After you’ve been in a truck accident, you may be wondering how to establish liability so that you can receive compensation for your injuries. Who is at fault for the accident? Who will cover your medical bills and damages? One of the first steps is understanding how to establish negligence. While it’s ultimately your lawyer’s job to do this, it’s helpful to know what to do so you can gather the appropriate documentation and advocate for yourself.
Most Common Truck Accident Injuries We Help Clients With
Truck accident victims in the Port St. Lucie area often sustain major injuries as a result of the incident. Unfortunately, the sheer weight and size of these trucks often lead to devastation for those inside smaller vehicles involved in the crash. Some of the most common injuries that we assist clients with after these incidents occur include:
- Fractured or dislocated bones
- Crush injuries or amputations
- Severe internal bleeding or organ damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries with or without paralysis
- Major lacerations or puncture wounds
This is certainly not a complete list of the types of traumatic injuries that can occur as a result of a truck crash. However, we also want to highlight the fact that these incidents are likely to lead to significant emotional and psychological injuries as well. This can include prolonged feelings of anxiety, stress, and fear on the part of the truck accident victim. In some cases, victims could experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Proving Negligence in a Florida Trucking Accident
To establish negligence, your lawyer must prove the following four elements:
Duty: The truck driver had a duty to drive carefully and obey all traffic laws to keep others on the road safe.
Breach of Duty: The truck driver breached their duty by driving recklessly, speeding, or breaking other traffic laws.
Causation: The truck driver’s breach of duty caused the accident.
Damages: You suffered physical or psychological injuries and monetary losses due to the accident.
Establishing Truck Accident Liability After Filing a Lawsuit
Once negligence has been established, liability can be assigned accordingly. If the truck driver is found to be 100 percent at fault for the accident, they will be responsible for covering all your damages. However, if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, your damage award will be reduced by your percentage of responsibility.
For example, if you are found to be 20 percent at fault for the accident, you will only be able to recover 80 percent of your damages from the other party. This is because trucking accidents in Florida are governed by a law known as pure comparative negligence. However, it’s important to note that you can collect compensation even if you are 99 percent at fault for the accident.
Factors that Determine Truck Accident Liability
Many factors will contribute to determining liability in a truck accident. Some of the most common include:
- Who was operating the truck at the time of the accident?
- Was the driver properly licensed and trained?
- Were they following all state and federal regulations?
- Did they violate any traffic laws before the crash?
- What kind of condition was the truck in at the time of the accident? Was it properly maintained?
- Was the cargo being transported properly secured?
- Who is responsible for maintaining the truck? The driver, the trucking company, or a third party?
- What caused the accident? Was it due to driver error, mechanical failure, or poor road conditions?
An experienced personal injury lawyer will investigate all these factors to determine who may be liable for your injuries and help establish what percentage of fault should be assigned.
Determining Financial Compensation Your Truck Accident Claim
Individuals who sustain injuries caused by the negligent actions of a truck driver or trucking company should be able to recover compensation for their losses. Specifically, the team at GOLDLAW helps clients recover both economic and non-economic damages after these types of incidents occur.
Economic damages revolve around various calculable expenses that the injury victim will likely endure. These types of damages are calculated by looking at receipts, medical bills, invoices, and estimates that come in after the incident and as a result of the incident. Some of the most common types of economic damages include:
- Emergency medical costs
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- All follow-up hospital or doctor visits
- Surgical expenses
- Medical devices or equipment
- Prescription medications
- Lost income and loss of future earnings
- Various household out-of-pocket losses
Non-economic damages are not as calculable as the economic damages just mentioned. These types of losses will be calculated using a different method, but they are equally as important. Non-economic damages revolve around more immeasurable expenses, such as a victim’s physical pain and suffering, emotional and psychological trauma, and loss of quality of life resulting from the truck crash.
Your attorney will also need to prove the severity of your injuries to calculate how much compensation you are entitled to receive. They will gather evidence such as your medical records, hospital bills, prescription costs, testimony from expert witnesses (e.g., doctors), and pictures or videos of your injuries. Once all this evidence has been gathered and reviewed, your attorney will have a better idea of how much your case is worth and what kind of settlement you can expect to receive.
Other factors contributing to calculating your compensation include the amount of income you have lost because you are unable to work due to your injuries and the pain and suffering you have endured/will endure because of your injuries.
Federal Trucking Regulations for Safety
Trucking accidents can have devastating consequences. To help keep the roads safe, the federal government has enacted several regulations that commercial trucking companies and their drivers must follow.
Maximum Hours of Service Per Day and Week
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the maximum number of hours a truck driver can be on duty. A truck driver cannot drive for more than 11 hours in a day and must take at least ten consecutive hours off before starting another driving shift. In addition, a driver cannot be on duty for more than 60 hours in a 7-day period or 70 hours in an 8-day period.
Minimum Training Requirements for New Drivers
All new drivers in the trucking industry are required to complete training on various topics related to safety, including handling the vehicles, operating the vehicles safely, and understanding DOT regulations.
Random Drug and Alcohol Testing
Under federal regulations, commercial truck drivers are subject to random drug testing. In addition, any driver who is involved in an accident must undergo drug and alcohol testing if there is reason to believe that either substance played a role in the accident.
How Long Do You Have to File a Truck Accident Claim in Port St. Lucie?
In the state of Florida, individuals used to have up to four years to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against an alleged negligent party. However, based on the new tort reform law passed in the state, the time frame for filing most claims is two years from the date of the alleged incident. This new law applies to claims that arise after the effective date of the law, which is March 24, 2023. Individuals who sustained truck accident injuries before this date will fall under the old personal injury statute of limitations.
Additionally, there are always specific factors related to each particular case that could affect overall deadlines. We encourage you to reach out to a skilled truck accident lawyer in Port St. Lucie who can walk you through all of your options and discuss the deadlines related to your case.
Why Hire GOLDLAW For Your Truck Accident Claim?
Our law firm has successfully represented many clients in truck accident cases, and we will put our experience to work for you. GOLDLAW is the right choice.
- We Have the Experience You Need
We have handled countless truck accident claims. We know what it takes to win these types of cases, and we will do everything in our power to get you the compensation you need and deserve.
- We Have the Resources You Need
Trucking accident cases can be complex and expensive. Our law firm has the resources needed to investigate your accident thoroughly and we are never afraid to go toe to toe with large insurance companies.
- We Will Fight for You
We will fight aggressively for your rights and ensure the responsible parties are held accountable.
- We Care About You
At our law firm, we understand that this is a trying time for you and your family. We are here to help you—from investigating your accident to negotiating with insurance companies—and we will stand by your side throughout the entire process.