Factors To Consider After A Tractor-Trailer Accident
While tractor-trailer accidents are all too common, not every incident is the same. Sometimes a person’s injuries are worse than in other cases; sometimes the liability may be shared between actors while in other instances the fault can be laid at one person’s door. That said, there are certain laws in effect in Florida that can affect just about any claim you might make regarding injuries suffered in an accident with a tractor-trailer. An experienced attorney can help sort things out.
No-Fault Auto Insurance
Florida is one of the few U.S. states to have a no-fault system for auto insurance. What this means is that every driver of a vehicle in Florida that has at least four wheels must carry a certain amount of auto insurance – namely, at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) coverage – which can then be used to pay medical expenses for minor auto accidents. (It is important to note that according to data from the Insurance Information Institute, approximately 20 percent of Floridians do not have this coverage, but drive anyway.)
If you have been involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer, and do not carry auto insurance, you may be able to file suit against them in court if your injuries are “significant and permanent” – but if your injuries are minor, you may have very little recourse to pursue a claim. In some cases you may be able to file a claim with the insurer of the person who struck you – but many tractor-trailer drivers and their companies do not carry no-fault coverage, particularly if they are not based in Florida.
Negligence & Comparative Fault
If your injuries meet that “significant and permanent” threshold established in Florida law, you should be able to file suit against the tractor-trailer driver, and in many cases, against their employer, depending on the specific facts of your case. There are certain criteria that an injured plaintiff has to establish before they can hold a negligent defendant liable: namely, that the defendant caused actual harm to the plaintiff, through their own actions (or lack thereof), which constituted a breach of the duty of care owed by every motorist on the road.
Be advised that if you are concerned about whose fault your accident actually was, Florida law does allow an injured person to recover in some cases, even if they are held to have been partially at fault for their own injuries. If an injured plaintiff is held, say, 20 percent liable, this does not mean they cannot recover for what they have been through; it simply means that they cannot recover for that 20 percent. That still leaves 80 percent on the proverbial table.
Contact A Tampa Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney
Tractor-trailers are very large vehicles that must be operated by qualified professionals. If you have been injured in an accident involving a tractor-trailer, know that you have the right to seek compensation for your expenses, and for your pain and suffering. The Tampa truck accident attorneys from the Rinaldo Law Group have handled these cases before, and will work hard on yours. Call our office today for a free consultation.