A traffic accident is never a good thing but colliding with a large commercial vehicle, 18-wheeler, semi or big rig can cause extensive devastation and life-changing consequences. Large commercial vehicles can weigh as much as 50,000 to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded and have the capacity for considerable damage if control is lost.
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in an accident involving a large commercial vehicle, you are entitled to compensation to help you set your life in order. Contact a qualified Santa Ana truck accident lawyer from Crockett Law Group.
What Should You Do After a Truck Accident?
Unfortunately, truck accidents are a more common occurrence than they ought to be and there is always some party or entity responsible for the damages caused in the wake of such an accident. If you find yourself involved in an accident with a large commercial vehicle, here are some important pointers to keep in mind that can preserve the integrity of your case.
The first thing to do is notify the proper authorities. Call 911 and report the accident, paramedics and law enforcement officers will be dispatched to the location. Have yourself and your passengers examined by the paramedics when they arrive on the scene. Do not leave the scene of the accident until the officers arriving on the scene have taken a report.
If your injuries permit it, see to your safety and the safety of anyone else involved in the accident. Be very carefully moving about the scene of the accident as the truck may have been carrying large amounts of fuel and possibly hazardous materials.
Speak with the driver of the commercial vehicle and ask for their name, contact information, and license plate number. You will also want the names and contact information of their employer and insurance provider.
Document the Scene
Get as much photo and video footage of the scene of the accident. Be sure to get some closeup snapshots of the points of impact, license plates, and some wide angles of both vehicles in relation to each other.
Take pictures of road debris, skid marks, obstacles on the road, and any traffic signals in the area. If you notice any eyewitnesses in the area, get their names and contact information as well, their testimony could prove vital to assigning responsibility for the damages.
Seek Medical Attention
You may feel fine, but don’t play down the need for a full medical examination. The excitement and natural pain killer released in the accident can hide the presence of injury. But only a proper medical examination from a qualified member of the medical community can rule out the presence of internal hemorrhaging, concussions, or organ damage. Truck accidents can easily be deadly.
Contact a Santa Ana Truck Accident Lawyer
If you are serious about pressing the at-fault party and their insurance providers for full compensation, you will need the help of a legal professional. Call (800) 900-9393 and call in the assistance of Crockett Law Group. Allow a qualified professional to fight tenaciously to protect your interest, while you get about the equally important work of making a full recovery.
What Are the Laws Regarding Truck Accident Liability in California?
California applies the concept of comparative negligence to assign liability for damages and injuries sustained in an accident. Basically, this means that a person can still collect compensation even if they were partially to blame for the accident. Pure comparative negligence means that even if the individual was 99% responsible for the accident, they can still collect compensation.
A jury will decide the level of involvement each of the participants had in the events that led up to the accident. As you will see further in this article, many different parties can be listed in the claim.
It will be necessary to prove that the party responsible for the accident acted negligently. In a California truck accident, there are 4 elements that demonstrate negligence:
- The responsible party owed the accident victim a duty of care
- The responsible party breached their duty of care through negligence
- The responsible party’s negligence caused the accident
- The victim experienced injuries and losses
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
An experienced Santa Ana truck accident lawyer is critical. Their experience and skills give them insight into your case and the laws that apply to it. This not only improves your chances of a successful outcome but can enhance the value of your compensation as well.
Some other vital tasks that your lawyer will perform include:
A Thorough Investigation
No matter how simplistic the accident may seem, the true cause of the accident can be harder to determine than you imagine. Your truck accident lawyer will perform a full investigation and even call expert testimony to determine the at-fault party.
Filing a Claim
Every detail of the preparation for the case will determine the success and failure of your pursuit of compensation. A qualified truck accident lawyer from Crockett Law Group has done this many times and can ensure that every detail is carefully examined. This alone will greatly increase your chances of compensation.
The insurance adjusters for the commercial trucking companies make a living off reducing and denying as many payouts as possible. At Crockett Law Group we have many years of experience in dealing with these insurance adjusters. When it comes time for negotiations, we will defend your interest tenaciously and skillfully.
Most often, these matters are settled in negotiations, but if no resolution can be reached, the matter will have to be taken to the courts. This is where you will need the skills and experience of a courtroom lawyer to sway the favor of the court in your direction.
What Types of Compensation Can I Receive?
Like most personal injury claims, compensation for injuries and damages sustained in a Santa Ana truck accident claim can be divided into three categories.
These are damages that can be calculated from collecting various bills, receipts, and other financial documents. This can include current and future medical costs, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and even home modifications for a disability.
Some damages can’t be placed in an economic figure quite as easily. Non-economic damages cover things like mental anguish, loss of consortium, loss of capacity to enjoy life, etc. Often an expert will be asked to give their opinion on an appropriate economic figure for non-economic damages.
If the actions of the at-fault party are deemed malicious or extremely reckless, punitive damages may be applied as well. Punitive damages will be applied for the purpose of punishing unacceptable behavior.
How Much Is My Truck Accident Claim Worth?
At Crockett Law Group, we have obtained millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. A truck accident case can have a compensation of $10,000 or $500,000, but it is almost impossible to give an approximate figure without examining the details of the case.
As you may imagine, it is the extent of the damages and injuries that will increase the compensation. An accident that results in lacerations, broken bones, and extensive time off work, may receive a high compensation — but eventually, the victim will recover. An accident that results in extensive organ damage, loss of mobility from a spinal cord injury, and permanent scarring will receive much higher compensation.
Call (800) 900-9393 and arrange a consultation with an experienced Santa Ana truck accident lawyer.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Claim after a California Truck Accident?
You will have two years from the date of the accident in which the claim for compensation must be made. Like all other states, California places a deadline for when you must file a lawsuit called the statute of limitations. This is just one of the many important details that you will need to know about as you seek compensation. A qualified Santa Ana personal injury attorney will be able to shed light on all the important aspects and guide you to the compensation you both need.
How Is Fault in a Truck Accident Determined?
As mentioned earlier, to collect compensation it is first necessary to prove that the at-fault party was negligent in their actions and this negligence caused the accident and the resulting injuries. Your lawyer will do most of the heavy lifting here. A thorough investigation will reveal who was in breach of their duties and played the largest role in the chain of events that led up to the accident.
Can a Lawyer Prove the Truck Driver Was Negligent?
One of the most common examples of negligence in trucking accidents includes sleeping at the wheel, distracted driving, speeding and failing to adhere to traffic signals and indications. Because of the high-risk nature of commercial trucking, FMCSA requires truck drivers to adhere to a specific set of rules and regulations.
Some of the guidelines they are required to follow include:
- Maintain a logbook of total driving hours
- Document services performed on the vehicle and breaks taken
- Follow scheduled maintenance
- Follow regulations for loading cargo and hazardous materials
- Abstain from alcohol and other controlled substances
- Drive no more than 10 hours after 8 hours off
Who Can Be Held Liable?
The accident itself is the final result of a wide set of factors. Even though the operator is the one with the most control over the commercial vehicle, they may not have full control over all the elements that lead up to the accident.
Here are some of the people that can be listed in the claim:
The truck driver is responsible for following all traffic laws and FMCSA regulations, staying alert, and not driving while fatigued. This is their duty of care for other motorists sharing streets and highways.
There are guidelines in place to ensure the safety of goods in motion, but many unscrupulous transportation companies will flout the rules for a profit and this can cause a considerable threat to public safety.
Company Who Loaded the Truck
Commercial trucks are very heavy, and the cargo must be evenly distributed to give the driver sharp and responsive control of the vehicle. If the cargo has not been loaded properly, the result can be a serious accident.
Vehicle or Parts Manufacturers
Just like an unevenly distributed cargo bay can cause an accident, a small malfunction in the vital electrical or mechanical components of the commercial vehicle can also cause an accident. In such a case, the manufacturers or mechanics in charge of installation may be held responsible.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
Here are some of the most common causes of truck accidents:
- Driver Fatigue
- Reckless Driving
- Oversized or Improperly Secured Freight
- Distracted Driving
- Poor Road Conditions
- Poorly Trained or Inexperienced Drivers
- Drug Use
- Equipment Malfunction
- Lack of Truck Maintenance
Call an Experienced Santa Ana Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Even though everyone has the right to compensation for damages, personal injury law is filled with details and complexities that require years of education to learn and many more years to apply in practice. But we have done all of this already and offer you our services as legal representatives. We will help you file your claim, investigate your case, negotiate with insurance providers and even take the fight to the court floor if necessary.