After A Florida Tractor-Trailer Accident
If you have been involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer in Florida, it is unfortunately likely that you have sustained severe, even life-threatening injuries. In the moments immediately following this type of crash, it can be hard to know what to do to preserve both your claim for damages and your own personal safety. While your safety comes first in every respect, it is possible to act in a way that can potentially cause issues if you seek to file suit or claim damages for your injuries at a later date. Knowing what to do is paramount.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
While most people with visible, tangible injuries seek medical assistance as quickly as possible after a vehicle accident, it can be tempting to skip the hospital visit if no injuries are immediately visible. In general, and particularly in Florida, this is not a good idea. The reasons why are twofold: (1) it is not at all uncommon for certain injuries, such as whiplash and other soft tissue conditions, to only manifest days or weeks after an accident; and (2) unless you seek medical care within 14 days of an auto accident, you may not be able to access your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance.
Every licensed driver in Florida is required to carry at least $10,000 worth of PIP and $10,000 worth of property damage liability (PDL) insurance, intended to cover medical bills for minor injuries. If your injuries do not meet the state’s “serious injury threshold,” this coverage may be all you have to rely on in order to get your medical bills paid. If your injuries are more severe, it is still worth getting medical assistance immediately so that you have a paper trail to properly document the harm you have suffered.
Know Your Rights
After a tractor-trailer accident, particularly a serious one, another thing to keep in mind is that you have the right to file suit against the person who allegedly caused your accident – the truck driver, someone else on the road, or any other actor that can be linked to causing your injuries. Settlement offers often come quickly in this type of case, because very often, going to trial can prove ruinous to the defendant (or their employer, who can sometimes be held liable for the defendant’s actions in certain cases). While sometimes, accepting a settlement is a good idea, there are many cases in which going to trial stands a better chance of granting you compensation.
In general, it is a good idea to not discuss your accident with anyone, at least in public, because any details or admissions can be used against you in court. Social media posts are notorious for being used as evidence by insurers or by a defendant’s attorney to try and argue that your injuries were not debilitating, or that you were somehow at fault. Insurers may also pressure you to divulge private information, ostensibly to help you, but in reality, to seek a quick end to a potentially problematic lawsuit. In these situations, it is generally a good idea to enlist a knowledgeable attorney instead of trying to navigate the legal process alone.
Contact A Tampa Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney
A tractor-trailer accident can be a life changing event, but even if your injuries are severe, it is important to know that you deserve compensation if the crash was caused by the negligence of another person. A Tampa tractor-trailer accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can help answer your questions, and guide you through the legal process. Call our office today at (813) 831-9999 for a free consultation.