Were You in a Truck Accident in California?
Updated: Apr 26
Find a Truck Accident Lawyer for Personal Injury Claims
The trucking trade, which generates over $676 billion annually, necessitates strict deadlines, logistical organization, and willing drivers to transport products throughout the country. The trucking industry transported over 10.4 tons of freight last year (according to the US Department of Commerce).
Despite the fact that the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety has mandated service hours, preventable accidents continue to occur throughout California.
The Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Distracted driving, driver sleepiness or exhaustion, and alcohol or drug impairment are only a few of the factors that contribute to truck accidents.
When you add in the following facts, you may have a catastrophe on your hands:
Concerned with their profit margins, trucking companies keep their vehicles on the road for as long as possible and can fail to maintain them properly. Despite stringent safety laws governing how often trucks should be inspected and maintained, some businesses fail to inspect motors, lights, and brakes as regularly or thoroughly as they should.
Truck drivers, particularly tractor-trailer drivers, need specialized training, and they can be sent out on the road without adequate planning. Trucks are more challenging to navigate due to their enormous size and weight and can quickly tip over on sharp turns. They still take much longer to stop than automobiles. Unfortunately, because inexperienced truck drivers are paid less than their more experienced coworkers, trucking companies may prefer to place them on the road in order to save money.
Many truck accidents are the result of carelessness on the part of the freight operator or warehouse employee loading the vehicle. Truckloads of freight must be balanced correctly, or the risk of the truck tipping over or spilling materials increases.
Despite the fact that truck drivers are consistently tested for alcohol and drug impairment, the temptation to use stimulants to stay awake on overnight hauls can be daunting, leading to other substance abuse.
Truck Accidents: The Most Common Types
The following are some of the most common forms of truck accidents:
Blind Spots (or "No-Zones"). Commercial vehicles have blind spots (or "No-Zones") on their sides and backs. When a truck driver switches lanes or makes a right, some vehicles struggle to avoid these dangerous points.
Accidents triggered by brake failure. Brake failure may be caused by excessive usage, sudden stops that cause overheating, and inadequate maintenance or installation.
Rear-end collisions. Truckers who tailgate risk colliding with the vehicle in front of them, particularly because trucks need more time to use the brakes than cars. The occupants of the smaller vehicle may suffer catastrophic injuries or even die as a result of rear-end collisions.
Runaway truck accidents. At a railroad crossing, toll booth, off-ramp, or intersection, a truck's sudden, improper braking can cause a "runaway" crash.
Rollover collisions. Speeding and excessive loading are two of the most common causes of rollover collisions. Rollovers are most common when a truck driver speeds up a steep slope, a sharp curve, or hits a curb.
Under-ride collisions. Due to the large size difference between small cars and trucks, a sudden stop by a truck or trailer will smash the car behind it.
Wide-Turn Collisions. When a truck driver underestimates the amount of space required to complete a turn or if the driver fails to see a smaller vehicle in a "No-Zone," the smaller vehicle is inadvertently pinned against another vehicle or a road divider.
What Contributes to Personal Injury in a Truck Accidents:
Many factors can influence the type of injuries sustained, including:
The vehicles' top speeds
The weather circumstances
Rollover, jackknife, rollover, under-ride, and other forms of truck accidents
What part of your vehicle was damaged in the collision?
What was your location or place in the car at the time of the collision? (e.g., driver or passenger seat, sitting up or bending over)
Whatever the circumstances of your truck crash, you can depend on an experienced truck accident lawyer to determine who is to blame for your injury and keep the party accountable. You should be mindful that you might be entitled to punitive damages in California even if you are partly (or even entirely) to blame for the accident. However, the proportion of your responsibility will be deducted from the settlement amount.
Truck Accident Victims' Most Common Injuries
Truck accident victims may sustain severe injuries to any part of their bodies, including:
Lacerations that need to be stitched or that require invasive surgery
Whiplash and herniated discs cause neck and back injuries.
Easy to compound fractures are all types of broken bones (the bone breaks through the skin, greatly increasing the risk of infection)
Burns that can necessitate many skin grafts and leave a permanent scar
Crush injuries occur when the body is crushed between two hard surfaces, as often occurs when a small car is caught under a truck in an under-ride crash.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can cause loss of consciousness, vision, hearing, and speech disorders, seizures, sleep disturbances, and cognitive impairment.
Broken ribs and other thoracic injuries, such as lungs that have collapsed or have been punctured, are common.
Internal bleeding that, if not treated promptly, may result in death.
Internal organ injury or loss, such as spleen loss or damage to the liver, uterus, intestine, kidney, bladder, or pancreas, may cause reparable or irreversible damage to the digestive tract, reproductive organs, endocrine system, and other organs.
Spinal cord injuries can cause discomfort, tingling, numbness, or partial or total paralysis, depending on whether they affect sensory or motor nerves.
Negligence in Vehicle-related Personal Injury
About 90% of car accidents are caused by human error. To the extent that they were unintended, these events may have been unintentional. However, we all cause mishaps from time to time. We must all take responsibility for the injuries that we cause.
For liability purposes, California health insurance providers often reject injury-related claims. The stingy insurance provider will not cover these costs if there is any possibility that anyone else will.
In-car collisions, several people are seriously injured. They simply aren't aware of it. The crash's adrenaline also hides a variety of serious injuries. Of course, this is just a temporary result. Similarly, the brain excels at concealing its own harm. Concussed football players are not lying when they say they will return to the game because they "feel good." In most cases, they are absolutely fine. Head injuries, especially whiplash, are common in car accidents.
Case of Negligence
A typical California negligence case, such as a car accident, has these key components:
Care of Duty. Over time, the neighbor theory has evolved. Noncommercial drivers are normally required to exercise fair caution. They must obey all traffic laws and drive defensively. In California, many commercial operators are common carriers. These operators are kept to a higher standard of treatment. They aren't yet insurance companies for their passengers' safety, but they're getting there.
Drivers are in violation of their obligation if their acts fall below the applicable level of treatment. Since not all bad conduct is a violation of duty, the jury generally answers this fact-based issue. Talking to passengers, for example, is legally distracted driving since it takes the driver's mind and eyes off the road. However, most people would not consider such behavior to be a violation of duty.
Causation. This is referred to as "but-for" causation by most truck accident lawyers. In other words, the accident would not have happened if the tortfeasor (negligent actor) had not acted negligently.
Proximate Cause. Another lawyer term that refers to foreseeability. After a collision, a truck is likely to careen off the road and strike a pedestrian. However, it is impossible to predict whether or not a doctor will make a medical error during surgery. Even if the tortfeasor did not personally trigger either act, the tortfeasor is responsible for the first but not the second.
Damages. In California, plaintiffs must be physically injured in order to receive compensation. It may be a personal injury or a loss of property. Typically, trucking accident victims are entitled to compensation for both their economic and noneconomic damages, such as medical costs and pain and suffering. In certain serious circumstances, additional punitive damages may be eligible.
Premises liability cases, such as slip-and-fall accidents or dog bites, are handled somewhat differently, but they are still negligence cases. The following are the elements in these cases:
The premises were owned, occupied, rented, or managed by the defendant.
The defendant was careless.
An injury was sustained by the victim.
The defendant's negligence is a significant contributor to causing the damage.
The victim/plaintiff must usually show that he or she had real or constructive knowledge (knowledge or should have known) of the slick floor, burned-out security light, or other property defects. In California, proving premises liability is a fact-intensive method. If the victim was injured in a rented home, for example, the landlord would not be responsible because he or she has no direct control over the property.
In California, who is responsible for a truck accident?
In a truck accident case, a violation of federal or state laws is not the sole reason for assessing liability. Furthermore, several parties can be held responsible for a single truck crash. Truck drivers, trucking firms, truck suppliers, and shipping companies are examples of these groups.
Drivers of Commercial Trucks
Commercial truckers are often found to be at fault in accidents. For example, drivers under the influence of alcohol or in violation of hours of service rules can cause accidents. Hours of service rules were placed in place to discourage truckers from causing accidents due to fatigued driving.
Commercial Trucking Firms
Commercial trucking firms, including truck drivers, are required to meet federal and state legislation. Companies, for example, can be held responsible for a collision if they employ or maintain unqualified drivers.
Trucks can have flaws that result in an accident. In such circumstances, it might be necessary to keep the truck or car component maker liable for damages.
Companies involved in shipping
Shipping and loading firms could be held responsible in the event of a catastrophe. When cargo is not properly loaded or secured, commercial trucks may crash. If cargo shifts during a sharp turn, for example, a truck can crash.
Which Evidence to Collect in a Truck Accident Case in California?
To figure out who is to blame for your truck crash, you'll need to conduct an investigation. The "black box," video footage, corporate documents, witness accounts, and police reports are all possible sources of evidence.
The Truck's Black Box
Commercial trucks are usually equipped with a "black box" that records vital engine data. The black box can record information such as driving time, pace, hard braking incidents, and other critical details relevant to your case. Black boxes, on the other hand, turn off after 30 days, so it's important to get this evidence as soon as possible.
Anything Captured on Video
Video cameras can be installed in newer commercial vehicles. Your accident footage may be valuable documentation. Furthermore, traffic lights, businesses, or witnesses may have captured the case.
During a truck accident event, some documents may be valuable evidence. A driver qualification file, for example, could reveal whether or not the driver was eligible to operate a commercial vehicle. Records of maintenance and inspections can also be useful.
Statements Made by Witnesses and Written Police Reports
Witness statements can aid in determining what occurred. Police reports may also aid in determining who was to blame. There are several other pieces of proof that are crucial to your case. Medical records, for example, may aid in determining the seriousness of your injuries. Photographs from the crash scene, as well as depositions from accident forensic experts, can be helpful. We've just provided a few examples of facts that may be relevant to your case.
What Do You Do If You're in a California Truck Accident?
The decisions andd subsequent actions you take after a truck accident will have an impact on the amount of money you can receive. Here's what you can do if you've been in an accident.
Make Certain You're Safe. You must first ensure that you and your passengers are healthy after being involved in a truck crash. Since truck accidents are common on highways if at all possible, drive your vehicle off the lane. If you or a passenger suffers serious injuries, seek medical attention right away.
Police should be contacted. After that, you can contact the authorities. The police report is crucial in determining your case's facts, particularly if you were not at fault in the accident.
Collect Evidence for Later. You can obtain the truck driver's details after notifying the police. This data contains the following:
The details on the truck driver's license
Their insurance details
The make and model of the truck
The license plate number of the truck
It has an identification code (VIN)
Be sure to photograph the damage to your car, the truck, and the accident scene as well. You can also obtain the contact details of any eyewitnesses.
Get to A Doctor/Medic. You can seek medical attention from a medical practitioner if you have not already done so. Even if the injuries are minor, the medical records obtained as a result of receiving medical attention are crucial evidence in truck accident cases.
Contact your insurance provider. You can report the accident to the insurance provider. Explaining your side of the story is crucial in assessing the truck driver's or any other remotely liable party's liability.
Contact a truck accident lawyer. Finally, you can contact a California truck accident attorney. A truck accident lawyer will assist you in negotiating with insurance providers and in arbitration. Hiring a California truck accident lawyer will give you the best chance of getting the payout you deserve.
What If You Were Partially to Blame for the Collision?
And if you were partly to blame for the accident, you would still be entitled to compensation. If you were not entirely at fault, you would recover at least some compensation in California. Because of your percentage of blame, your settlement and award will be diminished.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Truck Accident Case in Los Angeles?
The statute of limitations sets a deadline for bringing a lawsuit in a truck accident case. The statute of limitations of personal injury lawsuits in California is two years. This means you have two years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit. If you don't file your case within this time frame, you won't be able to file it again unless there are special circumstances. To help you file your lawsuit on time, contact a truck accident lawyer in California right away.
OTHER COMMON CASES:
1. Fatigued/Tired Truck Drivers
Driving while fatigued is extremely dangerous, as you are well aware, particularly if you are a truck driver, operating a vehicle that is 25 times the weight of most other vehicles on the road. Despite the fact that the federal government governs trucking in terms of vehicle maintenance, preparation, and shift lengths, truck drivers are more likely than other drivers to be driving while overtired or drowsy. This is why:
Also, under federal rules, truck drivers are required to work 11-hour shifts.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) discovered that 28% of commercial truck drivers have moderate to extreme sleep apnea (often undiagnosed), which causes them to be drowsy throughout the day. Many truck drivers attempt to stay awake by taking medicine or illegal drugs, but this backfires, leaving them tired and less concentrated.
Even if they are not driving while impaired, truck drivers who drink alcohol to unwind after long shifts can disturb their sleep patterns and thus interfere with their concentration.
Many truck drivers work night shifts, disrupting their natural circadian patterns.
To add to this ominous list, the CDC notes that sleepiness and severe exhaustion often cause injuries, even when the driver is "awake." It's been shown that the hazy state we all encounter before falling asleep causes:
a lack of concentration on the job at hand
The time to react is slower.
Cognitive deficiency (i.e., ability to think clearly or make thoughtful decisions)
As a result of eye spasms and/or dry and irritated eyes, their vision is impaired.
When it comes to impaired decision-making, tired drivers are more likely to ignore warning signs that they shouldn't be driving, such as yawning, missing an exit, wandering into the next lane, or colliding with a rumble strip. Truck drivers are often less likely to stop for required rest because their livelihood depends on them arriving at their destination on time.
2. Accidents involving Garbage Trucks
Garbage trucks, though commonly dismissed as big, slow, and bulky vehicles that few regards as dangerous, can pose real dangers to drivers and pedestrians. In reality, the Solid Waste Association of North America recorded a troubling increase in injuries and fatalities related to garbage truck accidents in 2019.
Not only are garbage trucks huge, but the sanitation companies that own them are often powerful, well-connected corporations with considerable influence.
Accidents involving garbage trucks are caused by the fact that garbage trucks:
In terms of scale and weight, they are gigantic.
Early in the morning, when it is always still dark, is when they usually set out.
When drivers make a series of unplanned stops.
Work in densely populated areas and in residential areas
Many traffic rules may be disregarded (e.g., driving on the wrong side of the street, down bicycle paths, or the wrong way down one-way streets)
Have wide blind spots and are difficult to turn (workers on the back of the truck must warn the driver when it is safe to move the vehicle).
If you were seriously injured in a garbage truck accident as a result of someone else's negligence, you might be entitled to monetary and non-monetary compensation.
A Garbage Truck Accident Caused by Negligence
Although garbage truck drivers are legally allowed to break certain traffic laws while performing sanitation pickups, drivers and/or their employers could still be held liable if:
The truck's warning lights, mirrors, and backup alarms were all broken.
When driving, the driver was inebriated, distracted, or tired.
The driver lacked proper preparation and supervision.
The truck was not properly inspected or repaired when it was needed.
Trash or trash cans are not managed/organized correctly.
If the injuries were caused by the garbage truck driver's, one of the other employees on the truck, or the hiring company's negligence, you are entitled to compensation, and a Los Angeles truck accident lawyer will do whatever they can to make sure you get it.
Payable Damages You May Be Entitled To
A collision with a large vehicle will result in serious and even fatal injuries. In a truck crash situation, the stakes are also even higher than in other forms of traffic accidents, rendering personal injury or wrongful death cases more difficult.
In a truck crash, recouping costs necessitates navigating a labyrinth of federal and state laws and regulations.
It can also include dealing with a team of lawyers and insurance investigators who are familiar with truck-related accident claims and represent the truck driver, trucking company, and their insurance provider.
Among other things, your truck accident lawyer will assist you in determining:
If the truck driver or the trucking company violated federal safety or repair regulations.
If the trucking company gave its drivers proper training and supervision.
If the accident was caused by the truck's design or a manufacturing defect.
Once you have established the person/organization liable for your accident, you could be entitled to compensation for your losses, which may include:
Hospital bills (including future medical expenses)
Reduced earning capacity
Pain and Suffering
Loss of relationships (consortium)
In personal injury and accident lawsuits in California, damages are awarded based on "shared blame" or "pure comparative negligence." This means that if a complainant is partly to blame for the accident, it will diminish the amount of money he or she may obtain.
When An Accident Lead to Wrongful Death
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil suit that seeks to hold an at-fault party responsible for an individual's death and recover punitive damages from that party.
A wrongful death prosecution is not a criminal proceeding, and the defendant will not face any criminal penalties as a result of the case's outcome.
Damages for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The amount and type of insurance coverage available, as well as the extent of your and your family's damages, will determine the value of your wrongful death claim payout.
Although it is difficult to estimate the value of your claim without first conducting a comprehensive investigation, damages that might be available in a wrongful death claim include:
Medical costs. You have the right to recoup the entire amount of the deceased's medical expenses incurred prior to death.
Expenses for funerals and burials.
Lost wages. When a wage earner passes away, their loved ones are often left with the financial burden of lost wages and profits, as well as the loss of benefits over time.
Noneconomic losses. Not all losses are monetary; surviving family members can lose the value of household services, parental guidance, companionship, and other items. In addition, damages for these intangible losses can be sought.
Who is Entitled to Make a Wrongful Death Claim?
According to California law section 377.60, the personal representative of the deceased, as well as any of the following parties, will file a wrongful death action:
The decedent's surviving spouse or domestic partner;
A decedent's children
A decedent's grandchildren (if children are already desceased)
Anyone who will be entitled to the decedent's property under intestate succession laws;
If the putative spouse, children, stepchildren, or parents of the decedent may demonstrate that they were financially dependent on the deceased, they may be eligible for compensation.
A Wrongful Death Case's Important Elements
A valid wrongful death lawsuit must include four components, one of which was already mentioned: the defendant's wrongful act or negligence caused death.
In addition, a complainant must prove that:
A duty of care was owed by the defendant to the decedent.
That the duty of care was violated (through a negligent or wrongful act);
That the primary cause of death was a wrongful or incompetent act
As a result, the beneficiaries of the deceased have sustained losses.
The two most difficult aspects of a wrongful death lawsuit are usually proving a violation of the duty of care and causation.
Working with a wrongful death lawyer in Los Angeles will help you develop all of these elements. A truck accident attorney will not only prosecute the case but will also recruit experts whose views will have a direct impact on the case's outcome.
What are the Advantages of Making a Wrongful Death Claim?
Bringing a civil suit may seem the furthest thing from your mind when you are grieving the loss of a loved one. Instead, you may be preoccupied with arranging a funeral or burial service, making a financial plan, ensuring that any children you have received the support they need following the death of a parent, and dealing with your own grief.
It could be a smart idea to hire a California wrongful death lawyer to help you plan and file your lawsuit. Although taking legal action can be difficult and emotional, there are many advantages to doing so.
For starters, filing a wrongful death case will provide you with a sense of closure by keeping the individual responsible for your loved one's death accountable, as well as deterring the person from committing a similar reckless or wrongful act in the future.
A wrongful death action will provide you and your family with the financial benefits you need to care for yourself and move on in the future, in addition to providing closure.
Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Claim
You may be reluctant to contact Los Angeles wrongful death lawyers so soon after the death of a loved one, but it is critical to do so.
Not only is it critical to move quickly in order to gather and preserve evidence that may be crucial to your argument, but if you delay too long, you risk violating the state's statute of limitations.
You will be barred from receiving damages if you wait more than two years from the date of death to file a claim.
Find a Truck Accident Attorney in Los Angeles
The physical and emotional tone a truck accident can bring to you and your family is daunting. Sometimes, it's easier to get distracted by the stress and expenses related to the aftermath.
Finding a Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyer may not only help you seek damages you are rightfully entitled to, but they are also professionals who know the ins and outs of your case. They will be able to formulate strategies and help you organize your documented evidence. They can also make sure you'll be ready once it's time to go to court.
We can refer you to a pre-screened Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorneys that best fits your case. Fill up the submission form or contact us through our 24/7 live chat for a free initial consultation on your case.