Truck Accident Lawyer Serving Fort Pierce
Often known as Sunrise City, Fort Pierce is the heart and soul of St. Lucie County. Starting out with a few hundred residents over a century ago, the city now has a population of over 46,000 people. With plenty of museums, beaches, and other leisure activities, the city sees plenty of local and tourist traffic on a daily basis.
Apart from this, the city sees plenty of commercial traffic in the form of commercial trucks and vehicles on its main road. While this is a sign of a flourishing city, increased commercial traffic also raises the chances of road accidents. In 2017, according to the US FMCSA, there were 450,000 reported crashes involving trucks, of which, over 4,000 were fatal. Truck accidents can be responsible for injuries and property damage, and in severe cases, loss of life. By filing a claim for these damages, you can obtain compensation for your losses. Contact Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers for advice and guidance as to your legal options.Fort Pierce: Different Types of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can involve a range of different vehicles. These include:Commercial Trucks
Trucks need to meet certain criteria to be classified as commercial. These are:
- Falling into the weight category of 26,000 pounds or greater
- Being leased or owned by a company, etc.
- Being used to transport different cargo items, including any hazardous items.
Semi-trucks are popular in commercial and corporate use. They are particularly common because of the ease with which cargo can be loaded onto them- it can be loaded from the side, back, and top. The cargo area has a tent-like cover that can be moved around conveniently. They can hold a solid amount of cargo.Tractor Trailer Trucks
These are also common for corporate use because of the convenience of loading/unloading cargo. Their exterior is quite sturdy and solid and protects the cargo inside from the elements. They are also very spacious.Company or Rented Trucks
Commercial trucks come under the category of those that are owned by the organization or leased by a trucking company. Other trucks are rented to corporations through private owners. Determining who owns the truck is key when pursuing a claim for damages.Moving Trucks
Moving trucks are used for the transport of large cargo like furniture and such for private homeowners, companies, and other property owners who are in the middle of a move.Work Trucks
Similar to commercial trucks, work trucks must also meet certain criteria, including:
- Falling in the weight category of 8,500-10,000 pounds.
- Do not facilitate the transport of people.
Truck accidents occur in different ways due to different reasons, such as:1. Driving for too long without taking a break
Truck drivers are required to have at least an 8-hour break between consecutive journeys. During these breaks, it is ideal for them to find a comfortable, cool spot to rest in and to catch up on their sleep. If this does not happen, truck drivers may find themselves feeling drowsy or exhausted as they drive, which can end up in a fatal auto accident.2. Failure to monitor the driving hours of the truck driver
Cargo carrying drivers are legally allowed to drive for a maximum of 14 hours in a single shift. Drivers who drive for extremely long hours without proper breaks in between may experience exhaustion that can take a toll on their ability to see other vehicles or pedestrians in their way before it's too late.3. Not keep the tractor and/or trailer in a safe, working condition
Trucks need to be serviced regularly, in some cases, before the start of each new journey. Even minor faults like a cracked windscreen on a car can have dire consequences with a vehicle as massive as a truck.4. Overloading trucks
Trucks are designed to hold a different amount of weight. If the safe weight limit is exceeded, an overloaded truck may roll over on its journey, causing a fatal road accident. Apart from this, a truck may also be labeled incorrectly, and if it contains hazardous cargo, the outcome of an accident will be even worse.5. Hiring an unqualified or unfit truck driver
Truck drivers need to have a commercial driving license in order to operate a truck or other commercial vehicle. Some companies do not place this requirement when hiring truck drivers- these drivers will not be able to find the fastest truck routes and may be unable to manage their vehicle in rough weather, uneven roads, and so on.6. Failure to see other vehicles due to the truck's large blind spot
Truck drivers are seated at a height from which they may fail to notice cars, motorcycles, or other relatively small vehicles that are behind or next to them. If they are tailgating a vehicle or fail to notice it entirely, a lane change, intersection, or red traffic light can lead to a sudden halt and a road accident.7. Failing to obey traffic laws
For truck drivers, traffic laws include everything from the number of hours of continuous driving to having a commercial driver's license and more. Failure to obey traffic regulations on the part of a truck driver or of other vehicles on the road may lead to life-threatening consequences.8. Operating oversized trucks on narrow roads
Truck drivers must generally abide by the truck routes legally laid out. For areas where there aren't any separate routes, they need to select roads that are wide enough for commercial vehicles. Looking for shortcuts or navigating on narrow roads may lead to road accidents.
Determining Fault in a Fort Pierce Truck Accident
Those injured in a truck accident can try to hold truck drivers/others who may have been responsible for a number of issues, such as:
- Driving an overloaded truck or an incorrectly labeled one that actually contains hazardous materials.
- Driving for more than the designated 11-14 hours or not having sufficient resting periods.
- Being distracted on the road, for instance, feeling drowsy, calling, talking to others in the truck, etc.
- Not being in their complete senses- such drivers will need to be tested for their Blood Alcohol Consumption and must also undergo drug testing.
- Truck drivers who failed to follow the set speed limit.
- Companies that allowed truck drivers to drive a vehicle that was damaged or in need of servicing.
- A trucking company that hired unqualified drivers.
- A repairman who was responsible for a fault in the truck that caused the accident.
- A company that failed to train truck drivers before their job started, etc.
The doctrine shown in this video signifies that the employer/organization will only be liable for their workers' actions as long as those actions/tasks were within their job designation. This means that if you were in a truck accident, then the corporation that owned the truck or the trucking company it was rented from will most likely be liable for the damages incurred. This could potentially equate to a higher settlement, but it can make a case more complicated since your opponent will already be geared to deal with such lawsuits.
On many occasions, the accident may not be the fault of the truck driver but of the truck manufacturer, maintenance company, parts supplier, or even the tire supplier. You may need the assistance of an experienced lawyer to help you analyze your case and determine which of the parties may be held liable for your injuries/damages.
Auto accidents can be quite complex cases, and on many occasions, the accident may not be the fault of one but multiple parties. In some cases, it may partly even be your fault. While this won't keep you from claiming for damages, it does bring the concept of comparative negligence into play.Types of Injuries Sustained in a Truck Crash
Truck accidents can be extremely dangerous and may cause severe injuries, including loss of life.1. Traumatic Brain Injuries
The force of the accident can lead to traumatic brain injuries where the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain may be cut off, etc. This may cause a stroke, paralysis, loss of senses, and so on. In some cases, the victims may never recover, while in others, they may only make a partial recovery.2. Concussions
Concussions are a common side effect of almost any type of road accident. Their severity ranges from slight dizziness after the accident occurs to symptoms like blurred vision, bleeding from the ears or nose, nausea, etc. If these symptoms occur some time after the accident, it is vital to see a doctor immediately.3. Broken or Fractured Bones
Another common injury in auto accidents is fractured bones. If any motorcyclists were involved in an accident with a truck, the weight of their own vehicle may crush their knees. Victims may also fracture the bones in their arms, legs, hips, and so on. This will require surgery and, in some cases, bone grafting for completely broken bones.4. Dislocated / Injuries to the knee, shoulder, or hip
The joints are among the first parts of the body to get injured in an accident. If a joint is dislocated, such as the knee or the elbow, it needs immediate surgery to prevent lifetime disfigurement.5. Nerve Damage
The nerves are one of the most sensitive parts of the body. The shock of the accident can jolt your nerves, which can cause twitching, dizziness, and even paralysis, which may be temporary or permanent.6. Whiplash
Again, caused by the sudden jolt in an accident, whiplash occurs in the neck and may range from slight throbbing pain to blurred vision, memory loss, neck pain and more.7. Internal Bleeding
Internal bleeding may occur in the kidneys, spleen, and other parts of the body. In some cases, the internal injuries may not show up immediately and may show symptoms after a few hours or days, which can be fatal and may even lead to loss of life.8. Injuries to the Spine
Like the nerves, the spinal cord is also extremely sensitive. If it gets affected in a truck accident, it can lead to paralysis. In some cases, when the victim is able to recover, the process will be long and very costly.9. Back and Neck Injuries
The back and neck have particularly small bones that can easily be damaged in an accident. They are likely to be the cause of whiplash. If the symptoms of back and neck injuries persist, you may need prolonged physical therapy.10. Cuts and Bruises
Cuts and bruises are the signature mark left behind on those impacted in a truck accident. Some of these cuts may go deep enough to cause loss of blood or permanent scarring. The heat of the accident may cause burn marks as well. Many of these surface injuries may leave behind permanent cuts and scars.What Damages Can I Pursue After a Truck Accident?
You can potentially claim for the following damages if you sustain injuries or property damage in a truck accident:Medical Bills and related expenses
Medical expenses raised due to injuries sustained in a truck accident can be pursued. These include:
- Emergency care including transport, hospitalization, surgery, and tests
- Post emergency care, including room provision, tests like X-rays, etc.
- Physical and mental therapeutic treatment
- Medication prescriptions
- Ongoing future treatment.
Loss of wages includes the following:
- Not being able to earn while you are under treatment and in recovery
- Losing your earning potential partially or completely due to brain damage, loss of limbs, or other physical or mental ailments
- Losing your current job due to the accident and not being able to find employment that provides wages equal to your previous earnings.
The trauma of the accident itself, the physical injuries sustained, and the financial burden on the victim can affect their mental and emotional state and reduce their quality of life. This may show in the form of problems like severe stress, anxiety, and ongoing signs of trauma. In some cases, injuries like paralysis can become lifelong forms of suffering for victims.Repair or replacement of your vehicle
Apart from or along with the physical damage sustained, truck accidents may completely wreck your vehicle. In court, you can make a claim for complete replacement or repairs after consulting with your attorney on which one is the better option.Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium refers to the loss of love and belonging in a relationship. A victim in a truck accident or a spouse can file a claim for damages if their relationship is affected due to the accident. If the victim dies, it will become a wrongful death suit that can be filed by a family member such as a spouse, a parent, or the child of the victim.What to Do After a Truck Accident Scene of the Crash
If you have been in a crash involving a truck, it is important to remain at the scene of the accident. Call 911 to contact the local police. Reach out to the Fort Pierce Police Department to obtain the details and documents to fill out an accident/crash report.
If you were injured in the accident, get yourself checked by the paramedics at the scene. If needed, you may need to be transferred to a hospital for emergency care. Lawnwood Medical Center is open 24/7 for emergency cases like yours. You can also seek an examination from your own qualified medical professional.
Before leaving the scene of the accident, make sure to take lots of photos and videos, including those of the vehicles involved, the condition of the road, any traffic signs and lights nearby, and so on.
If there were any eyewitnesses to the accident, obtain their personal contact information, including a phone number, address, and a statement on what they saw.After the Crash
Once you have been discharged from the hospital, collect all your documents, including the medical bills, discharge papers, emergency care expenses, prescriptions, and so on. Obtain a copy of the filled crash report and the driver's license copy of others involved in the accident.
Speak to a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in dealing with auto accident claims. Our lawyers at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers can help you pursue your claim for personal and property damage.
If you are contacted by the insurance company on behalf of the party at fault, do not give them a recorded statement without communicating with your attorney first.
Statutes of Limitations in Florida Truck Accidents
The Florida Statute of Limitations determines how much time you have to file a lawsuit for damages after your truck accident:
- The victim has 4 years after the accident to file for claims if they sustained injuries and/or property damage
- If a victim loses their life due to the accident, their family can file for claims within 2 years of the accident (or 2 years of death if this occurs later).
While many of those people affected in a truck accident feel that they can file for claims on their own and get a settlement they'll be happy with, this may not always be the case. Hiring an attorney before starting the process can be helpful is key in areas like:
- Gathering sufficient evidence- this includes dealing with witnesses, accessing footage of nearby security cameras, collecting documents such as medical records and bills and so on.
- Determining who is the liable party for the accident, handling all communications and negotiations with the at-fault party's insurance company.
- Dealing with complicated situations- from hit-and-runs where it's difficult to track down the party at fault to figuring out what statutes apply, your lawyer can help walk you through the entire process.
Over the years, Florida has seen a rise in truck accidents, especially with the ever-growing population. Truck accidents can cause physical and mental injuries as well as property damage, and in fatal crashes, loss of life. Whether you or your loved ones have been hurt by the actions of a reckless driver, trucks not complying with road regulations, and so on, it is important to speak to an experienced truck accident lawyer.
Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers are ready to handle your personal injury case, including auto accidents. With over 40 years of legal experience and millions of dollars recovered in verdicts and settlements, our attorneys will help you through the entire process, from gathering evidence and documents to filing the case against the at-fault party and fighting for the compensation you deserve.