If you have been involved in a Florida Truck accident, or if you have been affected by a personal injury or wrongful death as the result of a vehicle defect, you are likely feeling overwhelmed by anxiety and uncertainty. Our team has compiled answers to some of the more common questions that arise after a semi truck accident, as a service to our Orlando and central Florida clients.
Florida Truck Accident Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the definition of a commercial truck?
A commercial truck is defined as a vehicle used in freight (cargo) traffic to transport commercial goods. The definition includes eighteen-wheeler tractor-trailers, tanker trucks, delivery trucks, big rigs, and other large trucks.
- Why is a big rig or tractor-trailer accident so deadly?
Commercial vehicles can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, whereas the average passenger vehicle only weighs in at about 3,000 pounds. When a passenger car is involved in a big rig or tractor-trailer accident, the smaller vehicle simply does not have the girth to withstand the crash.
- Who will cover my medical expenses?
The at-fault party in a Florida truck accident or tractor-trailer crash, according to Florida law, is responsible for paying your medical expenses. This does not necessarily mean that your expenses will be covered right away, however. You are only allowed to make one claim with the other driver’s insurance company, and may have to wait a while before obtaining compensation. This can pose a significant financial burden if you need immediate medical care. Our attorneys will quickly look to your own auto and medical insurance policies. Often your insurance will include “medical payment” benefits, which require your insurance company to pay part of your medical costs. If this is not an option, we will help you work with local medical professionals to finance your care until you have obtained compensation.
- What happens if the other driver is uninsured?
Unfortunately, there are many uninsured drivers on the road. If you have been in an accident with someone who is uninsured, you will want to look to your own insurance to cover your costs. Florida law requires insurance companies to provide uninsured/under-insured motorist insurance as a part of every policy. This means that your insurance company will step in for the uninsured at-fault party and cover the expenses that his/her insurance would otherwise pay. You may be eligible for uninsured motorist coverage if any resident in your household owns a car with uninsured motorist coverage, even if you were not occupying that car during the accident. Most insurance policies will even cover pedestrians struck by uninsured drivers.
If you are seeking damages from a party who is uninsured or under-insured, you must obtain permission from your own insurance company before accepting a settlement. If you fail to take this step, you will not be allowed to make an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim with your own insurance company. Being involved in a big rig or tractor-trailer accident is no simple matter, and Florida truck accident attorneys in Orlando will carefully review your insurance policy to help you take the proper steps and achieve maximum coverage.
- Should I hire an investigator?
Investigative services are an important part of the litigation process. It is crucial that information is gathered as soon as possible after a Florida truck accident, as weather conditions and subsequent traffic can easily obscure crucial physical evidence. Skid marks, yaw marks, oil or gas stains, points of collision, and other visible indications are time-sensitive, and can be lost or destroyed amidst rain, snow, ice, or dust. Our team provides expert and timely investigation to all of our clients, with no need to hire an outside investigator.
- What claims can I make and what can I recover?
You will have several options when considering your claims after a big rig or tractor-trailer accident. You may be eligible to claim negligence on the part of the other driver, or the owner of the vehicle if he or she is someone other than the driver. You may also be able to claim that the trucking company was negligent in its hiring, training, entrustment, or supervision of the driver (see our section on trucking company negligence). If you are injured or a loved one is injured or killed, you may be eligible to make the following recoveries:
- Economic damages – this includes compensation for past and future medical expenses, prior and anticipated wage loss, impairment of earning ability, and other financial setbacks.
- Non-economic damages – this includes non-quantifiable damage such as inconvenience, decreased quality of life, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.
- Physical impairment and disfigurement – this includes compensation for scars or physical disability resulting from injuries sustained during an accident.
- How will my accident affect my insurance rates?
Under Florida law, insurance companies are not permitted to raise your insurance rates following a Florida truck accident if the other party is at fault, or if you make claims because the other motorist was under- or uninsured.
- Who will compensate me for my lost wages?
Legally, the at-fault party is responsible for covering your lost wages. In the meantime, however, you may face financial setbacks as a result of not working. Our Florida truck accident attorneys will examine all relevant insurance policies to determine whether you have any short-term disability insurance that will support you until you are healthy enough to return to work. Always be sure to document any injuries sustained and all time taken off work to recover.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a Florida Truck Accident, fill out our free case evaluation form today and we will get right back with you to discuss your case and determine if you are eligible to receive compensation.