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Truck Accident Settlement Process in Florida

truck on a highway in Florida

Have you been injured in a truck accident in Florida? If someone else was to blame, you’re probably wondering whether you can sue them for the money you need to pay for your medical and repair bills, lost wages, and future expenses, as well as to compensate you for the pain and suffering you’ve experienced. You might already have heard the term “settlement” in this context but are unsure about what it entails. With that in mind, let’s explore truck accident settlements in Florida: what they are, what they cover, and how much yours could be worth.

What is The Process for Seeking a Truck Accident Settlement?

Before we go any further, let’s define “settlement.” A settlement is an agreement between a plaintiff (the person bringing a lawsuit) and the defendant (the person being sued) to end pending litigation voluntarily. The plaintiff gives up their right to sue over the underlying matter in exchange for certain concessions from the defendant—in the case of semi-accident cases, generally a specific amount of money.

Settling is often preferable to continuing a lawsuit for several reasons. First, commercial truck accident settlements avoid the time, expense, and uncertainty of a trial. A defendant who settles out of court tends to save money over one who loses at trial. At the same time, a plaintiff who settles out of court gets a guaranteed amount of money in a timely fashion. Lawsuits can drag on for months or even years, all while expenses continue to pile up. Furthermore, the actual details of a settlement remain confidential and often include language denying any fault – both of which are appealing to large corporate defendants. These and other benefits are why over 80 percent of all lawsuits settle out of court, according to The New York Times.

Florida truck accident settlements usually start with a proper valuation of the plaintiff’s claim. This includes totaling their tangible or economic losses and valuing the plaintiff’s non-economic losses, like emotional trauma and pain from their injuries. Your lawyer will probably send the at-fault party (usually the trucker, although in semi-accident cases, there could be multiple defendants) a Demand Letter stating the extent of your losses, the defendant’s liability, and a proposed settlement amount.

It’s rare for the defendant’s insurance company to pay the demanded amount off the bat, especially if it’s six figures or more. Instead, your 18-wheeler accident lawyer and the defense will probably negotiate back and forth. Sometimes, it’s just a question of coming to an amount agreeable to both sides. Other times, the defendant’s insurance company may question their client’s liability, which may mean you need more proof for your claim.

Negotiations may go back and forth, even up until the trial starts.

truck accident on a shoulder of a freeway

Who Can Be Liable for Damages in Truck Accident Cases?

In many cases, the truck driver isn’t the only liable party. If they are an employee of a trucking company and not an independent contractor, then the trucking carrier may also be responsible. For example, they could have been negligent in hiring or training new truckers, permitting untrained drivers on the road. Or, the carrier may have urged the driver to travel longer hours than the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) permits, making an accident more likely.

Other liable parties could include:

  • The loaders who placed the cargo on the truck
  • A mechanic who repaired the rig or trailer
  • The municipality responsible for maintaining the roadway

Types of Compensation Available for Victims of Florida Truck Accidents

Your truck accident settlement could include money for your:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost quality of life

What is The Average Truck Accident Settlement in Pensacola, Florida?

an 18-wheeler truck on a Florida highway

Because many factors go into valuing a semi-truck accident claim and settlement terms are often confidential, it’s hard to determine the average truck accident settlement in Florida.

Some of the factors that go into valuing your claim include:

  • The extent of your injuries – Your claim should cover your current and future medical needs, including surgery, physical therapy, and reconstructive surgery. If you’re injured to the point of being temporarily or permanently disabled, then your claim’s value will likely be higher.
  • Whether you’re disabled – Truck accidents can do severe damage, often leaving victims with long-term impairments. If you can’t live independently or care for yourself, your settlement should cover any care needs, like a nursing home.
  • How your work capability is affected – You’re entitled to compensation for lost wages and a loss of earning potential. If you cannot continue in the same job or require extensive vocational re-training, your settlement may be higher.
  • How much the accident impacted your life – Truck accident victims suffer more than just physical injury. Emotional and psychological trauma is very likely, which may affect your ability to work or maintain your relationships. You may also receive money for your pain and suffering.
  • How many defendants are involved – There is a good chance multiple parties, not just the truck driver, could be responsible for the accident. The more liable parties there are, the more money could be on the table.

How Long Will It Take To Receive Compensation?

The length of time between your lawyer’s initial demand and when you get a check in your hand will likely be several months. It could be a year or longer if the defense disputes the facts of the claim or if you’re catastrophically injured and asking for a commensurately large settlement. Your lawyer should keep you updated as your truck accident case progresses.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?

You have two years from the truck accident date to file your claim in Florida. If you fail to file your claim within the state’s statute of limitations, you effectively forfeit your right to sue.

Contact Our Pensacola Truck Accident Lawyers for Help

Contact Our Pensacola Truck Accident Lawyers for Help

Have you been hurt in a commercial truck accident in Florida? You may be permanently disabled, unable to enjoy life as you once did, and worried about the future. These are complex, often high-value claims, so choosing the right Pensacola truck accident lawyer is critical.

At Cardoso Law, PLLC, we understand these complex claims and how to settle them effectively. Contact us today for a free consultation, and we’ll explain how we can help with your Florida truck accident settlement.

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