What to Do After a Truck Accident in Florida
Florida is one of the nation’s top importers and exporters and one of the top travel destinations. These factors mean there’s a higher amount of truck traffic than in other states. While this is good for the economy, an unfortunate side effect is that truck accidents happen more often in Florida than in other places.
If you or someone close to you has been involved in a truck accident, please contact us now for a free consultation.
Truck Driver Accident Procedures: What to Do After You’ve Been in a Truck Accident
Legally, trucks have different rules than motor vehicles. Because of these more rigid standards, truckers and trucking companies carry a higher burden of responsibility.
First, truckers must comply with FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) regulations when involved in accidents. Also, the legal limit for a fully loaded 18-wheeler is about 80,000 pounds, whereas a typical motor vehicle weighs about 5000 pounds. That’s over fifteen times the weight. This significant weight difference often causes catastrophic accidents that can produce debilitating injury and sometimes fatalities.
If you are involved in a Florida truck accident, here are some best practices to follow:
Contact Law Enforcement
You must contact the police as soon as you can. A police officer will be able to conduct an official investigation. Once on the scene, they can assess the evidence, and create a detailed report about the conditions of the accident. This report will include and who or what caused it. After they have completed their investigation, ask the officer how to get a copy of the report. Your insurance company will want a copy of it.
According to Florida law, law enforcement must prepare reports for any crash involving a commercial motor vehicle or any collision, which results in death, injuries, or inoperable vehicles. The law requires drivers to register a completed written report for any crash involving property damage to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Get Prompt Medical Attention
It is important that you seek medical attention. Call 911 immediately and take an ambulance to the hospital. After a serious truck accident, it is essential to seek a doctor’s consultation. Getting an evaluation after a crash will help ensure you’re not hurt. Although you may feel fine immediately, do not assume you are not injured. Many people do not experience the full range of their injuries until days after an accident. Get a qualified medical professional to evaluate the extent of your condition.
Document The Accident scene and Photograph Everything
If you are not in severe physical condition, take pictures of the scene. After contacting law enforcement, start documenting the scene. If you have a camera phone, use it to log everything that happened. Including:
- All possible causes to the crash
- Crash debris
- Damage to all vehicles involved in the crash
- Road layout
- Traffic patterns
- Weather conditions
Take photos from multiple angles and distances. These will be useful when you file your insurance claim.
Collect Contact Information From The Other Driver and Eyewitnesses
An accident requires at least two parties. Get contact information from everyone in the accident, including any eyewitnesses. These people can help you during your insurance claim or serve as witnesses during a possible personal injury lawsuit. Ask everyone involved (including police officers and witnesses) for their full names, phone numbers, license plate numbers, and addresses. After a truck accident, it is essential to get:
- Contact information and name of truck driver
- Driver’s insurance carrier
- The United States Department of Transportation serial number (if available)
- Truck driver’s licenses number
- Trucking Company insurance carrier
- If available, ask for Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) information.
- Information about the trucking company that employs the driver or owns the commercial truck
Contact Your Insurance Company
It’s important to contact your insurance company after an accident. It’s also important to remember that an insurance provider is never your friend. It does not matter if it is your company or the other party’s insurance carrier. When you report a truck crash, an insurance company is going to look out for their bottom line. That means they will offer you the lowest payout possible and will not want to offer you a major settlement. A Florida truck accident attorney will be able to help you navigate, providing information to insurance and all invested parties in a crash.
Florida is a no-fault state. In a no-fault state, drivers have insurance to cover their losses. This insurance only covers your damage and injuries. This law means it is your responsibility to seek out the insurance company. Insurance companies try to settle quickly, and at the lowest cost to them. Don’t sign any paperwork before having an attorney review it.
Never Admit Fault
Never admit fault or speculate on liable parties. Trucking accidents involve many parties. While the truck driver is a potentially responsible party, the trucking company, the carrier, and the broker or shipper who hired the carrier may also share liability.
Contact A Truck Accident Attorney
It is always a smart decision to seek out a qualified Florida truck accident attorney for advice on how to handle communications with all parties. They will be able to guide you through the process and provide sound advice.
After a truck accident, it is not uncommon for a motor carrier’s insurance to issue a settlement up to or beyond $1 million. When you hire a trucking attorney, you are hiring someone who understands the complex trucking industry networks. A qualified trucking lawyer will be able to schedule a vehicle inspection. They will be able to download the black box of the truck and look for possible crash causes. If they can access this data, it may be possible to recreate the collision using 3D technology. All of these assets can strengthen your case.
Fighting for justice requires, among other factors, accurately seeking out all liable parties. A less experienced lawyer who doesn’t specialize in trucking accidents may advise their client to accept a lackluster offer.
If You’ve Been Involved in an Accident with a Tractor Trailer in Florida, Contact Us for a Free Consultation.
After being involved in a trucking accident, it’s important to remember these key steps:
- Seek immediate medical attention by calling 911.
- If you have minor injuries, report the accident to the police. A police officer can conduct a thorough investigation and create an accident report establishing fault.
- Collect everyone’s insurance information. Take photos of the accident site. Under no circumstances should you admit any fault. Doing so can limit your future compensation.
- Truck accidents are much more complicated than automobile accidents. Trucks have stricter regulations and more complex liability. Contacting a lawyer who understands the industry can improve your chances for a potentially higher settlement amount. Get a full investigation into your case by hiring a qualified lawyer.
Have you been in a truck accident on Florida roadways? Call us Farah & Farah to talk to a specialist about your case options. We can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.