Legal Expertise When You’ve Been in an Accident
If you or someone you love has been in a truck accident in Tampa with a semi-truck, tractor-trailer, 18-wheeler, or commercial truck, you probably have many pressing questions. What was the cause of the accident? Who is responsible? Can I sue for being hit by a truck? How can a truck accident lawyer help? What am I entitled to? Will my life ever return to normal?
The Fran Haasch Law Group is a full-service personal injury law firm that specializes in this complex field of litigation and the very distressing repercussions it can have in individuals’ lives. We treat every case with the utmost importance and are adept at providing compassionate, personalized support and advocacy for victims of truck accidents in the Greater Tampa Bay region. We are experienced and passionate about getting the full compensation you and your loved ones deserve, so you can focus on recovery.
Truck Accident Causes
When it comes to states with the most fatal truck accidents, Florida has the unfortunate distinction of being in the top 5. Many factors can contribute to the cause of a catastrophic truck accident, but truck driver negligence is by far the biggest one, much more so than weather, road conditions, and vehicle performance, according to a report issued by the Federal Motor Carrier’s Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The use of over-the-counter and prescription drugs and alcohol can sometimes be a contributing factor to driver error, as can speeding, distracted driving, road unfamiliarity, failing to leave sufficient following distance, unsecured loads, and failing to observe traffic laws. However, sleep deprivation and driver fatigue are most often the culprit that causes truck drivers to lose control of vehicles and results in accidents.
Some causes of truck accidents are not the result of driver error. These can include:
- failure to properly maintain the truck or trailer
- failure of the trucking company to follow the safety measures of the Federal Motor Carrier
- Safety Administration
- failure of truck brokers to check the safety record of the owner/operators or trucking company
- failure to properly load cargo
- failure of a mechanic to properly repair, inspect, or diagnose issues with the truck
If you’re involved in a crash, it is essential to hire skilled and experienced truck accident attorneys who have the knowledge and ability to investigate all possible causes and hold the responsible parties accountable.
Can the Cause of a Truck Accident Be Proven?
Fortunately, determining the cause of a truck accident is easier in modern heavy-duty trucks through the use of many different devices collectively referred to as Heavy Vehicle Event Data Recorders (HVEDRs). These are usually software applications installed in semi-trucks capable of collecting and storing data when an incident occurs. Data collected and stored by HVEDRs can be useful when analyzing a truck crash, since they can record vehicle speed, brake usage, vehicle-use histograms, vehicle position history, and other important variables.
Who Can Be Held Accountable?
On first thought, most people presume that the person responsible for a truck accident is the truck driver. However, it is often not that simple. While driver error is usually the cause–most often due to negligence or speed–in many cases, numerous parties may share responsibility for a trucking accident that results in catastrophic personal injury or wrongful death. In addition to the truck driver, these parties may include:
- the trucking company
- the owner of the truck or trailer
- the person or company who leased the truck from the owner
- the manufacturer of the truck, tires, or other equipment which caused the crash
- a truck mechanic
- the shipping or cargo loading company.
Very often, these parties will try to avoid liability by blaming each other and/or the victim. Commercial trucking companies often hire independent contractor drivers to avoid liability for accidents caused by driver negligence. Another tactic used to limit their liability is leasing rather than owning the trucks they use. Between insurance companies, trucking companies, brokers, and shipping companies, there can be numerous players and possible defendants to deal with.
The Tampa truck accident lawyers at Fran Haasch Law Group have experience in dealing with this frustrating runaround from the various, possibly at-fault parties, and are not afraid to take them to trial, when necessary.
What Should I Do After an Accident Occurs in Tampa?
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident in Tampa, Florida, be sure to take the following measures:
- Call the police and report the accident. They will need to respond to investigate and document the accident. Do not let the truck driver persuade you to neglect to report the accident.
- Seek medical attention immediately if there is any sign of injury. It is not uncommon for drivers of passenger vehicles involved in truck collisions to walk away thinking they were spared major injury, only to later discover significant back and neck injuries that weren’t evident right away. Florida State law has a very limited timeframe within which you can file insurance claims for injuries sustained in a car or truck accident. You will also need medical documentation of your injuries to claim damages for them in a future lawsuit.
- Get the name, driver’s license information, employer details, and insurance of the truck driver.
- If possible, gather the names and contact information of any witnesses and take pictures of the scene.
- Report the accident to your insurance company.
- Call the injury lawyers at Fran Haasch Law Group for a free legal evaluation of your potential case.
What Damages Can I Claim in a Tampa Truck Accident?
Truck accidents are extremely dangerous and, tragically, often deadly. In these collisions, cars are easily crushed under much larger, much heavier tractor trailers. Life-changing, catastrophic injuries are sometimes the result, as are the inability to work, and extreme mental and emotional anguish.
There are numerous devastating damages that your Tampa truck accident attorneys can claim for you to get compensation, including medical expenses, auto repairs, property damage, lost wages, attorney fees and costs, future medical needs, and future lost wages due to inability to work because of your injuries. In addition to these financial loses, your injury lawyers can help you get recovery for the even more traumatic personal losses, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Physical disfigurement and scarring
- Emotional and mental distress
- Wrongful death
The true cost of these catastrophic injuries and loss of enjoyment of life can be enormous, and the compassionate, knowledgeable Tampa truck accident lawyers at Fran Haasch Law Group are experienced in ensuring you are appropriately compensated for them by the liable parties.
Are Tampa Truck Accident Claims Different Than Regular Car Accident Claims?
Yes. The trucking industry is highly regulated and subject to a variety of laws. Trucking laws require specific training and licenses for drivers, load weight restrictions, limits on the number of hours and distances truck drivers may go, limits on locations where they can drive, and that the trucks being driven are safe and comply with specific requirements. A great deal of information must be investigated by your accident lawyer to determine which parties might bear responsibility. This includes the trucking company’s policies and safety record; the truck driver’s log showing distance, hours, pick-ups, and deliveries; damage to vehicles; and medical records.
Because most commercial and semi trucks weigh between 10,000 and 80,000 pounds, the injuries that result from them are often more serious than crashes between passenger vehicles. Medical bills and ongoing medical care can be significant. Insurance claims are also more complicated in truck accidents, multiple insurance policies are usually involved, and both state and federal laws apply. Large trucks often have one policy covering the truck and another policy for the truck driver. Furthermore, some truck companies have separate policies to insure their trailers and to insure the cargo being transported.
One more added layer of complexity is that the truck drivers involved in truck accidents are often employed by large corporations or businesses located out of state. A savvy truck accident attorney will understand all these complexities, from trucking laws, rules of the road, negligence laws, and Florida court procedures, to the appropriate place to file a claim.
How Much Will a Tampa Truck Accident Lawyer Cost?
Truck accidents are one of our primary practice areas at the Fran Haasch Law Group. We provide a free evaluation to victims of truck accidents, in which we will give you an honest evaluation on if you have a viable case. We are dedicated to providing you with the ability to make an informed legal decision on the next steps of your case, and our track record of obtaining multi-million-dollar jury verdicts and settlements backs our commitment to secure the compensation you deserve.
In most cases, truck accident attorneys offer their services on a contingency basis, and this is the case at the Fran Haasch firm. This means it won’t cost you anything upfront. Injured clients who may not be able to afford an injury lawyer can still receive excellent legal advice in dealing with the aftermath of their accident. Our lawyers only collect an agreed-upon percentage of any settlement or award that you receive if you win. If you don’t win, you pay nothing.
Why Do I Need An Experienced Tampa Truck Accident Attorney?
The Complexity of Commercial Trucking and Federal Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the lead federal government agency responsible for regulating and providing safety oversight of commercial motor vehicles. They develop and enforce strict and numerous trucking regulations. Florida truck accident litigation is a highly specialized field of practice, and a successful law firm will need to be very well-versed in the intricacies of trucking regulations, as well as state and federal laws regulating interstate commerce.
Successful Tampa truck accident lawyers also need to have the means to fund your case. This requires hiring legal experts in accident reconstruction, medical care, vocation, and other specialty areas. The costs of hiring these experts can be several thousands of dollars, which can be prohibitive for inexperienced law firms without the professional expertise in fighting truck accident cases. The possibility of a lengthy appeal is another reason that a firm must have adequate financial resources to support the cases of accident victims.
The Legal Expertise to Fight for You
Finally, commercial truck accident cases require experienced attorneys with the boldness and determination to take on multiple defendants, and to negotiate with multiple parties. After a truck accident you may find yourself dealing with significant injuries, mounting medical bills, and begrudging insurance companies. Accident victims should be focused on their recovery, not the hassle, frustration, and energy required to deal with any other issues. Assertive and seasoned legal experts should be enlisted to handle the complexities of your truck accident case. They will be able to fight for compensation for injuries, future medical costs, and pain and suffering you may be entitled to.
When the Fran Haasch Law Group represents a Tampa truck accident client, an experienced and highly trained truck accident attorney is involved the whole way.
How Long Will it Take to Settle My Tampa Truck Accident Claim?
Most accident claims never go to court because the trucking company is incentivized to negotiate a settlement. Still, the process of seeing your case through from beginning to end will take some time.
Before you and your truck accident attorney can establish how much compensation you may be entitled to, time must be allowed for your attorney and the insurance company (or companies) to complete a thorough investigation.
Secondly, if you suffer from serious injury caused by the accident you may require significant time to recover before doctors can give a reasonably accurate prognosis. This is especially the case in spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, the extent of which may not be immediately known after catastrophic accidents. This also allows time to more accurately determine what your long-term medical expenses will be, should you have them.
Once you have determined what kind of compensation you deserve and the time comes, your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf with the commercial truck company’s or driver’s insurance company. It usually takes multiple rounds of negotiation before a settlement is reached.
Finally, in the event that a settlement is not reached and your truck accident attorney takes your case to court to be adjudicated by a judge or jury, you will have to wait for a court date. In all, settling your semi-truck accident claim can take anywhere from a few months to a few years.
How Long Do I Have to File A Truck Accident Lawsuit in Tampa, FL?
Florida law allows up to four years to make an initial court filing for personal injury when you are in a Tampa truck accident. In the case of wrongful death caused by a truck accident, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit is two years. Uninsured/Underinsured motorist claims generally have a five year limitation. If you miss these deadlines, you may no longer qualify to get the full compensation you deserve.
However, there are other reasons why it is critical to get an experienced Tampa truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after your car accident occurs. If your injuries prevent you from reaching out for help, have a friend or family member call truck accident lawyers for you. The sooner you’re able to call, the sooner your attorneys can begin the process of preserving data and gathering evidence to prove liability and support your case.
Florida Insurance Laws
Another reason it is essential to reach out to expert Tampa, FL truck accident attorneys immediately is that, as of 2013, Florida law permits you only 14 days to seek treatment from injuries sustained in a truck accident case. Under Florida insurance policy law, failure to seek medical treatment within 14 days will prevent an injured victim of a truck accident from receiving PIP insurance benefits to cover medical expenses/lost wages. The attorneys at Fran Haasch Law Group will ensure that you have all the medical documentation required to get a fair settlement of your truck accident case. Call us today for your free case evaluation.
Experienced Tampa Truck Accident Attorneys
The attorneys at Fran Haasch Law Group have over 20 years in personal injury practice areas, and are knowledgeable and highly experienced in fighting for truck accident victims in Tampa, Florida, as well as Clearwater, Palm Harbor, St. Petersburg, and the Greater Tampa Bay Region.
If you or someone you know has been affected by injuries, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and mental or emotional distress caused by a truck accident, you may have a case with numerous at-fault parties who will try to evade liability and prevent you from recovering the damage claims you deserve. There are a multitude of reasons why you need a skilled and authoritative lawyer in your corner.
The firm of Fran Haasch Law Group will aggressively fight for your justice and compensation. We will thoroughly investigate all responsible parties, from commercial trucking companies, truck owners, truck drivers, truck manufacturers, and brokers, to shipping or cargo loading companies. We have a deep understanding of the emotional and legal complexities of truck accident claims resulting in catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death. Building strong, attorney-client relationships and advocating for you is our passion. We offer all our services on a contingency basis, meaning you only pay if and when we successfully recover compensation on your behalf.
Contact Our Law Firm for a Free Consultation in Tampa, FL
Having knowledgeable legal representation can make all the difference in your financial recovery after an accident in Tampa. So don’t hesitate. If you need a truck accident attorney in Tampa, contact The Fran Haasch Law Group. We know the laws in Florida, and we will fight for your rights.
Fill out this contact form or call (727) 784-8191 for a free evaluation by one of our accident attorneys. NO upfront fees—you only pay if you receive compensation. Contact us today. We have offices located in Palm Harbor, Tampa Bay, and Clearwater.
Other Locations We Serve
In addition to Tampa clients, our injury lawyers serve clients in Pinellas and Pasco Counties. In addition, we frequently work with personal injury clients in Palm Harbor, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, and Bradenton.