In California, there are different types of accidents caused by trucks. They pose a danger to the smaller vehicle using the same roads as well as pedestrians. Truck accidents cause more damages and injuries compared to other types of motor vehicles. Regardless of the kind of accident that occurred and caused your injuries, you have to protect your civil rights by filing a lawsuit against the party-at-fault.
The process to have your claim settled is not an easy task to handle on your own. You need to have an attorney to guide you on what to do and at what time. The attorney will also help you gather the required information and, therefore, have enough evidence to prove the liability of the at-fault party. At the Truck Accident Injury Attorney Law Firm, we have attorneys who are knowledgeable about injury lawsuits and will work the trial process. Do not hesitate to reach out to us through our contacts to get the legal help you need, especially in gathering the right information and building strong evidence for your case.
The Evidence Needed to Prove Liability After a Truck Accident
According to California law, any party, who is liable for an injury or a loss, will have their share to contribute as compensation to the victim. While in many truck accidents, the drivers are held accountable, there are times when you, as the victim, can be why the accident happens. If that is the case, you need a knowledgeable attorney who will gather as much information as possible to ensure that you win the case. Some of the information that you and your attorney can collect for purposes of identifying the liable party is:
- Checking whether there were any traffic cameras at the accident scene. The cameras will show how it all happened before the accident occurred, hence easily identifying the liable party.
- Pictures of the accident scene. After the accident, you must take May pictures to help build a good defense for your case. If you cannot do so, you should ask a different person to take the pictures on your behalf. The pictures should capture the eyewitnesses, skid marks, any other vehicle involved, road condition, and weather conditions at that time.
- Report from the expert witnesses. The experts can give strong evidence on how the accident occurred and everything else that involves the accident. The information by the expert witnesses helps the judge in getting a clear picture of the entire accident. It can therefore make a ruling based on that and other evidence presented.
Since it’s a requirement by the trucking company that companies should comply with the safety measures, it can be easy for your attorney to gather the required information about the driver, the truck, and the cargo being transported when the accident happened. The information will be used to determine the accident's cause because it will determine if the accident occurred due to mechanical breakdown or due to negligence. The information can help identify the number of parties that the lawsuit should be filed. For example, if the accident occurred because it was not well maintained, the trucking company will be an additional party to be responsible for your injuries. Therefore, it is crucial to identify the at-fault party to make the case easier to receive your compensation. The important evidence required in a truck accident to help you file for a compensation claim is:
Driver’s History and Records as Evidence in a Truck Accident
After a truck accident, the driver’s information will be crucial evidence to show what caused the accident. Some of the information that will be required includes:
Driver’s Qualification File
It is a requirement by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association Regulation for the motor carrier to have a record for the driver’s employment details, including qualifications. The information that is usually contained in the driver's qualification file includes:
- Drivers application for the job
- Annual motor vehicle record
- Annual evaluation of the driver's record
- Annual drivers violations list
- Medical certificate. The certificate shows the recent report for medical examination.
- Background check from previous employers
- Certificate for the entry-level as a driver
- The driver training certificate and
- A certificate for a road test
The Driver’s Training File
It is a file that has all the information contained in the driver's qualification file. The only difference is that it includes additional information about the specialized achievements that the driver has.
The Diver’s Service Documentation
It is against the law for a truck driver to drive for more than 16 hours consecutively. It is a safety requirement because fatigue is usually a significant cause of accidents in California. Therefore, a truck driver should have a record for the number of hours they have been driving and other documents that prove their compliance with the set safety regulations. The driver's service documentation can be crucial evidence to help build up the evidence against the truck driver. The information contained in the service documentation includes:
- Drug and alcohol test information. The information is critical when your attorney wants to prove the negligence of the truck driver. The driver is supposed to record the test for the past five years, including chemical tests, Blood Alcohol Concentration.
- Drug addiction report and any document that shows the refusal by the driver to take the drug test.
- An updated driver’s log. The log contains the carrier's name, the truck number, names of the driver and the co-driver, and the distance covered in a day. The log also contains information about the off-duty hours and the time when the co-driver was in charge.
Inspection Record of the Driver
According to the law, the truck driver should comply with the rules and regulations about vehicle inspection. The inspection record gives a review of:
- The steering mechanism
- Brake and air system
- Safety and emergency tools
- Windshield wipers
- The oil level
- The engine compartment
- Rearview mirror
- Power units of the truck
The inspection record shows the condition of the truck, including maintenance. The information can be used as evidence by your attorney to prove negligence by the truck driver.
Truck Information as Important Proof in a Truck Accident
If possible, you should collect as much information as possible about the truck. Some of the important information about the truck is:
- Truck inspection report
- It is a document showing the truck maintenance history. There are so many truck drivers who do not adhere to all the road regulations. If the document is not available or is not updated, it will be easy for your attorney to prove the truck driver's fault and, therefore, win your case.
- A download of control operations of the truck. The control operation information includes brake control and engine control.
The Cargo Being Hauled as Evidence for a Truck Accident Claim
When investigating your case, your attorney will need to collect as much information as possible about the cargo transported at the time the ruck caused an accident. The important cargo information needed as evidence include:
- The weight ticket that is issued at the weighing stations
- Trip envelopes. It is a document that contains the claim for all the expenses incurred during transportation and everything else that concerns the journey.
- The bill of lading
- Delivery documents
- Dispatch instructions
Since the truck driver knows how vital the documents are in proving their negligence, they may try to eliminate the documents to prevent you from gaining access to them. The driver may present a false argument that the documents were stolen after the crash to evade the penalties that he or she would face if they were found. Therefore, it is crucial that immediately after the accident, you contact your attorney to collect the information required.
Additional Evidence Required in a Truck Accident
Some other causes can lead to truck accidents other than being negligent. That same information can be used as evidence to prove the liability of the truck driver. For example, an accident can be caused by jackknifing. Usually, jackknifing occurs when the driver tries to make a sudden turn or when he or she applies sudden brakes. Your personal injury attorney can argue that the reason why jackknifing happened was due to speeding. Since speeding is against the law, the truck driver could be held liable for the injuries you will sustain after a truck accident because the judge will consider the action as acting negligently or recklessly.
The truck driver can also be liable for your injuries if the truck causes an accident when it’s making a turn. The reason being, most trucks do not use one lane when turning due to their size. Therefore, your attorney can argue that the truck driver is the at-fault party because of using the two lanes, which is also against the law.
Information about the insurance company of the truck is also essential. If a truck was carrying dangerous cargo and caused an accident, you are likely to sustain severe injuries after that. The insurance company where the truck has taken cover should pay you for the damages and losses you will have. If you hire a well-experienced attorney, you will get fair compensation from the insurance company because he or she knows the legal procedure to follow.
After an accident, hiring a qualified attorney can help even your family members if the accident caused death to you. The attorney will help collect all the information about the accident's cause and how the death occurred. Medical records and any other expenses will be evaluated, and a lawsuit will be filed to enable the family to receive compensation for the non-economic damages.
Types of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents are of different types and with other causes. The most common types are:
- Tire blowout accidents. When a tire blows, the truck will swerve from one end to another as the driver tries to control it. Tire lows are majorly caused by having tires that are worn out and torn.
- Jackknife accidents. They are accidents that occur when a driver applies sudden brakes in case of an emergency or when they want to make a sudden turn.
- Unsecured road accidents. They are the accidents that happen due to the trucking company's failure to comply with the set rules. An unsecured load can lead to jackknife accidents, cargo spills, and rollover accidents.
- Underride accidents. The accident happens when a truck, a small car crash, and the smaller vehicle slide underneath the truck.
- Hazmat accidents. It’s a type of accident that occurs in trucks that carry hazardous materials, for example, explosives.
- Rollovers accidents. It’s an accident where the truck rolls on one side due to speeding, improper cargo loading, among others.
How to Prove the At-Fault Party
Many reasons can lead to a truck accident, but in most cases, accidents occur as a result of negligence by the driver. Truck accidents can be a result of:
The Driver’s Fault
If the truck driver does not exercise the duty of care, they are likely to cause an accident. Some of the evidence that your attorney can use to prove that the truck driver is liable for your injuries are:
- Improper changing of lanes
- Distracted driving
- Texting while driving
- Negligence of traffic laws
- Driving under the influence
If the driver is found guilty of doing any of the above acts, he or she will be responsible for all the costs and expenses you have incurred to get treatment for the injuries. The reason being, the actions are regarded as negligence according to the law.
The Trucking Company Fault
Trucks that operate in California have designated routes, size, and weight limit. However, many trucking companies do forge documents to supersede the limits. If your attorney can gather all the information that proves the negligent actions, you will be eligible to recover punitive damages. If the truck that caused the accident is an independent contractor, it can be challenging to identify the driver's liability. In such incidences, you are required to have an attorney who will help gather all the required information to ensure you receive compensation. The trucking company can also be responsible for your injuries ad loses if:
- They do not hire qualified and experienced truck drivers.
- They allow the trucks to be overloaded.
- They fail to ensure that maintenance and inspection of the truck are done.
- The let trucks carry unbalanced cargo
- They allow their drivers to violate simple traffic rules
Losses and Injuries Compensated After A Truck Accident
After you get involved in a truck accident in California, you have up to two years to file for a compensation lawsuit. If you go beyond the two years, you do not have a legal right to ask for compensation from the party-at-fault. The six and weight of the truck can lead to severe injuries if you are involved. In extreme cases, truck accidents can lead to death. The injuries can leave you with long-lasting injuries that will make you dependent on the rest of your life. Such injuries need to be compensated for helping you cover some of the losses you have incurred.
Filing for a compensation lawsuit is never easy because the truck driver is aware of the evidence used against them and will therefore do their best to have the records destroyed. Consequently, you need a professional to handle the case and help you file the lawsuit. And receive fair compensation for your injuries. The injuries and damages compensated are economic and non-economic. Economic damages are associated with a dollar value, while non-economic damages are those that cannot be valued.
The economic damages that you will be compensated after a truck accident are:
- Prescription drug
- Medical expenses
- Vehicle repair
- Medical supplies
- Loss of wages
- Loss of future capacity to earn
- Future treatment
For non-economic damages, you will get compensation for:
- Physical disability
- Emotional stress
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Pain and suffering
Suppose your loved one is involved in the accident and dies, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit and get compensation for the same.
Injuries You Will Sustain After a Truck Accident
Most truck accidents are usually fatal. Victims are left with severe injuries or even end up dying. Truck accidents are usually catastrophic because of:
- The weight and size
- Speed of the motor vehicles involved
- The safety features available
- The area that the accident has occurred
Some of the common injuries that you will sustain after a truck accident include:
- Back and neck injuries.
- Brain injuries
- Smoke inhalation that may affect the lugs
- Broken bones
- Head trauma
What to Do After a Truck Accident
As a victim, you should know what to do after an accident. The reason is that you want to collect as much information as possible and get medical attention. After the accident, you are supposed to:
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Truck accidents are usually fatal because of their size and weight. You and any other involved party should seek medical attention after the accident to determine if there is any internal injury that you have sustained if there are no physical injuries. Failure to get medical attention may lead to health issues in the future because internal injuries are worse than physical injuries. Therefore, you should call an ambulance or ask another person to do it if you are not in a position to do so.
Call the Police
It is essential to call the police immediately after the accident happens to file a report with them. The report will be used during the trial as it will contain information about the accident, parties involved, time, and location of the accident. The police will gather more information from the people around to know what happens and who is responsible for the accident.
Check for Road Factors
Because the judge relies on the evidence presented by both parties, it can be challenging to file an injury lawsuit. Therefore you need to check some other factors that could have contributed to the accident. For example, if the weather is poor and the truck driver was moving at high speed, he or she will be held liable because that will be considered a negligent act.
Collect as much Information As possible at the Scene
Before the medical practitioners arrive at the accident scene, you should collect information about the accident, including the cause. You can collect the information by taking pictures, videos, statements from the witnesses. The report that will help you file an injury lawsuit is the driver's information, the truck involved, the plate numbers, and any other relevant information.
File for a Compensation Claim
No driver will admit fault if they cause an accident. Therefore, claim settlement has to follow a legal procedure to ensure that a thorough investigation is done and the liable party is identified. If you sustain injuries that you feel need to be compensated to cover the losses and injuries, you have a legal right to file a personal injury lawsuit. If the trial goes well and you win, you will get compensation for economic and non-economic damages. At times, you will also receive compensation for punitive damages to punish the driver for preventing the same from happening in the future.
Contact your Attorney
Filing a lawsuit needs an expert attorney. Attorneys have areas of specialization ranging from criminal cases to injury lawsuits. Therefore, you should hire an attorney who will see you through the process, gather information, and build enough evidence to prove the at-fault party. If you cannot afford one, you have a right to ask the court to get one for you.
Find a Truck Accident Attorney Near Me
It can be challenging to cover the losses and injuries that result from a truck accident. Although the compensation you receive does not take away physical and emotional suffering, it will help cover financial losses and damages by filing a compensation claim. The attorney will help gather all the information required to have enough evidence to prove that the truck driver is at fault. To get legal help in filing for compensation, you need to hire an attorney who is knowledgeable about the personal injury lawsuit. If you get injured from a truck accident, contact our attorneys from the Truck Accident Injury Attorney Law Firm to get legal help in filing your case. Call us today at 888-511-3139.
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