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St. Petersburg Truck Accident Attorney

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The experienced St. Petersburg truck accident attorneys at Salter, Healy, Rivera & Heptner understand that getting in a truck accident can be a traumatic event that can lead to some life changing injuries. If you have been seriously injured in your truck accident, you may be eligible for personal injury compensation. Our St. Petersburg truck accident attorneys are here to guide you through this legal process. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We will work tirelessly to get you the result you deserve.

Truck Accident Resources

Why Choose Us

  • Our firm holds over 60 years of experience in personal injury law. We have helped Florida residents recover millions of dollars in settlements and jury verdicts, and we will fight diligently to secure the compensation you deserve.
  • Truck accidents often cause painful, debilitating injuries that require lengthy recovery periods. Our attorneys will handle all aspects of your case on your behalf so you can focus on healing.
  • We understand that truck accidents often lead to financial hardship. Our firm operates on a contingency fee basis to limit your out-of-pocket costs. If we do not secure compensation in your case, you will not owe legal fees.

Regulations for Florida Truck Drivers

Truck drivers are subject to strict state and federal regulations. One of the most important are the Hours of Service rules, which are issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These regulations are in place to prevent drivers from operating too long without taking a break, reducing the risk of a drowsy driving accident. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), Florida drivers must adhere to the following Hours of Service rules.

  • Drivers can drive for 12 hours after taking 10 consecutive hours off duty.
  • Drivers are not allowed to drive after the 16th hour after they come on duty after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
  • Drivers are not allowed to drive after operating their vehicles for 70–80 hours during 7–8 consecutive days.
  • After every 7–8 day period, a driver must take at least 34 consecutive hours off duty before he or she can operate his or her vehicle again.
  • Drivers who are not released from duty within 12 hours must document their driving time.
  • Drivers are exempt from documenting their driving time in a logbook if they do not travel outside of a 150-mile radius and do not have a hazmat placard.

Florida is a no-fault accident state and generally requires victims of motor vehicle accidents in St. Petersburg to pay for their own losses following a collision. All drivers must carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which pays for financial damages following a collision. After a truck accident, your first course of action would likely be to file a PIP claim and recover damages for your medical expenses and other economic losses. You could also file a third-party insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party. However, your injury must qualify as serious.

Under Florida law, you must have experienced at least one of the following injuries due to the accident:

  • Substantially full disability for at least 90 days
  • Permanent limitation of use of a body organ or member
  • Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
  • Bone fractures
  • Significant disfigurement

Due to the size and weight difference between trucks and passenger vehicles, truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries. As a result, you will likely qualify for a third-party claim after your accident. Speak to an attorney at Salter, Healy, Rivera & Heptner to determine your eligibility.

Important First Steps in Your Case

The most important thing you can do is get immediate medical attention after the accident. Your injuries may be so severe that you are taken in an ambulance and immediately taken to the emergency room. You may want to visit an urgent care after the police come and take a report or you might call your primary doctor to set up an emergency visit. Whatever you do, don’t wait to seek medical attention and don’t avoid it either. You will only end up making your injuries worse. It will also prompt the liable party’s insurance company to try to throw out your case by saying your injuries were not either relevant to the case or that you are not injured to begin with.

Next, contact law enforcement so that they can arrive at the scene, document any evidence as to how the accident happened, and assess fault. Then make sure that you gather any contact information of independent third-party witnesses. Oftentimes, it’s the witness testimony that decides who’s going to prevail in a case of disputed liability.

The next thing that anyone who was in a truck accident should do is contact a competent attorney, specifically a board certified civil trial lawyer that specializes in personal injury law.

Most Common Types of Truck Accident Injuries

Truck accidents are typically pretty severe because of the nature of the collisions. Trucks are excessively heavy and hard to manage. They don’t stop quickly, and they have huge blind spots. Because of this, the injuries tend to be extremely serious. The most common injuries we see from truck accident victims include:

Unfortunately, many of these cases result in permanent and life-altering injury. The best thing you can do is seek medical attention and continue to do it. Your health is the most important thing and even trumps your compensation. Make sure you take care of yourself.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

There are a number of complications that are unique to trucking accidents. Determining who is responsible for the accident is difficult, because the lawyer researching the case must have an understanding of the various trucking laws that affect the case. Depending on the cause of the accident, there could be one or multiple defendants, possibly including the driver of the truck, the trucking company, the truck’s manufacturer, various government bodies, insurance companies, contractors and more. Causes of the accident could include any of the following:

  • Impaired or distracted driver
  • Inadequate trucking experience
  • Defective truck
  • Poor weather/road conditions
  • Overworked driver
  • Improper and unsafe truck loading

Who Is Liable for a Florida Truck Accident?

Truck accidents can occur for several reasons, from driver negligence to improper maintenance and defective vehicle parts. If someone else is responsible for the collision, you may be able to file a lawsuit or insurance claim against him or her. Depending on the cause of your accident, any of the following parties may be liable for your injuries.

  • The truck driver: Drivers have a duty to follow all applicable traffic laws and operate their vehicles safely. If the accident occurred due to the negligence of the truck driver, you could file a claim directly against him or her. Examples of driver negligence include drunk driving, drowsy driving, and distracted driving.
  • The trucking company: Trucking companies have a duty to follow state and federal regulations, ensure their drivers are properly trained, and maintain their fleet of vehicles. If the trucking company’s negligence caused your accident, you can name the entity as a liable party in your claim. Employers are also liable if their employees injure someone on the job; if the trucker was an employee of the company, you could name the entity in your lawsuit.
  • A manufacturer: If the accident was caused by a defective vehicle part, the manufacturer of that part would be liable for your injuries. You could also file a claim against the distributor or retailer of that part. Common defective auto parts include brakes, engines, steering wheels, and lights.

Florida Statute of Limitations

You are allowed four years from the date of your truck accident to either bring your claim or to settle it in civil court. Four years seems like a long time, but with a personal injury case, those years can go by quickly. You do not want to delay in hiring an accident attorney. If you miss this four year deadline, you will be completely barred from receiving any compensation. Even if you have maybe a week left of your statute of limitations, an attorney might not be able to help you. These cases take time to build into a strong claim. The sooner you get to an attorney, the better off you will be.

How to Avoid Getting Reduced Compensation

In Florida there are pure comparative negligence rules which allow for you to receive compensation even if you have shared fault. The only way you can get barred from compensation is if you share 100% of the fault. If you have 0-99% fault, you will have your award reduced by the amount of blame you share. For example, if you have been awarded $100,000 and you have been deemed 20% at fault, your award will be reduced to $80,000. Our job is to keep you from getting any of this shared fault so that you can get the most possible compensation.

Do NOT Talk to the Liable Party’s Insurance Company

The insurance company is almost certainly going to call you shortly after the accident to try to get a recorded statement from you. They will be looking to get you to put yourself at the center of the blame. If they do that, they can owe you less money than what you are entitled to. If they are calling you, please understand that you are not legally obligated to cooperate with them. Giving them the recorded statement is not going to benefit you. It is only going to hurt your case if you answer in an unfavorable way. You should never speak to the insurance company before first consulting your accident attorney. You can also allow your attorney to totally take over communication with that insurance company.

Why You Need a St. Petersburg Truck Accident Lawyer

Truck accident claims can be very complex and require certain skills, specialized knowledge, and access to important resources. If you are planning on filing a truck accident insurance claim or lawsuit, you need an attorney on your side. A St. Petersburg truck accident attorney from Salter, Healy, Rivera & Heptner can provide several benefits to strengthen your case, including the following.

  • Your lawyer will have extensive knowledge of the truck accident claims process. He or she will also know the applicable laws and regulations that truck drivers and their employers must follow. Your attorney can guide you through each step of your claim and help you craft a compelling case for your right to compensation.
  • Truck accidents often lead to very serious and catastrophic injuries. As a result, it can be difficult to calculate the full extent of your injuries or damages. Your lawyer will be able to accurately calculate your potential settlement and predict your long-term care costs.
  • To prove your truck accident claim, you may need to request pieces of evidence from the trucking company such as logbooks, maintenance records, and other internal documents. Your attorney can request this information from the trucking company and preserve evidence for your future case.
  • Your attorney will have significant experience representing cases similar to yours. He or she will be able to examine your case and create an optimal legal strategy based on the circumstances of your accident.
  • Determining liability in a truck accident can be very complex. Your attorney will have the resources necessary to launch a full investigation into your accident and determine how it occurred.

Call Our Office Today for a Free Consultation

If you have been seriously injured in a truck accident in Florida, please do not hesitate to call our office to set up a free consultation. Our St. Petersburg truck accident lawyers have handled dozens of cases just like yours and will dedicate their practice to getting you the best result possible. You deserve full and fair compensation for your injuries and damages, and we want to ensure that that happens for you. Please call today to set up a free consultation with one of our St. Petersburg injury lawyers to go over the details of your case.

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