Florida Truck Accidents
Interstate trucking or intrastate trucking?
After a Florida truck accident, one of the first questions to be answered is whether the truck was being used in interstate commerce or was involved in intrastate commerce. In general, if a truck is being used to transport cargo across a state line that truck is usually considered to be engaged in interstate commerce and is subject to the rules and regulations established by the United States Department of Transportation and Department of Commerce. On the other hand, a truck that is operated within Florida and does not cross a state line is considered to be an intrastate truck and its operations are governed by the Florida Department of Transportation (“FDOT”). Distinguishing interstate and intrastate trucking is important when it comes to the amounts of insurance that truck owners are required to carry.
Florida’s Commercial Truck and Commercial Truck Insurance laws
Any truck engaged in interstate commerce is required to have the minimum liability insurance specified by federal law. These minimum requirements are based on the type of cargo or freight being transported and its potential to cause harm to others in case of an accident and varies from $300,000 for non-hazardous material transported by trucks weighing 10,000 pounds or less and up to $5,000,000 for dangerous/hazardous material requiring special handling.
Florida law also requires all commercial trucks operating solely within the state to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance, with the amount of insurance coverage based on factors such as the truck’s weight and the type of cargo being transported. Examples of cargo types and their minimum liability insurance requirements include:
· Household goods and furniture: $300,000
· General (non-hazardous) freight/cargo: $750,000
· Oil and/or petroleum products: $1,000,000 a
· Hazardous materials: $5,000,000
Always keep in mind that the above numbers represent the minimum amount of insurance required to legally transport a given type of cargo within the State of Florida and are not limitations on the amount of damages that may be awarded by a court following a successful personal injury/wrongful death lawsuit!
A Word About Multi-Victim Accidents and Time Limits
In many truck accidents more than one person is injured. Since most commercial truck insurance coverage is provided on a per incident rather than a per victim basis, it is important that a truck accident lawsuit be filed as soon as possible after an accident. By “early filing,” an accident victim’s lawsuit may be granted precedence (“priority”) if other lawsuits are filed over the same accident. Since liability insurance claims are usually honored on a “first to be awarded, first to be paid” basis, the first claims usually receive the lion’s share of any insurance coverage money that may be available following a truck accident.
Florida law also sets a time limit on how long after an accident occurs that an accident victim can file a lawsuit against those the victim holds responsible for his or her injuries. In law, these time limits are called statutes of limitations and are strictly observed by the Florida courts. As they relate to truck accidents, Florida law requires that:
· Any lawsuit alleging wrongful death of an accident victim must be filed within two (2) years of the date of the victim’s death, regardless of when the victim’s injury occurred.
· Any lawsuit alleging personal injury due to the negligence of another person must be filed within four (4) years, with the statute of limitations beginning on the date the accident.
Regardless of the number of accident victims or the duration of the statutes of limitations, if you want to receive a fair settlement of your Florida truck accident injury claim, you will need the services of an experienced truck accident lawyer. In Florida, one such lawyer can be found at The Romero law Firm
Contacting the Florida Truck Accident Lawyer at The Romero Law Firm
There are a number of potentially complicated legal issues that may arise following a Florida truck accident. Many of those issues can affect both an accident victim’s legal right to demand compensation for their injuries and other losses resulting from a truck accident.
If you, or a member of your family, were injured in a Florida truck accident and are unsure of your legal right to be compensated for your injury, we invite you to contact the Florida truck accident lawyer to arrange a free, no obligation review of the facts in your case and a discussion of the legal avenues that may be available to help you recover full compensation for your injuries and other accident-related losses.
There is never a charge for our staff to review the facts of your case or for you to speak with our Florida truck accident lawyer regarding the legal options that may be available to you. If you later decide that a lawsuit is in order and that you would like for us to represent you in court, we are willing to assume full responsibility for all aspects of preparing your Florida truck accident injury case for trial in exchange for a percentage of the final settlement we are prepared to win for you.
Free Case Review
If you are unsure whether you want to pursue your case, speak to a member of our legal team. We can listen to the facts of your truck accident and give you information about your next steps. There is no obligation to move forward. If you do want to proceed with a lawsuit, we are here and ready to help.
One service we provide is estimating your damages. This estimate considers your damages, such as medical bills, injuries, lost work, and pain and suffering, among others. Speak to our team to learn more about how we estimate damages to recover compensation for which you are eligible.
Speak on Your Behalf
As a truck accident victim filing a claim for your injuries, there may be several occasions when other parties want to speak with you. As your legal counsel, an attorney from our firm can speak on your behalf to other lawyers, insurance company representatives, witnesses, and more. If you do have to speak with someone about your case, your lawyer can be present.
Your legal team may have to gather evidence to support or build your case. If so, here are some examples of evidence we may collect:
· Police report
· Medical records
· Bank statements
· Witness statements
· Video footage
How Compensation is Determined Following a Truck Accident
Like other personal injury lawsuits, the types of compensation available to those affected as the result of an accident involving a truck falls into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Compensation involving economic truck accident damages serves to cover the specific monetary costs, including the following:
Current Medical Expenses: This may include fees for emergency room visits, hospital care, surgery, assistive devices and appointments with approved medical professionals.
Future Medical Expenses: Compensation for extended medical attention and care.
Lost Wages: Compensation for the wages lost between the time of injury and the conclusion of the lawsuit.
Loss of Earning Capacity: If the victim can demonstrate that their ability to earn a living has been negatively impacted, compensation may be available. The awarding party will look to establish the amount victim could have earned had the car accident not occurred.
Non-economic damages compensate the victim and/or family for non-financial, intangible losses, including:
Pain and Suffering: This includes compensation for the physical pain suffered as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. The nature of the injury, the extent of the pain, and the length of time the victim is expected to suffer are all included in the calculation of the award.
Mental Anguish: Compensation for emotional pain stemming from a truck accident, including fright, embarrassment, nervousness, worry, grief and other forms of emotional distress caused by the accident.
Loss of Consortium: Compensation awarded to a spouse, parents, and minor children loss of services, assistance, aid, society, and companionship/care of a loved one, a child, or parents.
In addition to economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages may be applicable if the defendant’s actions causing the injury were willful, malicious, fraudulent or reckless. Punitive damages serve to punish the offender and dissuade similar behavior in the future.