People usually require the services of a moving van when relocating to a new house. Moving vans are considerably larger than conventional cars. This often leads to a higher level of property damage and severe injuries if involved in an accident. A Clearwater truck accident lawyer can help you and your family recover damages.
The average weight of a moving van ranges from 8000-10,000 pounds. A moving van is thus likely to cause a level of property damage similar to a truck. You can recover the damages you suffered by pursuing a claim against the liable party or parties. Since these cases can involve multiple parties, they can become even more complex. Furthermore, if the at-fault moving van drivers are coming from out of state, a further level of complexity is added.
However complex the case, the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can help you learn more about your legal rights following an accident in which you suffered injuries.
When Can You File Your Claim Against the At-fault Party?
Florida’s no-fault laws mean that you cannot automatically sue a third party for damages. First, you have to claim damages from your insurance provider. Insurance companies are legally required to provide their clients with personal injury protection in the event of an accident.
Personal injury protection benefits will help cover for:
- Cost of medication
- Surgery costs
- Ambulance fees
- Cost of rehabilitation and diagnostic services
Personal injury protection can only cover 80% of all medical expenses. Thus, if the cost of treating your injuries amounts to $10,000, you will receive $8,000. The benefits under personal injury protection are not enough to cover the damages that injured parties suffer in a moving van accident.
You can sue the liable party if the medical costs of your injuries have exceeded or will exceed $10,000. Personal insurance protection will still cover the cost of your injuries to a certain limit, but you have a legal right to recover damages by taking civil action against a third party such as the moving van driver or the moving company.
You can also sue the at-fault party if your injuries have reached the serious injury threshold. Reaching this threshold means that you can recover damages for inconvenience, mental anguish, and pain. A Clearwater personal injury lawyer can help you understand when you can file a claim against the at-fault party.
Why Do Moving Vans Crash?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that 44% of all moving van accidents were attributable to the driver. A driver of a moving van may be at fault for the accident due to many reasons. Some of them include:
- Failing to follow traffic rules
- Operating the vehicle under the influence of alcohol
- Using their phone while driving
- Aggressive driving
If the driver is at-fault for the accident while working, their employer is liable. Employers have vicarious liability over their drivers. A moving van accident can also occur due to negligent behavior by the moving company. For instance, the company should ensure that the van is properly maintained and in good condition.
A moving van accident may occur due to the negligence of another motorist. Other motorists may engage in negligent behaviors such as speeding, disobeying traffic rules, and reckless driving.
A moving van crash may be a result of the actions of more than one negligent party. The state of Florida allows you to pursue a claim for damages against more than one party through comparative negligence.
Once a motor van accident occurs, we must determine the cause of the crash. Finding out what caused the accident will help you prove negligence. Establishing negligence is key to maximizing the amount of compensatory damages you can recover if your injuries exceed the personal injury protection limit.
Crashes Involving Moving Vans
Moving vans usually are enclosed box trucks, such as the ones that you might rent from U-Haul if you are moving. Professional movers often use this type of truck or van, as well. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that in 2018, 1,876 fatal crashes involving vans or enclosed box trucks occurred. Another 24,711 crashes with these vehicles resulted in injuries.
Although moving vans are not the largest vehicles on the road, especially as compared to many semi tractor-trailers, they often are much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles. Particularly when they are loaded down with cargo, they tend to be much heavier than the standard passenger vehicle. As a result, the injuries that stem from a moving van accident may be more severe than if only passenger vehicles had collided.
Even though professional movers operate moving vans in many cases, anyone can rent a moving van to transport large items or move to a new residence. People who rent moving vans do not need to have any type of commercial driver’s license to drive these vans, which can make them more dangerous to others on the roads. Additionally, these drivers likely have no experience securing cargo, which could lead to catastrophic crashes in some cases.
Liability in Moving Van Accidents
Various parties may be liable for your injuries and related losses after a moving van accident. First, if multiple vehicles are involved in the wreck, drivers of any of those vehicles could be responsible. In fact, more than one driver can share fault for causing the accident that led to your injuries. In that case, the drivers each could be liable for their respective percentages of fault for the accident.
If a moving company employee was driving the van in the course of his or her employment and is fully or even partially responsible for causing the crash, the moving company also could face liability for costs related to your injuries.
On the other hand, if the moving van malfunctioned in some way or something went wrong mechanically, the manufacturer of the van or auto parts used in the van could be liable. Under product liability laws, these companies could be financially responsible for the losses that you suffered as a result of the accident.
Finally, in some cases, you might be partially responsible for causing the accident that led to your injuries. For instance, you might have been speeding at the time of the accident, which contributed to the crash. Under Florida Statutes §768.81, however, you can still pursue compensation for your injuries, but you are limited to a total amount of damages reduced by your degree of fault for the accident. As determining fault in any motor vehicle crash can be complex, a Clearwater moving van accident lawyer may be able to assist you.
Steps to Take After a Moving Van Accident in Clearwater
The first step you should take after a moving van accident is to assess the condition of the people in the vehicle. Call emergency services such as the police or an ambulance. Do not leave the scene of the accident before help arrives.
Do not refuse medical care or avoid going to see a doctor even if you feel fine. Some injuries have a delayed reaction time. The adrenaline in your body rises, potentially masking the full extent of your injuries. To become eligible to receive personal injury protection, you must get medical attention within 2 weeks from the date of the accident.
You should contact a Clearwater moving van accident lawyer while at the scene of the accident or when you arrive at the hospital. A lawyer will provide you with legal counsel and take over the case from there. Some of the steps a lawyer can take include:
- Collecting the contact information of witnesses
- Taking pictures at the scene of the accident
- Reach out to your insurance provider and inform them of the accident
- Collect the contact information of the parties involved in the accident.
A moving van accident lawyer will be able to quickly assess if your injuries meet the serious injury threshold. This allows you to prepare in advance to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault parties.
Why Have Legal Representation After a Moving Van Accident
Recovering damages after a moving van accident may seem like a straightforward process. But you could face serious challenges, mainly from at-fault parties and insurance companies. No one parts easily with their money, especially for-profit companies like your insurance provider.
Having a lawyer helps you navigate through any challenging situations that may arise. For instance, the other parties may claim that you are partly at fault for the accident. A personal injury lawyer will help defend your interests against such claims. Even if you are partly at fault, you can still claim damages.
A lawyer will ensure that the percentage of fault assigned to you is not unfair. Having legal representation also eliminates the risk that your personal injury claim will not get filed before the statute of limitation lapses.
Compensation in Moving Van Accident Cases
If you or a loved one suffers injuries in a moving van accident, you may be able to seek compensation from all parties who are responsible for the crash. This compensation can include payment of medical expenses related to your injuries, such as hospitalization costs, expenses for emergency medical treatment and transportation, surgical costs, and other medical bills. Likewise, you can seek compensation for other injury-related expenses, such as the costs of durable medical equipment, prescription medication, and rehabilitation.
You also may be able to pursue compensation for your lost wages or income while you are unable to work due to your injuries. If you are permanently impaired or unable to return to your prior job or career, you might be eligible for compensation for your loss of future income, as well as for the permanency of your injuries.
Other non-economic damages that may be available to you in a moving van accident lawsuit can include compensation for physical pain and suffering, emotional distress from the trauma of the accident, and more. Getting legal advice in this situation can help you ensure that you pursue all available forms of compensation in your case.
Call a Moving Van Accident Lawyer Today
Getting help after suffering a moving van accident is not easy. You may fear hiring a Clearwater moving van accident lawyer due to upfront fees. Our firm works on a contingency fee policy which means we do not get paid unless we win your case. Our only focus is helping you navigate through the legal processes of recovering damages.
Get a free consultation today by calling Anidjar & Levine.
We Can Help.