Where Should I File My Florida Truck Accident Case?
Florida has several different highways and busy roads from Jacksonville to the Keys. Given the level of traffic, and the amount of shipping done by tractor-trailer in the state, it is unfortunately common for tractor-trailer crashes to happen, causing serious injuries and fatalities. One major question not often asked, in filing a truck accident case, is where to file – and in many cases, choosing the right court can make a serious difference.
Can I Sue?
In most auto accidents, where the at-fault party is a private individual, the choice of where to file a lawsuit is somewhat limited; usually, one must file where the accident took place – if one can file a lawsuit at all. Florida is a state with a no-fault auto insurance system, which means that unless a plaintiff’s injuries meet a certain threshold – generally they must be “significant and permanent” – they must seek compensation via filing an insurance claim, rather than in court.
In a case involving a commercial defendant, a person’s injuries are more likely to meet the injury threshold simply due to the size mismatch between tractor-trailers and most passenger vehicles. In addition, it is more common to have options as to where to file suit against the driver and any other defendants in your case. Depending on specific factors in your case, you may be able to file in a court more favorable to you if the proper grounds to do so exist.
Different Scenarios Yield Different Outcomes
An accident with a tractor-trailer will very often have certain characteristics that can affect where one might wish to file suit. For example, if your damages are more than $75,000 (which is quite possible in serious tractor-trailer crashes), and the truck driver is not a Florida resident, it may be a good idea to file your suit in federal court, under a rule called diversity jurisdiction.
Alternatively, if your potential damages are less, and/or the truck driver and other defendants are Florida residents, filing in Circuit Court may be a good idea – County Courts have a damage cap of $30,000, and if your expenses will be more, it would cause problems to file suit in a court that cannot make you whole. An experienced attorney can properly advise you on the court in which your case has the best chance of being successful.
Contact A Tampa Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney
Tractor-trailer accidents can be devastating, causing long-term injuries. A Tampa tractor-trailer accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can help answer your questions and manage your concerns. Call our office today for a free consultation.