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Pro Legal Support with Our Lake City Truck Accident Lawyer

View of the Rear Wheels of an Overturned Truck on a Small Street in an AccidentIn the aftermath of a serious truck accident, navigating the claims process can prove daunting and overwhelming. Between dealing with pushy claims adjusters and understanding legalese, you might not know where to turn. That’s where Meldon Law steps in, offering unwavering legal support when you want it most.

A Lake City truck accident lawyer from our firm has one primary goal: recovering compensation for your past, present, and future injury-related losses. Backed by decades of legal experience, we’re committed to securing what you need and deserve.

Let’s start rebuilding your life together. Contact us to learn more.

Expect Nothing But the Best From Our Lake City Truck Accident Lawyers

Our Lake City personal injury attorneys offer free case evaluations to potential clients. If we’re a good fit, we can break ground on your case immediately—all without charging anything upfront. That’s because we work on a contingency-fee basis; part of your settlement pays for our help.

Our legal team takes a multi-pronged approach to your case. To secure the best possible outcome, we intend to:

Investigate the Details of Your Truck Accident

To bolster your claim, we need evidence showing that another party’s negligence resulted in your accident and injuries. This involves:

  • Interviewing the drivers and passengers involved in the crash
  • Capturing eyewitness accounts
  • Reviewing CCTV footage and still images taken by those on the scene before, during, and after the accident
  • Noting the weather before and during the collision
  • Marking issues at the scene that could have affected driving, such as poor lighting, potholes, hidden traffic signs, or malfunctioning traffic lights
  • Consulting with accident reconstruction analysts
  • Gathering police and medical reports

Determine Liability

Based on the evidence collected during the investigation, we will identify the party or parties responsible for the accident. While a trucker may have caused the crash, we will likely file a claim with their employer’s insurance company. All trucking employers are vicariously liable for the accidents their drivers cause.

Calculate Your Losses

It’s hard to put a dollar figure on your case while lying in a hospital bed. There are many things to consider in your case’s value, including the nature of your condition and its effect on your life. Your Lake City truck accident lawyer will add up your bills, receipts, and invoices to determine your financial losses. They’ll employ other methods to learn what constitutes a fair settlement for pain and suffering.

File Your Claim and Negotiate a Settlement

Since 1971, we’ve resolved most of our personal injury cases through insurance settlements. That’s because we’re skilled negotiators who know how to navigate the claims process. Securing an out-of-court settlement requires:

  • Knowing the difference between fair settlements and unfair ones
  • Understanding the liable insurance policy
  • Having sufficient evidence
  • Managing communications with the insurer
  • Combating bad faith insurance practices

File a Lawsuit

There are some situations where a lawsuit might be necessary. We may initiate this legal action if:

  • The at-fault party didn’t carry insurance.
  • The insurer refuses to settle.
  • The liable policy doesn’t fully cover your losses.

New provisions under Florida law outline how long you have to file your case. Per HB 837, you generally have two years to file a lawsuit. This begins from the date of your truck accident, and the same two-year timeframe applies to wrongful death cases.

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Your Financial Recovery Options After a Lake City Truck Accident

Although the state reduced the statute of limitations from four years to two years, many things about the claims process remain the same. For instance, Florida is still a no-fault state. This means, after a collision, you first file a claim with your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. At a minimum, this should cover:

  • Medical costs up to 80%
  • Lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses for things like childcare or care of the home up to 60%
  • $5,000 in death benefits

PIP follows you––not the vehicle. So, if you were driving a friend’s car when the collision happened, your PIP policy should still kick in.

What Happens if My Damages Go Beyond My PIP Coverage?

If your losses exceed the compensation available through your PIP, you could file a claim with the trucker’s liability coverage. However, this comes with many nuances that you could find challenging. That’s where Meldon Law lends a helping hand. We can navigate the claims process and help you understand your options. You don’t have to live with uncertainty during this challenging time. We’re here to provide reassurance and clarity.

Understanding Overloaded or Improperly Loaded Trailers Accidents

Everyone knows that the trucks on Lake City’s roads are carrying goods throughout the city. Not many people, though, think about the cargo that is loaded in the trailer of a commercial truck. The way the cargo is loaded in any truck is extremely important. If it is not loaded properly, it can easily cause a crash.

If a truck is overloaded, it will make the entire truck much heavier, and much more difficult for the driver to control. In this case, a trucker may not be able to slow down or stop in time, which could cause an accident. On the other hand, when trucks are improperly loaded, the cargo may shift during transport and that can cause a truck driver to lose control of the vehicle.

Overloaded and improperly loaded trailers on commercial trucks pose a hazard to anyone in the nearby vicinity of the vehicle. When an improperly loaded trailer causes an accident, it is important to determine who is liable for paying damages.

Determining Liability in an Overloaded or Improperly Loaded Trailers Accident

Just as with any other type of crash involving a commercial truck, there are multiple parties that could be potentially liable for an overloaded or improperly loaded trailer. These may include:

  • Cargo loading companies: It is not uncommon for trucking companies or truck drivers to outsource the loading of their trucks. If a third party was hired for this job and they did not load the trailer properly, they can be held liable for paying damages.
  • Truck drivers: Truck drivers are often required to load and unload their own trailers as part of the job. If they improperly load the trailer, they can be held liable.
  • Trucking companies: The more goods a trucking company can move in a short amount of time, the more profits they make. A trucking company may provide incentives to drivers or companies that overload trucks, or they may not train drivers on how to properly load their vehicles. In either of these cases, the trucking company can be held liable.

Compensable Losses Following a Lake City Truck Accident

At this time, we can’t put an exact dollar value on your recoverable damages. We must first review your situation and understand the severity of your condition. When evaluating your case, we take a holistic approach. We consider how the accident affects your life, job, and day-to-day function. We also consider your mental health and comfort levels.

Whether through a settlement or court award, compensation could account for:

  • Medical expenses related to your injury, such as surgeries, prescriptions, travel to and from appointments, rehab, or assisted living
  • The repair or replacement of property damaged in the accident, including your vehicle
  • Lost wages, including tips, commissions, bonuses, benefits, and contracts
  • Loss of future earning capacity, if your injury affects your working ability
  • Pain and suffering and inconvenience
  • Emotional distress, anxiety, or depression
  • Loss of quality of life (if your injuries prevent you from participating in the activities you previously enjoyed)
  • Loss of consortium

During your free consultation, our Lake City truck crash attorneys will listen to the circumstances of the accident and discuss what comes next for your claim.

We Advocate for Grieving Families in Columbia County

We’re nearly at a loss for words if you lost a loved one. Our team offers its support through tangible legal action. We understand that compensation does little to alleviate your grief, but it’s a practical first step in moving forward.

Financial recovery through a Lake City truck accident case could include:

  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of consortium
  • End-of-life care costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • The decedent’s lost income

We’ve Recovered Millions for Truck Accident Claimants Throughout Florida

Securing compensation for injured people isn’t a job; it’s a calling. Here are just some of our case results:

  • Our client, a bicyclist, was hit by a commercial truck. While many details of this case are confidential, we can share this: our lawyers recovered $3 million for our client’s losses.
  • Our clients were the parents of children hurt in a truck accident. They were exiting a school bus when a commercial truck collided with the vehicle. We secured $425,000 and $337,500 settlements.
  • Our client was rear-ended by a truck, resulting in cervical injuries and requiring SLAP surgery. We secured $135,000 in damages.

The outcomes of these cases may not reflect your case’s resolution. Yet, we believe they demonstrate our commitment to client satisfaction and success.

Listen to What Satisfied Clients Share About Meldon Law’s Lawyers

We get out of bed in the morning because of the positive feedback our clients share about our firm. Just read what a few have disclosed:

  • “I am pleased with the level of service and level of communication I’ve received so far from everyone at Meldon Law … I have recommended a couple people to them already and I know they will do everything they can to help people who without Meldon Law might not have been able to help themselves.” —E.B.
  • “My team with Meldon Law was awesome and were really helpful during a difficult time in my life. They showed how much they cared and took their time to explain the process to me. I’m happy I chose them to help me with my case.” —O.
  • “I go to Meldon Law for any legal advice that may come up. Everyone I have spoken to there has been extremely nice and helpful, and Jessica Thomason particularly has helped me with many questions over the years.” —K.T.P.

What are the Truck Maintenance Safety Regulations?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) outlines the truck maintenance safety regulations truck drivers and trucking companies must follow, along with several other laws. One of the most important of these laws is that truck drivers are required to fully inspect their vehicle before they leave for any trip, and after they have taken one. Truck drivers must inspect many specific areas of the truck and if there is a problem, have it fixed so improper maintenance does not cause a crash.

The rules set forth by the FMCSA also require truck drivers, as well as truck owners, to keep full records pertaining to any inspection, maintenance, or repairs. These records are often integral when determining the cause of a crash, but they are also not easy for accident victims to obtain. A Lake City truck maintenance safety regulations lawyer can subpoena these records to determine if the truck involved in a crash was properly maintained. If the records show improper maintenance, the trucking company could be held liable.

Trucking companies and truck owners must keep maintenance records for a period of one year if they are still using the vehicle. If they transfer or sell the truck to another party, they must still keep maintenance records for a minimum of six months. Violating these records can also mean the trucking company or owner is liable for an accident.

Common Truck Maintenance Safety Regulations Violations

Any time a tractor-trailer is improperly maintained, it can result in a serious crash. Still, there are some maintenance issues that are more likely to cause an accident than others. These include:

  • Broken headlights
  • Unsecured cargo
  • Tire blowouts
  • Steering column issues
  • Trailer hitch issues
  • Faulty or failed brakes

It is very difficult for accident victims to know when improper maintenance caused a crash. This is just one reason it is so important to work with a lawyer that can identify the cause of the crash, and determine who is liable.

What are Semi-Trailer Underride Accidents?

A semi-trailer underride accident occurs when a passenger vehicle slides underneath a commercial truck. Although this sounds like an impossibility to many, these accidents are much more common than many people think. The typical passenger vehicle sits about 40 inches above the ground, while the lowest point on a tractor-trailer is higher than that, at 45 inches above the ground.

When an underride accident occurs, the trailer of the truck can break through inside the smaller vehicle. This action usually crushes the roof of the passenger car, or tears it off completely. Either way, these crashes are extremely dangerous for those inside the smaller car.

Common Causes of Semi-Trailer Underride Accidents

To understand the common causes of semi-trailer underride accidents, you must first know the different types of these crashes. There are two kinds of underride accidents and they are either side or rear accidents. As their name suggests, a side underride crash occurs when a vehicle becomes stuck underneath a truck after entering through the side. On the other hand, a rear underride accident occurs when a passenger vehicle becomes stuck under the rear of the truck.

Side underride accidents are usually caused by negligent truck drivers that back out into a parking lot or driveway where there is a lot of traffic, turn onto a street or highway incorrectly, or try to cross a busy street or highway. Rear underride accidents are often caused by trailers that do not have proper markings to show they are stopping or slowing down, or when a truck driver enters a roadway too slowly. If a truck breaks down and the driver does not use appropriate reflective triangles or emergency flashers, this can also cause either a side or rear underride accident.

Guards Can Prevent Semi-Trailer Underride Accidents

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has passed laws that require trucking companies to install guards that can prevent semi-trailer underride accidents. Unfortunately, these laws only require guards on the rear of trucks, and not the sides. Even when trucking companies are supposed to install these guards, they do not always. In this case, they can be held liable for any underride accident that occurs, and that was totally preventable.

The Law On Truck Driver Hours of Service Regulations/Fatigue

Federal and state governments recognize the dangers trucks pose to other motorists on the roadways and highways. As such, they have enacted many laws to try and prevent these serious accidents. One of the most important laws pertains to the number of hours truck drivers can remain on the road before they have to take a break.

It is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that outlines the law for truck drivers and trucking companies, including the hours of service rule. This law stipulates that truck drivers are only allowed behind the wheel for a maximum of 11 hours in one 24-hour period. In total, truckers are not allowed to work for more than 14 hours in any one 24-hour period, regardless of whether they are behind the wheel or not. Additionally, any time a truck driver works for eight hours, they must take a 30-minute break.

Under the FMCSA rules, truck drivers are also not allowed to work more than seven or eight days, and they can only work a total of 60 to 70 hours during that time. Any time a trucker works over 70 hours in one week, or they work more than eight days in a week, they are required to enter a restart period. During the restart period, the truck driver must rest for 34 consecutive hours before starting a new workweek.

Determining Liability for Truck Driver Hours of Service Regulations/Fatigue

Just as with many other types of truck accidents, it is sometimes difficult to determine who is liable for an accident caused by truck driver fatigue. Also just like with other trucking crashes, it is easy to assume the truck driver is at fault. Sometimes, this is true and truckers do willingly stay on the road for long periods of time in order to deliver their cargo and meet their deadlines.

Other times though, it is the trucking company that is at fault for hours of service violations. Trucking companies make more profit the more goods they are able to deliver and it is not uncommon for them to offer incentives to drivers to violate the law. When this is the case, trucking companies could be held at least partly liable if a fatigued truck driver causes a crash.

What is a Tractor-Trailer Jackknife Accident?

Transport trucks are made up of two main parts. The first is the cab, or the tractor, where the driver sits and operates the truck. The second part is the trailer, which is the long portion that is pulled by the tractor, and holds the cargo. During a tractor-trailer jackknife accident, the trailer will swing around to the side of the truck. Once stopped, the trailer may be perpendicular to the tractor, or it may come to a stop right beside the cab.

No matter where the trailer finally comes to a stop, these types of jackknife accidents are extremely dangerous for everyone involved. Most of all, vehicles in the path of the swinging trailer are most at risk, as these crashes happen suddenly and unexpectedly. When the trailer crosses different lanes of traffic, it also poses a risk to drivers in oncoming traffic, as they may not see the trailer in time to stop. It is not uncommon for tractor-trailer jackknife accidents to involve multiple vehicles.

Common Causes of Tractor-Trailer Jackknife Accidents

A variety of factors can cause a tractor-trailer jackknife accident. In most cases, these crashes are the result of truck driver carelessness, physical factors, or environmental causes. Most commonly, these include:

  • Failure to maintain the truck
  • Fatigued driving
  • Aggressive driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Sudden braking
  • Improperly secured cargo
  • Low visibility
  • Tire blowouts
  • Poor weather conditions, such as heavy rain that creates slick roads
  • High-speed, forceful winds

Again, these accidents happen in an instant and accident victims cannot always determine what caused their crash. For example, a truck driver may brake suddenly and then be involved in a tractor-trailer jackknife accident. In this instance, it is easy to assume the truck driver is at fault. If, however, it is later found that the tires on the truck were defective, the manufacturer of those tires could also be to blame. It is important to work with a Lake City tractor-trailer jackknife accident lawyer that can determine the cause so you can collect the full compensation you deserve.

What Should I Do After a Truck Accident in Lake City?

Your next steps depend on many things, including your health, finances, and how long ago the accident happened. In general, we advise our clients to:

Seek Medical Care

Medical attention serves as the basis of your claim. Visiting a doctor shows that you suffered injuries, sought treatment, and have medical expenses. Meldon Law advocates for people who have suffered these and other life-altering conditions:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord trauma
  • Nerve damage
  • Avulsions
  • Internal bleeding

Refuse to Give a Recorded Statement

The trucking company’s insurer may ask for a recorded statement. Here’s a word of advice: don’t give one. Your lawyer can give the claims adjuster all the information they need to make an offer.

Partake in a Free Case Review

There’s no risk or obligation when discussing your case with Meldon Law. This conversation is an opportunity for you to ask questions and get answers. It also lends valuable insight into how you could benefit from partnering with our trial-certified team.

Connect With Our Lake City Truck Accident Lawyers Today

When you call, our truck accident lawyers will answer your questions and share your legal options.


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