Ocala, FL Truck Accident Lawyer
An Ocala, FL truck accident lawyer helps their clients get the compensation they deserve after enduring an injury or the death of a loved one after a crash.
Anyone involved in an accident with a large commercial vehicle (semi-truck, tractor trailer, or 18-wheeler) needs to talk to an Ocala truck accident lawyer.
Truck accident cases are very complex. It might be easy to assume that the driver is at fault, but these accidents go beyond driver negligence. Add the trucking industry regulations, and the idea of moving forward with a lawsuit can be daunting.
Whittel & Melton, accident attorney in Ocala, FL, will take some of the burden off victims and their families. We will help them get what they are entitled to as a victim of such a crash.Ocala and Marion County Traffic Accidents
Ocala is a small city in Marion County with 61,810 residents. There are many rural areas with deep historical significance, such as Fort King National Historic Park, an important site during the Second Seminole War.
Recently, though, people have been moving into the area, many attempting to get away from the congestion of bigger cities, like Orlando. Orlando set a record in 2018 of 75 million visitors, an increase of over 4%.
The combination of the natural beauty of Ocala and the close proximity to one of the top vacation spots in the world makes Marion County a fairly active tourist hot spot.
Every city has its share of accidents. But in areas with higher population and tourism rates, the accident rate tends to increase. The more people are on the road, the more congestion there is, resulting in more accidents.Truck Accidents in the U.S., Florida, and Marion County
Florida is one of the top 10 states with the highest average of fatal accidents involving large trucks. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), those 10 states represent around 50% of fatal, large-truck crashes.
The FMCSA also reports that speed was a factor in nearly 20% of fatal truck crashes. Twenty-seven percent were in construction zones, while over 60% were in rural areas. Distraction was a factor in approximately 6% of those crashes. Of those 6%, 16% of drivers were distracted by their cellphone.
How do Marion County’s truck accident statistics compare?
Total commercial truck accidents:
- 2017: 733
- 2018: 731
- 2019: 744
Commercial truck accident injuries:
- 2017: 253
- 2018: 291
- 2019: 312
Commercial truck accident fatalities:
- 2017: 19
- 2018: 14
- 2019: 13
Between 2018 and 2019, the overall crash rate increased by nearly 2%. Injuries increased nearly 7.25%. The increase in these numbers could be related to the population increase, which increased by over 1,000 people between 2018 and 2019. Between 2019 and 2020, the population increased by another 2,000 people.Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Ocala and Marion County
The following causes of truck accidents are common, not just in Marion County but all across the U.S.
- Road issues (construction, potholes, uneven surfaces, debris)
- Non-compliance with federal regulations
- Driving while impaired (drugs or alcohol)
- Failing to adapt to weather conditions
- Overloading or unsecured cargo
- Inadequate driver training
- Issues with the vehicle
- Distracted driving
- Driver fatigue
Ocala and Marion County are home to one of the most notoriously dangerous stretches of road for truckers: I-75. This interstate, which stretches this great state all the way north to Michigan – ranks third among the most dangerous roads in the U.S.
Many I-75 Ocala accidents, as well as accidents all along I-75, are caused by two things: distractions and not obeying traffic laws. That goes for every driver on the road, not just truckers.Steps to Take After Being Involved in a Large Truck Accident
Anyone involved in an accident involving a commercial truck should take the following steps to ensure their safety, both physically and financially.
1. Stop the Car and Pull Over
Florida law states that a driver must stop at the scene of an accident if there is any property damage or personal injury. If it is possible to move the car, pull it to the side of the road to prevent further damage or injury.
2. Provide Assistance if Possible
Florida law also states that people involved in an accident need to provide reasonable assistance to injured parties. If a party is not injured or only slightly injured, they should check on their passengers, as well as other drivers involved in the crash.
3. Report the Accident
Florida police are required to prepare a crash report for all commercial motor vehicle accidents, as well as crashes that result in severe damage to another vehicle, injury, or death. Therefore, those involved need to call the police and inform them of the accident. When they arrive, they will render aid to victims, investigate the accident, and gather witnesses.
4. Exchange Pertinent Information
The law also states that each person involved in the accident needs to provide the following info to any person who is injured or whose vehicle was damaged.
- Vehicle registration number
It would also be wise to exchange insurance information.
5. Talk to Witnesses
Witnesses can help make a case if a victim files a lawsuit. They can provide first-hand testimony regarding:
- Who was at fault
- Erratic driving
It is important to identify witnesses and collect their information at the scene of the accident if possible. Information to collect includes:
- Email address
- Phone number
- A signed written statement or a video statement
6. Gather Evidence and Document Everything
Take pictures of the vehicles damaged, as well as any injuries sustained. Also take pictures of evidence on the road, including the road itself (wet conditions, road construction), the position of each vehicle, and skid marks.
It is also important for victims to document everything, from conversations with witnesses and insurance companies to medical expenses, lost wages, and the daily impact of their injuries.
7. Notify Insurance Company
The at-fault driver will need to file a claim with their insurance provider. The victim can choose to file a claim with their insurance provider or that of the at-fault driver. If they choose the latter, their insurance company will see reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Once a claim is filed, the insurance company will investigate the accident. Based on what they find, they will either deny the claim or offer a settlement.
It is important to talk to an attorney about an Ocala accident first before signing any settlement offers. One reason for this is that victims cannot sue the at-fault driver for more money once they accept the offer and sign the subsequent release.Is an Accident Attorney in Ocala, FL Worth It?
Insurance providers want to avoid large payouts if possible. Victims of truck accidents deserve more than that.
An Ocala truck accident lawyer will investigate the case and find out who is at fault.
Trucking cases are especially complex, in part due to the heavily regulated industry. If a victim tried to take on the case by themselves, they might easily overlook one or more factors that played a role in their accident.
For example, if the result of the investigation is that the truck’s faulty breaks caused the accident, the party guilty of negligence could be:
- The driver for not following safety protocols or a pre-drive safety check
- A mechanic who failed to inspect the breaks (or performed a poor inspection)
- The trucking company because they did not ensure proper maintenance and inspection
- The break company if they manufactured faulty breaks
Since so many play a role in ensuring the maintenance of a commercial vehicle – including its safety – multiple people can be found negligent. In some situations, we have had multiple defendants in a single client case.
Hiring an accident attorney for a Marion County accident will ensure that the victim is suing the correct party or parties. It will also ensure that the victim or their family receives compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses.Whittel & Melton, LLC – the Trustworthy, Experienced Option
Whittel & Melton, LLC have decades of experience helping Floridians win cases against negligent drivers and trucking companies.
We work hard to thoroughly investigate the accident to see who really is at fault. Our professional, compassionate team will walk our clients through every step of the process.
If an insurance company tries to deny a claim or offers a small settlement, we will help our clients counteroffer, so they get what they deserve.FAQs: Common Client Questions
Here are just a few of the questions we get from clients during their complimentary consultation.
1. Should I Get a Lawyer After a Minor Truck Accident?
When it comes to a commercial vehicle accident, there is no such thing as a minor accident. Due to all the regulations involved and multiple parties that could be held liable, it is important to talk to an Ocala truck accident attorney before making any decisions.
2. When Should I Contact an Ocala Truck Accident Lawyer After an Accident?
As soon as possible after the accident.
One reason for this is because the insurance companies attempt to get victims to agree to settlements before they have a chance to sue.
Another is that victims only have 14 days to seek medical treatment after an accident. For a victim to prove their claim and collect damages, the victim needs to have evidence that they sought medical help and that they have already started to accrue medical expenses. Additionally, medical documentation of the injuries, subsequent treatment, and the extent to which the injuries impact their life is key to settling the case.
3. How Much Can I Get for a Truck Accident Settlement?
It depends on the extent of the damage to the vehicle, the injuries and medical treatment needed to treat them, who was at fault, etc. Some victims win thousands of dollars, while others have won millions.
4. What Percentage Do Track Accident Lawyers Take?
The legal team at Whittel & Melton is paid on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not get paid unless our client wins their case. All clients are well-informed of the percentage we earn based on their settlement before they hire us.
Anyone who has been in a truck accident in Marion County – or anywhere in Florida for that matter – should call us as soon as possible. According to insurance laws, there is only so much time to seek medical attention for injuries for which a victim plans to seek compensation.
We will work hard to help our clients get a fair payment for all that they have suffered. Do not hesitate – contact our team to find out how we can help.
Are you curious if you have a good claim against a truck driving company? Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.