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California is a major site for international trade and shipping, which means a huge volume of goods are transported via commercial trucks on the state’s roadways. According to the American Trucking Association, trucks moved 11.49 billion tons of freight in one recent year, representing more than 71 percent of the nation’s total weight of freight.
Unfortunately, increased commercial trucks on Temecula’s roadways results in increased accidents. In the most recent year for which data is available, 4,986 fatal crashes involved large trucks in our state, and large trucks are a common sight throughout the Temecula area. While all motor vehicle collisions can cause dangerous injuries, the sheer size and weight of commercial trucks can cause catastrophic damage in an accident. After a truck accident injury, victims may experience devastating personal and financial consequences.
The experienced and compassionate Temecula truck accident lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys regularly fight for the rights of injured victims to seek the compensation they are entitled to. Call us now to find out how we can help you.
Large trucks often weigh 20 to 30 times more than passenger vehicles, and the vehicle sits much higher above the ground than the average passenger vehicle. Damage and injuries resulting from accidents involving large commercial trucks tend to be extensive and severe. Drivers may cause a rollover accident if they lose control of a large truck. Federal regulations have recently been amended, requiring commercial trucks to be equipped with electronic stability controls, which are intended to reduce the risk of rollover.
The performance and capability of a truck’s braking system commonly contribute to truck accidents. Generally, commercial trucks are more difficult to maneuver, which may lead to an accident. For example, a loaded tractor-trailer requires more distance than a car to safely come to a complete stop. When brakes are poorly maintained or road conditions are hazardous, trucks may require even more distance to stop safely.
Additional causes of truck accidents may include:
When large commercial trucks collide with smaller vehicles, the accident frequently causes severe injuries, including:
A truck accident case may involve multiple areas of the law—personal injury, workers’ compensation, employment law, or criminal law. California has adopted an “at fault” system for determining liability in a motor vehicle accident. An injured victim may be entitled to seek compensation by proving that another’s negligence caused an accident that resulted in the injuries. Negligence refers to “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.”
Therefore, to prevail in a personal injury lawsuit, the injured person must show that:
The trucking industry is heavily regulated by a complex network of state and federal regulations created to ensure the safety of truck drivers and others on the roadways. All commercial trucking companies must abide by the rules set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In California, truck drivers are held to a higher standard than other motorists due to the nature of the industry and skill required for safely operating large commercial vehicles.
Drivers must go through extensive training to obtain a commercial driver’s license and to conform to a variety of safety regulations. All drivers have a duty to use ordinary care while driving. The duty of care involves obeying all signs, signals, and rules of the road, as well as driving in a manner that allows a driver to maintain consistent control of the vehicle.
When an accident results in injury or death, drivers must report the accident to the California Highway Patrol or a local police department within 24 hours of the accident. The statute of limitations provides time limits within which individuals may file a personal injury claim. Experienced attorneys regularly fight for the rights of injured victims to seek the compensation they deserve. An attorney may advise injured victims of the applicable deadlines for filing their claim, so they are not barred from seeking compensation.
Just as an accident may be caused by multiple factors, there may be multiple parties who share responsibility for accident injuries. Injured victims should identify all responsible parties before filing a claim.
Potentially responsible parties may include:
Truck accidents tend to have larger settlements than accidents involving any other type of vehicle. Compensation may be larger for a variety of reasons, including strict insurance requirements for commercial trucks and the ability to sue parties other than the driver. Additionally, truck accidents usually cause serious injuries with extensive medical expenses. Injured victims may also be entitled to compensation for non-monetary damages, such as pain and suffering.
Depending on the circumstances, an injured victim may recover damages, including:
In cases where the conduct of the wrongdoer was particularly egregious, the court may award additional damages, or punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to act as a punishment to deter similarly egregious behavior in the future.
After a Temecula truck accident, injured victims may want to follow a few steps to increase their chances of success. Of course, after suffering an injury, a victim must seek immediate medical attention. Even for those who feel they have only suffered minor injuries, seeking a medical evaluation is important. As mentioned, some injuries do not display symptoms for hours, days, or even weeks after an accident.
Failing to seek immediate treatment may worsen injuries or delay recovery. Professional documentation of a victim’s injuries and the medical care they require are important for calculating damages for a personal injury claim.
In addition, injured victims should:
Injured in an accident? Get a real trial lawyer. Get Gomez.
The average semi-truck weighs up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. This massive size and weight can lead to treacherous truck accidents that often result in more property damage, more severe injuries, and a higher chance of fatalities than other traffic accidents. Truck accident victims and their families face a wide range of challenges that go beyond the physical pain of injury. Large medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses associated with severe injuries impact a household’s financial health.
If you or a loved one has recently sustained injuries in a Temecula truck accident, you might feel unsure about what to do next. You have the legal right to seek compensation for your damages if someone else’s negligence led to your truck accident injuries.
Contact a skilled Temecula truck accident lawyer at Gomez Trial Attorneys today. We can evaluate the circumstances of your truck accident and guide you in the right direction for your situation. Until you have the opportunity to consult our attorneys, the following frequently asked questions about truck accidents in Temecula provide useful information about taking legal action to recover damages after a truck accident.
You should always contact your insurance carrier after a traffic collision, even if you did not cause the accident. Most auto insurance policies contain language that requires policyholders to report any accident. Failure to report the accident to your insurance carrier could lead them to cancel your coverage or refuse to renew your policy. Truck accidents are often expensive because of the massive property damage and severe injuries involved, so you need your carrier on your side when a trucker’s or trucking company’s negligence caused an accident.
Also, you may have coverage that can help you after a truck accident that was not your fault. While you wait for your truck accident claim to settle or go to trial, MedPay protection or medical insurance coverage could kick in to pay for some of your medical expenses and lost wages. California does not require drivers to purchase this add-on coverage, but if you chose to do so when you purchased your policy, you can collect the benefits quickly after your accident and injuries.
Under California law, you have two years from the date of the accident to bring a lawsuit against the truck driver, trucking company, or another allegedly liable party. The same time limit applies if a loved one died in a trucking accident and you wish to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the allegedly liable party. The law does allow for some exceptions, but they are rare. In most situations, if you do not bring a lawsuit within the two-year statute of limitations, a court will likely refuse to hear your case and you will probably miss out on the opportunity to recover damages related to your truck accident and injuries.
If it has been longer than two years since your accident, you should still contact a lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced truck accident attorney can review your case and determine if your situation might be an exception.
Sometimes, it’s obvious who you should name in your lawsuit, and sometimes, it’s not. Truck accidents are notoriously complex and choosing the right party to sue is not always clear. Also, you can name more than one party if multiple parties may bear liability. Your Temecula truck accident lawyer will evaluate the circumstances of your specific accident and the likely causes. After investigation, they will identify the party or parties you should name in your truck accident lawsuit.
Defendants commonly include one or more of the following:
Any time an insurance company makes a settlement offer, accident victims are best served by consulting with a Temecula truck accident lawyer before accepting. Insurance companies are only concerned about their bottom line and take drastic measures to avoid financial liability. This is especially true with costly truck accidents that typically lead to high-value claims. If an insurance company knows their policyholder is at fault for the accident, making an early settlement offer is a go-to tactic to avoid paying a large settlement amount or court-awarded damages.
Truck accident victims who enter into an early settlement agreement are not only likely to receive far less compensation than they deserve, but they must waive their right to seek further compensation. One of the main issues with early settlements is that you typically do not yet know the full extent of your injuries and related expenses.
Before you agree to a settlement offer, you need to know the true value of your claim. Your body must heal as much as possible and you need to know whether you have any permanent injuries before you can accurately value your claim. Settling too soon can leave you without the compensation you need to cover future lost wages and ongoing medical expenses.
California law permits eligible surviving family members to take legal action against negligent truck drivers and trucking companies who cause fatal truck accidents. Wrongful death lawsuits in California have two parts that families typically pursue simultaneously: the wrongful death action and the survival action.
The wrongful death portion of the lawsuit involves damages that family members incur from losing their loved ones, such as burial expenses and funeral costs, as well as damages to relationships, such as loss of parental support for children or loss of companionship for spouses. Survival actions involve damages and losses incurred by your loved one from the time of injury until they died.
A representative of the deceased’s estate must bring a survival action, so they typically handle the wrongful death portion of the claim too. If the court rules in your favor, damages go to the estate, which distributes them based on your loved one’s will or, if they did not have a will, California’s intestate laws.
In Temecula truck accident crashes, it’s common for the accident victim and the insurance company to reach a settlement agreement long before the case goes to court. Going to court comes with a wide range of costs that neither side generally wants to pay.
However, sometimes settlement is not an option. The insurance company might vehemently dispute liability or make insultingly low settlement offers. In these cases, your attorney can advocate for you in court and fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your truck accident injuries. Although it’s unlikely you will have to go to court for your Temecula truck accident claim, you should be prepared for that possibility in case settlement negotiations fail.
Several factors determine the value of a truck accident claim and how much you might receive from a settlement or court-awarded damages, making it impossible to predict a specific amount.
Some elements that drastically impact the amount of compensation you could receive include:
Yes, you can afford to get the legal counsel you need from Gomez Trial Attorneys. Our Temecula truck accident law firm always offers free case reviews for potential clients to discuss the circumstances of their truck accidents and injuries. During an evaluation, the attorney will consider your case’s merits and advise you about whether they believe you have a viable claim.
If you choose to hire a lawyer, you very likely will not have to pay an out-of-pocket retainer fee. We always take new clients on a contingency fee basis. Contingency agreements give lawyers permission to deduct their fees from any settlement or jury award you receive as a result of their representation.
If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your medical bills and other losses. Gomez Trial Attorneys are here to help. Contact an experienced Temecula personal injury attorney or call (619) 237-3490 to discuss your options for moving forward.
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Temecula, CA 92590
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“Mr. John Gomez and his team, Gomez Trial Attorneys, are very passionate about the work they do. They never left us alone and were always in our corner every step of the way. Never once during the process did we ever feel we were in this by ourselves. They are very diligent, thorough and compassionate at the same time. We had a delicate case and they always made sure we were comfortable. The made it easy for us to meet with them and very accommodating. They definitely did all their homework and of course, the result was a positive outcome.”
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