A truck accident leaves a trail of destruction behind. You will likely incur severe damages that could cost you a lot of money and take a long time to recover. However, through personal injury laws, you can recover the compensation you deserve by pursuing a lawsuit against the responsible party in civil court. However, establishing fault can be challenging if you are unsure whether the driver or the trucking company were at fault for your injuries. A skilled truck accident injury attorney can help you build a solid case against the liable party and file it in court within the given timeframe.

California Truck Accidents

Vehicle accidents are prevalent in California, even with the increasing safety campaigns. The most severe of these are truck accidents. Trucks cause more damage after an accident because they are massive and heavy. An accident between a vehicle, passenger, or bicycle and a truck will likely result in severe damages that cost the injured a lot of money and a long time to recover. In addition to property damages and physical injuries, most accidents result in fatalities. However, the law allows you to seek compensation from the party responsible for the accident to compensate yourself for the damages.

For example, you can recover damages for your medical needs, lost earning ability, wages, pain, and suffering. You could also recover punitive damages if the liable party was grossly negligent in causing the accident. However, it is necessary to take time to consider the liable party to improve your chance of filing a successful lawsuit. An in-depth investigation makes understanding the actual cause of a truck accident and the responsible party easier.

Additionally, you must include all the damages sustained to receive the compensation you deserve after a truck accident. You need the help of an experienced truck accident attorney to do that and more. With good experience, your attorney can help you determine negligence in your accident case and all your damages. They will also ensure you follow the required legal procedures in filing your lawsuit to improve its chances of success.

Thus, you can file for compensation if you have sustained an injury in a truck accident. You can file a suit against the truck driver or the trucking company. You can also file a lawsuit if you have lost a loved one in an accident. The law allows the deceased person’s immediate family or a representative of their estate to file for compensation in the event of a fatal accident. The money recovered will help you pay for funeral and burial expenses and cater to other financial matters that the accident has necessitated.

Factors to Consider Before Filing a Truck Accident Lawsuit

Before filing any accident lawsuit, it is advisable to establish your eligibility for compensation. In that case, you must consider some factors to make the right decision.

Truck accidents result in severe injuries to all the people involved, including other vehicle occupants, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists. Trucks are usually heavy and big, even more significant than other vehicles. If you are a driver or passenger in an ordinary vehicle, you qualify for compensation because of the injuries and other damages you will incur in a truck accident. Trucks are also usually raised from the ground, which protects the truck driver but leaves other motorists and road users at a greater risk of severe injuries.

Typically, the types and gravity of injuries you experience after a truck accident determine your lawsuit against the liable party. The most common factors to consider include the following:

  • The kind of truck that hit you in the accident.
  • The safety features on your vehicle and the truck.
  • How fast you and the truck driver were traveling.
  • The location of the accident, whether urban or rural.
  • The weight of the truck.

A devastating truck accident can result in some victims being trapped in their vehicles. For an accident like that, there will be a need for EMTs and the police to remove the injured victims and administer first aid before rushing them to the hospital. A delay in rescuing victims can cause them to bleed out or sustain severe burns. That is why most truck accidents result in fatalities. Other severe injuries victims of a truck accident can sustain include broken bones, internal bleeding, brain injuries, head trauma, internal injuries, and spine injuries.

Establishing Fault in a Truck Accident

Establishing fault is essential in filing for compensation after a truck accident. You must determine the party responsible for your damages and how they caused the accident in which you were injured. That is the only way the civil court judge will grant your damages.

The main factor that will help you establish fault in your truck accident is negligence. Negligence occurs when a particular party breaches their duty of care, causing an accident in which you were injured. The truck driver or the trucking company can be at fault in your case. You must find compelling evidence that one or both parties were responsible for your injuries. For example, if the truck was in good working condition but the driver was distracted, they could be responsible for your injuries. However, the trucking company would be at fault if the driver were careful when driving but the truck was not properly maintained.

Here are some of the factors that could help you establish fault in a truck accident:

When the Truck Driver Is At Fault

Like other motorists, truck drivers must exercise caution when operating vehicles. They must be mindful of other road users and ensure everyone is safe. Ruick drivers must also observe all traffic rules and rest between their trips to operate the vehicles safely. They must observe with care, including watching out for other cars, obstacles, pedestrians, and anything else that could compromise their safety. The driver also has to control the speed of the vehicle.

The driver could be responsible for a truck accident if they were speeding, operating the truck while intoxicated, distracted while on the road, or committed any other traffic infraction. Reckless driving and changing lanes unsafely are other reasons to file a lawsuit against a truck driver.

When The Trucking Company is at Fault

You will bring a lawsuit against the trucking company if evidence shows it was responsible for your damages.

For example, if the company violated safety requirements or transport laws, which resulted in an accident in which you were injured, the liable party, in this case, would be the trucking company.

It is not uncommon for trucking companies to break laws to increase profits, disregarding other road users’ safety. Some companies neglect to maintain their vehicles in safe working conditions. Some overload their trailers or trucks, while others do not bother to confirm that the cargo is balanced on their trucks. Trucking companies must adhere to a given operation guideline, a violation of which could result in serious lawsuits, especially in the event of an accident.

Trucking companies can fire drivers who fail to operate according to the required standards. They must carefully select qualified drivers when hiring and supervising their drivers for safety purposes. Training and retraining for truck drivers must be continuous, especially on road safety measures. Additionally, companies must ensure that their drivers receive enough rest and sleep between their shifts. If these and other safety guidelines are not adhered to, the trucking company is the at-fault party in case of an accident.

Other Causes of Truck Accidents Other Than Driver and Trucking Company Negligence

Other factors can cause a truck accident other than the driver's or trucking company's negligence. It is advisable to consider these other factors during your investigation to ensure that you file a case against the correct party. These other factors include the following:

  • Harsh weather or highway conditions.
  • Truck manufacturing defects.
  • Improper road signage.
  • Faulty truck parts.

When To File a Lawsuit Against the Trucking Company

When a truck accident occurs, it is impossible to immediately tell who is to blame for the resulting damages. That is why an investigation into an accident is necessary to determine the cause of the accident and establish fault. From the look of it, you could blame the driver, while the company is at fault. You must engage the help of a skilled truck accident injury attorney to establish fault and ensure you file a successful lawsuit in court.

In most cases, if the driver is at fault in a truck accident, the trucking company could be directly or indirectly at fault, too. If the driver is at fault because they were exhausted, sleepy, or inexperienced, the company is directly to blame for the accident. Remember that trucking companies are responsible for hiring only qualified and experienced truck drivers. They must also ensure that their drivers are well-rested before their next shift. California respondeat superior law holds employers responsible for acts of negligence committed by their employees while on duty. Thus, you will file a lawsuit against the trucking company, not the driver.

However, the company will only assume responsibility for the accident if the driver was on duty when the accident occurred. The driver must also be operating according to their job description. If you can demonstrate those factors in your claim, you could receive total compensation from the trucking company for your damages.

Here are some of the reasons you must consider filing a lawsuit against the trucking company and not the driver:

  • It improves your chance of receiving the compensation you deserve for your damages.
  • The company will be more careful to prevent truck accidents in the future.
  • It ensures that truck companies take responsibility for their negligence.

When To File a Claim Against The Truck Driver

Remember that truck accidents occur due to driver negligence, not the trucking company. You must understand when to file a case against the company and against the driver based on the evidence you gather from the accident investigation.

Like trucking companies, truck drivers have a role in maintaining safety on public roads. When the driver is negligent, the respondeat superior law does not apply in your case. For example, the blame does not fall on the trucking company if the driver is intoxicated, driving recklessly, or speeding. But you must demonstrate that the driver owed you a duty of care, which they breached and caused an accident.

Here are some of the reasons you will file a lawsuit against the truck driver:

  • If the driver was speeding when the accident occurred.
  • If they were driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • If the driver committed a traffic infraction.
  • If they deliberately ignored traffic signs.

Damages You Can Recover after a Truck Accident

Once you determine the at-fault party in a truck accident, you must identify the damages to include in your claim. Personal injury laws allow you to seek compensation for damages if injured in a truck accident. These damages are categorized into the following:

Economic Damages

These types of damages result in a direct loss of money. You must include an actual amount of loss for every damage you incur in the accident. Examples include the following:

  • Medical and other related costs, including doctor visits, over-the-counter medication, hospital stays, transport costs to and from the hospital, and surgical and therapy costs.
  • Expected future medical and therapy costs for any severe injury you sustained.
  • Lost wages for all the days you could not earn a living due to the injury.
  • Lost earning capacity if the injury makes it impossible for you to earn a living.
  • Property damage, including the damage to your vehicle and any other valuable item you lost in the accident.

Non-Economic Damages

Though they do not involve a direct loss of money, non-economic damages are crucial and must be included in your claim. Examples include:

  • Suffering and pain.
  • Mental anguish.
  • Stress or depression.
  • Lost consortium.
  • Loss of enjoyment in life.
  • Physical disability.

If you lost a loved one in a truck accident, a skilled truck accident injury attorney can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party. The money will help you give your loved one a proper funeral and burial and take care of their dependent’s needs.

The court can award punitive damages if the responsible party was grossly negligent. Your attorney can file a claim for punitive damages, complete with evidence of gross negligence, for the judge’s consideration. If the court agrees that the at-fault party’s actions were grossly negligent, you will receive punitive and compensatory damages.

What If You Were to Blame for the Accident?

Sometimes, a truck accident victim could be partly responsible for their injuries. If that is your case, the court will consider your percentage of fault when awarding damages, according to comparative negligence law. But first, you must identify any other responsible party in your claim. The judge will determine the percentage of fault for everyone liable for the accident and award damages accordingly. For example, if the trucking company is 80% to blame and you are 20% responsible for the same accident, you will only recover 80% of your damages from the trucking company.

Filing a Claim After a Truck Accident

If injured in a truck accident, you must file for compensation in civil court two years from the accident date. If the liable party is a government entity, you must file an injury claim six months from the accident date. With that in mind, you must act quickly to ensure you have everything you need before the two-year period ends.

The right way to start this process is by hiring a skilled truck accident injury attorney for advice and assistance. Personal injury attorneys understand the statute of limitations and all the requirements of a successful personal injury claim. Thus, you improve your chance of filing a successful lawsuit with an attorney.

Your next step is to investigate the case and gather evidence. You need to include compelling evidence against the at-fault party in your claim. Civil court judges consider evidence to decide cases. Once you have enough evidence, prepare and file your claim in court. Name the at-fault party and include your damages in the claim. You must also notify the at-fault party about the pending lawsuit to prepare them for the case.

Find an Experienced Truck Accident Injury Attorney Near Me

A truck accident in California has likely left you with a severe injury and other damages that will cost a lot of money and take more time to heal and recover. But you are entitled to compensation if someone else is responsible for the accident that caused your injury. The help of a skilled truck accident injury attorney is crucial in establishing fault and determining your damages. Then, you can file a successful lawsuit.

We have extensive experience handling all kinds of truck accidents at the Truck Accident Injury Attorney Law Firm. Our team can study your case details to advise you on your options, including whether to sue the trucking company or driver. We will also fight alongside you for the compensation you deserve. Call us at 888-511-3139 to start the legal process.