Florida’s roads see an alarming number of truck accidents each year, with the aftermath often measured in more than just repair bills. The reality behind these statistics is full of complicated legal procedures, insurance claims, and settlement negotiations. On the bright side, as a crash victim, the law gives you the right to seek compensation for your injuries, not just from the truck driver involved but the trucking company and any third-party contractors responsible.
On the downside, it can be difficult to get the at-fault party to agree to a fair settlement. Although out-of-court agreements are quicker and less costly than going to trial, insurance companies are notorious for forcing accident victims to accept low offers.
At The Law Offices of Scott J Senft, we have over 25 years of experience handling truck accident claims in South Florida and have successfully settled numerous cases on our clients’ behalves. If you or your loved one has been injured by an 18-wheeler, reach out to us to discuss your case.
What Is the Average Amount for Florida Truck Accident Settlements?
There is no minimum settlement amount for truck collisions in Florida — just like there is no maximum limit on damages payouts. Based on truck accident settlements from cases in recent years, the average settlement amount for crashes involving semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and other heavy or commercial vehicles involved could be anywhere from $150,000 to $1 million. It is important to note that this includes a wide range of settlement amounts, from relatively minor truck accidents to those involving more severe injuries and damages.
Of course, the amount can be much higher in particularly catastrophic truck accident cases. In a recent Miami case where a semi-truck fatally struck a woman as she was riding her bicycle, her family received a $10 million settlement. In another incident, an elementary school teacher in Sarasota was awarded $5.95 million for her devastating injuries after being hit by a utility truck.
Factors that Impact Your Florida Truck Accident Settlement
When you are seeking compensation for your truck accident injuries, several factors come into play to determine the amount you might receive:
Liability Under Florida Law
As of March 24, 2023, Florida has transitioned from a pure comparative negligence system to a modified comparative negligence system. This means your compensation amount will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are 20% at fault for the accident, your settlement will be reduced by 20%. Also, you can only recover damages if your responsibility for the crash is 50% or less. If you are found to be 51% or more at fault, you cannot recover anything from the other party.
The Severity of Your Injuries
The more serious your injuries, the higher the potential compensation for your truck accident claim. This is because these injuries are bound to result in higher medical bills for ongoing treatment, rehabilitation, or long-term care. If you are so injured that you must take extended time off work or you are left permanently disabled, your damages will be even higher to reflect your lost wages, future earnings, and previous quality of life.
Your Medical Expenses
Average truck accident settlements include direct reimbursement for all medical costs related to the accident. This covers emergency care, hospitalization, doctor visits, medications, surgeries, physical therapy, and any other medical treatments. If you will need continuous treatment for the foreseeable future, its estimated cost will also be factored into the commercial truck accident settlements.
Keep in mind that the recent changes to Florida’s personal injury protection laws impact the way medical bills are processed. Now, the amount considered for compensation will be the actual amount paid or expected to be paid by your health insurance, rather than the amount billed by healthcare providers. To get a more accurate picture, it’s best to consult with an experienced truck accident attorney.
Lost Wages and Earning Capacity
If the semi-truck accident affected your ability to work, either temporarily or permanently, you might be compensated for lost wages. The compensation for lost wages is calculated based on the income you lose due to your inability to work. This includes not only your regular salary or wages but also any overtime, bonuses, or other income you would have reasonably earned had you not been injured. The longer you are absent from work, the higher the potential compensation for lost wages.
If you return to work in a limited capacity (e.g., part-time or in a different role that pays less due to your injuries), you can claim the difference between your current and pre-accident earnings. If your injuries impact your ability to work in the future, you can also claim financial compensation for future lost wages as part of your truck accident case.
The insurance company policy limits of the truck drivers and the trucking companies also play a role in your compensation amount. If your damages exceed these limits, it might be challenging to recover the full amount solely from the insurance policy. Under Florida’s no-fault insurance system, your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage will cover some of your expenses, regardless of who was at fault. However, PIP usually has its limits and may only cover a portion of your total losses.
Choose an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer to Maximize Your Compensation
Several other aspects go into determining how much commercial truck accident victims can get paid for their physical, financial, and emotional losses due to accidents involving trucks.
For example, if your personal injury claim seems likely to go to trial and be successful, the defendant might be more inclined to offer you a much higher truck accident settlement to avoid the unpredictability of a jury decision. Similarly, if the court determines that the driver or hauling company behaved in an especially appalling way, you might be awarded punitive damages on top of the regular compensation.
Remember, you are probably up against a large trucking company and powerful insurers with vast resources. Entities like these are determined to reduce their liability and shift the blame to the injured victim. Without a skilled and resourceful truck accident lawyer in Florida, you could be at a disadvantage.
A personal injury firm like The Law Offices of Scott J Senft can level the playing field for you. Backed by extensive skills, experience, and resources, we are equipped to take on powerful defendants and prove their liability. Our track record of large settlements and verdicts and our trial readiness also give us strong negotiating leverage.
The statute of limitations for truck accident claims in Florida has been reduced from four years to only two years as per House Bill 837, so do not delay. Call our law firm at (954) 505-2183 to schedule your free personal injury lawsuit consultation.