Even though California has laws in place designed to prevent truck accidents, crashes can and do occur. The sheer size of commercial trucks means that any accident could lead to catastrophic injuries. The aftermath of an accident can be very difficult, which is while you’ll want to obtain legal representation as soon as possible.
Crockett Law Group is a top law firm that specializes in personal injury and car accident claims. With the help of one of our Victorville truck accident lawyers, you’ll be able to ensure that responsible parties are held liable and that you are properly compensated.
Call us at (800) 900-9393 today to schedule your free case review.
What Should You Do After a Truck Accident?
Taking the right steps after a truck accident can help to ensure that you’re able to recover proper compensation. It can be difficult not to panic in the aftermath of an accident, which is why it’s best to stick with these simple guidelines.
Dialing 911 will ensure that police and other first responders are sent to the scene of the accident. Not only are you required to report accidents that result in property damage to the police, but you’ll also need to file an accident report so that you can file a claim with your insurance company.
It’s important that anyone injured in the accident is able to get appropriate medical attention. Once you’ve moved your vehicle out of harm’s way, you should check to see if anyone else involved needs assistance.
You’re required to provide contact and insurance information with all drivers involved in an accident. When a truck driver is involved, you should also request the truck number and the name of the trucking carrier.
Document the Scene, Speak with Witnesses
It’s crucial to collect evidence that will establish what happened during the accident. Use your phone to take pictures at the scene of the accident. Photograph the damage to both vehicles, license plates, skid marks, and any other damage that could potentially be useful. Talk with witnesses and ask them for their contact information so that they can potentially provide testimony later on.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you don’t need emergency medical attention, it’s best to have a professional examine you after an accident and look for signs of injury. Some types of injury, like whiplash, may not be immediately visible.
Contact an Attorney
The sooner you contact an experienced Victorville truck accident lawyer, the better. Crockett Law Group can handle negotiations with insurance companies and will work to ensure that you’re compensated as soon as possible. Don’t hesitate to call our firm after an accident.
What Are the Laws Regarding Truck Accident Liability in California?
Truck accidents often result in serious damage, which makes them more complex than many other accident cases. In addition, California is a comparative liability state, which means that multiple drivers can be held liable for an accident. There are two primary factors considered when determining liability: negligence and strict liability.
If a truck driver causes an accident due to negligence, California law states that the driver is liable for any injuries caused by the accident. To prove negligence, it’s necessary to show that the truck driver owed the victim a duty of care, that the duty was breached, and that the breach played a significant role in the accident.
Strict liability states that other parties, such as companies and manufacturers, can also be held liable for accidents. According to Section 17150 of the California Vehicle Code, the owner of a vehicle is responsible for any damages caused by the vehicle’s driver. Depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be possible to seek damages from the truck driver, the company the driver worked for, and additional parties, such as the manufacturer of vehicle parts that failed.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
Truck accidents often result in severe damages and involve numerous parties. You may have to go up against large defense teams when pursuing the compensation that you deserve. That’s why it’s essential to have the support of an experienced truck accident attorney throughout the legal process.
A lawyer can conduct a detailed investigation on your behalf, which will help you to obtain the evidence you need to support your claim. During the investigation, your attorney can collect physical evidence, conduct interviews, and work alongside vehicle inspectors to obtain more information about the truck.
During the investigation process, attorneys can take a closer look at driving records, employee documentation, and the truck company. When possible, the truck’s black box, which can provide crucial information about the driver’s behavior before and during the accident, may also be reviewed.
Filing a Claim
You’ll need to complete significant amounts of paperwork in order to file an accident claim. If there’s an issue with your paperwork, or if your claim isn’t filed on time, you may no longer be eligible to recover damages. A lawyer can handle all of this paperwork, giving you the time to focus on your recovery.
Insurance companies often pressure accident victims to accept a settlement that’s much less than the value of the claim. When you have a lawyer, you’ll never have to speak with an insurance negotiator on your own. Instead, you’ll be able to refer the insurance company to your attorney.
Fighting a case in court can be costly, which is why insurance companies typically prefer to settle accident claims out of court. When you retain a lawyer, you’re demonstrating that you’re willing to go to trial if necessary. If you’re not offered a fair settlement, your attorney can fight in court to ensure that you receive what you’re entitled to.
What Types of Compensation Can I Receive?
If you’re able to prove that you were harmed or injured by another party in a truck accident, you’ll be eligible to receive compensatory damages. California law allows victims to seek three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
These damages are intended to cover verifiable monetary losses. You may be eligible to collect compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Transportation to medical facilities
- Property damage
- Loss of income and future income
- Funeral or burial expenses
- Legal fees
These damages are designed to compensate accident victims for losses that are difficult to quantify. Damages you could potentially collect include:
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship
Sometimes referred to as “exemplary damages,” these damages are designed to punish the at-fault party for their behavior. Under California law, accident victims can also seek punitive damages in cases where injuries were caused by extreme recklessness or malice.
California law allows accident victims to recover damages even if they were partially responsible for the accident. However, these damages will be reduced at a level that is proportionate with the victim’s level of fault.
Crockett Law Group will assess your claim and identify all the damages that you’re entitled to. Truck accidents can take a serious financial toll, but with the help of our legal team, you’ll be able to work towards financial recovery.
How Much Is My Truck Accident Claim Worth?
There are many factors that need to be considered when determining the true value of a truck accident claim, including the injuries you’ve sustained and the extent of the property damage. Your level of fault will also be a factor. California law allows accident victims to recover damages even if they were partially responsible for an accident, but damages will be reduced at a level that is proportionate with your level of fault.
Another factor that can influence the total value of a claim is the number of liable parties. In addition to the truck driver, the trucking company and the vehicle manufacturer may be responsible, along with other parties. In order to ensure that you’re compensated appropriately, it will be necessary to identify all parties that are potentially liable.
Truck accident cases are uniquely complex, and calculating damages can be difficult. That’s why it’s vital to have an experienced Victorville truck accident lawyer review the facts of your case. If you schedule a free consultation with Crockett Law Group, we can discuss your claim with you and provide you with more information about what it’s worth.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Claim in California?
Truck accident claims must be filed within two years of the date of the accident. If you fail to file your claim within this deadline, you may lose the right to seek damages from any of the parties responsible for your injuries.
Although two years may seem like ample time to file your claim, there are numerous factors that can cause the clock to run out. If you’re seriously injured in an accident, you may be too busy receiving medical care to handle your case. Furthermore, insurance companies often drag out negotiations for accident claims, which could keep you from making your claim within the appropriate time frame.
There’s very little you can do once the statute of limitations on your claim expires, which is why it’s best to retain an attorney early on in the process. When you have a lawyer, you won’t have to worry about meeting deadlines. Instead, you’ll be able to trust a professional to handle everything and secure your settlement as soon as possible.
How Is Fault in a Truck Accident Determined in California?
While determining fault in an accident can always be challenging, there are unique complexities to consider in truck accidents in California. As mentioned previously, California is a comparative negligence state, which means fault can be shared in accidents. Furthermore, there may be several parties that bear responsibility.
Proving negligence is one of the most common ways to establish fault. The California Vehicle Code can also play an essential role. If a party violated a California statute, this can be used to show that the party is responsible for the accident.
Can a Lawyer Prove the Truck Driver Was Negligent?
The California legislature has specific laws and guidelines that can be used to show negligence in an accident case. It’s necessary to establish that the driver did not show a reasonable amount of caution when operating their vehicle. It’s also necessary to show that the negligence contributed to the injuries caused by the accident.
Negligence can be proven by showing that a driver failed to show the amount of care that they are expected to show under California law. As long as an attorney is able to establish that a truck driver was negligent and show that the negligence helped cause the accident, you’ll be entitled to collect damages.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
One factor that seperates truck accidents from other types of vehicle accidents is that the truck driver is likely to be employed by a trucking company. This means that several different parties may share legal responsibility for the accident and could be held liable. Responsible parties may include:
The Truck Driver
Even though drivers usually bear some responsibility for truck accidents, it’s rare for a driver to have sole liability. A truck driver could be held liable on their own if they engaged in extremely reckless behavior, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The Trucking Company
The company that employs the truck driver is likely to hold some of the responsibility for an accident. California has “respondeat superior” laws, which means employers can be held vicariously liable for the wrongful acts of their employees. A company may also be held liable if they failed to maintain the vehicles in their fleet or if they pushed their employees to unsafe limits.
The Company Who Loaded the Truck
The cargo on a truck can shift if it’s not properly loaded and secured, which can contribute to an accident. California’s respondeat superior laws mean that the company responsible for loading the truck would be held liable for these kinds of mistakes rather than the cargo loaders.
Vehicle or Parts Manufacturers
Components of a truck could be defective, and those faulty parts could play a role in a truck accident. California’s product liability laws state that manufacturers, designers, and sellers of defective products are liable for injuries caused by the faulty product. This means that the manufacturer of the vehicle or certain parts could be at fault for the accident.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Commercial trucks are large and difficult to manage, which can increase the risk of accidents. Truck drivers must show extreme caution to prevent accidents and keep other drivers on the road safe. Factors that frequently lead to accidents include:
- Fatigued drivers
- Distracted or reckless driving
- Drug use
- Oversized or improperly secured cargo
- Inexperienced or poorly drained drivers
- Lack of vehicle maintenance
- Equipment malfunctions
- Adverse road conditions
Call an Experienced Victorville Truck Accident Lawyer
While any vehicle accident can lead to injury, accidents involving trucks are especially dangerous. Every year, there are approximately 3,000 accidents that lead to injury, with 113 fatal accidents on average. This makes it all the more important to work with a Victorville truck accident lawyer.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, Crockett Law Group can provide you with the support you need. We’ll assist you with every step of this difficult process and will fight to collect the damages that you’re owed. Call us at (800) 900-9393 today to discuss your case.