El Centro Truck Accident Lawyer
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El Centro Truck Accident Attorneys
Gomez Trial Attorneys: Experience. Results. Determination.
- $2,750,000 awarded to a traumatic brain injury victim after a trucking accident
- $13,500,000 awarded to the victim of a traumatic brain injury in an auto accident
- $5,200,000 awarded to the victim after a traumatic brain injury in an auto accident
- $1,000,000 awarded to the victim of a rideshare accident
A Look at How Truck Accident Injuries Can Affect Your LifeWe just saw more than 4,000 deaths in big truck accidents nationwide—an increase over previous years. That number continues to rise even as other traffic fatalities show marked declines. Serious injuries from such truck accidents can damage every facet of your life: your ability to work, your leisure activities, even your relationships with friends and loved ones. Injuries suffered by our past clients in truck accidents have included:
Traumatic Brain InjuryTraumatic brain injury can cause lifelong impacts to an individual’s ability to think, process, concentrate, and regulate emotion. A victim with traumatic brain injury may struggle to focus well enough to complete basic work assignments. Traumatic brain injury victims frequently suffer from short-term memory loss, which can lead to considerable confusion and frustration for victims. Victims with traumatic brain injury may also struggle with ringing in the ears, vertigo, and sleep disturbances, which can make it even more difficult for them to return to normal function. Friends and family members of victims with an El Centro brain injury sometimes note personality changes that can make it difficult to maintain a relationship. In some cases, victims with traumatic brain injury may even require constant companionship to help provide guidance and watch over them as they go about their everyday activities.
Spinal Cord InjuryA complete spinal cord injury usually results in complete paralysis below the site of the injury. Victims may need to use a wheelchair to get around for the rest of their lives. In the case of spinal cord injuries high on the spine, spinal cord injury victims may become highly dependent on care and assistance from other people, since they may lose function in their hands, arms, and neck. Incomplete spinal cord injury, in which the spinal cord does not sever completely, can still cause substantial complications in the victim’s life. Victims with incomplete spinal cord injury may have significantly decreased mobility and motor function below the site of the injury. They may struggle to return to normal work tasks or, in some cases, need to seek new, less-active employment. Victims with spinal cord injuries may need to relearn how to perform many activities, including self-care tasks. Spinal cord injuries may also require substantial modifications to the victim’s home and personal vehicle, such as widening doorways, installing wheelchair ramps, and adding specialty equipment to the bathroom to make it easier for the victim to maintain independence.
AmputationsThe force of the impact in a big truck accident is much larger than a El Centro car accident and can collapse a smaller vehicle’s interior on an occupant’s limb, resulting in a traumatic amputation or such massive damage to the limb that only removing the limb surgically will save the victim’s life. No matter which way an amputation occurs, however, survivors of these injuries face daunting challenges for the remainder of their lives. Amputation victims often need substantial time to relearn how to perform basic life activities. It can take months before the victim heals sufficiently to receive a prosthesis. The victim must then learn how to use and adapt to life with an artificial limb. A victim who loses his dominant hand may need to relearn how to perform tasks with the non-dominant hand, while a victim who loses a leg may need to relearn how to walk and balance. Some amputees adjust fairly quickly to a prosthesis, but others may need more time or, in some cases, cannot get a good fit with a prosthetic device, leading them to rely on a wheelchair or crutches to get around instead. Amputees who do use prosthetics must budget for regular replacement: on average, a prosthesis only lasts for around three to five years before its user needs a new one.
BurnsBurn victims face potentially deadly health complications and endure extreme pain while healing. Many burn victims also suffer from substantial scarring. Depending on the location of the burns on a victim’s body, that scarring can have a significant impact on the victim’s self-esteem or even make the victim reluctant to go out in public. Burns can also restrict a person’s mobility, especially if the burns leave significant scarring near a joint. Severe burns can even result in a victim losing a limb. Burn victims also often suffer substantial psychological trauma requiring extensive therapy and counseling.
Our Experienced Lawyers Can Seek Compensation After a Truck Accident in El CentroAt Gomez Trial Attorneys, we work hard to obtain the compensation our truck crash victim clients deserve for their injuries and losses. Simply having a skilled, seasoned El Centro truck accident lawyer from our firm on their side can increase the compensation the liable party or its insurance company may offer as a settlement, because it shows their commitment to pursuing the compensation they deserve.
Liability for an El Centro Truck AccidentThe team at Gomez Trial Attorneys works hard to figure out who owes our clients money after an El Centro truck accident. Identifying all individuals and/or entities who have legal liability to a crash victim ensures that the victim has the strongest possible opportunity to obtain the full measure of compensation the law allows. Every El Centro truck crash has its own unique aspects, of course, but our team frequently examines whether any of the following parties might owe money damages to our injured clients:
- The truck driver. In operating massive, unwieldy vehicles that share the road with passenger cars, truck drivers have significant responsibilities. They must make sound decisions behind the wheel, and not engage in unreasonably dangerous behaviors like distracted driving, drunk driving, or ignoring the rules of the road. They must adhere to federal regulations limiting the number of hours they can spend on the road between breaks, and the total number of hours they can drive in a day and week. They must decide whether they can safely navigate during poor weather conditions, and they must inspect their trucks for any signs of disrepair or mechanical failure. Failing in any of these (and many other) duties puts the public at risk of truck accidents and catastrophic injuries, and puts the trucker (and his insurance) potentially on the line to pay damages to any crash victims.
- The trucking company. An employer, including a trucking company, typically must answer for the wrongful actions of its employees. So, if the truck driver works for a company, then the company might also have liability for any of the types of failings described above. Trucking companies also, independently, have obligations to adhere to federal and state motor carrier regulations that promote trucking safety. They must also perform routine maintenance and repairs on their fleets of vehicles, and they must carefully screen their employees to weed out any who have unsafe driving records, poor health, insufficient training, or substance abuse problems. A trucking company that fails in any of these obligations faces liability for any accident to which its actions contribute.
- Anyone who loaded the truck. Loading cargo in a truck requires care and precision. A load that shifts in a truck trailer or on its bed can cause a loss of control, leading to a jackknife accident or rollover, especially on wet or winding roads. Cargo loaders need to exercise caution with how they balance a load of cargo, and how they secure it. Mistakes can lead to crashes, which can in turn lead to liability for those individuals or entities.
- Anyone who worked on the truck. Routine maintenance to keep a truck in safe working order includes replacing or servicing its fluids, belts, brakes, electronics, tires, windshield wipers, lights, mirrors, and signals periodically, among other tasks. Some companies perform this work “in house”. Others hire maintenance contractors, who face liability if they do not do their jobs well and a truck accident results.
- Trucking manufacturers. The companies that make trucks and truck parts have a special duty not just to their customers, but to the general public too, to sell products that work as intended and do not contain unreasonably dangerous defects. Those manufacturers face legal liability for any accident caused by a defective, unsafe product they put into the stream of commerce.
Potential Compensation for an El Centro Truck AccidentThe compensation you may ultimately receive after an El Centro truck accident depends on the particulars of the crash and your injuries. Every case differs. As a general matter, however, victims of El Centro truck accidents caused by someone else’s careless or reckless actions may seek to recover compensation for: Medical expenses. Medical costs mount quickly when you suffer severe injuries. Even ambulance transportation from the crash scene to the hospital can cost as much as $1,200, and some ambulance companies add mileage on top of that. Expenses also include paying for care in an emergency room, the cost of any medical procedures you have to treat your injuries, and the cost of hospitalization. We should also mention the additional potential costs of:
- A stay in a long-term care or rehabilitation facility, especially if you require long-term treatment for your injuries
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Psychological therapy, in the case of severe trauma from the accident
- Durable medical equipment
- Modifications to your home in light of your injuries
El Centro Truck Accident FAQTruck crashes are horrific accidents that can leave El Centro residents, workers, and visitors with debilitating injuries, astronomical medical expenses, and an uncertain future. El Centro truck accident victims often have important, pressing questions about their legal and financial rights. Below, we answer some of the most common questions. For answers to specific questions about an El Centro truck accident that turned your life upside-down, contact an experienced truck accident injury attorney today.
What causes truck accidents in El Centro?Some of the most devastating crashes on the road involve commercial trucks. They happen because of:
- Driver fatigue: Extreme fatigue has the same effects on a trucker’s abilities as alcohol intoxication. Truck drivers often drive long distances on grueling schedules. As a result, they frequently fail to get enough sleep, or have poor sleep quality. This results in an epidemic of fatigue behind the wheels of large trucks, and plays a significant (and likely underreported) role in El Centro truck accidents.
- Inadequate training: Truck drivers must meet specific minimum requirements and hours of training before driving a truck on the public roads. Unfortunately, not all of these drivers adhere to these guidelines. As a result, untrained truck drivers get behind the wheel, unprepared for the challenge of driving a massive vehicle safely.
- Truck maintenance: Truck owners must keep their trucks in good condition. Unfortunately, some drivers or truck owners do not perform regular checks because of the time and costs involved in routine maintenance. This leads to mechanical breakdown and a risk of accidents.
- Drug or alcohol-impaired driving: Alcohol use is relatively rare among long-haul truck drivers, but the use of legal and illegal drugs isn’t. Truckers often rely on stimulants to keep them awake and alert behind the wheel. As a group, they also have relatively poor health, so they also frequently drive after having taken prescription medication, some of which may have dangerous side effects.
- Distracted driving: Looking down at your phone, replying to text messages, surfing social media sites, or even staring out the window constitutes distracted driving. A trucker’s moment or two of distraction can exponentially increase the risks of a deadly truck accident in El Centro.
- Speeding: Truck drivers with tight deadlines sometimes exceed speed limits or drive too fast in poor weather or road conditions. A speeding truck needs lots of room to stop or avoid a hazard, and can easily jackknife or roll if a trucker hits the brakes too hard.
Who has legal liability for an El Centro truck accident?Every El Centro truck accident differs in its particulars, which means that the parties who may have a legal liability to accident victims can vary. However, in general, the following parties often owe damages after a crash:
- The truck driver, if his dangerous decisions or actions behind the wheel caused the crash;
- The trucking company, if the truck driver was its employee, and/or if it failed to maintain the truck in good working condition or engaged in other dangerous actions that contributed to the accident;
- A truck manufacturer, if the truck suffered a mechanical failure caused by a defective part, resulting in a crash, such as in cases of brake failure, steering system failure, tire blowout, or a defective hitch;
- A cargo company, if its failure to secure cargo properly contributed to the crash, such as when cargo shifts and causes a loss of control, or when cargo falls from a truck and collides with other vehicles; and
- Other motorists, if their dangerous actions in sharing the road with a truck caused a chain reaction leading to the crash.
What evidence does a lawyer look at in investigating an El Centro truck accident?El Centro truck accidents can leave a wide swath of destruction in their wake, and as a result, lawyers and forensic experts may need to review a massive amount of evidence to figure out what happened and who is to blame. Common evidence experienced El Centro lawyers may review in digging into the details of a truck crash may include:
- A truck’s “Black Box” data recorder;
- Any video footage of the crash available from traffic cameras, security cameras on nearby buildings, or dashboard cameras in the vehicles involved;
- Physical evidence from the accident scene, including the damaged vehicles themselves, as well as any debris they left behind when they collided;
- Drug and alcohol screening test results of the motorists involved;
- The truck driver’s hours of service logs, which show how many hours the driver had spent behind the wheel before the crash;
- Employee records reflecting the driver’s history and training;
- Maintenance logs of the truck, which may provide information about its mechanical condition and any known problems;
- Eyewitness testimony describing how the accident occurred;
- Police accident reports giving law enforcement’s assessment of the facts and circumstances of the crash;
- Medical records of the victims’ injuries and treatments; and
- Cargo reports, which may give clues about the role the truck’s cargo may have played in the chain of events leading up to the accident.
How much time does my lawyer have to file a truck accident lawsuit in El Centro?In California, victims of truck accidents have two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit, in most cases. However, this deadline may change depending on the case’s specific facts and who has a legal liability to the accident victims. Missing this deadline can mean losing your legal right to receive compensation. For that reason, the safest course of action is to speak with an experienced El Centro truck crash lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can evaluate your situation quickly and determine which deadlines apply to your claim, so that you do not lose valuable legal and financial rights by mistake.
What type of compensation can I pursue in a truck accident lawsuit?If you were injured in a truck collision in El Centro, then you deserve compensation for your injuries and losses. Money cannot take away the trauma of a truck crash, but it can give you much-needed financial support as you recover your health and rebuild your life. Every case is different, of course, but in general, Californians can seek compensation that includes economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic damages (quantifiable costs you incurred as a result of the accident) include:
- Current Medical Expenses
- Future Medical Expenses
- Personal Property Damages
- Lost Earning Capacity and Lost Wages
- Rehabilitative Services
- Household Services
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Anguish
- Loss of a Limb
- Loss of Companionship
- Loss of Consortium
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
How long does an El Centro truck accident claim take?It all depends on the facts and circumstances of the El Centro truck crash that left you or a loved one injured. In general, a truck accident claim tends to take a little while longer than an ordinary car accident case, but the exact timeline can vary widely from months to years. Typical factors in an El Centro truck accident case that can affect its timeline include:
- The involvement of numerous parties. Many truck accidents cause harm to multiple victims, and multiple individuals and businesses often have legal and financial interests in the trucks that crash. As a result, truck accident claims often involve numerous parties, all represented by different lawyers. This can add time to resolving a claim.
- The amount and availability of evidence. Truck accidents often leave behind lots of evidence to sift through for clues about who should have a legal liability to victims. The process of reviewing and analyzing that evidence can add time to a claim.
- The degree of dispute over liability and damages. Truck accidents cause lots of damage, which means the party with legal liability may take a significant financial hit. As a result, the defendants in truck accident cases may put up a fight, which can extend the case timeline.
What steps do I need to take following an El Centro truck accident?Steps you take after a truck accident in El Centro can affect your legal rights and financial interests. Here are some tips that may help to keep you protected:
- Call 911: Contact the police immediately after an El Centro truck accident, so first responders can provide emergency medical services and law enforcement can open an investigation.
- Get medical care: Truck accidents often lead to significant injuries that require emergency medical care. However, even if your injuries are not substantial or you do not think you require medical assistance, you still need to see a doctor. Medical professionals can verify you do not have any hidden injuries. The records of your examination can show that you took all the necessary steps to protect your health, and can help establish the scope of your injuries and damages if you decide to pursue a claim.
- Gather evidence: If it is safe to do so, try to gather as much evidence as possible at the accident scene, especially before first responders and clean-up crews arrive. This can include pictures or video of the crash, your visible injuries, skid marks on the road, weather conditions, traffic signs near the impact, and anything else you may find relevant.
- Get the driver’s information: Get information about the truck driver involved in the crash, including name, contact information, driver license number, insurance information, and information about the cargo in the truck.
- Witness information: If any witnesses were present and saw the accident get their name and contact information. Their statements and pictures of the scene may provide your lawyer with valuable evidence when the time comes to build a case for damages.
- Be careful what you say: Avoid making statements admitting fault or apologizing for the accident. These comments can be used against you. Additionally, if the insurance company calls, only provide them with basic information. Do not go into detail about the accident and do not admit fault. The insurance adjuster is looking for ways to deny your claim or lower the amount of money you receive. Statements you make to insurance companies can hurt you.
- Contact a knowledgeable truck accident injury attorney: Truck accidents are complicated and often involve federal and state laws. That is why you need an attorney who has experience handling these types of claims who can build a strong case on your behalf.
Your El Centro Truck Accident LawyersDid you or a loved one suffer serious injuries in a truck accident in El Centro? Do not wait to contact our experienced El Centro truck accident attorneys. Contact us today at (760)-259-2166 for a free consultation about your rights.
Gomez Trial Attorneys 2299 West Adams Avenue, Suite 102 El Centro, CA 92243 (760)-259-2166
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