Los Angeles Truck Accident Attorneys
Filing A Successful Truck Accident Claim
Have you been involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle? According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), truck accidents have taken the lives of over 4,000 people annually despite the increased awareness of highway dangers. The size and weight of tractor-trailers alone can cause a lot of damage when they collide with your passenger vehicle car.
In California you have a legal right to recover compensation for your injuries. That's why you should retain the services of an experienced law firm, with a team of attorneys that are well-informed and conversant with:
- California state laws
- The California Vehicle Code
- Truck regulations
This is the first and most crucial step if you wish to pursue legal action against the negligent trucking company. At The Law Offices of Oscar H Gutierrez, APC our lawyers will level the playing field against the driver, trucking company, and the insurance company by uncompromisingly pursuing maximum compensation for you and your family.
What Damages Can an Attorney Help Me Recover
Trucking accidents differ from the usual auto accidents. When a crash ensues the trucking company typically sends out an accident response team to the scene. They will investigate and document evidence to fault your personal injury claim.
With our combined truck accident litigation experience and ability to build a cordial relationship with our clients, we can effectively prosecute any trucking lawsuit case that comes to our table. We've handled all types of trucking collisions, including accidents involving heavy-duty, semis, and 18-wheeler trucks. A few of the damages we will fight for include:
- The cost of your future medical treatment
- Any earnings you have already lost due to your injuries
- Future wages you will lose due to your injuries
- Home modifications and vehicle modifications your injuries have necessitated
- Compensation for past and future pain and suffering
- Wrongful death for surviving family members
The Threat of Minor To Life-Threatening Injuries
Trucks can cause severe damage to whatever and whomever they strike. Did you experience one or more of these common types of injuries?
- Back and neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Head and brain damage
- Internal injuries
- Rib and torso injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Severe burns
Types of Truck Accidents
Knowing the type of truck accident you experienced will help us make sense of your case. We list several of the most frequent collisions below for your consideration:
T-Bone – Caused when a truck driver does not abide by stop signs or lights. They collide with the side of your car.
Head-On Collision – Direct and on-coming accidents between two vehicles traveling at high speeds from opposite directions.
Rear-End – Typically dangerous when a truck is involved; it is more than a fender bender.
Lost Load – When trucking companies fail to secure the load correctly, it can cause pile ups on busy roads and highways.
Under-Ride – This takes place when truckers make an immediate stop without warning. Vehicles traveling closely behind get stuck underneath the trailer resulting in death or life-threatening injury.
Rollover – There are several reasons why this might happen. Defective parts affecting the driver's ability to break or come to a stop might cause the vehicle to roll over onto its side.
Tire Blowout – Did the truck driver lose control? Blowouts can happen at any time, posing more risk to other drivers on the road.
Blind Spots – Blind spots are a leading cause of truck accidents. For instance, if a driver fails to see you before making a wide turn, you're likely to crash.
The Rules and Regulations for Drivers
Those who spend most of the time on the road and behind the wheel must comply with specific regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires companies to comply with federal laws.
One of the most important is the hours of service. The FMCSA limits how long truckers can drive without taking breaks.
- Driving longer than 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off-duty or over 14 hours overall without an adequate break is illegal.
- Passenger-carrying drivers can only drive for a maximum of 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off-duty. There is a 15-hour limit of non-stop work after the break period.
- Neither driver can operate the truck for 60+ hours, for seven days, or 70+ hours for eight days in a row.
We would request the driver logs during an investigation to establish if the trucker failed to abide by the time restrictions.
Establishing A Successful Case
California negligence laws permit plaintiffs to hold liable parties accountable through a legal claim. That includes third-party organizations, the company, the driver, and anyone else that contributed to the accident. It is up to your Los Angeles personal injury lawyer to prove:
- The defendant(s) owed you a duty of care while driving
- The defendant(s) failed to exercise that duty of care
- It is the reason why you suffered injuries and property damage
Trucking companies typically have higher insurance policies to compensate victims after an accident. We recommend reaching out to a lawyer immediately after you've received emergency treatment. The sooner you start the process of filing a lawsuit, you're likely to recover maximum compensation for accruing medical bills and other damages.
Related Articles About Truck Accidents
How Is A Truck Accident Conducted?
After an accident, the police will assess the crash site, facilitate the exchange of insurance, and interview everyone involved. The official report alone is enough evidence to support your claim, but it may not be enough to settle. When you hire a legal professional to represent your case, an extensive investigation will be conducted. Lawyers will evaluate the following:
- Trucking company's safety policies (or lack thereof)
- Training procedures
- Maintenance protocols
- Whether or not the driver exceeded their driving hours
- If drugs or alcohol was involved
In any auto-accident, gathering and preserving evidence is a significant component that makes or breaks a case.
Truck Accident Statute of Limitations
California law states the statute of limitations for taking legal action against a defendant for a personal injury is two years from the date of the injury or death. If you were involved in an accident with a large truck and walked away with minimal injuries but severe damage to your vehicle, you can sue for those damages. The California Code of Civil Procedure gives you up to 36 months to file a claim against the at-fault driver. When the statute of limitations expires, regardless of what stage your claim/lawsuit is in, you can no longer pursue your case.
Determining Liability in A Truck Accident
Is there more than one person at fault for your truck accident? It may not always be clear based on the evidence, which is why victims should consult with a legal professional before taking matters into their own hands. For more information on determining liability, you can refer to this article.
Personal Injury Issues with Commercial Truck Accidents
Commercial trucks are used by businesses to transport commercial goods from one place to the next. When the large, oversized vehicle collides with a car or bus, the injuries sustained are nearly fatal.
Truckers are required to follow state and federal rules while behind the wheel. If not, their insurance companies tend to fight harder to deny victims compensation. Most companies provide commercial drivers with insurance that has a high policy limit – meaning they may not have to negotiate to settle. When victims hire highly qualified legal counsel to manage their claim, there is a higher chance compensation will be won.
Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents
- How is fault determined in a truck accident?
To determine fault a lawyer would gather witness testimonials, assess the accident scene, and police report to determine if the truck driver was responsible for the crash. Additional factors include:
- Whether the company fully trained their employee
- How many hours the truck driver had been working
- The condition of the truck, routine maintenance, and if there were any defects
- Who's responsible: the driver or company?
That depends on how the accident was caused and how much the driver is at fault. Both can be held responsible for the truck accident. Unfortunately, trucking companies typically have a strong legal defense to avoid liability. While it may seem easier to pursue a claim without a lawyer, your chances of receiving maximum compensation for your injuries are lower.
- The trucking company's insurance offered me a settlement. Why shouldn't I accept it?
Most clients feel their first offer might be their last offer. That is a misconception! The insurance company will offer the lowest amount possible to prevent you from filing a lawsuit.
When you have an accident attorney by your side, insurance adjusters are likely to provide a better settlement. Keep in mind that truck accidents are more severe and life-threatening compared to minor car accidents.
- Can an accident become a fireable offense?
Yes, it can be a fireable offense if the accident was caused by negligence. Lawsuits can uncover several other safety violations.
The Law Offices of Oscar H Gutierrez, APC Is Ready to Fight for You!
From our years of experience providing top-quality legal representation for many trucking accident victims, we are very much aware that filing a lawsuit for a truck accident is much more complex. Compliance with industry standards concerning truck safety can vary greatly from one state to another.
We will provide the best possible legal support for every truck accident victim we represent. Contact us at (323) 999 – 3500 today if you know of a family member seeking redress for any injury caused by a truck accident.