A collision with any vehicle can cause damages and injuries, but commercial vehicle accidents have an increased potential to cause complications that could last a lifetime. Whether it’s a delivery van or a tractor-trailer, commercial vehicles are often larger and heavier than a private passenger automobiles. The impacts tend to be severe enough to total your car or cause life threatening injuries.
When you’re trying to recover from serious injuries the medical bills can pile up quickly. If you have an accident induced disability, whether temporary or permanent, it may affect your ability to earn a living. An accident with a commercial vehicle can cause financial setbacks that are difficult to overcome and problems that can change your life for years to come. That’s why it’s important to have a commercial vehicle accident attorney to protect your rights and handle your legal interests.
What About Florida No Fault Benefits?
If you own or operate a car in Florida, you are required to have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance (no fault). Even if another person is at “fault” in causing your accident, your PIP coverage will pay your injury-related expenses.
Unfortunately, if your injuries are serious or catastrophic, the $10,000 per person limit probably won’t be enough to cover your medical bills and lost wages. Due to recent changes in the law, if your injuries are initially diagnosed as minor, you may only qualify for a lower amount of PIP coverage.
You May Be Entitled to More Money
Florida’s $10,000 personal injury protection coverage may sound like an adequate sum to pay for your injuries, but if your recovery is slow it might not be enough. If you have long-term medical needs, a lengthy period of lost wages, or a permanent disability, you may need more.
Under certain circumstances Florida law gives you the right to pursue a claim against the person who caused your injuries. If injuries lead to scarring, loss of bodily functions, a permanent disability, significant disfigurement, or death, the injuries automatically exceed the PIP tort threshold. That means the injured person has a legal right to pursue a liability claim.
It’s Important to Know Your Legal Rights
When you are involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, it’s important that you have a basic knowledge of your rights and responsibilities. Your own insurance company should assist you with making a claim for medical bills and lost wages, but you’ll probably need help in seeking damages from the person legally responsible for your injuries.
You’ll need an investigation to verify that the other person is liable. That could include police reports, witness statements, a site investigation, and other information. You’ll also need a basic understanding of Florida auto laws, PIP tort thresholds, and statutes of limitations.
To evaluate and present your claim, you will need medical bills, physician and ER reports, and documentation of your lost wages. Even if you present comprehensive documentation of your claim, it’s possible that the other person’s insurance company still won’t offer you a settlement. In the end you may still have to file a lawsuit to get the settlement you deserve.
Should You Seek Professional to Help?
You could handle your own claim, but wouldn’t you feel more confident about your future with a commercial accident attorney handling it for you? A legal professional will conduct an investigation, determine liability, evaluate your injuries and present a claim for damages against the commercial driver’s insurance company. An attorney can handle the complicated details while you take on the important task of getting your life back on track.
Florida personal injury law is a specialty, because Florida is one of the few states in the U.S. with a no-fault insurance provision. This means that Florida drivers must carry no less than $10,000 worth of Property Damage Liability, or PDL (covers victim’s car if policy owner at fault), no less than $10,000 worth of Personal Injury Protection, or PIP (covers policy owner no matter who is at fault), but do not have to purchase any Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) insurance, which would take care of the medical and funeral bills of policy owner and passengers who were injured/killed in a serious accident caused by the policy owner.
Florida allows drivers to forgo bodily injury liability to keep insurance rates low, in fact Florida has some of the lowest car insurance minimums in the United States. The idea behind Florida’s no-fault insurance is to reduce the number of costly lawsuits (or torts) since that there is less chance of being sued by another driver following a car accident, because there is no need to prove fault.
However, those who’ve received injuries in serious car/truck accidents definitely have recourse in Florida courts. The American Bar Association’s website describes the chain of events which occur whenever an accident-injured party (the plaintiff) files a lawsuit because he/she has secured an expert attorney and has decided not to accept the monetary settlement offered by an insurance company (defendant).
First of all, the lawyers for each side exchange information about the crash and about the nature and extent of the victim’s bodily/mental injuries. This exchange is called discovery, and often consists of the defendant’s/plaintiff’s responding to written questions known as interrogatories, and of both parties giving depositions, or sworn statements (under oath).
At any point in this lawsuit process–even right before the jury reaches a verdict–the plaintiff may decide, with the guidance of his/her attorneys, to settle the case, accept the damages monies the insurance company offers, and sign a release, which absolves the company from further liability.
In civil–not criminal–lawsuits such as those for personal injury, a court does not give defendants (i.e, insurance companies) jail time or fines. Plaintiffs who win their cases, however, will be granted restitution, or damages, for their injuries. These damages often cover plaintiffs’ medical bills, wages lost during time spent recovering, and/or future wages, if the injuries have been very disfiguring or disabling. Compensation can also be granted for physical pain and suffering.
Each state has a particular statute of limitations during which an injured person must file his/her lawsuit in order for a court to consider it. Quickly securing the services of an attorney following a severe accident is very important, especially since Florida’s no-fault provisions make handling such cases difficult to navigate on your own.
Back injuries are a common type of personal injury that many people sustain when involved in a motor vehicle accident. Injuries to the back can be very painful and even debilitating, depending on the severity of the injury. Below are three different types of back injuries that often happen to those who are have been in an accident.
Even though the term slipped disc is often used, this injury type is more accurately described using the words herniated disc or prolapsed disc. The pain in the back that comes from this injury type is caused whenever there is a bulging or ruptured disc, and the internal material presses upon your spinal cord or nerve. It’s one of the most common types of back injuries.
Broken Back or Broken Neck
This is one of the most serious things that someone can do to their back. It’s something that can cause things like temporary or permanent paralysis, disability and death, depending on the severity and where the damage occurred. When there is an injury to the back it’s best to have it x-rayed and scanned by a specialist to see what kind of damage has been done. This is especially important if the person feels numb or they have tingling in their extremities. Sometimes a broken back is not as serious, even though it’s quite painful. This type of fracture is to the coccyx, the bone that is sometimes called the tailbone.
Injuries to Soft Tissue
The back’s soft tissue incorporates the ligaments, tendons, nerves, and muscles. When one of these particular types of tissue becomes bruised or damaged, intense pain can result. These kinds of injuries aren’t usually visible on the surface and might not be visible on a scan or x-ray, but the pain that they cause is very real. One of the most common causes of this injury is whiplash.
Depending on how bad your injury is you may be out of work for a long time or even permanently disabled. Why not let us help you with your claim? We have the experience required to review all the intricacies of your case.