Truck Accident? Here’s what you need to know.

Truck and highway at sunset. Truck Car in motion blur. Truck accident

A truck accident brings with it unique legal questions and challenges. That’s not surprising – after all, commercial trucks loaded to the brim can exceed 80,000 pounds in weight, and accidents involving such heft can be truly devastating. Still, a large truck’s involvement in a fender-bender does not immediately guarantee that the driver is at fault. Read below as we outline some of the legal basics to understand regarding truck accidents.

Comparative negligence still applies. Yes, that truck is huge. And yes, the driver may have swerved at an inopportune time, leading to a jackknife. Cars may be smashed domino-style down a whole stretch of highway. But what of the carelessness shown by the other drivers involved? Were one or more in the truck’s blind spot? Was a motorist weaving in and out of traffic, cutting off the truck’s path at the worst moment possible? Remember: It is still possible to prevail in a lawsuit when a driver is partially at fault – but if the percentage of culpability is high, chances are low or nil.

You may or may not be able to sue the trucking company that employs the driver. Many truck drivers are independent contractors. One week they may haul tomatoes, oranges and grapefruit; the next, they may be at the steering wheel of a baked goods rig. Drivers who are in fact employed directly by the company whose goods they are hauling have an employment relationship with that company. Therefore, the company in theory can be held liable.

The same holds true for hazardous materials. Imagine a truck accident occurs and a slurry of hazardous waste spills onto the ground, releasing airborne pathogens and affecting the health of nearby passengers. If it can be proven that the driver was not offered proper training for such a haul, damages may be sought. It is the hazardous material company’s duty to inform the driver that what they are carrying can cause real harm.

When the other driver is at fault, recovering for lost wages due to injury is reasonable. Hopefully, your injuries are mild and recovery is swift. Even minor injuries can mean lost wages, however, and just as with a regular automobile accident, you are entitled to sue for lost income. In this case, make sure you retain a truck accident lawyer to review the case. He or she will look at each detail of the accident and deduce whether you stand to benefit from a lawsuit.

Commercial trucks are modern-day mammoths of our roadways, and when they are improperly operated, injury or death can occur. If you are a victim of a truck accident and have questions about your rights as a victim, contact the Coleman Law Group at (727) 214-0400 for a free consultation.

Uber SCREWS UP? Who’s at Fault in a Rideshare Accident?

Yellow Taxi Sign On Roof Of Car. Uber accident rideshare accident

You’re relaxing in the cushy backseat of an Uber when the driver takes your comment I’m in a bit of a hurry literally and runs a red light. What happens when a rideshare goes bad? Read below as we examine who is at fault in a rideshare accident and what you can expect if you’ve been involved in one.

Think Uber, Lyft and services like these are solely transportation organizations? Guess again. They’re technology conduits that connect drivers with passengers. As pure transportation companies, taxis fall under a whole different legal umbrella than rideshares. This difference can be major when it comes to seeking recompense for personal injuries.

Let’s examine Uber in particular. Part of that fee you paid to the driver includes what the company calls a ‘safe driver fee.’ That money goes to cover driving safety education and background checks. Even a huge company like Uber can’t control the traffic, though. Therefore, they cannot guarantee your total safety while out on the roads. No one can.

Not only can Uber not issue this guarantee, but anyone injured in a rideshare accident can’t expect the same treatment as, say, someone injured by a trucker employed full-time by a single company. Rideshare drivers operate as independent contractors. Therefore, their company can deny liability in many cases.

When the Uber is not available to rides sharers and is being driven for personal use, the company absolutely assumes no liability. However, let’s say that the Uber is available to accept passengers and an accident occurs. In this instance, the driver’s personal insurance policy comes into play, but if they requested coverage through Uber and the damages exceed their personal liability limits, payouts will come from Uber’s policy.

What about when the wreck in question involves an Uber driver carrying a passenger? This is where Uber’s liability policy can be accessed. Both the driver and the passenger could be covered. The main word here is could.

If you’ve been involved in an accident as a rideshare driver or passenger and believe that the rideshare company has not given you your just recompense, contact the Coleman Law Group. Our compassionate, aggressive lawyers will examine the nuances of your case and give you our honest opinion regarding your chances in court. Each of our lawyers is dedicated to specific cases, ensuring that full attention is given to each client.

No rideshare should end in pain and suffering, lost wages or other hindrances. Those who experience such loss may be eligible to bring a civil suit against the rideshare company or the driver’s personal insurer. For more information, contact the Coleman Law Group at (727) 214-0400 for a free consultation.

Texting and Driving? – Think Again.

Injured car passenger calling an ambulance, in the background unconscious car driver.

We have all heard the message that texting and driving don’t mix. It’s common knowledge that the practice is extremely dangerous, but what are the legal ramifications if a Florida driver does choose to text while behind the wheel? You may be surprised to learn that the Sunshine State’s texting ban is considered weak compared to most of the country.

The most glaring difference is how the ban is enforced. Let’s say you’re driving down a city street and you quickly respond to a text from your mother about dinner tonight. After all, you can’t wait to tell her you want steak instead of chicken, right? There’s a police cruiser next to you, and after your press ‘send’ you and the officer lock eyes. Unless another reason exists to pull you off the roadway, that officer may not do so. Another infraction must be visible first.

This is a blessing for text-happy drivers – but it’s also a curse that can make them more complacent and lead to safety concerns. According to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, a car traveling 40 miles per hour will travel 290 feet in a mere five seconds. Stare at the phone for that amount of time, and you will lose all perspective of what is happening on the road. Should a child or animal run across the street, it’s likely you will not brake in time to avoid them – and loss of life is never worth a text.

Phone records aren’t usually examined unless a serious accident occurs. However, if you are caught speeding in a school zone and the officer also witnesses you tapping away at the phone, two points will be added to those incurred by the primary offense. Be involved in a crash caused by texting, and expect six extra points on that license. As you can imagine, adding texting to an existing offense can quickly lead to the loss of a license. While the first offense leads to just a warning, if you are caught again the points could be even higher.

Whether Florida will crack down further on texting remains to be seen. There is definitely some uproar in the legislature regarding the relative ease of penalties levied to those texting and driving in Florida. Proponents of a tougher ban argue that the mere act of texting while behind the wheel should be cause for enforcement. Indeed, most other states agree and have passed tougher laws.

What will it take to keep text-happy fingers away from phones while in transit? Consider the ultimate cost when you are tempted to answer that message: loss of life. It could be yours or another person’s life that hangs in the balance – all because you absolutely could not wait to press ‘send.’

For answers to questions about texting and driving and for legal advice, contact the Coleman Law Group at 727-214-0400. Their attorneys offer a free consultation and will explain your legal options.

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If there’s one thing you can count on in life it’s: life is unpredictable.

Now, more than ever, we’re on-the-go, all-consumed, and constantly distracted. It makes it even easier for something unexpected to happen, like an unfortunate event typically resulting in damage or injury. This is also known as an accident. Continue reading

Social Media & Your Personal Injury Claim: Dos & Donts

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Nowadays, social media is everywhere—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat—and chances are, you have at least one (if not several) accounts. You might not realize it, but when it comes to your personal injury claim, a quick social media post can lead to big problems. Continue reading