Florida Truck Accident Lawyer

Anyone injured in a truck accident in Florida can rely on Chiappetta Trial Lawyers to maximize their recovery. Our skilled Florida truck accident lawyers will stop at nothing to obtain the compensation you deserve.
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Groceries, construction materials, retail products, farming supplies, and more all rely on Florida’s trucking infrastructure for fast, safe, and accurate delivery. Trucking is vital to the Sunshine State. According to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), 97 percent of Floridian infrastructure tonnage was moved by truck.

Unfortunately, Florida truckers are also among the most likely to be involved in an accident nationwide. Florida had the third most trucking accidents in 2022, after Texas and California. When roadway accidents involve commercial trucks, the injuries involved can be catastrophic. Our Florida truck accident lawyers know how to help those involved in these devastating collisions obtain the compensation they deserve. Get in touch with the personal injury attorneys of Chiappetta Trial Lawyers for a case evaluation.

Key Takeaways

  • Our Florida attorneys routinely handle cases involving rollover, jackknife, and runaway truck accidents, among others.
  • In the immediate aftermath of a Florida truck accident, it is advisable to get out of harm’s way if possible and call 911 to get paramedics and law enforcement on the scene ASAP. You will want to make a police report and exchange contact information with other involved parties and witnesses. In the weeks and months after a trucking accident, be sure to follow up with doctor visits and treatment plans. Keep records of your medical bills and physical recovery.
  • Individuals involved in semi truck accidents are commonly left with severe and catastrophic injuries, such as head and spinal cord trauma.
  • Like other civil cases, it is possible to recover both economic and non-economic damages in a Florida truck accident lawsuit. However, claimants may also be able to recover future damages and punitive damages in certain, qualifying cases.
  • Several different parties may be responsible for an accident involving a commercial vehicle, including the truck driver, their employer, a third-party maintenance company, or even a manufacturer of defective semi-truck parts.
  • An attorney on our team will be able to identify all potentially liable parties in your truck accident case and can confidently pursue compensation from each of them on your behalf, if applicable.

What Kinds of Trucks Are Involved in Truck Accidents?

Trucking accidents typically involve commercial vehicles driven by professionals who are paid to transport goods. As a result, commercial auto insurance claims and commercial liability play a role in many Florida truck accident lawsuits.

Florida truck accidents can involve light, medium, or heavy weight vehicles but are typically classified as incidents involving commercial vehicles that weigh at least 10,000 pounds. Examples include:

  • Tractor-trailers and farm equipment
  • 18 wheelers or semi-trucks
  • Tow trucks
  • Flatbed trucks and log carriers
  • City or county-owned trucks, including garbage trucks, dump trucks, and more
  • Delivery vehicles, like those owned by Amazon, FedEx, UPS, USPS, and more

Types of Truck Accidents Our Florida Lawyers Handle

The Florida attorneys at Chiappetta Trial Lawyers are experienced in handling many different kinds of truck accident lawsuits, including:

  • Rollover truck accidents: Rollover truck accidents are some of the most deadly types of motor vehicle collisions in Florida, with nearly one person killed each week in a semi truck accident.
  • Jackknife truck accidents: Jackknife crashes occur when the trailer or cargo area of a truck swings out at a 90 degree angle behind the cab. The out-of-control weight can swing into other vehicles, passers-by, and more. Jackknife truck accidents are not limited to highway driving, but they can be especially deadly when they occur at high speeds.
  • Runaway truck accidents: Runaway truck accidents are less common in the state of Florida, as only about 4,000 occur each year nationwide, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. However, when they do take place, they can lead to horrific injuries as well as fatalities for drivers and those nearby. The most common cause of a runaway truck accident is shifting or improperly loaded cargo.
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a damaged headlight on a semi truck

What to Do after a Truck Accident in Florida

After a truck accident, the most important first step is to remain calm and seek medical attention. Not everyone may be able to walk off the scene of a trucking accident, but if you can, remove yourself from the roadway and shelter in a safer area outside of the flow of traffic. Call 911 for immediate medical care, and do not move someone who cannot stand themselves. Once you have sought medical attention, you will need to exchange contact and insurance information, just like in a regular auto accident.

It is crucial to call the police after a truck accident and report the accident to law enforcement when they arrive on scene.

If you want to claim compensation for your damages, you will need an unbiased report of the truck accident and how it took place.

If you can, take pictures of the truck accident scene. Physical evidence as well as your testimony and eyewitness accounts can all help a local commercial truck accident lawyer build up your case for compensation. You will also need medical reports and the police report when it is time to share the facts of your case with a Florida semi-truck accident attorney.

After a doctor, the next call you make should be to a lawyer. Do not give extended statements or apologize to another driver at the scene of the crash, and be careful what you say before retaining legal counsel. When dealing with commercial insurers, there are many ways to lower your overall settlement, and you can be sure that they will take whatever opportunity they can to do so.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Florida

Truck accidents tend to cause the most damage of all motor vehicle collisions due to both the size and weight of freight as well as the speeds generally involved in long distance highway travel. The maximum gross weight of a truck in Florida, or the total of allowable axle weights, must not exceed 70,000 pounds. However, this limit is only enforced through fines, set at $0.05 for every pound over the legal weight for the vehicle. This means that overloaded or unsafe trucks can still be out on Florida highways.

Other common causes of truck accidents in Florida include:

  • Truck driver fatigue: Federal laws restrict truck drivers to no more than 11 consecutive hours of driving. However, the Large Truck Causation Study from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that 13 percent of commercial vehicle crashes are a result of truck driver fatigue. These kinds of crashes are especially likely to occur between the hours of 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Inexperienced truck drivers: Truck drivers handle heavy machinery at highway speeds for shifts that commonly span multiple days. When less experienced truck drivers are behind the wheel, everyone around them is at a heightened risk of experiencing a deadly crash.
  • Truck blind spots: Trucks have larger blind spots than the average car. The widest blind spots on a tractor-trailer vehicle are directly in front of the cab by a range of 20 feet, directly behind the trailer for about 30 feet, along each side of the trailer in extended triangles, and immediately alongside the driver’s window. Traveling in the blind spots of a truck for any extended period, or swerving into them without signaling, creates risky conditions on the road.
  • Defective truck parts: When defective vehicle parts contribute to an otherwise avoidable commercial truck accident in Florida, liability for the crash may belong to the trucking company or a third party company hired to do maintenance or repairs on the truck.
  • Overloaded or improperly loaded cargo: An accident becomes more likely when cargo is overloaded or improperly loaded. Improperly loaded cargo is one of the biggest risk factors for runaway truck accidents. Unbalanced cargo can cause a truck to shift, sway, or tip over, pinning whatever is nearby underneath its weight.

Common Truck Accident Injuries

Truck accidents often lead to severe injuries and high medical costs. Common truck accident injuries in Florida include:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Facial injuries
  • Severe burns
  • Broken bones
  • Loss of a limb
  • Wrongful death

Anyone who has suffered severe losses such as these can work with a Florida truck accident lawyer to recover compensation from liable parties.

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What Damages Can I Recover in a Florida Truck Accident Lawsuit?

There are three kinds of damages available to you in a Florida truck accident lawsuit. A trucking accident lawyer at our firm can help you recover a combination of the following:

  • Economic damages: Out of pocket expenses like medical bills related to your injury, lost wages, home health care services, and childcare services. You might also be able to recover damages related to job retraining, physical therapy, and other expenses related to the truck accident. Medical bills including your ambulance ride, any surgeries, medications, hospitalizations, and treatments related to your accident can all be covered in a comprehensive semi truck accident settlement.
  • Non-economic damages: These payments are designed to cover costs that are more difficult to quantify. For example, severe injuries related to truck accidents often have lasting consequences. You or a loved one might suffer from pain, trauma, and disfigurement. Non-economic damages also include a loss of enjoyment of life if an accident inhibits someone’s ability to complete tasks, participate in hobbies, or spend time with their loved ones in the same ways as they did before. You must file a civil lawsuit to recover non-economic losses, as these losses cannot be recovered in an insurance claim.
  • Estimated future losses: In cases involving catastrophic injuries, truck accident victims can work with a lawyer to identify estimated future losses and present them in a demand package to a Florida civil court. Recoverable future damages after a truck accident include estimated future medical costs and diminished earning capacity due to an inability to return to a previously held job or acquire similar work. These losses are only considered in severe cases when a truck accident leaves someone with permanent or long-term injuries.
  • Punitive damages: Punitive damages are generally only awarded in cases where the liable party acted with gross negligence and wanton disregard for others’ safety. Punitive damages are awarded to prevent future accidents from happening again and are meant to deter others from acting similarly. Like non-economic damages and estimated future losses, these damages can only be claimed under Florida civil law through a truck accident lawsuit – not through an insurance settlement. Punitive damages in Florida are capped at three times amount of the economic and non-economic damages you recover, or $500,000.

What Factors Impact the Compensation in a Florida Trucking Accident?

What kinds of damages and the amount you may recover after a commercial vehicle collision depends on the scope of your injuries, the extent of your medical bills, the conduct of the other driver, and the skill and experience of your Florida truck accident attorney.

For instance, if the truck driver was driving under the influence at the time of the crash, your truck accident attorney might pursue punitive damages in addition to your medical expenses and pain and suffering.

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Understanding Truck Accident Liability

Several different parties may be held liable for a truck crash in Florida, including:

  • The truck driver, if they were driving recklessly or under the influence
  • The truck driver’s employer, if they hired unqualified drivers or promoted unsafe driving behaviors, such as fatigued driving through the imposition of unrealistic deadlines.
  • Cargo loaders, if the way that the cargo was loaded or fixed in the truck bed caused or contributed to the accident
  • A maintenance company hired by the trucking company, if they failed to perform appropriate maintenance or replaced important parts with secondhand or defective parts

Benefits of Working with an Experienced Florida Truck Accident Attorney

Understanding Florida civil code – specifically, who can be held liable for your truck accident injuries – is just one benefit that a Florida truck accident lawyer brings to the table. The team at Chiappetta Trial Lawyers is dedicated to maximizing the value of our clients’ claims. We know what settlement numbers are realistic and what you should negotiate and refuse. Our Florida truck accident attorneys have the skills and experience to build and file your claim correctly, negotiate with commercial insurers determined to protect their own bottom line, and represent you in court if necessary.

When to Hire a Florida Truck Accident Lawyer

There is a limited window to file a Florida truck accident lawsuit. Under state law, most claims will be dismissed after the two-year statute of limitations has expired. This means that you generally have two years from the date of your injury to file a claim based on negligence under Florida civil law.

However, certain factors can affect this deadline, so consult with a Florida lawyer about when to file your truck accident lawsuit.

File a Florida Truck Accident Lawsuit

Time is of the essence when filing a truck accident lawsuit in Florida, and there are different requirements for how to file correctly within the appropriate court and jurisdiction. A truck accident attorney in Florida can help ensure that your claim qualifies for compensation.

Call a Florida Truck Accident Attorney Today

If you need help after a commercial vehicle collision, call Chiappetta Trial Lawyers today. Our Florida truck accident lawyers can handle the details of your case from start to finish to ensure that you can focus on your recovery.

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