FAQs Related to Truck Accidents in California Answered

Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck Accident Cases

Most accidents in which trucks are involved results in severe damages. As commercial trucks are really heavy than passenger vehicles they might cause quite a destruction when involved in an accident. The severity of the situation will be even more dangerous if the trucks are carrying hazardous materials like chemicals or any inflammable things.

If you are involved in a truck accident you will get a reimbursement for the damages and injuries you suffered. You can consult a truck accident lawyer to know about the procedures for filing a lawsuit to claim money for a truck accident case. A California truck accident lawyer will be experienced in such cases and you can rely on them to fight on your behalf for the right compensation you deserve.

People in California have different doubts regarding filing a lawsuit against truck accident cases. The most frequently asked questions by Californians are answered below:

Can I sue the trucking company for the accident?

It depends on the situation. If there is an established relationship between the truck driver and the trucking company, you can sue them. In such cases the trucking company will be held liable for the accident under a legal theory called “respondeat superior.” But if the truck driver is an independent contractor working on behalf of the trucking company, then proving the liability of the company can be difficult. In this situation, the amount of supervising done by the company will become an important factor.

Can I sue the loading company for my injuries?

This is possible if the cargo was not properly loaded. If the loading of cargo to the truck is done in an unsecure and unsafe manner, then it will eventually lead to an accident. In such cases, you can also sue the cargo loading company for the accident.

Can I get compensation for loss of work if I get involved in a truck accident?

Yes, the compensation you receive for truck accident cases can also include your loss of pay because of the accident, and also the loss of earning capacity resulted from the accident. A truck accident lawyer will help you calculate the amount you can claim based on the damages you suffered.

Is it important to hire a truck accident lawyer?

Yes, it is important to hire a truck accident lawyer before filing a lawsuit for claiming money if you get involved in a truck accident. A well experienced lawyer will help you to analyze the situation and decide on the right amount to claim. If you have to take the case to court, he will fight for you to get the right amount you deserve.

How Truck Accident Rules Prove Liability in Drowsy Driving Cases

Truck Accident Attorney
Truck Accident Rules

One of the major causes of truck accidents in California is drowsy driving. Such crashes often results in catastrophic injuries since the driver is unlikely to have control over the truck. On top of that, it is extremely challenging to prove drowsy driving cases since there are no objective tests to prove fatigue and drowsiness. Plus, truck drivers are unlikely to admit that they were behind the wheels for a long period of time.

When it comes to drunk driving, your truck accident attorney will be able to prove the liability easily by doing some tests to check the alcohol content in the blood of the defendant. To tackle this issue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations have put forward some rules so that a truck wreck lawyer can prove liability easily in case of drowsy driving crashes as well.

Trucking rules to prevent drowsy driving

One of the major rules that were aimed at preventing collisions because of drowsy driving is the Hours of Service. According to this regulation, truck drivers are given an ultimatum regarding the time limit that they can spend behind the wheels. They are also expected to take mandated rest in between for a few hours. The regulation mainly imposes a number of limitations on the truck drivers who transport cargos in commercial trucks. A truck accident attorney can easily prove the liability by proving that the defendant failed to follow any of these rules. Some of those crucial rules include;

  • The maximum hours a trucker can drive over the course of the day is 11
  • A truck driver can be on duty only for 14 hours a day. In other words, a trucker must have 10 consecutive hours of off duty each day
  • Usually, truck drivers are unlikely to spend their rest time in the trucks. However, if a driver has sleeper birth provision in his truck, they are expected to take advantage of it. According to the rule, the drivers must be on the sleeper birth for at least eight hours during their rest time.
  • The long-haul truck drivers who often drive a lot are expected to take a mandated rest of minimum 30 minutes after driving the vehicle for consecutive 8 hours.
  • When it comes to driving hours, the maximum limit a truck driver is allowed to drive over a seven-day and eight-day period is 60 hours and 70 hours respectively. Once a driver reaches the limit, he must take rest of at least 34 hours off duty
  • Drivers who transport passengers will have to follow even stricter time limitations. Note that they can drive only up to 10 consecutive hours after which they will have to take rest at least 8 hours off duty

About Pursuing Disability Claim after a Truck Accident

Truck Accident
Truck Accident Lawsuits

As per statistics, truck collisions are more dangerous than the ones involving only cars. Unsurprisingly, the truck accident victim is likelier to have injuries which keep them from going back to their work. In the event you were involved in an accident, you may be entitled to seek a disability claim. It is still essential to properly assert your rights. That is where an experienced and skilled truck wreck lawyer can help.

Types of Benefits Available to a Victim

A short-term disability program bridges the gap between your catastrophic accident time and the time where you establish permanent disability status. The California State Disability Insurance program gives those who work for companies, involved in the SDI program, a maximum of 52 weeks of insurance coverage. The program benefits cover 60% to 70% of the income you were making before your accident.

If you have had to reduce the working hours because of your accident injury, then you may also be eligible for partial benefits. You will be eligible for it even when you get different federal disability benefits, like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

To get these benefits, you need to apply for the same inside seven weeks of establishing that you cannot go back to work due to the injury. You will also have to file a disability claim form duly signed by the right medical authority.

Some individuals find getting the right medical practitioner or filing their claim to be overwhelming following a truck accident. The concerned truck driver may need to cope with the employer who fails to give the claim form the driver needs, or who demands them to report back to work before they are able. An attorney specializing in automobile and truck accident law can help you with filing this claim and dealing with the employer.

Long-Term Disability

In the event you cannot go back to work in the foreseeable future, you may be able to apply for a permanent disability claim through the Social Security Administration. The SSA bases the benefits on the number of years you have worked and how much you have earned in those years. They manage two kinds of disability income: Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance. As mentioned above, Social Security Disability Insurance is calculated on the basis of factors like your average income in the period of time you were employed. The benefits of Supplemental Security Income are available to those with limited income who are disabled, blind or are aged 65 years or above. You may be able to collect both SSI and SSDI at once.

Injuries Which May Deserve a Disability Benefit

As said earlier, you should apply for SSD benefits and will have to provide documentation that explains why you cannot go back to work. Some of the injuries which may qualify the accident victim for SSI or SSDI benefits can include the following.

  • Seriously injured legs or arms
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Partial or full paralysis
  • Brain injuries
  • Burns

How to Fight the Denial of a Disability Claim

There are several reasons your SSD or SDI claim could be turned down. Some of the common reasons for denial include the following.

  • Lack of medical evidence that can be verified
  • Earlier denials of a claim similar to this
  • Not cooperating with agency personnel who evaluate your claim
  • Not following your treatment plan

Besides the above, several truck accident victims find that the injuries they sustained are challenged by the company which employs them. Rely on a law firm with experience to help you file your claim again to make a relatively more convincing case.

Disability Benefits versus Injury Lawsuits

When you have sustained life-changing injuries in an accident of this kind, SSDI/SSI and SDI can provide access to the funds you need for daily survival, medical requirements and to give your family. A rather important source of income will likely be found by filing an injury lawsuit against that negligent driver, who is to blame for your injury.

Many parties can be found by the court or jury to be guilty in a truck versus motorcycle or passenger car accident. They can include the truck’s manufacturer or mechanic, the driver’s employer or their shipping agent, and the agencies responsible to ensure road conditions are safe. Even when you are found to be partially guilty for the truck accident, you may seek damages in the event the other parties are more at fault.

Disability originating from the accident can play a big role in your injury case. The disabling injuries you sustained may factor into the following.

  • The loss of your future wages
  • Lost wages
  • Medical costs
  • Punitive damages when the negligence was intentional or extreme

Gathering evidence right at the accident scene as soon as you can is an essential part of seeking compensation for damages based on your disability. It is also important to make your injury case persuasively. Your odds of winning a settlement or the grant at trial which you deserve will improve considerably when you retain the services of an experienced injury attorney.

Truck Accident That Can Ruin your Successful Claim

Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck Accident Claim

An accident with a huge commercial truck can be very dangerous and could be life-threatening. Truck accident victims usually face much pain along the journey to recovery because of the depth of the injuries. This comes in addition to medical bills and loss of time from work. Victims are confused by the questions like how to reclaim the losses, and how to get back to their normal life. Note that it is better to consult a truck accident lawyer to get the compensations you deserve. Below is a discussion regarding the mistakes you have to avoid to help you complete a successful claim.

Failure to Consult Medical Care Immediately

One mistake the casualties usually make is that they do not seek medical care right after the accident. In several cases, the casualty has to be carried away on an ambulance. Many people still refuse treatment or medical attention right on the spot of the accident. This is a costly error. It is possible that the accident seemed minor in the immediate aftermath. However, it may turn out to be a damaging one and take weeks to find out. Sometimes, if you do not seek treatment right away, the opposing party may accuse that the injuries are not a result of the accident. Hence, keep the above point in mind.

Speaking to the Faulty Driver or Insurance Agent

Many people speak to the driver at fault, the trucking company, or the insurance executives before consulting a truck accident lawyer Los Angeles. You may consider the exchange normal, but the things you say might end up working against you in the eventual course of the case. It could even cut short the amount you are eligible to claim. Hence, it is the right thing to let the lawyers do the talking.

Settling Too Fast

The most common mistake seen among truck accident victims or driver is that they tend to settle too fast. You may want to end the whole matter fast and get along with your normal life, but this may affect the settlement amount you acquire. Hence, remember to seek the best possible compensation instead of settling initially.

Seeking the Incorrect Settlement Amount

Sometimes people end up asking too much or too little as compensation amount for the truck accident cases. This is a serious error as the insurance companies might then view you as uninformed. Hence, make sure you take expert help before you claim the compensation.

Make sure you do not commit the above errors as you go ahead with the truck accident case.

Frequently Asked Questions about Truck Accident Lawsuits

Truck Accident Attorney
Truck Accident Lawsuits

One of the most terrifying and stressful moments in the life of a person will be experiencing a crash. Things will be even worse if it involves a commercial truck that can pose serious damage to the vehicle as well as life-threatening injuries to the passengers involved. Unfortunately, as a result of extreme stress and fear, most people may go numb and will not be sure about the steps that are to be taken further.

Note that you can consult a credible truck accident attorney and file a lawsuit to claim compensation for your damages. However, before this, you must take some actions to strengthen your lawsuit and, thereby, increase your chance of the win. In order to help you out with all the necessary details, below are some frequently asked questions about truck accident lawsuits.

Can you File a Lawsuit in California after a Truck Accident?

Any person who is involved and injured in a truck accident is free to consult a truck accident attorney and file a lawsuit to claim his/her damages in California. If the truck wreck lawyer of the plaintiff succeeded in proving the liability of the truck driver or trucking company, the victim can recover compensation for the following.

  • Medical bills
  • Loss of wages
  • Lost future earnings
  • Loss of consortium
  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages

Can you File a Lawsuit if you are Partially Responsible for the Collision?

Yes, it is possible to file a lawsuit against the truck driver or trucking company even if you are partially responsible for the collision. Note that California State boasts comparative negligence law and hence, the victim will be able to recover their damages whether or not they played a role in the collision. However, the compensation amount that the victim is entitled to will be reduced depending on their share of fault.

What are the Major Steps One Must Take after a Truck Accident?

Firstly, seek medical assistance and make sure that there are no hidden damages. In most cases, some injuries will be hidden and tend to show off only after a couple of weeks or months. Plus, get a medical report regarding the severity of your injuries. This will surely help you with the case. Then, report a police case regarding the accident documenting every significant detail. The police will report the case including your side of the story as well as that of the other party’s and witnesses’. This will be helpful to prove the liability of the opposite party in court.

What are the Pieces of Evidence That you Can Collect from the Accident Site?

If you can, it will be better to collect important pieces of evidence from the accident site. Note that the former ones are in the hands of medical officers and police officers. If you can gather enough information from the accident site that points to the negligence of the opposite party or your innocence, it will be a huge brownie point for your truck wreck lawyer and you are most likely to win the case. For this, make sure to collect information such as driver’s license number, company information, license plate, contact information, insurance information, etc. Additionally, get the contact number or address of the witnesses as well.

Most importantly, try to click as many pictures as you can of the accident scene. Haven’t you heard the phrase ‘a picture speaks louder than 1000 words’? On a related note, try to take the pictures of your vehicle from inside and outside to show the damages. Moreover, try to include the pictures of the truck that mainly reflects the cause and mode of the collision such as any kind of obstructions, tire marks, damages on the roadways, etc. Finally, take pictures of your potential injuries before getting it dressed. All these factors will help you to seek the compensation that you deserve.

How to Deal with the Insurance Company of the Opposite Party?

Once you file a lawsuit against the opposite party, their insurance agents are likely to get in touch with you for out of court settlement. Note that insurance agents will be skilled to trap the unskilled victims with their words. In most cases, the victims are likely to blurt out something in their present state of mind and the insurance people will try to use it against them in court. Worst, if you signed any of their documents. Furthermore, they may try their best to delay or deny their claim. Otherwise, they may try to trap you with a lowball offer.

In order to tackle such issues, it is recommended not talk to them unless accompanied by your truck accident attorney. Otherwise, make sure to seek their suggestions at least. Needless to mention, with a credible truck wreck lawyer on your side, you can make sure whether or not the compensation amount that you are getting is fair. It is to be noted that skilled lawyers will be good in negotiations as well as litigations.

Dealing with the Concerned Trucking Company after a Truck Accident

Truck Accident Law Firm
Truck Accident Laws

When a truck and a passenger vehicle are involved in a collision, the size and weight of a truck used to transport goods put those in a passenger vehicle at serious risk. These accidents usually result in serious bodily injuries and even demise.

If you were involved in a truck collision, then you may be having mounting medical bills as you require long-term treatment. You may have lost wages as you missed time on the job to recover from both your debilitating emotional trauma and injury. The experienced team of professionals at a truck accident law firm can help negotiate a reasonable settlement, while at the same time make the situation fair for aggressive trucking firms and their insurers.

Understanding the US Commercial Trucking Segment

American Trucking Associations reports the commercial trucking sector has to transport more than 70% of all shipment tonnage in the nation. Combined, these big automobiles have over 10 billion tons in freight annually, transported by over 3.5 million drivers.

Commercial trucking firms make more amounts of money by raising the number of products and loads they transport. This creates a perk to take shortcut routes and make safety less important than profit, expressly encouraging truck drivers to speed up, skip compulsory brakes, carry much more weight than what they should, or take other risks to safety.

As a result, around 5,000 individuals throughout the nation are involved in deadly truck-related collisions annually with thousands more severely injured. Loaded commercial automobiles can weigh maximum 75,000 pounds more compared to passenger vehicles, which mean those in the smaller autos are at a higher risk of getting fatally injured in an accident with a truck.

Trucking Companies and Legal Responsibility

Trucking businesses may be held liable for the negligence shown by the drivers they employ. Under the “vicarious liability” principle, employers are liable for the acts of their workers which fall in the course and scope of their employment.

Still, several truck drivers are regarded as independent contractors, not those working for trucking companies. They accept work on a per-job basis. Federal regulations can still help victims hold this type of company liable for accidents caused by those independent contractors.

The companies may also be held legally responsible when the collision was caused by one who had a poor driving record or sleep disorder or who was inexperienced or dependent on drugs.

An Overview of Truck Accidents

Truck Accident
Truck Accident Law

A truck accident differs greatly from a normal vehicle accident. It can be fatal at times. The heavy weight of the truck almost always adds to the effects that the accident can have on the victims. A fully loaded truck is supposed to be 25 times heavier than a normal car traveling on the road. This is one of the main reasons why truck accidents can be very catastrophic.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a truck accident, you are eligible to get the compensation for the same through a claim against the liable parties. You may consult with an experienced truck accident attorney to know the right proceedings surrounding the claim.

Unique Danger Of Truck Accidents

It is common for people involved in a vehicle accident to get injured. This would normally be a direct result of the crash. While this is true in the case of truck accidents, there is another unique danger that comes along when a truck is involved. If the truck is loaded with hazardous or easily flammable material, there is a high chance for the victim to sustain secondary injuries which can increase the damages caused.

How Can You Prove Your Case?

Negligence is the key basis of any kind of personal injury claims which involve vehicle accidents. In the same way, a person who is injured in a truck accident should prove that the defendant was supposed to give reasonable care to the plaintiff, and that he breached his duty, which led to the plaintiff being injured.

Know the Defendants

In a truck accident case, the truck driver may not be the only defendant. There could be other potential defendants like the trucking company, employers, contractors, etc. who can be held liable for the crash. The potential defendants of each truck accident cases would vary depending on surrounding and conditions. If the truck driver is an employer of a trucking company, the company may also be held responsible for the accident caused by the driver due to his negligence.

If the truck driver is not an employer, but the independent contractor of a trucking company, the liability of the company in the accident will be determined by the extent to which the company supervises the work.

In certain cases—though rarely—the manufacturer of the goods carried on the truck can also become liable in a truck accident case. Since you may not be sure about the parties who can be held liable for the injuries you have suffered in a truck accident, it is better to seek the help of a truck accident attorney to know the possibilities of getting compensation in your case.

Ways to Preserve Evidence after a Truck Accident

Truck Accident
Truck Accident Law

In any accident cases, the preserving of evidence is very important in determining the success of the lawsuit. The same is the case with truck accidents. The collection of evidence after a truck accident is significant because it will help in determining the liability and calculating the extent of loss suffered by a victim. In the majority of the truck accident cases, the evidence must be collected soon after the accident.

The truck accident lawsuits are very complicated, and it will take many months to finally conclude the matter. However, the collection of evidence must be started as early as possible because there is a high chance for the evidence to be lost or to be destroyed purposefully by the opposite party. The preserving of the evidence will largely determine the strength of your claim.

Here are some important ways in which you can preserve evidence after you suffer injuries in a truck accident. If you are planning to make a personal injury claim in the future, keep these things in your mind.

Get Proper Medical Care

You need to seek medical help without hesitation because the documentation of the medical help you receive after the accident will help determine the severity of the injuries you suffered from the truck crash. Make sure that you preserve the medical records for future reference.

Get a Copy of the Accident Report Made by the Police

The police report will contain all the necessary information regarding the truck accident. This includes the details and statements of those who witnessed the accident and several other crucial information. Make sure you request a copy of the police report.

Make Use of Spoliation Letters

These are the official letters that you can write to a certain party, asking them to retain certain evidence that is with them. They may otherwise not be responsible to keep the evidence intact. Sending spoliation letters can assure that the evidence remains protected.

Visit the Accident Spot Again

There might be some evidence at the accident spot, which you might have overlooked before. Visiting the scene again will help you to find them and preserve them for later use. There might be some tire marks on the road or a CCTV camera nearby which may all turn out to be crucial evidence in the crash.

Along with these, keep the pictures of the accident scene in different angles to have a clear view of the crash later. Consult a truck accident attorney to know more about the collection and preserving of evidence after a truck accident.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents in California and Ways to Avoid Them

Truck Accident
Truck Accident Law

Large truck accidents are some of the most dangerous and devastating of all motor vehicle accidents. The magnitude and load carried by these vehicles put all those involved in danger of suffering severe injuries. In the state of California, large truck accidents are responsible for 3.4% of injury-causing accidents. Note that they make up 9.7% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents. Below is a discussion on the common causes of truck accidents in California and a few tips to avoid them while on the road.

Prominent Reasons of Truck Accidents in Los Angeles County

Even though these accidents occur due to several reasons, a chief cause is behind all the major accidents of the kind where the truck driver was the accused: driving at an unsafe speed

Across the years, a considerable amount of accidents were caused by over speeding trucks. It is important to note that traveling at an unusually high speed does not equate to going above the allowed speed limit. For instance, the truck driver might have caused the accident by driving unsafely through unfavorable weather conditions like wet surfaces, low-visibility regions, or with ice or snow on the road.

A Few More California Truck Accident Causes

Other usual causes for California truck accident fatalities and injuries where the driver is at fault include the following:

• Inappropriate Turning

• Dangerous and unexpected Lane Change

• Automobile Right-of-Way

• Errors in Traffic Signals or Signs

• Hazardous way of Starting or Backing

• Driving Too Close to other vehicles

• Driving along the wrong side of the road

• Operating under the influence

• Pedestrians Right-of-Way.

Further, truck accidents may also result from equipment failures such as improper passing, falling asleep while driving, hazardous parking, or issues with lights and brakes. Though these are associated with the truck driver, it could happen to anyone driving the opposing vehicles.

Tips To Avoid Truck Accidents in Los Angeles

Generally, all safe driving principles help stay safe during drives. Besides, every driver has to:

• Obey the traffic safety laws strictly, such as traffic signals and speed limits

• Keep away distractions and maintain focus on the road and the surroundings

• Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs

• Ensure adequate sleep and rest—fatigue makes drivers equivalent to drunk drivers

Above are some of the main reasons behind the Truck Accidents in the state. Make sure you follow the safety tips strictly for a safe drive.

The Link between Poor Driver Training and a Truck Accident

Los Angeles Truck Accident Attorney
Truck Accident Attorneys

Operating a commercial truck safely takes more than just hours of practice and a short class. A truck driver should be able to deal with different types of trucks and brakes, transmissions, and other complex systems of these vehicles.

Truck drivers also require specialized training which will equip them to deal with poor weather conditions, narrow turns, blown tires, and congested traffic.

Without proper training on handling various kinds of commercial trucks and systems, as well as dangerous situations, an inexperienced driver is likelier to cause an accident.

Better-trained and more experienced truck drivers can better evade an accident, or reduce the consequences of one by a great extent.

Poor Training Will Bring about Truck Accidents

There is a reason nobody wants a 14-year-old driving a sports car without any sort of experience. He or she has not been given training, and that car has plenty of muscle. As you would expect, a lot can go wrong if an inexperienced person drives it.

The same notion applies to a truck driver. A person who has minimal training and little to no experience is likelier to cause a truck accident.

If an inexperienced person takes the wheel, then a countless number of things can go wrong. A few of these things include the following.

  • Stopping too late or not slowing down
  • Improper braking which causes jackknifing or sliding
  • Breaching hours of service (HoS) regulations
  • Drowsy driving

The Trucking Firm Could Also Be Legally Responsible

All trucking companies are liable for recruiting and keeping competent and qualified drivers. Trucking companies sending their workers onto the roadway are responsible for the latter’s actions and consequences of these actions at the end of the day.

It is the company’s responsibility to do proper research when it hires new drivers to ensure everyone has a commercial driver’s license, adequate training, and any necessary endorsements.

All those elements are essential to make sure every driver is actually competent and technically qualified to operate a commercial truck.

New recruits who have just learned the basics of driving will need further training before they are able to hit the road.

What to Do after a Truck Accident Involving an Inexperienced Driver

After an accident, the first thing one should do is getting their injuries documented and treated. Then, they have to get in touch with an experienced and skilled truck accident attorney.

In the event you hire a lawyer right after your truck accident, the professional can quickly look into the accident’s cause and find out whether inadequate training was the cause of the accident.