The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that most deaths in truck accidents are occupants of smaller passenger vehicles. Victims of truck accidents often suffer very serious injuries, even wrongful deaths, because of the size of trucks. Victims can include people motorcycles, cars, even pedestrians can be involved. Trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, compared to the 4,000 pounds of a standard passenger vehicle. This weight differential contributes to the severity of injuries suffered in a truck accident. The mechanics of operating and controlling a truck in motion are very different from smaller passenger vehicles. For instance, trucks require a longer distance than cars to come to a complete stop, this simple fact can result in deadly consequences under the wrong circumstances. Which is why there are very strict government regulations concerning the licensing of truck drivers, and the maintenance and operation of trucks. If you have suffered injuries or lost a family member as a result of a truck accident, you should speak with a truck accident lawyer to understand your rights and your legal options to get compensation for your losses. The truck accident lawyers at Hanson & Mouri can help you fight for your fair compensation.
If you are looking for a San Bernardino truck accident lawyer who will take on your case with passion and tenacity, call Hanson & Mouri at (951) 419-3199 to schedule a free consultation.
Truck accident cases can be considerably complex and often require knowledge of federal and state laws that commercial vehicles are subject to. In addition, if there are multiple parties involved or that are potentially liable, it can mean dealing with several insurance companies to recover the compensation you deserve. Each insurer will be shifting responsibility to the other and working to preserve their bottom line. As a result, navigating a claim on your own can be highly stressful. A truck accident lawyer’s knowledge, experience, and resources will be invaluable. They will protect your rights and will also ensure you have a solid case, which may include:
When a trucking company is notified of an accident, they are likely to send an investigator to the scene to recover evidence and minimize their liability. Commercial trucks often contain an event data recorder (EDR), commonly referred to as a black box. This small device records data on the truck’s physical condition and the driver’s actions prior to a collision. Retrieving the data after a truck accident is critical because it can help prove a party’s liability. As soon as you hire a San Bernardino Truck Accident Attorney, they will initiate an accident investigation to preserve the vital evidence of fault that you need.
The common causes of truck accidents can be categorized broadly as:
Here are some examples:
Distracted Driving: When a truck driver takes their hands off the wheel or eyes or minds off the road for even a second, it can be catastrophic. Typical distractions include texting or talking on a cell phone, eating, changing the music, etc.
Driver Fatigue: Truck drivers work long hours and often do not have a reliable sleep schedule. Federal laws dictate how many consecutive hours a trucker can drive, but it does not guarantee they will be adhered to.
Impatience or Road Rage: With enormous pressure to meet deadlines, truck drivers can be impatient or experience road rage leading to reckless driving behaviors.
Reckless Driving: Speeding, abrupt lane changes, running red lights, failing to signal, etc. increase the risk of an accident.
Driving Under the Influence: Some truck drivers choose to drink and drive or use stimulants to stay awake for longer periods. Both of which cloud judgment and slow reaction time.
Poor Maintenance: Many truck owners or trucking companies fail to maintain vehicles properly. Alternatively, a mechanic or third-party company may be responsible if their repairs or lack of leads to an accident.
Faulty or Defective Parts: If a vehicle or a vehicle’s part is defective and fails, it can cause a truck driver to lose control—for example, tire or brake failure.
Poor Weather Conditions: Dangerous weather can significantly impact a truck driver’s control over their vehicle, especially if they fail to adjust to the road conditions.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules and regulations for truck drivers and truck companies take these common causes into account. Everything from the hours of service, the distance driven, the load on a truck, and the schedule of truck maintenance are regulated and closely monitored.
Failure to adhere to the regulations can give rise to negligence. Any person who is injured in an accident as a result of such negligence may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. To succeed in a claim, the injured victim needs only to prove that the accident was the legal cause of their injuries, and that they suffered actual losses as a result.
Several types of truck accidents are more common than others:
After a truck accident, you can feel overwhelmed and may be significantly injured. Keep in mind the following steps, which are critical to your health and protect your right to compensation.
Emergency responders will treat you, and anyone else injured and transport you to the hospital if necessary. However, if you believe your injuries are minor and you do not need to call 911, it is still important to notify law enforcement of the accident. A police officer will create an accident report containing facts about the accident, such as each driver’s contact and insurance information, where and when the crash occurred, the officer’s opinion on who caused the crash, and more. This report can carry a lot of weight in an insurance company’s decision on fault.
If you are not taken to the hospital, stay at the scene and collect as much evidence as possible. Take photos or videos of the positions of the vehicles, their damage, your injuries, any debris, traffic signs, skid marks, etc. Ask the truck driver and anyone else involved for their contact and insurance information, and get the trucking company’s name that the driver works for. If there are any witnesses, ask for their contact information and if they are willing to make a recording of what they saw on your phone.
See a doctor as soon as possible, no matter the severity of your injuries. Some serious injuries can have delayed symptoms, and medical records must link injuries and potential injuries to the crash.
Let them know about the truck accident, but do not give a recorded statement until you speak to a lawyer. Depending on your coverage, you may be able to file a claim under your policy rather than dealing with the at-fault truck driver, their trucking company, or another third party’s insurer. Keep in mind that If your injuries are severe and there is evidence that the truck driver was at fault, their insurance company or their trucking company’s insurer may quickly offer you a settlement to resolve your case for as little money as possible. Although it can be tempting to accept payment upfront, this figure is often unfairly low.
Contact an attorney as soon as possible. Most, including our firm, will evaluate your case for free and then advise you of your legal options and the best course of action. They can help you gather evidence to hold the at-fault party accountable. If a trucking company may be liable, they will immediately send investigators to the scene to look for evidence to minimize their responsibility. Your attorney will protect your rights and handle negotiations with the insurers to reach a settlement that fully covers your losses or will fight for you in court if necessary.
Each truck accident case has unique circumstances, which means there is no precise answer as to your claim’s worth. However, an attorney will evaluate your case and consider the following factors to give you an estimate:
Once you recover or reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), you will better understand your injuries and losses. Then an attorney can give you an idea of the minimum amount of compensation you should settle for to ensure you can pay for medical care and any future needs.
Each state sets a legal deadline for filing a truck accident claim, known as the statute of limitations. In California, you have two years from the date of the accident. This deadline encourages timely filing for a more efficient legal process. There are limited exceptions to the statute of limitations, but some situations can alter this window:
It is crucial to file your personal injury claim within your statute of limitations in San Bernardino. If you file too late, the civil courts will most likely dismiss your claim without hearing it, and you will be barred from recovering compensation.
Several parties may be liable after a truck accident, including:
Other potentially liable parties can be a manufacturer if the accident was caused by a defective truck or part, a mechanic who performed incorrect repairs on the truck, a local government agency if highway design or poor maintenance led to the collision, another driver, and any other party that contributed to the crash.
It is typical for truck owners to try to deny responsibility for the consequences of accidents involving their trucks. Truck accident cases can be very complex because of the various factors that could be at play in a single accident. For example, the accident might be partly due to a defective part installed in the truck. The manufacturer of the defective part would bear some responsibility for the losses caused by their defective product. Having an experienced accident lawyer in San Bernardino by your side is the best way to ensure that your interests are fully protected, and that every party legally responsible for your injuries, including brain injury or spinal cord injury, bears the burden of making you whole again.
Victims have the right to demand compensation for their injuries and other losses after a truck accident. Some of the types of compensation available to claim include:
This includes any current and future medical bills related to the crash. Future medical care is calculated based on the extent of your injuries and often your doctor’s prognosis, including the projected length of your recovery, and their recommendation on future treatment you will require.
The income you would have earned had you not been injured in the accident. Future lost wages are also included and diminished earning capacity if you cannot do your job at the same level as before the accident.
Compensation for repairs or a replacement of your vehicle 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 emotional distress or loss of quality of life, caused by the accident and your injuries.
Victims may be awarded punitive damages if the case involves a defendant (at-fault party) who exhibited extremely reckless behavior. This type of compensation is rarely granted and is meant to punish the at-fault party and deter others from similar conduct.
Some attorneys charge hefty hourly rates, but many truck accident lawyers, including Hanson & Mouri, handle cases on a contingency fee basis. That means there is no upfront fee required, and all case-related expenses are covered, so you don’t have to pay any money out-of-pocket. Whether your truck accident attorney gets paid is dependent on whether you get paid. With a contingency fee agreement, your attorney will typically deduct between 25 to 40 percent if you recover compensation, plus court costs. Generally, it will be 33.3 percent, but it can vary based on how much work is involved in your case and whether it is settled or tried in court. If you do not settle with the insurance company or receive an award in court, you do not owe legal fees, which gives your attorney an incentive to ensure you win. This type of arrangement makes it much easier for truck accident victims to hire skilled legal representation with very little to no risk.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident, call the experienced San Bernardino truck accident lawyers at Hanson & Mouri at (951) 419-3199. Your initial consultation is free so call us today for a free and honest assessment of your case.