Any road accident can result in devastating damages or injuries. Although road accidents can be similar, truck accidents are more severe in most cases, compared to regular car accidents. The size of a truck and the impact of the accident often cause deadly and debilitating injuries. Even when moving at slow speeds, the damages from a truck accident are more. Some of the injuries a victim suffers changes their lives forever, especially when they are catastrophic. Fortunately, the state of Florida allows for truck accident victims to seek compensation for the damages incurred. At Clay County Personal Injury Attorney, we have helped many truck accident victims get their rightful compensation.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
All drivers are required to be mindful on the roads to avoid accidents. Truck drivers are held at higher regard in ensuring they are not involved in accidents. Unfortunately, despite what every driver knows, truck accidents do happen on our Florida roads more than we would like. Truck accidents can be due to various causes, these are:
Moving at a speed that makes it difficult to control your truck is one of the leading causes of truck accidents. When a driver is moving at high speed and encounters an emergency on the road, it is difficult to control the truck and will mostly crash into other cars or turnover on their side. Sometimes a road can change where a driver never expected, for instance, coming into an abrupt bend. When moving at high speed, a driver will be unable to maneuver the curve and end up crashing. The results from the accident can be severe to both the victims and the vehicles involved.
Distraction is also another common cause of road accidents among truck drivers. Truck drivers drive for long hours and will often get bored with the same routine. This will get them distracted by anything on the road and shift their focus. The use of mobile phones while driving, especially texting, is a leading cause of distracted driving. Because of the distances, they are expected to cover. A driver can be running behind schedule and opt to eat or take their coffee while driving. Such an activity may be a distraction and is another common cause of distracted driving that can result in severe truck accidents.
It is an offense to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Florida. Unfortunately, this does not stop truck drivers from intoxicated driving. When a driver is drunk, they get impaired, meaning their response time when faced with an emergency on the road is slower than when they are sober. An intoxicated driver will not make sound decisions while on the road and will often miscalculate the distance between him and other vehicles. Drunk driving is another major cause of truck accidents in Florida.
Truck drivers operate their trucks over vast distances and for long hours. The law has given guidelines on how many hours a driver must be on the road and rest. Unfortunately, truck companies sometimes encourage their drivers to cover longer distances or more hours to maximize their profits. The truck drivers get easily convinced of this because they will make more money.
Unfortunately, fatigue can cause a driver to fall asleep on the wheel and sometimes even get distracted. Thus fatigued driving ends up as a significant cause of truck accidents that often leads to catastrophic injuries.
A driver unfamiliar with the road can find themselves operating in the wrong way. Other times, other motorists would be driving on the wrong way and suddenly appear in the direction of a truck driver. This leaves them with no time to escape the impending collision that would result in severe damages.
Negligence or Recklessness on the Road
The truck driver or other road users can be negligent on the way or drive recklessly. When a driver negligently disobeys a light and drives through an intersection, it is likely they may cause an accident. Others may decide to drive recklessly by bullying other motorists. This happens when the truck driver fails to yield way and ends up crashing into another vehicle. Other road users also can be negligent and reckless, resulting in the trucks crashing into them.
Abrupt Lane Changing
Trucks have a blind area meaning they may not see a car approaching them from the side. When they abruptly change their lanes, and another vehicle was already at their blind spot, it results in a crash.
Hazardous Road Conditions
Florida roads can also have dangerous conditions that may result in causing accidents. Unexpected potholes, cracked cement, or unmarked road construction works are some of the hazards that can result in truck accidents.
Unfavorable Weather Conditions
Heavy rainfall or snow can cause poor visibility on the road. The roads also become more slippery, making it difficult to control the truck. When the weather seems unfavorable, it is always advisable to stop until it is clear to drive. Unfortunately, because of the schedules truck drivers must keep, they will likely not stop but keep driving despite the weather. This can result in collisions when they cannot see where they are going well.
Sometimes, the truck driver is not responsible for a truck accident. The truck can experience mechanical failure, such as failed brakes resulting in an accident. Other parts of the truck can be faulty and result in a crash. Because of the distances covered by trucks, truck owners are expected to ensure vehicles are well maintained to avoid breakdowns that can result in accidents.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries from a Truck Accident
As earlier stated, truck accidents can result in significant injuries that can be catastrophic as well as damages. Losses a victim of an accident suffers can be so high and sometimes become controversial when claiming from insurance companies. Some of the catastrophic injuries sustained from a truck accident include:
Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)
When a truck collides with an average passenger vehicle, its size can result in a significant impact. The occupants of the truck, and those of the other vehicle, can sustain severe injuries to their spine. Spinal cord injuries can result in lower back or upper back paralysis. These types of paralysis can cause a victim to lose or affect the use of their hands, legs, lungs, bladder, sexual organs, bowels, among others. These injuries may require the victim to remain in prolonged or lifetime care, which can be costly.
The victim can also lose their ability to earn a living, which can be devastating to them and their families. The cost of treatment for the injuries can be expensive, causing damages to the victim’s finances.
The severity of truck accidents can also result in amputations. A leg or a hand can be severely damaged if the doctors recommend amputation. This is traumatic to the victim psychologically as it is physically. An amputation means a permanent loss of the particular body part requiring an artificial one to help the victim perform their duties. Sometimes, a victim can have both legs amputated, meaning they will use a wheelchair or depend on others for tasks they previously did naturally.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
A truck accident can result in significant trauma or impact on the head of the victim. When a victim suffers substantial head injuries or brain injuries, they may have their cognitive senses permanently damaged. Traumatic brain injuries can also mean the brain is unable to coordinate with the rest of the body parts for functionality. This means the victim may have to permanently depend on others to feed, clothe, bathe them, or for any activity.
A truck accident can result in the leaking of fuel from the gas tank. When a victim is trapped in the truck or is nearby, the flames can cause traumatic injuries to them. Burns can cause permanent disfigurement that can leave the victim devastated and in need of surgery to reconstruct damaged body parts.
Loss of Vision and Hearing
Depending on the impact, some flying objects can cause damages to a victim’s eyes or ears, creating a permanent disability. Truck accidents can result in a victim losing their sight and hearing, forcing them to learn new communication skills.
Most accidents involving a truck can result in the victim suffering broken bones. This can be to their ribs, legs, arms, or collar bones. Some of these injuries can be severe, requiring surgeries to reinforce the broken parts.
Some victims will get damages to their internal organs due to a truck accident. Some of these damages can be devastating, affecting the functionality of their organs or requiring them to be in permanent medical care.
Death, though not an injury, is a typical traumatic result of truck accidents. The force from the impact can cause a victim to die. This can happen at the accident scene or as a result of the injuries sustained.
What to Do Immediately Following a Truck Accident
Following a truck accident, there are things as a victim you need to do to help save your life and to help with your claim. Some of the critical things you need to do include:
- Truck accidents result in significant injuries.However, if you can, you must call for help immediately. The operator may want to know a few facts of the accident to provide sufficient assistance. He or she will want to see if you are injured and the extent of your injuries, if there are other victims and their injuries as well. The operator will also ask you for the location of the accident. Additionally, if there are hazardous conditions such as leaking fuel or fire as a result of the accident.
- As you wait for help and emergency medical personnel, you need to take pictures of the scene and the surrounding. Take photos from various angles, for the truck, your car, or of all the vehicles involved in the accident. Pictures of your injuries will also be helpful for your claim if they are apparent.
- Engage the driver of the truck or other vehicles to collect relevant information. Get their names, details of their driver’s license, the insurance provider’s information, the truck details, and the truck owner’s details. You will also be required to give the other driver the same information
- If you notice an eye witness to the accident, engage them in a conversation and request if they are willing to state what they witnessed. Get their details and a written statement from them if possible.
- Once help arrives, seek medical attention for your injuries. Sometimes injuries may not be as visible, and the symptoms begin to show much later, which can be life-threatening. If the emergency medical personnel recommend you go to the emergency room immediately, even when you don’t think you are injured, it is essential to go. Have a thorough medical exam to eliminate any injuries that are not as obvious and to treat the obvious ones.
- Get in touch with a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. Because you will need to pursue claims for the damages suffered, a lawyer will help you through the process to ensure you get your rightful claim, and also fight for your rights when needed.
What You Should Not Do After the Accident
What you do after a truck accident can help with your case or destroy it. One of the things you should never do is admit fault. When you admit fault, it means you accept liability for the damages suffered. An insurance adjuster may call you to try and offer you a quick settlement. This is not advisable because they will be looking at paying you the least amount in damages. When you get a call, refer the insurance adjuster to your lawyer.
Proving Damages Following a Truck Accident
When you launch a claim with the insurance company, you must show evidence that you were involved in the accident and that you suffered catastrophic injuries. Most insurance companies are skeptical about devastating injuries. Most insurance adjusters will look at a reason not to pay for the damages. Insurance providers in trying to limit the costs to pay will look for some of the following:
- Surgeries that you may have had before
- Any pre-existing health or medical conditions or injuries
- Injuries you may have sustained in previous vehicle accidents
When they find any of these, they may say the injuries were aggravated due to a prior injury, or due to an illness that the victim suffered from.
A claim gets easily proven by presenting credible documents to accompany them. When claiming for medical costs, you must include a comprehensive medical report from the attending physician. The report must show the injuries sustained and possible photos of the injuries, all the procedures done, and the progress. The cost of medication is also essential to include. If you have pictures of yourself before and after the injuries, having them accompany your claim is crucial.
The police report of the accident and a witness statement is also crucial in supporting your claim. The cost of repairing your vehicle must also be well documented as well as pictures of the damages. When seeking damages for the income loss, you must accompany the claim with a letter from your employer. The letter will act as evidence of your employment and will include the days that you missed work as well as the amount of wages you lost as a result.
If a victim succumbed to death, a police report or a doctor’s report should also accompany the claim. Insurance companies avoid damages from catastrophic injuries because they are always very high.
Who Pays for Damages After a Truck Accident in Florida
In many cases, when involved in a road accident in Florida, your insurance provider will pay for the repair of your vehicle. This is true even when you are not to blame for the accident. This is because Florida is a no-fault state concerning auto accidents.
The no-fault laws mean each driver involved in an accident bills their insurance cover for the medical bills and property damages to a particular amount. This structure is beneficial because a victim of an accident does not have to wait for long to prove responsibility before getting compensated.
There is, however, a disadvantage to this rule. The law in Florida requires a driver to have property damage and PIP coverage of not more than $10,000. This means, should your damages or medical costs go beyond this amount, you will get in trouble.
How Your Deductible is Reimbursed
In Florida, you must provide a deductible before your car is repaired. The amount of deductible varies depending on your insurance policy. Deductible ranges from $250 to $2,500. Most accident victims, especially when they are not to blame for a truck accident, find it unfair to pay the deductible. However, sometimes you can be compensated for the deductible amount when the other driver is to blame. Liable drivers are not entirely absolved of their responsibility because of the no-fault law.
Who Else can Pay for Your Damages After a Truck Accident
Each accident case is unique, with specific details. Due to this, other parties can be responsible for the damages or additional auto covers when the cost of your damages exceed the required coverage. Florida requires car owners to carry a property damage cover of up to $10,000.
However, some motorists have additional coverage, such as insuring the entire value of your car. Other motorists may also have auto covers that protect them when involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
The law also allows you to pursue the at-fault driver’s insurance provider for the cost of repairing your vehicle and deductible when it is beyond the $10,000 cap. When your medical bills and other damages exceed your PIP cover, you can seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance provider.
A third entity can also be held liable for the damages sustained after a truck accident. The truck driver, if he/she was on duty when the accident occurred, the truck company or owner can be held liable for the damages. The state or government agency responsible for ensuring the roads are in good condition can also be held liable for the damages following a truck accident.
Recoverable Damages Following a Truck Accident
As earlier stated, truck accidents can lead to some of the worst injuries a victim can sustain. Some of the damages that can be compensated by the insurance company are:
- Medical costs – When one suffers injuries, especially catastrophic ones, the financial burden can be overwhelming. Most catastrophic injuries require extended treatment and expensive procedures. The law allows for recovering damages suffered from treating the injuries sustained after a truck accident. This includes the cost of all the medical procedures, tests carried out, and medicines taken. Some injuries may require the victim to go through physiotherapy treatment as well. These costs must be included in the claim. The insurance company will also cover for past, current, and future medical expenses associated with the injuries from the truck accident.
- Lost wages – Most victims of truck accidents will stay out of work for long periods as they recover from the injuries. During this time, they will be unable to earn their income as they would have. The insurance company will compensate them for the lost wages during their recovery time.
- Lost earning capacity – Most catastrophic injuries caused by truck accidents leave a victim unable to work for the rest of their lives. If a victim suffers from a traumatic brain injury or is severely paralyzed, they may not be able to earn a living but will be dependent on others for their upkeep. The insurance company is also able to compensate the victim for the income they would have received if they were not injured.
- Pain and suffering – This is a controversial damage because there is no quantifiable amount that compensates pain and suffering. Most catastrophic injuries can result in lifelong pain for the victim and suffering. The victim can seek compensation for the pain suffered due to the injuries.
- Death – When a truck accident results in death, the victim’s family can seek compensation for their wrongful death. Additionally, the family will be compensated for the cost of the funeral and burying of their loved ones.
Find a Lawyer Near Me
Truck accidents leave devastating damages in their wake. Fortunately, a victim can seek damages to help with the aftermath of the accident. Most insurance companies try to dispute catastrophic injuries victims sustain as a result of truck accidents. This makes it essential to have a lawyer pursue the damages on your behalf. At Clay County Personal Injury Attorney, we have helped all our clients seek their damages successfully. Find us at 904-494-8242, and let us help you recover your rightful damages.