Truck Accident Questions and Answers
What can I do to protect my rights after a truck accident?
The best way to protect your rights after a truck accident is to hire a Boca Raton truck accident lawyer who is in your corner every step of the way. It’s exhausting to fight for yourself against large companies like trucking companies and truck manufacturers. That exhaustion can make it easy to slip up or make an error, resulting in you losing the money you’re entitled to.
Victims who try to represent themselves often make the following errors:
- They downplay their injuries to the police, resulting in claims that they aren’t actually injured later
- They post on social media saying they’re “doing good”, which can be misconstrued as not being injured
- They guess details of the accident in official statements
- They accept a low settlement offer from the other company’s insurance
Our team members at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, lvey & Fronrath will help you protect your rights after your accident to ensure you receive the damages you deserve.
What should I do if someone from the trucking insurance company calls me before I’ve picked a truck accident lawyer?
If someone from the trucking insurance company calls you, tell them you have a lawyer, regardless of whether or not you have one yet. The moment you get off the phone, call Lytal, Reiter, Smith, lvey & Fronrath to speak with an expert Boca Raton truck accident lawyer. We can advise you on what to do next.
While you’re on the phone, ensure that you don’t do any of the following:
- Don’t admit fault in any way
- Don’t downplay your injuries or the damages
- Don’t give information unprompted, unless it’s to provide an accurate retelling of the accident if their client has refused to provide one or has made false claims
- Don’t consent to a recorded statement
- Don’t sign anything before your lawyer reviews it
- Don’t accept a settlement for far less than you’re owed.
What should I tell the police on the scene of a truck accident?
Be honest with the police. Tell them what happened in the truck accident to the best of your ability, without any guessing or assuming. It’s fine to tell them that you don’t remember certain details. Give them your information and your insurance information. Be sure that you don’t downplay your injuries, as this could risk your claims later.
Who can be sued in a truck accident case?
Any person or organization found to be at-fault for the accident can be sued in your truck accident case. That means that you can sue the driver of the truck, the trucking company (including specific management individuals), the trucking company’s insurance, a repair shop, the truck manufacturer, the manufacturer of specific parts of the truck, and government bodies responsible for maintaining roadways or regulations. If multiple cars or trucks were involved in the accident, this list expands to additional individuals and their respective affiliate companies.
In each case, it is important to determine who is liable for the damage. If the brakes malfunctioned, the manufacturer of the brakes could be found at fault, but the driver couldn’t be.
It is incredibly complicated to determine fault and which specific bodies you can sue for damages. Contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, lvey & Fronrath for assistance determining who is liable for your accident.
How much does it cost to hire a truck accident lawyer?
It doesn’t cost you anything to hire a truck accident lawyer. We cover all expenses up front, including hiring experts to recreate the accident, read the black box data, and testify as expert witnesses. Our expert team will support you through dealing with your insurance company and filing your claim so you can focus on healing. You only have to pay when we win your case.
What is the average car accident settlement in Boca Raton?
A car accident settlement varies depending on the factors of the accident. How many cars were involved? How extensive were the injuries? Was there a loss of life? What kind of vehicles were involved? Was anyone criminally negligent?
In Boca Raton, a car accident settlement is meant to cover the expenses that you paid out of pocket for injuries or damages caused by the accident. This amount ranges depending on what these expenses are. If you are seeking non-economic damages, that increases the amount that you may be owed.
To get the maximum compensation, 300% higher than other victims, hire an expert Boca Raton lawyer who can help you determine what your settlement is worth.
What is the truck’s "black box" and what does it track?
Modern commercial trucks are equipped with a “black box”, similar to planes. These boxes keep track of information regarding the vehicle’s operation, the mechanics, and the driver’s movements. When put together, this information is vital to a Boca Raton truck accident lawyer in determining who is liable for an accident.
A “black box” isn’t one item, as it is in a plane. In a commercial truck, the black box is composed of one or more for the following devices that measure different metrics such as speed and driving hours.
Electronic Control Modules
Electronic control modules are installed by the manufacturer inside the truck’s engine. It monitors the mechanical operation of the truck to ensure that the parts are working properly.
Truck manufacturers started installing electronic control modules to fight invalid warranty claims, where companies or drivers would lie about malfunctions to get new parts for free. With the addition of the electronic control module, the manufacturer could determine whether the warranty claim was valid based on electronic readings of the truck’s operations.
Electronic control modules record 30 days worth of data. After they fill up, they start deleting the oldest data by recording over it. If you file a claim for a Boca Raton truck accident after 30 days, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to gather evidence from the electronic control module. This loses valuable information about the vehicle’s average speed, RPMS, engine hours, and more.
This type of “black box” is essential in determining whether the commercial truck had a mechanical failure that caused the accident. For example, it could determine if the engine overheated or the steering mechanisms failed.
Electronic Logging Devices
Electronic logging devices are a piece of equipment that track the driving time of the driver. This ensures that commercial truck drivers are compliant with federal standards put in place to reduce driver fatigue. Electronic logging devices synchronize with the engine and identify the driver to create a read out of the driver’s drive time, speed, and miles driven.
The electronic logging device is set with a driver’s specific requirements and the data is transferred to a safety official wirelessly.
Since driver fatigue is a high risk factor in commercial motor vehicle drivers, this device can be life saving. It ensures that drivers cannot choose to skip breaks or drive over their hours without reporting it.
Event Data Recorders
An event data recorder is most like the traditional “black box” thought of in airplanes. It records the events of an accident, starting a few minutes before the crash and continuing a few seconds after the event. The recorder is triggered by a change in the vehicle, such as a sudden brake, drastic change in speed, or sudden change in RPMs. Once triggered, the black box starts recording an analysis of the vehicle’s movement, its speed and brake patterns, malfunctions in the engine, and if cruise control was on. This information is vital for experts to recreate the truck accident and analyze the scene to determine fault.
Why Commercial Truck Black Boxes Are Crucial for Tractor-Trailer Accident Victims
If you’ve been the victim of a commercial tractor-trailer accident, you will be looking for compensation for the severe injuries you’ve suffered. The first step in proving your eligibility to seek damages is proving fault: who or what caused the truck accident? That can be difficult to prove after-the-fact, when the truck company hires large teams of lawyers to try to shift the blame or offer you unfair settlements. However, a “black box” can easily prove the circumstances of the accident, right down to the time it occurred and how fast the truck’s wheels were spinning when it happened.
Most car accidents don’t have such helpful technology to assist in recreating the accident. They have to rely on witness testimony, the visual damage to the cars, and the statements of the drivers involved. All of those can be skewed by faulty memories, unclear impact, and even outright lies.
In a truck accident, the three types of black boxes above all work to paint a clear picture of the accident. However, if the truck company is at fault, they may work to bury this evidence. Owners can destroy the records before the 30-day memory is full or refuse to share the information with you
An experienced Boca Raton truck accident lawyer will know how to get you the data you require to prove your claim. We know that a black box’s data is vital to taking on large companies who don’t want to admit fault. While they worry about protecting their own interests, we protect yours.
Our lawyers will make written requests to the company, their legal representative(s), and their insurance for this information. If they refuse, we’ll seek a protective order from the courts to ensure that the data isn’t destroyed. This allows us the time to file a claim for the data and to get an inspection of the vehicle by our experts. We will even determine other trucks on the scene with black boxes and collect their data to determine if they impacted or were impacted by the driving of the at-fault truck. We’ll hire experts to examine the data from the black box and interpret it for us to recreate the scene of the accident. Together, we will determine who was at fault for the accident and help you craft a suit against them.
This isn’t something you have to do alone. Call 561-867-4117 or send us a message to find out how we will support you through your claim.
What To Do After a Truck Accident?
It may be difficult to think straight after being involved in a commercial truck accident. These accidents cause tremendous damage to your vehicle and to your body. The shock can make time seem to move too quickly and too slowly, all at once.
But it’s important to take a moment to breathe, center yourself, and follow these 8 steps after a truck accident. They will ensure that you protect your rights, your health, and the scene of the accident.
8 Steps to Follow After a Truck Accident
- Report the accident to law enforcement. A truck accident can cause major damage to those involved. It can also clog busy intersections, creating a hazard for other vehicles on the road. Call 911 to report the accident to the police. They will preserve the crime scene, ensure those requiring immediate medical attention are treated, and will file a police report about the accident. This report is also called a crash report and is required by Florida law.
- Exchange information. Get the information of any driver(s) involved in the accident, and of any witnesses to the event. Ensure you get their name, address, license number, license plate number, and the registration of their vehicle. Get the insurance company name and policy number of the driver(s) involved in the accident.
- Take photos of the damage. Photographic evidence is your best asset. It can prove or disprove claims about damage, injury, weather or road conditions, and who was there. Take as many clear photos as you can of the accident, the scene, and the cars involved.
- File a claim with your insurer. Some insurance companies require claims to be filed before medical treatment is sought, otherwise they will deny coverage. Call them as soon as reasonably possible to start providing the necessary information for your claim. Get them to provide a list of doctors that they will cover for you to get an examination.
- Seek medical attention. No one wants to go to a hospital if they don’t have to, but trust us, it’s important. You may not feel injured after a truck accident, but you won’t really know until you see a doctor. They can diagnose issues you wouldn’t feel for hours or days, when it may already be too late to treat them.
- Call a Boca Raton truck accident lawyer. Involving a lawyer as soon as possible following your accident gives you the best chance to get maximum compensation from your claim. A lawyer will have more time to find evidence, advise you on what not to do, help you retain a record of events, and deal with insurance companies for you.
- Follow the doctor’s advice. Many claims are thrown out because a patient does not return for follow-ups, take their prescriptions, or get the rehabilitation the doctor recommends. This can be seen as an admission of not being injured. Ensure you follow all medical instructions to the best of your ability.
- Stay off social media. It may be interesting to post a picture of the truck accident or to tweet about the events, but remember that this is all admissible in court. Don’t comment on other people’s or news outlet’s posts about the wreck, if there are any. Even a simple comment like “I’ll be fine!” can come back to ruin your legal claim.
5 Common Causes for Truck Accidents
Commercial trucks are a constant presence on Florida roads. You’ll find them on city streets and the highway, zipping through traffic. Their permanent presence on the road presents a high risk for other cars driving alongside them. The sheer size of the vehicles makes any crash infinitely more deadly. Their heavy loads, tired drivers, and large blind spots are a risk to all drivers.
Look out for the 5 common causes for truck accidents the next time you’re driving by a truck:
- Drowsy Driving. Truck drivers are on strict schedules. The faster they get to a destination, the higher their pay, and the faster they get onto the next paying job. This encourages companies to schedule drivers over the 60 hour weekly limit of driving time. Drivers may illegally forgo their breaks or rest times to reach a destination faster to meet their company’s demand. However, tired driving has been found to be as dangerous as drunk driving. Accidents have occurred when tired drivers get behind the wheels of a small vehicle. Putting a tired driver behind the wheel of a commercial truck increases the likelihood of a fatal error that could affect their life and the lives of everyone else on the road.
- Distracted Driving. Everyone gets bored after hours and hours of endless driving. Usually you pull over for a change of scenery or to switch drivers. Truck drivers don’t have that option. Many have to eat, drink, and live behind the wheel. That means calling loved ones, balancing breakfast on the wheel, or checking social media while driving. These distractions take their attention away from hazards on the road and can lead to them missing clear driving signals. In some cases, they may even lose control of the vehicle and begin to drift into other vehicles.
- Poor Maintenance. Trucks can have two forms of poor maintenance: faulty parts and poor repairs. The faulty parts are typically a warranty issue, where a manufacturer has used cheaper or inferior parts that are damaged. These can affect the truck’s driving ability and lead to an accident. Poor repairs are the fault of truck companies who try to cut corners. Even though the company is legally responsible for putting a safe vehicle on the road, we continue to see many trucks in obviously poor condition with bare tires. Without proper maintenance and materials, a truck can malfunction and cause a serious accident. A Boca Raton truck accident lawyer can help you determine who to sue if poor maintenance caused your accident.
- Speeding. Major truck companies may install tools to limit the speed of trucks. However, not all companies do so. With drivers racing to meet deadlines and pick up more cargo for higher pay days, they opt to speed. Speeding makes it more difficult to control a small car. When the vehicle weighs nearly 100,000 pounds, this is extremely dangerous. It takes significantly longer to brake or slow down, which makes turns and road hazards potentially catastrophic.
- Overloading Cargo. Some companies pay drivers based on the number of shipments they deliver. To make extra deliveries to increase their payload, these drivers overload trucks. Conversely, the drivers may not care, but the company overloads the trucks to meet client demand. Additional weight doubles the chances of a fatality in a truck accident. It can also throw the truck off balance, causing an accident even if the driver was following safety precautions.
Common Types of Truck Accident Injuries
While many of the common types of truck accident injuries resemble those of a car accident, they are often more severe. The common types of injuries are:
- Bruises and scrapes
- Internal bleeding or swelling
- Spinal injury
- Traumatic brain injury
What damages can I collect in a truck accident?
Florida allows victims to collect three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Economic damages refer to damages that cost you financially. You can prove these with receipts. Economic damages include medical bills, on-going rehabilitation, prescriptions, vehicle damage, and lost wages for days off.
Non-economic wages are meant to compensate you for emotional damage that you suffered due to the accident. These don’t necessarily have receipts, but can severely impact your life. Examples include anxiety, PTSD, pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and inability to work.
Punitive damages are a punishment intended for negligent drivers. Typically, they are used to punish impaired drivers. The judge determines punitive damages directly based on the amount of negligence, not based on the victim’s suffering
In some unfortunate cases, victims can collect wrongful death damages when they lose a loved one due to the truck accident.
To determine what damages you can collect from a truck accident, send us a message. Our Boca Raton truck accident experts can help you determine what you’re owed.