Commercial trucks and 18-wheelers weigh more than ten times as much as a regular passenger vehicle. This means that when a commercial truck is involved in an accident, the force involved is significant, and the resulting damages may be substantial. This is why it's always smart to find a personal injury lawyer in case you get into an accident with it.

los angeles personal injury attorney

Find a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney

Due to the large size of semi-trucks, any collision with another vehicle is likely to result in severe, if not fatal, injuries. In an accident involving a large commercial vehicle, the driver of the trailer and the owner of the container being transported and the owner of the load in the container may be held liable. If you or a loved one is injured in a commercial truck crash, you will be able to recover money for your injury by filing a civil claim against the liable parties.

Depending on the type of goods hauled, federal laws require trucks to bear different levels of insurance coverage in the event of a crash. The state requires a tractor-trailer truck of California to have a much higher minimum liability insurance policy than a regular passenger vehicle. Trucking, hauling, and leasing companies often disagree about which insurance provider is responsible for compensating a truck accident survivor. The innocent party is covered by current federal laws, which help to ensure coverage. Consider one of our prescreened California Lawyers in your Cal Bar Attorney Search.

When it comes to proving the case in a truck crash, negligence is the most common legal theory of liability. The other party (truck driver, trucking company, or another party) must be found responsible for the accident. A victim of a commercial truck accident must demonstrate that:

  1. In the circumstances, the defendant owed the plaintiff the obligation to use good caution to prevent harm.
  2. The defendant did not take appropriate precautions.
  3. The plaintiff was injured as a result of the defendant's failure to take due treatment.

Why You Shouldn't Accept The First Settlement Offered By An Insurance Company

Being involved in a truck accident is not only traumatic but is also extremely stressful, particularly given how complicated these types of cases are. There are several legal issues to remember if you have been injured in a truck crash, as there are several parties involved and ongoing inquiries.

It's also important to understand that the insurance firm representing the commercial truck driver or trucking company would make a low-ball bid to the victim in order to resolve the case as soon as possible. Insurance firms do this to avoid having to investigate a case further and to avoid paying out a substantial sum to the claimants.

Before approving or agreeing to something, speak with a knowledgeable Truck Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles as soon as possible to learn about your rights as a survivor.

It is important to understand that truck accident cases are significantly more valuable than other forms of accidents; however, you should also understand that these cases are significantly more complex. In this post, you will learn about the facts and nuances of truck accidents, as well as why hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer to represent you is in your best interests.

The Transportation Industry Is Strictly Regulated

Keep in mind that the trucking industry is highly regulated, with a plethora of complicated laws enforced by both state and federal governments. Truck drivers must register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation in order to be eligible to do their jobs. The following items are required by these organizations:

  1. Commercial vehicles need special maintenance.
  2. Truck driving qualifications
  3. Inspections are carried out once a year.
  4. Logbooks are used to keep track of events.

Since there are many different rules to follow, and they are much more complicated than they seem, it is best to seek assistance from a reputable truck accident lawyer in Los Angeles to gain a better understanding. For example, you will learn more about which rules could have been broken as a result of the accident.

Why Are Truck Accidents More Difficult than Common Car Crashes?

Truck accident claims are typically more complex than car accident claims for a variety of reasons, including:

  1. There are more people that may be held accountable. Many different firms are responsible for bringing trucks on the road in the trucking industry. All of these groups may be partially or fully to blame for your truck crash.
  2. There is more evidence in this case. Because of the highly controlled nature of the trucking industry, there is a lot more paperwork and other information to check in order to ascertain the true cause of your accident and the party or parties that might be to blame.
  3. More serious wounds. Big commercial trucks have more forceful impacts on the occupants of other vehicles in a crash because of their scale. Those forces can cause more severe injuries even at low speeds. As a result, truck crash victims also face significant financial losses. When a legal action enters mediation proceedings or trial, the full scope of the damages is often unknown. This necessitates including an estimation of an accident victim's potential damages in every payout award. The accident survivor will not be able to seek further compensation until the lawsuit has been settled.

Why are semi-trucks riskier than other types of motor vehicles?

  • Braking is more difficult for trucks. Large trucks need much longer stopping distances than cars to come to a complete stop. Large trucks are more likely to cause rear-end accidents, according to recent reports, simply because the truck driver was unable to stop in time.
  • Trucking companies also contribute to the issue by failing to adequately repair and replace brakes. According to a Michigan survey, over 53% of trucks involved in fatal accidents had at least one brake safety violation. Large trucks are much more difficult to avoid than smaller vehicles on wet and slick roads, particularly at high speeds.
  • Hazards arise from oversized or moving truck loads. When oversized trailers or extra-wide loads obstruct other traffic lanes, they are dangerous. Truck loads shifting can result in dangerous swerving into other lanes or rollover accidents. In trucking collisions, rollovers are one of the most common causes of injuries and wrongful death.
  • Broad turns made by large trucks. Large trucks are forced to make wide turns, which causes them to drift into other lanes of traffic, often confounding other drivers. Accidents can also occur when a driver attempts to overtake a truck on the right without understanding the truck is making a wide right-hand turn.
  • Jackknifing. When a big truck comes to a complete halt, the load changes, and the trailer slides sideways toward the tractor. This is known as jackknifing. The trailer has the potential to flip and roll. At speeds as low as five miles per hour, jackknifing can occur.
  • Driving while drowsy, depressed, or impaired. Was there any evidence that the driver was under the influence of narcotics or alcohol? According to the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Driver Fatigue and Alertness Report, exhausted experienced drivers only get around half the amount of sleep they need to stay alert while driving. Despite the fact that most people deserve 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep a day, the average truck driver only gets 4.8 hours.
    • Another research found that 67 percent of 168 truck drivers who died in accidents had drugs in their systems, and one-third had alcohol or mind-altering drugs (such as marijuana) in their bloodstreams (studies by the National Transportation Safety Board and The National Institute on Drug Abuse).
  • Inexperienced or untrained drivers. Commercial truck drivers must have special licenses, training, and experience, as provided by law. As they try to navigate big, complicated, and difficult trucks through traffic, drivers who lack these special requirements are more likely to cause accidents. After a semi-truck accident in Los Angeles, who should be held liable?

truck accident lawyer los angeles

Because of the industry's complexity, several parties could be held liable for a semi-truck crash in Los Angeles. There are some of the parties:

  • If the accident is caused by the truck driver's negligent or careless operation of the truck, the truck driver may be held responsible.
  • If the trucking company employs the driver, it can be held responsible for the driver's negligence. The organization can be held responsible for its own negligence in hiring an unsafe driver or ordering the driver to drive dangerously by speeding or exceeding the hours-of-service limits.
  • If deferred maintenance causes the accident, the truck owner may be held responsible if different from the truck driver or trucking company.
  • If negligent maintenance results in a mechanical failure that causes the accident, the truck's mechanic may be held responsible.
  • If a design flaw or manufacturing flaw causes an accident, the truck manufacturer or a component manufacturer may be held liable.
  • If a truck driver loses control due to a dangerous or unsecured load, the freight company may be held liable.

What If I Was Injured By An Unqualified Truck Driver?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration lays out the standards that truck drivers must meet in order to safely operate these massive vehicles on our roads. Since the consequences of negligently driving these large trucks will result in life-changing injuries to the occupants of passenger vehicles that share the highways, it is critical that truck drivers are eligible to fill these roles.

This contains the following:

  1. Physically capable of operating a motor vehicle, with good hearing and vision. He cannot have epilepsy, insulin sensitivity, high blood pressure, or alcoholism.
  2. Passing a difficult Commercial Driver's Exam
  3. Having to go through a thorough background check that includes past driving records and job history

When trucking companies employ unqualified drivers and fail to train them to meet the FMCSA's safety standards, they endanger other drivers and are responsible for any accidents or injuries that occur as a result of allowing these drivers to operate without the required training or qualifications.

Accidents involving semi-trucks are on the rise.

The number of semi-truck accidents in the United States has risen by 10% in the last fifteen years. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, large truck crashes resulted in 4,897 fatalities and 130,000 injuries in 2002. (FMCSA).

According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and state Departments of Transportation, semi-truck drivers and trucking companies must recognize and observe safe truck driving practices. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), which control all interstate trucking activities, are a significant factor in California truck accidents. These rules aid in determining if a commercial truck driver was reckless in endangering others. Big rig drivers who are involved in collisions are often found to have violated federal or state safety laws.

In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported that 4.89 percent of drivers were taken out of service after being tested in 2012 because they had so many violations. That's a total of 171,150 drivers who have committed several safety violations. Furthermore, in 2012, 20.13 percent of commercial vehicle semi-trucks were taken out of operation after being tested for having too many violations – 2,145,733 trucks had too many safety violations. According to the American Trucking Association, only about 10% of all trucks on the road have some kind of active safety technology mounted.

According to the FMCSA, fatal truck crashes occur almost 11 times per day on average in the United States, killing almost 4,000 people per year. Every year, an additional 100,000 people are injured in truck accidents. According to CNBC in 2014, the number of trucking incidents is comparable to if a passenger plane crashed every week of the year, killing everyone on board.

Because of economic improvements, fatal trucking incidents have increased sharply from 10% in the previous decade to over 18% in the last decade. As more commodities are shipped on American highways, truckers are under more pressure to produce their loads on time.

The trucking industry has struggled to keep up with the rising demand for products, and businesses are having difficulty keeping their current drivers. Large trucking carriers have a high turnover rate due to long hours, low wages, and prolonged time away from home. Both of these factors contribute to a large number of overworked and exhausted big-rig drivers.

According to CNBC's recent coverage of the issue, thousands of deaths each year in any other sector will cause a national uproar. However, since wrongful deaths caused by tractor-trailer incidents occur in small numbers throughout the world, national news outlets seldom report them. The majority of Americans are unaware of how serious trucking-related accidents and fatalities have been.

What Kinds of Injuries Do Truck Accidents Usually Cause?

  • Head and brain injuries are among the most serious injuries that can occur. Damage to the brain will make it difficult for a victim to work, pursue interests, or simply spend time with family and friends. These are intangible losses, but they are very true. Negligent drivers or their insurance providers are required by statute to pay victims for their losses.
  • Back and neck injuries can be serious or minor, and they can be permanent or temporary. A neck injury could leave you paralyzed for the rest of your life. Whiplash is a painful but acute condition caused by a minor neck injury.
  • Internal accidents vary in severity as well. Mild bruising of the liver or kidneys can heal on their own. To save the victim's life, a serious laceration (cut) to a major organ can necessitate immediate surgery.
  • Broken bones are excruciatingly painful and can lead to serious long-term complications.
  • Lacerations: Severe lacerations can cause permanent scarring, necessitate surgery, and cause other serious consequences.
  • A wrongful death may result from the most serious truck accident injuries. The victim's legal heirs have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the truck driver, the transit company, and all responsible parties in this case.

What to Do If a Truck Accident Occurs

It is important to know what to do if you are involved in a truck crash on a California highway. Keep these important measures in mind to ensure your life and the rights of those involved in the accident.

  1. Switch on your hazard flashers after an accident. If you can comfortably switch your car to the shoulder when in a traffic lane, do so.
  2. After looking for any injuries, call 911 to confirm the accident and any injuries.
  3. Collect proof. Take pictures of the scene, your vehicle, and the truck, and speak with any witnesses who might be present. Take images of the other driver's identity and insurance documents if necessary.
  4. To defend your interests and seek just justice, contact a California Truck Accident Lawyer.

Evidence in a Commercial Truck Accident Injury Claim

In truck accident cases, a large amount of documentation must be inspected and reviewed. The following are some examples of facts that are specific to commercial truck accident claims:

  • The logs of the truck driver, which could reveal whether the driver surpassed his or her hours-of-service limits and was drowsy or fatigued at the time of the accident.
  • If a truck driver is forced to take an alcohol or drug test after an accident, the toxicology report will be given.
  • The job records of the truck driver, which may show the driver's training, experience, and previous injury history.
  • The truck's electronic data recorder, or "black box," records information such as the truck's location, speed, and likely steering and acceleration/braking inputs.
  • The load manifest, which will reveal whether the truck was filled incorrectly.
  • The truck's maintenance records, which can reveal whether the truck was properly repaired or whether maintenance work was done incorrectly.

Your Truck Accident Lawyer might use other pieces of evidence common to motor vehicle incidents as the counsel investigates a truck crash. This includes police crash reports, accident scene photographs, dashcam or surveillance camera video, eyewitness accounts, car injury reports, and medical documents relating to the care of injuries you sustained in the collision.

In California, how much will a truck accident case be worth?

If you've been hurt in a truck crash, you're probably wondering how much your personal injury claim is worth. This is especially true if you have a lot of medical bills and have spent a lot of money.

Victims of truck accidents may be eligible for compensation for the following:

  1. Medical Expenses: In the mediation negotiations, you will include all fair and appropriate costs associated with treating the injuries. This may include charges for ongoing treatment, such as physical therapy and potential treatments as the body recovers, in addition to ambulance fees and hospital bills.
  2. Loss of Income: Many truck crash victims suffer serious injuries that prevent them from working as they recover. Fortunately, they may factor in missed income when calculating the settlement. If you are unable to return to work after completing your medical treatment, you could be eligible for compensation for missed benefits and earnings opportunities.
  3. Additional Economic Damages: Truck crash victims may seek compensation for any costs incurred as a direct result of their injuries. Home maintenance, auto repairs and replacement, alternative transportation, domestic assistance, child care, and vehicle/home modifications are only a few examples.

Suffering and suffering are intangible, but anyone who has ever suffered a traumatic injury understands that the psychological repercussions can be just as devastating as the financial costs.

  1. Loss of Life Enjoyment: Debilitating injuries will make it impossible to enjoy life to the same degree as before the injury. Depending on the degree and severity of your injuries, you might be unable to engage in favorite pastimes or even resume previous hobbies. If this is the case, your argument may be to blame for your lack of happiness in life.
  2. Punitive Damages: While most truck crash claims do not merit a punitive settlement, there are certain circumstances in which victims might be entitled to punitive damages. The responsible party acted with willful disregard for others' rights, intentional disregard, or knowledge that her or his conduct was likely to cause an injury, injured parties in California may seek punitive damages.

Comparative Fault in California

And if you were the only one hurt in the truck crash, you might be held partly responsible. If this occurs, the amount of money you earn will be reduced. Because of California's comparative fault law, this is the case.

According to a comparative fault, multiple parties may share varying degrees of responsibility for truck accidents. For example, if poorly secured cargo fell off a speeding truck, and you collided with it while also speeding, you might be held 20 percent responsible for the accident. The truck driver may be responsible for 40% of the fault, while the freight loader may be responsible for the remaining 40%.

Under that case, the 20% share of the blame will result in a 20% reduction in the amount of money you get.

Statute of Limitations for Truck Accident Injuries

The statute of limitations is a time limit on how long you have since being injured to make a claim for compensation. According to the statute of limitations, an injured party has two years from the date of injury to file a case against any at-fault parties in California.

You will have one year from the day you discovered the injuries to file a claim if the truck accident hurt you in ways that did not become clear until long after the accident.

Bringing your case to the attention of a Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyer a month after the accident would almost certainly result in more credible facts and witness statements than if you wait a year.

The sooner you hire a lawyer, the sooner you can concentrate on recovering from such a traumatic and challenging experience. Your personal injury lawyer will take over and fight for a complete and equitable settlement on your behalf.

When it Leads to Wrongful Death

It may be difficult to recognize a family member's loss in an accidental catastrophic accident caused by anyone else's reckless or wrongful behavior. When parents, mothers, husbands, and children attempt to cope with the physical pain, emotional distress, and sorrow caused by a wrongful death, as well as the resulting concerns about hospital expenses, funeral bills, and other financial responsibilities, their lives change in a moment. If you have lost a loved one due to someone else's negligence, wrongful death attorneys can help you get the compensation you are entitled to.

Reimbursement or compensation for the following items can be included in the damages:

  1. Future revenue loss
  2. Loss of the decedent's facilities, security, treatment, and assistance
  3. Expenses for medical care received as a result of the negligence
  4. Costs of a funeral
  5. Suffering, emotional anguish, and comfort
  6. Punitive damages can be awarded in the case of deliberate or wanton conduct.

Choosing a good legal advocate who is caring, ethical, and comprehensive can mean the difference between winning and losing your case. If you have all of the facts you need to make a decision, you will move forward with the confidence that you have found some closure and that your financial future is not jeopardized. Our pre-screened wrongful death attorneys will help you.

Who Would Sue for Wrongful Death?

Anyone identified in a deceased person's estate plan can file a wrongful death lawsuit, according to California Code of Civil Procedure Section 377.60. A surviving spouse and any children the deceased left behind have legal rights, including the ability to file claims, and other individuals may be able to file as well. The death may have been caused by someone else's actions or negligence, and in certain cases, the death might be suicide if the liable party owed the victim a duty of care but refused to fulfill it.

In these kinds of situations, there are a lot of factors to consider. Since there can only be one wrongful death suit in California, plaintiffs must be united if the "one action law" is to be followed. This means that the person accused of wrongdoing is not required to defend several legal actions, and it also avoids the complications that may arise when the same case is filed by multiple parties and results in separate judgments.

What is the deadline for filing a claim?

Wrongful death cases are subject to statutes of limitations, so it's important to speak with a reputable personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to explore your options. In the vast majority of cases, the statute of limitations is just two years. Medical malpractice negligence, for example, has a three-year window from the date of injury or one year from the date of discovery that fair caution was missing when the injury was discovered–whichever comes first. Suppose the death was caused by a government liability, such as an accident involving some type of government vehicle or medical malpractice at a government-funded hospital. In that case, the statute of limitations is just six months from the date of injury.

lawyers for accidents

What Kinds of Damages Will a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Recover?

Damages recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit in California focus on the suffering and harm caused by the deceased's family member rather than the harm or injury suffered by the deceased. As a result, in a wrongful death case, the damages awarded are based on the effect of the death on the surviving family member.

In the event of the wrongful death of a close relative, the victim is entitled to the following types of damages:

Direct Financial Loss

The term "direct pecuniary loss" refers to the real financial loss incurred as a result of the death of a loved one. Since you can calculate the exact expense by looking at paystubs or bills, you know the harm is a monetary loss. The following are some examples of direct monetary loss in a wrongful death case:

  1. The decedent's loss of earnings or salaries
  2. Loss of potential earnings that the decedent would have made if he or she had lived.
  3. Prior to death, the deceased's hospital or medical bills.
  4. Future inheritance loss
  5. Contributions and services lost.

A surviving family member could be compensated for donations and benefits that they would have received otherwise if the decedent had lived. Alimony, child care, and the missed value of household chores are examples of such "contributions" or "services." In the case of a child who has lost a parent, the child may also seek compensation for losing that parent's advice and guidance.

Love and Companionship Lost

Compensation for the loss of love, warmth, companionship, friendship, community, solace, or moral support is an alternative form of damages for a surviving family member. This is usually the most significant type of damages in a wrongful death case since it is the most devastating effect of losing a loved one prematurely.

Expenses for Funerals and Burials

A surviving family member can also be compensated for burial and funeral expenses, as long as the costs are appropriate. If the funeral costs were paid out of the deceased person's assets, those expenses are also recoverable.

What's the Difference Between Survival Actions and Wrongful Death?

The biggest difference between wrongful death and a survivor action is that the decedent's family members are not compensated for their deaths in a survivor action. The survival action is intended to reimburse the decedent's descendants for economic damages suffered by the actual decedent as a result of the responsible party's negligent/wrongful act prior to death.

There are damages that occur after the wrongdoing but before the death. Hospital costs, missed income, and personal property damage is examples of these types of losses. A surviving heir would bring a survival case to recover economic damages if the decedent lived for a sufficient period of time before dying.

In a car accident, for example, before the decedent dies instantly, there is a period of time during which the decedent is alive. The estate's heirs will be entitled to file a survival action for the time the decedent was alive and will be able to recover economic damages for ambulance and hospital costs, for example. During this time, the heirs are also unable to compensate for the decedent's pain and suffering.

It is possible to file both wrongful death and a survival suit at the same time. Punitive damages are available in California in survival actions but not in wrongful death actions.

As a result of civil damages' availability to compensate the wrongdoer for their conduct that caused the death, survival actions are sometimes included in wrongful death actions.

Find a Truck Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles is a California Bar Association Certified Free Attorney Referral Service that can refer you to the best Personal Injury Lawyer for your specific case. Reach us through our 24/7 live chat or complete our submission form for a free initial consultation.