Damages After Florida Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Tractor-trailer accidents can be one of the most serious types of road crashes, leading to life-changing injuries and long-term trauma. If you have been involved in a tractor-trailer accident that was caused by another person’s negligence, you have the right to file suit and seek damages for what you have been through. There are several types of damages that may be available to you, though your case must be of a particular nature to qualify for some.
Can I File Suit At All?
In Florida, it is important to know that a no-fault system of auto insurance is in place. This means that if you are based in Florida, and you own a four-wheeled vehicle, you are required to carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) insurance, which is intended to be used to cover medical bills in the event of a minor accident. Your policy should protect you even if you are not in your own car when injured – but if your medical bills exceed the amount of your coverage, you can be left high and dry.
PIP can cover the medical bills for a relatively minor injury, but most injuries in tractor-trailer accidents are serious, given the sheer amount of weight involved, and the speeds at which most crashes take place. More significant injuries will usually pass what is known as the “serious injury threshold” in Florida law – in general, any injury that is “significant and permanent” will qualify. If this happens in your case, you can safely bypass the no-fault system and instead file suit against the allegedly negligent driver (and their employer) in the relevant district court.
Many Types of Damages
If your injuries are serious enough that they meet the threshold, you have the right to file suit and seek damages from one or more defendants. Most people file suit against the driver of the tractor-trailer, but depending on the case, other defendants may also bear some of the potential liability. For example, it is not uncommon to include the driver’s employer, or the company that owns the tractor-trailer, as a defendant, because the driver’s conduct and the vehicle’s performance may have had significant bearing on the accident as a whole.
If you prevail in establishing negligence against one or more defendants, you can receive compensatory damages, which are the damages intended to make you “whole” – in other words, to make up for the expenses you have sustained after your accident. Those damages can include past medical costs, future medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress, among other types. Be advised that punitive damages are also possible – damages that are granted solely to punish – but are granted solely in cases of gross (extreme) negligence.
Contact A Tampa Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney
A tractor-trailer accident can change a person’s entire life. If you have been through one that you suspect was due to another person’s negligence, you have the right to file suit to try and obtain the damages you deserve after what you have suffered. A Tampa tractor-trailer accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can offer experienced and compassionate representation. Contact our office today for a free consultation.