Bus and truck accidents are not very common in California. However, when a collision involves any vehicle, the victims suffer serious injuries or even death. The large size and impact caused by buses or trucks have devastating results. Involvement in a truck or bus accident can affect your life physically, emotionally, and financially. Unfortunately, most auto accidents in California result from the negligence of one or more parties involved in vehicle operations.
You may be entitled to compensation for these losses if you are injured or lost a loved one in a bus or truck accident. By filing a lawsuit against the liable parties in your accident, you can be compensated for multiple losses. However, not all lawsuits are similar. Filing a lawsuit after a truck accident may present more challenges due to the multiple parties involved in the vehicle's operation.
Understanding the difference between truck accident lawsuits and bus accident cases helps you navigate your claim to secure maximum compensation. For guidance and representation in battling your bus or truck accident claims, you will require the guidance of a skilled lawyer.
Numerous Factors Are Involved in Truck Accidents
When you file a personal injury claim after a truck or bus accident, the factors that contributed to the accident play a significant role in your ability to recover compensation. When you settle out of court or file a civil lawsuit, you must be conversant with the exact cause of your accident.
In most bus accident lawsuits, driver error and faulty vehicle parts play the most crucial role in the accident. However, for truck accidents, there are many more factors that the court could consider when determining your settlement, including the following:
Cargo Loading Errors
Unfortunately, cargo-loading mistakes happen more than they should. Whether the cargo loader works in a rush or the truck company instructs them to load excessive goods to save on truck trips, a cargo loading error can result in a catastrophic truck accident. Common cargo loading errors you can cite in your truck accident lawsuit are:
- Allowing goods to move freely during transportation.
- Failure to distribute cargo weight evenly through the vehicle.
- Failure to pressurize gaseous cargo correctly.
- Loading excessive weight on the truck.
- Failure to secure cargo.
- Use of defective and damaged cargo straps.
When a vehicle is overloaded or cargo is not backed correctly, the truck could lose balance and cause a serious accident. If you prove that poorly loaded cargo caused your truck accident, the cargo loader is a defendant in your claim. Most buses have a carrier compartment that is used to place passenger goods. Therefore, it is unlikely that these items will impact the driver’s ability to move the bus.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Trucks are heavy vehicles that ferry heavy goods over long distances. For this reason, these vehicles are easily damaged and may require constant repair. In California, not many people use buses to travel long distances. With more moving parts, trucks are likely to suffer multiple part failures.
Most commercial trucks have a department that solely deals with vehicle maintenance. Therefore, when a vehicle part fails due to poor maintenance, the maintenance team is involved in your lawsuit.
Trucking Company Negligence
Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring smooth processes in the operation of their vehicles. This is by ensuring that the drivers adhere to the set rest and working time regulations. Additionally, these companies must hire competent drivers since trucks require a high skill level.
In cases where another party, like the truck driver, is directly responsible for the accident. This could complicate your lawsuit since you have to deal with different defendants.
The Trucking Company Has Strict Regulations
When a large truck or a bus is involved in an accident, the damage is catastrophic. Determining liability for the accident is very frustrating, especially when different insurance companies come into play. Federal and state rules govern these trucks' operations to ensure the safety of all road users. Due to these rules, truck accident lawsuits differ from bus accident cases.
The regulations that govern truck operations make it easy to identify the liable parties and their role in the accident. You can do this by comparing the actions of the liable parties with the expected conduct per the FMCSA regulations. The following are some regulations that govern trucking operations in California:
A common regulation for trucking companies is the weight limit. Regardless of the vehicle size, no truck should exceed 80,000 pounds. When a truck is heavier than normal, the driver may find it challenging to control the speed and direction of the vehicle. Additionally, the impact caused by an overloaded vehicle is higher. In a bus accident, weight is limited as long as the number of passengers matches the seats.
Therefore, the vehicle's weight will not factor in your bus accident lawsuit. If an overloaded truck causes your accident, you must consider this factor when identifying liable parties and seeking compensation.
Hours of Service
In an attempt to reduce truck accidents caused by drowsy and fatigued drivers, the FMCSA imposes rules limiting how long a driver can operate before breaking. The hours allocated for each driver depends on their schedule and the type of goods they ferry. When a truck company fails to allow enough rest for the driver, they could be held liable for any accidents resulting from a fatigued driver’s error.
In addition to weight regulations, shippers and cargo loaders must ensure that the cargo is properly loaded and secured on the vehicles. Improper loading is one of the common causes of accidents and will be blamed on multiple parties.
Different Types of Evidence Used in Truck Accident Lawsuits
In a bus accident claim, the evidence used to prove liability and secure your compensation is limited to the clues left at the accident scene. Some of this evidence includes photographs, videos of the crash, and witness testimony. Due to the many factors involved in a truck accident, more evidence is used in the case. Common pieces of evidence which differentiate truck accidents from bus accidents include the following:
- Truck driver’s logbook. The driver’s log book reveals their working hours. If they have exceeded the state and federal requirements on hours of operation, you can use it as evidence to prove driver fatigue.
- Truck drivers' work history. A truck driver's work history enables you to check their competence and qualifications on the job.
- Truck inspection report. When the trucking company follows through with the requirement to ensure regular truck maintenance, they must keep the reports. Without the report or a report that shows irregular maintenance, you can argue that the company’s negligence and disregard for federal regulations caused the accident.
There are Multiple Liable Parties in Truck Accident Cases
Liability is a significant part of an auto accident claim. You will only recover compensation from a defendant and their insurance company after establishing the part they played in your accident. After involvement in a bus accident, you can file a claim against a third-party driver, bus driver, or bus part manufacturer for the accident.
One factor that sets apart a truck accident from a bus accident is the presence of numerous liable parties in a truck accident lawsuit. Even when the truck is involved in an accident with one other vehicle, you can hold multiple parties liable for your injuries.
The following are common liable parties in a truck accident:
A truck driver is not the only person liable for your truck accident injuries. Trucking companies must adhere to a set of regulations on how to manage truck operations. Even if a driver’s negligence causes the accident, you can file a lawsuit and recover compensation from the trucking company. Some reasons why the company could be held liable for your accident include:
- Failure to train their drivers. Driving large trucks requires extensive skill. Therefore, the trucking company is responsible for hiring competent drivers and training them accordingly. If a driver's reckless driving or incompetence causes the accident, you can have multiple liable parties in the case.
- Encouraging vehicle overload
- Failure to give drivers enough rest time. This can cause driver fatigue and serious accidents.
Sometimes, the owner of the truck is also the driver. While this complicates your case, the driver/ truck owner will still shoulder liability for their contribution to the accident.
Sometimes, the truck owner does not own the cargo on the vehicle at the time of the accident. If the cargo loading errors caused the accident, the owner of the cargo and loading company would be held liable for your accident. Some errors that could allow you to file a lawsuit against cargo loaders for your truck accident are:
- Overloaded truck.
- Poorly secured cargo.
- Unevenly distributed cargo weight on the vehicle.
Sometimes, other factors outside the truck cause trucking accidents. For example, if another driver fails to yield the right of way, maintain proper distance or obey traffic rules, they could be liable for the truck accident and your injuries.
Truck Repair or Maintenance Shop
While truck drivers are commonly found at fault for truck accidents, a faulty bus part could cause an accident. Due to the heavyweights and long distances they travel, truck parts are prone to wear. While the trucking company ensures that their vehicle is in the right condition, truck repair and maintenance shops must perform their duties correctly. If poorly maintained vehicle parts cause your truck accident, you can file a claim against the repair shop.
Truck Part Manufacturer
Truck manufacturers have the liability to produce good quality parts. If a faulty vehicle part causes a truck accident, the truck part manufacturer can be one of the defendants in your case. Before any potentially liable parties cover your damages, you must establish liability by proving all the elements of negligence.
Sometimes, you could deal with multiple liable parties in your case. When there are multiple liable parties in a personal injury claim, each party compensates you an amount equal to their percentage of fault in the accident. Dealing with multiple parties can be very complicated and time-consuming. Therefore, the guidance of a skilled lawyer is key.
Bus Accidents Have more Victims
Auto accidents are a leading cause of death and serious injuries in California. Accidents are more catastrophic when large and heavy vehicles like buses or trucks are involved. Large vehicles require a high skill level, and a small mistake can have devastating consequences. However, bus accidents result in multiple severely injured victims. Unless a truck hits other vehicles, the individuals injured in the accident are minimal.
However, in a bus accident, even a single-vehicle collision will cause injuries to many individuals. If you are among the individuals, whether as a bus passenger, pedestrian, or third party, your lawsuit will be among the many cases filed against the bus driver or other party involved in the accident.
If all the victims sue a single liable party. The amount you stand to recover from your lawsuit is lower. Before all the victims are compensated, the insurance claim will be depleted. Therefore, the likelihood of maximum compensation is lower. On the other hand, truck accidents may have fewer victims and multiple liable parties, which increases the chances of huge compensation.
If you are involved in a bus accident, you can ensure maximum compensation by investigating the accident thoroughly. A skilled attorney will help you identify other liable parties in the accident and sue for compensation.
Large Trucking Companies Fight your Claim Vigorously
When you file a bus accident claim, you will likely be dealing with the bus driver, other drivers or the road, and sometimes the bus part manufacturer as the defendants. Dealing with a bus driver can be easy since you may have equally strong defense teams to battle in the claim.
However, in trucking accidents, the company may shoulder liability for their part and the driver’s negligence. For this reason, these companies are vigorous in fighting against your claim. With the financial capabilities at their disposal, trucking companies can put together a strong legal team making the case more complicated and reducing the chances of compensation.
Another factor that could make your case complicated is the insurance company. Since the defendant’s insurance provider compensates you for your losses, these companies can employ all tactics to avoid offering maximum compensation. The trucking company insurance provider will contact you immediately after the accident.
Through an insurance adjuster, they will attempt to gather any evidence they can against you. An insurance adjuster may act sympathetic and friendly when they approach you. However, you must always remember that their job is to diminish your claim and ensure minimal compensation.
Before you speak to the insurance adjusters. You must consult with your injury lawyer. The attorney will guide you on the steps to take and the things to avoid to ensure maximum compensation. Some tips you can employ when dealing with the insurance adjusters of the trucking company include:
- Avoid admitting liability to the accident. Many factors could contribute to a truck, and sometimes a pedestrian or other driver can play a role in the collision. Since California is a comparative fault state, you only recover compensation for the percentage of fault of the other part. Admitting liability for the accident could reduce the amount you stand to recover.
- Don’t admit that you are not injured. While most truck accidents are fatal, not all individuals will walk out with serious injuries. However, before you consult with a physician, you should never state that you are not injured. The adrenaline rush and trauma from the accident may make it challenging to notice some internal injuries.
- Don’t sign any agreements. You have no obligation to sign any document presented to you by the insurance company. Any written agreement with your signature can be used in your case. Therefore, consult with a lawyer before disclosing information.
Find a Competent Truck Accident Lawyer Near Me
Accidents involving buses or trucks could be single-vehicle rollover accidents or collisions with another vehicle. One of the questions in your mind after involvement in a bus or truck accident is whether you will receive compensation for your injuries and losses. If you seek compensation for the injuries resulting in truck and bus accidents, you must file a lawsuit in court or a claim with the fault party's insurance company.
While the potential injuries from bus and truck accidents are equally catastrophic, bus accident lawsuits differ from truck accident cases significantly. Trucks have set federal and state rules that govern their operation. Additionally, the operation of these vehicles involves multiple parties. This makes the lawsuit more complicated and challenging for the victims.
While you nurse your injuries from a bus or truck accident, you must hire a reliable personal injury lawyer to help you understand the dynamics of your claim and recover compensation. At Truck Accident Injury Attorney Law Firm, we offer expert legal guidance and representation to all our clients battling a truck accident claim throughout California. Contact us today at 619-754-7667.