Commercial vehicles travel through St. Petersburg, Florida, every day. Unfortunately, collisions involving commercial vehicles can be extremely dangerous. That’s because commercial vehicles tend to be much larger and heavier than traditional cars. Sometimes they are carrying hazardous materials or cargo.
When a commercial vehicle crashes, it can completely obliterate a smaller car. This regularly results in catastrophic injuries and even death.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a St. Petersburg commercial vehicle accident, you should consider speaking with an attorney at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers. Our St. Petersburg commercial vehicle accident lawyers can evaluate your case and help you recover money for your losses.
Please don’t hesitate to give our office a call to schedule a free consultation with a St. Petersburg lawyer at (727) 796-8282 with no strings attached.
How Can Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers Help You After a Commercial Vehicle Accident In St. Petersburg
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers has over 300 years of collective experience helping injured people in Florida. Our team has recovered over $675 million for our clients, including those injured in commercial vehicle crashes.
We are proud to have fought for our clients in the Florida Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of the United States. Three of our St. Petersburg personal injury lawyers are Board Certified by the Florida Bar Association, which is an exclusive recognition saved for only a small percentage of lawyers in Florida.
When you trust us to represent you after an accident in St. Petersburg, Florida, we will:
- Give you honest legal advice
- Build a case strategy
- Investigate the cause of the accident
- Collect evidence
- Identify who is responsible
- File insurance claims and negotiate on your behalf
- Hire experts to support your case
- Calculate the value of your case
- Go to trial when necessary
We want to win every case, but we also want our clients to feel whole again. Sometimes that’s not possible after experiencing a life-altering injury. However, we do whatever it takes to get you compensation so you can move on and focus on your future.
What Is a Commercial Vehicle?
The State of Florida defines a commercial motor vehicle as a vehicle that uses special fuel on public highways, weighs 26,001 pounds or more, or has three or more axles.
The most common types of commercial vehicles in Pinellas County include:
- Passenger vans
- Moving trucks
Commercial vehicles do not include government vehicles in Florida.
Commercial Driver License Requirements
Not just anyone can drive a commercial vehicle. Florida has strict requirements for people who want to get a commercial driver’s license. This is because commercial vehicles are inherently more difficult to operate than most other types of automobiles.
The requirements to get a commercial driver’s license vary depending on the type of commercial vehicle. In general, a driver must pass knowledge tests and skills tests. The knowledge tests may include:
- General knowledge test
- Combination vehicle test
- Air brakes test
- Other tests for specific endorsements
A driver will also need to pass skills-based tests to prove that they are capable of safely maneuvering the vehicle. These may include:
- Vehicle inspection
- Vehicle control test
- On-road test
Unfortunately, sometimes drivers are not fully qualified to handle a commercial vehicle. In those cases, an accident is much more likely to happen.
Who Is Responsible After a St. Petersburg Commercial Vehicle Accident?
When a commercial vehicle accident happens in St. Petersburg, there are usually two different parties that can be held responsible: the driver and the trucking company.
A driver may be liable if they were drunk, distracted, or driving recklessly. A trucking company may be liable if they didn’t properly train the driver, didn’t allow the driver enough breaks, or ignored safety problems with the vehicle.
Sometimes, however, there are other responsible parties in a commercial vehicle accident. These may include other drivers on the road or the city for failing to maintain a safe roadway or put up signs.
To increase your chance of recovering money from the right person, we thoroughly investigate the cause of the crash and look into everyone involved.
What Types of Injuries Result From Commercial Vehicle Crashes?
Commercial vehicle crashes often cause serious and catastrophic injuries. The injuries may result in permanent disability or even death.
Some of the most common injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Head and skull fractures
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Broken and fractured bones
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Severe burns
Many of our clients experience multiple injuries and spend months or years recovering. You must seek immediate medical treatment after a commercial vehicle crash so that you understand the full scope of the trauma. Some injuries, like brain injuries, can become worse without medical intervention.
What Is the Value of My St. Petersburg Commercial Vehicle Accident Case?
St. Petersburg commercial vehicle accident cases vary in value. It is impossible to say exactly how much your case is worth without looking at the specific impact of the crash.
Some factors that tend to make a case have a higher value are:
- Long and intensive recovery periods
- The need for ongoing medical intervention or multiple surgeries
- Permanent disabilities or disfigurement
- An injury that prevents you from going to work or causes you to lose your job
- Emotional and psychological trauma
- Significant impact on your day-to-day and quality of life
Once we assign a value to your case, we’ll work hard to secure compensation based on the full amount. Reach out to us today to discuss your legal rights and options after a commercial vehicle crash in St. Petersburg, Florida.
What Damages Can I Ask for After a Commercial Vehicle Crash?
In St. Petersburg, you can ask for several different types of damages after a commercial vehicle crash. The law divides damages into categories so that it is easier to calculate and assign an accurate value.
The most common type of damage is economic damages. Economic damages are monetary losses that happen because of your accident and injury. After a commercial vehicle crash, we usually recover economic damages for:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Cost of medicine
- Physical therapy
- In-home nursing
- Household services
Of course, economic damages will vary from person to person. You might have specific costs that are unique to your situation. You should keep track of bills, receipts, and other paperwork that proves the payments you have been making.
We also routinely ask for non-economic damages after a commercial vehicle accident. Non-economic damages are intangible losses that happen after a crash. Unlike monetary losses, these are usually emotional and psychological trauma that you endured because of an injury.
Non-economic damages may include payment for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- The onset of mental health disorders, such as PTSD
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Permanent disfigurement
Commercial vehicle crash cases may have large requests for non-economic damages. Usually, these accidents are very traumatic. They might leave people in fear of driving or with serious injuries that affect their overall quality of life. You are entitled to reimbursement for this type of impact after a crash.
Punitive damages are different from economic and non-economic damages. This type of compensation is meant to punish the defendant rather than to compensate you for your losses.
Punitive damages are only available if the plaintiff can prove that the defendant acted with gross negligence or intentional misconduct. This is harder to prove than mere negligence.
Intentional misconduct means that the defendant knew that their actions were wrong and there was a high probability of hurting someone else. Gross negligence is when the defendant acts recklessly, and consciously disregards human life or the safety of others.
Examples in commercial vehicle accident cases may include if the driver was drunk or had road rage or if the company knew about defective brakes in a semi-truck but failed to fix them.
How Long Do I Have To File a Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawsuit in Florida?
In Florida, you have two years from the date of the accident or injury to file a personal injury lawsuit for a commercial vehicle accident based on negligence. Since the law recently changed, this applies to accidents that happened after March 23, 2023. If your accident happened on or before March 23, 2023, you have four years to file the lawsuit instead.
It is important to make sure that you don’t miss this deadline. If you do, you will lose your right to recover compensation in court. A lawyer will keep track of this deadline, and others, to make sure that your case stays on track and you don’t miss any important dates.
Talk To a St. Petersburg Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer
Too many people are afraid of embarking on a legal case after a St. Petersburg commercial vehicle accident. Most people settle with insurance for far less than they deserve.
There’s no reason to fear hiring a lawyer. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay us unless we win or settle your case. At that point, we take a set percentage of the settlement. There’s no risk in reaching out and having a conversation.
Our team of St. Petersburg commercial vehicle accident attorneys is ready to hear about the impact of your accident. Give our office a call to set up a free consultation with no strings attached.