Truck accident lawsuits are some of the suits we deal with at Clay County Personal Injury Attorney. Our goal is to ensure that anyone that has suffered injuries in a truck accident in Clay County, Florida, receive the compensation they deserve. The good thing is that Florida's personal accident laws allow such persons to pursue compensation, mainly if their injuries resulted from another person’s negligence.
The injured person needs to understand the types of compensation available for the kind of accident they have been involved in to get compensated. If you have suffered injuries in a truck accident, there are many types of compensation to which you may be entitled. Our legal team will guide you through the process of determining the damages you may have suffered, and in preparing your claim to ensure that you get compensated for all your losses.
Florida Truck Accidents Lawsuits
Any person who gets injured in a truck accident in Florida is entitled to compensation for their injuries. The law allows such a person to file a legal claim against any person or people they feel were responsible for their damages. There are many causes of truck accidents in the state of Florida. Most of these accidents are a result of negligence. Examples of neglect are, for instance, overspending, poorly maintained trucks, overloaded trucks, drunk driving, or fatigued driving, among others. If the cause of the accident is established to be negligence, the responsible party is required by law to compensate the injured person or people for all the damages incurred.
The injured person is, however, required by law to gather enough evidence that will prove to the court that the responsible party was indeed negligent. He/she should also demonstrate how the defendant’s negligence was the direct cause of the injuries he/she suffered in the accident. The help of an experienced personal injury attorney will go a long way in such a case. An attorney can help you gather evidence and also prove negligence in court for you to get the compensation you deserve.
Most personal injury lawsuits in Florida are settled out of court, once both parties reach an agreement. It happens when attorneys for both sides negotiate and come up with an understanding that suits both the plaintiff and defendant. When this happens, the case is resolved earlier than anticipated, with minimal hassle. However, if one side does not agree to what the other side is offering, the case may proceed to trial, in which case a judge will rule over the matter in a civil court.
The most crucial thing in any personal accident lawsuit is the determination of compensable damages. Truck accidents can be quite complicated, and in most cases, they involve more issues than other auto accidents. For that reason, the type of injuries sustained in a truck accident could be more severe than in other accidents. An experienced attorney, with the help of other experts, can help you determine the types and extent of your damages to be able to come up with a potential list of damages you can present before a judge during the trial.
Types of Compensatory Damages
A truck accident can cause a lot of damage to the people involved. The types of damages an accident victim can suffer depends on the type and severity of the accident in which they were involved. Victims of truck accidents could be other motorists on the road, pedestrians, bicycle riders, or another person that was riding in the same truck that caused the accident. Injuries, damages, and other losses that occur after an accident constitute the types of damages and the monetary compensation the victim is entitled to receive from the at-fault party in such a crash.
Compensatory damages are the monetary compensation that an accident victim or plaintiff gets for all the losses they have incurred in the accident. The rewards mostly happen in civil cases where compensation is sort for the losses suffered due to another party’s negligence or illegal conduct. The losses incurred are categorized into various classes and then quantified into an amount that the plaintiff presents before a judge.
There are mainly two categories of damages that a person can recover from a truck accident lawsuit in Florida:
- Compensatory damages
- Punitive damages
The two types of damages are very different in the amount and the reason for their reward. Payment for punitive damages is over and above all other losses and damages that the plaintiff could have suffered in the accident. They are meant to give an incentive to the defendant against repeating the same act that caused the plaintiff damages and losses. Compensatory damages, on the other hand, are intended to give the plaintiff back what they have lost as a result of the accident.
Compensable damages are then divided into:
- Non-monetary damages
1. Economic Damages
Just as its name suggests, economic losses are those costs and expenses that are directly connected to the effects of the truck accident. After an accident, the victim spends or loses a lot of money, which they could not have lost if the accident had not occurred. The most popular types of these damages include the following:
Current and Past Medical Expenses
As mentioned above, truck accidents can be very severe, causing a person so many physical injuries. These injuries can range from mild to severe, depending on the severity of the accident. Either way, the person will need immediate medical help and continuous medical support until they completely recover. Medical expenses will, therefore, include the costs of ambulance services, emergency care, and healthcare expenses. Further, all the costs the plaintiff incurred while traveling to keep up with their medication schedules, and any over-the-counter supplies and prescriptions they could have taken up to the time they were filing for compensation will be considered.
Future Medical Costs
Most auto accidents are devastating and can leave a person suffering injuries for a long time or for the rest of their lives. If you suffered a physical injury that requires you to undergo further medical procedures in the future, you might have to include that in your claim. If you suffered an injury that requires long-term medical care, you are entitled to receive compensation for that as well. A report from a medical professional showing the extent of your injuries, how long the injuries could last and how much it could cost you to recover from those injuries will help determine the amount of future medical costs you should include in your claim.
Physical Therapy and In-house Healthcare Services
Depending on the nature of your injuries, you may need physical therapy to recover fully. Some injuries, such as neck fractures or sprains and spinal cord injuries, will have to include a physical therapist. Some of these injuries take a longer time to heal, and so, you will require home healthcare services sometime after your treatment. If the damages are more severe, you may need to work with a therapist for a much longer time, and sometimes for the rest of your life. All these details should help you determine the amount of money you can include in your claim for complete physical recovery.
Lost Wages and Benefits
You must include all the work payment that you have missed while you were recovering from your injuries in your claim. Even if a person has not suffered severe injuries, they may have to stay a few days at the hospital or home to recover before going back to work. Some injuries will leave you bedridden for weeks and other months. More severe injuries, such as spinal cord injuries, may make it impossible for you to resume work. You are allowed to claim compensation for lost wages depending on the length of time you will be away from work. You could also request for payment for all the benefits you may have missed while recovering as well as lost retirement contributions.
Future Lost Wages and Benefits
As mentioned above, some injuries will leave you recuperating for weeks and months. Others will not allow you to go back to gainful employment. In that case, the person responsible for your injuries is expected by law to compensate you for your inability to work and earn for the length of time you will be out of employment. Look into the benefits you might have to miss before your full recovery, as well as retirement contributions, and include them in your claim. You may also have to consider these damages if you change jobs, go for a lower position at work, or stop going to work because of your injuries.
The Cost of Lost Service
These damages entail the loss of ability to offer services or perform regular household chores at home as you did before the accident. If you previously could mow your lawn, you may have to look for help if you have suffered severe injuries. Some injuries make it hard for other people to clean their own homes, or run usual errands. In that case, they will incur extra expenses in finding someone that will provide such services for them. You can include these expenses in your injury claim.
If the injured person was the one providing care for his/her children and is unable to, the reason being their injuries, he/she may qualify for childcare services as well. Children will still need someone to take care of them before the victim recovers fully from his/her injuries.
These are damages that you incurred on your vehicle or motorbike or any other personal possessions that were damaged in the accident. Property damage is part of your monetary losses as you will need monetary compensation to have your car or bike repaired or replaced.
2. Non-monetary Damages
Just as their name suggests, non-monetary damages are those damages a person has suffered in an accident in a more personal way and not as a monetary expense. These types of injuries are hard to put a value on, but they also count when an injured person is filing a claim for compensation in a civil court. Some of the non-monetary damages that you could qualify for if you have been injured in a truck accident include:
Suffering and Pain
It consists of any physical pain and agony that the injured person may have endured after the accident and throughout their recovery period. Sometimes the pain will go on even after a person leaves the hospital, especially if they suffered a catastrophic injury. Even though it is hard to evaluate the amount of pain a person has suffered, it is necessary to consider it among the damages an injured person has incurred after the accident. The amount of money you can include in your claim for suffering and pain will depend on the nature of the accident.
It occurs in cases of severe accidents and could include loss of limb/limbs, hearing, eyesight, toes or fingers, and excessive scarring, among other extreme physical changes that could have resulted from an accident. For some people, it will not be easy living with a disfigurement, especially when another person was the cause of the accident. That is why it is included among the non-monetary damages that the law allows for compensation.
Some injuries cause a person to lose their ability to perform some duties. If you have difficulty doing some of the things you could do so well before the accident, you may have suffered an impairment, which is compensable in a Florida personal injury claim. Note that the amount of compensation you can include in your application for impairment will depend on the seriousness of the impairment, whether or not there is a chance of recovering and how much that impairment has affected your quality of living.
It includes certain types of non-monetary damages that a person suffers after a severe accident. These may consist of anxiety, distress, depression, fright, trauma, or grief. Mental anguish is more severe in some people, especially those who have suffered long-lasting injuries and could be the beginning of a disorder such as depression.
These damages are usually set aside for the children or spouse of the person who has suffered or died in an accident. Lost consortium means that the relationship or connection the injured person had with his/her spouse and children has been affected. If the injured person lost his/her life in the crash, their close family is allowed by law to file for compensation for the wrongful death of their kin.
Non-monetary damages are difficult to prove and to put a monetary value on them. The good thing is that they are recognized as real losses in the state of Florida. There was a strict limit on the sum of non-monetary damages a person can request in a personal injury claim, but this was ruled unlawful by the state’s Supreme Court in 2017.
3. Punitive Damages
In addition to the economic and non-monetary damages, an accident victim in Florida might be awarded punitive damages by the court. These are a kind of financial compensation used by civil courts to punish responsible parties in an accident because of their gross negligence in causing accidents. These kinds of damages aren’t prevalent, which means that you may or may not get them.
The court will decide whether or not to award you the punitive damages depending on the actual cause of the accident. If the at-fault party was the driver and was operating under the effect of alcohol or drugs, for instance, the court may decide to teach him/her a lesson so that they cannot operate under the influence again in the future. Other negligent behaviors that could cause the court to award punitive damages are, for example, if the driver was texting while operating a vehicle, or another reckless behavior while on the road.
Punitive damages in the state of Florida are limited to $500,000 or up to three times the total amount of compensable damages, whichever of the two is higher.
It is advisable to work closely with an experienced personal injury attorney at all times. This helps you understand the type of compensation available for you and how much you should claim for each compensatory damage.
How to Maximize Compensation in Your Personal Injury Case
If you have suffered an injury because of another person’s negligence, it is to seek compensation for your damages and other losses you could have sustained in the accident. However, you have to do everything possible to improve your chances of getting compensation because it is not always a guarantee. A civil court will allow you to prove your case against the at-fault party, and the decision is left in the hands of the judge. You also need to do your best to get the maximum compensation for every damage you might have suffered in the accident. Here are tips that could help you maximize your personal injury compensation in Florida:
Seek Medical Treatment
A win in a personal injury case means getting fair compensation for all your injuries and losses. To achieve such success, you need to document all your damages. This is done through the help of healthcare professionals who treat and take care of your physical and mental injuries after the accident. You need to get medical advice immediately after the accident, for a doctor to examine you and come up with a treatment plan according to the inures you have suffered.
Once you have all the medical records with you, it will be easy to get the other side to want to offer a higher amount to settle the matter out of court. Getting medical treatment should be prioritized even if you are not sure about the extent of your injuries. The plaintiff must also stick to the treatment plan formulated by their physician.
Evidence is all the court needs to rule the personal injury case in your favor. Gathering evidence should, therefore, be the second most important thing to do after the accident. The evidence collected should be factual and reliable because the court cannot make a decision based on circumstantial evidence. The other party will also offer an amount in settlement, depending on the strength of your claim. If you have enough evidence, you may get a higher amount in compensation than if you have not preserved sufficient evidence.
You need legal and expert help in gathering and preserving the best evidence to strengthen your case. Evidence could be in the form of photos and videos of the accident scene and the immediate injuries you sustained. You also need witness statements and the police report about how the accident happened.
File your Case Immediately
Personal injury cases in Florida have a time-limit within which they must be filed. The time limit is in the Statute of Limitations. After the deadline has elapsed, the court may not be in a position to hear your case, which means you might lose a chance of recovering your damages after an accident. To avoid that, file your claim as soon as you can. If you wait to present your lawsuit later, the deadline may pass while you are still gathering evidence or waiting for the right time. You can submit your claim then proceed to gather evidence officially.
This way, you will be able to preserve the evidence gathered, build your case, and also prove to the other side that you are very serious about the matter.
Find a Clay County Injury Attorney Near Me
If you have suffered injuries in an accident, it is only fair that you get compensated for all your damages. However, you need to understand the different types of damages you are entitled to receive so that you can include them in your claim. That is why the help of an experienced personal injury attorney is necessary. At Clay County Personal Injury Attorney, we are here to help and support people who want to understand their rights as far as compensatory damages are concerned. Call us at 904-494-8242 and let us walk with you every step of the way.