What Happens When a Truck Driver Has an Accident in Florida?
Getting into a car accident presents a challenging experience—you need to deal with fixing vehicle damage and handling personal injury issues that may arise. When you add in the additional size of a truck, things can get even more complicated due to the size of the vehicle involved.
That’s why understanding what happens after a truck driver accident is essential. You must understand what happens after a truck accident and the legal issues for determining liability and damages.
This guide will cover the details of what happens when a truck driver has an accident in Florida. Read on to learn more.
Proving Liability for a Truck Accident in Florida
To get compensation for a truck accident from the insurance company, you must be able to prove the truck driver or trucking company involved was responsible for the truck accident.
For the truck driver, it is essential to demonstrate their error on the road. Due to the substantial size of trucks, drivers are required to adhere to stringent driving regulations, including compliance with traffic laws, proper cargo securing, vigilant monitoring of blind spots, avoidance of driving while fatigued, and adherence to various other safety protocols. You’ll need to understand the role of negligence in a semi-truck accident and prove it for your personal injury claim.
However, the driver may not be the responsible party if their vehicle was the cause of the accident. In such cases, the trucking company may maintain its own fleet and uphold truck driver regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). If the trucking company fails to conduct safety checks and enforce safety standards, it may hold liability for the accident.
The Consequences of a Trucking Accident
Getting into a truck accident can have serious consequences. Semi-trucks and tractor-trailers are larger vehicles, so they can cause much more damage than smaller automobiles.
Here are some of the issues you may see when getting into a truck crash:
- Property damage: Commercial vehicles are large and often don’t receive the brunt of the damage—leading small passenger vehicles to see large repair bills and totaled vehicles.
- Serious injury: Because of the crash’s added severity, commercial truck accident victims often see more serious injuries and will spend more time receiving medical treatment.
- Wrongful death: In the worst-case scenario, fatalities are a more common issue with commercial vehicle accidents.
- Financial damage: Because of the added severity of commercial crashes, truck accident victims may suffer more financial hardship from property damage and medical bills.
Under Florida Statute 316.066, it’s a requirement for all crashes involving a commercial vehicle to have a police report filed—regardless of whether or not an injury or property damage occurred. If you get into a commercial truck accident in Florida, it’s a requirement to stick around for law enforcement to arrive to file a report.
Conducting a Truck Accident Investigation
Conducting a truck accident investigation is vital to ensuring you get financial compensation from your insurance claim. Here are the steps to take to handle this task.
Evidence from the scene of the accident is one of the most important things to document during this process. It can provide the most insight into who caused the crash and should hold liability for what happened.
There are many things to document for a crash report:
- Personal details from every party involved in the crash
- Pictures of vehicle damage
- License plate information from involved vehicles
- Insurance details from other drivers
- Company information from the commercial driver
Collect Evidence: Black Box Data, Dashcam Footage & Traffic Camera Footage
A commercial vehicle may have much more information than a regular passenger car. Trucking companies install dashcams, black box recorders, and other data collection devices to monitor the status of their fleet.
You can have your truck accident attorney subpoena the black box data from the commercial truck involved—giving you access to the truck speed, GPS, equipment information, braking details, and much more.
If there is dashcam footage from any other vehicles, try to gain access to any video you can. This footage also includes video from your dash cam or other witnesses.
Witnesses & Crash Reconstruction
You may not be able to get the full picture of a truck accident on your own. You have a limited viewpoint—and if you suffered from an injury, you may have problems remembering all the details.
Witnesses play an important role in filling in those gaps. They see the crash from a different vantage point, which means they may see more details about who is at fault in the accident.
A crash reconstruction is another step to take during a big rig truck accident case. If there are missing pieces that neither you, the truck driver, or witnesses can fill in, a reconstruction can help analyze the crash scene to get a more accurate picture of what happened.
Overview of Florida Truck Accident Laws
Unlike other states, Florida operates under the no-fault accident model. You file your truck accident claim with your own insurance company for damages.
However, this doesn’t apply once the damage reaches a certain threshold. Given the seriousness of truck accidents, you may get full compensation by filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.
There are also truck accident laws that limit the time in which you can do this. The statute of limitations for accidents in Florida is four years. If it’s a wrongful death case, that limit drops to two years.
Still Unsure What Happens When a Truck Driver Has an Accident in Florida?
Trucking accidents are a challenging experience to work through. You may be facing serious medical expenses and other damages—which makes the insurance claim process even more important to get right.
If you’re unsure what to do during this process, hiring a Florida truck accident lawyer is your best option. Experienced lawyers understand how to navigate commercial truck accidents and present your claim in the best way possible to get results. They will also help you handle the investigation to ensure you can prove that the other driver was at fault.
If you’re ready for a free consultation to learn how an experienced attorney can help, request a free consultation from Burnett Law to get started.