We May Have Answers For You
Semi-truck drivers face the risk of sustaining injuries in an accident every time they hit the road. When semi-trucks hit other drivers or pedestrians like you, devastating injuries can change your life forever.
What should you do if you sustain injuries in a semi-truck accident in Tampa, Florida? Numerous different types of injuries can result in these accidents.
Let’s take a look at what to do next if facing an unknown future after a major semi-truck accident.
What Actions Should You Take After A Semi-Truck Accident?
First, following any type of accident, prioritize your safety. A high-impact crash with a semi-truck won’t have you walking away without some level of injury.
Get the medical help you need since you might have internal injuries. It’s possible to have those injuries without you feeling any immediate pain. However, you may feel pain instantly, which could mean a traumatic brain injury or even a spinal cord injury.
Once you get the medical help you need, you’ll probably wonder what’s going to happen to your life. After all, with major injuries after being hit by a semi-truck, how will you cope in life going forward?
Next, you should retain a semi-truck accident attorney to help you negotiate a favorable settlement or argue your case in court to ensure that you do everything you can to recover compensation for the full cost of your injuries.
What Evidence Can Help Your Semi-Truck Accident Case?
After you get legal representation, your legal team goes to work finding evidence that proves the semi-truck driver’s negligence. Evidence from the scene of the accident will prove beneficial since it helps prove your side if your case does indeed go to trial.
Visual evidence often proves the most compelling. Your attorneys go to work finding physical remnants of the crash, including taking photos. If you can do the same at the scene, it’s all for the better.
Due to your injuries, you may not acquire evidence on your own. Fortunately, an attorney can help gather the evidence you need to prove your case and present it to the at-fault party and court.
Video footage can provide definitive evidence of who caused the semi-truck accident. Your attorney can get the records from traffic cameras in intersections without a subpoena. Footage like this will help establish that the semi-truck driver caused the accident, not you.
Fortunately, Tampa has numerous traffic cameras throughout the region. Consulting this footage also helps prove that you bear no liability for the accident, which may prove important since Florida follows the legal doctrine of comparative negligence.
What Type Of Semi-Truck Accident Occurred?
Part of the evidence gathered will help establish what caused the semi-truck to hit you. Did the truck hit your vehicle from the front, back, or side? Tampa’s busy roads make this scenario more than possible. Traffic in this region of Florida may prove chaotic with so many speeding drivers.
Truck drivers sometimes drive faster than they should while in a hurry to make a delivery. One distracted driver can cause a head-on collision with your car on an open highway. Alternatively, the truck may bash into the side of your car as you turn out onto a busy road.
No matter where a semi-truck hits your car, it will likely result in devastation. You may even total your car in these types of accidents. Plus, you may sustain more severe injuries if your airbags fail to deploy.
What caused the truck driver to hit you in the first place? An experienced legal team will assess the following key factors:
1. Was The Semi-Truck Driver Distracted?
Recent statistics show 16,457 injuries from vehicle accidents over the last year in Hillsborough County, proving the true danger of Tampa roads. Part of that comes from distracted driving, something often happening with truck drivers as much as car drivers.
Numerous reasons exist as to why a semi-truck driver might become distracted. Sometimes, drivers choose to listen to radio too loudly or talk on their smartphone while out for deliveries.
Talking too much poses another problem, perhaps with a co-worker sitting in the passenger seat.
In any of these scenarios, handling a giant truck on a busy roadway while distracted creates a high risk of causing an accident.
2. Was The Semi-Truck Driver Drunk Or On Drugs?
Once in a while, truck drivers take drugs or drink alcohol before getting behind the wheel. When this happens, something bad will likely result.
The semi-truck driver that hit you may have taken prescription drugs, illegal drugs, or both. Other drivers may have had a few alcoholic drinks at a restaurant before heading out on the road.
While a trucker’s life can prove stressful, that’s no excuse for them to take drugs or drink. Drivers must stay sober when operating a vehicle of that size to ensure the safety of everyone else on the road.
Blood toxicology tests of the semi-truck driver can determine whether drugs or alcohol impaired the driver at the time of your accident.
3. Was The Semi-Truck Driver Fatigued From Lack Of Sleep?
Law firms that take on personal injury cases involving semi-trucks commonly deal with truck driver fatigue. With long hours involved in truck driving, it only makes sense that most truck drivers feel tired while driving.
Did the semi-truck driver who hit you fall asleep at the wheel? Witnesses, traffic camera footage, and other evidence sometimes determine this.
While trucking companies try to prevent driver overwork, it still doesn’t stop the problem of falling asleep while driving long distances. Driving in the middle of the night can prove just as tough. It’s continually the main factor behind many trucking accidents in the Tampa area and throughout Florida.
4. Did The Semi-Truck Driver Hit You As A Pedestrian?
A potentially more devastating accident scenario involves when a semi-truck hits you while walking on a street or through a crosswalk. Injuries often prove severe when trucks hit cars. When it hits you directly as a person, it all too often turns fatal.
If you survive such an accident, you will likely experience severe injuries. Complete spinal cord paralysis may leave you in a wheelchair for the rest of your life.
Injuries like this change your life forever, possibly preventing you from ever returning to work.
The above scenarios may also factor into why the truck driver hit you in the crosswalk.
Other situations possibly at play here include:
- Blind Spots. Maybe the semi-truck driver didn’t see you in the crosswalk due to a blind spot while driving. Depending on the size of the truck, some blind spots can extend as long as 200 feet. A blind spot often happens at the front of a semi-truck as well, which can potentially result in a head-on collision. This type of accident could cause severe physical injuries that rack up huge medical bills.
- Road Obstructions. Maybe more than one person acted negligently in your semi-truck accident. Construction companies within the city sometimes set up barriers and other equipment, obscuring a trucker’s vision along busy streets. Your accident perhaps occurred in the intersection because a construction crew put up a lane barrier, making it tougher for the truck to see you coming. In this case, comparative negligence applies if more than one person’s negligence caused the accident. That can mean a settlement coming from more than one source.
- Truck Malfunctions. Once in a while, the truck itself may cause an accident. Perhaps the truck had brake failure while in the intersection, causing the semi-truck to hit you at high speed. Such a scenario pins considerable blame on the trucking company that owns the truck. Lack of maintenance on the truck possibly contributed to this, making the trucking company primarily negligent in the accident. The driver may also bear partial liability for not noticing signs of a mechanical problem before going into busy traffic.
What Does The Settlement Claim Process Entail?
Once your semi-truck accident lawyer has gathered all relevant evidence and developed a strategy for your case, you need to calculate what kind of settlement you need to live the rest of your life. Paralysis and brain injuries constitute just two possibilities of the issues you face.
Any type of major injury can result in medical bills totaling six figures or more. That could place you into financial dire straits, including bankruptcy. You don’t want to live life with financial stress when already going through pain and suffering from your injuries.
You should file a claim with the insurance company of the truck driver or company. Your legal team helps you file a claim and works tirelessly to negotiate with the insurance company to win you a settlement.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t attempt to negotiate with insurance companies on your own. Don’t attempt to talk to or negotiate with them; they’ll likely attempt to give you a small settlement offer to finish your case.
Never take these offers, as insurance companies offer them to play on your emotions and in hopes that you take the first settlement amount you see. When facing financial issues, you may feel tempted to take any money offered upfront, but you need to keep in mind the full cost of your injuries, including any potential future costs.
Also, don’t talk to insurance companies about your injuries. If you do, they’ll twist your words later, possibly affecting how much you ultimately receive.
Your legal team has the experience to take on insurance companies. The process does take time, but most insurance companies want to settle eventually to avoid the time and expense of a trial.
As the insurance company sends offers through your legal team, you will hear about each one. Only you have the right to choose whether to accept a settlement offer, but your attorney will work hard to recover compensation for the full cost of your injuries.
What Kind Of Settlement Might You Receive?
Settlements can go up and down as negotiations continue. Every case, like yours, involves different facts and circumstances. Never expect a certain amount since the facts of your semi-truck accident always determine the final amount.
Know that a settlement only represents part of the compensation that you could get. Suing later for punitive damages against the truck driver or trucking company could land additional settlement money, depending on the extent of your injuries.
In the end, you could recover more or less than someone who suffered similar injuries in a similar accident. Always know, though, your legal team has your best interests in mind and will continue to fight to protect your rights throughout your entire claim process.
Retaining an experienced attorney to help with your semi-truck accident claim will provide peace of mind as you continue to recover from your injuries.
Where In Tampa Do Semi-Truck Accidents Happen?
Tampa, Florida, serves as a major tourism and business hub in Florida. Truck accidents also happen in places you wouldn’t expect. For instance, a semi-truck lost control and crashed into a Tampa Waffle House recently, leaving two people seriously injured.
Semi-trucks can cause problems in any location on and off the road. What are the most logical places where semi-truck accidents typically occur?
Intersections rank as the location most likely to experience semi-truck accidents. According to local media sources, the most dangerous intersection in Tampa is Sheldon Road, Waters Ave. W, Tampa. Two others include Anderson Road, Waters Ave. W, Tampa, and Waters Ave. W, Hanley Road, Town ‘N’ Country.
Our local highways involve similar dangers, with numerous semi-trucks barreling through every day. U.S. Hwy 301 serves as a good example, where numerous truck accidents happen every week.
Sometimes, an accident stems from more than just impaired driving or speeding. Improperly secured cargo may cause an accident as well. Unsecured transported cars, steel pipes, pallets, or even livestock can all fall off a semi-truck, causing you serious injuries lasting a lifetime. All of this can happen in an instant while the truck makes a turn onto an ordinary roadway.
Where Can I Get Legal Help Now?
Contact an experienced Tampa semi-truck accident attorney at Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys immediately if you suffered an injury in a semi-truck accident. You want to retain an attorney with significant experience recovering compensation for victims of semi-truck accidents. Don’t attempt to handle your injury claim on your own; retaining an attorney will provide peace of mind and ensure that you recover maximum compensation given your specific circumstances.