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Hurt in a Collision with a Tractor Trailer or Big Rig? Our Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help!

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, then it’s important that you seek immediate medical care, and — when you’re ready— that you consult an experienced Los Angeles truck accident lawyer for guidance on how to proceed with your lawsuit.

We routinely handle truck accident disputes and have capably litigated claims involving a variety of personal and commercial truck types, including:

At Banafshe Law Firm, PC, our Los Angeles truck accident lawyer understands the many frustrations and challenges that plaintiffs encounter in the wake of a truck accident, from medical concerns to work-related issues, and more. Injured plaintiffs may find, for example, that they are being misled or otherwise manipulated in communications with their insurance company to undermine an insurance claim. We’re here to help. Our attorneys provide comprehensive representation so that clients can “rest easy” and focus on what’s important: their recovery.

Truck driving in Los Angeles

What are the Primary Causes of a Truck Accident?

Some of the primary causes of truck accidents include:

  • Speeding: According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, speeding is a leading cause of auto fatalities in California. In fact, California reported the second-highest number of speeding deaths in the country this year. In the case of truck accidents, speeding is even more dire, as the sheer size and volume of a truck cause the accident to leave even more damage in its wake.
  • Jackknife Accidents: When a jackknife accident has occurred, the cab of the truck - this is the area of the vehicle where the driver sits - has angled away from the cargo hold. If a driver has lost control of the vehicle because they were speeding, slid or slipped in wet or windy conditions, the rear axle of the truck will often lock and create a whipping force that causes the truck to topple or otherwise spin out of control.
  • Negligence: Unfortunately, truck drivers aren’t always operating at their best. Because they often make lengthy trips, they don’t always get the amount of sleep they need. When the driver fails to properly operate the equipment, adjust their driving patterns, or take adequate care of their health, an accident becomes that much more likely. In addition to holding the driver negligent for his role in the accident, the driver’s employer may be liable for negligent hiring and supervision of employees, or failing to provide adequate safety training.
  • Equipment and Mechanical Failure: Poor maintenance and equipment failures can lead to a wide range of truck accidents. While drivers have a general duty of care, they are also responsible for properly inspecting their vehicles and using reasonable care in adhering to safety regulations put forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These laws require periodic inspections of brakes, tires, and other parts on their vehicles.
  • Unsafe Cargo Loading and Overloading: When cargo is improperly loaded it can cause a variety of issues, including causing tire blowouts or causing accidents from flying debris.
  • Blind-Spot Crashes:  Large trucks also have large blind spots. When drivers sideswipe or change lanes, it’s likely they weren't paying attention to their blind spots.
  • Runaway Trucks: It’s possible to lose control of a truck on a downhill stretch of road that can carry dire consequences for drivers. When the cab detaches from the load itself, the load can often go barreling downhill and towards oncoming traffic, causing immense damage in its wake. 
  • Rollovers: With a higher center of gravity trucks are much more likely to tip over than your average vehicle. This is particularly true of liquid cargo tanks because their center of gravity is constantly shifting due to sloshing.
  • Poor Weather and Road Conditions: When truck drivers are faced with poor driving conditions, such as bad weather or shoddy roads, the likelihood of an accident increases substantially. Visibility is reduced, dangerous conditions - like potholes or ice - abound, and it’s far more difficult to maneuver a truck out of harm’s way than your typical vehicle. As such, truck drivers should avoid these conditions at all costs if they wish to avoid accidents.
  • Improper Braking Technique: Most large trucks have air brake systems, and these types of brakes require extensive knowledge and experience to maneuver. Add to the equation that trucks are carrying heavy cargo and that it is far more difficult to stop a large, heavy vehicle than it is your average car, and understanding this complex brake system becomes all the more paramount.

Your Los Angeles Truck  Accident Lawyer Will Recover the Fatigue Log Book

Driver fatigue is one of the main factors contributing to truck accidents across the United States, and it is particularly common in the commercial truck driving industry. Despite the fact that commercial truck driving is a highly regulated industry with maximum consecutive driving hours limits and mandatory break periods, many truck drivers are overworked, improperly scheduled and incentivized or otherwise encouraged to get their jobs done in a way that puts them at risk.

Fatigue logbooks can give the injured plaintiff a sense of the driver’s schedule and whether it is consistent with the facts of the case. Truck drivers and their employers often skirt regulations by falsifying information on their logbooks. If you discover falsified records, then you and a Los Angeles truck accident attorney may be able to hold the driver and employer liable for significant damages — the court may even choose to impose punitive damages, depending on the circumstances.

Our Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyer Outlines Fault and Liability

Victims of truck accidents often struggle to identify who’s to blame after the accident. Would they sue the driver of the truck? The company that hired them to deliver their goods? Both? Below, we review what you need to know when preparing to file a lawsuit after a truck accident.

The Facts of the Crash Will Be a Major Factor

How the trucking accident occurred will be a significant factor in helping a victim determine who they need to sue. Some of the most crucial elements in a claim revolve around whether the accident was caused by any vehicle or manufacturing defects, or whether the driver was an employee or independent contractor of the company that hired them to drive the truck. If the issue that caused the accident can ultimately be traced to a trucking company, then you would typically pursue a claim against the business and their insurance company. Your Los Angeles truck accident lawyer will likely review your case’s specific facts at your initial meeting and begin making recommendations on the best approach for you.

The Trucker, The Trucking Company, and Liability in California

In California, truck drivers either work as independent contractors with different trucking gigs or are employed through a company. Their legal responsibilities in the event of an accident will change depending on the truck driver’s employment status and fault in the accident. For example, if the driver’s negligence caused the accident, and the driver is an independent contractor, then they might be entirely liable for the accident, and you would pursue a claim against the driver’s insurance company.

On the other hand, if the trucking company also contributed in some way to the accident - such as failing to properly vet the driver’s driving record or ability to carry out the job at hand safely - then they may share liability. If the driver does not have adequate insurance or cannot carry liability on their own, the trucking company and their insurance firm may also be held liable for damages.

What Kinds of Injuries Normally Occur in Los Angeles Truck Accidents?

A variety of injuries can occur due to an accident, and the severity of the accident can range from serious to fatal. While not all truck accidents can lead to a serious injury, it’s unlikely that you will walk out of a truck accident entirely unscathed. As such, it’s important to consider contacting a Los Angeles truck accident lawyer to understand how you can begin recovering damages for your accident.

Some of the most common injuries that can occur from a truck accident include:

  • Head and brain injuries: These injuries can lead to some of the most traumatic, long-term injuries that a person can occur. Brain injuries can cause paralysis, memory loss, and significantly alter a person’s ability to go on with their lives as usual. When a brain or head injury occurs, negligent drivers and their insurance companies are required to cover the injured’s medical expenses and lost wages.
  • Spinal injuries: Spinal injuries can cause permanent damage and often lead to paralysis or even death. While these injuries can range from mild to severe, a severe spinal injury can irrevocably alter the course of your life. As such, you may be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages, such as compensation for pain and suffering. 
  • Internal injuries: Bruising of your internal organs can lead to a host of complications, including death. While you may not have any visible injuries after a car accident, it’s important to see a doctor immediately to ensure that you haven’t damaged any internal organs. These injuries require immediate surgery or medical intervention in order to avoid a more serious complication.
  • Broken bones and lacerations: Fractures, deep cuts, and scars are all possible side effects of a truck accident, and depending on their severity may require long-term medical treatment and costly cosmetic procedures.
  • Death: Fatality is certainly possible when a truck accident has occurred, and the family or loved ones of victims of truck accidents are usually able to recover damages for this tragic loss. Wrongful death claims are one of a number of personal injury claims that can be made after a truck accident.

Damages Available in California Truck Accidents

If you have been injured in a trucking accident you are entitled to compensatory damages, which can be divided into two categories: economic damages (out of pocket expenses) and non-economic damages. Damages your Los Angeles truck accident lawyer will fight for include:

  • Medical Bills
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Lost earnings or wages
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Physical Disfigurement
  • Mental Anguish
  • Property Damage
  • Funeral Expenses and related costs in the event of a wrongful death claim

How Does a Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyer Calculate What Damages are Available?

Once you begin working with an attorney, they will make recommendations regarding the types of damages that may be available to you after this accident. If your injuries are extensive, you may be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages, meaning you will be compensated for your medical expenses and lost wages in addition to costs associated with pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life. In some instances, you may also be able to recover punitive damages, which are designed to rectify egregiously reckless conduct by requiring the negligent party to pay exorbitant damages that would utterly ruin their business.

In March 2021, for example, P. Ryan Banafshe represented a family devastated by a truck accident. With factors such as the motorcyclist having the right of way when he was struck by a utility truck, the judge and jury awarded nearly $24 million dollars to the man and his family. 

How Are California Truck Accidents Different from Car Accidents?

Truck accidents differ from car accidents in a number of ways. For this reason, it is extremely important to hire a Los Angeles truck accident lawyer who has specific experience handling cases like yours. Some of the primary differences between truck accidents and car accidents include:

  • The Number of Issues Involved – Due to the size and complexity of large commercial trucks, there are many more issues that can cause serious and fatal trucking collisions. From violations of federal safety regulations (i.e. driving too many consecutive hours or parking on the shoulder of a highway ) to truck defects (i.e. cargo strap failures and tire blowouts), numerous additional issues can be at play in commercial truck accidents.
  • The Number of Parties Involved – Due to the number of issues involved in commercial truck accidents, additional parties may be involved as well. For example, while a typical car accident case will involve a claim under the other driver’s insurance policy, a truck accident case could involve claims against the driver’s insurance company, the trucking company, the shipping company, the truck manufacturer, and various other entities and vendors.
  • The Severity of the Victims’ Injuries – In many cases, commercial truck accidents will also result in injuries that are more-severe than those involved in “ordinary” passenger vehicle collisions. Truck accident victims will often suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBI), spinal cord injuries (SCI), paralysis, broken bones, burns, wrongful death and other severe physical and emotional traumatic injuries with lifelong consequences.

What If I Was Partially at Fault?

If you were partially at fault in a truck accident in Los Angeles, how will this impact your claim for financial compensation?

The short answer is, “It depends.” In cases involving multiple at-fault parties, California follows the rule of “pure comparative negligence.” Under this rule, an accident victim’s financial recovery is reduced in proportion to his or her percentage of fault. For example, if you were 50 percent at fault, you would be entitled to recover 50 percent of your losses. However, if you were only 10 percent at fault, then you would still be entitled to 90 percent of your total economic and non-economic damages.

With all of that said, you should never assume that you were partially or completely at fault in a truck accident even if the insurance carrier places you at fault. There are simply too many things that can go wrong to determine fault without conducting a thorough investigation. As your law firm, we will investigate the facts and retain the best experts to determine liability. Your truck accident attorney  will also conclusively establish liability in your case and we will seek maximum compensation on your behalf.

How a Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help After a Serious Crash

If you have been seriously injured in a commercial truck accident, you need to seek legal representation right away. Here are just some of the ways that an experienced Los Angeles truck accident lawyer can help with your case:

  • Conducting a thorough investigation to establish liability
  • Retaining the best truck experts in the country to inspect the truck and all vehicles.
  • Conduct background check on the truck driver and the employer
  • Working with your doctors and other experts to fully calculate your losses
  • Addressing any allegations of comparative negligence
  • Pursuing claims against all parties that share liability for your accident-related injuries
  • Negotiating for a favorable settlement, and taking your truck accident case to trial if necessary

Contact Banafshe Law Firm for a Free Consultation with an Experienced Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyer

Ready to move forward with your claims? Call us at 310-273-7300 or complete a case evaluation form through our website to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced Los Angeles truck accident lawyer at our firm. The consultation is confidential, and there is no obligation to continue.

Even if you are not sure about your truck accident claims, it’s crucial that you contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible. In California, as in other states, there is a statute of limitations period that applies to your injury claims (specifically, two years from the date of injury in California). Failure to bring an action before the statute of limitations deadline passes could lead to an automatic case dismissal. As such, a brief evaluation could spell the difference between a win and a loss. Call now to learn the strength of your truck accident claim.

© 2021 Banafshe Law Firm, PC.