If you have driven on busy highways lately you may have noticed a lot more trucks on the road, and some of them seem to be more aggressive. Why? Consider how much our commerce has changed over the years, with more people ordering online and in demand. People want more things and they want them delivered quickly. This has placed increasing pressure on drivers to make fast deliveries and this situation introduces higher risks of unsafe driving. Learning more about how these risks can affect you can help prepare you for what you can do if you find yourself involved in a trucking accident.
Commercial truck drivers undergo many hours of training and achieve specialized licenses allowing them to operate large vehicles. Part of their job requirement means they are supposed to be patient, skilled drivers. In addition to the risks already present due to the size and weight of these vehicles, the company culture of these trucking businesses also affects driver performance and safety. Truck-related accidents include big rig operators and are typically bound by stringent federal and state regulations. This means such drivers are required to carry higher limits of insurance than traditional drivers.Factors Attributing to Accidents Involve
- Incomplete or inadequate training in evaluating driver technique, safety awareness, and defensive driving skills
- Compensation and bonuses that encourage unsafe vehicle speeds or discourage necessary driver resting time
- Overwhelming schedules and shipping companies expectations pushing drivers to rush, in spite of the safety risks it poses
- Aggressive driving techniques at the risk of other drivers
- Ignoring state and federal truck driving traffic laws
- Poor or inadequate maintenance of trucks, such as failure to replace parts
- Overloaded trucks that exceed weight limits for vehicle
- Driver health ignored by the company
- Dangerous weather conditions
- Driver distraction, such as texting, eating, and drinking
This negligence causes thousands of people to become seriously injured or killed in truck-related accidents. In addition, companies may try to attribute blame to the other vehicle, third-party logistics companies, or even the government for road conditions. But this is all just an effort to avoid taking responsibility and shift the blame. Regardless if it was the fault of the truck driver, the trucking company, or a third-party logistics partner, a qualified attorney can navigate this territory and fight a case for you.Injuries Commonly Incurred
- Cuts and bruises
- Head wounds
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Neck and back injuries
If you are involved in an accident you have options to fight back. The companies that encourage hazardous driving have to be held to a higher standard. These accidents can often lead to complicated legal matters, so we encourage you to keep accurate records for your insurance company and when hiring an attorney.When to Contact an Attorney
Going up against the trucking industry is no easy feat. They are powerful corporate bodies with the finances and resources to fight claims. Rest assured we are powerful, too. Settlements for trucking accidents can involve large sums, going into the millions. This prompts large companies to ramp up their insurance policies to try to fend off claims. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to maneuver around their objections to pursue your settlement.Compensation After a Truck Accident Lawsuit
If you are a victim of a trucking accident and not at fault you may be awarded compensation as well as punitive damages for the following:
- Past and future medical bills
- Future bills for physical therapy and other ongoing medical care
- Lost days of work and paychecks
- Future wages if you are unable to return to work
- Emotional trauma to your spousal relationship (consortium)
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Wrongful death
- Punitive damages
Negligence and at-fault parties can include both the truck driver and the trucking company. Factors for determining negligence include whether the truck driver violated safety practices, was pushed into unsafe driving practices by their company, or if the company knowingly hired a driver with a poor record – among other factors.
In order to determine proper fault in these accidents and bring the at-fault parties to justice for the injuries inflicted there is a lot of work that must be done. Evidence needs to be gathered and these companies often remain ready with legal assistance. A knowledgeable attorney can help you navigate the complex and potentially stressful process of gathering police reports, obtaining witness testimonies, and responding to the various aspects of communication related to your legal case.Trucking Accident Case Trends in California
California is home to many big companies and many trucking routes for distribution. Los Angeles alone remains a major point of international trade. Because of this, many trucks pass in and out of California cities all the time. And these truckers are often given tight deadlines, long shifts, and deal with high stress. California is the second highest in the nation for trucking accidents. Because this remains a real and present risk in the state, it’s important to understand what you can do if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a truck.Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Timeframe of Trucking Accident Lawsuits in California?
While there is no definite timeframe on a trucking accident claim, cases can often take around two years to reach settlement. All cases may vary, however, based on severity and complexity.
How Much Might I be Entitled to for a Trucking Accident?
Settlements will vary based on severity of injuries and amount of negligence on behalf of the driver and company. The best way to have an understanding of the potential settlement outcomes of your case is to consult an experienced attorney.
How can I Properly Document my Injuries?
Seek immediate medical attention following an accident. Make sure you attend every follow-up appointment for your care. Missing appointments not only hurts your health, it hurts your case. Keep a record of any personal activities or interests that you are either no longer able to do or have to limit due to your injuries, and keep track of the exact limitations and how long those go on for. Discuss these points with your medical care team, so they are aware of these life limitations, also. Not only will this help your medical treatment, it will also mean they can act as a potential expert witness for your case, if needed.
Why are Trucking Accidents Difficult Cases?
Trucking companies are generally big companies with quality legal representation. They are likely to argue against any fault and proving the fault can sometimes be an uphill battle. While it is understandable that a trucking company would want to protect itself, you also deserve proper legal protection and representation. Each case may present unique challenges, but they are all obstacles that can be overcome!
The Trucking Company’s Insurance Wants to Speak With me; Should I Speak With Them?
We advise you to first speak with an attorney as a measure to best protect yourself. While there may be many insurance adjustors looking to do the right thing, there are others out there who are looking to protect their client. By speaking with an attorney first, and potentially retaining an attorney to speak on your behalf, you save yourself the risk of accidentally admitting fault where you had none.Find out Your Options
If you believe a truck driver is responsible for your accident, give us a call. We think you experienced enough trauma, do not let an insurance company try to bully you into an unfair settlement. Our free consultation will advise if you have a case and your options to pursue the matter. As always, if there is no settlement, there is no fee. You experienced enough risk in the accident, let us take on this risk for you.