Tampa Truck Accident Lawyer
Pursuing an 18-wheeler accident injury claim can be intimidating, but if you have a truck accident attorney in Tampa representing your case, you’ll have the confidence you need to win in court.
There are few, if any, types of motor vehicles that can come into contact with a tractor-trailer and remain unscathed. They don’t call them big rigs for nothing.
Those who are involved in a collision with a truck can expect to suffer catastrophic injuries that can completely change the path of their life. Apart from dealing with the physical injuries, your financial and emotional state are also sure to be negatively impacted by such a serious auto accident.
When you have collided with a tractor-trailer and are unsure about what your next steps should be, get in touch with a Tampa truck accident lawyer at Anderson & Anderson. Your board-certified personal injury attorney has the expertise you need when working to secure a full compensation package from the culpable party so that you can begin to rebuild your life after the trucking crash.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates and enforces the laws that govern commercial trucking. This includes weight capacity, rules for carrying passengers and cargo, and specific regulations in place in regard to truck drivers.
It should go without saying that truckers should abstain from alcohol and drugs, particularly when they are driving, as well as stay off the roads if they are too tired to be driving. The FMCSA even regulates the number of hours that a trucker can work in one shift (fourteen hours) and the amount of time they need to have off between shifts (ten hours or as long as thirty-four hours).
These regulations will come into play as we learn more about who is liable for the cause of your accident and resulting injuries, as there are many individuals and entities that may have played a part in the big rig collision.
What Causes Trucking Wrecks?
There are countless factors that can contribute to the cause of a motor vehicle accident. Some of them are out of anyone’s control such as inclement weather and environmental factors like wild animals, but others could be prevented, and these types of accidents are the ones worth pursuing with the insurance company or in court.
The first party to be examined for liability is always going to be the driver of the semi-truck. There are several different ways truckers can be negligent in the operation of their big rig including:
- Driving Under the Influence – This occurs when a truck driver has taken illegal drugs or consumed alcohol that raises their blood alcohol levels above the legal limit of 0.08.
- Drowsy Driving – It is not uncommon for truckers in particular to be overworked and be too tired to safely operate their tractor-trailer.
- Driving Aggressively – Speeding, following too closely, changing lanes without using a turn signal, and failing to stop at traffic lights are all examples of aggressive driving practices.
- Distracted Driving – If a trucker’s attention is taken away from their driving at any point, they are guilty of distracted driving. Examples of possible distractions could include texting while driving, fiddling with a GPS, or even the presence of a passenger.
This isn’t to say that truck drivers are the only party that may be at fault. Continue reading to learn more about other individuals and entities that could be to blame for the injuries you sustained.
Culpability for Your Losses
It’s easy to place blame on the truck driver, but the truth is that there are many parties that participate in the maintenance, safety, loading, and operation of a commercial truck. Truck owners and the truck driver’s employer could be liable if the trucker was overscheduled, thereby violating FMCSA regulations, and was therefore driving while fatigued. Other parties might consist of:
- Safety inspectors
- Cargo loaders
- Vehicle parts manufacturers
- Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)
- Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV)
It is also possible that multiple parties acted in negligence. If this is the case in your Tampa trucking wreck, you can be sure that your attorney will bring claims against every liable person or party in order to maximize the compensation you’ll be awarded.
Common Big Rig Collision Injuries
We previously mentioned that injuries occurring in trucking accidents are often catastrophic. In a truck accident claim, the greater the impact your injuries have had on your life, the more you stand to be awarded in your claim. Some of the different injuries our clients have been subjected to after colliding with a commercial truck include:
- Broken bones
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Spinal damage
- Loss of limb
- Spinal damage
- Third-degree burns
- Back injuries
Injuries of this nature are tough on the human body, and many injury victims find that they are unable to continue working until they fully recover, while others may never regain full functionality despite undergoing thorough physical and occupational rehabilitation.
You don’t have to wait until you’re drowning in debt and barely surviving to get help. A truck accident attorney in Tampa can make all the difference in the success of your case.
Seek Maximum Repayment from the Liable Party
Every truck accident will cause varying losses on a case-by-case basis, but the majority of injury victims will endure similar kinds of damages. These losses are often categorized as being economic or non-economic. Examine the table below to learn more about which personal injury losses fall into each category.
|Economic Damages (Financial)||Non-Economic Damages (Personal)|
|Vehicle replacement or repairs||Loss of enjoyment of life|
|Loss of income||Pain and suffering|
|Full coverage of healthcare-related costs||Disfigurement and/or scarring|
|Loss of future earnings||Emotional distress|
|Other property damages||Inconvenience|
|Lost retirement savings contributions||Loss of consortium|
|Increased auto insurance premiums||Reputational damage|
|Money struggles when living expenses go unpaid||Loss of household services|
There is also a possibility that your award could be increased by the issuance of punitive damages in your case. The judge will make a determination as to whether punitive damages are applicable based on if the actions of the liable party were particularly unscrupulous, egregious, or willfully harmful.
If the judge decides to award you punitive damages, it will not be done specifically to increase your award; rather it is the court’s way of punishing the defendant and hopefully preventing similar instances from occurring in the future.
Tampa Truck Accident FAQ
Most truck accident survivors have never been through such an experience before. This means that they have no idea what to expect or how to maximize their settlement offer. Your attorney will have the information you need to move forward with your Tampa injury case, and we have provided answers to our most frequently asked questions below so you can begin educating yourself about what’s to come.
Is there a deadline for filing my personal injury claim in Florida?
Yes, there is. You will have just four years from the date that the tractor-trailer collision occurred to file your claim within the Florida court system. This is a critical date for your case, as those who fail to file their claims before the statute of limitations expires will have their claims dismissed in court and will have lost the opportunity to obtain the compensation that is rightfully theirs.
What is shared fault, and how could it impact my award?
Shared fault, also known as comparative fault, is a law that the defense typically uses to reduce the amount they’ll be ordered to pay you. This is done when the big rig crash survivor may have done something that contributed to the cause of the accident. If you are partially at fault for your accident, you won’t lose your chance at pursuing a claim, but your award will be lessened by your percentage of culpability.
Do I need to give the insurance company a statement?
No, and we do not recommend that you do make a statement to the insurance company. When you are dealing with the insurance company of the liable party, you should never expect the insurer to be on your side. Often their only interest is protecting their profits, and typically the adjuster’s goal is to minimize the amount they’ll have to pay out in your auto accident settlement.
Part of these tactics include manipulating the words in statements given to them by well-intending injury victims, which is why you should let your attorney formulate and deliver your statement should it become necessary.
Work with a Seasoned Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney in Tampa
Collisions involving 18-wheelers are known for causing destruction, and if you’ve been a victim of a trucking accident in Tampa, you have the right to seek full compensation for the suffering you’ve endured due to someone else’s negligent actions.
You can consult with a Tampa truck accident lawyer at Anderson & Anderson for all the legal help you need. Schedule your free claim evaluation today by filling out the quick contact form below or calling our firm directly at 813-251-0072.
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