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Find legal support after a serious truck accident.
A truck accident is more complicated than a typical car accident and usually results in serious injuries.
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On August 30, 2021, life changed forever for University of Florida football player Yousef Mugharbil. Yousef, who was just 18 at the time, was dragged about 100 feet by a truck on University Avenue in Gainesville after being run over. Yousef was riding his scooter in an undesignated lane and got stuck between the truck's tires.
The truck had the right of way when it was turning, and Yousef was driving his scooter in a lane that was clear, so the lane was directing the scooter directly into the path of the turning truck. Fortunately, Yousef is expected to recover from his injuries.(source)
Earlier that month, Marie Hines of Gainesville was sitting inside her home on Northeast Waldo Road when a truck slammed into her home. The truck was driving on Northeast Waldo when a car approaching Northeast 53rd Avenue collided with it, sending the truck flying toward the house. Fortunately, Marie and the 2 occupants of the truck were unharmed. The occupants of the car required medical attention.(source)
That same day, an accident involving 3 semi trucks and 2 cars stalled I-75. Two people were taken to area hospitals.
Tragically, another multi-fatal accident occurred on I-75 in January 2019. There were 12 passengers in a pickup truck hit by a trailer that slammed into a guardrail. Although all occupants of the van, en route to Disney World, were wearing seat belts, 7 were killed, including 5 children and the drivers of 2 trailers. The accident involved 5 vehicles, with a total of 16 occupants. Only one occupant, the driver of a pickup truck, was unharmed.(source)
Are truck accidents more common in Gainesville than other areas?
Technically not. Gainesville is no more or less dangerous for truck accidents than other cities its size. However, the area has experienced an increase in heavy truck accidents between 2011 and 2015, particularly on I-75 in Alachua, Marion, and Sumter counties.
In front of facts:The Florida Department of Transportation reported in 2015 that total traffic volume could reach 68,500 vehicles per day on I-75 south of State Highway 222 near Gainesville, with about 12,500 trucks.(source)
Regarding fatality from truck accidents, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) states that:
“The main problem is the vulnerability of people traveling in smaller vehicles. Trucks typically weigh 20 to 30 times as much as passenger cars and are taller with higher ground clearance, which can cause smaller vehicles to pass under trucks in collisions.
The Florida DOT has created aI-75 Rescue Task Forcein 2015 to find ways to reduce the incidence of traffic accidents on this busy interstate through Gainesville. The report outlines ways in which the highway can become safer in the coming decades.
Some of the task force's recommendations include:
- Facilitate intercity bus and train services to alleviate road congestion due to projected growth in population, jobs and visitors.
- Develop logistics centers for multiple shippers and carriers to reduce the number of empty trucks and use information technology for load adjustment.
- Improved parking and staging areas to support road transport on I-75 and US 301.
- Expand capacity and improve safety, efficiency and reliability through the use of express lanes and dedicated truck lanes on I-75, US 41 (from Hernando to Columbia counties) and U.S. 301 (from Hernando to Duval counties).
In front of facts:Alachua County had 4,560 traffic accidents in 2020, including 3,264 injuries.
Whether you or a loved one is injured in a truck accident on a major highway like I-75 or on a back road, the days, weeks and months ahead will be filled with extreme physical, emotional and financial challenges.
Fortunately, you don't have to face these challenges alone.
When Do You Need a Gainesville Truck Accident Lawyer?
when you are in onecar accidentinvolving only 2 vehicles, you can often resolve this directly with your insurance company and may not need a lawyer if the damage is not serious or expensive.
But a truck accident often needs to be handled differently.
Here are 4 reasons:
- A truck accident usually results in much more serious injuries than a car accident.If you drive a mid-size car, it probably weighs around 4,000 pounds. A truck, 18 wheeler or "big truck" semi-trailer can weigh over 30,000 pounds when fully loaded. In addition to the difference in weight, a large truck's center of gravity is much higher than that of a passenger car, which means that the truck and its driver are likely to fare much better in a collision than the car's occupants. . It also means that the force involved in an accident between a truck and a car is likely to leave the car's occupant seriously injured.
- You may not know who the culprit is.In an accident involving 2 cars, it is likely that 1 driver caused the accident. Sometimes that doesn't matter because Florida is a no-fault state, which means an injured person turns to their own insurance company for coverage of medical treatment and other costs after an accident, regardless of who was at fault. However, if the accident leaves you with serious injuries that will require treatment that cost more than your insurance covers, you will need to file a lawsuit to cover your expenses in full. In this situation, the victim (injured person) would sue the guilty party. In a car accident, it could be the other driver. In a truck accident, it can be much more complicated. Depending on how the accident occurred, several parties may bear some degree of responsibility, including the truck driver, the haulage company, the haulage company (because it could be the one who carried the load), the driver, the employing company, the truck manufacturer or any of its parts, or even someone else. Your attorney will need to obtain a variety of records and documents, as well as accident reports and other evidence, to determine who is the correct defendant (or there may be multiple defendants) in a truck accident.
- You will need help working with the shipping company's insurance company.A trucking company has deep pockets and a team of insurance adjusters whose job it is to spend as little money as possible to settle a claim and make it "disappear". The regulator handling your complaint probably has a bunch of other complaints like yours, and to them you're just another complaint number. They may make an offer that looks attractive, but it may not be enough. Your attorney is the best person to assess how muchin factyou need in damages, if you need future treatment, or if there are other expenses that may not be immediately obvious. Before agreeing to any settlement, you should consult with a Gainesville truck accident attorney.
- You may be entitled to a large amount of damage."Damages" are the costs that a plaintiff can recover in a lawsuit. Damages must cover all expenses related to an accident. When you've been injured, a personal injury lawsuit is designed to bring you back to financial "wholeness". In other words, he must be returned to the same financial condition he would have been in if the accident had not occurred.
Common damages in truck accidents include:
- medical expenses, including doctor and hospital appointments, surgeries, outpatient procedures, prescription drugs, etc.
- costs foradaptive devices
- continuous treatment likephysiotherapy or occupational therapy
- lost wages(Past and future)
- costs forproperty damage(such as repair or replacement of your vehicle)
- compensation forhelp with daily activities(such as daycare, personal assistant, etc.)
- Pain and suffering, for PTSD and other emotional distress caused by accident
- Funeral and burial expenses, if the accident resulted in the death of your loved one
Say to Enjuri:The more you feel you should recoup, the more you should consult a lawyer to make sure you are getting the amount you are entitled to. Don't let yourself down by assuming you're sure what your future expenses will be.
Atruck accident lawyerYou have access to financial professionals and other experts who can accurately assess your damages and negotiate with your insurance company or trucking company attorneys to get you the best possible deal.
Florida's Pure Comparative Negligence System
Each state follows 1 of 4failure systems, which determine whether (and how much) a plaintiff can recover for an injury if they share any liability.
Florida follows thepure comparative neglect rule, meaning that a victim can recover damages that are reduced by their share of the blame. In other words, if the truck driver caused the accident, but you were 20% at fault, your damages would be reduced by 20%.
If you are found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, you will not be able to recover any compensation.
Causes of Truck Accidents in Gainesville
Truck accidents can be caused by a truck driver, car driver, or other factors such as road hazards and bad weather.
When a truck driver causes an accident, it is usually due to:
- inadequate trainingabout driving techniques, safety and defensive driving.
- Fatigue or exhaustionfrom the hectic schedules of trucking companies, with long hours on the road and the pressure to move quickly from one place to another. Some trucking companies encourage speeding and less sleep by paying more to drivers who can travel more miles and make more deliveries.
- Drug or alcohol abuseplays a big part in some truck accidents, as drivers may be more inclined to take stimulants like cocaine or Adderall to stay awake and meet deadlines.
- reckless drivingIt covers a wide range of aggressive and dangerous driving behaviors that all drivers, including truck drivers, can fall victim to. Common examples include unsafe lane changes, speeding and unauthorized use.
When a car driver causes an accident, these are some of the most common reasons:
- Failing to fully position a disabled vehicle on the shoulder of the road
- Driving in truck driver blind spots (areas behind or to the side of a commercial truck)
- Drive between 2 or more big trucks
- Quick maneuvers, such as abruptly changing lanes in front of a truck
- Pulling into traffic on the shoulder or pulling off an on-ramp without enough acceleration in front of a truck
- Moving to the right of a right-turning truck
- Passing too close to a truck and being thrown sideways by air turbulence or crosswind
- Making a left turn in front of a truck without calculating its speed
- Do not slow down or speed up when a truck begins to change lanes or enter
Say to Enjuri:If you're driving your car and have the right of way, sometimes it makes sense to yield to a big truck anyway. The truck's size and weight make it difficult to maneuver and stop the car, and yielding (even if not required by law) can be safer and prevent accidents.
Liability for Truck Accident
"Responsibility" is based on the premise that each person has a certain set of responsibilities and obligations in any given situation.
As a driver of a car or truck, you are responsible for ensuring that your driving is reasonably safe, in accordance with the laws and regulations of the road, wherever you are. It also means that you have a duty to all other drivers and pedestrians to take reasonable care of your safety.
There are 2 types of truck accidents that don't always fall under typical liability laws:
- folding. If the road is slippery or if a driver is forced to swerve to avoid another car, damaged truck, or whatever, and the truck overturns, the driver may not necessarily be responsible for the accident.
- rotation accidents. A commercial truck usually requires 2 lanes to successfully make a right turn. However, if an accident occurs, the driver can be held liable for swerving into an inner lane or occupying two lanes.
Say to Enjuri:To read more about truck accident types and the claims process, you can download theenjuris truck accident ebook.
What to Do After a Truck Accident in Gainesville, FL (6 Steps)
Your first priority is to assess your own conditions and those of your passengers. If you can do it safely and painlessly, also check the physical condition of anyone else involved in the accident. Call for help immediately if needed.
If you need to call an ambulance and do nothing but wait for it to arrive, that's fine.
Even if it's not a medical emergency, there are several steps you can take to preserve your legal claim:
1. Call the police.
In most situations, this is 911. If you are on a highway, the 911 dispatcher will route your call to your local law enforcement agency and emergency services. Tell the dispatcher approximately how many people are involved in the accident (this could be multiple vehicles) so they can send as many ambulances as needed.
Even if the accident seems "minor", file a police report anyway. A police report is the best way to obtain immediate accident documentation, and the police will keep accurate records of all vehicles involved.
2. Document evidence on site.
Again, this is something you should only do if you are not injured and it is safe to get out of the vehicle and walk. If you're on a busy road and the police aren't already there to direct traffic, you don't want to be left wandering the road.
Documentation may include photographs, contact information for witnesses and everyone involved in the accident, and other notes about road or weather conditions or other factors that may have affected the accident.
It is especially important fortake pictureswhether the weather may have influenced the drivers' visibility or whether the road was slippery. Forensic experts can testify about past weather conditions, but a picture is worth a thousand words.
Documentation also includes gathering information from other involved parties. Make sure you get as much of the following as possible:
- The name, address, phone number and email address of all drivers involved
- Any driver's insurance company involved and policy number
- Any driver's license number involved
- The name and contact information of the truck driver's employer and transportation company.
- The truck's license plate number and other identifying information (along with any other vehicles involved)
3. Write the witnesses' contact information.
A witness is anyone who saw or observed the accident in any way. It could be someone in one of the involved vehicles, a bystander, or a person in a nearby vehicle who was not involved.
You don't have to take witness statements at the scene of the accident. That's the job of the policeman. But if it's a very active scene with a lot of injuries and damage, there may be many emergency situations that require police attention before interviewing witnesses. Well-meaning bystanders who have stopped to help can leave as soon as emergency personnel appear to have things under control. Once they leave the scene, it's very difficult to track them down again and they may have valuable information to share.
If you can, approach several witnesses and ask for their contact information. A name, phone number or email address is all you need to stay in touch. You can pass this information on to your lawyer when you get one and give it to the police when they are conducting an accident investigation.
4. Seek medical attention.
Even if you think you are not injured and choose not to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance, get a medical evaluation as soon as possible, as you may have sustained injuries that don't show immediate symptoms. If you need medical attention later on for an accident-related injury, it can be difficult to prove that it was accident-related and not some other cause. You may also have an injury, such as internal bleeding, which can be difficult to detect on your own, but a doctor will be able to diagnose it.
Even if you were seen by an on-site paramedic, request a full medical evaluation at a hospital or doctor's office.
5. Have your vehicle appraised.
In the case of most truck accidents, damage to the passenger vehicle is significant, often resulting in the total loss of the car. Even if your car only appears to have minor damage, understand that sometimes the damage is internal and not visible to the untrained eye (like the human body). However, you should NOT go directly to your local auto repair shop to get your car repaired right away.
The repair estimate must form part of your insurance claim. Each insurance company has different requirements for what must be presented to pay for your damages. Some have apps that require you to photograph all exterior sides of the car, while others require you to take it to a repair shop that is on an approved list.
If roadside assistance is included in your insurance or you belong to a travel association that offers towing, take your vehicle to a local repair shop. But make sure the shop knows not to do any work until you clear it with your insurance company. Even if you're sure the car is safe to drive, take it to a mechanic or shop for an evaluation.
6. Consult a lawyer.
Finally, talk to aGainesville personal injury attorney. Truck accidents are complicated. They can lead to lengthy litigation and can result in high-value settlements or judgments, so it's important to take this seriously and seek immediate help.
Look thisfree printable document listto help organize your needs after a truck accident:
- Your first meeting with a lawyer
- Damage/Expenses Worksheet
- personal injury lawyer interview sheet
- Post-accident diary form
- accident report form
- Medication record sheet
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What Does an Injury Lawyer Do?
A personal injury lawyer helps people who have been injured in accidents to recover financial compensation. These funds are usually needed to pay for medical treatments, compensate for lost wages, and compensate for injuries suffered. Sometimes a case that seems simple at first can become more complicated. In these cases, consider hiring an experienced personal injury attorney.read more
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