What Damages Can I Recover In A Commercial Motor Vehicle Accident?
A commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is any vehicle over a certain weight, that uses specific types of fuel, and is not owned by a governmental entity or private individual. There are many, many CMVs on Florida roads, and unfortunately, many accidents every year are caused by the negligence of CMV drivers. If you have been injured after an accident with a commercial vehicle, you may have the right to seek money damages against the driver and other potential defendants.
Two Types of Damages
There are two types of damages commonly awarded under Florida law. Economic damages are the tangible damages that can be quantified after a crash – for example, medical bills, lost earnings, and funeral expenses if someone has lost their life. While some states place a cap on the amount one can receive in damages in a personal injury case, Florida does not cap economic damages specifically – if someone can quantify their injuries, they are entitled to recover that amount from a defendant who is found liable (in most cases).
Non-economic damages, by comparison, are the bills that cannot accurately be quantified, or at least cannot be quantified without expert testimony. Examples of these kinds of damages include mental anguish or pain and suffering. Florida’s legislature has attempted to cap non-economic damages, ostensibly to safeguard against unreasonable jury awards, but as of this writing, a cap only exists in cases of medical malpractice ($500,000). Personal injury cases, such as traffic accident cases, do not have a cap currently.
Can I Even File Suit?
As with all other traffic accident cases in Florida, an injured plaintiff must first pursue compensation through the personal injury protection (PIP) coverage they are required to carry. All registered Florida drivers must carry at least $10,000 in PIP coverage and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) coverage, intended to be used to cover medical expenses in less serious accident cases. However, accidents involving CMVs often result in serious long-term injuries; in these cases, a plaintiff can be said to have met the “injury threshold” required by law in order to file suit.
If your injuries are serious enough to satisfy the injury threshold – generally, they have to be “significant and permanent,” you can file suit against the people or entities you believe caused your accident due to negligence – which can be not only the driver, but in some cases, their employer, the vehicle’s owner, or maintainer, among others. Every case is different, and contacting an attorney is a good idea, regardless.
Call A Tampa Commercial Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney
Being involved in an accident with a commercial motor vehicle often means very serious injuries after the fact. If you have been through this, a Tampa commercial motor vehicle accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can help shoulder some of the legal load while you focus on recuperation. Contact our office today at (813) 831-9999 for a free consultation.