What Types Of Severe Injuries Can Result From Trucking And Commercial Vehicle Accidents?
The injuries resulting from trucking and commercial vehicle accidents are generally more serious than those resulting from the average collision between passenger vehicles. A wide range of injuries can be caused by these accidents, including everything from whiplash to traumatic brain injury, to wrongful death. Many of these injuries involve lifelong consequences, such as limb amputation and paralysis.
What Type Of Evidence Is Helpful In Trucking Accident Cases? How Can I Help My Attorney?
A victim’s memory of the incident as it unfolded is a great source of evidence, but oftentimes the victims are unable to provide this information due to their injury. Fortunately, many of these accidents occur on roadways where there may be several eyewitnesses who can not only provide immediate assistance and call 911 but also provide an account of what occurred.
Semi-trucks, cargo trucks, dump trucks, and other commercial trucks almost always have a black box which contains information about what occurred just prior to the impact. For example, if the driver was speeding or swerving right before the accident, that would be discoverable by obtaining the black box. In addition, evidence of driver distraction just prior to the incident will be sought (e.g. texting or talking on a cell phone). When available, dash cams can be an excellent source of evidence in these cases.
Who Could Be Held Liable For An Accident Involving A Semi-Truck?
Which parties will ultimately be held responsible for an accident involving a semi-truck will depend on the cause of the accident. For example, if the driver of a semi-truck caused an accident while they were texting, then the company that employs them could be held liable; if the driver was an independent contractor, then they might be held personally liable. If the accident was caused by inadequate maintenance on the truck or a faulty repair, then the maintenance company or mechanic could be held liable. When determining liability in a commercial vehicle accident, all parties in the chain of command and the chain of responsibility should be considered.
If The Trucking Company Is From Out Of State, How Will That Impact The Personal Injury Case?
If an out-of-state trucking company is doing business in Florida and has a local business license in Florida, then the personal injury lawsuit could be filed in Florida. If the out-of-state company does not have a local business license in Florida, then diversity jurisdiction might apply, meaning the case would be handled in federal court. Oftentimes, it is possible to bring an action in the county where the accident occurred. Having an out-of-state defendant almost never breaks a case; it just requires a little bit of due diligence at the front end.
What Are Some Of The Biggest Challenges That Your Clients Face When Going Up Against Large Trucking Companies?
One of the biggest challenges is trying to determine which entity can be held liable for the accident, and then contacting their insurance company. At-fault insurance companies never respond to initial contacts, and many smaller “no-name” trucking companies are self-insured, which means they get penalized every time they make an insurance claim. With so much avoidance in these cases, the key is in due diligence and maintaining pressure on the responsible parties to pay the compensation they owe.
Another challenge in these cases is the preservation of evidence. In major accidents, there is usually a large cost associated with obtaining and preserving evidence and having experts review it. There are a lot of moving parts in these cases. While they are in some ways similar to regular auto accident cases, they occur on a larger scale and present obscure, corporate obstacles.
When Someone Dies In A Trucking Accident, Can Their Loved One’s File A Wrongful Death Claim?
The rules with regard to wrongful death suits vary from state to state. In Florida, the personal representative of a decedent’s estate would pursue a wrongful death action on behalf of the estate. The people who would be entitled to that estate and any wrongful death settlement include the surviving spouse, children, and parents. A wrongful death claim boils down to suing for the loss of enjoyment of life with the loved one.
How Is The Potential Need For Future Medical Treatment Factored Into The Determination Of A Settlement Amount?
There should be a basic calculation done to determine what kind of medical treatment will be necessary in the future, and for how long. This will include a consideration of the person’s life expectancy. In addition to medical treatment, the cost of other future needs can be estimated in a life care plan. Essentially, a life care plan includes the schedule of needs for the rest of the person’s life. An economist can evaluate the life care plan to determine the present and future value of the person’s needs, whether those needs have to do with housing, personal care, or therapy. If an injured claimant is set to undergo surgery six months after the injury but is not expected to need lifelong assistance, then it will be a more basic calculation including the expenses leading up to the surgery and shortly following the surgery.
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