Truck Accident Attorneys in Florida
Tractor trailers are a necessary part of life in Florida and throughout the United States as tractor trailers are the vehicles that transport the goods we need every day. However, because tractor trailers/semi-trucks are so large and heavy, any truck accident has the potential to result in injuries or death. Like car accidents, there are a variety of reasons why truck accidents happen. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries resulting from a truck accident, speaking with a Florida Truck Accident Attorney can help you to have a better understanding of what steps to take after a catastrophic truck accident.
Parker Waichman LLP Represents Truck Accident Injury Victims Throughout Florida
At Parker Waichman LLP, many of our Florida Personal Injury and Truck Accident Attorneys spend a significant portion of their time representing clients who have been involved in severe and sometimes fatal truck accidents. Truck accidents can be more complicated than car accidents to investigate as trucks are regulated by various state and federal rules, regulations and statutes. When a truck accident happens, multiple parties will be involved in any potential lawsuit. As such, anyone injured in a truck accident or anyone who has lost a family member to fatal injuries resulting from a truck accident should consider working alongside Parker Waichman LLP.
When considering legal action relating to a truck accident, it is important to remember that the lawyers handling the case will not receive any compensation unless the injured or deceased victim is successful in either a settlement or verdict at trial. Therefore, there is nothing to lose by seeking the advice of a highly skilled Florida Truck Accident Attorney.
Causes of Florida Truck Accidents
Truck accidents happen for many of the same reasons as any car accident. However, because truck drivers must follow numerous, local, state, and federal statutes, rules and regulations, there are additional factors at play that may contribute to truck accidents that do not always contribute to an ordinary car accident. Common causes of Florida truck accidents include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:
- Driving while drowsy or falling asleep at the wheel;
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (including prescription and over-the-counter drugs);
- Speeding, failing to yield, failing to use a turn signal, following too closely, failing to stop at a stop sign, running a red light, and other traffic violations;
- Texting, using social media apps, taking pictures/videos, talking on the phone and other distracting behaviors while driving;
- Inexperienced and/or unauthorized drivers (i.e., if a truck driver has a poor driving record, does not have the proper licensure, or does not have the required experience to be operating a truck);
- Weather conditions, which can be especially troublesome for large trucks; and
- Defective equipment, such as tire failure, failed brakes, or any other equipment failure that contributes to an accident.
Like car accidents, it takes a thorough analysis of a truck accident to find out what went wrong and who is to blame. Because trucks are heavily regulated, governing bodies, such as the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) may investigate the accident to find out if any laws, rules or regulations were broken and if the accident was preventable.
Overall, simply because a truck accident happens does not mean the truck driver or the truck itself is to blame. Drivers of cars, motorcycles or any other motorist have the potential to cause a truck accident. As such, it is imperative that you speak with a Florida Truck Accident Attorney about a collision that resulted in injuries, especially given that multiple parties would be involved in a potential lawsuit, including the injured person(s), truck driver, and truck owner/employer.
Florida Truck Accident Injuries
Injuries associated with Florida truck accidents range from minor to catastrophic, and sometimes fatal. Such injuries include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Back, neck and spinal cord injuries (some resulting in paralysis);
- Open head injuries and gashes;
- Closed head injuries, such as concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs);
- Fractured or broken bones;
- Organ damage (such as a punctured lung from blunt force trauma);
- Other orthopedic injuries, such as torn muscles or cartilage, and damaged ligaments/tendons;
- Cuts, gashes and other open wounds that require stitches or surgery;
- Internal organ injuries;
- Internal bleeding; and
Because trucks have the potential to cause severe accidents, all motorists should be aware of one another on our roads and highways, driving as carefully as possible when around large trucks. While most truck drivers follow the rules, and get the required amount of sleep, these truck drivers still may be fatigued given the long shifts they have day after day. Additionally, truck drivers require a specialized license demonstrating their ability to operate a tractor-trailer.
As such, extra precautionary steps should be taken to avoid being involved in a truck accident. A truck driver does not have to be a bad driver to fall asleep at the wheel. Truck driving is exhausting, and drivers can become fatigued. Whether a truck driver has been injured or anyone else who is involved in a truck accident, speaking with a Florida Truck Accident Attorney can help answer your legal questions.
The Uptick in Fatal Florida Truck Accidents
Florida sees more fatal truck accidents than all states except California and Texas, with the trend moving upwards year after year. The sheer volume of traffic in our state creates a situation where accidents are going to happen, and unfortunately, many of those truck accidents turn out to be fatal. The NHTSA keeps track of all large truck accidents and has compiled the following statistics demonstrating that Florida does, indeed, have a problem with dangerous and life-threatening truck accidents.
- In 2013, there were a total of 187 truck-involved fatal accidents;
- In 2014, there were a total of 179 truck-involved fatal accidents; and
- In 2015, there were a total of 215 truck-involved fatal accidents.
Information for 2016 has not yet been released, and while the number went down slightly from 2013 to 2014, the total truck-involved accident fatalities increased significantly in 2015. As the population grows, so too does traffic, and because of the Miami area’s large population, the increased traffic contributes to the incidence of fatal truck accidents. The goal of the NHTSA is to determine if any preventative measures can be used in the future to avoid similar accidents do not happen again.
What to Do if You or a Loved One Has Sustained Injuries in a Florida Truck Accident
The first thing to worry about after a truck accident is the health of everyone involved. Anyone injured should seek medical attention and help others who have been injured. Lawsuits are necessary to compensate victims. However, human life is of utmost importance immediately following an accident. Additionally, many people involved in Florida truck accidents do not experience symptoms of an injury right away. Some people may begin to experience headaches, neck pain, or back pain, among others, days, weeks or even months after a truck accident. As such, seeking a medical evaluation after a truck accident is crucial regardless of whether a person believes he or she has sustained injuries. There is no harm in being evaluated for injuries.
The next step following a truck accident is to make sure all facts surrounding the accident are documented. For example, this could mean obtaining a copy of a police report, identifying all potential witnesses and documenting all injuries stemming from the accident. Many injury victims may contact their insurance company right away to file a claim, but it is important first to consider whether an attorney may be able to help. Working with insurance companies can be stressful, and sometimes injury victims are taken advantage of and not compensated fairly for what they have been through. By working with a Florida Truck Accident Attorney, injury victims have an advocate to handle the matter in the most appropriate way possible, seeking the maximum amount of compensation an injury victim deserves.
One additional factor to keep in mind is that admitting fault immediately following an accident by saying “I’m sorry,” or “It was my fault,” can be used against an injured person who seeks compensation later on. Therefore, it is better to simply focus on treating injuries and discussing the matter with an attorney instead of making statements to others involved in the accident about who may be at fault.
Understanding the Time Limits Placed on How Long You Have to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit
The state of Florida has laws that limit how long an injured person has to file a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a deceased loved one. If a person wishes to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation relating to a truck accident, he or she has four years from the date of the accidentto file a lawsuit.
If a person suffered fatal injuries in a truck accident and the representative of the deceased victim’s estate (such as a spouse or child) wishes to pursue legal action, the representative has two years from the date of the victim’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This statute of limitation is stricter than a personal injury claim, so acting quickly to speak with an attorney after a truck accident is critical to ensure time does not run out to file a lawsuit.
What to Expect When Filing a Truck Accident Lawsuit
All lawsuits are different, so while one lawsuit may be resolved quickly, another could take quite a long time to resolve, especially if a case goes to trial. Typically, a trial date is set at least one year after a case is filed, and sometimes the trial date could be well over one year after a case is filed. Patience is key when dealing with a truck accident lawsuit, and anyone considering legal action should know that the process can be time-consuming, but well worth it to pursue compensation for injuries associated with a truck accident. The standard process for most personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits includes the following:
- Initial case consultation and review of the facts;
- Attorney review of initial case information;
- Attorney’s decision on whether a potential client has a viable personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit related to a truck accident;
- Attorney and client agreement to move forward and pursue legal action;
- Gathering of evidence, such as medical records documenting injuries, police reports regarding the truck accident, government/agency reports, if any (such as those completed by the NHTSA), and witness statements, among other evidence;
- Filing the lawsuit or attempting to settle the case without going to court;
- Discovery process which is when all parties exchange information and evidence to evaluate the claims at issue and the documentation that supports those claims;
- Settlement negotiations, arbitration, or mediation; and
- A settlement agreement or trial.
It is important to keep in mind that not every truck accident case will be successful. There are unique factors that may make one case stronger or weaker than another. As such, no guarantees can ever be made by any attorney that a client will win at trial or reach a good settlement. However, with the help of a truly skilled Florida Truck Accident Attorney, injured individuals have a better chance of reaching a result that is fair and reasonable. At Parker Waichman LLP, our legal team works tirelessly to help every client receive compensation for the injuries they have suffered.
Why it is Essential to Seek the Legal Advice of a Qualified Florida Truck Accident Attorney
It is not always easy to determine who is at fault when a truck accident happens. Before fault can be determined, there must be an investigation and evaluation of the potential causes. As such, before concluding how and why a truck accident happened, it is first a good idea to talk with an attorney who can parse through the potential causes of the accident and evaluate whether or not any injuries are associated with that accident. There is no harm by at least obtaining the advice and guidance of a legal professional.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Florida Truck Accidents
Can I work with my insurance company to seek compensation after suffering injuries in a truck accident?
Yes, accident victims can work with their insurance companies after a truck accident. However, the insurance process is complicated, and there are often many legal issues that need to be addressed by an attorney to ensure an accident victim is not being taken advantage of. It is a good idea to allow an attorney to help with a truck accident claim so the attorney can work directly with the insurance companies on behalf of the injured victim.
How long will it take to settle a truck accident case or go to trial?
As discussed above, it can take anywhere from less than one year to more than two or three years to get a case resolved. The courts in Florida are very busy with multiple claims, and it can also take months if not one year for a truck accident report to be issued, especially if the accident was catastrophic and multiple vehicles or injured people were involved.
How is compensation calculated when pursuing a lawsuit for injuries?
Compensation is calculated based on past, present and future medical expenses as well as lost wages if an injured person is not able to work while recovering and potentially indefinitely if the person’s injuries are permanent. All calculations will be unique based on an injured person’s age, cost of medical treatment, and prognosis for the future. Depending on the type of accident, if a case goes to trial, an injured victim may be awarded additional “punitive” damages if a jury believes a person’s conduct was so egregious that “punishable” compensation is warranted. For example, if a drunk driver caused a truck accident and a person suffered fatal injuries, a jury may find that the drunk driver’s conduct was bad enough that the victim deserves additional compensation.
How many attorneys should I speak with before choosing one?
It is always good practice to research an attorney’s reputation, experience, and track record before deciding to retain that attorney. It is also not a bad idea to speak with multiple attorneys to get a variety of viewpoints and opinions. Being patient and thoroughly vetting a potential attorney to help with a truck accident case will ensure a client is picking the right attorney for the job.
Parker Waichman LLP Has Collectively Obtained More Than $2 Billion for Injury Victims
Parker Waichman LLP is a nationally-recognized personal injury law firm that continues to strive for excellence, providing all clients with the individualized legal representation they deserve. In addition to helping Florida injury victims, our law firm also represents injured individuals from all across the United States and has recovered more than $2 billion for its clients through mediations, arbitrations, negotiated settlements, and verdicts at trial.
Awards, Accolades and Achievements
Our firm is honored to have been positively rated and recognized in the legal community. Examples of such honors include, but may not be limited to, the following:
- AVVO Rating of 9.8/10;
- AV Peer-Reviewed “Preeminent Lawyers” rating;
- Listed in Peer-Reviewed “Best Lawyers”; and
- Ranking of “5 Dragons” according to Lawdragon’s peer review.
At Parker Waichman LLP, we utilize a highly skilled and knowledgeable legal team to provide clients with the reassurance that our attorneys are working aggressively and methodically to help clients receive the maximum compensation possible. While not every legal claim is successful, the stronger the attorney and legal staff, the greater chance clients have of reaching a positive outcome given the severity of their injuries. Our legal team is standing by to evaluate your potential case and provide you with candid and thorough legal advice.
Contact Parker Waichman LLP Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries resulting from a truck accident, act quickly by contacting a Florida Truck Accident Attorney to discuss your situation.
At Parker Waichman LLP, our seasoned legal team helps truck accident injury victims on a regular basis, and also help families who have lost loved ones to fatal injuries. Time is of the essence when pursuing legal action because there are time limitations on how long you have to file a lawsuit.
As such, to learn about your potential legal options regarding your injuries or a loved one’s fatal injuries, contact the Florida Truck Accident Attorneys of Parker Waichman LLP today by calling (800) YOUR-LAWYER (968-7529) to schedule your free consultation. Our Florida offices serve, among other cities, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples, Bonita Springs, Immokalee and Marco Island.
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