Semi-trucks and tractor-trailers densely populate California’s roads and highways. Since California is a production and manufacturing giant, other drivers must constantly watch out for tired, distracted, or otherwise unsafe truck drivers sharing the streets.
Drivers of giant big rigs and tractor-trailers may not properly look when they turn in front of you. As a result, they are prone to causing devastating collisions.
When you are involved in an accident with a semi-truck, tractor-trailer, or other large truck and it was a trucking company’s driver’s fault, you shouldn’t have to pay for your own recovery. Their insurance company is liable to compensate you for all of the damages you suffer as a result of the accident.
Especially with expensive big rig accidents in California, the insurance company is interested in paying you as little as possible. Contact Maison Law today for a free case analysis to find out what your truck accident case is really worth.
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Free Big Rig Accident Consultation
Any collision with a semi-truck or tractor-trailer in California can lead to disastrous consequences.
Even with the serious injuries that often result from big rig accidents in California, insurance companies try to pay as little as possible for victims’ recovery.
That is why Maison Law offers a free, no-obligation consultation to California truck accident injury victims. We will be happy to answer your legal questions and discuss your full range of options for moving your accident case forward.
Semi-Truck Accidents in California
California’s high-volume manufacturing sector ships out food, cars, home goods, and hi-tech products across the globe. Those vital industries are great for the economy and provide jobs for millions of people, but provide a hazard for drivers sharing the road with big rigs.
If you’re driving to work in your car or SUV you might feel like you’re constantly dodging giants on the road. One mistake by a tired or distracted big rig driver can have devastating results for the smaller vehicles on the road.
Some of the causes of California’s semi-truck accidents include:
- Drowsy Truck Drivers
- Freeway Accidents
- Head-On Collisions
- Distracted Drivers
- DUI Truck Accidents
- Inclement Weather Conditions
- Left Turn Truck Accidents
- Rear-End Truck Accidents
- Sideswipe Truck Accidents
- Wide Turn Truck Accidents
- Accidents with Overloaded and Unbalanced Trucks
- Accidents with Runaway Semi-Trucks
- Accidents with Food Trucks
- Accidents with Livestock Trucks
- Truck Accidents in High Wind
Who Can Be Sued After a Truck Accident in California?
California big rig accident cases involving professional drivers can get very complex because there can be so many different parties and insurance providers bearing responsibility.
- Independent Driver — You may have been hit by a local driver who is only covered by his or her personal insurance policy.
- Local Transport Company — Drivers may be working for a smaller, local delivery or shipping company that provides some insurance.
- National Distributor — That local company may be contracted out by a national distributor who works to move goods for large corporations.
- Large Corporations – These national and international companies may have their own in-house network of shippers. Companies like Amazon or Grimmway Farms can rely on their own drivers and also use local trucking companies or drivers when their orders are at overwhelming levels.
- Truck Manufacturer – If there’s a defect with the truck that causes an accident, perhaps there’s been a recall, the maker of the vehicle can also be called upon to provide compensation for their mistake.
A California Big Rig Accident Lawyer works to identify every party that bears fault in your accident. This is the only way to make sure you receive the support you need to make a full recovery.
One of these parties may be held responsible for your accident, or perhaps all of them depending on the circumstances. And when larger companies get involved, there’s always the chance that corporate lawyers get called in to work against you and try to prove their company isn’t liable for your injuries.
For all of these reasons and more, you need an experienced California big rig accident lawyer working for you to sort everything out for you while you heal. Sadly, the bigger the company that you must go through to find compensation, the bigger the fight you’ll likely have on your hands. But not to worry, Martin Gasparian, the founder of Maison Law, started his career working for large corporations and uses that inside knowledge to make sure regular people who are in serious need of help don’t get taken advantage of.
How Much Is a Big Rig Accident Case Worth in California?
The amount of money you’ll earn from a personal injury claim is hard to predict because each case is so different.
The severity of your injury can play a major factor in compensation totals. Truck accident cases generally involve more serious injuries because of the size, weight, and shape of the massive vehicles involved.
Severe injuries often require longer stays in the hospital, longer rehabilitation, and have a greater effect on your life. Long-term injuries or permanent disabilities could require financial support over years or even a lifetime.
Here are a few other factors that can affect how much you are awarded in a big rig accident settlement or from a court judgment:
- Lost Paychecks. The longer you are down with an injury the more shifts you miss at your place of employment. You’ll need to be reimbursed for your lost wages and potentially compensated for raises, bonuses, and promotions you may have been absent for.
- Driver’s Insurance Limits. The big rig driver’s insurance may have cap limits that run out before all of your hospital bills are paid. In truck accidents, once a truck driver’s insurance has been exhausted, it’s often possible to sue the trucking company for the additional compensation you require.
- Physical and Emotional Hardships. Non-economic damages are awarded for your pain and suffering. After a devastating big rig accident, victims can suffer anxiety and depression. Especially when injuries keep them from doing things they once enjoyed.
- Your Personal Injury Lawyer’s Level of Experience. A skilled California attorney with experience at the negotiating table and in the courtroom can make a substantial difference in the compensation you receive.
Do You Need a Truck Accident Lawyer to File a Lawsuit in California?
Victims are permitted to file a lawsuit on their own behalf in an accident. However, this is not in the victim’s best interest, especially in an accident involving a large truck in California.
In a normal traffic accident, the issue of compensation for property damage and treatment of injuries is generally between you, the other driver, and that driver’s insurance company. Truck accident claims can play out very differently, because the at-fault truck driver may be driving for a local company or a national trucking corporation.
This means you may have to sort out just who shares in the blame for your accident. Truck drivers may work for themselves and have commercial truck accident insurance to compensate victims. The driver could also work for a trucking company that might share in the liability for your hardships.
Some of these businesses may send corporate lawyers and insurance representatives to your doorstep. They are there to get you to drop your expectations for support or perhaps get you to accept the blame for an accident you didn’t cause.
Insurance claims involving commercial trucks can quickly become complex cases and it’s important to have a skilled attorney on your side just to even the playing field. Your personal injury attorney will make sure you earn what’s fair for your injury and protect you from the tactics insurance companies turn to when seeking to rob victims of compensation.
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Frequently Asked Questions About California Semi-Truck Accidents
After a serious truck accident in California, your compensation amount is based on the resulting financial hardships you endure. A California personal injury lawyer with experience in trucking accidents will know all of the damages to anticipate. Some of these include:
- Medical bills (present and future)
- Missed time from work (present and future)
- Property damage
- Travel time to see doctors and specialists
- Emotional hardships for you and your family
Getting into an accident with a commercial truck or van may leave you filing an insurance claim with multiple parties. This can include both the driver and the trucking company.
Truck drivers may work for themselves and will carry commercial auto accident insurance. Your attempt to get insurance support for your hospital bills and your lost wages may only involve the driver.
The truck driver may be an employee or a contract driver for a local company or a national corporation. In these cases, the employer may also have to accept full or partial blame for your accident. The chances they’ll face responsibility increase if it’s revealed they’ve hired an unsafe driver with prior safety violations.
A third party, the truck’s manufactuer can also be targeted in a lawsuit if it’s proven a design flaw or defect contributed to your accident. A recall may have been issued but not repaired on the truck.
It’s important to turn your case over to a skilled California personal injury attorney. Your attorney will quickly determine every party that should be included in an injury claim. That attorney also makes sure you receive everything you need to pay for recovery, even if that means suing the driver and his or her employer.
A criminal trial will be separate from your civil lawsuit. Your claim for damages doesn’t have to wait for a criminal trial to resolve. A truck driver may be facing DUI, Hit-And-Run, or other misdemeanor or felony charges, but your civil claim for damages can proceed separately.
No. Insurance agents from any of the at-fault parties may call you asking for a statement on what happened. Tell them you won’t make a recorded statement. They are hoping you’ll make a mistake and say something that hurts your claim. Let your attorney handle these calls.
A reputable personal injury lawyer won’t ask for any money from you until you earn a monetary victory in either an insurance settlement or in a court judgment. This means your attorney doesn’t get paid for his or her work until they win your truck accident case.
This is called working on a “contingency basis.” The attorney fee is taken out of the compensation you earn hopefully earn from an insurance company.
This share is often around a third of your award, but you should always discuss how much your personal injury lawyer will receive and when before you hire him or her.
Personal injury lawyers tie up a lot of their own time and money in your case and can have to wait months or even a year or more to hopefully get paid. They can end up investing months of energy and funds only to receive nothing in the end. They must require a suitable portion of any award earned to make the risks they take worth it.
To prove the truck driver was at fault and was distracted during your accident, you can collect several pieces of evidence. On the scene, you can talk to witnesses who might have seen the driver behaving carelessly. They may have seen drivers with a phone to their ear.
You should also scan the scene for the possibility of security cameras mounted at local businesses or homes nearby. This footage may show the truck driver engaging in distraction.
At the very least, swap information with the driver involved, getting driver’s license information, insurance details, and a phone number. Your attorney should be able to secure cellphone records that to help prove the driver was distracted.
Jackknifed big rigs are a common occurrence on California freeways and highways. The truck driver often loses control through carelessness or recklessness and the truck’s load swings around to form a V-shape in the road.
These accidents are usually the fault of the truck driver, but insurance companies for truckers and trucking companies don’t always readily admit that fault. You may be behind or beside a truck when it jackknifes and draws you into a crash. You or a passenger may be seriously injured and in need of substantial financial support as you heal.
It’s important to avoid talking to a representative from the trucking company or the company’s insurance. They look to get recorded statements from you they can later twist to falsely accuse you of causing your own injuries.
Instead, tell a qualified personal injury lawyer about what happened to you. Your attorney will go to work immediately gathering evidence that clears you of fault in an accident involving a jackknifed truck. Your truck accident lawyer will also aggressively work to make sure the insurance companies involved provide every cent of support you need to heal and rebuild your life.
Motorists who rear-end other cars, SUVs, or trucks often receive the blame in an accident. But there are exceptions to this general assumption of fault.
In California, all drivers are required to travel at speeds reasonable for conditions no matter the posted speed limit. In many circumstances, this means drivers coming up from behind are assigned fault in a crash no matter how suddenly someone stops in front of them.
Where trucks are involved, there are arguments you may make to shift blame. For example, the truck could have had a brake light out and left you without warning of a sudden stop.
In California, accident victims can also share the blame in an accident. Under comparative liability, you may be assigned 50% of the blame and another driver could have to accept 50% or any other combination of percentages.
Seeing a big rig in your rearview mirror can be a frightening sight, especially if you are suddenly forced to stop quickly. Can that big, heavy truck behind you stop in time?
If you are injured in a collision from behind, you should be able to file an insurance claim with the truck driver’s commercial insurance and perhaps the trucking company the driver works for.
The drivers of vehicles who collide with the rear-ends of other vehicles are usually found at fault. That’s because all drivers are responsible for traveling at safe speeds for conditions, no matter what the posted speed limit is.
This applies to truck drivers because they can be behind the wheel of an 80,000lb vehicle that requires much more time and distance to stop. Drivers need to travel at a reasonable speed and pay attention to the road in front of them, allowing them to brake in time to avoid a collision.
The vast majority of truck accident injury cases are settled before ever reaching a courtroom. In fact, some experts maintain that 10% or fewer cases end up before a judge and jury.
The goal for your personal injury lawyer is to negotiate for a fair settlement offer from an insurance company. However, any offer must cover every physical, emotional, and financial cost you’ve paid during recovery. If it leaves you paying for some of your damages out of pocket, your attorney can reject the offer for you and demand more.
Insurance companies will do almost anything to avoid a lawsuit and having to appear in court, so they often work to make you an acceptable offer. If they won’t do what’s right, your attorney will be prepared to file a lawsuit and drag them into court. The good news is that you can still reach a settlement agreement while waiting on a court date and even after the trial has started.
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- Settlements VS Trials
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- Truck Injury Claim Calculator
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- What Not to Say After a Big Rig Accident
- Who Is Responsible After a Fatal Big Rig Accident?
Contact a California Truck Accident Lawyer Today
An attorney representing your injury case can begin investigating and collecting evidence and testimony from your accident immediately. Insurance agents and corporate lawyers may begin to work every angle to try to discredit you and your claim. They may look into your past driving record or medical history to somehow cast doubt on your innocence in your current truck accident case.
These are just tricks to get you frightened enough to accept their lowball offers. That’s why it’s so important to build a strong case before they start to try to undermine you. Once they realize you’ve got an experienced attorney on your side they are much more likely to make you a fair offer that covers all of your medical care now and any needed in the months down the road.
If you are facing a long recovery with a serious injury due to the negligence of the driver of a truck or any large vehicle contact attorney Martin Gasparian as soon as you are able. Mr. Gasparian offers a free, no-obligation appraisal on your case and can determine just how many parties should be held liable for your accident and your pain. With Maison Law, you’ll get honest advice and the personalized attention to detail your case deserves.