Tag Archives: truck accidents

How do Settlements with Commercial Vehicle Accidents Work?

Even when drivers are careful, accidents still occur. Experiencing an accident may not always be avoidable. Accidents that involve a semi-truck or tractor-trailer can leave victims with even more severe injuries and financial damages due to the size and weight of the commercial vehicle. As the victim, you may encounter costly medical bills, time away from work, and haggling with insurance companies. This leaves you wondering whether the commercial vehicle can be held responsible for the damages suffered.

Can I File a Lawsuit?

 Under California law, liability for car accidents, including commercial vehicles like trucks, is determined by the responsible party.  Anyone can file a personal injury lawsuit, but for it to be successful, there has to be evidence showing that the commercial vehicle was negligent in causing the accident.

There are two ways to determine fault: (1) common law negligence and (2) by a statute. The first, common law negligence, requires a showing that the driver failed to exercise reasonable care in operating their commercial vehicle. Police reports, witness statements, and other investigatory tools are used to prove the driver’s negligence.

The second way, proving fault through statute, is easier to prove. California lawmakers have already found certain conduct negligent, like speeding or running through a red light. It’s outlined in the California Vehicle Code. If a commercial vehicle was involved in such behavior, then it is likely that they were at fault.

However, since California is also a “comparative fault” jurisdiction, the damages any victim can recover will be evaluated based on the percentage the person contributed to the accident. That means that even if the driver caused the accident, they might still have a personal injury claim.

Settlements

Suppose you were involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle. In that case, you should contact an attorney before speaking to a trucking company’s insurance company or accepting a settlement offer. While most cases won’t make it to trial, it doesn’t alleviate the injured party’s burden to investigate their case. To get the maximum settlement offer, insurance companies need to see the strength of the victim’s case.

To determine the extent of damages, first, you need to assess the damages. In California, personal injury victims involved in accidents with commercial vehicles may recover medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and others.

In accidents involving commercial vehicles where injuries are extensive, it is essential to document medical expenses. Gathering medical bills from hospitals, specialists, ambulance fees, and physical therapy or potential procedures will assist in determining the extent of injuries. Depending on the severity of the injuries, it may take time to gather all medical expenses and to monitor other injuries that arise.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

An injured party has two years to file a claim in civil court for a personal injury claim. Negotiating with a commercial vehicle’s insurance company doesn’t require that a lawsuit be filed with the court. However, it is crucial because if the insurance company delays negotiations, the victim may forgo its right to have a court review the case. Contact our attorneys at 415-946-8900 or at Dan Rose Law to schedule a free consultation about your specific case.

How Are Truck Accidents Different from Other Car Accidents?

Commercial trucks can include concrete trucks, tractor-trailer trucks, dump trucks, tow trucks, and construction trucks, among others. These large commercial trucks can often weigh over 80,000 pounds, which is 20 times the weight of a typical passenger vehicle. Truck drivers are incentivized to drive quickly to either deliver cargo in the shortest period of time or complete a construction job quickly.

While federal and state regulations both have strict guidelines regarding the operation and maintenance of these large vehicles, in many cases truck drivers, trucking companies, and manufacturers overlook these legal regulations in order to make additional profit.

When cargo is overloaded or unsecured, when tractor-trailer drivers operate their truck without ensuring that they meet the federal rest requirements, or when construction truck drivers operate their trucks without proper training, catastrophic injuries and even death can occur. There are several ways that truck accidents are different from typical passenger vehicle accidents.

Larger Medical Bills and Property Damage

When a large commercial truck collides with a passenger vehicle, the victims often suffer serious injuries. In many cases, a victim may suffer from traumatic brain injuries, aortic dissections, spinal cord injuries leading to paralysis, disfigurement, amputations, internal organ damage or bleeding, or even post-traumatic stress disorder from the trauma of the accident. Along with substantial medical bills, victims oftentimes is left with a car that is totaled and without transportation for the period of time until it can be either repaired or replaced.

Larger Insurance Policies

While the medical bills and property damage may be greater than typical passenger vehicle accidents, the insurance policies of trucking companies or truck manufacturers is also much more substantial. In some instances, the insurance policies covering commercial trucks can be up to fifty times the amount a typical driver carries on the roadway.

Determination of Liability

While most passenger vehicle accidents are typically between two drivers, and a determination of negligence must be made between those drivers (or more drivers if it is a multiple car pile-up), in the case of a commercial trucking accident, there are several more parties which may be liable and responsible for a victim’s damages and losses. These would include the following:

  • The truck driver
  • The trucking company (as the employer of the truck driver under a legal theory known as respondeat superior)
  • The truck owner (which is oftentimes different than the trucking company)
  • Any third-party that loaded the truck incorrectly
  • The shipper who hired the trucking company to deliver cargo
  • Manufacturer of any defective or flawed truck part or component which either caused or contributed to the trucking accident

Contact an Experienced Attorney

If you were involved in a trucking accident, you likely suffered substantial injuries and property damage. Making the determination regarding liability can be a legally complex matter. Contact the experienced attorneys at The Law Office of Daniel H. Rose. We will work to build you a strong personal injury case to help you get you the compensation you deserve. Contact our experienced attorneys at (415) 946-8900 or online today.