Comparative Negligence in Truck Accident Cases

Truck Accident Attorney
Truck Accident Attorney

Truck accidents can happen because of differentreasons including the negligence of the truck driver, carelessness of other drivers, malfunctioning of the truck parts, the problem with the loading of the cargo, etc. Sometimes the accidents can be a result of the shared fault of both parties involved. Then, such accidents can be considered as comparative negligence cases.

What is Comparative Negligence?

When both parties involved in an accident share the liability for the accident, it is referred to as comparative negligence. Here, a percentage of liability will be assigned for both parties based on their share in causing the accident.

Most people believe that if they are partially responsible for the accident, they cannot claim money. But in California, you will be allowed to recover money for the damages you sustained because of the accident even if you carry 99% of the responsibility for the accident. If you carry 60% responsibility for the accident, then you will be entitled to get 40% of the total claim amount.

Comparative Negligence in Truck Accident Cases

In truck accident cases, injuries for other parties involved can be quiet severe when compared to the truck driver’s injuries. Hence, people might think that the truck drivers will have to pay for the entire amount that the other parties claim. But this belief is wrong, as the truck drivers will have to pay the amount for the percentage of fault they carry. If the other parties involved in the accident are wholly responsible for the accident, then the truck drivers or the trucking company is not responsible to give compensation for the accident.

Consider a situation when a car crashes into a truck. If the truck driver was not violating any rules and was following the traffic safety guidelines strictly, then the car driver might be at fault for the accident. If the car driver was drunk and lost control of the car, then he violated the traffic rules. In this case, even if the car driver is severely injured, he may not be able to get any compensation from the truck driver, as he carries the complete responsibility of the accident.

In some other cases, the car driver as well as the truck driver can carry the responsibility of the accident. For instance, if the truck driver was using a phone and the car driver was taking a wrong turn when the accident happened, then both parties share the fault. In this case, the truck driver or the trucking company will have to pay for the damages incurred to the car driver based on the percentage of fault they carry.

Important Steps to Take After an Accident in California

Truck Accident

All accidents can be a devastating experience for the people getting involved in it, especially if there were any serious injuries happened. Whether it is a truck accident, car accident, slip and fall accident, or any other accident, you may encounter certain injuries that can range from minor to major and even fatal. Hence, it is important to consider such accidents seriously.

California is a state that considers all types of accidents with utter seriousness. According to the laws of California, if you get involved in an accident, there are certain steps you have to follow. This is very important as it can affect the lawsuit you file for claiming money to compensate for the damages caused by the accident. These steps that are listed below might come handy to you if you or your loved ones get involved in an accident ever.

Steps to take

You have to follow some important steps if you get involved in an accident. This involves collecting the details of the opposite party, contacting the emergency services, collecting the evidence from the accident scene, etc. If the accident is caused by a hit-and-run driver, then try to remember about the vehicle as much as possible. You are obliged to keep an emergency kit in your vehicle, and also a cell phone, a notepad and pen. Also, take photos of the scene with your cell phone if you can.

Following are important steps you should take after an accident:

  • If you not severely injured, then call 911 immediately and this will bring emergency services to your accident scene. Describe your location precisely for them to reach you faster. If you have GPS, use it to pinpoint your location.
  • Make sure that all the people involved in the accident are safe and away from the traffic lanes. If the vehicles become inoperable after the accident, you have to seek the help of a tow service for removing them from the scene.
  • Exchange information with the other driver including name and other contact details.
  • Contact your insurance company. Make sure not to admit the guilt or divulge any information that could jeopardize your claim.
  • File an accident report at a police station or with the California DMV online.
  • Do not make any settlements before consulting your lawyer.
  • Access your injuries and property loss for submitting them to your insurance company.

Contacting lawyers

When selecting a lawyer for filing a claim in the court, make sure that you select an attorney who practices in your particular area. For example, if you get involved in a truck accident, it is better to consult a truck accident attorney rather than any other attorneys. It will help you to ensure that the lawyer you select has enough experience and knowledge in your specific field. Visit https://davidovichlaw.com/ for finding the best attorneys who have experience in different fields including car, truck, motorcycle or any other type of accidents.

Tips for Sharing the Roads Safely with Semi-Trucks

Truck Accident
Truck Accident Law

Commercial trucks seen on the roads are much heavier and larger than normal passenger cars and this is one of the most dangerous limitations of those vehicles, which makes driving near them dangerous. Therefore, drivers of other vehicles need to exercise caution to avoid the possibility of accidents with commercial trucks. Safe driving must be practiced by drivers while they share the roads with big trucks.

Common Dangers of Driving Near Commercial Trucks

Semi-trucks often have increased dangers of driving around them, which can often lead to hazards. Some of the hazards including passenger cars and semi-trucks include:

Larger Blind Spots

Semi-trucks often have many blind spots that extend on their front, back and sides for long ranges. Most truck drivers would not be able to see other vehicles that are on the road in these blind spots. This makes it very dangerous to drive them.

Longer Distance and Stopping Time

Semi-trucks take a longer time to slow down and stop due to their heavy size and weight. For the same reason, these trucks will not be able to stop suddenly when something occurs all on a sudden.

Slower to React

Commercial trucks will not be able to react to traffic situations quickly, mainly because of their size. Making changes in the lane and merging with it takes a longer time for a commercial vehicle when compared to passenger vehicles on the road.

Wider Turns

Commercial trucks on roads need more time to turn safely, especially to turn to the right side of the road. Make sure not to put your car on  the way of a truck that is turning to a side road.

Impact by Wind

The trailers of commercial trucks are capable of acting almost like a sail. These trailers can be blown over during heavy winds that can result in a collision.

Useful Tip

Always make sure to offer plenty of distance while driving in front or next to commercial vehicles as they need more space for turning, changing the lane, etc. Also, make sure to avoid turning from inner lanes that are next to the trucks. There are chances for your vehicle to get squeezed if trucks take a turn, as these trucks need up to fifty-five feet to make turns.

At What Time Do Most Motorbike Accidents Occur?

Vehicle Accident Lawyer
Road Accident Cases

Motorbike accidents can and do occur any time, but in some times of the day, the possibility of being part of one drastically goes up. You cannot always avoid riding in these times when the risk for an accident is high, but you should know the hazards and ride much more safely.

When Is Riding a Motorbike Least Safe?

As per accident statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, most fatal accidents happen between 03:00 pm and 12:00 pm on weekends. The possibility of entering a fatal collision is more than double from 03:00 pm to 09:00 pm, a period where 42% of fatalities happen.

The tendency for non-fatal motorbike crashes follows a comparable pattern. The Administration found that over 21,000 injurious motorbike accidents happened in the same period. That is almost 25% of all injury-causing collisions that occur throughout the week. Riding a motorcycle is the most dangerous any day between 03:00 pm and 09:00 pm.

Weekday Stats Skew the Accident Risk

The above-mentioned numbers do not give a clear idea about the risk which riders actually face in the weekend. Many more crashes occur in the week, but there is an even greater concentration of collisions on weekends. Those NHTSA statistics reveal that 2015 saw more than 2,400 fatal motorbike accidents during the weekend days compared to 2,556 during the whole week. That is almost the same number of fatalities happening in only two days.

The Reasons for This Fatal Time Crunch

Knowing that almost every motorcycle accident happens from 03:00 to 09:00 pm is not enough. You should understand the causative elements behind this combination of motorbike accidents. The combination of things that leads to this phenomenon includes the following.

Rush Hour Traffic

A large number of individuals go back home from their workplaces between 03:00 pm and 06:00 pm. It is among the busiest times across America in terms of traffic on main highways. Naturally, more traffic translates to more danger. It can mean frustration, bad decisions, aggressiveness, and other such behaviors which increase the possibility of motorbike accidents in this period. When possible, change your commute to avoid riding in rush hour and a potential accident.

Riding Conditions

Rush hour is a risk factor, but not the only one. It is likely for riding conditions to quickly deteriorate as the sun sets and it becomes a cooler atmosphere. In this time, the fog rolls off the sea, when snow, mixed precipitation and rain are likelier to fall as the asphalt temperature changes. If riders are not ready to, or they cannot respond to such atmospheric changes, then they could lose control of the bike.

Driver Impairment

It is unfortunate that between 03:00 pm and 12:00 pm, there are more impaired drivers than at other times on the road. As per NHTSA’s accident information, alcohol-involved deadly crashes increases from just below 4,000 from 12:00 pm to 03:00 pm to nearly 5,000 from 03:00 pm to 06:00 pm. This increase stays steady up to about 12:00 pm, which is when these numbers start to come down again. Unsurprisingly, the period when a greater number of motorbike accidents occur coincides with the impaired driver period. This is one of the popular times to ride, so if you cannot avoid hitting the road this time, then stay visible and vigilant.

Visibility

This period when the majority of motorbike accidents happen coincides with sun setting. In addition to driver impairment and speed, another common factor that contributes to motorbike collisions in California is decreased visibility. Therefore, bike riders are told to wear bright-colored clothing, leave lots of space to maneuver between cars, use the lights properly, and think that other motorists do not spot them always.

You Must Do What Is Needed to Ensure Everyone’s Safety

In an ideal world, one could just stay home to avoid motorbike accidents at these risky periods, but this is not how things are done. The second best thing to do is to know the common reasons for and the factors that contribute to motorbike accidents, and what can be done to avoid these collisions.

Several motorcycle accidents involve some rider responsibility aspects, but remember that other drivers are at fault in 60% of these collisions. It is not at all your fault when:

  • An automobile driver does not see you;
  • He or she behaves aggressively or angrily during a jam; and,
  • He or she chooses to drive when impaired.

As a motorcycle accident victim, you have legal rights and may be able to seek compensation for damages from those who caused your injuries. When your accident happened will not affect your right to sue. Speak to a vehicle accident lawyer to clarify whether you have the right to do so.

Lawsuits Pertaining To Autonomous Car Accidents In California

Truck Accident
Car Accident Lawsuits

Driverless vehicles are becoming increasingly common on the roadways, so there has been a spike in car accidents involving these automobiles. When a pedestrian or driver is injured in one such accident, the victim might just not know who is responsible for their accident.

The injured victim can file a lawsuit against the business behind the autonomous vehicle for damages that result from the accident. If an autonomous car is a reason for the accident, then the injured person might just have a valid claim for compensation under California product liability laws. In the case a driver uses the autopilot mode at the time their vehicle gets into an accident, he or she may also be responsible.

The victim may be entitled to file an injury lawsuit to receive compensation for damages, including the following.

  • Lost wages;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Property damage; and,
  • Medical expenses

If one is killed in an autonomous automobile accident, their family members may be eligible to file a lawsuit of wrongful death. The loved ones of the deceased may claim for damages, including the ones mentioned below.

  • Funeral costs;
  • Loss of support due to the demise of a family member; and,
  • Loss of earnings from the decedent

Now, comes the tricky question: “how does one prove who is at fault for an autonomous vehicle accident?”

Every single party who is involved in it may have their own account regarding what induced the accident. However, self-driving auto accidents maybe even more complicated as it may not be clear if the vehicle’s software or system is to blame for it.

Disputed vehicle accident claims may need an investigation by both the concerned insurer and the attorneys of each party. In a self-driving auto accident claim, the investigation may need experts to look at the evidence and accident information to find out what caused it.

Your injury lawyer will look into the matter, and they may have the case reviewed by expert engineers. Then, that person can provide an expert’s take on the reason for the accident to happen. The expert can be called to the court to testify to explain his or her view to the jury.

Besides the fatal autonomous automobile accidents, there have also been numerous near-misses involving autos operating in semi-autonomous modes. All vehicles running on the road could just lead to a severe accident or injure cyclists or pedestrians. Even truck accident incidences involve autonomous rigs; suffice to say, driverless does not mean flawless trucks.

Who can be Held Responsible for a Truck Accident?

Truck Accident
Truck Accident Lawsuits

Proving the liability in case of a truck accident will be one of the primary concerns a victim will have to face when filing a lawsuit for recovering the losses. The liability of a truck accident depends on certain factors. If the driver who caused the accident is an employee of the trucking company, then you can sue the trucking company for the accident. But in some cases, the driver might be an independent contractor who works for the company, and hence the driver will have the sole responsibility for the accident in those cases.

It is important for the victim to know about the relation between the driver and trucking company to decide which all parties should be included in the lawsuit. A truck accident attorney can help you to investigate about the connection between the truck driver and the trucking company to find the right parties to sue when filing a lawsuit.

Who are the potentially liable parties?

The truck driver: If the truck accident was caused by the driver’s fault, then he/she will have to bear the responsibility. The reason for the accident might be the violation of the law by the truck driver. The distraction or negligence of the truck driver can also result in an accident. For all these causes, a truck driver can be held liable for the accident.

The trucking company: In some cases, the trucking company who hired the driver can be also held liable for the accident. If the driver has some previous records of violating laws, or drinking problems or drug addiction, then the company committed a mistake by hiring such a person. So the company can be held liable for the accident such a driver caused.

Other instances when the trucking company can be held liable are; if the company failed to inspect and maintain the truck properly, or neglected to take safety measures, or has given over stress for the driver to meet the deadline. In such cases you can sue the trucking company also.

The cargo loaders: If the cargo on a truck is not loaded properly, there is a high possibility for its contents to fall off and create damages. In those cases, the cargo loaders will also bear the responsibility of the accident.

Truck manufacturers

When the reason for the accident is the malfunctioning of some truck parts then the manufacturers will be the party who held responsible for the accident. If you get involved in a truck accident caused by the improper working of truck parts, then you can file a lawsuit against the manufacturers with the help of a truck accident attorney.

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.

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.

Most Common Defective Parts of a Truck Which Cause Accidents

Truck Accident
Truck Wreck Lawyer

The negligence of drivers is the common cause of truck accidents. However, a large number of commercial truck accidents happen due to defective parts.

Brake Systems and Brakes

Brakes are an important part of a truck, used for transporting goods. Air brake systems make and maintain the compressed air which transmits pressure to brakes, which potentially helps stop a truck fast. If an emergency comes about and a truck has to brake suddenly, working brakes help prevent an accident.

Brakes can be damaged due to the way these were made. In other situations, issues with brakes can be the consequence of poor maintenance. Frequent brake inspections help spot any issues with a truck’s air brake systems, like issues with brake lines or brake hoses. Drum brakes have to be checked for overheating or cracks.

There are usually warning signs when a vehicle’s brake system is being compromised, like screeching sounds, dash lights, fluid on the surface, and vibrations. If these signs were ignored, then the driver, the company that employs them, or the entity which serviced the vehicle could be held responsible for resulting injuries.

Fuel Tanks

Some trucks have side-saddled tanks, despite the fact that having one in that position is risky. In the case a fuel tank is hit in an accident, an explosion or fire may arise. If you were injured in an accident due to that collision, then your truck wreck lawyer might just be able to find out the source of that fire and whether the location of the tank also contributed to the incident.

Rear Underride Guards

These parts keep passenger automobiles from sliding below the truck if a rear-end collision takes place. If the guards of a truck do not conform to the minimum standards, then severe injuries or deaths may arise if a passenger auto collides into the back side of that truck.

Windshield Wipers

These wipers are required to clear the front window of a truck of raindrops and other obstructions to vision. If these are not in working order, then the driver of that truck may not see autos or other dangers on the roadway while driving through a heavy downpour or some other inclement weather.

Tires

Another common reason for a truck accident is a blowout. Tire blowouts can happen when these parts are not inflated as they should be or are worn down. Tires can wear quickly when these are not maintained in the proper way, which makes handling the vehicle more tricky for the driver.

Most of these issues can be avoided in an effective way by careful check of the air pressure, tread depth and tread separation of tires. Inspections have to also assess these parts for cuts and cracks.