In Florida, you are required to report any vehicle accident that results in an injury within ten days. If you don’t, you will end up with a citation. Florida law does not require minor car accidents to be reported, but the same is not true for crashes involving commercial trucks.
If you’re a semi-truck driver, you are required by state law to report an accident to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles under the following conditions:
- The accident resulted in an injury
- The accident resulted in a death
- The accident caused property damage
- The accident resulted in an inoperable vehicle
Due to the size and weight of a semi-truck, it is highly unlikely that any accident won’t involve at least one of these elements. Even if it does not, you are still required by Florida law to call the police so they can create a written report of the wreck.
In addition to reporting the crash to the DHSMV, you will also need to report the accident to the company that owns the vehicle so they can follow their insurance company’s procedures for reporting.
Why Truck Accidents Pose a Danger to Florida Residents
Although commercial truck drivers receive extra training to get their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), they can still make the same mistakes as any other driver on the road. Many companies have taken steps to implement the newest safety technology to increase drivers’ visibility. However, far too many have not, leaving semi-truck drivers struggling to see the vehicles that are around them.
On Florida’s highways, you will find many variations of commercial trucks, from tractor-trailers to big rigs. This has resulted in many accidents, often involving serious property damage and catastrophic or fatal injuries. The FHSMV reported more than 30,000 accidents involving medium and heavy trucks in 2017 alone.
What to Do if You’ve Been Injured
Whether you are the driver of a commercial truck or you are the driver of another vehicle, if you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you may be able to take legal action and recover money damages. Some of the damages you can recover include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral costs
In addition, if you are the driver of a truck, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the trucking company if they forced you to work in unsafe conditions or failed to perform the routine inspections that are required by Florida law. Some examples of unsafe conditions include driving in dangerous weather or driving too many hours.
Florida’s Statute of Limitations
Before you file a claim, you’ll need to make sure you are filing within the state’s statute of limitations. This is the period of time in which you are legally allowed to file. If you miss this window, your case will most likely be thrown out by the court.
In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing after a truck accident is four years after the crash took place. If the wreck involved fatalities and you are filing a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a deceased victim, the statute of limitations can be reduced to two years.
When it comes to truck accidents in this state, you never know what will happen next. After all, let’s not forget that one 2016 truck crash released millions of agitated bees onto Florida highways.
Whenever you’re on the road, stay focused, and drive defensively to stay as safe as possible.