In Florida, accidents involving commercial vehicles kill 1 person every 1 hour and 48 minutes, according to state data.
And 1 person is injured in a crash with a commercial vehicle just under every 9 minutes in the Sunshine State.
The risk of commercial vehicle crashes is so high it’s important for you to understand the difference between getting hit by a semi-truck and a family sedan.
Armando Personal Injury Law has represented many commercial vehicle accident victims in the Tampa area. We know the specific avenues and opportunities for evidence discovery that are not always available in standard passenger vehicle crashes.
Not all car and truck accidents are created equal, and commercial vehicle accidents are some of the more complicated claims that cause the most serious injuries.
Our community recently experienced a tragic accident when, in February, a semi-trailer made a wide left turn on U.S. 301 in Tampa and drove into the path of an oncoming car. The passenger vehicle was hit by the big rig’s trailer, the car got lodged in its underride guard, and the vehicle was dragged for 200 feet. Sadly, the impact killed the 31-year-old woman who was driving the car.
In case you or a loved one ever get into a crash with a commercial vehicle, here are some tips on how to handle the situation.
What to do if you are hit by a company vehicle
Whether you're involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle from FedEx, UPS, Amazon, or some other company, your health and safety always come first. If you or anyone else is seriously injured after a crash, call 911 right away to request an ambulance and wait for medical help to arrive.
You should also:
- Call the police. It doesn’t matter how small you think the accident is, it’s important that you call the police. An officer will investigate the crash and generate an accident report that will then be used by you, your lawyer, and the insurance companies as an important piece of evidence.
- Accept medical attention. If a first responder such as a paramedic or EMT offers to examine you, let them, even if you feel fine. Internal injuries or a brain injury such as a concussion may not be obvious to you, but a trained medic may be able to identify something wrong. It’s also important that you see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident regardless of whether you feel fine or if you were already checked out at the scene. Seeing a doctor for a full medical checkup will allow you to receive a proper diagnosis and create a record of your injuries, which is critical when you're pursuing a claim for damages. Keep in mind that the faster you see a doctor after your accident, the less ammunition the insurance company will have to dispute the severity of your injuries. Be sure to get records for all your medical examinations.
- Take photos of the accident and your injuries.
- Do not accept blame for the accident. It’s natural to feel bad after an accident - people are hurt and disoriented, wreckage lays in chunks across the street, and you were involved. You may feel the need to express empathy and say that you are “sorry all this happened” or use the phrase “I hit the truck” when you really mean the truck ran a red light and plowed straight through into oncoming traffic. It’s statements like these that insurance adjusters will use against you to dispute your claim or offer you a meager settlement.
- Gather information about the driver and the vehicle. It doesn't matter if you were involved in a crash with a delivery van or a box truck, be sure to get the driver's name, contact information, the name of the driver's employer, and insurance details.
- Write it all down. While it's all still fresh in your mind, write down everything you can remember about the crash. Nail down details like time, place, date, road conditions, and the actions leading up to the crash.
- Contact a lawyer. You shouldn't try to take on an army of corporate lawyers alone. If you or a loved one was in an accident with a commercial vehicle, you need someone on your side who knows the law and can protect your rights. The best way to level the playing field after an accident with a commercial vehicle is to hire an attorney.
In cases involving commercial vehicles, there’s often a lot at stake for the driver's employer. That's because these companies often have high-limit insurance policies. Perhaps the biggest difference between getting into a crash with a commercial vehicle and a passenger vehicle is the number of people involved and the livelihoods at stake.
Depending on the exact details of your crash, negligent trucking, shipping, and delivery companies, drivers, cargo loaders, parts manufacturers, and product owners could all bear some responsibility for the accident and lose work, licensing, or their careers because of it. As such, you can be sure that those responsible for your crash will do everything they can to reduce their liability and protect their own interests.
When times are tough, it’s time for armando personal injury law
Attorney Armando Edmiston has built a reputation in Florida as an attentive, trustworthy, and thorough personal injury lawyer who knows how to win complex cases for his clients.
At Armando Personal Injury Law, we don’t settle for less. We fight for maximum compensation so our clients can recover physically, financially, and emotionally. And if the insurance companies are being unreasonable about a settlement offer and refuse to budge, we are more than happy to file a lawsuit and take the fight to court.
Contact us today for a free consultation. Our office is located in Tampa, FL and we proudly serve clients throughout Hillsborough County.