Did your hospital bills start arriving weeks ago? Or have you lost your regular income because of the injuries that have been keeping you off work? You are likely to feel worried because you are not earning and the bills keep piling up. You will need your compensation for the truck accident injuries soonest possible to avoid further financial constraints and cater to your economic and non-economic damages.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you need to file a civil lawsuit seeking compensation from the liable parties. However, filing a truck accident claim is a complex process that requires the expertise of an injury attorney. A profound attorney will assist you in proving the defendant was at fault and determine compensation in truck accidents.
The process of determining the compensation you are entitled to after sustaining injuries in a California truck accident starts by establishing the party that was at fault. You should know about these accidents because you will be eligible for compensation even if you are partly at fault. After all, the state applies the comparative negligence rule, but if you are to blame for the accident, the amount of compensation you are entitled to will be reduced by the percentage of fault that is to blame on you.
While you could hold multiple parties responsible for your injuries, you must prove liability using two legal theories: negligence and liability. The elements of your case an attorney must prove to win you compensation are:
Duty of Care and Liability
Duty of care is the responsibility of all road users to prevent harm or property damage from occurring. When determining the compensation in your case, you must prove that the person being sued owed you a duty of action. The obligation requires drivers to apply due care while operating trucks and look out for other individuals utilizing the road and drive at a reasonable speed. However, proving this element is tricky, meaning you will need an injury attorney to offer legal guidance. The liable parties you can sue because they owed you a reasonable duty of care are:
One of the parties that could be liable for the accident is the truck driver. The main contributor to truck accidents in Orange County is negligence. When a big rig operator fails to operate the truck carefully or violates traffic laws and causes an accident, they should be held responsible for the damages and injuries caused to other road users. In your injury claim, you must demonstrate that the other party was to blame for the accident. You can argue that the trucker failed to use reasonable care while operating the big rig, failed to be aware of the obstacles, pedestrians, and other vehicles on the road, and failed to regulate the speed and movement of the truck.
Big Rig Company
The truck driver is not the only party that can be blamed for the accident. You could hold the trucking company responsible for your injuries if they breached the duty of reasonable care by hiring inexperienced truck drivers capable of operating trucks safely. Besides, the trucking company must ensure their trucks are well and frequently maintained through regular repairs and maintenance. By doing so, they ensure trucks are safe to operate without risking the safety and lives of other road users.
Additionally, trucking companies are responsible for ensuring that the big rigs are not overloaded and that drivers obtain adequate time for rest by setting reasonable delivery schedules as per the government regulations. The companies must also ensure trucks are operated at the designated speed.
The Big Rig Manufacturer
Brake failure and tire burst are some of the common causes of truck accidents. Manufacturers must ensure the trucks they release to the market meet the quality threshold to ensure durability and prevent mechanical issues. If a mechanical problem caused your accident, then you can sue the manufacturer for your injuries.
Breach of the Obligation of Reasonable Care
As stated above, a duty of action or care requires people to prevent foreseeable harm to others when it’s reasonable to do so. Before obtaining your compensation, you must demonstrate that the defendant violated or breached their duty of action. The violation occurs when the responsible party acts in a fashion that puts your safety and the safety of other road users in danger.
Proving breach of duty is not a cakewalk. You must revisit the witness statements, photographs of the accident stage, and the police report to demonstrate action by the liable party that can be deemed a breach of duty. To obtain compensation, you must prove that the people you are suing acted negligently and failed to observe the duty of care requirements.
Negligence by the Big Rig Company
Demonstrating that a trucking company is responsible for your injuries is not easy. You need expert witnesses and a profound legal team.
A trucking company or owner of the truck responsible for your injuries can be held liable if they deliberately breached safety standards or transportation rules to improve profit margins. The company will be further held accountable for your harm or losses if they allow drivers to exceed maximum operating hours, overload the trucks, or carry unbalanced freight to meet delivery deadlines.
Truck companies are responsible for their drivers and their actions and should ensure they hire drivers who will abide by the law. When an accident occurs because the company allowed drivers to cut corners to meet customer demands, any harm or property damage you sustain should be blamed on the trucking company.
The trucking industry is facing a shortage of drivers. Most of the truck drivers available are aged 55 or older, which means sometimes companies are forced to hire inexperienced drivers to have their big rigs on the road. Failure to follow the laid down procedures when hiring is a breach of duty of action by the company, and any injuries or harm caused by the drivers’ actions should be blamed on the company.
Truck Driver Fault
As stated earlier, truck drivers must operate the big rigs using reasonable care and observe traffic rules. When these drivers break the rules or those noted under the California Vehicle Code, they are to blame for a truck accident. Furthermore, if a traffic violation was the leading cause of an accident, the driver will be liable for property damages or harm you sustain.
A driver is negligent if they operate trucks over the designated speed limit. When a big rig exceeds its legal speed limit coupled with the weight of the cargo, it becomes easy for it to lose control or stop in the event of an emergency, causing truck accidents. If a driver that caused your accident was speeding, they should be liable for your losses or harm.
The duty of care also requires drivers to observe traffic rules like stopping on crossing spots and obeying traffic lights. If a driver fails to do so, causing an accident, you should sue them for your harm.
Truck drivers are usually lonely and are forced to drive for long hours, which might tempt them to take alcohol or drugs. Others might take pills to avoid dozing off to complete their journey as scheduled. The drugs or alcohol might cause impairment making the driver unable to operate the truck so a sober truck driver under similar circumstances could drive the vehicle, thus causing an accident.
A truck driver will be liable for an accident if they take their mind and eyes off the road or their hands off the steering wheel, primarily when operating the phone. Drivers are prohibited from using the phone while driving because it causes a distraction that often results in truck collisions.
Breach of the duty of action demonstrates negligence, but that won’t be enough to win you compensation. The defendant might have acted negligently but still claim they were never responsible for your injuries. Therefore, on top of proving they acted negligently, you must show that their breach of duty of care contributed to your injuries or property damage.
Truck Accident Injuries and Property Damage
After a truck collision, people are likely to die, sustain injuries or suffer colossal property damage. The injuries and damages caused by truck accidents are usually severe considering the sheer size of the big rigs. Minor vehicle occupants and pedestrians sustain severe injuries than truck occupants. Some of the factors that determine the severity of the injuries sustained are:
- The kind of automobile and its safety features
- Capacity and weight of the freight being hauled
- Speed of the cars involved in the crash
- The type of crash involved
How Do You Determine the Compensation in Your Case?
After being involved in a truck accident, the injuries sustained require immediate medical attention, and in most cases, you will need future medical treatment. It means that after you have proved negligence and liability, you must know the amount of compensation to demand your harm or damages. Most of the victims of these accidents cannot return to work, and others are forced to depend on their relatives for almost everything. The amount of compensation you receive for the harm caused by the negligent party must therefore be enough to cover all these damages.
It’s your attorney’s role to ensure that you know the right amount you are seeking as compensation. The attorney needs to evaluate your case thoroughly and determine all the losses you have sustained from the accident so that you can seek the appropriate amount of compensation. Some of the damages you can file a claim for should entail:
When filing a claim, you must ensure all the costs incurred in medical treatment are included in the suit. A truck accident usually leaves victims with both physical and internal injuries. Some of these injuries include:
- Burn injuries that leave victims with permanent disfigurement
- Back and neck injuries
- Internal injuries
- Cut, broken bones, lacerations, and bruises
- Spinal cord injuries
If you consider these common injuries associated with truck accidents like spinal cord injuries, you will realize that they require costly long-term treatment. Therefore, you must take time with the help of your attorney to assess all the damages that may have stemmed from the accident and the amount they cost. The best way to do this is to document all the receipts issued after treatment. Additionally, you will need medical records to prove that the tickets are for actual injuries.
Furthermore, you will need a doctor’s report stating further treatment you will require in the future. An economic expert will also be necessary to estimate the cost this future treatment will require. That way, you will claim compensation enough to cover all your medical expenses in a manner that you won’t need to pay for treatment out of pocket.
Pain and Suffering
When determining your compensation, you must include pain and suffering. This non-economic damage is familiar to victims of truck accidents, although some people don’t obtain maximum compensation for it because of insufficient evidence. The amount of payment you will receive for these damages depends on the severity of the injuries. The more devastating the truck accident injuries, the more the physical pain and mental anguish, thus higher compensation.
However, to reap maximum benefits from these damages, you must document your pain and suffering. Write down your emotions and report the physical pain you experience every day during recovery. Job down the activities or duties the injuries hinder you from participating to demonstrate to the jury and insurer of the liable party how the accident has caused you to suffer.
Another compensation you should seek is property damage. Victims of truck collisions who file these claims are those whose property has been damaged after the truck accident. It can be a car, motorcycle, or bicycle owner involved in the crash. Determining the compensation for these damages is tricky because the colossal size of big rigs means the damage they cause on a property is extensive. Most of the time, the property that has been damaged cannot be repaired. For this reason, when filing a claim, you should talk to an expert in the field so that they can advise you on the best cause of action. If the repairs cost close to the price of replacing the property, you can claim compensation that is enough to replace the car or bike from the liable party.
Lost Income of Wages
As mentioned earlier, most truck collision victims cannot return to work for some months, years, and others permanently. Lost income damages are intended to compensate you for the income you have lost for the duration you have been unable to work. If the accident causes permanent paralysis that hinders you from ever returning to work, you can seek compensation for loss of earning capacity. You must speak to an experienced personal injury attorney to determine the value of benefits to seeking loss of income or earning capability. A profound legal professional will involve economists in estimating what your future wages should be. Further, they will prepare all the necessary employment documents you need to prove you have been earning a living, but you have been unable to do so after the accident.
Sometimes, truck accidents result in the death of a loved one. Therefore, if you have lost a loved one in a big rig accident, you can seek compensation from the negligent party for wrongful death. The descendants, estate, parents, children, or spouses of the deceased are the ones that pursue these claims. When determining the amount of compensation to claim, you must consider the burial and funeral expenses.
How is a Personal Injury Attorney Important in Determining Compensation?
For you to obtain maximum compensation from your truck accident claim, you must retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney. Seeking compensation for accident injuries can be overwhelming, especially when balancing recovery and filing a claim. Luckily, by involving an attorney in your case, they can evaluate the case and advise you on the way forward. If you have a claim, the attorney will commence the process of seeking compensation while you focus on healing.
A legal counsel will help you put together the necessary evidence to prove that you suffered losses due to the crash, prove fault by the defendant, and determine the amount you should receive as compensation. Filing a claim in person can be risky because you might not know the injury law necessary to establish the maximum compensation adequate to cater for all your losses.
However, injury attorneys understand what California statutes say about compensation claims. Using their knowledge and experience, they will demonstrate how the defendant is liable for your injuries and damages and fight to ensure you obtain compensation enough to cover all the truck-related losses. With an attorney, insurance adjusters will not take advantage of your case to reduce the amount of payment you should obtain for your case.
Find the Right Truck Accident Attorney Near Me
It’s critical to note that you have two years from the accident date to file an injury claim for your damages after a truck accident. After the two years lapse, you lose your constitutional right to seek compensation.
Therefore, if you or a loved one has sustained injuries or lost their life, you are entitled to seek compensation. Let the Orange County Personal Injury Attorney help you recover the adequate compensation to cover your damages by calling 714-876-1959 for a free consultation.