California records all kinds of road accidents every year, from truck accidents to pedestrian accidents. Fortunately, the state has clear personal injury laws through which the injured can seek compensation for their damages. However, you must understand the intricacies of the state’s legal system to file a winning lawsuit in a California civil court. Truck accident cases can be complicated. But you can navigate the legal system with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. In this article, we shall look at the various ways in which a truck accident case could differ from a car accident case.
The Difference Between Truck Accidents and Car Accidents
Many factors come into play when unraveling road accidents in California. Some elements are the same for car accidents and truck accidents, while others are different. There are significant differences between these two types of road accidents. Therefore, it could help to work alongside an experienced truck accident injury attorney to ensure that you are filing a winning claim in a civil court. If you have been involved in a car accident or truck accident, it is crucial to know how the legal process works for both cases so you can be well-prepared to fight for the compensation you deserve. Here are significant differences between California truck accidents and car accidents:
Truck Accidents are Usually More Severe
The significant difference between truck accidents and car accidents in California is in their severity. All road accidents are serious, as they can result in severe injuries, property destruction, and sometimes death. However, some accidents are more severe than others, especially those that involve commercial vehicles.
Generally, trucks are larger and heavier than ordinary cars. They are designed to have a larger and heavier body to carry heavy luggage. Therefore, a truck accident is likely to have a more significant impact than a car accident. The resulting damages would be more severe than the result of a car accident.
Additionally, commercial vehicles are usually more loaded than ordinary cars. You’re likely to find two or three people in a regular car, which can’t compare to the heavy cargo that commercial vehicles transport. The heavy loads these vehicles carry make them heavier and more dangerous as far as accidents are concerned. The resulting damages after a truck accident are likely to be more severe than the consequential damages after a car accident.
Due to their large size, commercial trucks take a longer time to stop than ordinary cars. Whenever a truck hits another vehicle or an obstacle on the road, it quickly loses control because of its size and will not stop immediately to avoid wrecking more havoc. The resulting damage is devastating, as the truck can crash to more cars and other property before it finally comes to a stop.
When filing a truck accident injury claim in California, you are likely to include more damages than if you were involved in a car accident. Truck accidents are also expected to have more plaintiffs than car accidents. Therefore, truck accident settlements are usually more expensive than ordinary car accidents. Working alongside a competent truck accident injury attorney will help you avoid missing out on a detail that could make a significant difference in your case.
Truck Accident Cases are More Complex
Car accident cases are a little more straightforward in California. The law only requires you to determine the cause of your accident, identify the possible liable party, file a claim in court, and prepare strong evidence to support your claims. Car accident cases become even simpler because they involve one or two possible liable parties. An experienced car accident attorney can quickly determine the cause of the accident, gather evidence, and file a winning lawsuit in court.
However, truck accidents are more complicated than that. You need to work even harder to unravel a California truck accident, determine liability, gather evidence, and file your case in court.
First, the safety of trucks in California is dependent upon many entities and people. Each of them owes road users a duty of care, resulting in devastating damages when breached. These people and entities are expected not to skip a crucial step or make any mistake because it’ll mean that the health and wellbeing of other road users will be at risk. This liability and involvement of many parties make truck accidents complicated when compared to car accidents.
Second, liability in truck accidents is directly linked to the cause of the accident. For you to understand the party responsible for the truck accident, you’ll need one expert or two to determine the actual cause of the accident. If the cause of the accident points to the truck driver, you must further determine how the driver was negligent and how his/her negligence caused your damages. Sometimes accidents occur due to poor road conditions, and other times due to a mistake made by the trucking company. You need more accurate information to determine liability and prove it if you wish to win a truck accident injury case.
Third, liability can be more challenging to prove in a truck accident when compared to a car accident. It is because more than one party could be liable in a truck accident. The common possible responsible parties include government entities, truck drivers, trucking companies, truck manufacturers, truck repair shops, or other drivers.
Truck Accidents Could Have More Liable Parties
As previously mentioned, truck accidents do not always have one liable party, as is the case in car accidents. In a car accident case, you only need to determine one responsible party, gather sufficient evidence to support your claims, and a judge will award your damages.
Truck accidents could have distinct causes from car accidents. Therefore, it is possible to have more than one liable party in a truck accident. It changes the process of filing for compensation because you’ll be filing a case in court against multiple defendants.
Shared liability in a truck accident is a matter only an experienced truck accident injury attorney will understand. It requires the attorney to determine all the possible liable parties, determine their contribution to the accident, and gather sufficient evidence to support those claims. Your attorney will also include all the responsible parties in your suit to maximize your compensation.
Once the case is in court, the judge will determine each liable party’s percentage of liability in the accident. It will help determine how much money each party will be required to pay in compensation after the case is concluded.
Truck accident cases require more time and effort to conclude than car accident cases. You’ll need more time to prepare your case, more evidence to gather, and more people to involve, especially in determining the cause of the accident. You might need to visit private companies and subpoena private company’s documents to strengthen your case and improve your chances of winning.
Additionally, you might have to deal with multiple insurance companies. It means that numerous insurance adjusters will be involved in your case. You need to be smart not to compromise your chances because insurance companies and insurance adjusters might use all tricks on you to avoid liability.
Truck Accidents Have More Possible Causes
All auto accidents have more than one possible cause. However, truck accidents have more possible causes when compared to car accidents. It means that you will have more possibilities to consider when trying to unravel the cause of a truck accident, which will require more time and effort.
Some causes of California truck accidents are never considered when it comes to car accidents, for instance, driver fatigue. Truck drivers operate for longer hours, and so, they have time limits within which they must take a break to rest. Driver fatigue is among the leading causes of truck accidents in California.
Driver negligence in California truck accidents goes beyond distracted, speed, or intoxicated driving. It could be that the truck driver failed to secure the load, which is never considered in car accident cases. Truck drivers are also expected to have additional skills and experience to perform better in their job. It means that truck drivers have more responsibilities than car drivers. If these responsibilities are ignored, they could be the cause of a serious truck accident.
California truck accident cases consider the part a trucking company plays in ensuring that their trucks are safe. It could be that the trucking company failed in its mandate to hire enough or experienced drivers to cut the costs. Truck maintenance is also a responsibility of the trucking company. If the trucking company failed in any of its mandates, we would have more possible truck accident causes.
It takes a skilled attorney to determine all possible causes of a truck accident. It helps in strengthening your case. Civil court judges only rely on the evidence presented in court to rule over a matter. If you have a more compelling case than the alleged liable party, you stand a higher chance of winning the case.
Truck Drivers Have More Road Regulations to Abide By
All drivers in California have a set of traffic regulations to abide by, whether car or truck drivers. However, truck drivers have additional rules that ensure their safety, the safety of their vehicles, and the general public. For instance, all drivers must observe traffic signage and traffic lights at all times.
Additionally, truck drivers in California have to abide by strict hour-of-service regulations. Drivers carrying property in California can drive for a maximum of eleven hours following a consecutive 10-hour break. These drivers cannot drive more than 14 hours consecutively, even after a 10-hour break.
Drivers carrying passengers can only drive a maximum of ten hours after a consecutive 8-hour break. They cannot drive for 15 straight hours even after an 8-hour break.
None of these drivers can operate a vehicle for more than sixty hours for more than seven consecutive days or seventy hours for more than eight straight days.
These strict hours-of-service regulations are meant to keep tired and drowsy drivers off public roads to minimize truck accidents in the state. Truck drivers and their employers are required by law to abide by these regulations. It limits the number of hours a driver can operate in one shift. It also guides trucking companies whenever they are organizing schedules for their drivers.
On top of the hours of service, truck drivers in California have strict rest breaks by which they must abide. The law requires all truck drives to rest for at least 10 minutes after every four hours of driving. Additionally, drivers must take a 30-minute meal break after every five hours of working. Rest and meal breaks ensure that drivers can concentrate while on the road. It is hard for drivers to remain focused if they drive for hours without a break or meal.
You Need More Information to File a Truck Accident Claim in California
The amount of information needed when filing a truck accident claim in California is more when compared to what you’ll need to file a car accident claim. When a car accident happens, drivers exchange a few details, including their names and addresses, vehicle and insurance company information. Much of the other information can be obtained by the insurance company. Car accident cases are usually not complex. Therefore, not much information is needed to determine the actual cause of the accident and its liability.
However, it is a little different when it comes to truck accidents. More details regarding the truck, the driver, the trucking company, or the truck manufacturer are needed to determine the cause of the accidents and establish liability.
For instance, if the accident occurred after the truck lost balance, you’ll need clear information regarding what the truck trailer was loaded with, whether it was overloaded, and whose fault it was. If not overloaded, the truck could have been overweight or not correctly loaded. The cargo in the trailer must have been unbalanced.
If the truck developed mechanical problems while on the road, you’ll need even more information to determine the actual mechanical issue and liability. You’ll need to check repair and maintenance records from the trucking company to determine whether the trucking company adhered to the routine maintenance requirements. You might also want to check the repair shop’s records to determine whether the mechanical problem was out of negligence when servicing the truck.
If the accident resulted from poor road conditions, you’d need enough evidence to support your claim against the government agency responsible for maintaining public roads. You might need the testimony of a credible accident expert witness to verify that a dangerous condition on the road was why the truck lost control.
It's A Challenge Negotiating With Truck Insurance Companies
Commercial trucks are worth a lot of money. Therefore trucking companies take expensive insurance policies to be sure they’ll receive adequate compensation after an accident. Commercial truck drivers are sufficiently insured, too, more than what other drivers receive. When a truck accident happens, the insurance company that has covered the truck and/or the truck driver is expected to pay a lot of money in compensation.
These insurance companies are always ready to fight to avoid paying a large sum of money. They work through highly experienced adjusters who are willing to do everything possible to deny compensation. You must be very aggressive when dealing with insurance companies like these if you wish to recover total compensation.
An intelligent insurance adjuster might trick you into making a mistake that could cause the court to deny your claim. Working alongside an experienced truck accident injury attorney could help you avoid making mistakes or dealing with the adjuster directly. If all tricks fail to work, the adjuster will be quick to offer an out-of-court settlement that is lower than what you deserve. If you are not careful, you may be duped into accepting the quick offer.
An experienced truck accident injury attorney who has your best interest at heart will not stop until you recover total compensation for your damages. He/she will only advise you to accept an equal offer to or more than what you have included in your claim. Your attorney will also handle the insurance company and the adjuster on your behalf.
Find a Truck Accident Injury Attorney Law Firm Near Me
If you or your loved one has been injured in a California truck accident, it helps to know in advance what to expect if you choose to file a lawsuit against the responsible party in a civil court. An experienced truck accident injury attorney will make the process easy for you, help you through all legal processes, and fight for you until you receive the compensation you deserve. At Truck Accident Injury Attorney Law Firm, our team of experienced attorneys has all it takes to help you file a winning claim. Call us at 619-754-7667 from any part of California, and let us take the burden off your shoulders.