Determining liability in truck accidents in California might tend to be a logistical nightmare. Truck accidents result in catastrophic injuries and damages. The accidents are handled differently from other auto vehicles because they involve factors like trucking companies, unique investigations, and insurance companies. The other complicating factor with these accidents is that many parties may be held responsible for the accident.
However, determining liability becomes a challenging process. You may use many elements to help determine liability. The elements include eyewitness testimonies, photos, reconstruction experts, court, and images. Also, different parties like cargo companies, truck drivers, and truck companies can be held responsible for the accident. That's why it's recommended you work closely with a truck accident attorney to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
If you or your family member suffer injuries in a truck accident, speak with a truck accident attorney right away. At Truck Accident Injury Attorney Law Firm, we offer unmatched services to our clients. We have extensive experience in representing families and victims of truck accidents. We know what it needs for you to obtain the compensation you deserve. For a free case evaluation, call us today. Please do not wait until it's too late.
Liability in a Truck Accident
Determining liability in a Truck Accident is challenging. You need to work with your truck accident attorney throughout the legal process. Many elements will be involved to determine liability. The following are the potential elements:
The Police Report
Immediately after the accident, the law enforcement officers will arrive as soon as possible. The officers will investigate the accident. They will interview the eyewitnesses to develop an accurate report about the accident.
In many cases, the officers state the liability according to their judgment. However, the police statement is not the final say about the liability in the truck accident. Therefore, even when the officers indicate you are the liable party, do not panic. Discuss everything with your truck accident attorney, and they will help you fight for your rights.
How the Law Court Help Determine Liability
In California, many commercial vehicle accident cases are dealt with outside courts. But, the cases may proceed to the law court in rare cases. The law court judge will now be responsible for determining the liability. The judge will listen to arguments from the involved parties and their evidence.
The judge will more likely base their judgment on the involved parties' negligence behavior to determine liability. For instance, negligence behaviors may include speeding, disobeying traffic rules, lane violation, and other factors. The court will also determine the amount of money the at-fault party will compensate the victims. It's good to note that the police report and the insurance company will not control the court's ruling.
Can Reconstruction Experts help Determine Liability?
Another method to determine liability in a truck accident is working closely with reconstruction experts. The officers apply the law of science to determine the liability of the alleged accident. They also utilize the law of engineering, mathematics, and physics to examine the incident. It's recommended you hire a reconstruction expert when your case is complicated to help you determine liability.
The experts come with numerous benefits like quantifying and measuring the aspects of the truck accident. Also, the eyewitness evidence might be unreliable since other factors might influence it. Note that you can only hire these experts immediately after the accident. So, do not wait for a long time after the accident.
Remember, the accident scene needs to be investigated immediately after the accident before several pieces of evidence disappear. For example, tire marks may disappear after a few days. Before hiring the reconstruction experts, go for the well licensed and trained officers. Do not rely on unskilled reconstruction experts.
How Insurance Company may Help Determine Liability
You can also determine liability in a truck accident through the insurance company. When the defendant files a claim to the driver's insurance company, the company will give the case to an adjuster. In California, an adjuster is responsible for investigating and settling the case. The adjusters work like the law enforcement officers; they interview eyewitnesses, examine the accident scene, and examine the sustained damages and injuries.
The adjuster will provide a percentage of liability to the involved parties in many cases. The officer will more likely focus on negligent behavior before determining liability. Under the state's laws, negligence will occur when a driver acts with unreasonable caution another person could do while in the same situation.
Eyewitnesses play a significant role in determining liability in a truck accident case. Remember, the witness observed what happened before, during, and after the accident. Therefore they have accurate information about the possible cause of the accident. So, immediately after the accident, you should ensure you take the full details of the eyewitness, including names and their identification details. Their testimony will help you build a strong lawsuit.
Determining Liability in a Case Involving Multiple Parties
The criminal court will hold several parties liable for the truck accident in rare cases. Therefore, you might be entitled to receive compensation from several parties. For example, three or more vehicles may be involved in an accident. This means more than three drivers will be involved. The liability may end up being shared amongst the involved drivers. In many cases, the driver who began the accident will face a percentage of accountability.
As mentioned above, the involved drivers might be liable for the accident due to distracted driving, speeding, or any other method indicating negligence. Collisions involving commercial vehicles are challenging to handle. So, make an effort to hire a skilled attorney to help you. Do not attempt to handle the legal process alone. A slight mistake may place you under a big problem.
You might find it challenging to determine liability in a truck accident compared to other accidents. The fact is that many parties might be held responsible for the accident. You require thorough investigations to determine the potential cause of the accident. The court will hold many parties liable for the accidents in many cases. You want to work closely with your attorney to help you determine the liability in the accident. The parties discussed below might be held liable for a truck accident.
In many truck accident cases, the truck drivers are the leading causes of the accident. It's illegal for a driver to operate a vehicle when unqualified. A driver may commit an accident as a result of their negligent activities. The behavior may include speeding, distracted driving, reckless driving, among other factors. FMCSA has set regulations that control the behavior of drivers. The law is strict when it comes to drunk driving. Also, the rules require truck drivers to operate their vehicles within legal hours.
The law requires truck drivers to control their vehicles safely during cargo loading. The truck drivers must inspeçt the cargo before they start a trip. An ignorance in checking property before a trip may lead to mechanical failure and a vital accident. But, many drivers violate these rules. Remember, the driver will not accept fault easily. So, it would help if you worked closely with your attorney to help you handle the case.
The Truck Company
A truck driver might be working as an independent contractor. A truck company employs other drivers to transport property or goods. Therefore, the truck driver will significantly impact the accident lawsuit. When the driver was at the job scope during the accident, the driver's employer will also be accountable for the damages and injuries suffered. Remember, an employer will be accountable for the damages and injuries when their employees cause accidents.
A California truck accident attorney has deep knowledge and can use their skills to establish that the alleged driver is a worker. By investigating the company records, the lawyer can discover other forms of negligence which lead to the accident like:
Failure to train drivers
Improper hiring process
Lack of devices for testing drug and alcohol abuse
Errors in repairing and maintaining trucks
Failure to dismiss a driver who engages in severe offense
Pushing drivers to extend the service hours
In California, truck companies have a record of trying to do whatever they can to skip liability in case of an accident. They have their lawyers and reconstruction experts ready to defend the company. That's why you must work with your accident attorney to help you protect your rights.
In rare incidents, the cargo company is responsible for causing truck accidents. The company is responsible for properly fixing and fitting the transported goods. For example, a poorly fitted load may result in a truck accident. Also, when improperly fixed, the load may fall from the truck and cause multiple other accidents to the different road users. So, when this is the case, the liability for the accident will go to the cargo company. Therefore, the company will compensate the victims for damages and injuries.
In a truck accident, severe and catastrophic injuries are common. As a result, you want to understand the damages you may be entitled to when you want to file a case against the truck accident or the liable parties. Some of the damages you may be compensated include:
Economic damages refer to financial losses that you are paid if you face an accident—the financial losses you may be paid include.
Medical expenses include the amount you paid for medical care for your injuries, therapies, and even expenses associated with future treatments.
Lost Earning Capacity
The injuries you sustain in a truck accident may hinder you from working again. If you cannot work again, you can file for the compensation of the salary you would have earned throughout your life.
Costs You Pay from our Pocket
The amount you pay from your pocket varies from case to case. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may be compensated the following:
The amount you paid for assistive devices like crutches, canes, and wheelchairs.
The amount you hired a professional to do your household chores
The money spent on transport to and from medical appointments
When you sustain injuries in a truck accident, you may be unable to work when recovering. You will be compensated for the amount you lost when nursing the injuries. You have to note that you may be seriously injured when a truck accident occurs. If the truck driver is liable for your injuries, you may be paid economic and non-economic damages.
Non-economic damage encompasses losses that don’t affect your income directly. The damages tend to have more pay since they have widespread severe impacts on the victim's life. After a truck accident, the following are the non-economic damages you may receive compensation for.
Pain and Suffering
In a truck accident, you may sustain injuries that lead to chronic pain. Chronic pain may last your lifetime. Pain and suffering damages will compensate you for the physical pain you feel due to the accident and even the pain you may experience in the future.
After an accident, you may experience severe issues, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc. The liable party may be able to compensate you for the emotional distress associated with the sustained injuries.
Disability and Loss of Enjoyment
Your life is permanently altered when you sustain brain damage or paralysis after a truck accident. Therefore, you are entitled to compensation for the inconvenience, disability, and impairment caused by a truck accident. You have to note that, when you sustain a severe injury, you will never be able to enjoy your hobbies which make your life fulfilling. You want to note that you are entitled to compensation for all truck accident losses.
Scarring and Disfigurement
After the injuries you sustain in a truck accident, your body may be left with burns, scars, and amputations. The injuries can even make you become disfigured. As you know, drastic alterations in your appearance affect your mental health. When a negligent driver or any other party leads to your disfigurement, you are compensated for both the emotional and mental effects.
What Happens When You are Partially Responsible for the Truck Accident
Sometimes the driver might be partially responsible for the accident. For example, the driver stopped suddenly and caused several accidents. But, being partially responsible for the accident will reduce the possible compensation for your portion of the fault. Note the other involved drivers will try to skip the liability by arguing you are fully responsible for the accident. When this is your case, you want to discuss the matter with your truck accident attorney.
The attorney will help you gather enough evidence and ensure you fight for your rights. Ensure you hire a well-trained and experienced attorney. The trucking companies and the insurers will also attempt to place the liability on your side.
Gathering Evidence After a Truck Accident
After a truck accident, you want to seek as much evidence to support your claim as possible. You might be unaware of the different types of evidence you require. However, with a skilled attorney, they will do anything to collect enough evidence. The following are the critical evidence you want to keep:
You must keep any documents, paperwork, or records that contain injuries related to the accident. You might retrieve these critical records from the truck's logbook and a black box. A truck's black box keeps critical information (positioning of the brake pedal, engine RPMs, Accelerator position) that occurs during, before, and after the accident.
The logbook can provide information about the number of hours you have been traveling and the distance you have covered. Remember the federal laws cone with regulations about the length which a truck must cover. The truck company may destroy the information when their driver operates the vehicle for extended periods.
Other documentation like repair reports, inspection maintenance, police reports, drivers training reports, and medical reports is essential for convincing the jury, insurance company, and the criminal court judge.
Video footage is another critical piece of evidence you can keep in your case. Cameras can reveal images that our naked eyes cannot see. They can show different angles and illustrate a clear image of what happened before, during, and after the accident.
It's also essential you gather evidence from the onlookers. Additional evidence from your physician's professional mechanics is critical in explaining what caused the accident and the potential impact on the victims.
Contact a Commercial Truck Accident Attorney Near Me
When you suffer injuries due to a truck accident in California, you want to seek legal help. Contacting a skilled and experienced attorney is highly preferable. The attorney will help you investigate the at-fault party, develop a strong lawsuit and gather the evidence you require to obtain the best outcome of your case.
At Truck Accident Injury Attorney Law Firm, we are here to assist you in recovering compensation for the damages and injuries you sustained in a truck accident, including medical loss, property damage, medical bills, pain, and lost wages. Contact us right away at 619-754-7667, and we will begin by evaluating your case.