A truck accident often causes injuries that are much more serious than those that are caused by an accident between two passenger cars because commercial trucks are much larger. The severity of those injuries, and the increased likelihood of death, is why the insurance policies that cover commercial trucks can easily be worth $1 million, if not more.
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Steps to take after being in a truck accident
Although being involved in a car crash can be distressing, the actions you take following a truck accident will be important for your physical health and the strength and validity of your case. In addition to remaining calm, try to keep the following in mind.
Get medical attention
Get medical attention and ensure emergency services are en route by calling 911. Alert the dispatcher if anyone else has been injured so they can send enough help and services.
Even if you think you’re okay, go to the hospital to get checked out because many injuries won’t show symptoms for hours or even days, especially with adrenaline coursing through your body. Any delays in medical care or treatment could cause your injuries to worsen.
Use your phone to gather evidence, but only if you can do it safely. Get photos and videos of your vehicle, all other involved vehicles, and the road surface and conditions. The road could hold relevant evidence, including skid marks which would indicate when the truck driver used their brakes and how fast they were traveling before the accident and at the time of impact. The more evidence you can gather, the stronger your case will be.
If you know there were witnesses to the accident, get their names, phone numbers, and email addresses and inform them that your attorney will contact them later to get their account of what happened and any evidence they might have.
Contact a lawyer
After you’ve received medical treatment, contact a Florida truck accident attorney as soon as you can. Your lawyer will launch an immediate investigation to gather all the facts, including talking to witnesses, gathering footage from nearby surveillance cameras that may have captured the accident, and taking other steps to collect the evidence you need. Don’t think you can take on an insurance company on your own.
Make sure you file a timely claim
We can’t stress enough the importance of hiring a Port St. Lucie truck accident lawyer as soon as you can following your accident. Although you generally have four years from the date of the accident to file a claim, any delays in filing your claim could give the insurance company a reason to try to deny your benefits by arguing that your injuries aren’t the direct result of the accident, especially if you waited to see a doctor.
Insurance companies don’t like to pay when their drivers are to blame for an accident that resulted in someone’s injuries. They’re even likely to use underhanded tactics in an effort to avoid liability, and they won’t offer a fair settlement out of kindness, especially not if you’re self-represented.
In a personal injury claim, “damages” are awarded for the monetary losses a victim incurs due to an injury caused by someone else’s negligence. In Florida, there are three main categories of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive.
These are tangible, easily calculated damages that include your medical bills, wages and benefits you lost at work, property damage, and more.
These are more subjective and require the skill of an experienced attorney to properly calculate. Examples include pain and suffering as well as emotional and mental trauma.
Punitive damages are intended to punish a defendant rather than to compensate the injured person which makes them an example to others so they don’t commit the same type of gross negligence.
When juries award punitive damages, the compensation is typically much higher than for economic or non-economic damages, but they’re only awarded in extreme circumstances.
One example is a truck driver choosing to get behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound machine while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
We’ll recover maximum compensation on your behalf
When you’re ready to hire a personal injury attorney, you’ll want one with experience in cases similar to yours. The Port St. Lucie personal injury lawyers with Lytal, Reiter, Smith, lvey & Fronrath, have the experience, resources, and skill it takes to help you recover compensation that’s consistent with your injuries.
We have a team of adjusters, lawyers, and other highly-skilled professionals on our side who are ready to defeat the liable party’s insurance company.
Black box data: The most crucial evidence in your case
As important as evidence gathered from the accident scene will be to your case, the black box data from the commercial truck will be just as vital. The black box is an event data recorder that’s somewhat similar to the black box on commercial airplanes.
The device can show the speed at which the truck was traveling both before the accident and at the moment of impact. It will also show when the gas pedal and brakes were applied or released, and it could indicate if there was some sort of defect that played a role in causing the accident.
Common causes of truck accidents
The black box data, as well as the investigation, will help reveal what occurred at the time of the accident, but there are other factors that can’t be pulled from that system. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
The truck driver was speeding
The cargo was loaded recklessly, causing a sudden shift in balance that caused the driver to lose control
The trucking company failed to properly maintain the vehicle
The truck had defective brakes or tires
The driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Of course, there are many other reasons why a truck accident can happen and there might be multiple liable parties. Your attorney’s investigation will determine the cause of the accident and all potentially liable parties and will take action against them.
Common truck accident injuries
Truck accidents subject the body to incredibly strong forces that it isn’t designed to withhold which can lead to injuries including the following, any of which can lead to a lifetime of pain, misery, and debilitation:
Traumatic brain injury
Common tricks trucking insurance companies use
If you haven’t yet hired a Port St. Lucie truck accident lawyer, then the trucking company’s insurance carrier will dispatch an adjuster to talk to you. Their job is to protect the insurer’s profits.
The adjuster might seem sympathetic by asking how you’re doing, offering to help, and will act like they’re trying to get your side of the story but don’t be fooled by that tactic. They’ll try tricking you into accepting blame for the accident or might try to twist your words and use them against you later.
They’ll also likely present an offer that’s substantially lower than what you’re entitled to, but without experience, you won’t know what compensation you’re entitled to. A seasoned lawyer will know how much your case is worth and will know how much to demand. In most cases, insurers will ultimately make more fair settlement offers when they realize the injury victim has legal representation.
Let our Port St. Lucie truck accident attorneys help