Were You Injured in a Truck Accident in West Palm Beach?
Whether around town or on the highway, most drivers have to periodically contend with big trucks out on the road. Those big trucks help move vital goods around the country, ensuring that stores stay stocked and people have the tools they need to accomplish their daily tasks. Unfortunately, they can also pose a substantial hazard to other drivers on the road.
Semi-trucks weigh a great deal more than the average passenger vehicle, take up much more space on the road, and need more room to maneuver. While drivers must undergo additional training to acquire their class C driver’s license, those drivers may not receive as much training as they need to successfully and safely navigate many of the scenarios they face on the road every day.
Did you suffer serious injuries in a truck accident due to the negligence of the truck driver in West Palm Beach? The West Palm Beach truck accident lawyers at Shiner Law Group can help. Contact us today to learn more about your right to compensation.
Shiner Law Group: The Client – First Approach to Truck Accident Claims
At Shiner Law Group, we always make our clients our top priority. In the aftermath of a truck accident, you may have a lot of complicated concerns to deal with, from determining how much compensation you really deserve to managing the serious injuries you sustained in your truck accident. You need someone on your side; someone who will prioritize you, rather than allow you to get lost in the shuffle.
At Shiner Law Group, we aim to provide that vital service for all of our clients. Our team of dedicated personal injury attorneys works with our clients to ensure that they receive the support they need at every stage of a claim, whether they need to seek compensation for broken bones or a traumatic brain injury.
Having an attorney on your side can make all the difference as you move forward with your claim after a truck accident. Most people have little idea how much compensation they really deserve following serious injuries. As a result, they may allow themselves to accept a low settlement offer or even fail to pursue the compensation they really deserve for their injuries. At Shiner Law Group, we help our clients understand their rights, seek the truth about the truck accident, then help pursue the compensation they deserve.
The Aftermath of Serious Truck Accidents: Living with the Injuries
Many truck accident victims sustain severe injuries that can have a permanent impact on many areas of their lives. Due to the extreme force often present in a truck accident, victims can suffer a catastrophic injury in the blink of an eye, leaving them unable to work, struggling with serious medical bills, and often unsure about what to do next.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Typically, traumatic brain injury occurs from a violent blow or extreme force to the head. In a truck accident, that could mean the head bouncing off the steering wheel or the back of the seat. Sometimes, the force of the accident alone can send the brain into the wall of the skull, which can result in traumatic brain injury.
Victims with traumatic brain injury may have immense struggles ahead as they manage symptoms that can impact them physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Traumatic brain injury can result in:
- Trouble with focus and concentration
- Difficulty with short-term memory
- Gaps in long-term memory
- Trouble with emotional regulation, including mood swings
- Extreme emotional reaction
- Ringing in the ears
- Tunnel vision
Often, victims with traumatic brain injury struggle to return to work, since they may lack the mental capacity needed to focus on the tasks at hand until the traumatic brain injury starts to resolve. Some victims may also struggle to concentrate on their preferred leisure activities, including engaging in normal activities with friends and loved ones. They may even suffer from personality changes that can make it difficult for them to connect normally in their relationships.
Even symptoms of minor traumatic brain injury can linger for more than a year after the initial accident. Victims who sustain severe traumatic brain injuries may suffer lifelong impacts from those injuries.
Back and Neck Injuries
Each year, an estimated 500 cases of quadriplegia, or paralysis of all four limbs, occur in car accidents. Many more victims suffer injuries lower on the spinal cord, which can reduce mobility or lead to a full loss of function below the site of the injury.
Not only do many victims suffer spinal cord injuries that could leave them permanently wheelchair-bound each year, but victims may also suffer severe back and neck injuries in truck accidents, including bulging or herniated discs, whiplash, or muscle damage
Back and neck pain can affect every area of the victim’s life as the victim struggles to engage in normal activities. People with back injuries may struggle with either standing or sitting for a long time. Manual labor, including many job tasks or even keeping up with home maintenance and cleaning, can become impossible while the injury heals. Without proper care and attention, back and neck injuries from a truck accident can evolve into chronic problems that can impact the victim for the rest of their life.
Amputation can occur from either laceration during the truck accident itself, which may remove the limb from the body entirely, or because of crushing damage caused during the accident, which can make it impossible for doctors to repair the damaged limb enough to allow the victim normal function and movement. Sometimes, that crushing damage can interfere with blood flow to the limb, resulting in dead tissue that requires amputation well after the initial accident.
Amputees often choose to use prosthetic devices to help aid in more normal movement and appearance. While prosthetics can help restore function and independence, they do carry a high cost: a prosthetic leg, for example, may cost between $5,000 and $50,000, depending on the function it offers. Prosthetic limbs also require regular replacement, as wear and tear on the limb causes them to break down and function less effectively over time.
Not only can truck accidents lead to serious burns if they result in enough damage to cause the car to catch on fire, they may result in other types of burns, as well. Dragging across the pavement—which may occur if the victim gets thrown from the car—may result in friction burns, while exposure to toxic chemicals carried by tanker trucks may result in chemical burns for the victim.
Regardless of how the burn occurred, victims may suffer many of the same symptoms: primarily pain and immense scarring. Burn victims also face a high risk of complications, including the risk of infection. The psychological effect can mount, as well, since many victims struggle with the impact of scarring left behind after the accident.
Broken bones can cause immense trauma and pain for the victim—especially if, as in the case of many truck accidents, the victim suffers multiple broken bones in the accident. Some broken bones require surgery to set. The victim may also need to go through long-term physical therapy to restore function in the damaged limb, which can lead to significant additional costs.
Even a single broken bone can interfere substantially with the victim’s ability to perform normal self-care tasks or to engage in general work tasks. A victim with multiple broken bones may need assistance taking care of even the most basic needs and may require in-home care to aid in their overall recovery. The victim’s employer may not allow them to return to work until they have a chance to recover substantially from those injuries.
Your Guide to Compensation Following a Truck Accident
How much compensation do you really deserve after a truck accident? Who pays for the expenses you have from truck accident injuries? Will the truck driver’s insurance company pay for the treatment you need? Take a look at these basics of compensation following serious truck accident injuries.
Claiming Compensation Following a Truck Accident: General Guidelines
Truck drivers typically carry high-value insurance policies that can help provide much-needed compensation following an accident with one of their drivers. The compensation you could recover, however, may depend on a variety of factors, including the extent of your injuries. Most victims can include the same general elements in their personal injury claims; however, the compensation one victim can recover will not necessarily indicate the compensation another victim with similar injuries will recover after a serious truck accident.
Coverage for medical costs. Your truck accident injuries may leave you with immense medical costs, especially if you have injuries that limit you long-term or require ongoing treatment. Make sure you keep track of all medical bills related to your accident. Also, note that you may receive more than one bill for the same treatment or procedure, especially in the case of surgery or hospitalization.
Talk to a personal injury attorney about what your medical bills look like and how to help ensure that you have included all of them as part of your personal injury claim.
- Emergency medical costs, including the cost of treatment in the emergency room and ambulance transport.
- Hospitalization costs.
- The cost of surgeries and procedures.
- The cost of durable medical equipment needed to aid in independence and functionality following your accident.
- Staying in a long-term care facility.
- Utilizing in-home care options.
- Physical, occupational, and psychological therapy following your accident.
In some cases, you may also seek compensation for modifications you must make to your home to maintain your independence. For example, if you have to widen your doorways, add a wheelchair ramp, or modify your kitchen or bathroom to make it more accessible, you may have the right to include many of those costs as part of your personal injury claim.
Compensation for the time you lose at work. Following your accident, you may end up missing a lot of time at work. Sometimes, your injuries may simply prohibit you from taking care of your usual work tasks: for example, a broken leg could make it very difficult to work in a factory or warehouse. Other times, your employer may encourage you to make a full recovery before you return to work due to liability concerns or worries over decreased performance in the workplace. While some employers may work with you to get you back to work sooner, you may still lose time due to ongoing procedures, appointments, therapies, or the inability to work your usual hours.
All those lost hours at work can add up during a time when you need the money more than ever. Fortunately, you can include lost wages as a vital part of your personal injury claim.
Compensation for pain and suffering. Truck accident injuries can cause a great deal of pain and suffering, especially if you have injuries that will continue to impact your life long-term after the accident. Not only do you have the physical pain of the accident to deal with, but you may also struggle with immense emotional anguish as you struggle with many of the new limitations in your life. As part of your personal injury claim, you could include compensation for the pain and suffering you faced.
Who Bears Liability in a Truck Accident?
Following a truck accident, your attorney will work with you to identify any party that may bear liability for your injuries. Ultimately, the truck driver can bear liability for whatever actions they take behind the wheel, whether they choose to drive unsafely or drive for too many hours beyond the legal number of hours they can spend behind the wheel. However, other parties may also share liability for truck accident injuries, including the trucking company. Trucking companies must have policies in place to protect their drivers and others on the road, including limiting the number of hours the driver can spend on the road and providing a safe vehicle.
Some trucking companies, however, may become negligent or greedy. They may try to convince their drivers to exceed the federally restricted number of hours they can spend behind the wheel each day or push them to engage in dangerous behaviors such as speeding or driving in unsafe conditions, to meet tight deadlines, or to adhere to other needs—often needs of the company rather than needs of the individual.
In addition, trucks require regular maintenance to keep them running smoothly. If the trucking company fails to conduct needed maintenance on the vehicle or the mechanic fails to repair the vehicle properly, that may extend liability for the accident to those entities.
At Shiner Law Group, we work to identify all parties that may share liability in our clients’ truck accidents, which may increase the compensation they can ultimately receive for those injuries.
Commonly Asked Questions From Victims Of Truck Accidents
Do you have serious questions about the compensation you deserve following a serious truck accident? Shiner Law Group can help answer questions about your legal rights and the personal injury claim process following a serious truck accident. Contact us to learn more. In the meantime, check out the FAQ below for answers to more general questions we often receive from victims after a truck accident.
1. How much does it cost to hire a truck accident lawyer?
Hiring a truck accident lawyer does not cost you money upfront. At Shiner Law Group, we understand that finances can quickly get tight after a serious truck accident. You may find yourself struggling to manage your usual expenses and your medical bills, especially if you cannot work during your recovery.
We start with a free case review to help you understand the compensation you deserve and who may have contributed to your truck accident injuries. In most cases, we take on clients on a contingent fee basis: instead of paying upfront for your legal fees, you can pay for the legal expertise you need out of a percentage of the compensation we recover following your claim.
2. Does the truck driver’s insurance company have to pay for my medical bills?
The truck driver’s insurance company will not pay for your medical bills directly. Instead, if you receive compensation for the injuries you sustained in the accident, the truck driver’s insurance company will pay out compensation based on the expenses you faced due to your injuries. Typically, that can include compensation for your medical expenses. You will then need to make arrangements to pay your own medical bills.
However, you do have some options that could make it easier for you to manage your medical expenses following a serious truck accident.
Personal injury protection insurance. In Florida, drivers must carry personal injury protection insurance in addition to their liability insurance. Personal injury protection insurance provides coverage for many of your immediate medical expenses after any type of serious auto accident, including a truck accident. With your personal injury protection insurance, you can receive immediate coverage for medical care provided in the aftermath of the accident.
Because of Florida’s no-fault laws, you will need to use the full coverage provided by your PIP insurance before you can move forward with a personal injury claim to seek additional financial protection and coverage after the accident.
Health insurance. If you carry a personal health insurance policy, or have a policy through your employer, that policy may provide a great deal of protection when you sustain serious injuries in a truck accident. Your health insurance policy can offer vital coverage for many of your short-term and long-term medical expenses alike. If you require ongoing care after severe injuries, including broken bones that may require long-term physical therapy or back and neck injuries that cause permanent limitations, your health insurance can help alleviate some of the burden associated with those medical expenses.
Talk to your health insurance provider about what coverage you have following your truck accident. You may want to ask specific questions about the level of coverage you have for specific aspects of care that you will require following your accident.
- Coverage for durable medical equipment, including crutches and wheelchairs, if needed.
- Coverage for in-home medical care.
- Coverage for long-term care.
- Coverage for physical therapy.
- In-network versus out-of-network coverage and providers.
In some cases, your health insurance coverage may limit the treatment you can receive in certain areas, including who you can use for specific types of medical treatment and how many therapy sessions your insurance will cover each year. Understanding your health insurance coverage can provide you with the tools you need to direct your care more effectively.
3. The truck driver’s insurance company offered me a settlement for my injuries. Should I take it?
Insurance companies may use a variety of tactics to limit the compensation they have to pay out after a truck accident, especially if you sustained severe injuries and deserve considerable compensation. One common tactic includes issuing a settlement offer shortly after the accident. That offer may not reflect the compensation you really deserve for your injuries. In some cases, the insurance company might, in fact, offer only a small percentage of the compensation you really deserve for the injuries you sustained in your truck accident.
Before accepting a settlement offer, talk to a personal injury attorney. Our attorneys can go over the compensation you really deserve for your injuries and help ensure that you fully understand your rights, which can make it easier for you to determine whether you should accept a settlement or continue to fight for the compensation you really deserve.
Insurance companies may use several tactics against you as you navigate your personal injury claim. They often assume that you have little to no knowledge of how the system works and what compensation you really deserve, which they could exploit to decrease the compensation they have to pay out for your injuries.
Pressuring you to accept an offer. In many cases, you may not even know the full extent of your injuries in the aftermath of the accident, much less how much your medical bills will grow over time. The truck driver’s insurance company, however, may put an immense amount of pressure on you to accept an offer as soon as possible. The insurance adjuster may even try to convince you that the settlement offer will go away if you do not accept it quickly.
If you have an attorney on your side, however, the insurance company will have to deal with that attorney, rather than contacting you directly. An attorney can also help give you a better understanding of your rights, including how much compensation you really deserve, so you feel less pressure to accept an unfair offer.
Making light of your injuries and limitations. In many cases, insurance companies may try to prove that your accident did not cause the injuries you claim or that they do not limit you as much as your request for compensation suggests. They may try to use content posted on social media or the activities you engage in regularly to help prove that your injuries do not limit you significantly or that you can still do things you claim you cannot. Working with an attorney can help you layout your claim, including your real limitations, as you seek the compensation you really deserve for those injuries.
Claiming you caused or contributed to the accident. If you contributed to your accident, it can reduce the compensation you can claim for your vehicle and your injuries. The insurance company may, therefore, try to prove that you, rather than its driver, caused the accident. An attorney, on the other hand, can fully investigate your accident and help provide proof that the other driver committed the errors that ultimately led to the accident. An attorney can also help establish all factors that may have contributed to the accident, including a lack of maintenance on the truck, poor loading, or dangerous cargo, which may further increase the compensation you can receive.
5. Why are truck accident claims more complicated than car accident claims?
Truck accident claims often require a great deal more investigation than a standard car accident.
After a truck accident, having an attorney on your side can be crucial to receiving the compensation you really deserve, uncovering the truth of your accident, and giving you a better idea of what to do next.
- A truck accident may involve much more severe injuries than a car accident. Truck accidents involve greater force on the victim’s vehicle, which may result in more serious injuries. Most passenger vehicles simply do not have the strength needed to stand up to the force of a big truck, especially when you have little opportunity to get out of the way to minimize the impact of the accident. As a result, you may sustain more serious injuries and require more intensive medical care, which may increase the compensation you need to claim. The insurance company and your attorney will need to fully review your medical records to give you a better idea of how much compensation you should expect for those injuries.
- Your attorney will need to investigate more elements of the accident. Truck accidents involve complex elements. to get a full idea of how much compensation you deserve, your attorney will need to investigate the truck driver, the trucking company, and potentially even the company that loaded the truck. The driver’s logbooks could be vital in establishing how much time the driver spent behind the wheel and how fast the driver drove. Often, those investigations take a great deal more time than simply looking into the details of a car accident. More entities may also share liability for the accident, which your attorney can determine through careful evaluation.
6. How long does it take to settle a truck accident claim?
Truck accident claims can take longer to settle than car accidents with only passenger vehicles.
You may need to go through several key stages as you move toward the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
- Healing. Many serious injuries do not have a clear timeline for recovery. Your doctors may not even have the ability to give you an official prognosis until you have had several months to recover. Your attorney may recommend waiting until you know what your recovery and medical expenses will look like before finalizing your personal injury claim.
- Investigation. A truck accident investigation can be complex. It can take time to look through all the details of the truck accident, from the driver’s record to your injuries, and arrive at a fair assessment of the extent of the compensation you deserve.
- Negotiation. Often, truck accident negotiations involve extensive back and forth as you work to determine how much compensation you deserve versus how much compensation the insurance company will ultimately payout.
- Court. In some cases, you will need to go to court to settle your truck accident claim. Generally, if you do need to go to court, you will need to go through mediation first, then wait for a court date. Then, you will need to present your case, including all the evidence against the truck driver.
While it may take time to settle a truck accident claim, you may find it worth the wait to dig in and push for the compensation you deserve. Your attorney can help guide you through the process and give you a better idea of how much compensation to pursue.
Do You Need a West Palm Beach Truck Accident Lawyer?
If you suffered serious injuries in a truck accident, do not wait to get in touch with a personal injury attorney. Shiner Law Group can help you better understand your right to compensation. Contact us today at (561) 777-7700 to learn more about your right to compensation after a truck accident.