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Thousands of people are seriously injured and killed in truck accidents in Florida and throughout the United States each year. Commercial trucking is a billion-dollar business in the U.S. because trucks provide an efficient and cost-effective means of transporting goods from one part of the country to another. However, this means that we share the road with these extremely large, heavy vehicles.

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When a commercial truck is involved in a crash, the results are usually devastating for the occupants of the other vehicle. If your life has been changed by a negligent truck driver, contact a truck accident attorney with Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath today.

Each Florida personal injury lawyer at our firm has the skill and resources needed to help our clients obtain maximum compensation — let us put them to work for you. 

Call (561) 655-1990 to schedule your free consultation today.

Table of Contents

Steps to take after being hurt in a truck crash

If you’ve suffered an injury in a truck accident, you’ll need to try to remain as calm as you can and take the following steps. Although it might be difficult, if you can keep these tips in mind, you can protect your health and help ensure the strength of your case.

1. Move to a safer location

Your first priority must be your safety. If your vehicle is in the middle of the highway or street, try to move it somewhere safe such as the shoulder or a nearby parking lot. If the vehicle isn’t driveable but it’s safe for you to move, turn on your hazard lights and get yourself to a safe location. If you’re hurt too badly to move, keep your seatbelt securely fashioned, turn on your hazard lights, and call 911.

2. Call 911 and ask for police and an ambulance

Call 911 to report the accident and tell the dispatcher you’re hurt. They’ll send the fire department, paramedics, and police to the scene. Try to give the dispatcher as much information as you can, including the location and how many people are injured (if you can tell).

3. Tell your side of the story to the responding police officer

The officer will likely want to ask you what happened. Give them the facts, not your opinion, and don’t try to guess what happened if you can’t remember. Also, never say anything that could be construed as admitting fault. If you do, the officer will include that statement in their report, making it very difficult for you to obtain full compensation.

4. Gather evidence at the scene

If the scene is safe, it would greatly help your case if you could use your phone to document the accident scene. Take pictures or videos of all damaged vehicles, skid marks on the pavement, and the surrounding area.

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5. Visit Urgent Care or your primary care physician

If any of the emergency personnel who respond to the accident recommend that you be transported to the hospital, you should take their recommendation or accept the ride even if you don’t think you’re badly injured. A doctor should examine you to determine the full extent of your injuries, and to start whatever treatment you need.

If you don’t want to go in the ambulance, at least go to an urgent care facility or your family doctor right away. If you delay medical help, your injury could significantly worsen. Delaying treatment will also make it much easier for the insurance company to deny you the compensation you deserve.

6. Notify your insurance company

Once you’re safe, tell your insurance company what happened as soon as possible. They might be able to provide you assistance while your personal injury case is pending. Again, don’t say anything that could be considered admitting fault because that could lead to the insurer denying your claim.

7. Consult with a Florida truck accident attorney

A Florida truck accident lawyer will investigate the accident to determine all parties who might be responsible for the accident that injured you. Getting legal help will be your only realistic chance of recovering all of your accident-related expenses.

Make sure you meet the deadline to file a claim

Florida law has a two-year statute of limitations in truck accident cases. That means you have two years from the date of your accident to take legal action. If you miss this deadline, you’ll likely have no other options to obtain compensation. 

Compensation available to truck accident victims

Florida personal injury laws state that accident victims can be compensated for their damages when another party causes an accident that results in injuries and damages. We must prove that the truck driver, the trucking company, and/or another party caused the accident that resulted in your injury.  Once we establish fault, you are entitled to be compensated for your losses.

Possible damages you can claim

The losses mentioned above are known as “damages” in legal terms. They come in three categories – economic, non-economic, and punitive. The following is a brief look at each.

Economic

These are tangible losses, ones that are easy to prove. They include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and more. They’re easily proven because your attorney can obtain documentation that shows your economic damages such as medical bills, pay stubs, and mechanic estimates.

Non-economic 

You’ll need a skilled Florida truck accident attorney to prove your non-economic damages. Pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and loss of quality of life are part of these damages. You can’t produce receipts that show these kinds of losses. At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, our attorneys have a great deal of experience proving non-economic damages.

We fight trucking insurance companies to get you full compensation

Insurance companies fight hard to protect truck accident policies – and with good reason. These policies can be worth as much as $1 million or even more. At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, we have a lot of experience defeating huge insurance corporations. We won’t be intimidated one bit, no matter how formidable the opposition in your case may be.

Parties who may be liable for the crash

All personal injury cases can be complex, but truck accidents are among the most complicated. The reason is there could potentially be many different liable parties. The truck driver may have lost control due to fatigue, the brakes might have been defective, or the trucking company might have failed to ensure the truck was properly serviced and maintained.

How your Florida truck accident lawyer will prove liability

A Florida truck accident lawyer with Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath will investigate to find out all the parties you may be able to sue. We can obtain evidence – such as truck driver phone records, logbooks, “black box” data, and surveillance camera footage. These can all prove liability for each party that contributed to the accident.

Length of time you can expect your claim to settle

If any attorney says they can help you get compensation in a couple of weeks, or even a couple of months, scratch them off your list. No lawyer worth your time would ever make that kind of ridiculous promise.

There are a lot of factors that will play a role in determining how long your case will take to settle. The more compelling your evidence, the more convinced the insurer will be that it should offer you a fair settlement. But, the more serious your injuries, the longer your case could take. A skilled Florida truck accident lawyer will work to gather that evidence and minimize the amount of time you’ll have to wait.

Semi-truck “black boxes”: What they are and how they may be used in your case

You’ve no doubt heard of “black boxes” as they pertain to airplanes, but commercial trucks have similar devices. These record critical data, such as whether or not the driver hit the brakes and how fast the truck was going. An attorney can obtain that data to support your case.

Large trucks cause catastrophic injuries

According to the NHTSA, over 70% of the injuries and fatalities in accidents involving commercial trucks occur to occupants of other vehicles due to the truck’s sheer size and weight. In many cases, occupants of the passenger vehicle suffer catastrophic injuries while the truck driver walks away with minor injuries or no injuries at all.

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Examples of injuries associated with truck accidents include:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Multiple broken bones
  • Paralysis
  • Amputation

Personal injury claims in truck accident cases can be substantial. For this reason, insurance companies aggressively fight against truck accident claims. Insurance companies have quick response teams and adjusters that arrive within hours to investigate truck accidents. 

You need an experienced attorney to fight aggressively on your behalf to protect your right to receive a just and fair settlement for your injuries.

Dealing with insurance after a crash

The only communication you should have with an insurance company is to report the accident to your insurer. You should then refer all adjusters and insurance company representatives to your Florida truck accident lawyer. 

Adjusters are very well compensated because they save the insurance company a lot of money. They do this by asking injury victims misleading questions, getting them to admit fault. If this happens to you, it will be very difficult for you to get the money you deserve.

Why you should visit a doctor as soon as possible

We can’t overstate the importance of getting medical help. You may have a lot of adrenaline going through your body immediately after an accident. As a result, you might not realize the severity of your injury. This could make it much harder for you to fully recover.

Also, the insurance company is going to try and find any reason it can to deny your claim. Failing to get timely medical attention will seriously hurt your case. The insurer will argue you weren’t as badly hurt as you claim – and they would likely be able to convince a jury that you don’t deserve anything.

Cost of hiring a truck accident lawyer

You won’t pay your Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath Florida truck accident lawyer a dime unless we win your case. If we’re successful, we’ll receive a portion of your settlement, or whatever compensation you may receive from a jury award.

Contact an experienced Florida truck accident attorney

Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath want to help you and your family as you struggle to recover from injuries sustained in a truck accident. Call our office at (561) 655-1990 to schedule a free consultation with one of our esteemed Florida personal injury lawyers.

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