Justice for the Devastating Consequences of a California Semi-Truck Accident
Unfortunately, truck accidents are common. It doesn’t matter where or when – it is always possible to be involved in a truck accident. You may be among thousands of people each week who ask the question: “A semi-truck hit my car, what do I do?” If a commercial truck hit your car and caused injuries, you can pursue a truck accident claim against the party or parties liable for your injuries. If a truck accident resulted in the death of a member of your family, you can pursue a wrongful death claim against a liable party.
After being involved in a truck accident, it is important that you seek legal assistance. The truck accident attorneys at Eldessouky Law at (714) 409-8991 are ready to evaluate your claim and provide you with all the information that you need to file a successful truck accident claim against the party liable for the harm suffered. If you would like to discuss your claim with our knowledgeable attorneys, do not hesitate to contact our law firm as soon as possible. All consultations are free and there are no fees unless you win.
First Steps to Take After a Semi-Truck Accident
If you find yourself involved in a truck accident, here are a few initial things you should do to ensure a stronger case against the defendants:
- Stop and report the crash. It is illegal to leave the scene if you have been involved in an accident. When the police arrive they will fill out an accident report, and you should request a copy of it to bring to your legal consultation
- Seek medical treatment. Your adrenaline may keep you from feeling initial injuries, so it’s important to still seek medical treatment even if your injuries are not obvious.
- Identify other parties involved so that you are aware of all parties that may be liable.
- Exchange information with the other parties. Make sure you get their name, address, phone number, email address, insurance company information, driver’s license number, and the driver’s company information.
- Identify any witness and get statements from them.
- Document the accident, your surroundings, any property damages, and any of your injuries. These pictures can be used as evidence and help get a better idea of how the accident happened.
- Contact your insurance company. You need to make sure you do not immediately admit fault because an insurance adjuster can use anything against you, which may affect what you can get covered.
- Contact Eldessouky Law at (714) 409-8991.
Why do Big-Rig Accidents Occur?
Truck accidents can happen for a number of reasons. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents involve negligence – a truck driver negligently causes the accident. Although every situation is different, some of the most common causes of truck accidents include the following:
Driving a truck, semi, or big-rig often comes with some challenges that regular vehicles do not experience. For one, trucks are large and difficult to maneuver, especially on smaller roads that were not built to accommodate large vehicles. Their size also makes it difficult for quick manipulation in reaction to an unexpected move by a smaller vehicle.
Truck accidents can happen due to the fault of the truck driver or the driver of the passenger car. Regardless of the vehicle, drivers must act responsibly and be cautious of road hazards to avert accidents. Here are some of the common causes of truck accidents:
- Driver fatigue: This can be the fault of either the truck driver or the driver of the passenger vehicle. However, this usually occurs with truck drivers as they often have to travel long distances to deliver their cargo. To discourage fatigue, California Vehicle Code 21702 stipulates exactly how long a truck driver can drive at a stretch. Unfortunately, many drivers and trucking companies ignore these regulations, leading to avoidable accidents.
- Distractions: A distracted driver can cause a lot of havoc on the road. This is usually the case when driving for long hours. A driver tends to become bored and probably takes their eyes off the road to check a text message or just scroll through their phone.
- Driving under the influence: Some truck drivers make use of substances to keep them going without sleep throughout the journey. This can include the use of alcohol or any other stimulant. Driving under the influence is against California Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC. This code states that no person can drive under the influence of alcohol. Where a truck driver has been driving under the influence, they are much more likely to react slowly to sudden events on the road, thereby putting other road users at risk.
- Driving over the speed limit: In a bid to meet their deadline, many truck drivers often go beyond the speed limit. Not only this, but they also attempt to overtake other vehicles. This can cause drivers of smaller vehicles to panic and make the wrong move, leading to road accidents.
- Inadequate training: Before a person can drive a truck, they must undergo critical training. This will help them to appropriately handle situations that are peculiar to trucks and learn how to share the road with smaller vehicles. For instance, a properly trained truck driver knows not tri drive in bad weather conditions. Sadly, many trucking companies either invest too little in this training or do not provide the ongoing training necessary to ensure their drivers are always prepared for common road hazards.
- Lack of maintenance: Faulty trucks can also lead to accidents on the road. It is necessary. That is why a truck driver must ensure that the truck they are about to drive is fully operational.
Improper loading of cargo: Improperly placed or secured cargo can result in truck accidents, consequently putting the lives of many in danger.
Understanding Liability after a Truck Accident
Who is responsible for the medical bills incurred after being involved in a truck accident? The answer to this question depends on the party liable for the accident. Liability is based on negligence, which is based on four elements – duty of care, breach of duty, cause, and harm.
All truck drivers have a duty of care to all other drivers or parties on the road. They must exercise care to ensure that their recklessness does not cause any accidents. If they breach their duty of care and cause accidents which result in harm to other parties, the truck drivers could be liable.
While it was tragic that you were involved in an injurious crash, it is fortunate that your crash occurred while you were traveling in California. California is one of a few states classified as a “pure” comparative negligence state. Practically speaking, this means that even if you were significantly to blame for the circumstances that led to your crash, you may remain entitled to seek damages from others who can be held legally liable for their negligent, reckless, or intentionally dangerous conduct.
Some states prohibit injury victims from seeking damages from others if the victims themselves were partially responsible for the harm they’ve suffered. Other states only allow victims to pursue damages if they were less than 50 percent at fault for the incident in question. However, California places no such cap on comparative negligence.
As a result, if you are deemed to have been partially at fault for your crash, you’ll simply be entitled to collect less compensation than you would if you were not at fault in the least. For example, if your harm is valued at $120,000 and you are assigned 20 percent of the blame for your accident, you will remain entitled to pursue nearly $100,000 in damages from those whose fault makes up the other 80 percent of the equation.
Note that some of these liability issues aren’t always straightforward or obvious, at first. For example, there may be no way to know – absent an investigation on our firm’s part – that the trucking company that employs one of the drivers involved in your crash was engaging in unlawful practices at the time your collision occurred.
You may be under the impression that you can only sue the driver when, in reality, you can hold the trucking company liable for forcing the driver to operate their vehicle while fatigued and for failing to properly maintain its fleet. Try to avoid making any assumptions about whether you have solid grounds upon which to file legal action or not until our knowledgeable team has assessed your situation objectively. You may be entitled to more compensation than you’d originally think or be led to believe.
The Difficulties and Challenges Uniquely Associated with Truck Accidents
The maximum load that a semi-truck can carry is 80,000 pounds – compared to the 3,000 to 4,000 pounds passenger car vehicles weigh when they travel alongside. When an accident occurs, the car and its occupants are at an astounding disadvantage, and their injuries usually reflect that massive difference. The difference between truck accidents and car accidents are important and require a seasoned attorney to pursue properly.
Truck accidents usually result in victims dealing with large insurance companies – insurance companies that do not want to pay. Many truck companies and their insurance companies are ready to do everything possible to avoid paying you, even if your claim is valid. When you contact our law firm, you can be certain that our lawyers will always do everything within their reach to ensure that your claim is successful. We will protect you and your claim against the trucking company and their insurance company.
Compensation Available for Truck Accident Injuries
You were involved in a truck accident, are you eligible to receive compensation? Without a doubt, you could recover compensation – there are different types of compensation that you could recover. Although every claim is different, some of the common types of compensation listed for recover include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Funeral/burial expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
Regardless of the specific details of your claim, you could be certain that the experts at Eldessouky Law are ready to provide you with the guidance necessary to ensure that you recover the maximum amount of compensation available for your claim.
Deadline to File a Lawsuit
California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1 makes it mandatory that a victim of a truck accident file a legal claim within two years from the date of the incident. However, in many cases, there may not be a need to file a legal claim/lawsuit.
This is because the guilty party’s insurance company will try to make sure that the case is settled out of court. They do this by receiving your truck accident claim and consequently offering an amount that they believe is fair.
However, it is highly unlikely that this amount will be an accurate reflection of the value of your case or the amount of compensation you deserve. To be certain that you are receiving an offer that meets the value of your claim, get an experienced Corona truck accident attorney involved.
Compensation for Semi-Truck Accident Injuries
Truck drivers are required to carry insurance with a certain amount of coverage for bodily injury liability. However, you may be able to receive more than this if you decided to file a lawsuit.
If you have been involved in a truck accident, you may be able to pursue various types of compensation. This depends on how the accident has affected you. The compensation you receive may generally be economic or non-economic. You may be able to receive the following as economic compensation:
- Present and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Car replacement or repairs
- Out of pocket expenses
For the non-economic compensation, you may file a claim for:
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
In deserving circumstances, you may also be able to receive punitive damages. These damages are awarded where the defendant acted in an especially reckless or intentional manner.
Contact Our Law Firm Today
You best serve your important legal interests in your quest for justice by taking a proactive stance in scheduling and initial consultation and case evaluation with an experienced semi-truck accident lawyer, like a member of the legal team at Eldessouky Law. If you have been injured in a semi accident, you can reach us any time at (714) 409-8991.
We will schedule an initial consultation and no cost and no obligation to you. Indeed, Eldessouky Law never charges attorney fees unless we win your case for you.