Palm Beach County Truck Accident Attorneys
The most recent data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FDHSMV) reports that more than 28,000 crashes involving trucks that weigh over 10,000 lbs occurred in 2016. Any motor vehicle accident can be a physically and emotionally traumatic experience, but being involved in a truck accident is oftentimes worse. Truck accidents bring more challenges because of their complexity: a truck accident often causes severe injuries and property damage and involves multiple parties, such as the truck driver and the company that owns the truck. Additionally, heavy trucks that carry freight have more complicated insurance policies.
If you were injured in a truck accident through no fault of your own, seek the representation of the experienced Palm Beach County truck accident attorneys at Meldon Law. We know how to navigate these complex cases to achieve the best results possible for our clients. Call us today at 800-373-8000 to schedule a free consultation.
Meldon Law’s Results in Truck Accident Cases
The legal team at Meldon Law has extensive experience working to get the best possible outcomes for its clients. Recent truck accident cases include settlements for $135,000, $337,500, and $425,000. These examples do not guarantee results; each case has its own set of individual circumstances that contribute to how much of a recovery, if any, a client might receive.
What Are Typical Truck Accident Injuries?
Trucks are much heavier than cars, so injuries are often worse and more likely to be fatal, particularly if the truck was traveling at high speed. If your loved one has died in a truck accident, contact an attorney at our office to discuss whether you may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim.
Even when truck accidents do not result in fatalities, the injuries can be serious, including:
- Shattered and broken bones
- Cuts, scrapes, bruises
- Road rash if you are thrown from your vehicle
- Burns, scarring, disfigurement
- Spinal cord injuries including paralysis
- Neck and back injuries such as slipped discs
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries that may cause long-term damage
- Severe internal bleeding caused by breaking ribs or a punctured organ
Who Can Be At Fault?
Truck accident cases are often complex because they tend to include multiple parties. On crowded roads, a truck involved in an accident can strike multiple other vehicles. Trucks also carry heavy loads belonging to other parties. If those loads aren’t balanced correctly, they can threaten the safety of the trucker and the other drivers with whom he shares the road.
Because truck accidents often involve multiple parties, assigning fault for them can pose a real challenge. A truck driver, his employer, the owner of his cargo…even the city or state that maintains roads, could all share some fault for an accident. For example:
- Driver — The driver may be liable for a truck accident if he or she was driving distracted, driving under the influence, or violating other traffic violations.
- Employer — If the employer forced the driver to log more hours than what is legal or didn’t maintain equipment properly and it led to an accident, they might hold a portion or all of the liability.
- Government entity — If a poorly maintained road caused a truck accident, the state, county, or government might be liable.
- Truck Manufacturer — When a defective truck causes an accident, the truck manufacturer might be at fault.
- Cargo owner – Truck drivers are often independent contractors, towing cargo containers owned and loaded by someone else. When that container is defective or the load isn’t packed properly, the party responsible for that container and cargo could be liable for an accident.
What Kind of Damages Might Be Recovered When a Truck Accident Happens?
If you have been injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries from the parties whose actions caused the accident. The specifics of each accident differ, but some of the most common types of damage that you may recover include:
- Medical costs such as ambulance rides, hospital stays, surgery, x-rays, and medication
- Lost wages and benefits due to time missed from work
- Future lost wages and benefits in the case of a long-term disability that prevents you from returning to work
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation costs
- Assistive device costs for items such as wheelchairs, canes, walkers, prosthetic limbs, etc.
- Long-term healthcare in the case of long-term disability
- Modifications for your home such as ramps, handrails, handicap accessible bathrooms, etc.
- Replacement services for things that you may not be able to do yourself anymore such as cooking, cleaning, lawn care, and other domestic help
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Consortium if your injuries have affected your family relationships
What Ways Do Those Liable Try to Get Out of Paying Their Fair Share?
Those who might bear legal liability for a truck accident may go out of their way to avoid paying their fair share. Insurance companies may deny claims and suggest your injuries are less serious than you claim. Trucking companies will distance themselves from the driver, the driver will distance himself from the cargo owner, and so on.
Parties in complex cases have an incentive to shift blame because Florida is a pure comparative negligence state, which means that in a lawsuit seeking damages for a truck accident the court or jury must assign a percentage of fault to everyone involved. The amount you may be able to recover will then be reduced by the percentage of fault you bear for the accident. For example, if the court finds that the defendant was negligent, but decides you were 10 percent at fault for your own injury, the court would reduce a $500,000 award to $450,000.
Working with an experienced truck accident attorney is the best way to ensure that other parties involved in a truck accident do not shift blame in a way that reduces your ability to recover compensation.
Palm Beach Truck Accident FAQ: Everything You Need to Know and Do After a Truck Accident
Due to their vast size disparity and the fundamental laws of physics, semi-trucks often cause accidents with catastrophic results, leaving victims with severe, and at times fatal, injuries. For those individuals that survive these trucking accidents, many now have to deal with substantial medical bills, permanent disabilities, and a countless number of questions.
That is why our team at Meldon Law has prepared this guide of frequently asked questions (with answers) that many victims have encountered after a trucking accident. It is impossible to know if you will ever be involved in a trucking accident; however, it is essential to be prepared and know what you need to do if such an accident ever happens to you.
1. What should I do after a trucking accident?
Your number one priority in any trucking accident should be to get the medical attention that you need. Even if you do not think you sustained a severe injury, it is still imperative that you go to a medical professional and get checked out. Many critical injuries do not show up right away, and you must get examined just in case. Besides, delaying your medical treatment after your accident gives insurance companies a reason to deny your injury claims.
However, in situations where you do not have to head immediately to a hospital after the accident, it is a good idea to take the following actions:
- Do not admit fault: After a trucking accident, it is typical for the insurance company to contact you. During these conversations, it is imperative that you not make any oral or written statements admitting fault for the accident, as these admissions may end up hurting your future claim.
- Photographs/video: Take as many pictures or videos of the accident scene as you can. These photos will be vital pieces of evidence for you and your case. Make sure to include photos of all your visible injuries, the damage to your vehicle and the truck, and any significant markings on the truck (such as a logo or company name).
- Road conditions: Try to capture the road conditions at the scene of the accident. Include any visible road hazards and the weather conditions at the time of the accident.
- Truck driver’s information: Make sure to get the truck driver’s information, including his name, phone number, insurance information, company information, driver’s license number, and license plate number.
- Witness information: If you can, get the names and numbers of any individuals that witnessed the accident. These individuals will be beneficial to your case if the insurance company decides to place blame on other people rather than its own driver.
- Contact an attorney: It is essential to contact an experienced truck accident attorney as quickly as you can. Your attorney will help guide you through the entire legal process, ensuring that the insurance company does not take advantage of you. Your attorney will also initiate an accident investigation.
2. What parties are involved in a truck accident lawsuit?
In any trucking accident, there are a lot of moving parts, and it is crucial to understand all of the critical parties that are involved when you are filing a claim.
Who may sue? In most truck accident cases, the injured victim is the individual who will file a lawsuit. However, in some circumstances, the spouse can also submit one. If the accident resulted in the victim’s death, then the decedent’s estate may file a wrongful death action.
Who may face suit? Many truck accident victims think that they may only sue the truck driver and his or her employer following an accident. However, this situation is much more complicated than that, and it is also the reason why it is so essential to have an experienced attorney helping you through this process. In fact, many parties may share liability for your damages, including the owner of the trailer, the company identified on the trailer, and even the truck’s loading facility. However, to prove negligence, a thorough investigation is required to show the level of the employer’s supervision and that the driver was acting within the scope of his or her employment at the time of the accident.
3. How much time do I have in Florida to file a claim?
In Florida, there is a four-year statute of limitations for negligence actions and a two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death actions. However, to ensure the preservation of critical evidence and that memories of the accident don’t lapse, it is important to start the legal investigation as soon as possible.
4. What damages may I collect?
Trucking accidents often result in significant injuries, overwhelming medical costs, and property damage.
To help recoup these costs, Florida’s personal injury law provides two main categories of damages: compensatory damages (both economic and non-economic) and punitive damages.
- Economic damages: These damages are related to the losses suffered by the victim, and it is possible to calculate economic damages with reasonable accuracy. These damages include medical bills (present and future expenses), property damage, lost income (current and future lost earnings), and any other economic loss that occurred as a foreseeable result of the accident.
- Non-economic damages: These damages are more subjective and are generally used to compensate victims for psychological harm that has resulted from the accident. These damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical disfigurement, and loss of consortium.
- Punitive damages: These damages are rare, significantly higher than compensatory damages, and usually reserved for cases in which the defendant acted in such a wrongful way that he or she deserves punishment for such an egregious act. The court also hopes that awarding these damages will deter others from committing the same action in the future.
5. How will a lawyer help me after a trucking accident?
To maximize your compensation, you must diligently prepare evidence that establishes the severity of your injuries and the losses that you’ve suffered. This type of evidence usually includes documentary evidence, police reports, medical reports, as well as expert witnesses that can testify to help prove your losses.
Obtaining this evidence requires extensive knowledge of these types of accidents, as well as an understanding of what each specific trucking accident case needs. An experienced truck accident attorney will take care of every aspect of the accident investigation process and ensure that your case is treated with the fairness that it deserves, while simultaneously fighting to maximize your compensation.
Contact An Experienced Palm Beach County Truck Accident Attorney
At Meldon Law, we offer a free consultation for you to discuss your case with an attorney who can help determine if you may be eligible for compensation. If we agree to represent you, we may also agree to handle the case on a contingency fee basis in which we would recover our fees only out of any settlement or judgment we recover on your behalf.
A truck-accident injury may change the course of your life. A skilled attorney can handle the details of seeking the compensation you deserve, while you focus on your rehabilitation and recovery. If you have been involved in a truck accident in Palm Beach County, call the experienced attorneys at Meldon Law at 800-373-8000 for a free consultation.