Truck accidents are not common in California. However, when they happen, they result in serious injuries or death. Trucks are large vehicles, and many collisions happen when the trucks are loaded with heavy cargo making the impact higher. Truck accidents may result from driver error, poor maintenance of the vehicle, malfunction, or overloading of the truck parts, all of which amount to negligence. If you have sustained injuries from a truck accident in California, you have a right to recover compensation by filing a claim.
When you file a lawsuit to recover truck accident damages, you must consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. At Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer Law Firm, we will guide you through the collection of evidence and reconstruction of the accident to build a strong claim.
Overview of Truck Accidents
International and interstate commerce are important to the economy of California, and cargo is routinely transported in trucks and semi-trucks. Driving on the highways in California means that you must share the roads with these trucks, which carry heavy and sometimes hazardous goods. While laws are set to ensure the public’s safety, truck accidents still occur, resulting in catastrophic injuries or even death.
Most truck accidents result from negligence and failure to obey safety rules set by the government. Therefore, if you or a loved one is a victim of such an accident, you may be entitled to compensation.
Liable Parties in a Truck Accident
The issue of liability in a truck accident is important in recovering compensation. After an accident, the party or parties at fault for the accident will shoulder liability for injuries suffered by the victims. Therefore, before you can recover compensation, the Court requires that you establish the liable parties. Liability in auto accidents is often based on negligence. Therefore, you could successfully collect your damages by showing that another person was negligent and their actions resulted in your injuries.
The operation of trucks involves many people. Therefore there could be several liable parties for your accident. Before presenting the evidence of liability, you will need to investigate the crash and determine its exact cause thoroughly. The following parties could be found liable for a truck accident in California.
The Truck Driver
Truck drivers have held certain standards that require adequately trained, experienced, and licensed to operate these vehicles. The truck driver may be held liable for an accident if they engaged in the following negligent conduct before the accident:
Speeding. Trucks are heavy vehicles making them difficult to operate. When the vehicle is at high speed, controlling it becomes more difficult, and the likelihood of a collision.
Drunk driving, It is a criminal offense to operate a vehicle while under drug or alcohol influence in California Use of alcohol or drugs impairs a driver’s judgment and reaction time on the road, making it difficult to avoid an accident,
Distracted driving. A common distraction for drivers is texting while driving. While laws prohibit cell phones for drivers behind the wheel, many people fail to obey them, which increases the risk of accidents and injuries.
In tailgating, Drivers are expected to keep a certain distance between them and the driver in front. When this rule is not obeyed, the likelihood of a rear-end collision is high.
To prove that a truck driver is liable for your accident, you must collect evidence at the scene and from the police report to establish the instances of negligent conduct.
The Trucking Company
Trucking companies are responsible for maintaining their vehicles in good condition and ensuring that their drivers are adequately trained. A trucking company could be held liable for your injuries if the trucking accident resulted from malfunctioning vehicle parts. Some companies fail to give the driver enough rest time, resulting in fatigue and falling asleep behind the wheel. Sometimes, even when the driver is at fault for the accident, you can file a claim against the company.
The company can also be held liable if they hire unqualified drivers to save on costs or set unrealistic deadlines causing the driver to speed or drive recklessly.
Some truck accidents are a result of poorly packaged cargo or overloading. Cargo companies could overload the vehicle to maximize profit without considering the vehicle’s safety. An overloaded truck may lack the necessary balance, which increases the likelihood of crashing onto obstacles on the road or onto other vehicles.
Truck Part Manufactures
A serious truck accident may result from one part of the truck failing. Truck part malfunctions may include:
A defective brake system. The brake system is a significant part of truck control. When the brake is faulty, stopping the vehicle is challenging. An accident resulting from a truck hitting other vehicles or pedestrians could be catastrophic.
Tire blowout. When a tire is overinflated, the likelihood of a blowout is high. This may throw the vehicle off balance and cause a serious accident.
Defective steering wheel. One of the most dangerous malfunctions on a truck is the defects associated with the steering system. When the driver cannot control the truck, any form of accident is inevitable.
If you can successfully prove that the truck accident you were injured in resulted from faulty parts, the truck part manufacturers can be held liable for the accident and your injuries.
Contractors and Government Agencies
Poorly constructed or unmaintained roads could be the cause of a truck accident. When a loaded truck hits a pothole or an unmarked road construction site, the result could be a serious accident. There are government entities tasked with the construction and maintenance of the roads. Therefore, you can file a claim against them if poor road conditions caused the accident.
A truck accident is an event that could leave your loved one in physical, emotional, and financial turmoil, especially when you learn that another person’s negligence caused it. Therefore, you will need to be aggressive in determining liability to recover your compensation.
Common Injuries Resulting from a Truck Accident
Truck accidents are some of the most catastrophic collisions on California roads. Most victims who survive these accidents sustain serious and life-threatening injuries. If you have suffered any of the following injuries from a truck accident in California, you are entitled to compensation:
Whiplash is a neck injury resulting from a forceful or rapid back and forth movement. When you collide with a truck while in a small vehicle, it is likely that you will be left with muscle strains and tendon injuries. Some of the common symptoms which indicate that you may have suffered a whiplash injury include a strain when you hold your head up and serious headaches. If you experience these symptoms after a truck accident, you should seek immediate medical care.
The impact of a truck accident could destroy your vehicle. Sharp metals, shattered glass, hard plastic, and auto frames from the wreckage can cause serious lacerations and wounds. While lacerations may seem like unserious injuries, they heal and leave behind scarring. Facial lacerations are the most severe since it is an exposed part of the body, which could significantly impact your emotional wellbeing long after the accident.
A broken bone may sound like an injury that heals naturally, which is not always the case. Broken bones from a truck accident may take a long time to recover and cause you to spend a significant amount of time in hospital. Due to the truck’s large size, the impact resulting from a collision with s8ch a vehicle is huge and broken bones may be inevitable. Depending on the accident’s severity, broken bones may vary from minor fractures to serious breakage, which will require you to wear metal rods inserted with screws.
In addition to the serious pain caused by broken bones, serious broken bones could potentially damage the internal organs and cause permanent deformity. If you experience pain around the joints or the inability to move a limb after a truck accident, you may have suffered a broken bone and must seek medical care.
Sometimes, impact between vehicles can result in an explosion. Many people often suffer serious burns from a collision with a truck. Burn injuries vary from first to third-degree, depending on the seriousness of the fire. The skin is the first line of defense for your body, and an injury to this part could significantly impact your overall health. Often, burn injuries take a long time to recover, and you may need to undergo painful and extensive procedures to restore your body. Additionally, burns can lead to complications such as infections.
Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injury is probably one of the most serious injuries resulting from a truck accident. Such an injury occurs when the spinal cord is severed or damaged. When the accident’s impact goes to your back, you can suffer serious spinal cord injury. Injury to the spinal cord may either be partial or total. When the spinal cord’s total severity, you can be paralyzed. Suffering permanent paralysis could significantly impact your life and ability to perform simple tasks.
Additionally, messages in the body must be communicated from the brain to the rest of your body through the central nervous system. If your spinal cord is damaged, you may experience complications with your reproductive system and bladder function. Sometimes, spinal cord injury is not apparent. Therefore, if you have suffered trauma to your back from a truck accident, you must seek immediate medical services.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Head trauma in a truck accident is common. Impact on the head may result from being thrown off the vehicle or being hit by the metals. When the impact is too severe, it can result in a life-threatening traumatic brain injury. Additionally, sharp objects penetrating the skull can cause damage to your brain. Some of the most common symptoms of brain injury that you need to look out for after an accident include:
Nausea and vomiting.
Loss of balance.
Brain injuries are very difficult to treat, and there is a likelihood that you might never recover. Dealing with the aftermath of brain injury is difficult. Fortunately, you can file a claim and recover compensation for everything you spend treating the injury.
Blunt trauma from a truck accident can cause damage and bleeding of the internal organs like the bladder, kidneys, pancreas, and liver. Injuries to the internal organs are difficult to detect and treat. Therefore, even when you do not experience pain after the accident, it is vital to undergo a medical checkup. This helps detect these invisible injuries and treat them promptly to avoid further complications.
Many highway fatalities in California could be associated with heavy truck accidents. Death is the worst outcome of a truck accident. Losing a loved one in a truck accident can be very devastating. Fortunately, when a victim is killed in a trucking accident, the surviving family members can seek compensation by filing a wrongful death claim. This will help you recover money for funeral and burial expenses.
Additionally, you may be able to recover compensation for the loss of financial and emotional support that the deceased would have provided. Stakes are high in a wrongful death claim, and insurance companies fight to avoid offering compensation. Therefore, enlisting the services of a skilled attorney is crucial.
Dealing with Insurance Adjusters after a Truck Accident in California
For most people battling a truck accident claim in California, insurance adjusters could either be your best friend or your worst enemy. It is important to understand that the insurance company does not have your best interest. After the accident, you can expect to deal with insurance adjusters from the fault party’s insurance company and the one from your auto insurer.
If you are unfamiliar with their policies, dealing with insurance adjusters, dealing with them can be an unpleasant experience. When an insurance company sends an adjuster to you, their main aim is to settle as fast as possible. Most of the time, you will receive their call even before you have a chance to seek medical care for the truck accident injuries. It is vital to understand that the information you disclose to the insurance company can either be used to deny your settlement or increase the amount you recover. The following are some tips you need to use when dealing with the insurance company:
Do Not Speak With An Adjuster Without Legal Guidance
It is almost impossible to deal with insurance adjusters without the help of a skilled personal injury attorney. An attorney will be able to guide you on what to say. Additionally, they can help you collect the evidence required to support your claim as you focus on recovering from the injuries. Your attorney understands the tricks used by insurance adjusters to downplay your claim and can help you avoid them.
Provide the Adjuster with Factual Information
Insurance adjusters are not present at the accident scene. Therefore, they negotiate the claim based on the information you provide. You should never give speculative information to the insurance company. Ensure that facts can back up any detail you provide. In your claim, you will require evidence to support your quest for compensation. Therefore, you can take photos from the scene, collect witnesses’ contact information, and subpoena the police report.
Do Not Lower The Prospective Value Of Your Claim
Sometimes, you may be tempted to lower your demand for the truck accident claim because you are tired of battling or our medical expenses are accumulating, and you have no means to pay. However, this could be detrimental to your lawsuit. With the help of your lawyer, you can determine the minimum settlement you are willing to take and stick to it.
Never Admit Fault for the Accident
One of the tricks that the insurance company can use is forcing you to admit to the fault for your accident. If you believe you are partially to blame for the accident, you need to leave it to the Court to determine that fact. While being partially liable does not prevent you from seeking compensation, it can lower the amount you stand to recover.
Damages Available in a Truck Accident Lawsuit
Many truck accident victims will have the main question is what amount they stand to recover from filing a claim. There is no specific amount that you can recover. However, the Court may consider the following factors when determining your compensation:
The severity of your injuries.
The long term effects of the accident injuries on your life.
Your age and life expectancy.
Your income level before the accident.
The time within which your injuries are expected to recover.
Some of the common damages you can recover include:
After a truck accident, medical expenses will be inevitable. Injuries resulting from such an accident could cause you to incur substantial medical bills. When awarding you compensation for the medical bills, the Court will calculate what you have spent and what you stand to spend before your injuries recover. It is important to understand that relevant medical records must accompany a claim for medical bills compensation.
Lost Wages and Earning Capacity
Lost wages are the earnings you lose when you fail to work after an accident. Lost earnings may be in monthly income, commissions, overtime, and income from self-employment. You can prove a loss of wages by presenting a letter from your employer or using paystubs and past tax returns.
On the other hand, lost future earning capacity is the loss of your ability to return to work due to accident injuries. In most cases, these damages are available when you have serious injuries that result in disability or are expected to take a long time to recover.
Can I Recover Compensation for Truck Accident if I don’t want to go to Court?
Compensation after an auto accident in California can be through Court or out-of-court negotiations. If you do not want to undergo the legal process of filing a claim, you can agree to settle out of Court with the liable party’s insurance company. Out-of-court settlements are common. However, it is important to understand that the insurance company will do its best to avoid paying you the rightful compensation.
When you present your claim to the insurance company with the supporting evidence, they will value the claim and offer you. In most cases, the first offer from the insurance company is low. Therefore, you can give your high counteroffer. After that, you will go through the negotiation process to determine what you can recover. Even when you have serious injuries and your medical expenses are piling up, you should never accept the first offer.
Additionally, always ensure that you have the guidance of a skilled personal injury attorney when you deal with the insurance company. This helps ensure that you know what to say. With the right evidence, you can be compensated for truck accident injuries without going to Court.
Find a Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me
A truck accident is an unfortunate event that could cause serious injuries to the victims or even death. In addition to dealing with truck accident injuries, you must undergo the extensive and challenging process of recovering compensation for your injuries. Lawsuits involving truck accidents can be very complicated. This is because of their severity and the large number of individuals involved in the operation of these vehicles.
Therefore, you need the guidance of a skilled attorney to navigate the complicated and frustrating legal procedures and deal with insurance companies to ensure you recover maximum compensation. In a successful civil lawsuit or out-of-court negotiations, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, your lost income, and the loss of your ability to work in the future. At Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer Law Firm, we employ our extensive skills and knowledge to ensure that all our clients battling truck accident claims achieve positive outcomes in their cases. Call us today at 916-313-4859.