The consequences of a trucking accident can be significant, from property damage to severe injury and time out of work. Whether a truck accident is a result of negligence, a roadway defect, or equipment failure, the damage is often devastating.
If you or your family member is a victim of a truck crash, it is vital that you reach out to lawyers who can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
At CaseyGerry, we have spent more than 72 years protecting victims’ rights and helping clients during tough times. We understand the ins and outs of truck accident law and the complex rules that govern drivers and trucking companies. Our San Diego attorneys undertake thorough investigations and analyses, working with reconstructionist experts to leave no stone unturned. We aim to maximize clients’ monetary recovery of medical expenses and lost wages and obtain fair compensation for their pain and suffering. Most importantly, our firm treats each client with compassion, because we understand what they’re going through.
Commercial truck drivers and trucking companies have significant responsibilities and are held to high standards. Operating large commercial vehicles requires specialized training, skills, and necessary physical abilities. When safe trucking standards are violated, people often suffer severe injuries and damages in truck accidents.
Owners and operators of semi-trucks, garbage trucks, delivery vehicles, tractor-trailers, and other types of large vehicles that require training and licensing must follow state and federal rules and regulations for trucking operations. Unfortunately, negligent, reckless, and intentional practices that violate truck industry standards and requirements are common, and these violations put the health and safety of innocent people in jeopardy.
Commercial trucks are the vehicles we depend on to transport goods on the road, so they are often around us as we drive. Trucks are much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, which makes them more dangerous to nearby motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians in a crash.
Determining liability in truck accident cases can be complicated because multiple parties may be responsible, depending on the accident’s cause and circumstances. If you have been involved in a truck accident, one or more of the following parties may be responsible:
California was among the ten states with the highest average fatal large truck and bus crashes from 2014 to 2016. In 2016, 4,564 deaths in 4,079 crashes involved large trucks or buses, an increase of five percent from 2015.
Truck accidents are not like regular passenger vehicle accidents. Injuries are typically much more severe in truck accidents, especially for pedestrians, bicyclists, and occupants of other vehicles involved in the collision. Because of the strict regulations that govern the trucking industry, thorough investigations must be conducted by experienced and knowledgeable legal teams to determine the accident cause and contributing factors. Evidence of negligent employment practices, regulation and maintenance violations, driving violations, and vehicle defects are often used to prove and support the plaintiff’s claim for damages.
Commercial truck drivers must go through intense training and secure proper licensing before operating commercial vehicles. Even with training and licensing, however, truck drivers sometimes make mistakes that have severe consequences. Common truck driving mistakes and violations include the following:
Truck companies have a duty to ensure that their vehicles are operated safely and responsibly. Companies that cut corners and demonstrate negligent employment practices must be held accountable. No one is in a better position to hire and train responsible drivers than truck company employers, and there is no excuse for negligent employment practices that put dangerous truck drivers on the road.
Negligence in the hiring process frequently involves failing to conduct background checks, hiring drivers with checkered driving records, and ignoring health issues such as sleep apnea or vision problems. Not everyone is qualified to drive commercial trucks, and employers have a duty to evaluate and weed out high-risk drivers.
Employers are also responsible for monitoring their truck driver employees by continuously reviewing their driving records, conducting criminal background checks, and regularly testing drivers for drugs and alcohol. Employers can be held accountable for failing to discover or turning a blind eye to the presence of drugs and alcohol, criminal conduct, and driving violations.
Truck companies are responsible for thoroughly training and evaluating truck drivers. They must ensure that all drivers go through proper training and that they are capable of operating a commercial truck before putting drivers on the road. When drivers are not properly trained, driving errors can cause severe accidents and injuries.
As previously mentioned, state and federal rules and regulations govern the commercial trucking industry. Evidence of regulation violations can be used to prove that the trucking company’s negligent practices caused your accident. See below for some of the most common truck driving regulation violations.
Even when trucks are well maintained and sufficiently operated, accidents sometimes happen due to defective trucks, trailers, and vehicle parts. Truck defects are often discovered after examining physical evidence, reviewing statements made by the truck driver and other accident witnesses, and reviewing truck expert opinions. Claims against truck manufacturers frequently involve defective tires, breaks, and underride guards.
There are several kinds of truck accidents that commonly occur:
Victims have the right to demand compensation for their injuries and other losses caused by a truck accident. Some of the types of damages available include:
This includes any current and future medical bills related to treating your injuries from the truck accident. To calculate future medical care typically requires a medical expert’s opinion, as well as medical records showing the extent of your injuries and your doctor’s prognosis regarding the projected length of your recovery and the treatment they recommend.
Any lost income and benefits while you recover, and future lost wages. If you cannot earn the same level of income as before the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for diminished earning capacity.
Compensation for your vehicle’s repairs or replacement, and any other personal items damaged in the truck accident (e.g., laptop, phone, clothing, etc.).
Pain And Suffering
For the physical and psychological pain you must endure, as well as any emotional distress (e.g., depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc.) or loss of quality of life caused by your injuries and the accident.
Punitive damages may be available in cases where the defendant (at-fault party) exhibited an extremely reckless disregard for the safety of others. This type of compensation is meant to punish the at-fault party and deter others from similar conduct but it is rarely awarded.
Many truck accident lawyers, including CaseyGerry, accept truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis. That means there are no upfront fees to hire representation, and all expenses related to pursuing your claim are covered, so you do not have to risk any money out-of-pocket. Whether or not your truck accident lawyer gets paid is dependent on you winning. If you do not receive a settlement or award, there are no legal fees. As their contingency fee, your attorney will typically deduct between 25 to 40 percent if you recover compensation, plus court costs. Generally, it is 33 and a third percent of your recovery, but it can vary depending on the lawyer you hire. Some attorneys’ contingency fees fluctuate based on the work involved in a truck accident case. For example, it may decrease if you settle and increase if you must go to trial.
After a truck accident, there are specific steps to take to ensure you protect your health and right to compensation.
Truck accidents often cause severe injuries and fatalities, which means many victims must be immediately taken to the hospital. Call 911 if you are injured or believe someone else might be. It is also critical to have law enforcement come to the scene to create an accident report. It will contain details about the accident and the officer’s opinion on who caused the crash, which can carry a lot of weight in an insurance company’s decision on fault.
If you are not taken to the hospital, collect any potential evidence from the scene, including taking photos and videos. Document the positions of the vehicles, their damage, any debris, traffic signs, skid marks, and your injuries. Ask the truck driver and anyone else involved for their contact and insurance information. Be sure to get the trucking company’s name that the driver works for. If there are witnesses, ask for their contact information and if they will make a recording on your phone of what they saw.
Seek Medical Care
See a doctor as soon as possible even e if you do not believe you are injured. Some serious injuries may not be immediately apparent, and you need medical records linking injuries and potential injuries to the accident.
Report the Accident to Your Insurer
Let them know about the truck accident, but do not give a recorded statement until you speak to a lawyer.
Speak to a Truck Accident Attorney
Contact a truck accident as soon as possible. Evidence from a truck accident must be collected quickly to ensure you recover full and fair compensation. Commercial trucks typically have a “black box,” which contains data about the crash and the truck’s condition right before it. This data can be vital to your case, and once you hire a lawyer, they will send a spoliation letter to the trucking company to ensure it is preserved. Your attorney will also take over any communication with the insurance companies so that you can focus on your recovery.
We know that the aftermath of a truck accident can be stressful for injury victims and their families. Our attorneys work to alleviate some of your stresses and concerns while handling your case. We offer free initial consultations without any obligation, and we provide legal services on a contingency fee basis. You will never have the stress of coming up with out-of-pocket attorneys’ fees.
We have decades of experience representing clients who were injured in truck accidents. We know the applicable rules and regulations, and we know how to find relevant evidence beyond reviewing the accident report and witness statements. We gather documentation, such as hours of service and maintenance records, to look for evidence of negligence and regulation violations.
Our attorneys are experienced negotiators who know how to work with insurance companies and large truck company defendants. We are not afraid to take on powerful defendants and their litigation teams because we have succeeded in personal injury cases like these for more than 70 years. We will hold out for settlement agreements that fully and fairly compensate you and your family while continuing to prepare your case for trial.
Many factors go into placing a value on your injuries and damages, such as:
If you lost a loved one in a truck accident, you and other surviving family members might have a wrongful death claim for compensation. Recovery options may include loss of financial support, the value of the decedent’s household services, loss of companionship and guidance, and funeral expenses. In some cases, the estate’s personal representative may make a claim for compensation under a survival action.
If you have been injured or a family member has been killed in a trucking accident, we can help. Please contact CaseyGerry to schedule a consultation with an experienced trucking accident lawyer. We can be reached at (619) 238-1811.