Every day, trucks drive materials and supplies to locations throughout the US. They drive the economy, delivering almost anything to where it’s needed. Because there are thousands on the road every day, accidents are bound to happen. Due to the size of tractor-trailers, when accidents do happen, they are more likely to be severe.
For those injured in a trucking accident, receiving compensation is necessary to help financially recover from the injuries and damages. To receive compensation, however, it is often necessary to work with a personal injury lawyer in Pompano Beach, Florida. Doing so makes it easier to navigate the complex legal process for filing a claim and can help increase the potential for the injured person to receive compensation.
How Trucking Accidents Happen
Trucking accidents can happen for many different reasons, but often, it comes down to driver errors. Truck drivers should be more careful when driving due to the size of their vehicle, but they can end up causing an accident if they are speeding, run a stop sign or red light, move out of their lane without properly switching lanes, driving too close to the vehicle in front of them, or failing to judge a turn properly. Accidents can also occur when the driver is too tired to be driving, is distracted or texting, or is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Depending on the truck, it’s also possible for an accident to occur if the load is not properly balanced or secured.
Types of Compensation Available
Drivers and passengers injured in a trucking accident have the opportunity to request compensation for any injuries or damages. The main types of compensation include economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Economic damages are, at the most basic, those that can be calculated through receipts or payment schedules. These will include current medical costs from the accident, future medical costs related to the accident, lost wages or business income, loss of future earnings, and vehicle damages. The loss of future earnings can be calculated based on current earnings and the amount of time it will take to recover or the number of years the person would have worked before retiring. Receipts and medical bills can be used to show the total amount of compensation required to cover economic damages.
Non-economic damages are those that aren’t easily calculated, so the amount received can vary from case to case. These types of compensation include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life. Loss of consortium is compensation for the loss of love and affection after an accident. Loss of enjoyment of life covers the inability of the person to do things they once loved, like hobbies or pastimes. A lawyer can help provide advice on calculating how much compensation to request for non-economic damages.
Punitive damages can be added to the economic and non-economic damages awarded to an injured person after an accident and are intended to punish the liable party for their actions or mistakes. The idea behind this is to make sure they don’t make the same mistake again or to show other truck drivers what could happen if they make the same mistake. It is important to note that there are limits in Florida for punitive damages, and it can be challenging to receive them after an accident.
Depending on the accident, there may be other types of compensation that can be obtained. If someone is killed in the accident, their next of kin can file a claim against the liable party. The next of kin may be able to receive the above types of compensation as well as wrongful death and loss of companionship. Wrongful death provides the opportunity to receive funds to cover income, gifts, and more that would be received from the deceased if they were still alive. Loss of companionship is a non-economic type of compensation intended to cover the loss the family feels when their loved one is killed in an accident.
Who Owes the Compensation?
It seems obvious that the truck driver would be responsible for the accident, but that isn’t always the case. The driver could be responsible if they made mistakes while driving, like an improper lane change, but there are other parties that could be liable, too. The success of a claim depends on requesting compensation from the correct party.
If the driver was forced to drive too many hours in a day, take fewer breaks, or continue driving in weather that can be dangerous, the employer might be partially or fully liable for the accident instead of the driver. They can also be liable if they do not do routine inspections on trucks, don’t follow recommended maintenance schedules, or do not do necessary repairs to keep the trucks in good condition.
If the cargo company loads the truck incorrectly, it could cause an accident, and they could be partially or fully liable for the accident. Improper loading can include a load that’s too heavy, one that’s not balanced, or one that’s not properly secured. If the load is too heavy or unbalanced, it could cause the truck to tip over and crash. If it’s not secured, items could fall off the truck or shift during the drive, causing the load to become unbalanced.
Manufacturer of Vehicle
Trucks that have any defects or mechanical issues because of flaws in the design can cause accidents. If this is the cause of an accident, the manufacturer of the vehicle or of the parts that were defective may be partially or fully liable for the accident.
Limitations for Trucking Accident Recovery
Limitations set on punitive damages aren’t the only types of limitations on trucking accidents in Florida. There are also limits on how long a person has to file a claim against the liable party. The time the accident occurs is the beginning of the statute of limitations. The injured person has four years to file a claim against the liable party in most cases. If someone dies as a result of their injuries, the statute of limitations is only two years. Tolling, or pausing the statute of limitations, is possible in Florida, but there are only limited instances when this can happen, such as if it’s not possible to serve the person because they are out of the state at the time. Tolling is possible in some instances if a minor is injured in the accident.
Filing a claim in time can be difficult because the statute of limitations can be confusing, and there could be multiple that apply to a single case. The key to remember is to talk to a lawyer early and get help preventing missed deadlines. If a deadline is missed, there’s no chance of filing a claim for the accident. Once the deadline has passed, a claim can’t be filed, and the injured person will not receive compensation for their injuries.
Injured parties in a trucking accident may be entitled to compensation for their injuries, but the claims process can be confusing and exhausting. While no outcome can be guaranteed, Frankel Injury Law can provide advice and assistance to avoid some common mistakes when filing a claim and help with negotiations to enable the injured person to receive a larger amount of compensation. Schedule a consultation today with Frankel Injury Law, a Pompano Beach attorney, to learn more about compensation for your truck accident case. Call 954-799-4529 or visit https://frankelinjurylaw.com/