When our Irvine accident attorneys first meet with a client, they have a lot of questions. Many of them are in terrible physical shape. A tractor-trailer accident can take a lot out of a person. Sometimes, it’s easier and less stressful for your truck accident lawyer in Irvine to settle your case.
Is There Enough Evidence for Your Irvine Accident Attorney to Prove Fault?
Before you can think about a settlement, your Irvine accident attorney must prove your case. If they cannot show that the defendant was at fault, you won’t be entitled to damages.
Many truck accident cases settle because it makes sense for everyone involved. You need your money so you can try to repair your life. The trucker and their employer want to put the matter to rest. They don’t need the negative publicity.
Your Truck Accident Lawyer in Irvine Must Prove Negligence
To win your case, or entice the defendant to settle, your truck accident lawyer in Irvine must prove negligence. To do this, they will need to demonstrate the following four things.
- The truck driver owed you a duty of care. This is a given. Commercial drivers have an obligation to drive carefully so other motorists don’t get hurt. They also have a duty to abide by the federal regulations as set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
- The trucker breached that duty of care. If the tractor-trailer driver doesn’t drive carefully or violated the law, they will have breached their duty. Since they are professional drivers, they’re held to a much higher standard than personal drivers.
- You were injured. Your Irvine accident attorney must show that you suffered a physical injury. It is usually insufficient to cite property damage alone.
- Your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach of duty. Unless the defendant can show that something other than the crash caused your injuries, this shouldn’t be difficult.
Once your truck accident lawyer in Irvine has proven these four things, they can move on to prove your damages.
The Truck Driver’s Attorney Will Claim That You Were Partially at Fault
The first thing the defendant’s lawyer will do is claim that you were at fault. This is the tactic the insurance companies use to get out of paying legitimate claims.
The good news is that, even if you were partially at fault, you can still collect damages. California follows the pure comparative negligence rule. This means that you can still sue somebody, even if you are 99% at fault.
Of course, no Irvine accident attorney will want to handle a case where the plaintiff is 99% at fault. The only chance you have of receiving damages is if you’re well under 50% at fault.
Make Sure You File a Claim With the Insurance Companies
In the days following your truck accident, you need to get your insurance claim filed. Our truck accident lawyers in Irvine suggest you file a claim against both insurance policies – the driver’s and their employer’s.
You want to increase your chances of getting paid. This means you may need to pursue more than one party.
Can Your Irvine Accident Attorney Prove the Trucking Company Is Vicariously Liable?
To pursue the truck driver’s employer, your Irvine accident attorney needs to prove they are liable. This means they need to show that the employer is vicariously liable for the actions of the trucker.
In California, this is not that difficult to do. Your truck accident lawyer in Irvine needs to demonstrate the following:
- The truck driver engaged in an unlawful act.
- The defendant was acting within the normal scope of their employment.
- You were injured as a result of their unlawful act.
As long as you can show that the truck driver violated a law or regulation, their employer should be held responsible.
Employers Are Often Responsible for the Actions of Their Employees in California
Most states have specific statutes that deal with vicarious liability of employees. In California, the law is slightly different.
Employers in Irvine, California can still be considered liable for the actions of their employees. However, this liability falls under the doctrine of respondeat superior. This is a common law doctrine that the courts in California still enforce.
This notion that a business owner would be liable for their employees’ behavior was affirmed in Lisa M. Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in 1995. The courts have upheld the doctrine ever since.
The Trucking Company Is Not Going to Want the Case to Go to Trial
As you can imagine, the company the driver works for is not going to want a long trial. They do not want their customers and clients to find out that one of their drivers hit an innocent motorist.
Your truck accident lawyer in Irvine is going to impress this fact on the defendant’s attorney. This should motivate them to offer a fair settlement of your claim.
A Trial Could Seriously Hurt the Company’s Reputation
It’s not only their customers that the company doesn’t want to disappoint. They do not want word of mouth to hurt their chances with potential customers. The money they’ll spend to settle your case is a drop in the bucket compared to the money they can make in the future.
Furthermore, the money is almost certainly going to be paid by the company’s insurance carrier. They may not have to pay anything out-of-pocket.
Your Truck Accident Lawyer in Irvine Will Try to Negotiate a Settlement
Even if the defendant’s employer isn’t held liable, there are still reasons why you’d want to settle your case. If your Irvine accident attorney has to go to trial, it will cost a lot of money.
Whatever your lawyer spends on trial will have to come out of your settlement. And, since more than 95% of all personal injury lawsuits settle at some point, yours probably will too.
It is Sometimes Better to Settle the Matter Quickly
If you agree to settle your claim, you will get a lump sum of money on a rather immediate basis. This means you won’t have to wait months or even years for your case to go to trial.
You Risk Losing if the Case Goes to Trial
You also have to remember that, no matter how incredible your truck accident lawyer in Irvine is, the evidence may not stand up in court. You always risk losing if you go to trial. If this happens, you’ll walk away with nothing.
Consult With an Experienced Irvine Accident Attorney Right Away
If you’ve been seriously injured in a tractor-trailer accident, you will be in no shape to fight with the insurance companies. That’s when you know it’s time to call an experienced Irvine accident attorney.
In our experience, truck accidents are some of the most dangerous of all motor vehicle accidents. It is sometimes better for your truck accident lawyers in Irvine to settle the matter so you can focus on your recovery.
Call today and ask to schedule your free, initial consultation. This way, you can sit down with someone who knows the law and knows what you’re entitled to.