Commercial trucks are typically the largest and heaviest vehicles on the road. Therefore, accidents involving a commercial truck can result in severe injuries or death. Due to the high risk posed by trucks, drivers and their employers are required to abide by strict state and federal safety regulations.
If you or your loved one was injured in a truck accident in California, the driver or trucking company may have violated safety regulations.
Trucking Regulation Violations That Result in Truck Accidents
There are several laws and regulations that trucking companies and drivers traveling both intrastate and interstate must adhere to for road safety reasons. These trucking laws and regulations are enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Among other things, these regulations include the following:
- All truck drivers are required to abide by strict Hour of Service (HOS) restrictions
- Truck drivers are prohibited from consuming alcohol within four hours before driving
- The trucking company must maintain and service the trucks properly to ensure safe operation
- The truck driver must be adequately trained, approved, and certified to operate an 18-wheeler
- The cargo needs to be adequately secured and properly distributed
If a truck driver or their employer violates these regulations and injures you in a truck accident, you may be entitled to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, wrongful death, and pain and suffering.
Determining Liability in Truck Accident Cases
The process of determining truck accident liability is more complex compared to other automobile accidents. This is largely due to the involvement of several liable parties and the catastrophic nature of truck accidents.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, the truck manufacturer, trucking company, or truck driver can all be held liable. In other cases, the injured driver is partly responsible for causing the accident. In California, an injured driver who is partly responsible for causing an accident is still entitled to recover some damages, however.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, proving truck accident liability may involve one of two legal theories: strict liability and negligence. Under negligence, any trucking company or driver who breached the duty of care owed to other motorists is liable for damages caused by their failure to use reasonable care. Under strict liability, manufacturers and other companies involved in the truck’s chain of distribution can be held liable for a defective product that caused the truck accident.
Factors That Will Determine the Value of Your Truck Accident Claim
There are several factors that will have an impact on the value of your truck accident personal injury claim. The most common factors include the following:
- Liability: Whether or not the trucking company or their insurance company accepts responsibility is critical. When liability is clear, the liable parties are more likely to accept responsibility and pay you for the damages incurred in the accident. If liability is uncertain, entering into a pre-litigation settlement may become more difficult.
- Insurance coverage: The amount of the liable party’s insurance coverage will also impact your truck accident claim. When insurance is limited, your recovery may be limited to the insurance coverage that is available.
- The severity of injuries sustained: The value of your personal injury claim will also depend on the severity of your injuries as severe injuries require costly treatment. This means that the compensation will be higher for severe injuries and lower for minor injuries.
Our truck accident attorneys at Golden Gate Legal can evaluate your case and counsel you on the various factors that may impact the value of your case.
California Statute of Limitations for Truck Accidents
Under California law, truck accident victims have two years from the date of the accident to file an injury claim. As such, it is important that you act immediately after the accident.
Frequently Asked Questions
Following a truck accident, most truck companies will try to avoid liability despite having comprehensive insurance coverage. To save money, trucking companies will go to great lengths and deploy all the legal resources they have to fight liability.
If you or your loved one suffered serious injuries in a truck accident, it is imperative that you seek professional legal representation for fair compensation. Our team of personal injury attorneys at Golden Gate Legal will not let you settle for less than what your case is worth.