Auto Accident Settlement
Truck Accident Lawyer in Okeechobee
Perhaps more so than any other place in the country, Florida is dependent on long-haul trucking. Bringing goods from all over the country, they form the lifeblood of the area’s economy for both locals and tourists. Eighteen wheelers roaring down the highway are common sights in the Okeechobee area, and our economy simply couldn’t do without them.
Unfortunately, big trucks also represent an extra danger for drivers. The average freight hauler is between 70 and 80 feet long and weighs nearly 80,000 pounds, fully loaded. That’s almost 40 times the average automobile! When the two meet at high speeds, the result can often be fatal.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Florida ranks third behind Texas and California in accidents involving big trucks, as a percentage of total automotive fatalities. Even when there are no injuries, each year sees over 30,000 accidents involving 18-wheelers in Florida.
If you’ve been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler in the Okeechobee area and wish to seek compensation, the law offices of Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd are ready to take your case. We have the experience and resources to see your case out to the very end and seek the maximum compensation possible. Call us today at 866-930-6435 or contact us online to schedule a free phone consultation.
Proving Negligence and Duty Of Care
The most important thing in successfully pursuing a truck accident case is proving who was negligent in the accident. This can mean either driver, the party responsible for the truck’s maintenance, or even the local jurisdiction if it was due to road conditions. Identifying the liable party comes down to answering the questions: “Who was negligent? And how did that lead to the accident and injury?”
Like many states, Florida follows a “pure comparative fault” rule, which means even if you’re partly at fault for an accident, you can still receive compensation. You can even still seek recovery for damages if you’re up to 99% at-fault. However, your eventual damages award will be reduced by your contributed percentage of fault, so it’s in your best interest to argue the other party’s (or parties’) fault to the extent possible.
Proving negligence rests on the concept of “duty of care.” This is legally determined by whether the truck driver (or company, maintenance, jurisdiction, etc.) had followed the reasonable amount of care to properly ensure safety for the driver and other automobiles on the road. This means everything from the driver staying alert and driving safely, to the carrier company that owns the rig making sure it’s regularly serviced and properly maintained.
Failing to follow specific rules or expectations of “ordinary care” represents a “breach of duty of care.” Negligence can be shown by proving the offending party failed their due diligence.
Negligence must have also directly caused the injury. In some cases, the defendant can successfully argue that — while the person in question made a mistake or broke a law — this wasn’t the deciding factor that led to the injury.
Finally, to prove negligence you must prove you suffered “real damages,” such as loss of property, medical bills, car repairs, etc.
Proving The Trucker Was At Fault
One way that a truck accident lawyer comes in handy in pursuing compensation from a trucking company or insurance company is that they have the resources to investigate negligence in ways that most people lack. This includes having access to investigators and accident experts, both of whom can gather data about the accident and, if need be, testify about their findings in court.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the most common types of negligence include:
- Defective or poorly maintained tires or brakes
- DUI or drug abuse, either over-the-counter or illegal substances
- Fatigued or overworked drivers, or driving under pressure from the carrier company
- Speeding or distracted driving and reckless driving
- Improperly loaded cargo or failure to follow weight limit requirements from rigs or road structure
Claiming Damages From a Truck Accident In Florida
Florida requires “no-fault” insurance, which means you must file under your own insurance in most accident scenarios. To claim the full value of accident losses from the driver or carrier company, you must have a qualifying “serious injury” and then seek a separate third-party liability claim.
A qualifying serious injury can include:
- Significant and permanent loss of a bodily function
- Permanent injury
- Significant and permanent disfigurement and/or scarring
- Death, for survivors seeking compensation including burial costs, loss of income, and loss of companionship
- Any reasonable and necessary care exceeding the PIP policy limit
You can seek compensation from your insurance company for both “special damages” and “general damages.”
General damages are damages that can’t be easily quantified, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, etc.
Special damages are determined by the specific dollar amount paid out in response to the consequences of the accident. These may include:
- Medical bills, both immediate and those resulting in future doctor visits or physical therapy
- Lost wages, and diminished future earning capacity
- The need to secure domestic services, such as having to hire someone to mow the yard because you’re no longer able to
- Vehicle repairs or replacement, depending on the level of damage
- Other out-of-pocket costs, such as finding alternate means of transportation because of damages to your vehicle
Don’t Wait. Seek the Compensation You Need Now With Help From an Okeechobee Truck Accident Lawyer
Florida law allows you up to four years to seek compensation after a truck accident, but this isn’t something you need to put off. Medical and repair bills pile up quicker than most think, and the stress in dealing with that makes the physical pain all that much more difficult.
We at Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd understand the difficulty people in your position face, and that’s why you need us to help get the compensation you need to get on with your life. With five offices in the Treasure Coast area, we have over 40 years of working for our clients. Every case is important to us, and every client gets our full attention — that’s our promise to you! Don’t put it off, call us today at 866-930-6435 or contact us online to schedule a free phone consultation to discuss your case. The sooner you call, the sooner we can get to work, and the sooner you can move on with your life.
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