Seeking treatment after being involved in a truck accident is advisable, as you will have a chance to recover from the losses. However, the process is not always straightforward, owing to the various common issues arising in truck collisions. Subsequently, affected parties may be disadvantaged if they lack the necessary knowledge to navigate the process. Therefore, understanding the issues that may arise will equip you to face the liable parties.
Further, you will be keener in identifying the liable party’s errors to help you justify your need for compensation. Although working alone is a viable option, you may easily be overwhelmed by the multiple demands of seeking personal injury compensation. On the other hand, working with a personal injury attorney gives you an easier time, as they are well equipped to handle emerging issues accordingly.
You want to find a reliable attorney who is ready to support you upon presenting your claims. With your personal injury attorney’s help, you can determine the best approaches when negotiating or sending demand letters to the liable party. On the other hand, if you are jointly responsible for the accident, your lawyer can prepare possible strategies to defend your actions. This way, you overcome any issues pinned against you for a favorable outcome.
Personal Injury Issues in Commercial Truck Accidents
Ideally, the liable party in a truck accident should meet with the victims and evaluate the cause of the accident. When both parties agree on the degree of fault, the liable party can then compensate for the personal injuries caused. This may be completed through the party’s insurance company or from an individual transaction.
However, most commercial truck accidents occur after a series of misconstrued actions on the road. Subsequently, no party is willing to admit liability for the incident, leading to a series of issues. Due to this, you as the victim may have difficulty securing monetary compensation and may even need to file a civil suit.
Nonetheless, your personal injury attorney can help you explore possible solutions to the problems to promote an amicable settlement. Since there are various ways to hold the liable party accountable for their oversights, you want to understand common truck accident issues. Some of the issues affecting commercial truck accidents include:
Violation of Working Hours for Truck Drivers
Naturally, working for long hours becomes exhausting, and you could become less attentive when working. Consequently, a commercial truck driver working longer hours than the recommended average poses a severe road safety risk.
Based on the guidelines issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a commercial truck driver can only work for specified hours consecutively. A truck driver transporting property should only work for up to eleven hours after taking at least ten consecutive hours off duty.
Moreover, general provisions prohibit truck drivers from working for more than fourteen consecutive hours without breaks. Cumulatively, the truck driver should work within the recommended sixty hours for seven days or seventy hours for eight days.
Observing these guidelines is necessary as it can help reduce the likelihood of truck accidents caused by fatigue. Despite this, accidents still occur owing to oversights on the truck company or the driver. For example, if the company fails to keep records for each driver’s working hours, the matter becomes a disputable issue.
Due to inaccurate records, the affected victim lacks credible findings to demonstrate that the driver's long hours caused the accident. On top of this, the liable party may present different details to show they worked within the recommended timelines. Sometimes, their defenses may overshadow your claims if you lack any way to verify their arguments.
Hence, seeking compensation becomes more difficult without reliable evidential sources of working timeline violations. Nonetheless, tracking systems attached to each commercial truck can provide backup information to help you further prepare your case. Thanks to the details on how long the truck runs, you can demonstrate the driver's violations in extending the working hours.
Exceeding the Maximum Truck Weight Recommended on Highways
Additionally, federal regulations impose specific weight limits for commercial truck operators to prevent safety risks. For example, an overloaded truck may cause severe tarmac damage, resulting in potholes and cracks along the road. The continuous exposure of heavy trucks on the tarmac creates unsuitable conditions for road users, leaving them susceptible to accidents.
Truck operators may also violate the maximum weight limits by carrying heavier loads than required. Since the overloaded items may easily overwhelm the truck door latches, they also pose a serious safety risk. For example, the loads may fall off into the highway when the truck is on an elevated road.
The California Department of Transportation and the federal government guidelines limit commercial truckloads in various categories. Firstly, an unloaded truck should weigh no more than 80,000 Pounds, often known as the gross weight. Upon loading the vehicle, the first axle should support a weight of up to 20,000 Pounds. Subsequent axles can hold weights of up to 34,000 Pounds, especially if the truck has an elongated body structure.
When seeking compensation for personal injuries, you may have difficulties determining whether the truck driver exceeded the weight limits. This is because, after impact, the truck may be dismantled or wrecked. Weighing the truck as a means to collect evidence for your case may therefore be a problem. Further, the truck driver may not have gone through a weighbridge before the collision, so no records are available for reference.
In this case, you want to consult your personal injury attorney for alternative approaches in determining the truck driver's fault. For example, if your accident involved loads falling off the track, you may gather evidence to show the loads exceeded the recommended weight.
Alternatively, you may still request for a truck weighing if the compensatory claim is substantial. This way, you will have a better chance of presenting accurate records for a substantiated case. However, you should be ready to incur extra expenses in the weighing services, as they require expert handling.
Non-Compliance With Truck Insurance Limits
Before a commercial truck can legally operate on the road, the company or driver should purchase insurance coverage. This is a crucial requirement for all road users in general, as it protects motorists from incurring expensive costs in case of an accident. As a commercial truck driver, you risk causing or facing colossal damages because of the large vehicle size. Hence, having higher insurance limit coverage is advisable to avoid constraints after an accident occurs.
Despite this, some truck drivers will undermine the importance of insurance coverage and may even fail to present updated coverage documents on request. Therefore, non-compliance with recommended insurance purchases will create challenges for victims seeking compensation for personal injuries.
In California, truck drivers and commercial truck companies can access several insurance covers. You should note that prices range depending on the issued coverage. Thus, you want to know the liable party's cover before presenting a demand letter for personal injury compensation.
The following are common insurance covers for commercial truck operators:
Physical Damage Insurance Cover
If the truck accident involves a collision with your vehicle, the truck driver can rely on physical damage insurance coverage for compensation. However, the package limits usability to incidents like natural disasters, vehicle theft, and vandalism on top of car collisions. Consequently, victims facing personal injuries from other incidents like pedestrian accidents may miss out on receiving compensation from this insurance cover.
Uninsured or Unsecured Motorist Insurance
Some accidents also involve unsecured or underinsured motorists. Therefore, the insurance cover protects truck operators from spending money out of pocket by covering costs for unsecured motorist incidents. Thus, if the truck driver lacks insurance, an uninsured or unsecured accident victim may face challenges when seeking compensation.
Medical Insurance Covers
Further, all road users should hold coverage for any medical expenses arising from an accident. This also extends to truck operators, primarily because truck accidents often cause severe personal injuries. Therefore, victims can request the truck driver's insurance company to cover their medical costs after establishing their entitlement.
You should remember that the medical covers vary from one company to another, so the liable party may only cover you to a specific limit. Nonetheless, your personal injury lawyer can help you negotiate for different avenues to secure your rightful compensation.
Primary Auto Liability Covers
Lastly, federal law requires all truck operators to hold an auto liability cover to cater to liability costs. Claimants seeking compensation after a truck accident will mainly present their grievances to the auto insurance company that issued you the cover. Since it caters to a wide range of claims, the truck driver or company should ensure premium payments are made on time. Further, having higher claim limits is helpful in case of an emerging incident.
Following the various requirements, truck companies and drivers are responsible for upholding a viable insurance cover. However, cases involving non-payment of premiums, among other inconveniences, may limit your ability to recover damages after an accident. Subsequently, you can request your personal injury attorney for possible alternatives to help you receive the rightful compensation.
Settlements With Insurance Adjusters
Although the liable party in the truck accident may have insurance coverage to cater to your claims, you will need an adjuster's approval before accessing the funds. Insurance adjusters act as assessors for claims issued against the insurance company after an accident. Therefore, they act on behalf of the liable party and the insurance cover provider. However, their involvement will often complicate your compensatory claim. This is because they aim to release the least possible compensatory amount for maximum profits.
When meeting with an insurance adjuster, you want to be ready for the adjuster's questions and the counter-argument they present. They will be thorough with the given information to highlight any flaws in your claims. Thus, the insurance adjuster will scrutinize your evidentiary documents along with any other sources you provide.
Further, you need quality negotiation skills when presenting the compensatory figure to the insurance representative. Although your plight may be justified and backed by sufficient proof, the adjuster will likely stick to a specific offer. Typically, the offer is lower than your requirements, so that you may be dissatisfied with the overall outcome.
When working with a personal injury attorney, they will engage their negotiation skills in the various meetings with the adjuster. Your lawyer understands the common approaches taken by the insurance representatives, giving you an advantage over them. Moreover, you can expect your attorney to uphold your interest throughout the negotiations.
By engaging an experienced lawyer, you can successfully tackle any emerging issues with an insurance adjuster. This way, your claims will be well justified, giving you a better chance of recovering the requested compensation amount.
Cases Involving Joint Liability
While most truck accidents involve two parties, unique cases involving joint liability may arise. The situation leads to further complications as each party tries to avoid liability for the incident. Similarly, collisions between two main parties can be so severe that they result in multiple car crashes.
Subsequently, the affected parties increase, with each person holding a different party liable. These situations cause challenges when trying to seek compensation, as clarity is often difficult to achieve. A truck accident involving multiple liable parties may arise in various ways. For example, if a negligent truck driver works under a negligent company, both parties may be answerable for your personal injuries.
The negligent company may fail to conduct regular maintenance checks on their vehicles, making them safety hazards. On the other hand, the driver may engage in high speeds that pressure the worn-out truck parts. A combination of the two oversights may result in a severe truck accident that would otherwise be avoidable.
Following the example above, you can seek redress for your losses and injuries by holding both parties liable. Each party should contribute money towards your compensation according to their negligence percentage. Determining the negligence percentage may involve assessing the breach of duty that each party was involved in. Afterward, the damage arising from each person's breach is weighed into the outcome.
However, determining a liability percentage is often difficult without an expert's input, as parties dispute the findings. Consequently, most cases involving multiple liable parties result in a civil suit. This is because alternative dispute resolution methods like negotiation and mediation are likely to fail.
Hence, when all parties agree to proceed with a court case, you should contact your personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. With their assistance, you will present a statement of claim and any evidentiary material to support your case. Further, they will present your position before the judge.
Substandard Truck Maintenance and Repair
Commercial trucks run long trips with heavy-duty items in transit. While their bodies are built with sturdy material, they still require constant maintenance and repairs to prevent unforeseen accidents. A truck management company is responsible for overseeing these operations, especially if it owns a fleet of trucks. Similarly, private truck owners should maintain their vehicles to the required standard to avoid mishaps.
Despite the availability of truck maintenance guidelines, some operators may cut corners with their responsibilities. Moreover, tracking the occurrences leading to a breach of duty of care is not always straightforward.
For example, a truck company may contract a separate mechanics firm to conduct vehicle part repairs. This means that while they own the trucks, any oversights leading to malfunctions may fall on the mechanical team. Further, the driver may also be at fault for wrong truck maneuvers that trigger the road collisions.
You may also decide to hold a retailer liable for selling counterfeit truck parts. Their duty is to ensure that all goods meet the necessary safety standards by reducing malfunction risks. Therefore, if the mechanic conducting repairs did not notice that the parts were counterfeit, a claim against the retailer is suitable.
Since the starting point in case preparation may not be clear, you can consult a personal injury attorney to help you present an accurate claim. Their input will also be beneficial during negotiations to help avoid court cases. This is because handling issues judicially is time-consuming and expensive compared to alternative dispute resolution methods.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
When you or a loved one is involved in a truck accident, you may suffer significant losses because of the injuries and property damage incurred. Therefore, choosing to seek compensation from the liable party is recommended to help you get back on your feet. However, some issues may arise, making it harder to pursue your claims. Some circumstances may require redress by filing a civil suit.
This is because of the complexities and unclear factors that the parties must consider before making decisions. Therefore, you want to work with a qualified personal injury attorney to help you navigate the compensation. With your lawyer’s help, you will have an easier time meeting with the liable party for negotiations and case assessment. Eventually, you have a better chance of receiving the anticipated compensation.
At Orange County Personal Injury Attorney, we aim to provide the best legal services to clients involved in commercial truck accidents in Orange County, California. Our expertise in handling truck accident cases has equipped us with the skills needed to secure your compensation. Further, we have explored a wide range of cases over the years, exposing us to new challenges. Therefore, we have strengthened our expertise by overcoming the hurdles to provide our clients with the best possible outcome. If you require the services of a personal injury attorney, call us today at 714-876-1959.