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A Guide To Truck Accident Claims In California

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

Have You Been Involved in a Truck Accident in Los Angeles? Here's How to Find Out About Getting Your Claims.

Truck accidents are, unfortunately, more common than you think. It doesn't matter where or when a truck collision occurs; it can happen anytime.

You can file a Truck Accident Claim in California to get compensation for your injuries and monetary losses. In addition, if a member of your family was killed in a truck accident, you might be (the surviving family) eligible to file a Wrongful Death Claim against the responsible party.

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Understandably, truck accidents result in numerous significant bodily injuries and fatalities. In addition, truck incidents result in a considerably greater rate of severe injuries than other vehicle collisions due to their large size disparity compared to other vehicles on the road.

Large trucks also can't easily stop as smaller vehicles do. So when road and weather conditions are unfavorable, or the people involved in the accident have been negligent in one way or another, accidents happen. Additionally, more people can be involved in these types of accidents, as the trucks are often commercial vehicles, and their size and weight can easily plow through several vehicles on the road at once.

That said, there's a lot involved in truck accidents, and you'll need the help of a Truck Accident Lawyer in California while you recover. You shouldn't have to add more stress to your life by having to file insurance claims and worry about when you'll be able to get back to your job. Instead, let your attorney do all the work and focus on getting back on track.

Why Are Truck Accidents So Dangerous?

Truck accidents happen because a truck is so big and moves so fast compared to a car, van, or even a bus. Compared to the average mid-size vehicle, which weighs roughly 4,000 pounds, a fully loaded truck or tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds.

This means that even if a truck travels at a modest speed, any collision between a truck and another vehicle will almost certainly result in significant damage. As a result, driving a heavy truck, 18-wheeler, tractor-trailer, or other large commercial vehicle demands additional training and attention.

Unfortunately, not every truck driver is as alert as they should be, and many truck accidents result from carelessness or neglect. However, there are also a variety of other factors that contribute to truck accidents, including:

  • Negligence by truck drivers. Truck drivers frequently violate standard truck driving procedures, such as speeding, driving when tired, driving while intoxicated, and failing to drive safely in hazardous weather conditions.

  • Manufacturing and Design Errors in Trucks. Truck manufacturers may create 18-wheeler trucks that have been designed and produced incorrectly. Tire faults that cause tire blowouts, brake defects, carriage problems, and latch defects are examples of such defects.

  • Liability of the Trucking Company. In California, trucking businesses may be held accountable for unlawful recruiting practices.

  • Illegal drug usage. Truck drivers use illicit narcotics to stay awake and continue driving to maximize their profit.

  • Accidents caused by road defects and highway construction. Road design flaws and highway construction sites frequently cause truck accidents. During construction on California roadways, construction personnel often fail to post sufficient signage and illumination, resulting in general confusion and an increased risk of accidents.

  • Accidents involving a tractor-trailer and a jackknife. When a truck is folded to resemble a pocket knife, it is called jackknifing. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, over 5000 jackknifing occurrences occur yearly, resulting in thousands of injuries and over 500 fatalities. Road conditions, inadequate lighting, braking system failure, poor driving practices, and suspension breakdown are all factors that contribute to truck jackknifing.

Because of these vehicles' considerable size and weight, collisions frequently result in significant property damage and serious injuries. A Truck Accident Lawyer in California can assist in determining the cause of a truck accident by collaborating with specialists to discover what caused the collision and whether it could have been avoided.

A Truck Accident Lawyer in California can also help establish whether a person is eligible to file a California Truck Accident Claim against the truck driver, the trucking business, the vehicle manufacturer, and other parties involved, as well as the amount of compensation to which they are entitled.

Truck Safety Laws

Both trucking companies and truck drivers are subject to several truck safety requirements. However, when these guidelines are broken, accidents are more likely to occur.

First and foremost, trucking companies must keep their own or leased vehicles in good working order. This means that the brakes, lights, steering, engine, and other mechanical components must work correctly. More importantly, trucking businesses must undergo routine maintenance and safety inspections to ensure that vehicles operate safely. In addition, records of completed inspections and repairs must be kept and made available for examination. That said, trucking businesses that violate these regulations may be held accountable for accidents resulting in catastrophic injury or wrongful death.

Furthermore, truck drivers are accountable for driving their vehicles safely and following certain standards. They must, in particular, get the following:

  1. Special licenses

  2. Adhere to driving laws and restrictions

  3. Take frequent rest breaks

In actuality, truckers must meet rigorous delivery schedules while traveling large distances, and they frequently flout restrictions regarding speed and rest stops. As a result, truckers are prone to feeling weary, and some use stimulants such as methamphetamines to stay awake. Whether an accident was caused by driver weariness, driving under the influence, or driver error, the results can be disastrous, and careless truckers can be held liable.

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What Are the Most Common Types of Injuries in Truck Accidents?

Accidents involving trucks can result in life-threatening or catastrophic injuries. Unfortunately, you're not alone if you've had a similar injury due to an accident.

The following are examples of some of the most common semi-truck accident injuries:

  1. Head and brain traumas that impair your ability to think

  2. Injuries to your neck or spine that limit your mobility

  3. Contusions

  4. Amputations or broken bones

  5. Internal bleeding or lungs pierced

  6. Whiplash, road rash, or airbag rash

  7. Hazardous-materials-related chemical burns

Because of adrenaline or shock, many truck accident injuries are latent, meaning you may not immediately realize you've been hurt. Even if you appear to be in good health, pain may appear hours later. In addition, some injuries, such as concussions, aren't noticeable until a medical practitioner assesses them. This is why, whether you believe you've been wounded or not, it's critical to see a medical professional (and emergency services) as soon as possible after a truck collision.

Seeing a doctor helps you get your health back on track and creates a paper trail of your injury. One of the most important aspects of proving your personal injury case is evidence of your injuries and losses and the impact it has had on your life. If you wait too long to seek care for your injuries after an accident, you may find it difficult to link your injury to the collision.

If you're worried about getting medical help because of how much it'll cost you to go to the hospital, get a Truck Accident Lawyer in California to help you process your compensations via insurance claim settlements or civil litigation.

Here's What You Should Do If You've Been Involved In A Truck Accident

While nobody wants to get into accidents, it helps if you read up on what to do in case it, unfortunately, does happen. In fact, most people who get into accidents never want it to happen, so it's safe to say that accidents can happen at the most inopportune times.

You can, however, prepare yourself for when it does. Here's a list of things you should do right after a truck accident:

  1. Always put your own safety and the safety of those around you first. Then, if you are hurt, seek medical help right once.

  2. Do not approach the truck driver to discuss fault or apologize. All of your remarks can and will be used against you when you seek recompense from trucking firms and their insurance companies for your damages and injuries.

  3. Contact your local law enforcement agency, police department, or the California Highway Patrol if the accident occurs on a highway.

  4. Obtain the driver's information, including his driver's license, truck registration, and insurance information, from the truck driver. Do not dispute the fault with other drivers.

  5. Speak with eyewitnesses. If there were any witnesses to the accident, try to get their contact information, such as names, emails, and phone numbers, so you can contact them later.

  6. Gather evidence. Take as many pictures as possible of the accident scene, including the intersection where the incident occurred, street lights, and the damages to your and the other vehicle, if you have a camera or a phone camera.

  7. If the other party's insurance company approaches you, contact a truck accident injury attorney and ask him to talk with the other party's lawyers and insurance agents.

The last tip is especially important. After all, you don't want to be negotiating something as important as an insurance payout. But, simultaneously, you are wounded, in shock, and confused. Let your lawyer handle that for you.

Who Is Liable In A Truck Accident in California?

Who is responsible for medical expenses incurred from a vehicle accident? The answer to this question depends on who was at fault in the collision and depends on who was at fault in the collision. The four parts of negligence that lead to liability are the duty of care, breach of duty, cause, and injury.

To all the other drivers or parties on the road, all truck drivers owe a duty of care. They need to be careful so that their carelessness doesn't lead to any accidents. Truck drivers could be held responsible if they don't do what they should and cause accidents that hurt others.

While it is unfortunate that you were engaged in an accident that resulted in injury, it is fortunate that your accident occurred while traveling through California.

California is one of just a few states that recognizes "pure" comparative negligence. In practice, this implies that even if you were somewhat to blame for the events that led to your accident, you might still be able to seek compensation from others who are legally liable for their careless, reckless, or purposefully dangerous behavior.

Some states make it illegal for injury victims to seek compensation from others if they are primarily to blame for the harm they have endured. Other states limit victims' rights to seek compensation if they were less than 50% at fault for the incident. On the other hand, California has no such limit on comparative negligence.

As a result, if you are found to be partially at blame for your accident, you will be entitled to receive less compensation than if you were not at fault at all. For example, suppose your damages are estimated at $100,000, and you are held responsible for 25% of the responsibility in your accident. In that case, you will still be able to seek approximately $75,000 in damages from those responsible for the remaining 75% of the fault.

It's worth noting that some of these liability risks aren't usually evident or straightforward at first. In some instances, there may be no way to determine if the trucking company that employs one of the drivers involved in your truck accident was engaging in illegal tactics at the time of your collision. However, it might help if a Truck Accident Lawyer in California conducts an investigation.

You may believe that you may only sue the driver when, in fact, the trucking firm can be held accountable for forcing the driver to run their vehicle while exhausted and neglecting to properly maintain its fleet. Avoid making any conclusions about whether or not you have sufficient grounds to pursue legal action until your attorney has reviewed your situation objectively. You might actually be entitled to more compensation or damages than you thought or were made to believe.

Why Are Truck Accident Claims Complicated?

A semi-maximum truck's load is 80,000 pounds, compared to the 3,000 to 4,000 pounds that passenger cars weigh when traveling alongside. Therefore, when a smaller car and its occupants are involved in an accident, they are at a significant disadvantage, and their injuries usually reflect this. The distinctions between truck and vehicle accidents are substantial, and pursuing them correctly requires the assistance of an experienced and the best Truck Accident Lawyer in California.

Victims of truck accidents frequently have to deal with enormous insurance firms, which often refuse to pay. Even if your claim is valid, many trucking companies and their insurance carriers are willing to go to any lengths to avoid paying you the right value.

In most passenger car collisions, only one party and their insurance company are held responsible. However, everyone from the truck driver to the crew that loaded the truck to the truck's manufacturer or safety equipment could be held accountable regarding truck accidents.

Some trucks are driven by individual contractors, while others are operated by the government or a private firm such as a commercial trucking company. As a result, multiple parties may be accountable for your accident, depending on the unique facts of your case:

  1. The negligent truck driver that caused the truck accident and their insurance company

  2. The company that owns or employs the driver of the truck (such as for failure to comply with safety protocols)

  3. A mechanic failed to properly repair the truck's defective parts

  4. The truck maker for flaws in the truck's design or construction

  5. The property owner is responsible for the accident's environmental factors

  6. You may also have to deal with truck driver unions

With so many people involved, determining blame and accountability can be difficult. That's when the knowledge of an attorney comes in handy. Not only is a lawyers used to taking on the most complex personal injury claims, but they also know their way around the law.

What Compensations Can You Get For Truck Accident Injuries?

Are you entitled to compensation if you were involved in a truck accident? Short answer: yes.

Truck drivers must have insurance with a specific amount of bodily harm liability coverage. However, if you decide to launch a case, you may be able to get more money.

You may be eligible for various compensation options if you've been in a truck accident. This is dependent on how you were affected by the accident. In general, the compensation you receive can be either monetary or non-monetary.

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That said, you may be entitled to several kinds of compensation. Although each claim is unique, the following are some of the most prevalent types of payment listed for recovery:

  1. Health-care costs

  2. Wages that have been lost (lost income, etc.)

  3. Damage to property

  4. Expenses for the funeral (for Wrongful Death Claims)

  5. Pain and Suffering

  6. Punitive Damages

Regardless of the specifics of your claim, you can rest assured that an experienced and prescreened California Personal Injury Attorney will provide you with the guidance you need to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation attainable.

You may also be eligible for punitive damages if the situation warrants it. When the defendant acted particularly careless or maliciously, these damages are awarded.

Dealing With Insurance Settlements for Truck Accidents

You could be intimidated by the prospect of dealing with a big trucking firm or their insurance provider. You could even be tempted to take the first settlement offered to you just to acquire something to pay your bills and move on with your life.

Insurance companies often undervalue early settlement offers in the hopes that you will do just that. Before signing any settlement offers, you should always consult with an attorney. You could leave thousands, if not millions, of cash on the table if you accept a settlement without consulting an attorney. In addition, you may lose the ability to safeguard your rights if you sign.

What's The Deadline For Filing A Truck Accident Claims In California?

A truck accident victim must submit a civil claim within two years of the incident, according to California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1. However, in many circumstances, a legal claim or lawsuit may not be necessary.

This is because the insurance company for the guilty party will try to settle the issue outside of court. They accomplish this by receiving your truck accident claim and, as a result, making an offer that they consider reasonable.

This sum, however, is unlikely to accurately reflect the value of your case or the amount of compensation you deserve. Therefore, engage the services of an experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in California to ensure that you obtain an offer commensurate with the value of your claim.

Remember that insurance firms are a business. Therefore, they want to give you the lowest possible payout for your Truck Accident Claims. Sometimes, they might even try underhanded tactics to make sure they don't lose as much money as they would have. For example, adjusters might try to trivialize your injuries, push more blame unto you, or question the evidence you have.

Why Do I Need A Prescreened Truck Accident Lawyer?

When you get into an accident, you'll have many things to remember. Not only are you worrying about recovering from your injuries, but you also have to think about paying your medical bills, but lost income, recovery expenses, and possibly life-altering effects of catastrophic injuries.

If you were left disabled by the incident, you might not be able to return to your previous job. In addition, if a loved one dies due to the accident, you're dealing with emotional distress and financial losses.

On top of that, you'll have to deal with insurance adjusters trying to lowball your payouts. All while you're mourning, in pain, or very stressed. An uninformed person might soon get overwhelmed and short-changed by the legal system, incurring expenditures that are often much more than the costs of hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer in California.

Having a lawyer ensures you can get the medical help you need to treat your injuries effectively and quickly. Unfortunately, most individuals cannot afford medical insurance, let alone the enormous expenditures of hospitalization, diagnostic tests, and ongoing therapy and rehabilitation.

As previously said, prompt and consistent treatment of injuries arising from vehicle accidents is critical to persuading a jury of your claim. Furthermore, an attorney's knowledge and experience are required to appropriately determine the monetary value of your case. Attempting to handle your case on your own is nearly guaranteed that you will not receive a settlement that is even close to the total value of your damages.

Having a lawyer is essential in the fight for proper reimbursement for your injuries; hiring a lawyer relieves you of the time-consuming and challenging task of dealing with insurance companies and legal processes. In short, your attorney will become the buffer person and do everything related to your Truck Accident while you recover.

Get In Touch With The Top Truck Accident Lawyer in California Today! is a California Bar Association Certified Lawyer Referral Service that can refer you to a prescreened lawyer best fit to handle your case—so you don't have to worry about finding a lawyer while you're in recovery. Contact us on our 24/7 lawyer referral hotline at 1-661-310-7999 or complete our inquiry submission form for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.


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