California Truck Accident Lawyer
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As any California native will tell you, California’s roads are consistently choked with traffic. The high volume of vehicles on the road means that there is a lot of potential for accidents, and indeed, California posts some of the highest accident numbers in the United States every year. When trucks are involved in these accidents, the risk of severe damage to person and property becomes much higher.
If you have been involved in an accident with a truck, it is important that you retain the services of an experienced truck accident lawyer to make sure that you have the best chance of seeking fair compensation for your injuries.
YOU MAY BE ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION
Following an accident, there are a few key steps that ensure your health and help you should you decide to seek compensation:
What To Do After A Truck Accident
1. Seek Medical Attention
First and foremost, move yourself to a safe location immediately following the accident, if at all possible, to prevent more harm. Next, determine if emergency medical attention is necessary for you or anybody else involved. Remember that adrenaline can often mask the pain from injuries.
2. Report the Accident
When the police arrive on the scene, give a thorough report of what happened. It is difficult to determine what information may be important later on, so be as comprehensive as possible while the details of the event are still fresh in your mind.
3. Document the Accident
Make sure to document the accident as comprehensively as possible. This includes things like taking pictures of your car and the truck, as well as pictures of the accident location. In addition, make sure to get the insurance information from the truck driver and contact information from any possible witnesses.
4. Contact a Truck Accident Attorney
The legal process can be very complex and may be difficult to navigate on your own. This means that it is very important to contact an experienced truck accident attorney to help guide you, determine liability, who to sue and help you understand the value of your claim.
Types of Truck Accident Claims
Some of the common types of accidents involving trucks in California include:
When trucks are overloaded, or when drivers drive too fast or too recklessly, cargo may fall off and impact other cars on the road or create hazardous conditions that end up causing a collision.
Given the heavy loads that trucks carry, they require a much further distance to come to a complete stop than the average passenger vehicle. Given this, they are often at an increased risk of rear-ending the vehicles in front of them.
Given the length of the average tractor-trailer, they have fairly large blind spots. This means that it is easy for a truck driver to fail to notice a car who may be driving next to them before they attempt to merge lanes.
With every truck accident lawsuit, it is important to determine exactly what caused the accident. While no two accidents are the same, the main causes can generally be grouped into a few categories.
California is an expensive state to live in, and many truckers try to put in as many hours on the road as possible. Though there are federal regulations that govern how many hours per day truckers are allowed to drive, it is common for them to exceed those limits and drive while sleepy and unalert. This can lead to drifting into other lanes or other unsafe driving behavior.
Improperly Loaded Truck
When trucks are driving with a large load, they are required to follow safety guidelines in securing the weight of their cargo. If this does not happen, then the cargo may fall off and cause serious injury.
18-wheelers are difficult to maneuver, and truckers need to maintain a heightened level of vigilance. However, even when they are paying attention to the road, mistakes can happen. If a trucker panics, overcompensates, or under-compensates in response to a stressful situation on the road, collisions can occur.
How to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit
To file a lawsuit, there are a few key steps that need to happen.
1. Call a Truck Accident Lawyer
First and foremost, speak to an experienced California truck accident attorney. As mentioned before, the legal process is filled with twists and turns and unexpected complications. An attorney with experience in this field will be able to guide you through as painlessly as possible.
Once you have contacted an attorney, they can begin to go through the process of investigating the accident in order to prepare for settlement negotiations. This includes things like conducting interviews, reading reports, and gathering date from the trucking company and driver.
3. Case Settlement
Once they have all of the information they need, your attorney can begin the process of negotiating a settlement. Any party who you may have filed suit against is going to want to pay out as little as possible, making it crucial that you have an experienced attorney to represent your interests and make sure that you are treated fairly throughout the process.
Who is Liable?
It is easy to point the finger at the driver in an accident claim, but there are actually a few different parties who may share in the blame.
If the driver of the truck was driving outside of the time limits approved by federal regulations or was just generally driving irresponsibly, then they probably will be at least partially at fault for an accident.
18-wheelers are large machines made up of a lot of parts, and if the failure of one of these parts ends up causing a crash, then the manufacturer probably shares at least part of the fault.
The Loading Company
Loading companies prefer to fill trucks to their maximum capacity in order to make the most money. However, there are limits to what trucks can handle, and if the overloading of a truck has caused a collision, then the loading company may share in the blame.
Proving Truck Driver Negligence
In order to recover in any personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff, or the person bringing the suit, must establish negligence. In the case where your car was hit by a truck, and you believe that it was the truck driver’s fault, it must be established that the truck driver was acting negligently and that this negligence caused your injuries.
Negligence can be proven by showing that the driver was drunk at the time of the accident, was driving longer than allowed for the day, did not have the proper licensure, etc. Your attorney would work on establishing liability if the driver was at fault.
Next, your lawyer will need to make the link between this negligence and the injuries that you suffered. If a truck driver involved in an accident was driving while groggy, but it was actually another vehicle’s reckless driving that caused the accident, then the trucker’s sleepiness is not really what caused the accident. Establishing this link of causation is crucial in any personal injury lawsuit.
What compensation can I seek?
One of the major questions on the minds of those making a personal injury claim is, “How much is my case worth?” The compensation you may be awarded depends on your damages. Damages are the losses that you incurred because of the accident, and these can be grouped into the following categories.
Damages in this category includes things like damage to property, medical bills, and lost future earnings from not being able to work. The damages in this category can typically be established with a fair degree of certainty.
This category includes the pain and suffering caused by an accident. While establishing an exact number in this category can be a bit hazy, the pain you feel from an accident is very real, and it can certainly be compensated.
How long do you have to file a claim in California?
With every personal injury lawsuit, there is a time limit that the suit needs to be brought within, which is known as the statute of limitations. The statute clock begins running when the accident occurs, and if a lawsuit is brought after that time has expired, then it will typically be dismissed by the court.
In California, the statute of limitations for truck accidents is the same as the larger one that applies to all personal injury lawsuits, which is two years from the time of the accident. There are different rules if someone has died, if the person involved is a minor, or if you only want to sue for damage to your vehicle, but in general, it is important that you contact an attorney if you want to understand your position better.
Talk To Zinda Law Group
When seeking compensation, your attorney will thoroughly assess your claim and seek a full and fair settlement for you. If a settlement cannot be obtained, we will aggressively represent you at trial and fight to help you seek the compensation you deserve.
You can work with us on a contingency fee basis, which means you will pay nothing unless we win your case. That’s our no-fee guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.