Why You Need a Lawyer After a Truck Accident in Florida
Truck accidents are different from your typical person-on-person vehicle accidents. Any crash involving a semi-truck, tractor trailer, big rig, 18-wheeler, delivery van, or any other type of commercial vehicle will present special legal issues. Namely, more money is typically involved, the insurance policies are more complex, and the medical damages are typically much more severe.
Due to the sheer size and weight of commercial vehicles, truck accidents are typically more serious and cause more damage. Thus, the medical issues can be quite complicated and may involve permanent brain damage, or someone may die as a result of the crash. When the medical damages are more severe, the injured person and that person’s family have a lot more to lose if the case goes sideways. In other words, there’s a lot on the line when you or a loved one is injured in a trucking accident.
7 Reasons for Hiring a Florida Truck Accident Lawyer
You don’t need a lawyer for every type of auto accident case. However, if you’ve been in a truck accident in Florida or if you’ve been injured in a commercial vehicle accident in Florida, you should strongly consider reaching out to an attorney. We offer free legal consultations, and there is no risk for you to call us and talk about what happened. Moreover, you shouldn’t trust an intake person or customer service representative to evaluate the liability involved with your trucking accident. At our firm, only attorneys do legal consultations. All you have to do is call us and set up the consultation, and we will put you in touch with a real lawyer.
Below are some of the main reasons why you should consider reaching out to one of our Florida truck accident lawyers right after your commercial vehicle accident.
Reason 1: Commercial vehicle insurance policies are big and complicated.
As we mentioned, there are some very unique and complicated legal and insurance issues involved with a trucking accidents or commercial vehicle accidents. There’s often serious injuries involved, and the insurance policy is typically way larger, sometimes 10 times larger or more, than the policies involved with person-on-person vehicle accidents. The fact that the insurance policy involved could cover all your medical damages, lost wages, and pain and suffering is good news. However, the bad news is that commercial vehicle policies are a different animal altogether. They’re complicated, and the insurance company wants to give you as little money as possible. That’s their job: to minimize your claim for damages. Thus, you should contact a Florida truck accident attorney to be sure you don’t lose the value of your claim.
Reason 2: Truck accidents involve federal laws and regulations, the violation of which could greatly increase the value of your case.
One reason why truck accidents and commercial vehicle accidents are more complicated than a typical auto accident is because of the laws and regulations that apply to truck drivers and trucking companies. Truck drivers and truck companies are tightly governed by federal laws and regulations, which are put in place to reduce the injuries and deaths on our Florida roads. Specifically, there are strict rules that govern the maintenance of trucks and commercial vehicles, inspections of trucks, the qualifications of the truck drivers, and the number of hours a truck driver may drive, sometimes called the hours of service. There are more rules governing truck drivers and trucking companies, to be certain, but these are sufficient for illustrating this point.
If a truck driver or trucking company violates any of the rules we’ve discussed above, this could greatly increase the value of your claim if such a violation was a contributing factor of the crash that caused your injuries. If there were multiple violations in the past, you may even be entitled to punitive damages, which exist to punish the trucking company and to make sure it doesn’t hurt or kill any other people. A Florida truck accident attorney who understands these regulations can help you protect your rights and the value of your claim, value that rightly belongs to you.
Reason 3: The investigation of your truck accident case is critical.
Let’s face it: Evidence tends to disappear. Thus, it’s absolutely critical to secure evidence as soon as possible to protect the value of your claim. An experienced Florida truck accident attorney will know how to secure critical evidence as soon as possible to protect the value of your case. The first step is to send a letter of preservation, sometimes called a spoliation letter, to put the other side on notice that it may not destroy evidence. If the defense receives this letter and proceeds to destroy evidence thereafter, this can be very bad for their case and very good for yours.
We keep talking about the valuable evidence, and we want to provide you with some examples. Some of the most critical evidence to protect in a Florida truck accident will typically include the following:
- Video and photos;
- Black box data;
- The truck involved in the crash (unchanged and unaltered since the accident);
- Policies and procedures in place at the time of the accident; and
- The truck driver’s employment file.
Newer vehicles have newer technology, and thus newer vehicles tend to have much more data that could be gathered if someone conducts the investigation promptly. This type of data could be extremely valuable to your case. For example, imagine if the black box data showed that the truck was going 20 miles per hour over the speed limit at the time of the crash. This is irrefutable and powerful evidence, and such evidence could put you and your truck accident attorney in a fantastic position of strength for settlement negotiations. This brings us to our next point.
Reason 4: In truck accidents, negotiations can be intense.
With all the money at stake, the insurance companies are going to be tough negotiators. As we mentioned, the job of the insurance company is to keep as much money as possible. In other words, they want to pay you the least amount possible to get you to go away. When you’re involved in a trucking accident or a commercial vehicle accident in Florida, the damages can be high, and thus the case could be worth a lot of money. Accordingly, the insurance company will fight for every dollar it can. Thus, in settlement negotiations, you should have a team of Florida truck accident attorneys in your corner ready to fight the insurance companies so that you can get the compensation you deserve.
Reason 5: In truck accidents, there may be multiple defendants who are responsible for your damages.
When there’s a trucking accident, there are sometimes multiple people and companies that are responsible for the damages you suffered. Each of these potential defendants may have insurance coverage. Thus, it’s critical to discover and name these defendants so that you can get the full value of your claim. As we mentioned, insurance companies want to hold on to as much money as possible, and when there’s multiple defendants and multiple insurance companies involved in a claim, each insurance company may be responsible for less money than if fewer responsible parties were named.
As we mentioned, there are often multiple defendants in a truck accident lawsuit. Some of the more common defendants in a truck accident are the following people and entities:
- The truck driver;
- The truck driver’s employer;
- The shipping company;
- The company responsible for maintaining the truck;
- The company that maintained the truck; and
- The company that loaded the cargo on the truck.
The success of your truck accident claim depends upon identifying who is responsible for your damage. Each one of these potential defendants could escape liability if they are not identified. Therefore, it’s critical to your case for your attorney to identify everyone who could be liable for your damages.
Reason 6: If your case does not settle, you need a team that will take the case to trial if necessary.
Hopefully, the other side will do the right thing and pay you fair compensation without having to litigate the case. However, if they do not settle with you for fair value, litigation will be necessary. The reality is that truck accident lawsuits are complex. You need a team of attorneys that will plan for trial from day one. If your case settles, perfect. That is great news. However, if it does not, you need a team that will file the lawsuit and prepare to take the case to trial. Once the lawsuit is filed, the insurance company may still want to settle the case, and the active lawsuit will likely cause them to strongly consider settling the case for fair value before the case goes in front of a jury.
Reason 7: You need a team that will properly value your claim so that you can receive maximum value.
The value of your case depends upon who is valuing it. Unfortunately, there are no objective tables out there that can value your case. Each case is unique, and each case is thus value based upon the specific facts and circumstances. Certain injuries may be worth more than others. For example, if you lose an eye, that will probably be worth more than if you sprained your ankle. Additionally, certain behaviors on the part of a defendant may make your claim more valuable. For example, if the truck driver was driving drunk at the time of the accident, your claim likely will have more value. Similarly, if the truck driver had a long history of driving drunk and the company ignored that fact, your case against the company could be much stronger.
The insurance company typically values a claim with a range. The range will be from a low number to a high number. Anything under the lower number, and they’re happy to settle. Anything over the higher number, and they may believe the case is worth taking to trial. Therefore, having someone on your side who knows how to value a claim based upon all the factors involved can help you to get the maximum possible value for your trucking accident case.
Contact a Florida Truck Accident Lawyer at Spetsas Buist for Your FREE Legal Consultation
If you or your loved one has been injured in a truck crash in Florida, you may be entitled to compensation. We are a catastrophic injury law firm, and we are here to help you. We only take a tiny percentage of the cases that come through our doors because we are dedicated to devoting our time and energy to maximizing your claim and giving you direct access to an attorney. Call us at (321) 352-7588 to set up your free consultation, or you can contact us through our website. Once you set up a consultation, we will put you in touch with one of our Florida truck accident attorneys right away.