St. Petersburg Truck Accident Lawyer
For the past decade, the Bulluck Law Group has fought for those injured in truck accidents with excellence. Our St. Petersburg truck accident lawyers have a track record of excellence and have earned recognition, including a Lifetime Achievement award for America’s Top 100 Attorneys and membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 2,497 crashes in 2016 involving trucks and other large commercial vehicles. Those crashes resulted in 659 injuries and 16 fatalities. Looking over data for the previous three years, these numbers are only continuing to rise. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you need a St. Petersburg truck accident lawyer who will aggressively fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Most truck drivers take their profession seriously, as well as their responsibility to ensure the safety of those they share the road with. However, the pressures of getting their loads to the destination on time, the hours of driving, or a moment’s inattention can lead to tragic results for those involved in accidents with a truck.
Speeding is the most common cause of all accidents, and trucks are no exception. Large trucks require more time to bring to a stop, and a speeding truck carries a tremendous amount of momentum. When a speeding truck cannot react in time to avoid an accident, it is usually the driver and passengers in smaller cars that pay the price.
Driver fatigue is another significant cause of truck accidents. State and federal regulations mandate the maximum number of hours a truck driver can operate their vehicle in a day and in a week. However, the pressure to deliver a load on time, or to finish work and get home to their families, can cause drivers to take shortcuts. When drivers spend too much time behind the wheel and not enough time sleeping, fatigue can cause them to have slower reaction times, leading to a crash.
In the past several years there has been a great deal of education on the dangers of distracted driving, but there are still many people who use their cell phones to make calls or even text while driving. A truck driver without their full attention on the road can cause horrific accidents.
The truck driver must properly secure his or her load and ensure it does not exceed weight restrictions. An overloaded truck will not stop correctly, and an unbalanced load creates danger of overturning.
In some accidents, the driver is not responsible. Poor maintenance, especially on tires and brakes can make a vehicle unsafe for driving. The fleet owner who maintains the truck may be negligent in ensuring its safety for use on the road. In other cases, a defective part may fail when needed and lead to an accident. Manufacturers of truck parts have a duty to ensure their parts are safe for their intended use.
Who Can File a Compensation Claim?
Florida state law mandates that every driver must carry certain minimum insurance coverage. The minimum requirements are $10,000 in personal injury protection and $10,000 in property damage liability. If you are in a minor accident that does less than $10,000 damage and your medical expenses are less than $10,000, your insurance will cover your expenses without needing to establish who was at fault in the accident.
However, accidents involving trucks are often much more serious in nature, often totaling a vehicle and causing tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses to the driver or passengers of the automobile hit by the truck. Florida law allows for pursuing personal injury claims in the case of victims who have suffered a serious injury.
Florida law defines serious injury as experiencing at least one of the following:
- Bone fracture
- Significant disfigurement
- Full disability for at least 90 days
- Permanent limitation in the use of a member or organ
- A significant limitation of a body function or system
Such significant injuries are sadly not uncommon in a truck accident. If you experience any of these, you are not limited to the personal injury protection afforded by your insurance policy, but may also seek compensation through a personal injury suit.
Compensation for Truck Accidents in St. Petersburg Florida
Medical expenses are often crushingly expensive for those suffering a serious injury in a truck accident. You may seek compensation for hospital expenses, doctor bills, prescription medication, and any specialized medical equipment needed after your hospital stay.
Serious injuries usually cause the victim to miss time from work. You may seek compensation for lost wages missed while seeking medical treatment. If your injury limits your ability to work going forward, you may also seek compensation for diminished earning capacity.
Serious injuries are often very painful, causing victims endless hours of distress and suffering. You may seek compensation for your pain and suffering as part of your lawsuit. While no one can put a price tag on the pain you experience, you still deserve compensation for the suffering you have endured. Compensation for pain and suffering is negotiated during the settlement phase of your lawsuit. If the case goes to trial, the court will consider your injuries in comparison to similar injuries in other cases, and arrive at a reasonable amount of compensation for your pain and suffering.
What if I Were Partly at Fault in the Accident?
In some cases, the cause of the accident is clearly the negligence of one person. However, in many cases, both drivers involved played some role in causing the accident. Consider the following example: a truck driver changes lanes without looking and fails to see the car in the next lane, but the driver of the car was distracted by his or her cell phone at the time and did not notice the truck coming at them until it was too late to avoid the accident. In this scenario, both drivers played some part in causing the accident.
Florida law provides for the driver of the car to still seek compensation for their injuries. If the case were to go to trial, the court may determine that the distracted driver contributed 25% to the accident while the truck driver was 75% to blame. If the total compensation sought by the distracted driver was $100,000, the court would reduce their compensation by the 25% the court found them to be at fault in the accident. However, the driver would still receive $75,000 in compensation for their injuries.
Insurance companies may try to intimidate you into thinking you can receive no compensation because you were partly to blame for the accident. However, this is not the case. Florida law protects victims of car accidents, even if they were partially at fault in causing the accident.
Get the Help You Deserve
You don’t have to fight the insurance company on your own. Call the Bulluck Law Group today and let us arrange a free evaluation of your case with one of our attorneys. Our no-recovery, no-fee promise means you pay nothing unless your attorney is able to get you a settlement or win a verdict in your favor.
We work on a commission basis, so you only pay a small percentage of your settlement. Having one of our experienced lawyers on your side drastically improves the odds of getting the compensation you deserve.
Let us go to work for you and put our track record of excellence on your case.