Compared to other types of road accidents, accidents involving trucks can be disastrous. This is because of the huge difference in weight especially when heavily loaded. Victims of this type of accident may end up with catastrophic injuries and even wrongful death. To add more trouble on that, they have to go through the process of determining the parties responsible for the mishap and seeking compensation for misery. If you have been a victim of truck accidents the best course of action is to retain an experienced truck accident attorney with the expertise and knowledge to guide you and help determine whether you are eligible for compensation. A truck accident can be catastrophic and even in some cases fatal and this is why victims should be compensated in order to move on with their lives after the unfortunate occurrence.
The Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney fully understand the difficult process of fighting large companies and their insurance companies in the process of seeking compensation for serious injuries and losses. If you have been involved in a truck accident, it is important to keep in mind that trucking companies and their insurance providers are always interested in quickly moving past the accident and paying as little to you, the victim, as possible. Our experienced truck accident lawyers can help determine the parties responsible for your current state and will fight for you until you get the compensation that you deserve. Call us today at 424-231-2013 for a free consultation and case evaluation.
Truck Accidents Can Be Serious and Life-Threatening
Injuries suffered in truck accidents can be so severe and even catastrophic. This because most trucks carry heavy loads and if they lose control, they cannot stop instantly as a car would and therefore, the impact may be heavy on other road users. With the massive size and momentum of an 18-wheeler, anything they collide with does not stand much of a chance of being unharmed. For this reason, you ought to contact an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible, to examine the scene before the debris is cleared and the vehicles are towed. A skilled attorney will also be able to assess your injuries in order to develop the best strategy that will increase the chances of obtaining a recovery for the damages.
Truck Accident Causes
In order to win your truck accident case, you must be able to determine who is at fault and for this to be possible, you must first determine the cause of the accident.
Some of the common causes of truck accidents are:
- Driver fatigue
- Excessive speed
- Inappropriate loading
- Employer negligence
- Defective equipment
- Defective roadways
- Poorly maintained truck
Moreover, the type of cargo being transported on the truck can cause further damages. For instance, if the truck involved in an accident was transporting flammable products like industrial oil or gasoline then secondary injuries are likely to be experienced from the incident. The nature of the load on board will to some extent determine the amount of damage sustained in the event.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
Below is a list of things do after a truck accident that will help you in fighting for your rights, before meeting skilled truck accident attorney for legal representation.
- Seek immediate medical attention
- If you are not seriously injured, stay at the scene
- Relocate to safety
- Preserve evidence from the accident scene
- File a detailed report with the police
- Gather contact information from those involved in the accident
- Alert your insurance company
- Contact an experienced Los Angeles truck accident attorney
How to Win Your Truck Accident Case
There are things that your truck accident lawyer will do to ensure that you win the case. The first and most important thing involves the collection of evidence that concerns the crash. Depending on your situation and the severity of damages, the attorney may go to the extent of assigning experts including accident reconstruction experts, mechanical engineers, photogrammetry experts and biomedical engineers. This step ensures that there is enough evidence that will be able to show the involved parties’ negligence. It also helps determine the amount of compensation that you ought to be paid to help you with all the expenses including those that you will incur in the future as a result of the accident.
There are different parties that can be held liable for the accident and this includes the truck driver, the trucking company, the truck owner, equipment manufacturer and government entities. Cases of this kind necessitate demonstrating that the negligence of these parties caused the truck accident. The defendant truck accident attorney will also work hard to establish evidence that their client was not negligent and that your carelessness constituted to the crash. This simply means that you must be able to provide the necessary evidence to counteract theirs and at the end emerge the winner. With the injuries and lack of knowledge in this field, you will most probably lose the case if you try to face the defendant side yourself. This is why it is paramount to rely on the services of an attorney with a proven track record to increase your chances of winning and getting the financial recovery that will help you move on with your life.
The Standard of Negligence in Truck Accidents
In order to win a truck crash case, you must be able to prove that the 18-wheeler was operated negligently and this is governed by four elements. Proving negligence in a truck accident case involving showing that:
- the other party owed the plaintiff a reasonable duty of care
- the duty of care was breached by the defendant
- the defendant’s breach of the duty of care caused the accident
- the truck accident caused the plaintiff’s injuries
Getting Evidence of Negligence in Truck Accident Lawsuit
The best time to collect evidence of negligence in a truck crash is immediately after the accident. While still at the accident scene, contact local law enforcement officers and make sure the crash scene is properly surveyed and documented. Even with the police report, you should try to collect your own evidence because police officers will probably not cover every aspect of the accident and this means that some crucial information can be left out. Your documentation should include videos and photos. Important features to consider during the documentation include:
- The position of all vehicles after the accident
- The internal appearance of your vehicle and signs of external and internal impacts
- The impact locations on all vehicles involve in the truck accident
- Presence of skid marks, road hazards, and obstructions on the truck accident scene
- The weather conditions when the truck accident occurred
You should also collect the contact information of witnesses and first responders to the scene of the truck accident. Your attorney will be able to interview them while their memories are still fresh. There are two important pieces of evidence that you should make sure the police locate after the accident; one is the computerized black box that records the speed at which the vehicle was being operated at the time of collision. The other one is the driver’s log book that tells more about the driver’s activities during the period before the crash. It is important to secure this as soon as possible since the information can be used to determine whether or not the driver had breached the trucking industry regulations designed to minimize truck accidents such as the minimum resting time. It can be impossible to recover these pieces later.
Obstacles to Obtaining Truck Crash Evidence
The potentially liable parties such as the truck driver and trucking company may not preserve the crucial truck accident evidence as the law requires of them. The drivers and the trucking companies are pressed by the rising cost of fuel and this is one of the reasons why they break the law to save money. If your truck accident was caused by their violation of federal regulations, they will work hard to incriminate the truck accident evidence from you and your attorney. The defense lawyer will want to control access to the evidence as soon as they can. To avoid being tricked by the trucking company, truck drivers and other parties involved in a truck accident, you should consult a truck accident lawyer who fully understands the tricks. Your truck crash attorney will ensure you overcome these obstacles by signing up the following professionals in truck accidents by hiring expert truck accidents witnesses including:
- A truck accident reconstruction expert or engineer to discuss what caused the truck crash
- Computer specialist to give evidence about the black box obtained after a truck accident
- Other professionals to discuss the psychological, physical, and financial damages caused by the accident
Recognizing potential truck accident case defendants
Apart from establishing evidence explaining truck negligence and damages; there is need for your personal injury attorney to determine who can be sued for your damages. This is important as in most situations, trucking industry attorneys will side with parties that have money to protect them from becoming the defendants. The understanding of your truck attorney in dealing with this accident case is significant they will be able to identify potential truck accident case defendants. Defendants in truck accidents may include:
- the truck owner
- trucking company
- the truck driver
- the government entity dealing with road maintenance in the area
- the truck’s repair facility
- manufacturers of the truck and their parts
The predicament of agency in truck crash cases
In some situations, trucking companies hire drivers as independent contractors as a way of evading legal responsibility in case of a truck crash. The owner will then defend their company by arguing that truck accident was caused by the driver’s negligence and that the act was outside of employment scope. Drivers have less money to pay for damages caused by a truck accident and may even declare bankruptcy to avoid compensating the victim. Your truck crash lawyer may challenge this argument by stating that the driver in the truck accident is a de facto employee and thus an agent of the company. Therefore, the truck owner can be charged for carelessly hiring someone with the potential of causing a truck accident. However, the driver is responsible if they drank alcohol prior to the accident. However, if the company permitted the driver to engage in negligent acts such as working past the legally allowable on-duty hours, the defense will fail. An experienced Los Angeles truck accident attorney understands the complex situations around truck accidents and will collect the necessary information to ensure you win.
Compensatory Damages in Truck Accident Cases
If you or your loved one has sustained injuries resulting from another person’s negligence, you are likely to be compensated for medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, lost wages, impairment of earning capacity, lifestyle changes, punitive damages and life-care for ongoing non-medical needs after a serious accident injury.
Statute of Limitation
Winning a personal injury claim is highly dependent on the time that the case is started. In California, there is a time limit for filing claims and therefore, if you delay, you can lose out on the chance to get compensation. If the truck accident involves a government entity, the claim must be filed within 6 months from the accident. For cases involving the other parties, you have 2 years to file the claim. The sooner you act the better.
Pursuing a truck accident successfully requires an in-depth understanding of the trucking regulations. The Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer has extensive knowledge of these laws and has the resources needed to investigate your claim. We know how to find, collect, interpret and present the necessary evidence to prove and win your case. We serve in the greater Los Angeles area and we’ve been able to help countless truck accident victims recover the monetary compensation they need and deserve. Call our office today at 424-231-2013 to schedule your free initial consultation. If there is no recovery, you don’t pay a fee.