According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2018, there were approximately 121,000 injury crashes involving large trucks or buses in the United States, of which nearly 176,000 persons were injured. Semi-truck accidents are usually serious and can result in severe injuries, such as fractures, spinal cord injuries, head injuries, back and neck injuries, property damage, and sometimes fatalities. If you’ve been hurt in an accident caused by a semi-truck driver’s negligence or carelessness, you may be entitled to seek damages.
Tonya Stewart Law is committed to providing comprehensive legal services and compassionate representation to clients in personal injury and accident cases involving trucks, semi-trucks, or 18-wheelers. I will fight vigorously to protect your rights and help you pursue fair financial compensation to cover medical expenses, lost income, future medical treatment, pain and suffering, or loss. I’m proud to serve clients throughout Lakeland, Lake Wales, Davenport, Winter Haven, and Haines City, Florida.
Insurance Requirements in Florida
Florida is a no-fault state. Regardless of who was responsible for the accident, victims must file an injury claim with their own insurance company after an auto or truck accident. Residents, motor vehicle owners, and drivers in Florida are required to purchase a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy.
What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?
PIP is no-fault insurance coverage that covers medical bills, lost wages, and death benefits after a Florida accident. Regardless of who was at fault, the PIP policy will cover:
- 80% of actual medical expenses up to $10,000 limit
- 60% of your lost wages subject to a $10,000 limit
Also, victims may be entitled to $2,500 worth of injury benefits for non-emergency medical treatments. However, if the medical expenses and lost wages exceed $10,000, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Assessing Liability in a Florida Truck Accident
There may be several parties involved in the liability for a truck accident. To establish liability, understanding who may be at fault for the accident is important. The party responsible for the truck accident may include:
The Truck Driver
The driver of a commercial truck, semi-truck, or 18-wheeler may be held responsible for an accident if he or she;
- Breaks the law
- Drives while fatigued
- Drives distracted (texting, on a phone call, or changing the radio station)
- Lacks proper training
- Performs poor vehicle maintenance
- Was speeding
- Was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
The Trucking Company
The trucking company who hired the driver may be held responsible if the accident occurred due to:
- Inadequate safety inspection
- Hiring unqualified or unlicensed drivers
- Setting unrealistic expectations that pushed the driver to meet delivery deadlines
- Encouraging drivers to break federal safety regulations
The Truck Manufacturer
Additionally, the truck manufacturer or parts manufacturer may be held responsible if the accident was caused by a defect. For instance, the truck parts could malfunction, thus, causing a mechanical failure, faulty brakes, or tire blowout.
The Cargo Loaders
Furthermore, cargo loaders who fail to properly inspect, balance, and secure the cargo may be held liable when boxes or equipment fall off the truck and cause injury or property damages.
Designated maintenance personnel may be responsible for inspecting tires, checking the engine, fluids, brakes, electronic systems, and performing other necessary truck inspections and maintenance. If the accident was caused by a failure to perform any of these takes sufficiently, the maintenance personnel may be held liable.
What Steps Should I Take Next?
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, the steps you take following your accident could affect the outcome of your personal injury claim. It’s important to:
- Remain calm, and don’t let your emotions take control
- Get to safety
- Call 911 or emergency personnel and seek medical assistance for your injuries
- Report the accident to a law enforcement agency, such as the nearest police station or judicial officer
- Collect relevant information such as the trucker’s license number, phone number, and the name of the trucking company
- Obtain a police report, accident scene photos, and witness statements
- Document all of your medical expenses, medical treatments, and doctor’s appointments
- Notify your insurance company
- Hire a knowledgeable truck accident attorney to help you file injury claims or negotiate a fair settlement with the insurer
The sooner these steps are taken following the accident, the easier it will be to access the necessary information. With the passage of time, details are easily forgotten and reports misplaced.
If you’re representing a family member who lost their life or became incapacitated due to the semi-truck accident, the right step is to retain a knowledgeable attorney immediately to hold the responsible party liable through a wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit, where applicable.
Your Personal Injury Attorney’s Role
Getting into an accident with a semi-truck or 18-wheeler can be a devastating and painful experience. It can have significant, long-lasting ramifications on your physical, financial, and emotional health. Thankfully, you don’t have to go through it alone. Hiring a knowledgeable Florida personal injury attorney is crucial to protect your rights and help pursue your rightful compensation.
At Tonya Stewart Law, I have devoted my career to protecting the rights of truck accident victims and providing compassionate representation in personal injury and wrongful death matters. As your attorney, I can:
- Review every aspect of your case
- Conduct a comprehensive, private investigation
- Gather all necessary pieces of evidence and documentation
- Establish fault and liability
- Determine case-value
- Negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company
- Fight to represent your best interest and ensure the right people are held accountable
If you or a loved one were involved in a semi-truck accident, contact Tonya Stewart Law to schedule a free one-on-one consultation with an experienced Florida truck accident attorney. I will offer you the comprehensive legal guidance and dedicated representation you need to pursue fair financial compensation for your injuries, damages, or loss. I proudly represent semi-truck accident victims throughout Lakeland, Lake Wales, Davenport, Winter Haven, and Haines City, Florida.