often times, accidents with semi-trucks are caused by fatigue on the part of the truck driver. This is negligence and you are entitled to compensation for your medical bills and lost wages.

How much time do I have after an 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident to file a lawsuit in Florida?

The statue of limitations in Florida, Fla. Stat. § 95-11, for an accident resulting in injury, is four years. This means you have up to four years after an 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident to file a claim. The four year time limit takes into account the immediate needs of accident victims, namely, receiving the immediate and critical medical treatment necessary. Protecting your heath is the most important factor after an accident. However, when it becomes possible, you should hire an experienced lawyer to guide you through the stressful and intimidating process of recouping damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance to help pay for your medical bills and lost wages.

Is the investigation important in a Florida 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident case?

The investigation is very important in an 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident in Florida. The trucking company’s insurance may be on the scene of the accident shortly after paramedics and police. They will collect information and try to get a statement from you about the accident. All of the information they collect will be used to limit your claim as much as possible. It is important to contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to investigate on your behalf and to handle insurance adjusters.

Who can be sued in an 18-wheeler or semi-truck case in Florida?

Many different parties can be sued following an accident with an 18-wheeler of semi-truck. It all depends on who is at fault. This could be the driver, the driver’s employer, the owner of the vehicle, the shipper, the trucking company, the company receiving the goods, or even a maintenance company that worked on the vehicle. Determining who is responsible after an accident is very complicated so hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer is very important to ensure you receive the greatest potential benefits.

What is considered a commercial truck?

A commercial vehicle is any vehicle that is engaged in business, normally transporting goods. 18-wheelers and semi-trucks almost always are considered commercial vehicles. Commercial vehicles are normally insured with liability insurance and fault in an accident can be placed on the employer of the driver as well as the driver in case of an accident.

How do I protect my legal rights after an 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident in Florida?

There are several steps you can take to protect your rights if you are injured in an accident involving an 18-wheeler or semi-truck. If you are severely injured following the accident then you should seek medical attention immediately. If possible, you should try to take pictures of the accident scene, obtain any information about witnesses or the vehicles involved, and file a police report. You should file a claim with your insurance company but not answer any questions they ask that might make you uncomfortable. Do not speak with the trucking company’s insurance or a claims adjuster and do not sign anything. To ensure you take the necessary steps to preserve your rights you should contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after an accident with an 18-wheeler or semi-truck.

How do I retain the best attorney for my 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident case in Florida?

The personal injury attorney you retain to represent your rights for your 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident case should be experienced in dealing with the complex legal issues involved with such accidents and in aggressively pursuing your rights. The trucking company, and their insurance, will try to limit your claim anyway possible and you need an attorney who will represent your rights.

How do national and local laws and regulations affect my Florida 18-wheeler accident case?

It is important to take into account all of the pertinent and sometimes conflicting state and federal laws relevant in an 18-wheeler accident. These are important because often times trucking companies and truck drivers are from other states and commuting through Florida. In this case federal laws may apply as well as state laws. It is important to have an experienced and knowledgeable car accident attorney to represent your interests. Especially, in complex cases that involve federal and state laws.

Are there different rules that apply to accidents involving 18-wheelers and semi-trucks in Florida?

Commercial vehicles, including 18-wheelers and semi-trucks, are different than personal vehicles and they often carry different insurance. Also, as an employee of a company, the driver may not be solely at fault in an accident. The trucking company and other possible involved parties may be liable as well. It is important to contact a truck accident lawyer to navigate the different legal aspects that are involved when an 18-wheeler or semi-truck is involved in a car accident.

Why should I hire a truck accident attorney to represent me following my 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident in Florida?

A semi-truck or 18-wheeler accident can cause severe physical and mental harm. It may be difficult or impossible to work and your medical bills could quickly become overwhelming. Often time’s accidents with 18-wheelers or semi-trucks involve corporate entities, which are much more aggressive and experienced in limiting consumer claims for benefits. That is why it is important to hire an experienced truck accident attorney to represent your rights and to obtain benefits from the at fault driver to help you cope with these difficulties.

How quickly should I contact an attorney in Florida following my 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident case?

You should contact an attorney experienced in car accidents involving 18-wheelers or semi-trucks as soon as possible. The trucking company and their insurance will act aggressively and quickly to limit your ability to collective injury benefits, even if the truck driver was negligent. The sooner you can get an experienced attorney in your corner the better.

Are witnesses necessary in a Florida 18-wheeler accident case?

Even though credible witnesses at the scene of a truck accident in Florida help prove fault and negligence, often times there are simply no witnesses to an accident. This is why it is important to have an experienced truck accident attorney who can still build a proficient case without eye witness accounts. Other facts of a case can solidify your claim for benefits from the at-fault driver including expert testimony, physical evidence, and credibility of the other parties.

What is the purpose of the accident claims adjuster at the scene of an 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident?

Claims adjusters arrive on the scene of an accident to conduct an investigation and gather evidence about the accident for the trucking company’s insurance. The purpose of the claims adjuster, then, is to gather evidence that can limit your claim with the trucker’s insurance company after an accident. It is important that you hire an experienced attorney to conduct an independent investigation. Do not rely on the information gathered by a claims adjuster to represent your best interests.

What if I was a passenger in an 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident in Florida?

You may be eligible for benefits from multiple sources: the insurance of the driver of the car you were in, the trucker’s insurance, personal injury protection, and other sources. You also will most likely be eligible to participate in any lawsuit to receive additional benefits for your injury or lost wages if a party is found to have been negligent in the accident.

 

Call 407.648.4940 or contact Coye Law Firm today for a free consultation about your case.

The expert injury attorneys at Coye Law Firm are experienced with Florida, New York, Michigan, and District of Columbia law and are here to help the injured.

If you'd like to learn more about injury law and your rights, read my book, Sharing the Secrets, Learning the Lies: A Guide to Florida Personal Injury

From this book you will learn… 

  1. The ONE THING you must do within 14 days of your accident (page 46)
  2. The two most important factors in determining case value (page 8)
  3. How to understand what your insurance will and will not cover (chapter 3)
  4. 6 critical steps you must take after an accident (chapter 7)
  5. Why you should not trust the insurance company’s repair shop (page 78)
  6. How to choose the right doctor (chapter 5)
  7. A claim you could make against your own insurance company if your car is damaged, but not totaled (page 87)
  8. The secrets to getting a fair settlement (chapter 10)
  9. An 8-step breakdown of the normal process for lawsuits (page 121)
  10. The one 4-letter word that might cost you (chapter 12)
  11. How to start gathering the most important evidence you need (page 75)
  12. …and more!

Click here to receive your FREE copy now.