Today’s commerce systems require the use of large trucks to move goods. These large trucks can dominate our nation’s highways. From delivery vans to semi-trucks, these vehicles dwarf passenger cars. When a collision occurs, the size disparity is so great that catastrophic injuries are common. In 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 71% of all people killed in semi-truck crashes were occupants of other vehicles.
If you or a loved one has suffered from an accident with a large commercial truck, you probably have many questions about how to proceed. You want to know your legal options and whether compensation is available for your damages. We recommend you call us today or contact us online to schedule a free one-on-one consultation. Sacramento truck accident attorney Ali Yousefi is ready to serve you during this difficult time.
Additional truck accident types that we handle, include but are not limited to:
What Does a Truck Accident Lawyer Do?
A truck accident attorney handles all aspects of your case while you focus on recovery. Given their commercial context, truck accidents are typically more complex cases than accidents between passenger vehicles. It is not uncommon to have multiple parties at fault when truck accidents involve passenger vehicles. This means multiple entities and their insurers will be involved in your case. Most of these entities and corporations are well-experienced in defending claims brought against them for injuries or wrongful death.
Hiring a truck accident lawyer in Sacramento, CA for your case is a wise move. You can rest assured that you are working with an experienced professional familiar with the intricacies of cases involving trucking companies.
You cannot trust the trucking company’s insurance company to look out for your best interests. Even if the insurance company accepts responsibility for the accident, you cannot expect them to pay you fairly for your damages. Insurance companies seek to pay you as little as possible on each claim to maximize their profits.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
A truck accident lawyer with experience handling such claims can save you time, bring you peace of mind, and ultimately position you to obtain greater compensation. Identifying all potentially liable parties is just one way a truck accident lawyer can help.
The truck driver owes a duty to the other drivers on the road to drive safely, avoid accidents, and obey traffic rules. The driver may be responsible for the accident but could be judgment-proof because they lack the resources to pay the compensation you might be owed. Thus, your attorney may look to other parties that may be responsible. Other parties can be liable as well, including the following:
- The driver’s employer,
- The trucking company,
- The truck maintenance company,
- The cargo loading company,
- A vehicle or part manufacturer,
- Other drivers on the road, or
- The government entity that was responsible for roadway conditions.
A Sacramento truck accident lawyer can also help you in the following ways:
Conducting an Accident Investigation
An accident investigation is a critical component of proving liability for any accident. We investigate the accident scene, take photographs of physical evidence, and conduct a thorough investigation. This will help determine or confirm the cause of the accident in cases where the parties contest liability.
In addition to an accident investigation, gathering other evidence is also important. When parties disagree about fault, documenting proof of negligence is central to building a successful case against the trucking company or driver. We recommend you get an attorney involved as soon as possible. This can help ensure that critical evidence is not destroyed or lost. The insurance companies have defense attorneys working hard for them. Injured victims and their families deserve to have committed advocates too.
Your truck accident lawyer in Sacramento, CA will work to obtain evidence that shows what caused the accident. This evidence can include information from the truck’s electronic data recorder and can provide a record of the following:
- Date and time of the trash,
- Vehicle speed,
- Engine speed,
- Brake status,
- Clutch status,
- Gas pedal position,
- Cruise control status, and
- Steering angle.
We will also interview any witnesses to the accident and may seek evidence, such as cellphone records, weather reports, and medical bills relating to the injury. Only a full investigation will produce the evidence required to prove fault.
Proving Your Truck Accident Case
It may be clear to you that another party caused the accident. But you must be able to prove this in court. After establishing the trucking company’s liability for the accident, you must establish damages. A person injured in a truck accident must prove the following:
- The truck driver owed you a duty of care to drive reasonably safely;
- The truck driver breached the duty of care;
- That breach caused your injuries; and
- You suffered damages and losses due to those injuries.
Damages available for a personal injury lawsuit may fall under economic damages. Economic damages include medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages include pain, suffering, grief, loss of consortium, loss of companionship, and loss of enjoyment of activities you can no longer do.
Your truck accident attorney can negotiate with the insurance companies for a fair settlement or take the case to trial if the insurance company refuses a reasonable offer. It’s best not to go up against the insurance company alone. Your attorney can file all the necessary documents in your case while you focus on recovery.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in CA
Truck accidents can occur due to various factors, and identifying the causes is crucial for prevention and liability determination. Here are some common causes of truck accidents:
- Driver Fatigue: Truck drivers often face demanding schedules, leading to fatigue and drowsiness. Hours-of-service regulations aim to prevent excessive driving hours, but violations or insufficient rest can contribute to accidents.
- Distracted Driving: Distractions like using cell phones, eating, adjusting controls, or reading maps can divert a truck driver’s attention, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Impaired Driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or certain medications significantly impairs judgment, reaction time, and coordination, making truck accidents more likely.
- Speeding: Driving over the speed limit or too fast for road and weather conditions reduces a truck driver’s ability to react to sudden changes, increasing the chances of accidents.
- Improper Loading or Cargo Securement: Incorrectly loaded or improperly secured cargo can lead to unbalanced weight distribution, shifting loads, or cargo spills, causing loss of control and accidents.
- Lack of Training and Experience: Insufficient training and experience can result in errors in maneuvering large trucks, braking techniques, or handling hazardous situations, increasing accident risks.
- Equipment Failure: Mechanical failures in truck components such as brakes, tires, steering systems, or lights can lead to loss of control and accidents. Inadequate maintenance practices can contribute to equipment failures.
- Poor Weather Conditions: Adverse weather conditions like rain, snow, ice, fog, or high winds can impair visibility, reduce traction, and make roads more hazardous, increasing the likelihood of accidents involving trucks.
- Aggressive Driving: Reckless behaviors such as tailgating, frequent lane changes, speeding, or aggressive maneuvers by truck drivers can lead to collisions and endanger other road users.
- Failure to Follow Traffic Laws: Violations of traffic laws, including running red lights, improper lane changes, failure to yield the right of way, or disregarding traffic signs, can result in accidents.
It’s important to note that these causes can be influenced by factors related to trucking companies, road infrastructure, and other drivers on the road. To mitigate truck accidents, it is essential to promote safe driving practices, enforce regulations, provide adequate training, and prioritize regular maintenance and inspections of trucks and their components.
Types of Injuries Sustained From Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, varying in severity depending on the circumstances of the collision. Here are some common types of injuries victims can sustain from truck accidents:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): These occur when a sudden impact or jolt to the head causes brain damage. TBIs can range from concussions to more severe injuries, leading to cognitive impairments, memory loss, and motor function difficulties.
- Spinal Cord Injuries (SCIs): A severe impact to the spine can cause spinal cord damage, resulting in partial or complete paralysis. SCIs can have long-lasting effects on a victim’s mobility, sensation, and overall quality of life.
- Bone Fractures and Dislocations: Truck accidents can cause fractures and dislocations in various parts of the body, including arms, legs, ribs, hips, and shoulders. Fractures may require surgery, immobilization, and rehabilitation to heal properly.
- Internal Organ Injuries: The force of a truck collision can cause internal injuries, such as damage to the liver, spleen, kidneys, or lungs. Internal bleeding, organ perforation, and other complications may arise, requiring immediate medical attention.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: Whiplash, sprains, strains, and contusions are common soft tissue injuries in truck accidents. These injuries affect muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other connective tissues, leading to pain, limited mobility, and potential long-term complications.
- Burns and Lacerations: Truck accidents may result in burns from fires or contact with hot surfaces. Additionally, victims can suffer lacerations and deep cuts from shattered glass, metal fragments, or other sharp objects during the collision.
- Psychological Trauma: Beyond physical injuries, truck accidents can also cause psychological trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, or emotional distress. These conditions can have a significant impact on a victim’s mental well-being and require appropriate treatment.
- Death: Unfortunately, truck accidents can result in fatal injuries. In such cases, families may pursue wrongful death claims to seek compensation for their loss.
It’s important to note that the severity and long-term effects of these injuries can vary widely. Immediate medical attention and ongoing treatment are crucial for proper diagnosis, stabilization, and rehabilitation. If you or someone you know has been involved in a truck accident, seeking medical care and consulting with a personal injury attorney can help protect your rights and explore legal options for compensation.
What Types of Compensation Are Available to Victims of Truck Accidents?
In a lawsuit following a truck accident, victims have the option to seek various types of compensation, also referred to as damages. The specific types of compensation depend on the case’s circumstances and the applicable laws in the jurisdiction. Here are common types of compensation that individuals can pursue in a truck accident case:
- Medical Expenses: Victims can seek compensation for present and future medical bills resulting from the truck accident. This includes costs for hospital stays, surgeries, doctor visits, medications, rehabilitation, and necessary medical devices.
- Lost Wages: Those affected by the accident can claim compensation for income lost due to their injuries, encompassing both past and future lost wages. This may involve salaries, bonuses, benefits, and potential career advancements impacted by the injuries.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation sought for pain, suffering, and emotional distress experienced as a result of the truck accident. This covers physical pain, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and psychological trauma.
- Property Damage: If personal property, such as a vehicle, sustained damage or destruction in the accident, victims can seek compensation for repair or replacement expenses.
- Rehabilitation and Therapy: Compensation may be sought for ongoing rehabilitation, physical therapy, occupational therapy, or counseling necessitated by the injuries sustained in the truck accident.
- Loss of Consortium: Spouses or family members of the injured party may be eligible to pursue compensation for the loss of companionship, affection, or assistance resulting from the injuries sustained in the truck accident.
- Punitive Damages: In cases involving severe negligence or intentional misconduct by the responsible party, punitive damages may be awarded. These damages are intended to penalize the at-fault party and discourage similar behavior in the future.
It’s important to note that the availability and calculation of damages can vary based on state laws, insurance coverage, and other factors. To evaluate the specific circumstances of your case and determine the types of compensation you may be eligible to pursue, it is advisable to consult with a personal injury attorney specializing in truck accidents.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q) What should I do immediately after a truck accident in California?
A) First, check for injuries and seek medical attention if needed. Next, call the police and report the accident. Then, gather information from the parties involved, including their names, contact details, and insurance information. It’s important to document the accident scene by taking photos and collecting witness statements, if possible. Additionally, notify your insurance company about the accident. Finally, it is advisable to consult with an experienced truck accident attorney to protect your rights.
Q) Is there a deadline for filing a truck accident claim in California?
A) Yes, there is a statute of limitations for filing a truck accident claim in CA. Generally, personal injury claims must be filed within two years from the date of the accident. However, it’s essential to consult with an attorney as soon as possible, as specific circumstances may alter the timeframe.
Q) Will my truck accident case go to court?
A) The decision of whether your truck accident case will go to court depends on various factors. While many truck accident cases are resolved through settlement negotiations outside of court, some cases do proceed to trial. Factors that may influence whether your case goes to court include the complexity of the case, the willingness of the parties to reach a fair settlement, and the strength of the evidence supporting your claim.
Q) Can I still file a truck accident claim if the driver fled the scene?
A) Yes, you can still file a truck accident claim in California, even if the driver fled the scene. It’s crucial to report the hit-and-run accident to the police as soon as possible and gather any available information or evidence. An experienced attorney can assist in identifying the responsible party and pursuing a claim against them.
Q) Are truck accidents more complex than car accidents in terms of legal claims?
A) Yes, truck accidents tend to be more complex than car accidents due to several factors, including:
- Multiple potentially liable parties (driver, trucking company, manufacturer, etc.)
- Federal and state trucking regulations involved
- Commercial insurance policies with higher coverage limits
- In-depth investigations and analysis required to determine liability
- Greater potential for severe injuries or fatalities
Q) Can you file a wrongful death claim after a fatal car accident in CA?
A) Yes, it is possible to file a wrongful death claim after a fatal car accident in California. Under California law, when someone dies due to the negligence or intentional actions of another party, the deceased person’s family members or other eligible individuals may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These claims seek compensation for the financial and emotional losses suffered as a result of the death, including medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income, and the loss of companionship. It is advisable to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in wrongful death cases to understand the specific legal requirements and to navigate the complex legal process involved in filing a claim.
Q) How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Lawyer For a Truck Accident?
A) The cost of hiring a lawyer for a truck accident can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the case, the attorney’s experience and reputation, and the location. Typically, personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means they do not charge upfront fees but instead take a percentage of the final settlement or court award if the case is successful. This arrangement allows individuals to pursue legal action without incurring significant out-of-pocket expenses. However, it is important to discuss the fee structure with the lawyer during the initial consultation to ensure a clear understanding of any potential costs and fees involved.
Q) How is Liability Determined in a Big Rig Accident?
A) Determining liability in a big rig crash in California involves a thorough investigation considering factors such as traffic laws, driver behavior, vehicle maintenance, road conditions, witness statements, expert analysis, and commercial carrier regulations. Liability is assigned based on negligence, the failure to exercise reasonable care. Comparative negligence laws in California allow for shared liability based on fault proportion. The determination can be complex, potentially involving legal proceedings. Consulting with a specialized attorney in personal injury or trucking accidents is recommended for legal guidance and protection of rights.
Q) How Long do Truck Accident Settlements Usually Take?
A) The duration of truck accident settlements in California can vary significantly, influenced by factors such as case complexity, injuries, cooperation of parties, and negotiation process. Investigation, gathering evidence, medical treatment, insurance claims, negotiations, legal proceedings, and court scheduling all impact the timeline. While some cases settle quickly, others may take months or years. Due to this variability, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced attorney who can assess your case, provide guidance, and navigate the settlement process based on the specific circumstances involved.
Contact a Sacramento Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you need a truck accident lawyer with genuine compassion for individuals who have suffered injuries, contact the Law Offices of Ali Yousefi. Ali works to get clients compensated for the injustices they have wrongly suffered. He believes you should be compensated for the physical, emotional, and mental toll caused by the accident. We are here to assist you during this challenging time. Ali makes it his goal to make a direct, positive impact in the lives of people who have experienced stressful or traumatic events. The legal team at the Law Offices of Ali Yousefi will fight aggressively for you so that you can focus on recovery. Call us today or contact us online and see how we can help you.