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What Should You Do After a Semi-Truck Accident in San Diego?

San DiegoAccidents happen quickly and can be terrifying for the drivers and passengers involved. When you are in an accident with a semi-truck, it is a life or death situation and the outcomes can be disastrous and tragic. As a motorist, you may have been involved in an accident before, but when you are in an accident with a commercial vehicle, the process of filing a personal injury claim and a potential lawsuit can be different and present complications and difficulties.

The following are some steps you can take to best protect your legal rights and to ensure you are prioritizing your best interest as you seek compensation for the damages and injuries you have suffered after an accident with a large truck.

Get Help From Emergency Services

The moments after a truck accident are chaotic. There may be victims in need of critical care and there may be multiple vehicles involved, in addition to the tractor-trailer or semi. There is no question that law enforcement and medical services should always be called to the scene of a semi-truck collision. Even if you feel you are fine, there is a high risk of injuries after such a forceful impact and medical attention is necessary to evaluate your condition.

If you or a loved one require emergency medical treatment you may be transported to one of these San Diego hospitals, designated as trauma centers:

  • UC San Diego Medical Center
  • Sharp Memorial Hospital
  • Palomar Medical Center
  • Scripps Memorial Hospital
  • Scripps Mercy Hospital
  • Rady Children’s Hospital

Once medical emergencies are addressed and accident victims have been attended by paramedics, the police will collect the insurance and identification for all the parties involved. This information is essential to proceed with an insurance claim for your injuries and any further legal action that may become necessary.

In addition to gathering documents to create an informational report, the law enforcement officer will also likely complete a preliminary investigation of the scene and the evidence at hand. Following their investigation, the law enforcement officer will then complete a police report where their opinion of fault may be included. You or your attorney can obtain a copy of the report in the days and weeks following the accident. In addition, law enforcement officers at the scene of a truck accident will likely issue citations to the party or parties believed to have violated any traffic laws leading up to the accident.

If you or a loved one are seriously injured and are transported by emergency medical services to a hospital, a law enforcement officer will likely follow up with you at a later time about the facts surrounding the accident and you may retrieve the police report once it is available.

Collect Evidence

Victims of truck accidents can feel overwhelmed at the scene of the accident. You are likely in pain from your injuries, confused, disoriented, and may have even lost consciousness. However, if you are alert after impact and you can physically and safely do so, you should gather as much evidence as possible at the scene. While police reports may include relevant information about the accident, photographs and videos of the damage at the scene, the surrounding environment, and the vehicles involved can help determine fault.

If you can’t gather evidence at the scene, you can ask a friend or family member if possible to do so for you. While at the scene of the accident, it is also helpful to take note if there are any witnesses to what occurred. If there are witnesses, you take down their name and contact information so that you can request a statement from them in the future if needed.

Vehicular accidents involving a commercial truck can take time to resolve. As you go through the personal injury claims process and any other legal action, you should maintain a log of relevant information. You can include information such as the recovery process from your injuries, your pain, emotional and mental state, impacts on your way of life, and any other information that you feel could help understand the extent of your injuries and your personal experience after the crash.

Evidence of medical treatment and all records related to your injuries and rehabilitation should be kept and saved to share with your personal injury lawyer.

Get Legal Representation

Going against insurance companies, truck companies, and other parties alone after a truck accident can be difficult and leave you in a complicated situation either with too low of a settlement offer or a denial of a claim. Your priority after a truck accident should be your physical, mental, and emotional recovery; a personal injury claim is a daunting process and requires experience to manage successfully. A semi-truck accident lawyer can be your advocate and fight for the compensation you deserve against the parties responsible for your injuries and losses.

Hiring a lawyer is a decision left up to you. However, when you are involved in a commercial truck accident, it should be an appealing solution and an easy choice to make. The reality is that insurance companies do not want to pay out benefits to cover all of your eligible losses and will make every effort to shortchange you or deny you the compensation you may be entitled to under the law. Truck accidents often involve complex liability issues and extensive damages; a personal injury attorney can help guide you through this difficult process.

How Common Are Semi-Truck Accidents in San Diego?

Semi-trucks frequently travel through San Diego and surrounding areas. As a major port city and due to its proximity to Mexico, San Diego is a destination for the arrival and departure of shipments entering and exiting the state of California and the country’s west coast. On average, California leads the pack in the ranking of states with the most registered commercial trucks in the country. It is estimated that California is home to over 14 million registered large trucks used for commerce and transport.

At the national level, it is estimated that over 4,000 people die each year in truck-related accidents. California alone attributes over 300 deaths each year to truck accidents and over 3,000 victims suffer injuries in collisions with a large truck.

The Far-Reaching Impacts of a Semi-Truck Accident

Collisions with semi-trucks or tractor-trailers can leave families without loved ones and victims with severe injuries facing a lifetime of pain and challenges. Truck accidents can affect every aspect of your life: your ability to enjoy your life, earn an income, to live pain-free.

Many truck accident victims also lose a great deal of independence as a result of their injuries from the initial stages of in-hospital care and rehabilitation to the need for caretakers at home to help them get through each day’s routine. The aftermath of a semi-truck crash can be life-altering for you, as well as for your family. In some cases, family members must take on the primary caretaker role and shift the focus of their lives to ensuring the truck accident victim’s medical needs, as well as their living needs, are met. These drastic changes can take a toll on relationships, as well as on the emotional and mental state of the victim and their loved ones.

In addition to the physical and mental impacts of your injuries, the financial impacts can be significant and in many cases, leave victims and families with mounting debt and uncertainty for the future. Injuries that lead to disabilities can require lifetime care and medical oversight, which can be overwhelming for injury victims that have had their life turned upside down by a semi-truck accident.

Medical services, specialized equipment, therapy, rehabilitation, surgeries, procedures, and other interventions all cost money. As the victim of an accident caused by someone else, you should not have to pay those costs.

How Much Compensation Could You Be Entitled To in a Semi-Truck Accident?

Semi-truck accidents do not happen nearly as often as car accidents between passenger vehicles. However, when a truck accident occurs the damages are often extensive. Calculating losses in a truck accident case requires patience and an understanding of the common damages suffered by truck accident victims.

When you are injured or have lost a loved one to a truck accident, you need the guidance of a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to help you estimate the damages you have sustained. Oftentimes, truck accident victims are surprised by the losses they can seek recovery for in a personal injury claim or lawsuit. At the end of the day, the purpose of fighting for compensation is to help you recoup the losses you have sustained and the future impacts yet to come.

A lawyer can ensure you add up and account for the maximum losses you have suffered and use that as a guide during negotiations of a settlement or the decision to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault parties.

Semi-truck accident damage claims can include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Income losses
  • Future income losses and medical costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Impacts on your quality of life
  • Personal property damage
  • Wrongful death of a loved one

Who Can You Sue After a Semi-Truck Accident?

Semi-trucks are used for the commercial transportation of parts, materials, and other cargo. Due to this purpose, when a semi-truck causes an accident with other vehicles, several parties could bear liability to the victims for their losses. A negligent driver often takes the brunt of the fault in a truck accident case, but if there are other contributing factors at play and other potential parties responsible, you may seek compensation from all at-fault parties to recover for your damages.

In a truck accident, your first avenue for recovery is usually through the appropriate insurance company. However, if the insurance coverage is insufficient to cover your losses or a claim is denied, it may be in your best interest to file a lawsuit against the parties responsible through the courts.

In truck accident cases, liable parties can include:

  • The truck driver Negligence in the operation of a truck lies primarily with the driver. However, this does not prevent other parties from being found liable for their actions and for contributing to the accident.
  • The truck company – When a driver causes an accident while on the job, the employer is often responsible for the damages to the injured whether through their insurance coverage or direct liability.
  • The shipping company – If the shipping company’s actions or inactions lead to an accident, you can hold them liable. The improper loading of cargo by staff, for example, can cause a sudden shift during transport. Shipping inherently hazardous materials that pose a danger to the public if exposed requires extra care.
  • The manufacturers of trucks or parts – Trucks are comprised of many parts and equipment to withstand the long travels and hauls of heavy freight and cargo. When one of these parts is defective, it can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle or cause delays in the normal and expected functions of the vehicle. If it is found that a defective product is linked to the accident, the manufacturer of that product could be held responsible for the damages sustained.

If you were injured by an accident with a semi-truck or have a loved one that has been severely injured or lost their lives in a semi-truck crash, you may be eligible for compensation for the damages suffered. Contact a truck accident lawyer in San Diego to discuss the details of your case and how they can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

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