Did you sustain injuries in a collision with a commercial vehicle in St. Petersburg, Florida? Our St. Petersburg commercial vehicle accident lawyers at Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers can help you recover money damages for your pain and suffering, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, medical bills, and more. To get started call us at (727) 314-5988.
We’re a preeminent personal injury law firm in the Tampa Bay area. We have over 119 years of combined experience, and we’ve obtained tens of millions of dollars for our clients since 2001. If you hire us, we’ll work hard to help you secure a favorable settlement or monetary award that makes you whole again.
Contact our law office in St. Petersburg, FL. We offer an initial consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney at no cost to you, and there are no strings attached.
How Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After a Commercial Vehicle Accident in St. Petersburg
Commercial vehicles are a vital part of today’s economy. They’re found on roadways throughout the country, bringing critical supplies and goods to where they need to be. Because of their importance, these vehicles are also highly regulated at the federal and state levels. Fortunately, these facts could benefit you if you’ve recently been involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle in St. Petersburg, FL.
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers can determine your legal options from the beginning. While you focus on recovering from the accident, our trusted St. Petersburg personal injury lawyers can aggressively fight for your rights and interests. Our award-winning legal team can help with your case in the following ways if you choose us to represent you:
- Investigating your accident to collect evidence and formulate your best course of action
- Taking care of the necessary communications, procedures, and paperwork
- Evaluating all of your damages with the help of experts as needed
- Negotiating a settlement agreement with the opposing party on your behalf
- Taking the at-fault party to court if necessary
If you’d like to start forming an attorney-client relationship or want to learn more about how we can help with your case, call today to schedule your free initial consultation.
What’s a Commercial Vehicle and How Often Are They Involved in Accidents?
Broadly speaking, a vehicle is considered a commercial vehicle if it is used to transport goods, supplies, or paying passengers. Buses, heavy trucks, some lighter trucks, and coaches can all be commercial vehicles.
Based on the federal definition, a commercial vehicle:
- Has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,001 pounds or more; OR
- Is designed to transport 15 or more passengers, including the driver; OR
- Transports hazardous materials in quantities requiring the vehicle to be placarded
According to Florida state law, a commercial vehicle:
- Is not owned or operated by a government entity; AND
- Uses special fuel or motor fuel on public highways; AND
- Has a gross vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds or more; OR
- Has three or more axles regardless of weight; OR
- Is used in any combination when the weight of such combination exceeds 26,001 pounds in gross vehicle weight
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) publishes annual reports on accidents involving large trucks and buses nationwide. The most recent report was published in September 2022 and reflects data from 2020. This latest report indicates that:
- There were 4,998 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal accidents, which is a 5% decrease from 2019
- There were 108,000 injury-causing accidents involving large trucks, which marks a 10% decrease from 2019
- There were 327,000 large trucks involved in property damage-only crashes, which is a 21% decrease from 2019
Based on these figures, there are nearly 300 injury-causing large truck accidents in the United States every day, on average.
We Can Help You With Any Type of Commercial Vehicle Accident Case in St. Petersburg
As most commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) are relatively large and powerful, they can create substantial devastation in a crash. Our St. Petersburg commercial motor vehicle accident attorneys can help after any type of accident, including but not limited to the following:
- Left-turn accidents
- Highway crashes
- T-Bone accidents
- Jackknife accidents
- Rear-end accidents
- Front-on collisions
- Rollover accidents
- Sideswipe collisions
We can also help regardless of the type of commercial vehicle your case involves, such as:
- FedEx or UPS delivery trucks
- Construction vehicles
- Semi-trucks or 18 wheelers
- Amazon delivery trucks or vans
Contact our law office in St. Petersburg, Florida, today to learn more about your legal rights and options after a commercial vehicle accident.
Common Causes of Commercial Vehicle Accidents in St. Petersburg, FL
Commercial motor vehicle accidents tend to occur for similar sorts of reasons, such as:
- Fatigued driving
- Distracted driving
- Inadequate driver training
- Poor weather conditions
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Violations of FMCSA’s hours of service regulations
- Drunk driving
- Insufficient driver skill
- Improper trucking company practices
- Drugged driving
- Aggressive driving acts, such as tailgating
- Negligent hiring
- Overloaded cargo
- Roadway hazards
- Defective parts
Regardless of why your commercial truck accident happened, you may have a valid claim for compensation against the responsible party. Contact our St. Petersburg commercial vehicle lawyers today to set up a free case evaluation.
What Types of Compensation Can I Receive After a Commercial Vehicle Crash in St. Petersburg?
In most cases, the two primary forms of compensation you can recover after a commercial vehicle collision are economic and non-economic damages. Together, these “compensatory damages” make up for losses you may have experienced, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of quality of life
- Decreased enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation and therapy
- Repair costs
- Mental conditions, such as anxiety and depression
- Loss of consortium
- Decreased earning capacity
A third type of damages, punitive damages, may be awarded in rare cases. However, per state law, the at-fault party must have acted with gross negligence or intentional misconduct. This level of conduct must be asserted with “clear and convincing evidence” as well, a higher standard that is required for the other types of damages.
What If the Opposing Party Is Blaming Me for My Commercial Vehicle Accident in Florida?
After a recent change in the law, Florida now follows modified comparative negligence rules with a 51% bar to recovery. This means that you can still recover compensation after an accident as long as you weren’t mostly to blame.
Under this framework, you may be assigned a percentage of fault for the crash, and your compensation may be reduced accordingly. For example, if you are assigned 20% of the blame for your commercial vehicle accident, your damages award can be reduced by 20%. And if you are assigned 51% or more of the blame instead, you cannot recover any damages.
Contributory fault often plays a key role in the outcome of a personal injury case. If the opposing party successfully blames you, you might walk away with less money than you deserve – or even none at all.
This is one area where having an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney on your side can make the difference in securing compensation for your injuries. Your lawyer can represent your interests and fight back against undue accusations of blame.
Proving Liability After a Commercial Vehicle Accident in St. Petersburg, Florida
In most, but not all, commercial vehicle accident cases, you will need to prove that the at-fault party was negligent. That typically means proving that they owed you a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused the accident. You’ll also need to demonstrate that you suffered damages due to the crash.
Importantly, in some commercial motor vehicle accident cases, you may be able to utilize the theory of vicarious liability. Through this legal doctrine, you can file a negligence lawsuit against an employer (such as a trucking company) for the actions of one of their employees. This could lead to a much larger settlement or verdict, as these companies are usually well-insured and have substantial resources.
In either event, you will have the burden of proof to establish your claim. The burden of proof standard is “by a preponderance of the evidence,” meaning you must submit enough evidence to show that your contentions are at least 51% likely true. Types of evidence you may present include:
- Data from the vehicle’s “black box”
- Eyewitness testimony
- Expert analysis and testimony
- Photos and video footage
- Medical records
If you hire Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers, we can handle virtually every aspect of your claim for compensation. Call today to schedule a free case review.
What Is the Statute of Limitations Deadline for Submitting a Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawsuit in the State of Florida?
Florida’s statute of limitations for most personal injury cases was recently adjusted. If your commercial vehicle accident occurred on or before 3/23/2023, you’ll have four years to file your claim. Otherwise, you will have just two years.
If you file your lawsuit or insurance claim against the at-fault party too late, you’ll lose your chance to recover compensation from them. Since there are exceptions to these deadlines in some cases, we recommend contacting a personal injury lawyer in St. Petersburg as soon as possible after a crash to confirm how much time you have to submit your claim.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With a Trusted St. Petersburg Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorney
If you’ve recently been involved in an accident with a commercial motor vehicle in St. Petersburg, FL, we’re here to help you recover the compensation you need and deserve from the responsible party.
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers is one of the most well-regarded law firms in Tampa Bay. Our St. Petersburg commercial vehicle accident attorneys have a track record of success that you can trust. We’re known as “the aggressive attorneys” because we routinely stand up for our clients, regardless of who the opposing party is.
Contact us today to speak with an experienced lawyer about your case.