Truck Accident Compensation in Florida
Obtaining compensation is a legitimate concern for anyone hurt in a Florida truck accident. Colliding with an 80,000-pound truck packs a large physical, financial, and emotional punch. If someone else is responsible for the crash, you shouldn’t be left to shoulder the burden.
Truck companies are covered by powerful insurers who are notorious for undervaluing injury claims. Without the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer, you could find yourself with a valid claim but fighting an uphill battle for the money you deserve.
Don’t wait until it is too late to seek fair compensation for what you’ve been through. Contact Brooks Law Group for a free initial case evaluation with one of our knowledgeable Florida truck accident attorneys.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident in Florida?
Many parties are involved in operating commercial trucks on Florida roads. Unlike the average car accident claim — where one or more drivers are usually to blame — the trucking industry is a complex operation involving many different entities. Any one of these parties may play a part in causing a truck accident. Examples of potentially liable parties in a truck accident claim include:
- Truck driver: A trucker may be held liable for negligence by driving the truck in a reckless way, such as speeding, tailgating, or driving under the influence.
- Trucking company: As the driver’s employer, the truck company can be held liable for the truck driver’s negligence under the theory of respondeat superior. This doctrine says an employer can be held responsible for accidents caused by a driver who was operating the truck negligently and acting within the scope of his or her employment. The trucking company can also be held liable for its own negligence in hiring, training, and supervising the truck driver, such as if it hires a driver with a long accident record, or if it instructs or pressures the driver to engage in illegal or unsafe behaviors like speeding or exceeding federal hours-of-service limitations.
- The truck’s owner (if different from the truck driver or trucking company): The truck’s owner may be held liable for deferring required or recommended maintenance on the truck if it ends up leading to a mechanical failure that results in a crash.
- Freight company: Cargo must be loaded and secured in accordance with strict federal safety standards. If the cargo shifts during travel, the truck and its trailer can be thrown off balance and cause rollover accidents or cargo spillage.
- The truck’s mechanic: If the truck’s owner hires a third-party garage for servicing, the mechanic might be held liable for poor maintenance that contributes to a vehicle failure that causes an accident.
- Truck or auto parts manufacturer: Occasionally, truck accidents happen due to a critical defect in one of its systems or parts. Failures caused by inherent design or manufacturing flaws may result in a product liability claim against the negligent automaker or parts manufacturer.
- Other drivers: If another motorist acted negligently, which in turn caused the truck to collide with you, that driver could also be held liable for the wreck.
- Government agencies: There are times when state or local government duties fail in their responsibilities to keep drivers safe. If an unsafe road design, failure to repair dangerous conditions, or other hazard leads to a truck accident, you may have a valid claim against a government agency.
Because truck accidents often involve multiple defendants, it’s critical to get a lawyer on the case immediately to unravel who should be held responsible and begin negotiations with the various insurers involved.
Types of Compensation in a Truck Accident
Following a truck accident, Florida’s no-fault laws say you must first pursue compensation for your injuries through your own insurance company. You can only seek additional compensation if your injuries meet the state’s serious injury threshold, which includes:
- Significant permanent loss of a bodily function
- Permanent injury (to a reasonable degree of medical probability)
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
Because truck accidents often leave victims with incapacitating injuries, many people meet the threshold law and are entitled to pursue compensation for expenses and losses beyond their no-fault benefits. These damages can include:
- Medical bills: Emergency room visits, doctors’ appointments, surgeries, medical procedures, physical and occupational therapy, prescription medications, mobility or medical equipment like crutches or braces, and other out-of-pocket expenses like transportation to and from appointments are recoverable expenses through a truck accident claim.
- Future treatment expenses: Monetary compensation is also possible if you anticipate long-term medical expenses at the time your case is settled or goes to trial.
- Lost income: Did you miss work as you recovered from the crash? You can recoup money for the lost wages that were not replaced through your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits in Florida.
- Lost earning potential: Sometimes, truck accident injuries prevent victims from returning to work or making the same level of income they did before the accident. Compensation can account for your diminished earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering: There’s no denying that a truck accident can leave victims with tremendous physical anguish and emotional distress.
- Wrongful death: If a loved one dies in a truck accident, the family and estate can seek compensation for lost expected earnings and financial contributions of the deceased (including benefits like health insurance or pensions), lost growth of the decedent’s estate, costs of treatment of fatal injuries, funeral and burial expenses, estate administration expenses, conscious pain and suffering experienced by the decedent before their death, and the loss of the decedent’s companionship, society, guidance, and services to the household.
Punitive damages may also be possible but are only awarded in the most shocking cases, such as in accidents where a truck driver with a history of DUI got behind the wheel while intoxicated and caused a wreck. Punitive damages are also intended to deter others from engaging in similar behavior in the future.
Call an Experienced Truck Accident Compensation Lawyer in Florida
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident caused by another party in Florida, you may be owed compensation for your past, ongoing, and future losses. Learn more about your rights and what kinds of compensation you might receive in your case. Call or contact an experienced truck accident attorney at Brooks Law Group today for a free, no-obligation consultation.