What Do You Need to Know About Liability Following a Florida Truck Accident?
Collisions with semi-trucks are some of the most devastating motor vehicle accidents seen on Florida’s highways. Trucks can weigh as much as thirty times more than a passenger vehicle. The sheer force inflicted on a car by this size discrepancy can overwhelm its safety features, rendering them ineffective. Even low-speed impacts can leave vehicle occupants with catastrophic injuries or worse. Tragically, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Florida had 322 truck accident fatalities in 2020. This number was the third-highest in the nation, behind only Texas and California.
Survivors of these accidents often face a long road to recovery, and the aftermath of a truck crash can leave victims and their families with hefty medical expenses and other financial challenges. Pursuing a personal injury claim against the liable party or parties can help victims recover damages for their losses caused by the accident. However, identifying who may be liable in a commercial truck accident can be much more complex than in a typical motor vehicle crash. Each case is different and must be investigated carefully to determine who was responsible. A knowledgeable Florida truck accident attorney can answer your questions and help you through every step of your claim so you can focus on your recovery.
What Are the Consequences of a Truck Accident?
Truck accidents can be violent and terrifying. They are more likely to result in severe injuries and fatalities than a car crash. Due to the frightening nature of truck collisions, survivors often suffer from trauma-induced mental health issues such as PTSD, vehophobia, depression, and anxiety.
In addition to the mental harm victims experience, they often suffer significant injuries that can take months or even a lifetime to heal, including:
- Broken bones
- Crush injuries
- Head and facial injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Lacerations and contusions
- Severed limbs
- Soft tissue damage
- Spine injuries and paralysis
The seriousness of the injuries suffered by the victims of these accidents makes it critical to uncover the parties liable for the crash. Through proper identification and carefully planned legal action, they can be held responsible for the economic and non-economic damages caused by their negligent acts.
How Does Florida’s No-Fault System Impact Your Truck Accident Claim?
Florida operates under a no-fault insurance system. This system allows accident victims to file their initial claims with their own insurance regardless of who was at fault for the crash. However, your no-fault insurance and personal injury protection (PIP) coverage will only pay a portion of your lost wages and medical expenses, and your coverage limits restrict the total amount available. Victims of truck accidents may outstrip their insurance coverage very rapidly as they often need extensive medical care.
Luckily, Florida law does allow victims to seek compensation from the at-fault party or parties through a lawsuit if they have experienced serious bodily injuries. If you have losses from a truck accident that your insurance has not covered, it is vital to contact a lawyer promptly to discuss your legal options. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims is typically four years from the date of the accident, but it is best to begin the process as soon as possible before critical evidence is lost.
Who May Be At Fault For a Truck Accident?
Truck drivers have a responsibility to everyone on the road to operate their vehicles with care and safety. While most truck operators do live up to these high standards while driving on unfamiliar roads or under time constraints, any reckless actions on their part can lead to severe consequences for nearby motorists. A negligent truck driver who is speeding, failing to pay full attention to the road ahead, driving while fatigued, or operating their semi under the influence of drugs or alcohol can alter a victim’s life in mere moments.
However, truck accidents can occur without the driver being fully or partially at fault. The complicated web of potentially liable parties in a truck collision can make these claims challenging for victims to navigate on their own.
Often, a detailed investigation, coupled with the opinions of accident reconstructionists and medical experts, is required to fully identify all those who may have contributed to the accident. An experienced truck accident lawyer has access to the resources needed to build a strong case against the liable parties so you can recover the damages you deserve. Parties who may be held responsible for a truck accident may include one or more of the following:
- Truck drivers
- Trucking companies
- Truck mechanics
- Cargo loaders
- Entities responsible for truck driver training or hiring
- Manufacturers of defective vehicles or parts
- Third parties, such as bicyclists, pedestrians, or other motorists
- Government entities or their employees responsible for road design and maintenance
How Can Florida’s Comparative Fault System Affect Your Case?
In certain cases, the accident victim may also share some fault in the collision. Until recently, Florida plaintiffs could file a lawsuit as long as they were not 100% at fault for the crash, although their settlement would be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to them. With the passage of new comparative fault statutes in Florida in 2023, victims are now only eligible to seek damages if they are less than 50% at fault for the crash. However, many factors can play into the determination of liability, and you should never assume that you are ineligible to file a lawsuit without first speaking to a knowledgeable truck accident attorney.
How Can Our Law Firm Help You?
Liability in truck accidents can be a very intricate and confusing topic, but the simple truth is that you deserve full compensation from all the parties responsible for your damages. Unfortunately, trucking company insurers are very cognizant of the substantial damages that crash victims can suffer. Due to the large settlements that can be involved, insurers spend considerable resources to employ lawyers to fight these claims.
At Galimidi Law, our top-rated legal expert for accidents involving trucks in Miami are here to level the playing field and uphold your legal rights. We can investigate your accident, identify all responsible individuals and entities, and build a robust case to support your claim, while removing the stress of dealing with insurers or their lawyers. Contact our law firm today at 305-692-0125 to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can serve you.
For more information on Florida truck accident law, please see: