Truck accidents are some of the most tragic and dangerous events that occur on Florida’s roads. In 2018, there were tens of thousands of Florida truck accidents, resulting in thousands of injuries and dozens of deaths.
On top of the physical and mental trauma associated with the actual crash, these accidents often lead to expensive medical and insurance bills, lost time at work, and damage to your property. Any one of these things alone can leave you on shaky financial ground for the foreseeable future.
You Have Options After a Truck Accident
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident in the Miami area, get in touch with an experienced truck accident lawyer today. You’ll discover what legal options you have to hold negligent drivers responsible and obtain a fair settlement.
At Steinger, Greene, & Feiner, our lawyers have years of experience dealing with the intricacies of truck accident law. We will work alongside you during this difficult time to find any avenues of recourse available given your situation.
Give us a call at (800) 801-6850 or contact us online to request a free consultation. There’s no risk to you as we discuss the details of your case to find out the best way to proceed. In the meantime, read on to find out what you need to prove to win a truck accident case in Florida.
Florida is a No-Fault State
In order to legally operate a vehicle in Florida, drivers must purchase personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. PIP covers up to $10,000 per person for any injury due to an accident, regardless of who is at fault.
This is limited by a cap of 80% on all medical expenses and 60% on lost income. So, you can see already how the financial impact of a bad accident can leave you with debt.
Truck drivers are required to have additional insurance since they are on the road more frequently and their vehicles are much heavier. Generally, you will only be able to bring a case against another driver and work outside of the no-fault system if one of two qualifications is met. Either you meet the $10,000 threshold that is covered by your PIP, or you suffer a “serious injury” as defined by Florida law.
What is a “Serious Injury” in Florida?
If your injury falls into one of the following categories as outlined in the 2019 Florida Insurance Statutes, it can be considered a serious injury.
(a) Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.
(b) Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement.
(c) Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.
One thing to note about the above language is that it’s rather vague. It’s not easy to pin down what “significant” means in (a) or (c). For this reason, speaking with a licensed attorney with experience in truck accident law is a good first step to determining the legitimacy of your case.
Proving Negligence in a Miami Truck Accident
To prove that the truck driver involved in your accident is responsible for your damages, your truck accident lawyer in Miami would consider the following.
Evidence of a Breach of Duty
All Florida drivers have a duty to follow the rules of the road and obey all industry regulations. Disobeying these laws either purposefully or accidentally constitutes a breach of duty toward other drivers on the road. When a truck driver violates one of these responsibilities, the specifics of the violation can be used to improve your chances of a successful case against the driver.
Many of these breaches can come from pressure on behalf of highly competitive trucking companies. Sometimes, companies trying to get a leg up in the industry engage in unsavory practices to cut costs and improve profits. An experienced truck accident lawyer will be able to identify such practices and hold the proper organizations accountable when violations exist.
Here are some common breaches of duty that can lead to an increased chance the truck driver is found negligent:
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol. Pretty simple, but unfortunately common, even amongst commercial truck drivers.
- Driving while abusing legal or illegal drugs. Sometimes drivers use street or prescription drugs to stay awake longer while on the road.
- Driving while exhausted. Truck drivers have a profit motive to drive as long as possible. There are laws about how long a truck driver may be on the road before resting. An examination of the truck’s data system can reveal if these or other laws have been ignored.
- Inadequate maintenance or parts. To save money, some companies and drivers will use low-grade vehicle parts or corner-cutting maintenance techniques. These second-rate options can result in malfunctions that end up leading to an accident.
Beyond these examples, a trucking company may also lack due diligence in their hiring practices. Companies with a history of employing inexperienced or unlicensed drivers, as well as drivers with a history of traffic infractions or a criminal record, are more common than you think.
Evidence of Causation
Even if there’s been a breach of duty on behalf of a truck driver involved in your accident, it’s often necessary to prove that this neglect led to the damages to your person or property.
A simple example of this is if a drunk driver hit a parked car with someone inside of it. In this case, drunk driving (breach of duty) led directly to (caused) the damages to the parked car and any injuries the occupant sustained.
Evidence of Damages
There are a variety of damages you can hold a negligent truck driver accountable for if you’ve been seriously injured or meet the $10,000 threshold in the no-fault system. These include bodily injury, damage to property, loss of work, mental and emotional distress, and loss of benefits from a deceased or injured loved one. Damages may also include court expenses, legal fees, or other costs that can be directly attributed to the aftermath of the accident.
Increase the Likelihood of Winning a Truck Accident Case
Dealing with the financial repercussions of an accident with a large commercial truck can be stressful, but you don’t have to deal with it alone.
We know that the complexities of trucking laws and the bodily and property damages you are already facing can make this situation feel insurmountable. Let Steinger, Greene & Feiner alleviate some of this stress by putting the legal matters in the hands of our experienced truck accident lawyers.
Our team is available to speak with you 24/7 to set up a free consultation and provide peace of mind during this painful time. Call us at (800) 801-6850 or fill out our online form to get working toward a fair settlement today.