A trucker crash is only one of the many dangers that motorists and pedestrians face in Palm Bay, Florida. Unfortunately, due to the size and weight of these large vehicles, such incidents can easily result in fatalities.
If you lost a family member in a truck accident here in Palm Bay, a Palm Bay fatal truck accident lawyer from Andrew Pickett Law, PLLC can help. Our personal injury lawyers can investigate the incident and work to recover the expenses incurred as a result of your loved one’s death.
Proving Liability in a Fatal Truck Collision
Determining the Palm Bay trucker’s fault in a fatal truck accident works just like in an injury case. You must prove that the driver or the truck owner was negligent or intentionally harmful. This involves looking into the laws they might have violated during the collision, which Palm Bay fatal truck accident attorneys can do for you as they are already familiar with these rules.
For example, the trucker might have violated federal or state truck safety regulations such as:
- Drug and Alcohol Prohibitions: Drivers are not allowed to drink alcohol or use drugs on trips, while owners must have their staff tested.
- Hours of Service: Truck drivers must not work beyond a certain number of hours without taking mandatory breaks.
- Weight Limit Enforcement: Trucks must have special permits to operate if they exceed the state’s motor carrier weight limits.
- Routine Inspection and Repairs: Truck owners must have their trucks inspected and maintained regularly to minimize the risk of vehicles malfunctioning on the road.
You could hold the Palm Bay truckers liable for your loved one’s death if evidence shows that they failed to uphold such regulations.
There Could Be Other Liable Parties
Of course, the Palm Bay fatal truck accident lawyer will also consider the possibility that other parties could be at-fault for the collision. For example, another motorist might have been distracted by their phone, causing them to crash into the truck. As such, the distracted driver could be more liable than the trucker.
For a free legal consultation with a fatal truck accidents lawyer serving Palm Bay, call 321-503-4014
Truck Liability Insurance Can Cover Death-Related Damages
Losing a loved one qualifies you for third-party actions in Palm Bay. That means you do not have to use PIP insurance to recover damages.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Florida Statutes Section 627.7415 require commercial truck owners to have their trucks covered by liability insurance. Liability coverage not only pays for an accident victim’s injury and property damages but wrongful death damages as well. Therefore, you can bring the claim to their truck insurance provider.
However, the truck owner’s liability coverage typically only covers drivers who caused the accident while on the job. If the driver was off-duty at the time, you would have to bring the claim to their personal auto insurer.
Opting for Lawsuits Instead
Besides helping you collect evidence, a fatal truck accident lawyer in Palm Bay also reviews the circumstances surrounding the fatal collision to determine whether you may have to file a suit instead. One such instance where they might do so is if the truck driver was grossly negligent (such as drinking while driving) or purposefully harmed your loved one. Another example is if the driver does not have the coverage to pay for wrongful death damages.
In fatal accident lawsuits, the court decides the damages the liable trucker or other party owes you. The Palm Bay fatal truck accident lawyer can speak on your behalf in court should the accident case reach the trial phase of the litigation process.
Statute of Limitations for Fatal Truck Accident Cases
Your Palm Bay fatal truck accident case follows the same filing deadlines as other wrongful death actions. That means you must file your case within two years from the accident date or when the loved one died. It will automatically get rejected if submitted too late, barring you from recovering any wrongful death damages.
However, the Palm Bay fatal truck accident lawyer can help check whether tolling exceptions apply to your case. These can toll the statute timer, extending your time limit. For example, if the truck driver fled to another state, the clock would not count down until they returned to Florida.
Palm Bay Fatal Truck Accident Lawyer Near Me 321-503-4014
Who Can File Fatal Truck Accident Actions?
According to Florida Statutes Section 768.20, only the deceased’s personal representative may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the liable truck owner or driver. A personal representative is a party appointed by the decedent to execute the contents of their will and distribute their estate accordingly.
When filing a wrongful death lawsuit, the personal representative must list all the beneficiaries that may recover damages in the settlement. Moreover, they must specify the beneficiary’s relationship with the deceased, such as whether they are the surviving spouse, child, parent, and so forth.
The Palm Bay fatal truck accident lawyer can work with the personal representative to file the wrongful death action with the insurance provider or the court.
What Damages Could You Recover for Your Palm Bay Fatal Truck Accident?
The damages in a fatal truck accident case come in two types: damages compensating surviving loved ones and damages paid to the deceased’s estate. Some examples of the first type include:
- Any medical expenses accrued before the victim succumbed to their injury
- Funeral and burial services paid by a surviving family member
- Loss of financial support and services rendered by the deceased
- Emotional trauma
Meanwhile, the estate can recover damages such as:
- Any income and benefits lost during the time between the decedent’s injury and their death (if they did not instantly pass away in the accident)
- The value that could have been added to the estate had the victim survived the trucking accident
- Other accident-related expenses paid by the estate
The Palm Bay fatal truck accident lawyer can assist with estimating your total damages by compiling your expenses. They can also bring in a financial expert to help project the value for more complex damages such as the loss of support.
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Work With Our Palm Bay Fatal Truck Accidents Attorneys
Losing loved ones can be distressing for anyone, especially if you lost them due to someone’s negligence. The office of Andrew Pickett Law understands your struggle and is ready to help you get justice from the at-fault Palm Bay trucking company or driver.
Though we started this firm in 2009, our legal team has decades of collective experience handling a wide range of personal injury cases throughout Florida. Call us for a free consultation. You can also submit your case evaluation request through the contact form on this website.