Truck accidents are among the deadliest accidents in the United States. A motor vehicle is simply no match for a large truck in a crash. If you have been injured, or if a loved one has been killed in a truck accident, you need an experienced California truck accident attorney to help you through this complex legal process.
What Must Be Proven in a Truck Accident Claim?
A truck accident case is a type of negligence claim.
In a negligence claim, several factors must be proven before an accident victim is able to receive compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
First, it must be shown that the at-fault driver had a duty to the victim. Generally, this is not difficult to prove. If a truck driver was driving a truck on a public roadway, that truck driver had a duty to operate the truck in a way that was safe and reasonable under the circumstances.
Driving the speed limit and paying attention to the road are examples of being safe and reasonable under the circumstances.
Next, the accident victim must show that the truck driver breached this duty somehow. Driving while drowsy, texting and driving, and speeding are examples of negligence and breaching the duty to be safe and reasonable.
Finally, the accident victim needs to demonstrate proof of damages. Damages are the losses that the victim has incurred as a result of the truck driver’s negligence.
What Types of Damages Are Available in a Truck Accident Claim?
There are many types of damages available in a truck accident claim, depending on the circumstances of the case. Some cases may have damages claims that reach seven figures or more.
Damages may include:
- Medical expenses, including the cost of any future medical care, such as surgeries or physical therapy, that may be required
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of employment benefits
- The cost of remodeling a home to accommodate an injury (installing a wheelchair ramp, for example)
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Other types of damages may also be available. Your California personal injury attorney will ensure that a claim is filed for all of the damages you are entitled to under the law.
Who Are the Possible Defendants in a Truck Accident?
There are a number of possible defendants in a truck accident case.
Of course, the truck driver will be the first defendant named in a truck accident claim. The truck driver’s negligence will be detailed in a personal injury claim so that that truck driver may be held liable for the accident victim’s injuries.
The trucking company may also be named as a defendant in a truck accident claim. If the trucking company knew, or should have known, that the truck driver was likely to cause an accident, it could face liability for the victim’s injuries.
For example, perhaps the truck driver had caused accidents in the past or had failed a drug test. If the trucking company negligently hired or retained the truck driver, it is likely that the trucking company will be held partially responsible for the crash.
The trucking company may also be held responsible for a crash if it did not properly maintain its fleet of trucks.
In some cases, third parties load and secure cargo in large tractor-trailers. If this cargo is not properly secured, it can cause a serious accident. The shifting of cargo may cause the trailer of a truck to suddenly turn over, which can have deadly consequences.
Those who improperly loaded cargo in a truck may be held liable for an accident if it is determined that the cargo’s movement was a cause of the crash.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
There are many causes of truck accidents, including:
- Drowsy driving: Many truck drivers work long hours and become fatigued on the road
- Drug use: Some truck drivers turn to drugs or alcohol to help them stay awake to meet strict deadlines or deal with the boredom and isolation that comes with being a truck driver
- Lack of training: Many trucking companies fail to offer proper training to their drivers before allowing them to start driving
- Distracted driving: Texting and simply failing to pay attention are often cited as causes of truck accidents
No matter what the cause of your truck accident may be, experienced attorneys can help hold the appropriate parties reliable.