Truck accidents can result in some of the most severe injuries a person may be made to endure. Even the smallest of commercial vehicles can easily dwarf the largest of SUVs, leaving the occupants of passenger cars in a very vulnerable position during a crash.
However, even the most severe injuries cannot be the source of a personal injury claim unless you can prove that the truck driver was at fault for the accident. Doing so involves a specific process of legal analysis that must be followed to the letter.
A St. Petersburg truck accident lawyer could help you prove your case after suffering injury in a truck crash. If you choose to retain one, your personal injury attorney could work to gather evidence, analyze the law, and pursue negligent trucking companies and their insurance companies for the compensation that you deserve.
Proving the Truck Driver was At Fault
To recover any sort of compensation for a personal injury following a truck accident, the injured parties must prove that the truck driver was at fault. Because most collisions are accidents where the trucker did not intend to cause an injury, this typically involves proving that the trucker was negligent.
Negligence is a legally recognized cause of action that allows people injured in accidents to demand compensation. To accomplish this goal, plaintiffs must prove that:
- The defendant owed them a duty of care prior to the incident
- Actions taken by the defendant—or a failure to act—breached this duty
- The breach of the duty resulted in an injury
Truck drivers always assume a duty to protect all other individuals that they may meet while on the road. This extends to other drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Therefore, the first element is always met. On very rare occasions, a defendant may argue that an injury preexisted the incident, but for the most part, the third element requiring a physical injury is always met as well.
The central question in most truck accident cases is whether the trucker’s actions violated their duty of care. Some accidents make this question easy to answer: if a police officer cites a trucker for speeding, failing to yield, or carrying too much weight, the law assumes that the trucker is at fault for any ensuing accident. In other cases, a more in-depth investigation is required to prove trucker fault, for which a St. Petersburg truck accident attorney could provide significant assistance in collecting evidence.
Examples of Common Injuries in Truck Accidents
Even truck accidents that occur at low speeds place great strain on the bodies of the occupants of smaller vehicles. Even if their bodies do not come into direct contact with the truck, their car may be subjected to significant force or perhaps even crushed.
This can result in life-threatening injuries. It is not uncommon for the victims in these accidents to suffer:
- Broken bones
- Separated joints
- Severe cuts
Any form of physical injury is sufficient to make a claim. However, a complete claim should also demand compensation for lost wages and mental anguish. A truck accident lawyer in St. Petersburg could work with clients to understand the full impact of the accident on their lives.
That being said, even the most severe accident will not allow a plaintiff to make a claim if too much time has passed. Florida Statutes §95.11 states that a plaintiff must come to court within four years of the date of the accident if they want the court to hear the case. If this statute of limitations passes and a case is not yet in court, the plaintiff may be unable to recover.
Speak with a St. Petersburg Truck Accident Attorney Today
If you are injured in a trucking accident, it is natural to be intimidated and confused. You may think you will have to endure a lengthy trial to obtain the compensation that is rightfully yours. In truth, though, many truck crash cases end with a satisfactory settlement without ever going to court when handled by a qualified attorney.
A St. Petersburg truck accident lawyer could help you understand the law and undertake a thorough investigation of your incident. They could work diligently to hold both negligent truckers and their parent companies responsible for any injuries caused while behind the wheel. There is a limited time to file a claim, so call today to start working on your case.