Call an attorney if you have questions regading the Good Samaritan law and any injuries you sustained from helping a truck accident victim.

Good Samaritan saves the day.

A good Samaritan suffered burns after helping the driver of a big rig escape fire when his truck rolled over and went up in flames and he could not get out of the cab himself.  The crash, which was caused by a blown-out tire according to the Florida Highway Patrol, backed up traffic for miles. Highway accidents and fatalities occur from accidents with commercial trucks. There are over 500,000 truck accidents occurring every year and most of those are involved in multi-vehicle crash situations. Tire blowouts have caused many big rig accidents on U.S. roadways and that is why truck inspection and maintenance is a necessary requirement for a truck driver or their employer.

The Florida Good Samaritan Act came into play in this instance whereby “any person, including those licensed to practice medicine” who willingly, and in good faith, provides emergency care or treatment to another in an emergency situation shall not be liable for any civil damages as a result of such aid or treatment. Luckily, both the truck driver and the good Samaritan got away with minimal injury compared to what could have been.  Insurance should cover both party’s injuries in this case, but if any additional payments are necessary after no fault insurance is utilized, counsel may be useful.

Commercial Motor Vehicles require additional liability insurance under Florida Statute 627.7415.  Florida Statute 627.7415  State of Florida requirements are that motor vehicles must have current auto insurance coverage with a minimum requirement of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL).

Bodily Injury Insurance. Certain trucks and commercial vehicles in the State of Florida must carry bodily injury liability coverage, which is additional protection against claims from others for personal injuries an accident with a truck. This extra insurance may be necessary if the truck is of a certain gross weight; has three or more axels, owned or driven by a governmental entity, is used for interstate versus intrastate travel and carries a load that may be considered hazardous.

Damage recovery.

Accident victims can file a personal injury claim in Florida, but under Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Law, costs incurred due to an accident will be paid primarily from a claim against the injured person’s own insurance company to cover non-serious injuries. The Florida No-Fault Law requires drivers to carry PIP to pay the insured’s bills, regardless of fault, up to the limit of the $10,000.

Extensive personal injuries, damage and wrongful death often result from accidents involving tractor trailers due to their increased size and weight over that of a passenger vehicle and could meet the serious injury threshold requirement, impacting monetary settlements between parties.

Determination of fault.

If a truck driver or their employer knew they were operating with damaged tires and it resulted in an accident, negligence may be proven.  If a truck driver is found to be at fault for the accident, a separate legal claim can be lodged for more serious personal injuries and losses.

Pure comparative Negligence (51% Rule).  Florida follows the “pure comparative negligence rule” meaning that if you were responsible for any part of the activities that led to your injury, the compensation you will receive will be adjusted in accordance with that percentage of fault assigned to you.

Statute of limitations.

Generally, the statute of limitations for a personal injury car accident claim in Florida is four (4) years, so the paperwork needs to be initiated before this time has passed.

Contact an attorney.

A personal injury attorney will be able to review your case and assist with the burden of collecting and analyzing the data related to a truck accident to see if a legal action is required.

Sources:

http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2011/627.7415

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0768/Sections/0768.13.html