People who use our roads every day, including pedestrians, drivers, and bikers, are in constant danger of being involved in accidents. Among the accidents which people should be wary of, are involving trucks. For Instance, Large trucks are likely to cause significant damages if involved in a vehicle accident. There are several causes of truck accidents in the state, with negligence taking the lead.
California personal injury laws allow people who have been in a truck accident because of another's fault to file for compensation. Compensation enables the injured party to recover from all the damages incurred in the accident. Therefore, if your car was hit by a truck, get in touch with us. At The Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm, we have resources ready to help you over the legal processes and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
California Truck Accident Lawsuits
Trucking accidents are quite common on our roads, not just in California but in the country as a whole. Trucks are usually heavier than ordinary vehicles, which means that they are not as easy to control as an average car. Again, trucks are less stable when compared to regular cars because of the massive cargo they carry. For these two reasons, they are more likely to cause an accident than ordinary vehicles. Accidents involving trucks are also more devastating because of their more massive and larger nature. The relief we get is the confirmation that most trucking accidents that have been experienced in the country are avoidable.
Even so, we still experience quite a good number of trucking accidents in California. The sad bit is in the injuries and damages that they leave in their wake. So many people have also lost their lives in trucking accidents in California. To compensate the injured for their losses, California personal injury laws allow them to file for compensation. However, the accident must have been as a consequence of another party's fault, whether the truck driver, the trucking company, or the body in charge of maintaining good roads in the state.
Most trucking accidents in California occur along the common truck routes. When such an accident occurs, and the injured party is allowed to file for compensation, the process is not usually smooth. Several factors will come into play to determine liability, calculate the total amount of damages, and present your claim in a civil court. The most crucial factor is the determination of the cause of the accident, as this is what helps determine liability. However, personal injury attorneys could help you piece together your evidence and present a compelling claim before a civil court judge.
The most common causes of truck accidents in California include:
Generally, truck drivers are subjected to strict hours of service and other regulations, which leave them with more hours on the road before taking a break. Operating a truck in a drowsy state is a significant cause of most trucking accidents in California. The unfortunate bit is that most truck drivers ignore their fatigue and continue to operate even when they are not functioning correctly. Others have strict deadlines that do not allow them to take breaks in between their working hours. The most dangerous highway is one that is full of fatigued drivers. A slight mistake on their part will cause a shattering accident.
Alcohol and substance use is not allowed, even for ordinary drivers. A person’s level of concentration decreases with the amount of alcohol or drugs they consume. However, some drivers will ignore their responsibility to keep everyone safe on the road by drinking alcohol and dangerous substances while on the way. There are so many reported cases of intoxicated drivers on our roads today, particularly truck drivers. Losing control and causing a severe accident on the road is possible when one is under the influence.
Note that some prescribed drugs can also cause a person to get impaired. If consumed when a truck driver is still on the road, they can affect their level of judgment, reaction time, and perception.
It is a problem that affects most drivers and the reason why we still have so many road crashes even when there are enough safety measures on our roads. There are so many things that could cause a truck driver to get distracted. Using a cell phone and other gadgets while driving is enough to take the driver's mind off the road, and to cause a devastating accident. Unfortunately, there are all kinds of distractions on the road that could reduce the driver's concentration.
Trucks are not your standard types of vehicles, and so, proper training is required before an operator can be certified to drive a commercial vehicle. Particular skills are needed to ensure that one can drive a truck carefully and safely. Unfortunately, some truck drivers do not care about these training requirements. Also, some trucking companies rush to give drivers the job without ensuring that they meet all the required training and experience. An inexperienced or ill-trained truck driver may not be able to control the truck on the road in case a mishap happens, resulting in a devastating accident.
Negligence by Trucking Companies
In most cases, we have trucking companies whose primary focus is on their profit margins rather than public safety. Sometimes they are driven by the increasing costs of fuel and insurance, coupled with the high wages they have to pay their employees. These companies are pushed by some of these factors to lower their hiring drivers' standards and push drivers to increase their working hours. Some companies force their trucks to carry more than the required capacity, which increases the truck's overall weight and makes it more dangerous.. If such vehicles were to cause an accident, the trucking company would be found responsible for the resulting damages.
Types of Truck Accidents Involving Other Vehicles
When a truck accident occurs, anyone on the road at that particular time is probably going to get hurt. The most likely victims in such accidents are other motorists. If, for instance, you are driving close to a truck that is overloaded, and the driver loses control of the truck, your car is likely to be hit from either side. In this case, you are eligible to file for compensation from the driver, the trucking company, or anyone else that might be found at fault for the accident. There are several types of accidents involving trucks and other vehicles in California today. The most common ones are:
Head-on collisions are the most common types of car accidents in the United States today. They occur when two vehicles that are driving from opposite directions crash head-on. There are several causes of head-on collisions, especially those involving trucks and other vehicles. A fatigued, distracted or intoxicated driver is, for instance, likely to lose control of their vehicle. When this happens on a highway with heavy traffic, the driver might crash on an oncoming car.
If the truck or the other vehicle is driving at high speed, the resulting accident will be devastating. Injuries in such an accident could be severe, including the death of the other vehicle's driver or passengers, or catastrophic injuries. The car will also be wrecked up and might cost a lot of money for repairs or replacement.
This type of accident occurs when a truck driver runs a stop sign or a red light and hits the side of a car traveling in another direction. Inattentiveness, fatigue, and intoxication could also be the cause of such accidents. A truck driver working on a tight schedule may even be tempted to run a red light to cross an intersection fast so they can stay within their program. T-bone accidents could also be grave, especially if the truck was traveling at high speed.
In this case, injuries sustained by the other driver or passengers could range from mild to severe. Sometimes such an accident can result in the death of a driver or passenger.
The driver of an overloaded truck will probably lose control of the truck, especially when hitting sharp corners or overtaking. When that happens, the truck may roll on its side, causing havoc on the road. If such an accident occurs on the road where there are other vehicles, the accident will be shattering. If one or more vehicles are caught up in such mayhem, injuries will be severe, and sometimes some people might lose their lives on the spot.
Rear-end accidents are those accidents that occur when a vehicle that is moving at a higher speed hits the one that is at the front. Again, there are several causes of such accidents in California. A truck driver is likely to rear-end a vehicle at its front if he/she is distracted or speeding at intersections. Driving too close to a car at the front will make it difficult for the driver to control the truck if the other car slows down or stops.
Liability in California Truck Accidents
Responsibility is an essential factor when filing for compensation under California personal injury laws. In any type of vehicle accident, the fault is usually grounded on carelessness/negligence. If a driver is negligent, for instance, he/she will be held responsible for the outcome of an accident they have caused. It means that the injured parties can file a lawsuit for compensation against that driver. From the causes of truck accidents above, it is clear that there are several ways in which a truck driver can be negligent to the point of causing an accident.
However, drivers are not the only ones at fault for all trucking accidents that are experienced in the state. Trucking companies are, also, sometimes at fault for accidents. If it is established that the cause of the accident was because the driver was fatigued, his/her trucking company could be held responsible. That is, if it is found that the driver was overworked or not allowed enough time to rest in between his/her shifts. In this case, the injured parties in the event of an accident will be permitted by law to file for compensation for their damages in a civil court against the trucking company.
California has apparent negligence laws, which mandate anyone responsible for causing other people's injuries on the road to compensate them for all damages. The injured is also charged with the responsibility of proving that the alleged at-fault party was the direct reason they suffered the injuries. Here are some of the facts that the plaintiff must provide in a civil court as proof that the other party was indeed negligent:
- That the alleged at-fault party owed a duty of care for the plaintiff. Every driver in California owes a duty of care to all road users, which is demonstrated by the maintenance of safe driving habits.
- That the alleged at-fault party carelessly or negligently breached that duty of care.
- That the at-fault party's negligence was the leading cause of the injuries suffered by the plaintiff
California’s duty of care demands every driver to use reasonable care while on the road. Truck drivers are, mainly, required to be on the lookout for other road users while operating their vehicles. Trucking companies, on the other hand, are expected to maintain excellent standards that will ensure that their trucks are safe while on the road. Their duty of care includes regular maintenance for their vehicles, ensuring that the trucks are carrying only the required capacity and that they are hiring well-trained and experienced drivers. If any of these guidelines are not adhered to, then an accident might occur, and they will be held responsible for the resulting damages.
Other than truck drivers and trucking companies, other parties could be held responsible for California trucking accidents. They include:
- Government bodies responsible for the maintenance of safe roads- these will be held accountable for a resulting accident if it is established that the cause of the accident was a hazardous highway condition.
- Truck manufacturers- These will be held responsible if a new truck causes an accident, and the cause of the accident was determined to be faulty parts or a manufacturing defect.
Types of Compensation Available in a Trucking Accident
The type of compensation available in any auto accident depends on the circumstances and nature of the accident. It can be difficult for a person to predict the types of losses they can include in their claim after a particular accident. However, California personal injury laws provide a list of compensatory damages that could be included in a civil lawsuit filed against a negligent party in an auto accident. What you include in your claim must be in line with the types of losses you have suffered. These damages include:
These are the types of compensatory damages that have a dollar amount attached. They include the following:
Present and Future Medical Expenses
People are bound to get injured after an auto accident. It means that medical expenses will be incurred. Seeking medical help is encouraged immediately after the accident. If you are severely injured, you will receive the best treatment to stabilize and ensure that the injuries are not getting out of hand.
The severity of the accident determines the amount of medical costs. A motorist in a trucking accident could have sustained mild or catastrophic injuries in the accident. If the damages are minor, you may be allowed to recover from home after treatment. However, if you suffered a devastating injury, you may need more treatment in the future, to ensure that you are living a life close to normal after the accident.
Any medical cost that might be incurred in the future will also be included in the claim. Again, this is determined by the kind of accident in which you have been involved. People who have suffered a catastrophic injury may require medical treatment for the rest of their life. Some will need rehabilitation, including physical therapy, to live a full life.
It is essential to have a clear record of all the injuries you have suffered and the kind of treatment you have sought after the accident. It will help determine the amount of money you will include in your claim under medical expenses.
In addition to that, you may also want to include all the transportation costs that may have come about as a result of the accident. The injured person will need to be taken to the hospital since they cannot drive themselves. It will happen immediately after the accident, and every time they have an appointment. Document all these expenses and include them in your claim for compensation.
Present and Future Lost Earnings
The amount of money the plaintiff was not able to earn after the accident will be included in the suit. Most auto accident victims are required to take some time off work for a full recovery. In this case, the plaintiff will not be earning money as he/she has always been. Lost earnings will be calculated according to the amount of money the plaintiff makes daily, weekly, or monthly.
Any more time he/she will take off work to recover from the accident will also be included in the lost earnings. Some injuries take longer than others to heal, so the plaintiff may not return to work as soon as possible. It means that they will still miss a lot of earning opportunities while they wait to recover.
In addition to that, a person may lose their ability to perform in gainful employment, especially if they suffered a catastrophic injury. It will also be included in the claim, especially if they are unable to work or are forced to take a less-paying job after the accident.
Expenses for Child Care
If the plaintiff is no longer able to take care of their child/children as a result of their injuries, they may need financial help to pay for child care services. These damages are awarded to those parents that are sole caretakers for their children. The injured person may no longer be able to take the children to school and take care of their physical needs. In this case, he/she will need to hire a caretaker for them.
Car Repair or Replacement
As mentioned above, trucking accidents leave a trail of destruction behind. It includes severe damage to the vehicles involved. A car that has been damaged in a trucking accident will, therefore, require repair or replacement, depending on the severity of the damage. Take pictures of your vehicle immediately after the accident and have the damage assessed by an expert. This way, you will know how much money to include in your claim for vehicle repair or replacement.
These are also very important, although they do not have a dollar amount attached to them. They are all the intangible losses experienced after the accident. They include the following:
Suffering and Pain
It includes any physical and mental trauma a person undergoes after an accident and during the recovery process. Damages awarded for suffering and pain will provide financial reimbursement for the accident's effect. Even though it is impossible to evaluate the amount of physical pain a person suffers, one cannot ignore the fact that they experienced the pain after the accident.
In addition to the suffering and pain, the injured person might suffer depression, anxiety, and any other mental-health related problem. No one is prepared for what comes after an accident, and so, it could be a significant blow, especially if the person has to give up so much while recovering from the accident.
Loss of consortium
You may also be able to recover compensation for the strain the accident has had on your relationships. You could include these damages in your claim if the accident and resulting complications affect how you relate to your children and spouse.
Note: If the nature of injuries sustained by the plaintiff were severe, the court might award more money in non-economic damages than what it grants for economic losses.
These are compensatory damages awarded by the court as a way to punish the responsible party for their negligence. They are also meant to caution other people against the same kind of oversight that could result in an accident. If it is established that the truck driver or trucking company was particularly irresponsible, the court may include the punitive damages in your claim.
It is advisable to work closely with an experienced personal injury attorney if you have been involved in a truck accident. He/she will ensure that you include all the compensatory damages you deserve in your claim and that you are receiving full compensation for each of those damages.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm Near Me
If you are in California and your vehicle has been hit by a truck, you need the best help you can get to ensure that the responsible party compensates you for the damages you have suffered. At The Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm, we have experienced personal injury attorneys that will explain your options to you and take you through the legal processes. Call us at 619-625-8707 and let us help you recover all your damages.