With more than 40,000 trucking accidents reported by the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle Report annually, it’s no surprise that you may be or know a victim. Vehicle accidents can cause major injuries to begin with.
When you throw bigger trucks into the mix, the results can be catastrophic. Those who escape near-fatal accidents tend to live with lifelong debilitating injuries that require hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses alone.
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Most Common Causes of Trucking Accidents in Florida
Just like vehicle accidents, trucking accidents can result from many different culprits. Some of the most common include:
- Unsafe passing
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Driver fatigue
- Braking problems
- Failure to maintain the truck properly
- Overly worn tires
- Safety violations
- Braking issues
- Environmental factors
- Unsafely loaded cargo
It’s important to note that the cause of some trucking accidents may not be overly apparent at the time of the accident. For example, you may not know that improper loading of the cargo caused the driver to turn unsafely or that lack of proper maintenance leads to brake failure.
An experienced attorney will know what culprits are likely with different types of accidents. They will be able to initiate a more thorough investigation to discover if more in-depth reasons were to blame, like improper cargo loading. Without the know-how to look for these hidden causes, you may not be able to properly hold the driver accountable for their actions or inactions.
Key Benefits of Hiring a Clearwater Truck Accident Lawyer
When you’re involved in a truck accident, you need someone willing to answer your questions and assist you in getting the compensation that you deserve. Hiring a Clearwater truck accident attorney will provide you with many key benefits.
If this is your first trucking accident, then it’s highly likely that you don’t know exactly what you need to do. Collecting evidence from the accident scene and getting official documents, like an accident report, are necessary for fighting your case.
A truck accident lawyer will already have an expert plan in place for investigating the scene and collecting evidence. They will know what they need to get before the evidence is lost. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could lose access to this key evidence from the accident scene before realizing it.
Peace of Mind
One of the biggest benefits of hiring a Clearwater truck accident attorney is that they provide you peace of mind. You can hand off your case knowing that a licensed and experienced professional will take care of it. Whenever you have questions, they will be able to answer them thoroughly to put your mind at ease.
There’s nothing worse than being severely injured from a truck accident and trying to deal with the whole situation yourself. When you hire an experienced attorney, you can redirect your focus to your health and get better.
While you may want to save money by handling your truck accident case alone, that’s not always the best option. Many people, like insurance agents, will be less likely to work with you to reach a feasible settlement.
However, when you hire an attorney, they instantly provide clout. Insurance companies aren’t likely to lie or try and convince you that an unfavorable settlement is in your best interest when they know you have an attorney. People respect that fact and will be more likely to provide you with a favorable settlement.
They Handle the Insurance Company
After being involved in an accident, the last thing that you likely want to do is deal with the insurance company. Many of these companies take advantage of the fact that the average individual doesn’t know all their rights. When an insurance provider knows that they’re liable to pay, they will likely offer you a lump sum payment in exchange for a quick settlement.
While this lump sum may seem like a lot of money at the time, it’s likely nowhere near the money you’ll need for ongoing medical and other expenses. When you hire an attorney, they will take care of handling the insurance company and be able to advise you of what your case is worth.
Sometimes, a complicated truck accident case will go to court. To help explain the situation and effects of the accident, you may need an expert witness or two. Experienced truck accident attorneys have access to a variety of expert witnesses who can take the stand and provide information that is key to proving your case.
Liability for a Clearwater Truck Accident
The law states that anyone who is negligent, reckless, or careless can be held liable for an accident. There may be more than one party held liable for a trucking accident. While most individuals may think that they may only hold the trucking company liable for the damages, that’s not always the case.
Various people and entities can be held liable for a trucking accident. These include:
- Trucking company
- Truck inspector and/or maintainer
- Leasing company
- Defective truck part manufacturer
- Truck driver
- Government agencies who didn’t adequately maintain the roadway
- Cargo loader
- At-fault party for multi-vehicle collision
All of these parties must have insurance to help cover any damages resulting from their negligence. For example, a trucking company will need to have commercial vehicle insurance, which has much higher coverage limits than that of typical car insurance.
Most Common Types of Clearwater Truck Accident Injuries Sustained
It’s no surprise that injuries sustained by vehicle drivers are typically much worse when they’re involved in a collision with a truck than another vehicle. Many different types of injuries are very common in trucking collisions. These include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck and brain injuries
- Severe burns
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Wrongful death
- Broken bones
- Catastrophic injuries
- Loss of limb
- Soft tissue damage
It’s very important to note that the list above only shows the physical injuries people can suffer from a collision with a semi-truck. When collecting compensation for injuries, it’s also crucial for the patient’s mental injuries to be considered. From the mental trauma of the accident to dealing with rehabilitation and lifelong injuries, it takes a large mental toll.
What to Do Following a Trucking Accident in Clearwater, FL
If you’re like most people, this is the first trucking accident you’ve ever experienced. Knowing what to do following the accident is imperative to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Fortunately, we’ll break down the key steps you’ll want to take following a trucking accident below so that you can set yourself up for the best chance possible of receiving the compensation you deserve.
Check for Injuries and Call the Police
The first step you’ll want to take following an accident is checking for injuries. Start by checking yourself and your passengers. Then, head over and check the other drivers involved.
During this time, you should contact 911 to get them started your way. They will ask about injuries to know how many ambulances they need to dispatch to your location.
Get Medical Attention Quickly
Take an ambulance ride if you’re severely injured at the scene. If you’re still able to move around but know that you’re injured, it’s best to get to the doctor as soon as possible. You want to record that you sought medical attention after the injury. You should never wait days or even weeks to get medical assistance as this could be very harmful to your health and your case.
Get Evidence From the Scene
Getting evidence while at the scene is important for your case. Take pictures from many angles and ensure you get all the damages to your vehicle and the truck. Look for any skid marks and record any weather elements that could’ve been responsible for the accident.
While you’re assessing the scene, make sure that you look for witnesses. Gather their information so that your lawyer can contact them directly. Take notes about anything that they say during the accident so that you have this proof later on.
Exchange Insurance Information
Once you gather the evidence and have the police on the way, it’s time to consider exchanging insurance information. The easiest way is to picture their insurance information with your smartphone. This will allow you to forward the information to your lawyer easily.
It’s vital to note that you should never admit fault at the accident scene. Since you’ll be talking to the other driver in close quarters, be very mindful of what you say. Even saying something as simple as “I’m sorry” can end up being used against you later on, to blame you for the accident. Keep your conversation simple and to the point.
Contact Your Trucking Accident Lawyer
Getting your trucking accident lawyer involved as soon as possible is the key to a successful claim. The sooner they’re involved, the sooner they can gather evidence and handle talking with the other driver, the trucking company, insurance companies, and so forth.
It’s best to consult your attorney while you’re on the scene. This will allow them to dispatch their evidence-gathering team to take photos of the scene and speak with witnesses the day the accident happens.
Keep Track of Medical Information
If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, you must keep track of your medical records. The at-fault party should pay for all your medical-related expenses to get you back to normal health. It’s best to start your record keeping as soon as possible.
Take notes right after the accident of how you feel and your injuries. Write down any information about the initial medical assessment that you receive. Make it descriptive, from the doctor’s name to the time it occurred. Do so with all of your follow-up appointments. Make sure that you’re keeping track of your vehicle’s mileage or the cost of a ride service to get to your appointment as well.
Contact a Clearwater Trucking Accident Lawyer Today!
If you’ve been recently involved in a trucking accident, then it’s time to give us a call. Let our experienced trucking accident lawyers assist you in getting the compensation that you deserve from your case.