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Florida Truck Accident Laws
Learn how Florida’s laws may impact the ultimate value and success of your truck accident case
According to the State of Florida’s transportation data, approximately 1,100 car and truck accidents occur on roads in the Sunshine State each and every day. Over the course of a year, the state suffers more than 400,000 significant crashes. Of these crashes, roughly 3,000 result in fatalities and more than 150,000 result in serious injury.
To learn more about truck accidents and laws in your state, contact Truck Law today.
If you’ve recently been injured as a result of a collision involving a large commercial truck in Florida, you’re not alone. It’s important that you seek support and legal guidance as soon as you can. Florida’s truck accident laws are nuanced and apply in slightly different ways to a variety of truck accident circumstances. Clarifying your rights and options will allow you to make informed decisions about your legal situation.
Assistance and Reporting Requirements
Florida state law mandates that those involved in injurious crashes must provide “reasonable assistance” to passengers and others impacted by any given collision in question. Additionally, motorists and truck operators involved in injurious crashes (and accidents resulting in property damage severe enough to render a vehicle temporarily or permanently inoperable) are required to submit a written crash report to the state’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Requirement
Florida is known as a “no-fault” state in re: motor vehicle accidents. Practically speaking, this means that following a crash, each driver involved must file a claim with their own insurance provider to cover certain expenses governed by their policies before pursuing any additional damages from others responsible for harm caused by a collision.
When Must a Lawsuit Be Filed?
The statute of limitations for filing truck accident lawsuits in Florida is generally four years after any given collision has occurred. Any lawsuits filed after this statute of limitations period has run will almost certainly be dismissed. This generous statute of limitations helps to ensure that truck accident victims are empowered to seek rightful damages for a relatively lengthy period of time after sustaining harm.
However, it’s important to understand that you shouldn’t wait to speak with an attorney simply because the law affords you up to four years to file a lawsuit. Unless you speak with an attorney promptly in the wake of a crash, you won’t benefit from the professional guidance that they can provide, assistance with the insurance claims process, and the swift preservation of potentially consequential evidence. Unless you take swift action to explore your rights and preserve your options, the strength and value of your case could be compromised.
Partial Liability in Truck Accident Cases
Being involved in a truck accident is never an ideal scenario. However, if you “had” to get injured in a truck collision anywhere in the U.S., sustaining injuries in a Florida collision is relatively ideal. Unlike the majority of states, Florida law doesn’t place a cap on the percentage of fault that may be assigned to a crash injury victim before they’re barred from seeking damages from others who are partially responsible for causing their harm as well.
Florida is known as a “pure comparative negligence” state. This means that injury victims remain empowered to pursue damages against others who are partially responsible for causing their harm, even when those victims also shoulder some of the blame. Most other states either bar victims from pursuing damages if they’ve contributed to their harm or they cap a plaintiff’s ability to receive damages if they are more than 49 or 50 percent at fault for their crash-related injuries.
How Truck Accident Cases Are Valued in Florida
The state of Florida doesn’t impose any caps on economic and non-economic damages in truck accident cases. This means that if any lawsuit that you file is successful, you could potentially be awarded the full value of all of the costs that you have incurred and are likely to incur in the future as a result of your crash. These objective cost reimbursement awards are known as economic damages. You may also be awarded compensation for your subjective losses, like pain and suffering. These awards are known as non-economic damages.
The only damages cap that the state of Florida enforces concerns punitive damages. Punitive damages are rarely awarded in truck accident cases, as they aren’t intended to “make the victim whole” but to punish the defendant and/or deter similar conduct in the future. In Florida, the punitive damages cap in truck accident cases is three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded to a victim.
Compensation for Partially Liable Scenarios
In the event that you file a truck accident lawsuit and some of the fault for your harm is assigned to you, your compensation award will be reduced in direct proportion to your assigned percentage of blame. For example, say that your harm is valued at $500,000. You’ve been assigned 20 percent of the blame, a truck operator involved in your crash is assigned 40 percent of the blame, and their employer is also assigned 40 percent of the blame. You’ll be entitled to pursue $200,000 from the truck operator, $200,000 from the trucking company, and you’ll shoulder the remaining $100,000 in losses due to your assignment of 20 percent of the fault for your harm.
In short, even if you’re concerned that your contribution to the cause(s) of your crash may decrease your case value, Florida’s generous financial protection of the rights of accident injury victims makes exploring your legal options a worthy investment of your time.
Legal Assistance Is Available
It’s critically important to understand how a state’s laws may impact any personal injury case that you may choose to file in the wake of sustaining harm due to an injurious accident. Some states do a far superior job of protecting the rights of truck accident victims than others do. To better understand how Florida’s laws may impact the ultimate value and success of your truck accident case, contact Truck Law today. Once you’ve received experienced legal guidance, you’ll be empowered to make informed choices about your opportunities for financial and legal recourse.