You can suffer an injury in a truck accident in California that occurs through no fault of your own. At this point, you may believe you are fully responsible for the costs of treating your injury. Yet, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the truck driver and any other at-fault parties.
Moody Law has been handling truck accident cases and many other personal injury claims since 2019. If you want legal help following your truck accident, reach out to our office today. Our truck accident lawyer can review your case and help you determine where to go from here.
Types of Commercial Trucks That Can Be Involved in Accidents
You may find dozens of large trucks on a highway at any given time. These trucks typically weigh 20 to 30 times more than a passenger vehicle. They have a higher ground clearance than cars as well.
In California, an individual must receive a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to legally drive a large truck. Three license options are available for large trucks in California:
- Commercial Class A: Allows an individual to drive a vehicle with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 lbs. or more, as long as the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed exceeds 10,001 lbs.
- Commercial Class B: Allows an individual to drive a vehicle with a GVWR that exceeds 26,000 lbs. or any vehicle towing a vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. GVWR or a 3-axle vehicle weighing over 6,000 lbs.
- Commercial Class C: Allows an individual to drive a vehicle that is carrying hazardous materials, a passenger vehicle, or a tank vehicle.
There is no telling when a commercial truck driver will cause an accident. If you get injured in a truck accident, consult with an attorney. Next, the lawyer can get the information they can use to help you pursue damages.
Why a Truck Accident Can Occur in California
A truck accident can take place quickly and change a person’s life. Common reasons why truck accidents occur include the following.
Truck drivers can work long shifts and spend extended periods of time behind the wheel. They can get tired, which can make it difficult to concentrate. If a truck driver loses focus, they can cause an accident.
Fatigued truck driving accidents can happen at any time of day. They sometimes occur in the early morning or afternoon, when circadian rhythms peak. A truck driver may be more prone to fall asleep behind the wheel while traveling at night, too.
Following an accident involving a fatigued truck driver, you can take legal action. You can file a personal injury lawsuit to request damages for any harm you suffered in the accident. If you can show a truck driver was fatigued and negligent, you are well positioned to secure the maximum amount of damages.
A distracted truck driver is not focused on what is most important: traveling safely. There are many distractions that can cause a truck driver to take their attention away from the road. These include:
- Talking or texting on a cell phone
- Adjusting a radio or vehicle controls
- Entering information into a GPS system
It is a truck driver’s responsibility to avoid distractions. If a truck driver gets distracted, this individual can cause an accident. Worst of all, the accident can cause injuries and fatalities.
If you are injured in a distracted driving truck accident, meet with an attorney. You can provide your attorney with details about your accident and answer any questions they have about it. Then, your lawyer can help you file a personal injury lawsuit against the distracted driver.
People die every day in drunk driving accidents. A truck driver may choose to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. In this scenario, the driver puts other motorists and pedestrians in danger.
If you are involved in a truck driving accident and the truck driver is believed to be intoxicated, a police officer at the scene may test the driver’s blood alcohol level. In California, it is illegal for anyone over the age of 21 to operate a vehicle if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. If the truck driver in your accident is legally intoxicated, this individual can face serious charges.
For those injured in a truck accident involving an intoxicated driver, it is paramount to hold this driver responsible. Remember, the driver made a decision to drive while intoxicated. By holding the driver accountable for their negligence, you can minimize the risk that this driver chooses to drive while drunk again.
A truck driver is responsible for reporting any vehicle defects to their employer. Failure to do so can lead to a mechanical issue while the vehicle is in operation. If a mechanical issue causes a truck to malfunction, the problem can ultimately lead to an accident.
Meanwhile, a truck company must take care of its vehicle fleet. The company must perform regular inspections to verify that its vehicles are running properly and take any defective ones out of operation. If a truck company does not identify a vehicle defect or fails to take a faulty vehicle out of service, it can contribute to a trucking accident.
In instances where a defective big rig causes an accident and injury, get in touch with an attorney. You can discuss your case with a truck accident lawyer. If your attorney finds a mechanical defect led to your truck accident and injury, you can pursue damages from the driver, their employer, or both.
Poor Weather Conditions
A tractor-trailer driver must account for the weather. Heavy rain or other inclement weather conditions can impact road conditions. If the driver does not slow down or take other precautions while traveling in harsh weather conditions, they can cause an accident.
There can be times when an 18-wheeler driver blames the weather for an accident. At these times, the driver fails to consider their own actions relative to the incident. By blaming the weather, the driver may shift responsibility away from themselves in the hopes of avoiding a personal injury lawsuit.
A trucking accident lawyer does not accept the weather as a reason for an accident. Rather, the lawyer wants anyone injured in a trucking accident to hold the driver or any other at-fault parties responsible. With help from an experienced trucking accident attorney, you can seek damages, even if the driver in your accident blames the weather.
What to Do After a Truck Accident in California
A truck accident can be overwhelming for all involved. Here are things you can do to respond to a trucking accident and ensure that you and others involved in it remain safe.
Report the trucking accident to 911. When you call, give the 911 operator as much information as you can. The operator will send medical personnel and police officers to the accident scene.
When medical personnel arrive, let them treat you. You can share information about any pain you are experiencing. Medical personnel may request you go to an emergency room or follow up with your doctor for additional treatment.
Police officers will collect information from you and others at the accident scene. Be honest with police officers and give them sufficient information. If you do not know the answer to a question a police officer asks, let them know.
your smartphone to capture photos and videos of the accident scene. Get visual proof of any injuries you suffered or damage you incurred. All of these things can be used as evidence that can be presented in a trucking accident trial.
Along with photos and videos, keep track of any medical documents you receive for treatment of your trucking accident injuries. Also, gather your medical bills and monitor how much you are paying to treat your injuries. You can share these documents with a truck accident attorney, and they can help you pursue damages to account for your medical costs.
As you look for truck accident lawyers in California, consider the evidence you have at your disposal. Your attorney can organize any evidence you have collected to date and help you determine how to present it in court. With help from your lawyer, you are well-equipped to present compelling evidence that convinces the court to rule in your favor.
Get the Contact Information of Anyone Involved in Your Accident
Request the name, phone number, and other contact information of the trucking driver involved in your accident. You can ask the driver for the name of their employer, too. It is also beneficial to collect the contact information of any accident witnesses.
In addition to collecting contact information, you may be asked to share your information with the trucking driver and others. You should provide this information but consider how it may be used. Because, in some instances, a trucking driver’s employer may reach out to you in the days after your accident and offer a lowball settlement.
Truck accident attorneys understand what can happen in the days and weeks following an accident. By hiring an attorney with truck accident case experience, you are in good hands. Your lawyer will make sure you are not forced to accept a lowball settlement and instead, can pursue an appropriate amount of damages.
Follow Through with Your Medical Care
Receive medical treatments as needed for any injuries you incur in your trucking accident. If a doctor recommends physical therapy or other long-term medical care, follow through with it. This allows you to take the steps required to improve your physical well-being.
As you undergo medical treatments, save any bills. You should also collect documents that highlight the severity of your injury. These documents can make a difference if your trucking accident case goes to trial.
Trucking accident lawyers encourage their clients to get any medical care they need. The upfront costs of this care may seem steep. However, the costs may be covered by the truck driver or any other at-fault parties in your accident.
Hire a Trucking Accident Attorney
Not all trucking accident attorneys are created equal. Some truck accident lawyers rush through the legal process and encourage their clients to accept quick settlements. Others allocate the time, energy, and resources necessary to help their clients achieve the optimal case results.
As you weigh the pros and cons of hiring an attorney for your trucking accident, it is generally a good idea to meet with a lawyer. During the meeting, you can provide the attorney with information about your accident and learn about their experience with truck accident cases. If the attorney instills confidence, you can hire them to represent you throughout your litigation.
It is beneficial to move forward with a personal injury lawsuit following a trucking accident. With a truck accident lawyer at your side, you can hold any at-fault parties responsible for their negligence. Plus, you may be able to secure tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.
How Much You Can Request in Damages in a California Trucking Accident Case
There is no restriction on the amount of damages you can ask for in a trucking accident case in California. You may request economic and non-economic damages for many reasons, such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
To calculate your damages, it pays to partner with an attorney that understands truck accidents. Your attorney can review the financial impact of your accident to date. In addition, your lawyer will consider the long-term costs of your accident.
Your lawyer will encourage you to request economic and non-economic damages. You can receive economic damages for quantifiable losses and non-economic damages for subjective losses. There can also be instances where the court awards punitive damages, which are given out to deter an at-fault party from future acts of negligence.
When to File Your California Truck Accident Lawsuit
California has a statute of limitations of two years in most truck accident personal injury lawsuits. You have up to two years from the date of your injury or the date you discover your injury to seek damages. If you do not sue an at-fault party within this period, you lose the right to do so at a later time.
It is in your best interests to get help from a trucking accident lawyer as soon as you can following your accident. Your lawyer will work quickly to file your personal injury claim. From here, you and your lawyer can work together to build your case.
You may have to wait weeks or months before you can present your argument in court. In the meantime, your lawyer will prepare you for your court date. Your lawyer will keep you up to date on any settlement proposals, too.
How to Respond to a Settlement Offer in a Truck Accident Case
Many truck accident personal injury cases get settled outside the courtroom. Before a trial, a plaintiff and defendant can negotiate a settlement. If both parties reach a settlement, they can resolve their case.
You may be presented with one or multiple settlement proposals prior to your trial date. If you get a settlement offer, you are under no obligation to accept it. In this instance, it helps to discuss the offer with your attorney.
A plaintiff must make the final decision about a settlement proposal in a trucking accident case. Regardless, your attorney can help you assess a settlement offer from all angles. If you decide a settlement is less than what you want, you can decline it without penalty.
How a Truck Accident Case Gets Settled in the Courtroom
If your truck accident case goes to trial, you and your lawyer have the opportunity to share your story. You can provide the court with details about your accident and explain why you deserve to be awarded damages. During your trial, your lawyer advocates for you and makes sure your legal rights are protected.
A trucking accident trial can last anywhere from a few hours to several days. Over the course of your trial, both you and the defendant get a chance to speak. Your lawyer and the defendant’s attorney will question witnesses and present closing arguments as well.
If your attorney delivers a compelling argument, the court will understand the truck accident and why damages should be awarded. The court may be inclined to award you full damages. Once you receive your compensation, your case is closed.
Why You Need to Hire an Experienced California Trucking Accident Lawyer
When it comes to your California truck accident case, there is no need to leave anything to chance. If you hire a lawyer that has a track record of success in trucking accident lawsuits, you can position yourself for legal success. Your lawyer works with you to ensure you hold anyone responsible for your trucking accident accountable and secure the damages you deserve.
If you are on the lookout for an attorney to help you with your truck accident case, find a lawyer that knows the ins and outs of California law. This lawyer can answer any questions you have about California’s regulations surrounding truck accident lawsuits. The attorney will make sure your lawsuit is filed in accordance with these regulations.
Moody Law is available to review your truck accident case. Our office proudly serves clients in the High Desert area. We can help you file your lawsuit and move one step closer to getting compensation from anyone that caused your truck accident.
Get Started with a Trucking Accident Lawyer Today
At Moody Law, we offer comprehensive legal help with truck accident lawsuits. To learn more or request a consultation, please contact us online.