Truck accidents can have devastating consequences. Trucks can weigh as much as 30 times more than a passenger car. They also need more time and distance to come to a halt when the driver brakes. Then there’s the fact that truck drivers are more prone to fatigue and reduced reaction times because of the long distances they travel. Truck accidents often result in serious injuries and lots of property damage. This combination of factors means Port St Lucie truck accident lawyers have lots to consider when they take on a case. We offer risk-free consultations to victims so that all factors can be considered at no cost to the victim.
At Gonzalez Levenson, we have handled many truck accident cases. Victims usually want compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and future loss of earnings if their injuries are severe. They may even want to be compensated for the loss of enjoyment of life or pain and suffering. None of this is easy to achieve without the help of a truck accident attorney. We’ll discuss specific ways we can help you a little later on this page.
- 1 Causes of Truck Accidents
- 2 Why You Should Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible
- 3 Information You Should Try to Gather for Your Truck Accident Lawyer
- 4 Another Way Victims Can Help Truck Accident Attorneys
- 5 Potential Defendants A Port St Lucie Truck Accident Lawyer Will Consider for Your Claim
- 6 Get Help from a Port St Lucie Truck Accident Attorney Today!
Causes of Truck Accidents
For now, let’s turn our attention to the main causes of truck accidents. These include:
Failing to obey traffic rules and signals
Some drivers neglect to yield the right of way. They may even drive the wrong way down the street or drive in excess of the speed limit. Any of these actions can lead to accidents. A dedicated truck accident lawyer in Port St Lucie will investigate your accident so they can get proof the driver’s liability.
Driving under the influence or while fatigued
Commercial truck drivers are often under lots of pressure. They have a lot of ground to cover in a day so they can deliver their cargo on time. Many get behind the wheel even though they haven’t slept much or they drank alcohol. They may fall asleep behind the wheel or attempt dangerous maneuvers which lead to serious accidents.
Improperly maintained trucks
Commercial trucks carry heavy cargo over thousands of miles each week. They need more maintenance than a passenger sedan or an SUV, but they don’t always receive it. When they don’t get the care they need, critical components can fail. Your attorney will be able to draw on technical experts to prove that the vehicle was not safe due to improper maintenance.
Improperly loaded trucks
Sometimes trucks are overloaded, or the weight isn’t evenly distributed. The cargo may also be improperly secured, affecting the stability of the load and the truck’s performance. When a truck is carrying a very heavy load, it needs a longer distance to stop safely. When a load isn’t adequately secured, the cargo may tilt and throw the truck off-balance. The driver may lose the ability to control the vehicle.
Why You Should Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Regardless of what you believe to be the reason for your accident, you need to get an attorney on the case as soon as you can. If your injuries are serious, you’ll want to get started on the claims process immediately. While Florida’s statute of limitations allows four years for filing personal injury lawsuits, you will need to deal with your insurance claim much sooner. If settlement negotiations fail, you will have to go to court to seek compensation.
As noted previously, truck accidents can lead to serious injuries and lots of property damage. It will take time, effort and, possibly expert opinion to quantify these. This means even the best truck accident attorney will need time to build the case. While settling an accident claim out of court is less time-consuming than a trial, much of the research is the same. The claimant still needs to bring evidence to show the defendant was at fault. They still need to bring proof to support each claim for damages.
You should bear in mind that it becomes harder to locate evidence as time passes. Witnesses move away, change their contact numbers or forget what happened. Video recordings get deleted and of course, the accident scene can change. To ensure your case is as strong as possible, you need to have an attorney on board immediately.
Let’s look at some of the key benefits of working with an attorney.
You get expert advice and guidance.
Accident victims are usually left confused, angry, and in pain. This leads them to make mistakes which can be detrimental to their case. Some leave the scene, refuse medical attention or even apologize when they were not at fault. They may also speak to insurance adjusters who convince them to accept low settlements.
A truck accident lawyer will advise their client against all these actions. They will tell them what to expect, who to speak to, and what to say. They will also review all settlement offers and advise them as to whether they are adequate. If you want to ensure your rights are protected, you need an attorney.
You benefit from the knowledge of Florida’s laws.
If you’re like most accident victims, you don’t have much knowledge of your rights under the law. What you know may be gleaned from social media or anecdotal accounts. Truck accident lawyers know the procedures you need to follow. They know the law and how it should be applied. You’ll be no match for the insurance company’s attorneys on your own.
Your percentage of fault may be reduced.
Attorneys in Florida are very familiar with the contributory negligence standard. It is based on the assumption that everyone in an accident may have contributed to it. They are therefore liable for damages according to the percentage of fault attributed to them. This means that if you are deemed 40 percent at-fault, your damages will be reduced by 40 percent. The defendant will try to blame you by at least 50 percent so they don’t have to pay anything at all. Your attorney will have to work to diminish your responsibility and prove the defendant was really and truly at fault. This is necessary to get you fair compensation.
You will benefit from a much smoother claims process.
Victims who seek compensation without representation have to do everything on their own. That’s why it is highly recommended that you get an attorney for serious cases. The attorney has access to investigators and experts who can help to build a strong case. They know how to estimate losses, negotiate with insurance companies and file all the necessary forms. This is very hard to do if you’re recovering from an injury. It is better to hand all this over to an attorney and let them keep you updated on the progress.
Information You Should Try to Gather for Your Truck Accident Lawyer
Even though your attorney has the skills to fight on your behalf, there are things you can do to make their job easier. Many of these apply to the moments following the accident when the attorney is not on the scene. If you are seriously injured, you won’t be able to do anything. However, if you are conscious and able to help, there’s some information you should collect. Having certain details can help to make your case go more smoothly.
Try to gather:
- The full name of the driver
- Their vehicle registration number
- The name of the trucking company
- The contact details of eyewitnesses
You should also try to take pictures of the accident scene, your injuries, and the road conditions at the time. Be sure to capture as many angles as possible. If you can’t do this, you can ask someone to do it for you. It is important to get these images before the scene is cleared and damage is repaired. As time passes, your memory will become unclear even if you think the crash is burned into your brain. Photographs mean you will have evidence for settlement negotiations and court appearances.
You should also ensure you keep any documentation relating to your medical condition. This includes medication packets and bottles, receipts, and copies of test results.
Another Way Victims Can Help Truck Accident Attorneys
It is natural that you will want to talk about the accident or share your pain on social media. After all, you’ve been through a traumatic experience and you’ll want to seek comfort and empathy. However, you need to be discreet. Some of the things you say can be used against you, so it is best to be very careful about your comments. This is especially important if you had any role to play in the crash. Remember that even if you share something “privately”, someone can take a screenshot and pass it on to others. Seek the guidance of your attorney on what you should say and who you should speak to, then be sure to follow their advice.
In most instances, your truck accident attorney will speak on your behalf. They will caution you against speaking to the defendant or their insurance company even if they reach out to you. They will also prepare you for speaking to the police. Some of the comments which will come naturally can be deemed an admission of fault. Keep your statements to a minimum and let your attorney handle all the communication.
Potential Defendants A Port St Lucie Truck Accident Lawyer Will Consider for Your Claim
In most cases involving auto accidents, the defendant is the driver or their insurance provider. However, this isn’t always the case especially in crashes involving commercial vehicles. A Port St Lucie, FL truck accident lawyer may recommend pursuing:
The truck driver
If the driver’s negligence caused the accident, you may be advised to pursue them or their insurance company for compensation. If the driver ran a red light, was speeding, or failed to yield right of way, they are most likely at fault. If they are insured, you will likely seek damages from their insurer. However, if their insurance lapsed or their license was suspended, that’s a different matter. Drivers who are not in good standing can be pursued personally. If your injuries are serious, you should know that it is unlikely they will be able to pay up.
The trucking company
There are times when your attorney will suggest pursuing the driver’s employer instead of, or in addition to, the driver. Since there is a shortage of qualified, experienced truckers, some companies hire inexperienced drivers. Given the demands of the job, they also fail to maintain and repair the trucks adequately. Your attorney will have to do a lot of investigation and research before determining whether the company needs to be held responsible.
Sometimes crashes occur and it is not the fault of the driver or their employer. The truck may have defective parts or the parts may not have been properly installed. Even a road maintenance firm could be at fault if a hazard was left unfixed or there was no warning sign. Maybe the person who loaded the truck did so improperly or failed to secure the cargo. Any number of factors could be responsible. You will need an experienced attorney to prove that a third party was at fault for the accident.
Even though the truck driver crashed into you, they may also have been a victim. Maybe they swerved to avoid another driver who was breaking traffic laws or the driver lost control after someone hit the truck. A situation like this can be very complicated and the case is best left to an experienced attorney.
Get Help from a Port St Lucie Truck Accident Attorney Today!
Were you injured in a truck accident? If you want to learn about your rights and the options available to you, contact the lawyers at the Gonzalez Levenson law firm. We offer a free initial consultation to help you decide on the steps you should take. All you need to do is call our office at (800) 800-6500 and we will give you the advice you need. If you choose to hire us, we will negotiate on your behalf to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. We will help you move on with your life.