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Automobile, or Large Tractor/Trailer Truck Accidents

JURY INSTRUCTION ON NEGLIGENCE

“Negligence is doing what a reasonable person would not do under similar circumstances. Negligence can also be the failure to do what a reasonable person would do under similar circumstances.”

Most automobile and large tractor/trailer accidents occur due to the “negligence” of one or more of the drivers involved in the accident. Except for drunk drivers (a category of driver discussed more fully under a separate tab on this website), negligent drivers do not intend to cause either the accident or injury to others. They simply act unreasonably in light of the circumstances – they are negligent.

In all but four states in this country (Virginia is one of these), you can still recover damages from a negligent driver even if your own negligence contributed to causing the accident. You simply recover that portion of your damages equal to the percentage of fault attributable to the other driver. For example, if you were 40% at fault in causing the accident and the other driver was 60% at fault, you may still recover 60% of your damages from the other driver.

In any event, the law in the majority of the United States provides that when the negligence of a driver causes, or contributes to causing an accident that results in injuries to you or a family member, it is fair and just that you and/or your family member(s) be compensated, so that:

  • You have the money to pay other health care providers to fix any harms caused by the other driver’s negligence; and,
  • You receive an appropriate amount of money from the negligent driver so that the you can:
    • Afford the cost of medical care to treat the harm caused,
    • Get reimbursement for lost wages when you or your family member can’t work because of the harm caused,
    • Be compensated for the unnecessary pain and suffering caused by the negligent driver and resulting harm.
  • If the other driver’s negligence causes death to a family member, it is fair and just that the survivors in the family be compensated for their loss, whether the deceased is a father, mother, brother, sister or child. These losses would include the mental suffering caused by the unnecessary death and the loss of the companionship and services of the family member who died. Even someone who is not a family member of the person killed, but depends on financial support from the person killed, may be entitled to recover compensation. [See discussion under the Wrongful Death tab on this web site].

I provide legal representation to people injured by negligent automobile and truck drivers. I know how to present the claim so that more often than not, the case gets settled quickly. A settlement means receiving fair and just compensation sooner, rather than having to wait for a long time (sometimes several years) to present your claim to a jury. Settlements also save you the additional expenses, and emotional stress of having to participate in a lengthy jury trial. Most importantly, when a case is settled you receive the settlement money right away. If you wait for a jury to award money damages, the award may be appealed by the negligent driver or his/her insurance company, delaying payment for a long time, sometimes, for years.

If the insurance company for the negligent automobile or truck driver that caused your injuries, or that injured or even killed your family member, does not agree with our estimation of the amount of money necessary to justly and fairly compensate you, The Florida Bar has recognized my expertise in trying cases to juries by awarding me the designation of “Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney.”1 Not every lawyer is awarded this designation. This is a prestigious designation that recognizes my experience in the area of civil trial. It is only awarded to trial attorneys who meet rigorous experience and examination requirements, and who are recommended for the award by other trial attorneys and judges. My expertise and skill in presenting a case to a jury provides leverage in getting the lawyers defending the negligent automobile or truck driver to settle rather than take their chances with a jury.

I will only agree to work with you on your claim for money damages if you have been seriously injured in an automobile and large tractor/trailer truck accidents. I have brought several hundred claims on behalf of people suffering very serious and substantial injures that include:

  • Fractured bones
  • Serious injuries to the spine
  • Serious and substantial neck and back injuries including paralysis
  • Brain damage
  • Loss of vision
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Death

I carefully limit the number of cases I agree to take. By choosing only to represent those that have been seriously injured, or have family members who have been seriously injured or suffered death due to someone else’s negligence, I can dedicate my time to fully developing the claim to maximize the amount of money that will be paid as compensation for injuries, lost wages, and medical expenses and/or death.

If your loved one has died in an automobile or large tractor/trailer truck accident, or, if you have been involved in an automobile accident or large tractor/trailer truck, but are not sure whether you have suffered a serious injury, I will gladly speak with you in a free consultation to give you my opinion about your case. Please feel free to call me at (434) 295-6659 to tell me what happened and describe your injuries. When you call that number, I will either answer the telephone or you will get my personal voice mail. If you get my voice mail and leave your name and telephone number, I will personally return your call, usually within an hour of your call.

If you are more comfortable emailing to me a description of what happened, please fill out the form on the home page of this website and I will get back to you with an analysis of whether or not you have a valid automobile/trucking accident claim.

If we work together on your case, you will have my personal attention to every detail of your claim and you will never reach me through an assistant or secretary or para-legal assistant- but will always be able to reach me directly on my cell phone. You will also always be able to text to me at the telephone number provided above or send an email to me at reed@tolberlaw.com. In this way, you will always know what is going on in your case and you can always reach me quickly with any new developments or information that I should know. If you want to verify that this is indeed how I practice law, I will be glad to provide the names and contact information of past clients (who have agreed to be contacted) so that you can verify that I give personal attention to each and every case.

When serious injuries are caused by automobile and/or tractor-trailer truck accidents, the injured person should hire a lawyer he or she can trust to competently evaluate the claim, the correct amount of damages you should recover, and provide appropriate legal advice. I am that lawyer, and I welcome your call so that we can have a conversation to determine whether your injuries justify a claim for damages.

NOT EVERY ACCIDENT SHOULD RESULT IN A CLAIM

Just because you are in an accident and suffer an injury, your claim may not be worth pursuing. If, for example:

  • your injuries are minor and you are going to heal completely from these injuries, and
  • your medical bills are covered by health insurance with minor out-of-pocket expenses, and
  • insurance pays for the repairs to your car, and
  • you don’t lose any wages because of your injuries,

you absolutely, positively, should NOT, in my opinion, bring a claim against the driver causing the accident. I say this because:

  • First, if all of the above is true, you don’t have a claim that, at the end of the day, will provide a recovery of money sufficient to compensate you for the time and effort necessary to present the claim. Most insurers will pay little or no money to a person who seeks compensation for an injury that ultimately is going to get better. In fact, in states like Florida, you are not permitted to ask for anything beyond lost wages and medical bills unless you have suffered some level of permanent injury. In other words, if your injuries are going to heal, you cannot obtain compensation for your mental pain and suffering having to deal with the injury and recovery. While some other states, like Virginia, don’t necessarily require that you have a permanent or even serious injury to ask for money damages for pain and suffering, you are nevertheless not going to recover an amount of money that, after deductions for attorney fees and the co-pay expenses for your medical care, will make it worth the time and effort to pursue such a claim. That is why I limit my practice to those who have suffered serious injury and/or death.
  • Importantly, when your injuries are only temporary, you may hurt your chances of making a just and fair recovery if you are ever seriously and permanently injured in a future accident. I can guarantee you that if you make a claim for a relatively minor injury now, when you are seriously injured in the future, the insurance company for that future accident will likely wonder whether all of your injuries were caused by the earlier accident(s) for which you also filed a claim. In other words, you really don’t want to create a history of injuries and/or disabilities unless they are serious enough to justify a substantial amount of money as just and fair compensation.
  • Finally, bringing unjustified or “frivolous” claims unnecessarily wastes the time and resources of our court system. Unfortunately, our Courts are jammed with frivolous claims that tie up courtrooms that could be used to resolve business disputes and prosecute criminals. These unjustified lawsuits for minor non-permanent injuries also delay the time when an individual, who has been seriously injured, can have his/her day in court if the negligent driver in that case refuses to pay just and fair compensation. Most importantly, when jurors begin to believe that folks are exaggerating claims to fool them into giving money as compensation that isn’t deserved, it creates doubt in their minds about the legitimacy of all lawsuits for these types of damages, and makes it much more difficult for folks who are truly injured and deserving of just compensation to recover for the harm caused them.

So, if you are not sure if your injuries are serious enough to justify making a claim, give me a call and we can talk about that as well.


1 Unlike Florida, Virginia does not designate attorneys as board certified in any area of law nor does it have a procedure for adopting and/or approving the Florida State Bar’s board certification.