The roads of Orlando, Florida are rife with accidents at any time of the year. If you steal a look at the statistics, you may tremble at the mere thought of taking the wheel and driving to the local grocery store. Accidents are sudden, they are intense, and can leave victims under mounting economic and non-economic pressures.
Things double up in intensity when you add commercial trucks to the equation. When traveling at high speeds, trucks pack enormous momentum which can shatter anything that comes in their way. Thus only an ounce of negligence on the part of a truck driver can total someone’s vehicle.
Truck accidents are especially intense due to the sheer disparity in the sizes and masses of the vehicles involved. Head-on collisions almost always result in wrongful deaths, but things are not all too well even in moderate cases – the medical bills and other expenses are too much to handle.
If you’re forced to traverse through such challenging times, do so with the help of competent and highly committed Orlando truck accident lawyers who will not only create a solid foundation for your case but also help you get the compensation you need to regain financial stability and to bring your life back to normalcy after such havoc.
Truck accidents, like all other forms of auto crashes, can happen due to any number of reasons. Negligence on part of any party involved in the event, either directly or indirectly, can lead to catastrophic results. Thus understanding the factors that can weigh in the event of a commercial truck accident is important for safeguarding oneself from such traumatic events:
Distracted Driving: This can happen either way but usually, it is the truck driver who’s busy texting, calling, or eating while driving. This may be the case either due to deliberate negligence on part of the driver or due to strict/tight working hours – in which case the company will be held liable. In either case, distracted driving is not okay and if it results in an accident, assigning fault will not be tricky.
Intoxicated Driving: Drunk driving cases in Orlando not as rare, even with truck drivers, as most presume. Driving under influence is a legal violation of traffic laws and has time and again resulted in horrendous crashes and wrongful deaths. The legal blood alcohol limit is .08%, and if the driver who caused the accident had a higher level of intoxication, then it would be construed as a drunk driving accident. In such cases, the driver, the trucking company, and the alcohol provider will all be held liable.
Violation of the Law: If either party violated the traffic law which resulted in or at least factored in the accident, then that party will be deemed responsible. Thus over-speeding, violating traffic signals, or cutting through lanes are tell-tale indicators that will allow insurance adjusters and lawyers to assign blame during settlement negotiations.
Technical Issues with the Truck: If the truck faced some technical issues either due to manufacturing defects or inadequate maintenance, then either the truck manufacturer or the trucking company will be held liable. Your lawyer will have to prove that the technical issue or inadequacy would’ve caused the accident no matter how vigilant or responsible the driver was. Of course, this does not exclude the possibility that negligence on part of the driver cannot couple up with technical problems.
Unsafe Road Conditions: If the roads were somehow not safe enough, let’s say they were damaged or that the traffic signals were malfunctioning, something of this sort, then you can hold the state of Florida liable for your damages. Just remember that when you’re filing a personal injury claim against a government entity or employee, the statute of limitations will be lesser than otherwise.
Overworked Drivers: By law, trucking companies can only demand an 11-hour shift from truck drivers on any given day with a maximum of 77-hour working schedule for a whole week (seven days), but this is not usually the case. We’ve come across several cases where the drivers were overburdened with work, causing them to crash.
In all of the above cases, the liable parties differ. Thus knowing who to blame and why is crucial for leading your personal injury claim to any success. Professional Orlando truck accident lawyers can help you dissect your case and identify liable parties thus ensuring that you get compensated fairly.
Traffic fatalities in truck accidents are not unheard of. Head-on collisions with trucks have resulted in many wrongful deaths. In such cases, the family members of the deceased (spouse, children, and parents) can file a compensation claim.
However, even in moderate cases, things are not to be taken lightly.
Whiplash is quite common with almost all accidents and is especially pronounced in those involving trucks. It is the sudden jerking of the neck which causes severe pain in the muscle mass attached with it. In most cases, whiplash is not severe but it can still lead to acute pain, which may persist for a couple of days, rendering one unable to work.
Broken bones, traumatic brain injury, internal bleeding, muscle injury, spinal cord injury, internal organ damage, bruises, cuts, lacerations, and similar traumas are expected in such cases. Truck accident injuries can be horrendous and often cause permanent physical and emotional damages.
Amputations, paralysis, and other forms of deformations are also quite frequent.
These injuries usually demand immediate medical attention, thus gathering firsthand evidence from the site of the accident may not be possible. However, you can always fill in the gaps through a private investigation – seeking medical help should be a priority.
In less severe cases, minor injuries are to be expected such as fractures, joint dislocations, whiplash, concussions, and so on. You may be able to assess the damages sustained in such a situation and even start gathering useful evidence to help further your case.
It won’t be wrong to say that the impact may be momentary but its effects will resonate for a long time.
The damages resulting from a truck accident include both financial and non-economic ones. The former is pretty simple to calculate if you’ve kept track of your expenses. Remember that the insurance company will not take your word for things, you will have to produce evidence to back up all of your claims.
Your financial losses will be reflected in all of your medical bills and other receipts, so don’t lose them! The total of the receipts for your medical expenses, property damages, extra expenditures necessitated by the accident, and lost wages will account for your financial losses.
However, a fair compensation sum is always higher, even if only slightly, than this sum.
Usually, the sufferer has to deal with additional non-economic loss as well. These encompass all the physical pain and suffering, emotional stress, loss of enjoyment in life, loss of consortium, and so on. These burdens are hard to compensate because one cannot put a value on such sufferings.
How can one assign a sum to how much pain an accident victim had to face? There is no way of knowing the amount of pain and agony that one had to go through, thus the calculations here are not as simple as summing up a couple of receipts.
Usually, insurers offer a nominal sum for your non-economic losses, but you can get fairly compensated here as well. Lawyers are equipped with the analytical skills to deduce your condition and based on their observations, they will assign a multiple ranging between 1.5 and 5 to your economic losses and then the resultant amount will be your total compensation.
Be sure to proceed with the counsel of legal professionals in this matter because the insurance companies are notorious for cutting down the reimbursement sums.
What you do after such events will have a major impact on your settlement sum. While it may not be possible for you to do all of these by yourself, you can still try to get the most done and leave the rest on your lawyers:
This may not be possible in all cases. However, if you’re not in dire need of medical attention, you should gather your willpower and assess the damage. Remember that your case will only be as solid as the evidence supporting it – you’ll need lots of it.
Once you’ve seen the extent of damage, photograph everything. Use your cell phone to take clear photos of the damage done to your car, your injuries, those of any passengers, the accident scene, the license plate of the truck, and so on.
You’re also legally required to exchange information with the other driver at the accident scene. Don’t mind if he asks for your info, it is a legal requirement (even if the truck driver is clearly at fault). You should note down their full name, contact information, license plate number, driver’s license information, insurance provider, and so on.
If you saw any bystanders at the scene, approach them and request them to share their contact information with you. In time, these people might become valuable witnesses for your case if things go as far as filing a civil lawsuit – which is a possibility.
All states require accident victims to call the police and report the incident as soon as possible, preferably on the accident site. Wait for the reporting officers by your car (pull it up on the side of the road) and when they show up, ask for their names and badge numbers.
Don’t hesitate in asking for this information, as a citizen, it is your right!
Note down the details and then tell the officers all about the accident, as best as you can remember. When they’ve compiled their police report, ask for a copy because this will prove that the accident did happen and help further testify to the details you’ll provide to the insurance adjuster.
In case the officers can’t come to your location, be sure to visit the nearest police station as soon as you can and report your case there.
In some cases, the victims are in such bad shape that they must be rushed to the hospital and many die in the way. Even in the non-fatal cases, the injuries may be too much for the sufferer, thus necessitating a rush to the hospital.
In such cases, gathering firsthand evidence and exchanging information with the other driver will be out of the question.
However, you can always fill in those gaps later on through a private investigation.
But if you did all of the aforementioned stuff then you probably can visit the doctor on your own. Just remember that you have only 72 hours to seek medical attention. Avoid speaking to the insurance company before you’re completely diagnosed with your injuries.
The insurance rep might call you to get you to settle for a nominal sum at this stage, avoid discussing things at this moment – get patched up first, that’s your priority zero.
Your medical records, diagnosis reports, and notes from the doctor will make all the difference in defining your case.
Your truck accident claim should stand on a solid foundation. Evidence is a potent addition to any personal injury case, thus you should ensure that every cent of your expenses is accounted for. Keep a hold of your medical bills, receipts, days missed at work, and so on.
These will help you prove your financial losses, but what about the non-economic damages?
You can prove those too. Just ask your doctor to write a detailed note for you, and you can journal your experience with the injuries and the psychological trauma. Also, ask your friends and family to record their comments and observations detailing how your life changed after the accident (even if temporarily).
Generally, insurance adjusters judge the degree of seriousness by going through your medical bills. Your doctor’s note will also be very convincing, however, since this is a grey area, you can expect the insurer to avoid paying you as much here.
Just lay down the details before a team of Orlando personal injury attorneys to ensure that you are represented well.
The settlement negotiations are not necessarily fruitless. In many cases, people get compensated fairly – by the standard of usual practices by the insurance companies, however, this may not always be the case. The one thing you should avoid doing during your settlement negotiations is to go in alone.
Have your lawyer with you at all times when you’re facing the insurance company. This is not optional if your wish to secure maximum compensation. The insurance adjuster will not only trick you into downplaying your sufferings but will also try to get you to accept part of the blame.
Even without knowing so, you can miscommunicate your message and your words can be used to cut down the compensation sum. Don’t take it personally, it is business and as with all businesses, insurance companies wish to maximize their profits, that’s it.
Having a competent personal injury lawyer by your side will make all the difference here.
Things may not work out well with the insurance company and this happens more often than you might anticipate. Either the insurer might refuse to pay altogether, using some sort of technicality to hide their indifference, or the sum may be less than worthless in your current predicament.
When confronted with such stubbornness, you will have to fight fire with fire – take matters to the court. Have your lawyer file a civil lawsuit on your behalf and brace yourself for the legal process to unfold. Just remember that you only have 4 years to wrap up the steps and reach out to a court (if need be) according to the statute of limitations in Florida.
Truck accidents are usually very traumatic. If you’ve gone through such a sordid mess, odds are that you’re burning through your savings fast and need to reach a fair settlement soon. While accident settlements do take some time, we can at least avoid unnecessary delays.
The VG Law Firm can help you secure fair financial compensation for your losses. While money won’t solve the problems you’re facing, it will help you get back on your feet and retain your financial stability. Your only option to avoid the traps and tactics of insurance companies is to procure the services of competent truck accident lawyers.
Our firm has a reputation for always helping our clients through thick and thin, even when confronted with insurmountable odds.
There are no upfront fees, so, don’t wait to call us!