Avoidable negligence is often to blame when semi-truck accidents occur, leading to personal injury claims and lawsuits for damages. A close look at these accidents in Florida reveals certain curious facts worth contemplating. Learning more about semi-truck accidents may help you appropriately react if you experience one.
How Often Do Semi-Truck Accidents Happen in Florida?
There are thousands of semi-trucks on Florida roads at any given time, which makes semi-truck accidents not so surprising. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV), there were over 33,000 accidents involving trucks weighing more than 10,000 lbs in 2021.
On average, 92.69 of these accidents happened per day in 2021. Looking at this statistic even further, you will see that 124 people suffered incapacitating injuries, such as a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury, or an amputation.
Non-incapacitating injuries numbered 468 that year, and crash victims with possible injuries reached a total of 983. Possible injuries refer to situations where an individual has no visible signs of injuries but has complained of pain or has momentarily lost consciousness.
Why Are Semi-Truck Accidents So Devastating?
When it comes to traffic accidents, size and speed matter. Semi-trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Even when a truck is traveling at a low velocity, this amount of weight results in destruction.
The size of semi-trucks also plays a major role in the extent of damage they cause in accidents. Semi-trucks measure over 70 feet in length, which means any crash scene they’re involved in has a massive footprint. Where a single, standard-size vehicle might only impact one or two other vehicles in a crash, a semi-truck could impact far more.
What to Do When You’ve Been in a Semi-Truck Accident
If you’ve been in a semi-truck accident, you should refrain from panic and carefully assess the situation. Florida has an accident reporting requirement, so you should immediately call the police. If there are any injuries, you will also want to call first responders.
Always remember that at accident scenes, there’s always something you can do to preserve your claim. However, your safety and the safety of others always comes first. As such, it is important to get to a place of safety if possible and remove your vehicle from the course of traffic if operable.
Watch Your Words
Be careful what you utter at the accident scene. Your words can be used against you in your claim for compensation. Phrases such as “I’m sorry,” “I shouldn’t have,” and any other similar phrases should be avoided.
Additionally, you should refrain from statements relating to your activities before and during the crash. Telling the truck driver or the police that you are tired or are coming from a night out could lead to an allegation of negligence against you.
Contact a Florida Truck Accident Lawyer
As soon as possible, you should contact a truck accident lawyer to represent you. An experienced attorney will take charge and pursue maximum damages while you concentrate on recovering from your accident.
Who Can I Sue for Damages After a Semi-Truck Accident?
Florida’s laws governing semi-truck accidents and compensation are quite detailed. A close examination of each accident is necessary to determine who a victim is allowed to sue.
If you are involved in a crash with a semi-truck in Florida, you must seek compensation from your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which provides limited compensation for medical bills and a portion of your lost wages.
You can sue a semi-truck driver in various circumstances, including when:
- You suffered a serious injury
- Your medical bills surpassed $10,000
- The truck driver was from out of state
You can also sue the driver if they were legally considered drunk and caused the crash.
In many cases, you can also sue a trucking company that employs a negligent driver who causes a crash. Under the doctrine of vicarious liability, employers can be held liable for employee negligence. Trucking companies may also be sued for their own acts of negligence, such as:
- Negligent hiring practices
- Failure to remove a dangerous driver from service
- Failure to provide proper equipment or vehicles
- Negligent supervision and training
- Requiring or allowing a driver to exceed hours-per-day limits
In addition to the trucking company, an associated shipping company may be held to blame for improperly loading cargo. Repair shops are also exposed to liability if they fail to perform repairs properly, and truckmakers may also be blamed for defective vehicles and vehicle parts.
How Much Compensation Can I Recover?
It depends on the facts of your semi-truck accident. If you are limited to PIP insurance, any compensation you receive will be restricted to medical coverage, 60% of your lost income, and death benefit in the event of a fatality.
However, if you are able to sue for full damages due to a serious injury or because the semi-truck driver was from out of state, you could recover significantly more compensation.
To learn more about the compensation you may be entitled to, schedule an appointment with one of our semi-truck accident lawyers for no charge.
How Long Do I Have to Sue for a Semi-Truck Accident?
Victims of semi-truck accidents in Florida have a limited time to seek compensation for their losses. The statute of limitations (time limit) is two years from the date of the truck accident. Once the statute of limitations expires, the claim will be invalid. Quick action will help you increase your chances of receiving the financial recompense you deserve.
Truck Accident? A Semi-Truck Lawyer Can Help
If you are dealing with injuries and losses from a semi-truck accident, don’t accept any insurance money until you call Ratzan Weissman & Boldt. Let our semi-truck accident lawyer review your case for no charge.