Modesto lies in the heart of Central Valley and that means the agricultural industry is a big part of our lives. Almonds and tomatoes and dozens of other crops are grown here. Chicken and dairy farms and the production that goes along with them help feed the entire nation.
Even if you don’t work in the agricultural sector, there are reminders everywhere you look. You likely drive local roads alongside large farm vehicles, produce trucks, and big transport semis no matter where you travel.
This activity is good for the economy, but giant vehicles in their own lanes and partially in yours can create dangerous traffic hazards. You or a loved one might be injured in an accident and find yourselves forced to ask a truck driver and a trucking company for help.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Modesto Truck Accident Lawyer
After an accident with a heavy truck, you are more likely to suffer a severe injury. You could face days or weeks of hospital care and be in desperate need of relief from the bills that are piling up. The good news is at-fault truck drivers and the companies they work for can both be liable for your hardships.
To find out what you should be expecting after a truck accident, contact a skilled Modesto Truck Accident Lawyer. Maison Law offers this consultation at no charge or obligation to you or your family. It’s an easy way to get a handle on the benefits after a collision. It’s also a great point to start determining how many parties may owe you and your family support.
Truck Accident Dangers Around Modesto
The trucks that pull out of local food processing plants and manufacturing centers in Modesto each day take the same streets and highways you probably do. When you enter Briggsmore Avenue you’ll see them. When you merge onto Highway 99 you’ll likely spot a line of large trucks.
These giant transport vehicles can weigh 80,000lbs or more and yet still travel 20 miles over the speed limit. At that weight, they can take the length of several football fields to come to a complete stop.
These trucks are more likely to be in your way. Truck drivers are more likely to miss spotting you as they switch lanes. The resulting Modesto truck collisions carry more force and are more likely to cause serious injuries.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that over 4,000 people tragically lost their lives in accidents involving trucks in a single year. 16% of those victims were truck occupants. 67% were the occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles. Another 15% were pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycle riders.
These devastating accidents only go to show how likely you are to become a victim. Unfortunately, another common theme in these Modesto truck accidents is how victims get the runaround when asking for insurance support as they heal.
What to Do After a Modesto Truck Accident
If you are involved in a truck accident, it’s critical to make sure you walk away from the scene with the most evidence possible to present in an injury claim. If you are physically able, you should collect these key details that prove what happened:
- Call 911. Tell the Modesto Police or the California Highway Patrol about everything you saw before the accident. Include if you saw the truck driver behaving carelessly or recklessly. Allow EMTs to check out every pain you feel. Go to the hospital if necessary.
- Take pictures at the scene. If you must go to the emergency room, ask someone with you or a helpful witness to take pictures. Show the damage to all vehicles and traffic signs and lane markings. Take photos of the business logos that identify who the truck belongs to.
- Talk to witnesses. Find out what they saw. Get their addresses and phone numbers so your personal injury lawyer can secure testimony from them later.
- Exchange information with the truck driver. Jot down an employee number if the driver has one. Don’t make any statements about accident fault or your injuries to the driver or anyone representing their company or insurance provider later on the phone.
- See your doctor. Do everything your physician recommends. Keep records of your treatment and your bills.
Who You Can Sue and What Can Earn Compensation For
Truck accidents may leave several parties liable for your injuries and your financial hardships. The truck driver will likely carry commercial truck insurance. This coverage provides some help, but the policy’s limits might be low and leave you paying out of pocket for your care.
The truck driver’s employer could also carry insurance coverage for its employees. This could be a local trucking company or a major corporation that’s involved in your injury case. Beware that a large company will probably have its own lawyers who will all be working to limit the support you receive. It’s vital to have your own Modesto Truck Accident Lawyer protecting your rights.
A truck manufacturer could also bear liability in your case. If it’s shown that a mechanical problem or design flaw is to blame for your accident you could sue the truck maker. Your Modesto personal injury lawyer would also check to see if there were any recalls on parts used by the truck that hit you.
If you file a claim for damages against one or all of these potentially responsible parties, you’ll want to make sure they have a thorough list of the difficulties you’ve endured. If these hardships aren’t included in your claim, they can’t earn you additional compensation in an insurance settlement.
These damages can include:
- Medical expenses in the present and for the expected care in the future.
- Permanent disability/disfigurement. As mentioned above, this care includes every cost you encounter in the years ahead. Medical care and financial support must be provided over the lifespan of the victim.
- Physical pain and mental trauma.
- Travel to doctor’s appointments and consultations with medical experts in other cities.
- Lost time from work.
- Wrongful Death. Families may file a wrongful death claim against a trucking company if a loved one has been lost in a Modesto accident. This claim would seek help with funeral and burial expenses and medical costs built up before the victim passed on. The financial support the victim can no longer provide the family should also factor in.
Common Injuries Associated with Truck Accidents
Accidents involving a big rig, a box truck, or a fruit truck may leave you more vulnerable than in a normal impact. Just the shape of these trucks might bring additional hazards for drivers and passengers.
Vehicles often end up under these high-riding vehicles. Occupants of cars and SUVs end up trapped. Victims then have to wait on extrication by rescue crews, and in that delay of medical attention suffer even worse injuries.
Traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, spine, back and neck injuries are all common outcomes. Internal organs and soft tissue like muscles and tendons are also at risk.
In the most devastating injuries, patients can be left with a permanent disability that affects their whole lives. These are just a few of the hardships patients with long-term injuries will face:
- Initial Hospital Care – Emergency room care and a week or more in a hospital result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. Victims can face amputation and additional surgeries down the road. Mobility, eyesight, hearing disabilities are also common.
- Rehabilitation– Victims will need perhaps a lifetime of physical therapy treatment as they cope with a new lifestyle. Relearning certain movements in order to regain some freedom can take years or a lifetime of effort.
- Home Upgrades and Medical Equipment – Patients must eventually return home and that transition must be made as easy as possible. Wheelchair ramps are often built and bedroom and bathroom modifications are often necessary. The goal is to give the victim as much freedom at home and at work as possible. Medical equipment and upgrades are often needed once a year or more for patients.
- Career Training – A long-term injury often makes it impossible for the patient to return to their jobs. Victims could need lifelong financial help to support themselves and their families. It’s possible a new career could be found for the disabled victim, but support to cover career training would be necessary. At-fault truck drivers and their employers can’t be allowed to escape liability for this consequence.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim After a Truck Accident?
California sets the statute of limitations on truck accident injury claims at two years. It’s important not to wait years to file your claim if possible.
The sooner you discuss your claim with a qualified California Truck Accident Lawyer, the sooner your attorney starts to build your case. Evidence will be easier to obtain the less time that’s passed.
Witnesses are also much easier to keep track of when your lawyer is in contact with them from the start. Witnesses can move and investigating officers might also be transferred to different departments or move out of state. These are all challenges if you decide to wait a year or more to file your claim.
Do I need a Lawyer After an Accident?
Usually yes. If your accident only involves a very minor injury and property damage, you may be better off filing a claim yourself. However, when a serious injury is involved, you need a Modesto Truck Accident Lawyer simply to get treated fairly by the many insurance companies you’ll deal with. If you are being unfairly blamed for an accident, it’s also wise to speak with a personal injury lawyer.
An experienced lawyer will know how to best calculate your financial needs now and your needs down the road. Once this estimate is made, your lawyer knows how to best obtain every cent of this money.
You’ll also need an attorney to protect you from the tactics insurance adjusters use to limit the support you are awarded. They can purposely delay responding to your claim. Insurance representatives know that the longer they wait the more hospital bills you’ll receive. You’ll also get farther behind on your monthly bills like rent, mortgage, and car payments.
Once you are desperate for help, insurance companies like to extend a “lowball offer.” This offer will be far less than you need to recover, but you may be willing to take anything at this point. Your lawyer heads off these sorts of mind games and makes sure you don’t sign away your rights to the coverage your family will need down the road.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I was partially to blame for my accident with a truck?
If you did something that contributed to your accident, you should know California has a comparative negligence system. This means the fault can be divided by percentage among all parties involved. You could still earn injury support from a trucking company, but your award would be reduced by your level of liability.
Should I talk to representatives for a trucking company after an accident?
No. You should refuse to give a statement about the accident to anyone claiming to be with the driver’s company or insurance provider. California does not require that you give these companies a statement. They will take a recorded statement and try to twist it to hurt your claim.
What happens if a trucking company won’t accept liability in an accident they caused?
Your attorney will be working to provide enough evidence that a trucker and a trucking company can’t escape blame. An attorney would also look into driving records for the driver and safety and training records for the company to prove fault and liability.
Contact a Modesto Truck Accident Lawyer
After you or a loved one are hurt in a truck accident, discuss your case with a skilled Modesto Traffic Accident Lawyer as soon as possible. You should know about your rights and the benefits available before speaking with any insurance adjuster or lawyer for a company that sends truck drivers out on Modesto roads.
Attorney Martin Gasparian offers a free and confidential case evaluation. Mr. Gasparian works hard to make sure clients are allowed to rebuild their health and their lives without worrying over hospital bills and lost paychecks.