Florida is a no-fault state so if you are injured in an accident you can recover damages through your Personal Injury Protection policy, no matter who was responsible for the crash.
Fort Lauderdale, FL – The number of truck accidents in Broward County and the Fort Lauderdale area has been rising steadily over the past decade, mainly due to increased economic activity and the related traffic of goods and raw materials. In 2019, for instance, the number of people injured in truck accidents was double as compared to 2010, while the number of fatalities was up 36%. Due to the sheer difference in size and weight, when a fully-loaded semi slams into a passenger car the occupants of the latter risk suffering catastrophic injuries. The suffering and the financial losses will be enormous, but recovering damages is not easy due to the state’s restrictive no-fault laws. If you are injured in this type of accident, talking to some experienced Florida truck accident lawyers should be a priority.
How can you recover damages after a truck accident in Florida?
Florida is a no-fault state so if you are injured in an accident you can recover damages through your Personal Injury Protection policy, no matter who was responsible for the crash. Much depends on what type of coverage you have. For instance, if you have minimum PIP coverage, that’s just $10,000. There’s no way such a pitiful amount can cover 80% of your medical expenses and 60% of your lost wages.
What you should do is take the money available under your PIP and contact seasoned truck accident lawyers in your area to see about the rest of your damages.
Your next step is to file a claim against the truck driver’s insurance or their employer’s insurance.
Dealing with an insurance company is not something you want to do on your own. Insurance companies are not charities, they are for-profit businesses. Rule number one for making good profits is to collect as much as possible in premiums and pay as little as possible in damages.
Don’t trust a word they tell you. If you want to know what your rights are and how much your claim is really worth, ask a lawyer.
As an example, a simple whiplash injury can be worth more than $20,000, while a personal injury claim for something more serious like a slipped disc requiring surgery and rehabilitation can easily be worth more than $200,000.
Once again, you may have a liability coverage problem. If the trucker’s insurance doesn’t cover your losses, and it probably won’t, you’ll have to consider a lawsuit or see if you can get damages from the trucking company’s insurer.
When can a trucking company be held accountable?
You’ll need very skilled truck accident lawyers to investigate the crash and determine if the trucking company can be held accountable. Here are a few scenarios:
Driver fatigue – Maybe the trucker in your case made an error, but your lawyers will want to know why. If they can prove that the driver had been driving for many hours and his employer knew or encouraged this federal Hours of Service regulations’ violation, you may have a case against the trucking company.
Mechanical failure – Your lawyers may have to bring in experts to assess the state of the truck. If the accident was caused by a problem with the brakes, the steering wheel, or a blown tire, the trucking company may be liable for damages as vehicle maintenance is their responsibility.
In some cases, your lawyers may be able to prove there was a problem with the way the truck was loaded and this made the trucker lose control of the vehicle. In this case, it’s the shipping company or the owner of the load who may be liable for damages.
Keep in mind that when you sustain significant injuries and have considerable damages to recover, you must explore all avenues to determine who is liable for your losses. Most truckers only carry minimum liability coverage, around $25,000, which certainly won’t be enough to pay for your surgery and rehabilitation, not to mention the pain and suffering damages you are entitled to.
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