A Guide To Truck Accident Claims In California

Updated: May 20

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 at any time. 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 like 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 California Personal Injury Attorney while you recover. You shouldn't have to add more stress into 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 result from a truck's immense size and speed compared to a much smaller automobile, van, or even 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 is traveling 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. To stay awake and continue driving to maximize their profit, truck drivers use illicit narcotics.

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

  • Accidents involving a tractor-trailer and a jackknife. When a truck is folded so that it resembles a pocket knife, it is referred to as jackknifing. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, over 5000 jackknifing occurrences occur each year, 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 a truck jackknifing.

Because of the considerable size and weight of these vehicles, collisions frequently result in significant property damage and serious injuries. A California Truck Accident Lawyer 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 California Personal Injury Lawyer can also help establish whether a person is eligible to file a California Personal Injury Civil 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 a number of truck safety requirements. When these guidelines are broken, however, 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 are operating 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 as a result of 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 realize you've been hurt straight away. 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 they're assessed by a medical practitioner. 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 California Personal Injury Attorney to help you process your compensations via insurance claim settlements or civil litigation.

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

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 wanted it to happen, so it's safe to say that accidents can happen in 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 apologies. 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 about 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 at a later time.

  6. Gather evidence. Take as many pictures as you can 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, at the same time, you are wounded, in shock, and confused. Let your California Personal Injury Attorney handle that for you.

Who Is Liable In A Truck Accident in California?

Who is responsible for medical expenses incurred as a result of a vehicle accident? The answer to this question is contingent on who was at fault in the collision. Liability is predicated on the four elements of negligence: duty of care, violation of duty, cause, and injury.

To all the other drivers or parties on the road, all truck drivers owe a duty of care. They must exercise caution to avoid causing any mishaps as a result of their irresponsibility. Truck drivers may be held accountable if they fail to uphold their duty of care and cause accidents that cause harm to 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. California, on the other hand, 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 Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney 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 a