Tractor trailer accidents are among the most serious traffic incidents. The size and weight of a semi-truck or 18-wheeler and, in some cases, the cargo they carry (chemicals, flammable substances) make any collision with a passenger car a real tragedy. The legal team at VG Law knows exactly how devastating the outcomes of such a crash can be for injured persons. We are here to make sure that every negligent party liable for your physical injuries, emotional trauma, and economic damages pays the fair compensation you deserve for your losses. Thus, if you or a loved one suffered injuries in an accident with a large truck, we encourage you to contact an experienced tractor trailer accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale at VG Law to see if we can assist with your case.
We know that tractor trailer accident claims are more complex than other types of car accident claims. This is because truck drivers are subject to various supplementary regulations from the US Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Also, in a tractor trailer accident, there may be several parties liable for your injuries and financial losses. For a better chance at winning the settlement you are entitled to, you should consult with an experienced tractor trailer accident attorney to help you prepare and negotiate your claim. In some cases, you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit against trucking companies and their insurance carrier. In this particular instance, you need a tractor trailer accident lawyer in Fort Lauderdale with knowledge of the law, experience in this specific type of case, and trial experience.
A personal injury attorney will leave nothing to chance when pursuing all the liable parties in a truck crash. Our lawyers know that commercial truck claims are complicated, and can sometimes be filed against the truck driver, their employer, and even the cargo owner or the truck maintenance provider. We do that in order to recover as much money as possible to compensate you for the catastrophic injuries you suffered, requiring extensive and expensive medical treatment. We will also seek maximum compensation for your non-economic damages - the compensation you deserve for pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and emotional distress.
In order to achieve these results, a tractor trailer accident attorney will do the following:
1. Investigate the Accident Scene
Experienced truck accident lawyers know that even the smallest detail, such as skid marks, can make a big difference in the final amount of financial compensation they can win for their clients. So they start with the very beginning of the case: the crash scene.
Using the evidence collected by the injured parties - photos and videos at the accident scene, the accident report prepared by the law enforcement officers who investigated the crash, and witness statements, trucking accident lawyers will put together a realistic narrative of how the accident happened.
2. Investigate the Responsible Driver and the Trucking Company
Whenever people come to us for legal representation and assistance in filing personal injury claims for commercial vehicle accidents, we know that the truck driver is just one of several possible liable parties. For this reason, in these cases of motor vehicles accidents, we will investigate several aspects, such as:
3. Investigate the Semi Truck Involved in the Crash
One of the most relevant parts of a truck is the event data recorder (EDR), the so-called Black Box of trucks. This device records several critical aspects prior to a crash, such as changes in speed, applying the brakes, and other relevant metrics.
This information can prove whether the truck driver was speeding, had lost control over the vehicle, was incapacitated and failed to react, or whether they tried to do everything to avoid the crash but a truck malfunction prevented them from doing so.
4. Evaluate the Extent of Your Injuries and Economic Damages
When you ask about the average settlement an injured victim is awarded, a tractor trailer accident lawyer will answer that each accident is unique and the settlement amounts depends, first of all, on the extent of the injuries and the losses suffered.
We know that a tractor trailer accident can result in severe injuries, requiring major surgery, such as:
All these injuries require specialized medical attention over weeks or even months in the hospital and then in rehabilitation centers for physical therapy or chiropractic treatment. These translate into very high medical care bills, which add up to other losses you suffered, such as:
5. Negotiate with the Insurance Company
This is probably the most difficult part of legal claims involving commercial vehicles and trucking companies. These are among the biggest businesses in the US and hire large insurance companies, staffed with many experienced lawyers and insurance adjusters. They have only one objective: to deny as many claims as possible. And, when they cannot deny a truck accident claim, they will do everything to reduce the amount of money they have to pay as a settlement, even if the trucking company has sufficient coverage limits to pay all your damages.
Several factors influence the final settlement amount you will collect at the end of a truck accident claim from the negligent party or parties. Your Fort Lauderdale tractor trailer accident attorney will explain in detail the specific elements pertaining to your case. However, we can outline the following aspects:
1. Whether You Were Partly at Fault for Your Accident
Semi-truck crashes are not always simple, with the truck driver bearing 100% of the fault. In some cases, even the injured parties may be fault drivers in a small proportion. However, according to the comparative fault principle governing personal injury law in Florida, this means that your settlement amount will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
You will not be barred from seeking compensation from the insurance provider of the truck driver and other responsible parties, but you will not be able to recover all your damages (economic and non-economic damages). It is important to remember this, because an insurance adjuster representing the fault party's insurer may try to persuade you that being partly at fault makes you ineligible to file a claim.
2. The Responsible Parties Liability for Your Injury
Reckless driving, speeding, DUI, and distracted driving are imputable solely to the driver. But a trucking company is responsible to ensure that their commercial drivers are experienced, well trained, cautious, and comply with traffic laws. If a driver had a track record of traffic violations, then a tractor trailer accident attorney can claim negligent hiring and demand the trucking company to pay for your damages, under the vicarious responsibility principle (employers are liable for their employees' actions while they are on the job).
Also, severe and fatal accidents involving tractor trailers may happen due to improper loading. In some cases, trucks are overloaded. In others, the shipping company does not balance the load properly inside the truck - one side of the truck is heavier than the other. These issues can have a major impact on the way the truck moves and brakes. Many jackknife accidents, when a passenger vehicle is crushed between the tractor head and the trailer, are caused by overloaded and improperly loaded trucks.
Finally, an experienced lawyer may also pursue truck maintenance shops or parts manufacturers and distributors, if the crash was caused by:
3. Your Medical History
You should disclose any pre-existing injury and medical condition to your attorney. You can be certain that the negligent party's insurer will obtain your medical history and will use any information they find there to state that you exaggerated the extent of the injuries you suffered as a result of the accident. If your lawyer knows about your pre-existing conditions, they will be able to prepare for any tactics the insurance company may try to use in order to devalue your claim.
4. The Level of Maximum Medical Improvement You Reach
Some people make a full recovery even after suffering catastrophic injuries. Others are not so lucky and are left with chronic pain and various disabilities and impairments. These aspects have a major influence on the average settlement lawyers win for their clients.
In many cases, tractor trailer accident victims need:
All these future expenses will be estimated and added to the accident insurance claim, ensuring that the victim's family is protected from financial strain.
5. Whether the Accident Was the Result of Intentional Tort or Gross Negligence
In some cases, we can prove that an aggressive or DUI truck driver was more than negligent in causing an accident. If your case goes to trial, the jury has the right to award you punitive damages or exemplary damages. This amount is not a form of compensation, but a form of punishment for the defendant, serving as an example for others. Currently, in Florida, the value of punitive damages is the higher amount between $500,000 and three times the value of compensatory damages (economic and non-economic damages).
VG Law is your legal strong arm when you need assistance and representation if you were injured in a trucking accident. We will help you navigate this difficult period with the confidence that an experienced lawyer is tirelessly working to recover the maximum compensatory amount you are entitled to receive from the negligent party.
We work on a contingency fee basis, so you don't have to worry about paying upfront fees. Reach out to us to discuss your case with an experienced lawyer during a free consultation: 833-HELP-365!