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.
In rear-end accidents, it is easier for a Los Angeles truck accident attorney to prove liability than in most other collisions, as — unless you came to a sudden stop on a highway — the defendant most likely was not paying sufficient attention to the road, was traveling at a high speed or encountered a mechanical issue that led to the collision.
Head-on collisions tend to be associated with a severe injury, and for a good reason. The total force of impact in a head-on collision is a combination of the force of impact of both vehicles colliding (separately measured). A head-on collision can, therefore, lead to severe injuries even if both vehicles are not speeding.
T-bone collisions (also known as side-impact collisions) are among the most dangerous types of truck accidents.
Most vehicles feature a large amount of material on the front and back that crumples to disperse the force of impact from a collision. The sides of vehicles do not generally feature this protective material, however. Though some vehicles attempt to strengthen the frame to minimize the damage from a side impact, there is simply not enough material in the sides to crumple and reduce the force of impact. This is further compounded by the fact that many vehicles do not have side airbags installed. As such, the injuries from a T-bone collision can be quite severe.
Multi-vehicle collisions can give rise to several unique legal issues.
If there are multiple potentially liable defendants, for example, then one or more of the defendants may argue that they are not responsible for your injuries. Causation can perhaps best be visualized as a chain of events that links the defendant’s conduct with the suffered harm. If the chain is broken by an unforeseen event, then that defendant cannot actually be held liable. Unexpected events sometimes include the conduct of other defendants.
In California, and elsewhere, unsafe lane changing behavior is a major factor contributing to truck accidents. In fact, under California Vehicle Code 22107, unsafe lane changes are made explicitly illegal.
Vehicle Code 22107 allows drivers to change lanes only when it is reasonably safe, and only after giving the appropriate turn signal. Changing lanes by providing a turn signal (but when the circumstances are dangerous) is considered a violation. Changing lanes when it’s safe to do so, but without giving an appropriate turn signal, is also a violation.
Whether the circumstances made the lane change safe is a fact-dependent evaluation. The court will compare the defendant’s conduct to other similarly situated drivers and determine if their conduct fell outside the applicable standard of care. If the defendant’s conduct did not meet the standard of care, then they can be found negligent (and therefore held liable for damages resulting from the dangerous lane change).
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.
If cargo is improperly secured, then it could loosen and fall off the truck. Lost load accidents can be hazardous, as items falling from the truck can obscure the vision of other drivers, collide with other drivers, or present road obstacles that force other drivers to engage in dangerous avoidance maneuvers.
Improperly loaded cargo (i.e., unsecured cargo, cargo loaded too heavily to one side of the truck) can heighten the risk of a rollover accident due to significant weight shifting aboard the truck. Rollover accidents are quite common in the truck driving industry, but litigation may involve more than just the truck driver — in fact, your Los Angeles truck accident lawyer may be able to sue the employees (and employer) responsible for loading and inspecting the cargo.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.