Tractor-trailers, eighteen wheelers, big rigs, and other large commercial trucks can cause serious injuries or death when they collide with a passenger vehicle. These are large vehicles that cause forceful impacts.
There are over half a million commercial driver’s licenses issued in Florida each year. With this many new commercial drivers, state and federal regulations governing commercial truck drivers are extremely important. Commercial truck drivers are highly regulated and must follow strict standards. When that doesn’t happen, however, there can be dire consequences.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a tractor-trailer, you deserve to have a lawyer who is compassionate about your situation and who will aggressively fight to protect your rights and get you the compensation you need to get better. Your best chance of maximizing your recovery is to work with a trusted truck accident lawyer in Florida.
Types of Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Tractor-trailers are large vehicles. They have substantial blind spots because of their length. They also have a high center of gravity, which makes them more likely to roll over than other vehicles on the road. When truck drivers, owners, maintenance workers, or manufacturers do not adhere to appropriate operation and maintenance standards, they can create a dangerous situation on the road for other drivers.
A truck driver’s lack of familiarity with an area is a common cause of tractor-trailer accidents. But it isn’t the only one. Other causes include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Failure to yield;
- The truck jackknifing;
- Tire blowouts;
- Texting while driving;
- Head-on collisions;
- Overloaded tractor-trailer beds;
- Lost loads;
- Improper maintenance; and
- Faulty brakes.
More than 400,000 accidents take place on Florida’s roadways every year. These accidents can cause life-altering injuries and even death. Many of these tragic accidents could have been avoided but happen because of someone’s negligence.
When you or a loved one are injured by someone else’s negligent behavior, you need to hold them accountable for your injuries. If you don’t, you might get stuck footing the bill for your medical care after the accident.
Truck Accidents Are Different From Car Accidents
Tractor-trailers can weigh more than 80,000 pounds, roughly twenty times the weight of your car. Because commercial trucks are larger than cars, their insurance policies are also larger. Tractor-trailer insurance policies can often cover millions of dollars in damage. This means if you’re injured in a tractor-trailer accident, the insurance company will fight tooth and nail to make sure their client isn’t held liable. They don’t want to pay out that claim.
Because of the size and weight of big rigs, when they become involved in an accident the property damage and resulting injuries are usually enormous. Your car may be totaled and your injuries may require extensive medical attention. This can also result in enormous medical bills.
Tractor-trailers are extremely large and have the potential to cause serious injuries. The force of the impact from a big rig can demolish vehicles and make your injuries worse than they would likely be if you had been involved in a regular car accident instead.
Common injuries victims of tractor-trailer accidents experience include:
- Broken bones;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries;
- Amputation; and
While not all tractor-trailer accidents result in death, you are more likely to be killed if you’re involved in a tractor-trailer accident than if you are in an accident with another passenger car. Big rigs impact your vehicle with such force that you will almost certainly face life-altering injuries. These life-changing injuries, besides being a frustrating situation, can result in enormous medical care costs. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you might need in-home care for the rest of your life. This does not come cheap.
Not only do you need to pay for medical care, but if your injuries leave you in a wheelchair you may also need to pay to add accessibility features to your home and buy a new vehicle. Are your home and car easily accessible for a wheelchair right now? Most likely not, and the cost to make your home accessible and buy a handicap accessible vehicle can quickly reach into the six figures.
It’s important to remember that you didn’t cause these injuries and you should bear no responsibility for paying the medical bills and rehabilitation costs it will take to help you make a complete recovery.
Commercial Truck Investigations Are Complex
Commercial truck accident investigations are a completely different beast than investigations in typical car accidents. Multiple people and companies could bear fault for your accident injuries when a tractor-trailer is involved. Understanding whose negligence caused your injuries is a time-consuming and complex process that not every law firm can handle.
Possible negligent parties include:
- The driver,
- The truck owner;
- Any maintenance company that has worked on the truck;
- Any maintenance technician who has worked on the truck;
- Parts suppliers; and/or
- Parts manufacturers.
This is not an exhaustive list, either. There are many possible negligent parties and figuring out who is at fault is not something to try to tackle on your own. Tractor-trailer investigations require the keen eye of not only a Florida truck accident lawyer but also an experienced commercial truck investigator. You want someone on your team who has been down this road before and who has the resources necessary to undertake a massive investigation that can help to ensure you maximize your recovery.
Steps to Take After Your Accident
After your truck accident, the steps you take can play an important role in maximizing your recovery. By following this guide, you can help your truck accident lawyer get you the compensation you deserve.
- Call 911. This may seem like a common-sense step but it serves several purposes. It allows you to receive prompt medical treatment for your injuries. Whether you have suffered severely broken bones or were lucky and only received some cuts or sprains, receiving quick medical attention can help to speed up your recovery. Calling 911 also alerts police so they can create an accident report. While the police may not assign fault in their report, they will create an accident diagram and collect other relevant information about the accident.
- Seek medical treatment. Beyond receiving immediate medical attention at the scene of the accident, getting seen by your regular physician after the accident is key to your recovery. If you are referred to see a specialist because of your injuries, go see the specialist. Refusing medical treatment can actually hurt your truck accident claim.
- Take pictures. If you’re able, take pictures at the scene. If you can’t, make sure you get a trusted friend or family member to do so. Get pictures of your injuries, your car, the tractor-trailer, and the whole accident scene. These pictures can come in handy when an attorney is negotiating a settlement or presenting your case in court.
- Keep a journal. Over time, the pain and suffering you’ve experienced will fade. If you can’t speak to how much you suffered during your recovery, that could limit your financial recovery. Keeping a daily journal of your recovery process is extremely useful to show what you had to go through because of the other person’s negligence.
- Contact a Florida truck accident lawyer. Using the services of a trusted tractor-trailer accident lawyer can make all the difference in your recovery. Not only do you need someone with knowledge about and experience with tractor-trailer accident investigations, but you also need someone who makes you feel like a person, not just a number.
Experiencing a tractor-trailer accident is a traumatic life event. But with the right help, you don’t have to face your recovery alone.
Damages You Can Get
While the process of a lawsuit may seem cumbersome, in many cases, it’s the best way to make sure you don’t have to pay out-of-pocket for your medical expenses. If you choose to work with us, we’ll aggressively fight to get you compensation for:
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of companionship;
- Past, present, and future medical bills; and
- Rehabilitation costs.
Our goal is to make sure you don’t pay out-of-pocket for your medical expenses. You didn’t cause the accident so you should bear no responsibility for the costs it takes to get you back on your feet.
Stay Alert to Settlement Offers
A settlement offer from the trucker’s insurance company might seem like a quick way to make sure your bills get paid and avoid hiring a lawyer. The problem is that when you don’t hire a lawyer, you risk getting taken advantage of by the insurance company.
Remember that insurance companies are in the business of making money. If they pay out the full value of the claim, then they don’t make money. Because they know you need quick cash to pay your existing medical bills, they’ll offer you a low-ball settlement. The problem is that this offer likely won’t cover all of your medical bills which means you could end up paying out-of-pocket for injuries you played no part in causing.
We’ve seen this happen before and we don’t want you to experience this tragic situation. Working with a trusted Florida truck accident lawyer can give you the peace of mind you need knowing that an aggressive advocate is working hard to make sure you don’t end up experiencing financial hardship as a result of your accident.
While it’s true that most truck accident cases settle out of court, we only settle our clients’ cases if it’s right for them. We work hard to maximize our clients’ settlements but if the insurance company isn’t willing to offer a fair settlement, we’re fully prepared to take a case all the way to trial. We have the resources required to not only thoroughly investigate tractor-trailer accidents, but we also have the experience needed to take the case to trial, if that’s what is required to maximize recovery.
The Right Lawyer Helps You Recover
While any lawyer can claim to help you recover for your injuries, you need to make sure you’re working with the right lawyer. Choosing a Florida truck accident attorney isn’t always easy.
Make sure the attorney you choose has conducted tractor-trailer accident investigations and negotiated associated claims before. You don’t want a rookie when this much is on the line. A full investigation may include:
- Reviewing police reports;
- Reviewing medical records;
- Interviewing witnesses;
- Consulting with experts to reconstruct the accident scene;
- Preserving evidence;
- Getting truck driver alcohol and drug testing;
- Reviewing the information in the truck black box; and
- Negotiating with insurance companies.
This is a small portion of what your lawyer should do for you. Besides that, your lawyer should do all of this at no up-front cost to you. Your lawyer should work on a contingency basis so you don’t owe them anything for their time unless you win. That’s how we work. We are fully confident in our ability to help our clients maximize their recovery, and we require nothing upfront to take a case.
After the investigation of the accident comes the time to file a claim. In the claim for damages, we state who is at fault in the accident and why. We also make clear that our client has suffered traumatically and must be compensated with a fair amount to cover medical bills and other related expenses.
Once the claim is filed, negotiations begin. We will work hard to come to a fair settlement, but if the insurance company isn’t willing to be fair, then we are prepared to go to court. But don’t worry, if you work with us, you won’t be alone. We’ll be there with you every step of the way.
A Truck Accident Lawyer Can Answer Your Questions
Working with a skilled and experienced truck accident lawyer is paramount to ensuring you maximize your recovery after an accident. Your focus should be solely on getting better. Let your truck accident attorney answer your questions and deal with the legal complexities of your tractor-trailer accident so you can start the process of getting better and focus on getting back on your feet as quickly as possible.