Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyers

If I am the victim of a trucking accident, who can I sue?

Trucking accidents can be horrible events that change the lives of many people instantly. They can also be complicated crashes when all injured parties come forward with injury claims because many times several vehicles are involved. When a commercial vehicle becomes out of control on the highway everyone in close proximity could be at risk because there is no physical match on the highway for a big-rig. Even innocent bystanders can be affected in some instances. But, the most serious of truck accident crashes occur on the open highways at high rates of speed, often in excess of the speed limit. When this occurs in heavy traffic, crashes can produce a significant number of injuries and be very complicated when the court determines fault. Understanding how the cases are handled legally can help claimants understand who could be held responsible to some degree for the causation of a trucking accident, including passenger vehicle operators.

Comparative Negligence in Truck Wrecks

All states use some form of comparative negligence law. Comparative negligence is the legal notion that most accidents are not the direct fault of one actor and each operator is assessed a percentage of comparative fault. This percentage is used to discount accident claims after total compensatory damages have been calculated. As a result, some accidents can include multiple negligent actors, and injured parties can only collect according to their percentage of fault as well. However, in trucking accidents, the transportation company could well be held liable if a truck accident attorney can prove that the company has also been negligent in requirements of the driver beyond legal standard or failed to meet required maintenance schedules or inspection of trucks. In addition, product liability claims could be available if the crash occurred due to a part malfunction on any vehicle involved in the wreck.

Differing Comparative Fault States

The law in the state in which the accident occurs can be vital regarding the ability to recover damages legally. Pure comparative fault states will allow anyone not totally at fault for the accident to recover some level of damages from all negligent actors. However, problems can occur in damage recovery in modified comparative fault or pure contributory negligence states. Modified comparative fault restricts a claimant from receiving any damages when they are over 51% at fault for an accident, which means that a trucking company or driver may not be sued in certain accidents by drivers with a higher comparative fault percentage. In pure contributory states, and there are four along with the District of Columbia, any injured claimant in a trucking accident still cannot collect any damages if they are even 1% at fault for the injury. Depending on auto accident recovery laws in the state of occurrence, there could potentially be zero negligent actors to pursue for damages.

Standard Accidents

The law in the state in which the accident occurs can be vital regarding the ability to recover damages legally. Pure comparative fault states will allow anyone not totally at fault for the accident to recover some level of damages from all negligent actors. However, problems can occur in damage recovery in modified comparative fault or pure contributory negligence states. Modified comparative fault restricts a claimant from receiving any damages when they are over 51% at fault for an accident, which means that a trucking company or driver may not be sued in certain accidents by drivers with a higher comparative fault percentage. In pure contributory states, and there are four along with the District of Columbia, any injured claimant in a trucking accident still cannot collect any damages if they are even 1% at fault for the injury. Depending on auto accident recovery laws in the state of occurrence, there could potentially be zero negligent actors to pursue for damages.

Multiple Negligent Parties

Truck crashes involving several vehicles can be very complicated and are always strongly defended by the transportation companies and other negligent parties as well. All claimants will have their own legal team arguing for a reduction in the comparative negligence rating of their client, with potentially both the shipping company and truck owner-operator defending the case. Even in obvious negligence cases, insurance company lawyers will be attempting to lessen the value of any claim, and sometimes they are successful in having cases summarily dismissed in court on technicalities. These claims are evaluated in court on a preponderance of the evidence in a totality of circumstances, which means that even a seemingly small factor can have major impact on the allowance or value of a claim.

Never attempt to handle a personal injury claim from a trucking accident personally. The respondent insurance companies have trained professional negotiators who deny claims daily as part of their responsibilities. The are only obligated to the company and their client beyond policy limitations. Having your own trucking accident attorney means you have your own professional negotiation team as well enforcing all of your recovery rights.

What should I do if I’ve been in an accident with a large truck?

In the United States each year, large truck accidents kill 5,000 people and injure 115,000. And in 27 percent of these accidents, the drivers of the trucks have had prior convictions for speeding or other driving infractions. Unfortunately, as today’s highways become more congested with vehicles, the chances of being involved in an accident with a large truck are increasing each year. If you find yourself involved in an accident with a large truck, there are many steps you should take as soon as possible to ensure justice is served and you receive the financial compensation you deserve.

Get Medical Attention
When a person is involved in an accident involving large trucks, San Diego personal injury lawyers know that getting immediate medical attention is a must. Not only are such injuries as broken arms, broken legs, and internal injuries like broken ribs common in these accidents, but so are even more serious injuries such as those associated with the spinal cord. Because of this, it’s imperative you seek immediate medical attention if involved in such accidents.

Stay Safe
At many accident scenes, victims often find themselves facing additional danger. In fact, San Diego personal injury lawyers often hear of victims who are struck by other vehicles while waiting for assistance from first responders. Because of this, it’s recommended that if possible you stay a safe distance away from the scene while waiting for help to arrive.

Seek Legal Advice
Once you have gotten appropriate medical attention for your injuries, it’s a good idea to schedule a consultation with an attorney who is experienced in dealing with large truck accidents. Since in many of these accidents the truck drivers have been shown to be involved in numerous other accidents over the years, chances are failing to bring them to justice will result in other innocent victims being hurt later on. Therefore, speak to an attorney who can assess your situation and begin the process of helping you gain the financial compensation you deserve.

Gather Necessary Evidence
After an accident and before speaking with an attorney, attempt to gather as much evidence as possible to show who was at fault. For example, take pictures while at the accident scene if possible, since this can be critical to helping your case. Along with this, gather any police reports about the accident and bring them with you when you meet with an attorney. This evidence, along with GPS data, logbook information, and a visual inspection of the accident scene by your attorneys and their investigators, can play a vital role in helping establish who was at fault.

Beware of Insurance Companies
If you have been involved in an accident with a large truck, expect to receive a call from the insurance company representing the trucking company. More than likely, they will be offering you the chance to settle quickly for a small amount of money. If this happens, refuse the offer and immediately tell them you have retained a personal injury attorney, and that any further communication will be handled by your attorney. Although an insurance adjuster will try to make you believe the insurance company is only interested in helping you, the fact is they are only interested in paying out as little money as possible. Rather than take a quick settlement that may sound good initially, let your attorney handle any dealings with the insurance company.

Work With An Experienced Attorney
Since most of these cases are settled out of court and never make it to trial, it’s important to be represented by San Diego personal injury lawyers who have experience dealing with these complex cases. To ensure you gain compensation to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, make sure you are represented by an attorney who not only understands these cases, but is committed to seeing that justice is served.