Trucking Accidents: Who Do I Sue?

Involvement with a truck in an accident may be an extremely frightening experience. Any collision with a vehicle weighing 35,000 pounds and moving at speeds of 70 mph or more may be the scare of a lifetime. More importantly, this type of incident also has the potential to leave its participants with severe, even fatal, injuries.

Like any motor vehicle accident, when a driver is negligent, he or she is liable for any damages legally and proximately caused by this negligence. When a motorist is involved in a car accident, the other driver is typically the owner of the vehicle and filing a lawsuit against the proper party is straightforward.

When involved in an accident with a truck, it becomes more complicated because there may be more than one party legally responsible. Injured motorists must hold all drivers accountable for operating a vehicle in an unsafe manner, including drivers employed by commercial trucking enterprises.

A lawsuit may hold a truck driver accountable, but the personal assets of most truck drivers will not adequately compensate a personal injury plaintiff for any losses. However, the assets and insurance of his or her employer may be sufficient to cover all damages suffered by a personal injury plaintiff.

The truck driver is an agent of his employer acting on its behalf. Therefore, agency principles dictate that any accident occurring during the scope of the truck driver’s employment may allow a plaintiff to pursue a lawsuit against the employer.

Seeking recovery from the truck driver’s insurance company is typically a more fruitful option. This is important since it increases the chances of the plaintiff realizing a more complete recovery of losses. These parties may provide additional sources of compensation contributing to a higher damages award.

Another possibility is suing the employer for negligently hiring or training the driver. The driver may not have been qualified at the time of hiring or at the time of taking his or her first load.

Accidents may be caused by a bad tire or the driver’s intoxication. If some faulty, worn or degraded tire caused injuries, a plaintiff might sue the:

  • Driver
  • Owner
  • Manufacturer

An injured plaintiff may sue any motor vehicle owner who has failed to replace recalled tires or failed to follow NHTSA guidelines for the replacement of worn tires. An injured plaintiff may also bring a products liability action against the manufacturer of a defective or dangerous tire.

If an accident was the result of the driver being intoxicated, a plaintiff might sue the:

  • Driver
  • Owner
  • Business establishment that served alcohol to the truck driver   

If a truck driver is intoxicated and causes an accident which results in personal injuries because of intoxication, Florida’s Dram Shop laws allow an injured plaintiff to directly sue the business establishment that sold and served the alcohol.

Proving allegations related to any truck accident caused by driver negligence or intoxication may be a complicated and time-consuming process. It is a wise course of action to contact an attorney experienced in litigating personal injury lawsuits involving truck accidents. If you or a loved one has suffered any type of injury resulting from a truck, motor vehicle, or motorcycle, accident, call us at 941-748-2916, or contact us by e-mail. We have offices in Sarasota and Bradenton to serve you.

A Summary Of Florida’s Dog Bite Law

In Florida, dog owners are liable for any damage done by their dogs to a person or to any animal included in the definitions of “domestic animal” and “livestock” as provided by Florida statute. Included in the definition of “domestic animals” are dogs.

Because Florida is a statutory strict liability state, a dog bite victim may recover damages under Florida’s dog bite statute, FLSA 767.04, which states that a dog owner is liable for injuries if:

  • the dog bites another person, and
  • the person is in a public place or lawfully in a private place.

This statute only applies to injuries caused by dog bites. This statute contains an exception that there is no liability under FLSA 767.04 if:

  • the victim is six (6) years of age or older;
  • the incident occurs on the dog owner’s premises; and
  • these premises contain a conspicuously posted sign inscribed with “Bad Dog” or “Beware of Dog.” 

The sign must be displayed in a prominent place and easily readable for the purpose of giving actual notice of the risk of bite to the victim. If the victim is not old enough to read the sign, then the exception does not apply. 

Persons injured by a dog other than by a bite may prove liability by showing that the owner’s negligence, i.e., failure to use reasonable care, caused the injury.

Typically, dog owners are not held liable for their dogs who bite trespassers on their property. Of course, there are exceptions, including if:

  • The trespasser was under the age of 6; or
  • The owner acted negligently by failing to place prominent signs warning of the presence of a known bad or aggressive dog.

Dog attacks may cause serious, even fatal, injuries. Florida’s dog bite statute imposes strict liability upon owners for a dog bite that causes injury to a human being. A seasoned personal injury attorney familiar with Florida’s statutory scheme regarding injuries by animals, including dogs, may assist any victim in recovering compensation in this circumstance.

To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our distinguished attorneys, call 941-748-2916. You may also contact us online. Our website is available in both English and Spanish. We have offices conveniently located in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida. Clients pay no fees or costs unless we win!

Preparing To Meet Your Personal Injury Attorney, Part 2: Qs & As

Preparing to meet with a personal injury lawyer for the first time requires a reasonable amount of groundwork and preparation. Of course, there is an abundance of information that must be gathered and exchanged between potential client and attorney before and after this consultation. Clients who are potential plaintiffs should prepare to both ask and answer various questions in this initial consultation.

The following are possible questions that may arise at an initial consultation with a personal injury attorney:

  • What specific injuries do you believe you suffered?
  • What is the present level of pain that you are experiencing?
  • Does this pain prevent you from working?
  • If so, to what extent?
  • Where are you employed?
  • How long have you been employed by this employer?
  • What is your job description?
  • Have you kept a post-accident diary?
  • Have you seen a doctor?
  • If you have seen a doctor, what was the prognosis?
  • Have you consulted with any other medical professionals?
  • Who else (lawyers or insurance representatives, etc.) have you spoken with about the accident and what details did you provide to these parties?
  • What type of auto and medical insurance coverage do you have?
  • Have you given a recorded statement about the accident or injury to your insurance carrier or the other party’s insurance carrier?
  • Have you been in any other accidents prior to or since this accident?
  • What are the details of these accidents?
  • Have you received any notices of lien claims?

A good personal injury attorney will patiently, clearly, and concisely answer any questions in detail. Do not be afraid to bring a written list of questions with you to the consultation.

It is not unusual for a meeting with a lawyer to cause anxiety. Knowing in advance how the meeting will transpire and being adequately prepared to answer any questions is a positive step forward to receiving compensation for a personal injury claim.

To allow this meeting to proceed as efficiently as possible, prospective clients should bring all the paperwork and documentation related to their injuries and the event that caused them.

The injury attorneys at Heintz & Becker know where to look to find insurance coverage and assets. We have the knowledge and experience to build effective strategies that prevail in a courtroom if a case goes to trial. If you’ve been injured in Florida, we want to hear your story. Call941-748-2916 for a free consultation today. We don’t get paid unless we obtain results!

Preparing To Meet Your Personal Injury Attorney, Part 2: Qs & As
Preparing To Meet Your Personal Injury Attorney, Part 1: Information

After suffering injuries in any type of accident, it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss a possible claim. There is no financial reason to delay this meeting since most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations.

Before meeting for the first time with an attorney, potential plaintiffs should gather documents and other information in their possession that relate to the incident that caused the harm involved.

This information may include different types of documentation depending on the circumstances and nature of the personal injury.

The list of information and documentation includes the following:

*Medical Information

  • Bills, invoices from doctors and hospitals, physical therapists and/or chiropractors
  • Names and addresses of any service providers such as hospitals, ambulance services, etc.
  • Dates of any treatment including admit and release dates
  • List of all prescription medications presently taken

*Insurance Information

  • Documentation detailing health insurance coverage
  • Documentation detailing auto insurance coverage if the injury was a result of a motor vehicle accident

*Miscellaneous Information

  • Documentation of lost work or income caused by the injury
  • Photos of the accident scene or injuries incurred

If clients have any questions about a document or other piece of documentary or even physical evidence that may relate to their case, they should simply bring it with them to the consultation or contact the attorney’s office for guidance and clarification. The quicker clients can provide all the information necessary to initiate a personal injury claim, the more expediently a personal injury attorney can pursue the claim.

Steven Heintz knows what it’s like to be involved in a life-changing traffic accident. Not only as an attorney – but also as a victim and client.

In 1974 in Bradenton, a car ran a red light and hit Steven broadside while he was riding a motorcycle. He lost the big toe on his right foot, and his ankle had to be fused together. Steven endured over a dozen surgeries and was in a cast for over a year.

He has experienced pain and suffering on a unique level.

At the time, he felt the insurance company was less than fair. As a result, he has made it his life’s mission to protect others from unfair and unscrupulous insurance companies. If you have been involved in any type of accident, the attorneys at Heintz and Becker possess the necessary expertise and experience to handle your personal injury matter. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation call our injury law firm at 941-748-2916. To serve you better, we have offices conveniently located in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida. Our website is available in English and Spanish!

Preparing To Meet Your Personal Injury Attorney, Part 1: Information
Have You Lost a Loved One Due to Wrongful Death?

Losing a loved one is one of the greatest challenges any of us will ever face, and sometimes it seems as if the mourning process is endless. While it is difficult to watch someone go through an extended illness, there is often more time to prepare yourself (and your children) for the loss, and to consider how you will go on without them, hard as it may be. If you have lost a family member due to the negligence of others though—and suddenly—it can be extremely difficult to get past the unexpected loss and overwhelming changes in your life. In the case of a wrongful death, you may feel the typical phases of grief more acutely, and for a more extended time—especially anger and depression.

Despite the emotional turmoil and overall sadness associated with such an event, the future must be considered for partners and dependents left behind. Clear intent to harm and a violent or criminal act may be the reason for a wrongful death, or it may have been caused by negligence, to include:

  • Car, truck, or motorcycle accidents
  • Bicycle and pedestrian deaths
  • Boating accidents
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Medical malpractice or accident in a hospital
  • Defective products
  • Accidents at the workplace, a childcare facility, or public venue

As an immediate family member or dependent, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death suit. And although the time after such a traumatic event may leave you feeling helpless and extremely worried about the future, it is your right to seek compensation with the help of a skilled wrongful death attorney from a firm like Heintz & Becker. Be aware that insurance companies for the other side may be quick to step in and encourage communication; however, they do not have the best interest of you or your family in mind. If they offer you financial compensation, remember that their agenda is to settle with you for as little as possible, and as quickly as possible. Speak with an attorney first to protect yourself and your family.

You may be due damages not only for the loss of your loved one and pain and suffering, but also for hospital and funeral costs and loss of other income.

Contact Heintz & Becker today. Our wrongful death lawyers represent families in the Sarasota and Bradenton areas who have lost loved ones due to catastrophic injuries. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.


US Motorists: More Are Uninsured Than Ever

Do you dread paying that annual or monthly car insurance payment? Most of us do, and at an average of $900 per policyholder per year, it is easy to see why; however, the reward of having insurance is feeling that sense of security, resting easy in thinking that insurance will cover any damage to our car. That is not always the case though, as a rising percentage of motorists driving along the highway with you are not carrying insurance. This means that if they hit you and cause damage, your policy will only pay out if you have your own collision insurance. To make matters worse, insurance rates continue to climb for everyone else due to the costs incurred in the US by uninsured drivers.

CBS News recently outlined the growing issue of uninsured motorists in Florida, stating that not only are 27 percent of motorists without insurance – that is twice the average in the US for the uninsured, usually at one in eight. For Floridians, this spells trouble for many who are involved in accidents due to the negligence of another.

“In addition to paying for their own actions, each insured motorist also pays a portion of the costs for others that choose to disobey the law,” said the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in their report, ‘Uninsured Motorists: A Growing Problem for Consumers.’

“There are at least 23 states trying to solve the issues of the uninsured motorist through data verification of some sort. The first three reports question the capability of existing data verification systems to adequately reduce the number of uninsured motorists, to protect privacy information and to provide the critical law-enforcement tools necessary. There is a clear lack of national insurance regulatory leadership regarding this issue. The Insurance industry, in the meantime, has clearly been working on a solution to address this issue.”

You may find yourself paying around $67 extra per month in your insurance policy to make up for all those uninsured motorists—and their numbers have risen recently to 13 percent, with no signs of slowing down.

“This has been a concern in Florida for quite a while, and the numbers are likely rising due to an increase in population,” said professor Lynne McChristian of Florida State University. “Florida has a highly mobile population who move within and out of the state.”

Fines apparently are not enough to stop the problem in its tracks, with many uninsured motorists gaining the prerequisite coverage just long enough to buy a car and then dropping it within a very short period. It has been suggested that following suit with states like Oklahoma could make a difference. After instituting the practice of taking the license plates of those without insurance, Oklahoma saw a significant drop in uninsured motorists.

Have you or a loved one been injured in a car or motorcycle accident due to the negligence of others who are uninsured? Please call Heintz & Becker for a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys. We handle all types of Florida personal injury cases, and our law firm has established an impressive record of verdicts and settlements. If you have been seriously injured, call us now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.