Florida’s no-fault auto insurance laws require you to suffer serious or permanent injuries before you can hold the at-fault driver liable for your damages. If you do not meet this serious injury threshold, you can only collect compensation from your small personal injury protection (PIP) policy. In most truck accidents, however, the occupants of smaller vehicles suffer injuries that allow them to surpass this threshold and collect an insurance payout from the trucking company.
If you were the victim of a South Florida truck accident, the attorneys at the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine can help you understand your options for compensation and pursue the payout you deserve. Call us today at 800-747-3733 to schedule your complimentary consultation with a truck accident lawyer in Fort Myers.
Who Is Liable When a Trucker Causes an Auto Accident?
When we pursue a third-party liability claim to collect compensation for your serious injuries, we generally do not go after the truck driver as an individual. Because of a legal doctrine known as vicarious liability, we can hold the truck driver’s employer liable after a crash. This doctrine states that an employer is responsible for the actions of their employees while performing their job duties. This includes the time when truck drivers are behind the wheel of a big rig, working for a trucking company.
This is good news if you suffered severe, permanent injuries and require ongoing care. Trucking companies typically have large corporate insurance policies with much higher maximum payouts than an individual would carry. This allows us to negotiate a higher settlement to cover your future and ongoing medical expenses and other losses without resorting to filing a lawsuit.
We can identify the liable party or parties in your case and file claims to collect the maximum compensation you deserve. In some cases, our investigation may uncover other parties who played a role in causing your accident. This may include tire or parts manufacturers, other drivers, or even other corporations. We have the resources and experience to ensure everyone who caused your accident accepts financial responsibility.
How Can We Prove Our Case Against the Trucking Company After a Crash?
We need to prove the truck driver was negligent—or acting in a careless or reckless way—to hold their employer liable for your accident injuries. This requires us to collect a wealth of evidence to support our claim. In most auto accidents, we have evidence that includes:
- Police reports;
- Eyewitness testimony;
- Images from the scene;
- Documentation of the damage to vehicles;
- Your medical records;
- Accident reconstructions and testimony from these specialists; and
- Other expert testimony.
In truck accident claims, there is also additional evidence. This evidence stems from the rules and regulations truck drivers must follow because of state and federal motor carrier laws. Truckers and trucking companies must keep written and digital records to document hours of service, rest periods, truck maintenance checks, and other important data. We can use this evidence to support your case, as long as we request it quickly after your crash.
When we sign on to handle your truck accident case, one of the first things we do is send a spoliation letter to protect this evidence. This letter informs the trucking company of your claim and demands they preserve evidence that includes:
- The driver’s rest logs;
- Maintenance logs and records of maintenance checks;
- Data from any computers in the truck;
- Post-accident drug and alcohol test results;
- Documentation of the damage to the truck; and
- The driver’s personnel records, including training and work history.
What Happens During the Claims Process?
We handle the entire claims process for you, from start to finish. We collect the evidence, build a strong case, determine a fair settlement value, and then send a demand letter to their insurance company or legal team. This demand letter outlines our evidence and requests a specific payout to cover your medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
This demand letter does not signal the end of your claims process. In fact, it is just beginning. The trucking company will likely offer a much lower payout in response. This begins the settlement negotiation process. We go to bat for you, fighting for the maximum payout you deserve based on the facts of your case. Usually, this aggressive approach to negotiation is successful and we can reach a fair settlement.
If they deny liability or refuse to payout a fair settlement, we can pursue a civil suit in court. Sometimes just threatening this will encourage the trucking company to increase their settlement offer. In other cases, we need to take your case to court and have a judge award the payout you deserve. While we understand that most of our clients do not want to go to court, we have the litigation experience to make this as painless and low-stress as possible for you and your family.
How Much Is My Claim Worth?
There is no way to know for sure how much you will receive for your claim until we successfully negotiate a settlement or the judge awards you compensation. Of course, we do need to know approximately how much the crash cost you to know what a fair settlement looks like.
To determine a fair amount, we use bills, receipts, and other documentation to calculate your current expenses and losses. Then, we call in experts from our vast network to help us understand your future and ongoing care costs and the value of your future lost income because of the crash.
Only once we understand the full value of your economic losses can we put a value on your non-economic losses, like pain and suffering. There are several ways to calculate this total. We can discuss the best option for you when the time comes.
Once we do the math, we can provide you with a range of values in your case. This allows you to understand what a fair settlement may look like. It also gives us a target for our negotiations and a place to start when we send our demand letter.
How Can I Reach a Truck Accident Lawyer in Fort Myers?
If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries in a Fort Myers tractor trailer accident, you need skilled and experienced legal representation. The Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine offers free case evaluations and handles these cases on a contingency basis. This means you do not pay us until we win a payout for you. Call us at 800-747-3733 to schedule a time to meet with one of our lawyers.