Every truck accident case is different, which means you do not always have to go to court for a truck accident. If you have been involved in a truck accident in Florida, you may be experiencing losses and out-of-pocket expenses. These are known as your damages, and you can work toward recovering compensation for them during either an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
While a lawsuit will require both parties involved in the truck accident to meet in court, an insurance claim can be settled out of court. Insurance claims are typically the first step plaintiffs take toward earning compensation for their damages.
When It May Be Necessary to Go to Court for a Truck Collision
Many truck accident cases resolve through an out-of-court settlement. However, once a claim is completed, the plaintiff can no longer pursue legal action against the defendant. This means you want to receive an offer that addresses your damages before settling the case. However, you may need to go to court instead for several reasons:
- The insurer denies the claim.
- The insurer refuses to negotiate a fair settlement offer.
- The liable party has assets but not enough insurance coverage to pay your damages.
- The deadline to file a lawsuit is approaching, and negotiations have stalled.
If an insurance claim does not result in a settlement, plaintiffs can file litigation to potentially earn a favorable judgment in their truck accident case. Thus, you do not have to go to court for a truck accident—but sometimes it may be the best option for your case.
What to Do After a Truck Accident in Florida
Whether you seek an out-of-court settlement or go to trial, you must take a few steps to support your collision case. They include:
- Seeking medical attention for your injuries right away to create a record of them and receive treatment
- Reporting the accident to the authorities, whether law enforcement comes to the scene or you file a report shortly after
- Holding onto any potential evidence, such as photographs of the damage and your injuries, receipts and bills for accident-related expenses, and contact information from those present at the scene
- Notifying your auto insurer about the collision to seek personal injury protection (PIP) coverage
Taking these steps can set you up to seek compensation from the liable parties involved in the collision.
Identifying an At-Fault Party From Your Truck Accident
Before you can begin to negotiate for an insurance settlement out-of-court, you must prove the opposing party caused your injury and other damages related to the truck accident. This will involve proving that the defendant was at fault.
During a truck accident, you may look to prove the truck driver or the trucking company was at fault, though under some circumstances, both parties could share fault in causing the accident. An example of this could be if the truck driver was texting while driving with a trailered load that was loaded unsafely by the trucking company or a shipping company.
To prove fault, you may turn to a police report that was filed after the accident. Here, on-scene law enforcement may have already labeled the at-fault party. During either an insurance settlement or lawsuit, you will need to establish a liable party.
Understanding Negligence and Liability
Liability means a party is responsible for the accident and any financial implications that have resulted from it. This could be the truck driver, the trucking company that employs them, other involved parties, or a combination of these.
If you can prove the defendant in your truck accident acted with negligence, you can hold them liable for the accident during an insurance claim or a lawsuit. The American Bar Association also explains that “conduct becomes ‘negligent’ when it falls below a legally recognized standard of taking reasonable care under the circumstances to protect others from harm.”
Negotiating an Out-of-Court Truck Accident Insurance Claim
Once an investigation into fault, liability, and negligence has been completed, you can then turn your attention toward negotiating an insurance settlement. This process takes time, as it may require an insurance company to submit several offers before you receive one that covers the full value of your damages.
It is important to note that you are not required to accept an insurance offer—especially one that is below the value of your claim. Negotiations may continue until both sides have reached an agreement or until the plaintiff is left to file a lawsuit.
When parties of an insurance claim require medical treatment, this can make the claims process longer. Until a party has been released from their medical care, negotiations may be on hold. Once a party completes their medical treatment, they will understand the total value of their injuries. This will then allow that injured party to fully determine the value of their damage claim.
Going to Court for a Truck Accident After Insurance Negotiations
If you are required to file a personal injury lawsuit for your truck accident, you must do so according to Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a), which typically grants claimants four years to file the claim. This is known as the statute of limitations. Note that a late filing of your truck accident lawsuit may result in a judge dismissing your case.
When the deadline expires, you lose your ability to seek compensation for your injuries. Hiring a legal team early on can protect your right to sue and recover damages.
Should You Hire a Truck Accident Attorney?
Truck accident cases are often complex, as they are likely to involve multiple liable parties. Hiring a truck accident lawyer to represent you ensures you have someone fighting in your corner even as you take time to recover with your family.
According to data the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published, injuries in large truck and bus crashes rose 8% between 2016 and 2018 in the U.S. In 2018 alone, the FMCSA states there were an estimated 121,000 injury crashes. To reduce these numbers, our firm represents victims to hold the responsible parties accountable, along with recovering compensation for their damages.
A Truck Accident Lawyer Can Advocate for Your Financial Recovery
When you hire our truck accident team to handle your case, we’ll support you by:
- Investigating to determine what caused the accident and who was involved
- Identifying all potentially liable parties, such as the truck driver, the trucking company, the maintenance team, or the manufacturer
- Requesting evidence in the trucking company’s possession, such as dashcam footage and black box data
- Collecting other evidence, including the accident report, your medical records, third party footage of the collision, and witness statements
- Calculating the amount of compensation to pursue
- Negotiating on your behalf so that you don’t accept a lowball settlement
- Providing guidance, such as letting you know when going to court may be the best option, though you will get to make the final decision
- Filing your lawsuit within Florida’s statute of limitations
While you may not have to take your truck accident case to court, an attorney can still provide valuable services. Moreover, it won’t cost you up front or out of pocket to hire representation, as our team works based on contingency. We get paid only when you win.
The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine will Handle Your Truck Accident Legal Battle for Compensation
If you have been involved in a truck accident in Florida, a truck accident lawyer from the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can fight for justice and fair compensation on your behalf. When faced with ongoing injuries that require you to be hospitalized, a Florida truck accident lawyer can become an invaluable asset to your claim during this troubling time.
Our firm will investigate your accident, fight to obtain evidence of fault and liability against the defendant, and will argue your claim all on your behalf. To request a free consultation, contact us today at 1-800-747-3733. We can tell you whether you have to go to court for your truck accident.
We Can Help.