Truck Accident Injury Claims in Tampa - Paul Knopf Bigger
A truck accident can inflict catastrophic, life-altering injuries on crash victims. When a collision occurs due to a negligent truck driver or trucking company, accident victims can pursue compensation through accident injury claims.
The experienced legal team at Paul Knopf Bigger helps those injured in truck accidents take on big trucking companies and insurers to seek maximum compensation. Contact us today for a free initial case evaluation if you’ve been hurt in a Tampa truck accident. We can discuss your legal options for pursuing financial relief and justice.
What Goes into the Truck Accident Claims Process in Florida and Tampa?
A truck accident claim typically leads to either a negotiated settlement or litigation. Although the timeline of a truck accident claims process will vary from case to case, you can generally expect to go through the following steps:
First, your truck accident attorney must investigate the crash to obtain evidence for your case. Your lawyer can secure critical evidence such as truck driver logs, maintenance records, surveillance/traffic camera footage, and police accident reports.
You must keep records to document the injuries and losses you incur from the accident. Doing so will help you recover compensation for your ongoing and future losses. Remember to keep copies of all bills, invoices, and receipts of expenses related to the accident. Gather your pay stubs or income statements if you lose wages while healing from your injuries.
Building a Case
Your attorney can review the accident evidence to build a compelling argument proving that the truck driver, trucking company, or other parties caused the accident. Your truck accident lawyer might work with experts in accident reconstruction, engineering, trucking, medicine, and finance to gather reports and testimony explaining how the accident occurred or the compensation you need for ongoing and future losses from your injuries.
Filing Insurance Claims and Demand Letters
Once your attorney has prepared a compelling argument to support your truck accident case, you can file a claim with the truck driver’s or trucking company’s insurer. Alternatively, your attorney may send a demand letter directly to the trucking company. Filing insurance claims or demand letters usually begins the settlement process in a truck accident case.
In your insurance claim or demand letter, you and your attorney may propose a compensation figure to settle the case. While the trucking company or insurer may counteroffer with a lower figure, your truck accident attorney can aggressively negotiate on your behalf to fight for the maximum compensation possible in your truck accident claim.
Filing a Lawsuit
If the trucking company or insurer won’t agree to a fair settlement, you may need to file a truck accident lawsuit to pursue compensation. A lawsuit will begin by filing a complaint in court and serving a copy of the complaint on the truck driver and trucking company. The opposing party or parties in the case can file a response to your complaint, known as an answer.
Once the parties have filed their pleadings in a truck accident lawsuit, they proceed to discovery. During discovery, the parties exchange documents and information and depose witnesses to narrow down the issues for trial. Evidence uncovered during discovery may lead one or both sides to file motions for summary judgment to eliminate the need for trial.
A truck accident lawsuit will ultimately reach trial if the parties don’t resolve the case through a settlement or court motion. At trial, the parties can present evidence and witnesses and conduct cross-examinations. A jury or judge will evaluate the evidence and issue a verdict in favor of one side.
What Are Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents in Florida and Tampa?
Semi-truck accidents in Florida have various causes. Many accidents occur due to negligence or recklessness by a truck driver. Some accidents happen because of the negligence or fault of trucking industry companies, such as motor carriers or shipping companies. Some common causes of big rig accidents in Florida include:
- Reckless driving, such as swerving across traffic
- Tailgating or following too closely
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Disregarding traffic signs, including road restrictions for heavy vehicles
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Failing to use turn signals
- Failing to check mirrors and blind spots before turning, changing lanes, or backing up
- Distracted driving, including using a cell phone, eating, drinking, or talking on the radio
- Drowsy or fatigued driving, including driving beyond hours-of-service limits
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Truck driver inexperience or lack of training
- Unfamiliarity with roads or traffic patterns
- Illegal or unsafe maneuvers
- Inadequate truck or trailer maintenance
- Design or manufacturing defects in the truck or trailer or one of its parts
- Unsafe cargo loads, including excessive load weight, failure to balance the load, or not securing cargo from shifting
What Are Common Injuries in a Truck Accident?
Because of its size and weight, a commercial truck collides with greater force than a passenger vehicle in a wreck. As a result, 18-wheeler accidents tend to cause more severe injuries. Examples of injuries caused by commercial truck accidents include:
- Lacerations, abrasions, and permanent scarring
- Degloving injuries
- Burn injuries
- Crush injuries
- Dislocated joints
- Ligament sprains and tears
- Muscle and tendon strains and tears
- Back and neck injuries, including herniated spinal discs
- Nerve damage
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Internal injuries and bleeding
- Facial injuries or eye trauma
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Traumatic amputation, dismemberment, or limb loss
In addition, if a truck accident in Tampa is fatal, the family of the victim could file a wrongful death lawsuit.
What Compensation Could Be Available for Truck Accident Victims?
If you suffered injuries in a truck crash in Tampa, you could seek compensation for your financial and personal losses. Truck accident compensation can provide you with money for:
- Medical treatment for your injuries
- Home health services
- Lost wages for time away from work
- Lost future earning capacity and benefits
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress or trauma
- Lost quality of life
- Vehicle repairs or replacement
How Is Fault Assigned After a Truck Accident?
A truck accident case begins with identifying which party or parties bear liability for the injuries and losses you suffered. Various parties may be responsible for the crash and resulting damage. Examples of individuals and entities that could be at fault in a truck accident include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The truck’s/trailer’s owner
- The shipping company
- The truck/trailer manufacturer or auto part manufacturers
- Third-party truck mechanics
After a truck accident, insurers, judges, or juries assign fault based on the evidence that shows who or what caused the crash. Some of the evidence that attorneys often use to build solid truck accident claims includes:
- The truck driver’s hours of service logs
- The truck’s event data recorder (“black box”) logs
- The truck’s cargo or load manifest
- The truck driver’s pre-trip inspection reports
- The trucking company’s truck maintenance records
- Post-accident truck inspections
- The truck driver’s post-accident drug and alcohol test results
- Police accident reports
- Accident scene photos and videos
- Surveillance or traffic camera footage
- Dashcam or in-cab camera footage
- Eyewitness testimony
- Accident reconstruction expert reports and testimony
What Should I Do After a Truck Accident?
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, you can take steps to protect your health and preserve your legal options for pursuing compensation. Your priority after a truck accident should be summoning law enforcement to the scene and seeking medical treatment for your injuries. Then, you should do the following:
- Request a copy of the police accident report, which can be helpful evidence in proving fault.
- Get the truck driver’s license number, insurance information, and employer information.
- Follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations and keep all follow-up appointments to improve your prognosis and show that you are taking your health seriously.
- Request copies of medical records of the treatment and rehab you undergo for your injuries.
- Report the accident to your auto insurance company, and remember to file a claim under your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage for reimbursement for your medical expenses and lost wages.
- Keep copies of bills, invoices, and receipts to document your expenses from the accident.
- Gather your pay stubs or income statements if you miss work or have reduced earnings because of your accident injuries.
- Start a diary or journal to document physical pain, emotional distress, and difficulties with daily living you experience due to your injuries or medical treatment.
Finally, contact a Tampa truck accident injury claims lawyer from Paul Knopf Bigger for help pursuing financial relief for your injuries and other crash-related losses.
Contact a Tampa Truck Accident Lawyer Today for Help with Your Claim
If you’ve suffered a truck accident injury in Tampa, you deserve to seek compensation for the losses you’ve incurred. The trusted attorneys at Paul Knopf Bigger can help you pursue financial relief and justice.
Our lawyers have a track record of successfully handling truck accident injury claims throughout Florida. We will aggressively advocate for your rights and negotiate for the money you need. Contact our office today for a free consultation with a Tampa truck accident lawyer, and get started on your claim.