When you suffer injuries in a truck accident, you must prove particular case elements before the court orders the defendant to compensate you for the damages. The liable parties include truck manufacturers, truck owners, truck drivers, and the truck company. Additionally, the causation, liability, and damage resulting from a truck accident will help build a substantial compensation claim.
Furthermore, you need the help of a personal injury attorney to navigate your truck accident case and prove the elements. At the Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney, we fight tirelessly to ensure maximum compensation for your injuries. Our injury attorneys are familiar with personal injury laws and can help you. If you are in Los Angeles, we invite you to contact us for assistance in your compensation.
Truck Accident Case Elements In Los Angeles
In the unfortunate situation where you or your loved one is involved in a truck accident, you should sue the liable party for compensation. Alternatively, if you are partly responsible, you can still seek compensation since California law operates on a comparative fault basis. There are several elements in truck accident cases in Los Angeles, including:
- Duty of care
- Breaching the duty of care
- Damages/ injuries
Duty of Care and Liability
A duty of action is an obligation to all road users to avoid injuring or harming other people. In your compensation case, you should prove the liable parties owed you a duty of care. However, determining the duty of care could be complicated since California laws do not explain the expected acts. You, therefore, need the help of a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer to prove the elements perfectly. The following are the liable parties for duty of care in a truck accident:
Truck accidents occur almost daily due to negligence. A negligent truck driver is liable for any damage caused by other drivers, pedestrians, and passengers. A driver expresses negligence by failing to drive with due care or when the truck driver violates traffic laws. In a personal injury case, the plaintiff should show you were negligent in causing the accident. The duty of care needs drivers to be cautious while using trucks on the road. The duty of care in California requires drivers to:
- Use reasonable care while operating their trucks.
- Be aware of obstacles, other vehicles, and pedestrians.
- Regulate the movement and the vehicle's speed.
The trucking company has a duty of care by employing competent drivers able to operate trucks safely. Additionally, the company should ensure the track is in good condition by repairing and maintaining them. This will ensure the safe operation of the trucks without creating risks to road users. The trucking company should ensure their trucks are not overloaded. Finally, trucking companies are responsible for setting reasonable working schedules while giving drivers enough sleep time to minimize fatigue.
The Truck Manufacturers
Trucks carry heavy loads. Low-quality materials won't ensure its durability. The most components resulting in accidents include truck tires and brakes. Therefore, manufacturers should release safe trucks without mechanical issues in the market. In cases where an accident occurs due to manufacturer's defects, and you can prove the defective parts contributed to the accident, the truck manufacturers could be held liable for your injuries.
Breach of Duty Care
Duty care refers to the idea that people have a legal obligation to prevent foreseeable harm to other people when reasonable for them to do so. Before you receive compensation for breach of duty, you need to show the defendant breached their duties towards you. A violation of duty mostly occurs when someone acts in a way putting in danger of injuries.
Notably, proving a breach duty case is an easy task. You can discover the defendant's actions from witnesses, photographs of the accident scene, or police report from the accident scene. If involved in a truck accident, you will require obtaining compensation for your injuries. You can file the case against many parties depending on the accident nature. The following are the most parties liable for breaching the duty of care in trucking accidents:
Negligence By the Truck Company
When truck accidents happen, shade or full responsibility lies on the trucking company. Proving the trucking company was at fault could be tricky. Therefore, it requires expert witnesses and competent lawyers to help navigate your case.
A trucking company could be negligent by intentionally violating transportation rules or safety requirements to increase its profit if the accident's violations result. The company may become liable for the accident. Additionally, companies allowing drivers to overload or carry unbalanced cargo to meet the delivery date may become responsible for the accident.
The truck company is responsible for ensuring all drivers abide by traffic laws while operating the truck. If the company fails in providing its responsibility, it may lead to the company's liability. The company may cut safety corners to increase delivery speed making the drivers meet unrealistic deadlines. When the violations result in accidents, the company may become reliable for damages and injuries caused.
Some trucking companies hire incompetent employees, making them unfit for the job while risking others' lives. If the company hires an incompetent employee or fails to carry out orientation for its employees, it may lead to the company's liability for the truck accident.
California law regulation limits the size, weight, and route designations for semi-trucks. Although some track companies intentionally exceed the limits, then falsify documents hiding their violations, which sometimes becomes the blame when an accident occurs. Furthermore, companies violate drivers' sleep rules by overworking them, resulting in fatigue leading to accidents. Truck drivers should receive enough sleep to avoid violating drivers' hours and sleep rules.
All tracking companies should avoid all violations to avoid being liable in cases of accidents.
Therefore if an accident results from inexperienced drivers, overloading, and other violating factors, the company can be held liable for your truck accident injuries.
Truck Driver at Fault
Many truck drivers operate without reasonable care or violate traffic rules resulting in an accident. When a truck driver breaks California vehicle codes resulting in an accident, it may become evident they were negligent. Additionally, if the traffic violation was a substantial factor resulting in the accident, the driver may become liable for any damages or injuries caused to the plaintiff. Examples of driver negligence include failure to change lanes properly, overspeeding, failure to obey traffic lights, driving under drug influence, and distracted driving.
When driving trucks with over the legal speed limit, it becomes difficult to stop in emergency cases. Trucks are heavy vehicles and cannot brake quickly. If the driver was overspeeding, resulting in your injuries, they could be held liable for your damages.
Failure to Obeying Traffic Rules
Drivers should obey all traffic rules on the road, including stopping to allow pedestrians to cross in some spots. If a driver doesn't follow the rules, they may likely cause accidents. Accidents attract personal injury cases.
Driving Under Drugs Influence
Truck drivers are always on long treks and may need to take some substances to stay awake. Some drivers take no doze pills and or illicit substances to avoid sleeping to complete their routes timely. Other drivers drink alcohol while traveling. When a driver operates under drug influence, it's most likely to cause an accident due to impaired judgment.
California laws define distracted driving as anything taking your mind and eyes off the road or hands off the steering wheel, especially while using your phone. The rules prohibit truck drivers from using mobile phones while driving. Using a mobile phone while driving distracts the driver, hence, leading to an accident. Additionally, the drivers suffer from mental disturbances, limiting the decision-making skills resulting in a crush.
It should be clear the defendant caused the accident by breaching the duty of care, thus causing your injuries. In some truck accident situations, the defendants may argue they never caused the accident and your injuries, although they were negligent. However, their actions should not be the only factors contributing to the accident. Once their duty breach played a crucial part in the accident, they are responsible for your injuries.
Trucking Accident Injuries
Once a trucking accident occurs, the occupants of small vehicles and pedestrians may suffer more significant injuries than the trucks' occupants. However, the severity of a truck accident depends on the following factors:
- The type of vehicle and the safety features the vehicle has.
- Capacity and weight of the cargo ferried by the truck
- Speed of the vehicles involved in the crash. Notably, a vehicle traveling at a very high speed may cause more catastrophic injuries resulting from the massive impact they produce.
- Type of accident caused by the truck. If a trucker collides with a smaller vehicle, the vehicle may roll over. Rollover accidents are the most severe form of crashes in California.
A truck accident with a passenger car may lead to more severe injuries than a collision between two or more passenger cars. The common damages resulting from a truck accident are:
A. Physical and Internal Injuries
When involved in a truck accident, you may face critical physical and internal injuries. The physical and internal injuries you may suffer and seek for compensation include:
Back and Neck Injuries
A person's back and neck constitute easily injured ligaments, small and fragile bones. They may lead to minor or severe neck pains. The injury might not appear immediately after the accident. However, you may experience the pain and other symptoms hours or even days after the crash. Neck and back often play an essential role in a person's daily activities. The neck injuries may prevent you from resuming or attending your work comfortably.
A truck is a large vehicle and often causes great damages as compared to a passenger car. Therefore, a truck has a high risk of the reputation of the fuel tank. Accordingly, fire may spread quickly and engulf the surrounding passenger car or the truck. Therefore, a passenger or a driver near the vehicle may suffer painful burns, leaving permanent disfigurement.
After being involved in a truck accident, you may suffer internal bleeding. Some organs likely to be affected include the spleen, pancreas, liver, kidney, and bladder. Most internal injuries are challenging to treat; thus, the victim may succumb.
Alternatively, torso and rib injuries are common in truck accidents. A broken rib may puncture your lungs or crest other internal damages. Rib and torso injuries are excruciating and lead to trouble in the breathing system. When you suffer rib and torso injuries due to the other party's negligence, you can file a compensation claim.
Cuts, Broken Bones, Lacerations, and Bruises
Although cuts are less severe injuries, they can still require more treatment and cause permanent injuries. Cuts may result due to sharp metals, shattered glass, or other unrestrained objects inside the truck or car which become airborne in a crash. A cut may lead to a life-threatening infection or disfiguring scar.
Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury may result in temporary, partial, or complete paralysis of the lower body part and torso. The spinal cord is a crucial body part; its nerves carry messages from the brain to all other body parts. Once your spinal is injured, it may involve many months or years of treatment, physical therapy, surgeries, adaptive devices, and you might even become permanently disabled.
B. Non-Economic Damages
The damages are difficult to attach a money value to. They include losses you have suffered emotionally and physically. You can prove you suffered the loss of enjoyment in life, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and any other intangible damages resulting from the truck accident. You will need the help of a competent lawyer in determining the value of non-economic damages occurring from truck accidents.
C. Lost Income
You may prove you have lost income due to the truck accident. The lost income will mainly consist of losing earning capacity and lost wages. You won't be as productive as you used to be before the occurrence of the accident. It would be very challenging for you to continue engaging in economic activities like employment. You may obtain employment documents from your employer as evidence to support your lost income. Additionally, you can receive tax documents indicating the income you used to make before the accident.
D. Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are damages awarded to the plaintiff for punishing the defendant for egregious conduct. California law allows for punitive damages when the defendant acts with malicious, fraud, or oppression majorly in extreme reckless or intentional harm. The punitive damages base on the defendant's ability to pay and the reprehensibility of the defendant.
Proving Damages in a Truck Accident
Once a trucking accident occurs, the truck driver may blame you for the accident even when they know it is not your fault. Most truck drivers will deny responsibility. The steps you take after a truck accident will help you in receiving your compensation. Some of the steps you should take include:
Avoid Exchange of Information
Once you are involved in a truck accident, you should limit the exchange of words mostly with the truck driver, the truck company, and even the insurers. For instance, don't apologize for the accident even when you feel responsible. Apologizing is a way of admitting the fault. Once you apologize, the other party feels you are responsible even when innocent. Additionally, avoid explaining your injuries with the insurance company. However, contact your injury attorney as they have handled many truck accident cases in the past.
Don't Leave the Scene of the Accident
Don't leave the accident scene before the law enforcement officers arrive. However, if you are severely injured, you should leave the scene to seek medical treatment. Notably, make sure you have the details of the other party in case you leave the scene. Additionally, ensure you gather information concerning the accident scene. You can take photos of your injuries and the accident scene. The evidence will help you during compensation claims.
Obtain Witness Contact Details
After a truck accident occurs, witnesses may gather the accident scene. Once the police arrive at the location, people may disperse. Therefore, you should gather information about the witness, including phone numbers, immediately before the law enforcement officers arrive. Moreover, make sure you gather the truck driver's details and write somewhere the truck's registration number. Furthermore, you may write down the truck's other essential information, including color and its model. Your injury lawyer will have a humble time contacting the client and inquiring about the truck accident.
Call the Police
When you are not severely injured, you should call the police immediately after the accident. The police will help collect evidence that your injury lawyer will use to develop a strong compensation claim. The police will have to make a draft report outlining some facts about the accident. You will be able to use the police report to prove what happened in the truck accident scene. If you are in a situation where you cannot call the police, you may request another person to call the police on your behalf.
Contact a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
At the Los Angeles Personal Injury, we have many years of experience dealing with truck accident case elements. Additionally, we know your rights and believe you deserve the best compensation. Moreover, our competent lawyers are aggressive in serving your best interests while protecting your rights. Call us at 424-231-2013 and talk with an injury attorney.