With I-95, Florida’s Turnpike, I-75, and many other heavily trafficked commercial access highways feeding into South Florida, it is no surprise that truck accidents occur frequently in the Miami area. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reports that there are around 8,700 crashes involving 18-wheelers, semis, delivery trucks, and other commercial vehicles every year in Miami-Dade County. These incidents lead to dozens of fatalities and injuries to almost 1,400 victims, many of whom have legal rights through a truck accident lawsuit.
However, one of the factors that makes truck collisions more complicated than other motor vehicle crashes is that victims have options in terms of which court to file suit. The issue is something you can trust your Miami truck accident attorney to handle, but you should be aware of some general considerations.
Factors Regarding Choice of Courts
In any motor vehicle accident or personal injury case, your objective is to maximize the amount you can receive as compensation for your losses. In a truck crash claim, it is possible to leverage certain benefits depending on the court system where you file your case. Some considerations include:
- Timing: If you are out of work because of truck accidents injuries, your financial situation could be dire as your medical costs are mounting. You may be able to move through the litigation process faster in one court system as compared to another – such as filing in a Florida state court rather than federal.
- Compensation: Many courts have implemented procedural rules that limit the amount you can seek as damages. For instance, you must file in a Florida Circuit Court if you want to recover in excess of $30,000 in compensation, since this is the limit in County Courts.
- Costs: Litigation costs are closely tied to timing, so you can expect to pay more as your case proceeds through the legal process.
- Federal Versus State Court Jurisdiction: You may be able to file your case in federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction, since many truckers are non-residents just passing through South Florida. While the minimum amount in controversy must be $75,000, many truck crash victims will sustain damages that exceed this threshold.
- Choice of Courts and Settlement: Most truck collision cases start off as a claim with the operator’s insurance company, so you may not need to make a decision on choice of courts. If you can reach a fair settlement with the insurer, you can obtain prompt payment on your claim without litigation.
A Miami Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You Weigh Your Options
If you were hurt in a truck collision, choosing where to file your lawsuit is just one of many complexities that can affect your case. Instead of putting your rights at risk, count on our attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, PA to develop a strategy around your objectives and unique circumstances. For more information, please contact us to set up a free consultation at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL. We can advise you once we review your situation.