A Los Angeles Truck Accident Attorney Will Fight For Damages
Experiencing an accident with a truck can be a terrifying ordeal. What might be a minor collision with another passenger vehicle can result in severe injuries or even fatalities when the other party involved is a commercial truck. Accidents involving large trucks, such as semis, tractor-trailers, and large dump trucks, are particularly dangerous as they are more likely to result in catastrophic injuries or death due to the immense size of the vehicles involved. Unfortunately, in 2019, California ranked second in states with the most deaths resulting from large truck crashes, with a total of 408 people killed. In addition to death, many sustained life-altering injuries. At Culver Legal, we understand the long-term effects of these injuries and take pride in providing our clients with the comprehensive representation they deserve.
While driving in the greater Los Angeles region, you will encounter various commercial trucks, including massive big rigs, delivery trucks, vans, and utility vehicles like garbage trucks. Despite our efforts to exercise caution around trucks, accidents with them still occur.
After a truck accident, you need the backing of a personal injury law firm with substantial resources and experience. You can expect the trucking company to retain a team of attorneys to work for them. They may offer you an insufficient settlement or even attempt to shift the blame onto you.
At Culver Legal, our truck accident lawyers are knowledgeable about these tactics and can counter them effectively. If you or someone you know has been hurt in a truck accident, do not wait to contact us. Delaying can negatively impact your case.
Below, we provide valuable information on truck accidents and how to proceed optimally.
What Are Some Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
Federal regulations permit truck drivers to operate for up to 11 hours at a time, with many drivers exceeding that limit. They frequently drive thousands of miles continuously to meet stringent deadlines, resulting in a lethal mix of driver exhaustion and speeding, which are the two primary causes of catastrophic truck accidents.
Municipal trucks such as fire trucks or ambulances can also be involved in severe accidents as they hurry through city streets to respond to emergencies. Other factors contributing to truck accidents include:
- Driver Error: As mentioned earlier, truck accidents in California are often caused by errors made by the driver, such as fatigue and speeding. Additionally, some other examples of driver error include:
- Distracted driving
- Poor training
- Failure to obey traffic signals
- Large blind spots
- Alcohol and/or drug use
- Vehicle Issues: Due to their size and weight, trucks inherently pose significant safety risks on the road. Even when a truck is perfectly maintained and carrying a full load of cargo, it requires 525 feet of distance to come to a complete stop, which is equivalent to the length of two football fields. Additionally, trucks have large blind spots that make them a danger to the other vehicles on the road. When trucks are poorly maintained, the risk of accidents increases further. Common maintenance issues that contribute to truck accidents include:
- Overweight trailers
- Loads that aren’t secured properly
- Brake problems
- Tire problems
- Not following the truck’s recommended maintenance schedule
- Weather: Despite California being well-known for its year-round great weather, sudden weather changes such as rain, snow, and high winds can occur, particularly at higher elevations. These weather conditions can exacerbate the challenges that truck drivers face, especially if they are already experiencing fatigue. Hydroplaning and swerving are just some of the dangers that can cause a truck to lose control in a split second, endangering anyone in its path.
Truck accidents are often among the most fatal and severe, as evidenced by the statistics. 1 out of every 10 highway fatalities involves a large truck. In 2016, there were 3,986 deaths resulting from truck accidents across the country. Shockingly, 97% of fatalities in accidents between trucks and passenger vehicles were passengers in the latter. Additionally, 92% of these deaths occurred on major roads, highways, or freeways. These statistics show just how deadly and serious truck accidents can be.
What Should I Do After a Truck Accident?
If you have been involved in a truck accident, it can be a traumatic experience, and it’s important to take certain actions if you are able. Here is a checklist of recommended steps to follow if you are injured as a result of a truck accident:
- Get out of harm’s way immediately, but only if it’s safe to do so.
- Call 911 immediately.
- Seek or demand medical treatment.
- Get witness contact information, as well as the name of the driver and trucking company.
- Take photos of your injuries and injuries to anyone else. Also photograph damage to all vehicles involved, as well as the truck and the scene of the accident including traffic signals and street signs.
- Do not give any statements or sign any documents given to you by a trucking company or insurance representative. And don’t apologize! Apologizing to anyone will be used against you as proof of fault for the accident.
- Keep all accident-related medical bills and receipts in a secure place. Your attorney will use these to calculate some of the damages (financial compensation) you should be entitled to.
- Enlist the help of a proven powerhouse truck accident personal injury lawyer immediately.
Following these guidelines promptly after a truck accident is crucial to protect your rights.
Types of Trucks and Accidents
When we think of truck accidents, we often picture massive big rigs, which are commonly featured in news reports of traffic accidents. While these trucks certainly make for dramatic visuals, it’s important to note that they aren’t the only type of truck that can cause major accidents on our roads.
The terms used to describe trucks can be confusing, with some being interchangeable and others not. For instance, is a semi-truck the same as a big rig? In this article, we’ll explore different types of trucks and their unique features to help clarify any confusion.
- Tractor Trucks – also known as bobtail trucks, comprise the front of a truck where the engine and driver’s cabin are located. These trucks can be driven without any cargo trailer or flatbed attached and are a common sight on freeways. Even without a trailer, they are large vehicles that can cause significant damage and injuries in the event of an accident.
- Big Rigs – also known as 18-wheelers, semis, or tractor-trailers, are tractor trucks with cargo trailers attached. They are all classified as commercial vehicles, and if fully loaded, require skilled drivers to control them. Due to their massive size, there’s no such thing as a minor accident between a big rig and a passenger car.
- Tanker Trucks – which transport hazardous materials, pose a double threat of being oversized and carrying dangerous cargo. In case of a collision, these trucks can burst into flames, causing serious harm to everyone involved. Drivers who collide with tanker trucks can suffer burns and smoke inhalation injuries, and fatalities are not uncommon.
- Delivery Trucks – including those from Amazon and other retailers, are increasingly common on our roads. These drivers are also under pressure to meet deadlines, and accidents involving speeding delivery trucks can result in serious injuries for those in passenger vehicles.
- Utility Trucks – such as garbage trucks, ambulances, fire trucks, and construction trucks, come in various shapes and sizes. Unlike big rigs, these trucks generally have access to all roads and highways, regardless of their size. In an emergency, they can exceed the posted speed limits. If you get into an accident with a utility truck, it’s worth noting that in most cases, they are owned by city, state, or federal agencies, and you only have six months to file an accident claim.
If you happen to be involved in an accident with a utility truck, it’s important to note that they are typically owned by government agencies such as the city, state, or federal government. This means that there is a limited window of 6 months for presenting an accident claim.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Injuries sustained in truck accidents can be particularly severe due to the size and weight of the vehicles involved, particularly in cases where a multi-axle big rig is part of the accident. Common types of injuries that can result from truck accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Wrongful death
- Spinal cord injuries, up to and including paralysis (full, partial, permanent, and/or temporary)
- Broken bones/fractures
- Whiplash injuries
- Cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine injuries
- Back pain, including strain and sprain
- Nerve injuries and damage, numbness, and radiculopathy
- Cuts and lacerations
- Crush injuries
- Scarring and burns
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental illnesses
Tragically, in 2017, out of the 4,102 individuals who lost their lives in accidents between trucks and passenger vehicles, 68% of the fatalities were the occupants of the passenger vehicles. In contrast, only 17% of the occupants of the trucks were killed in such accidents. The remaining victims were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists.
At Culver Legal, we have been handling wrongful death claims for truck accident victims for over three decades. While we understand that no amount of compensation can make up for the loss of a loved one, we also know that obtaining justice can bring some degree of comfort to mourning family members.
Truck Accident Investigations
Accidents that involve big rigs are distinct from typical car accidents in that the trucking company will quickly dispatch investigators to the scene of the accident. It’s crucial to understand that these investigators are not there to assist you; rather, their primary aim is to safeguard the interests of the trucking company.
If you have been injured in an accident involving any kind of commercial truck, it is essential to have an attorney on your side. Do not believe any insurance agents or investigators who tell you that you don’t need a lawyer. Keep in mind that these individuals are compensated by the trucking companies that employ them, and their sole objective is to minimize your claim and pay you the least amount possible.
Should I Accept the Trucking Company’s Settlement Offer?
That’s correct. It’s important to speak to a truck accident lawyer before accepting any settlement offers or signing any documents from the trucking company or their insurance company. Once you sign or accept a settlement, you generally waive your right to pursue further legal action, even if you later realize the settlement does not fully compensate you for your injuries and damages. A truck accident lawyer can help you understand the true value of your claim and negotiate on your behalf for a fair and just settlement.
What is My Truck Accident Claim Worth?
Trucking accidents often result in severe injuries, which may require hospitalization and surgeries, along with other expenses such as rehabilitation, long-term care, and modifications to homes and vehicles. These costs do not even take into account the emotional impact such a traumatic event can have on the victim and their family, nor the lost wages due to prolonged absence from work. For individuals with permanent injuries, they may never be able to work again.
At Culver Legal, we have over 30 years of experience helping truck accident victims receive fair compensation. We understand what a just offer should entail based on the specific details of your case. Our past successes include six and seven-figure settlements for our clients, and we can provide an estimate of the compensation you may be entitled to based on our experience with similar cases. It is essential to speak with a truck accident lawyer before accepting any settlement offer to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
What is the Deadline for Filing a Claim?
In most cases, the statute of limitations for filing a truck accident claim is two years from the date of the accident. However, waiting until the last minute to file can weaken your claim in several ways. For instance, crucial evidence may be lost or destroyed, and memories of the incident may fade over time. Additionally, both the defense and the jury may question why you waited so long to file a claim. It’s important to note that if the accident involved a government vehicle, the time frame for filing a claim is reduced to just six months. Therefore, it’s crucial to act quickly and retain a skilled truck accident attorney to build a strong case and obtain the compensation you deserve.
Why Do I Need a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Truck accidents are legally complex situations, often involving multiple defendants such as the driver, the trucking company, and even the manufacturer if there was a mechanical defect. When filing a claim, you may have to deal with three or four defendants. As the injuries sustained in truck accidents are often serious, dealing with such a complex legal matter alone can be daunting. It’s crucial to have an experienced truck accident lawyer fighting for the fair compensation you deserve.
At Culver Legal, we have extensive experience handling truck accident cases, and we are well-versed in state and federal laws governing trucks and truck drivers. We have the resources and expertise to take on multiple defendants. And don’t worry about the cost of hiring a lawyer, as we operate on a contingency basis: you don’t pay unless we win. To get started, call us today at 310-600-7881 for a free and confidential consultation.
If I Am Unable To Afford Medical Treatment Due To Lack Of Insurance, Can You Assist Me?
Yes, we understand that receiving timely medical treatment is crucial after an injury accident. If you don’t have adequate health insurance, we can connect you with reputable medical professionals and facilities in your community that can provide treatment. The medical expenses will be secured by a lien on your case, which will be included in your demand for compensation from the at-fault party. Additionally, our team can help you access free or low-cost coverage from programs such as Medi-Cal or Medicare if applicable.
Can You Help Me Financially If My Injuries Prevent Me From Working?
Yes, we have partnerships with lending companies that can provide financial assistance while your case is pending, secured by a lien on the proceeds of your case. We understand that lost income from being unable to work can be a significant financial burden, so we will include it as part of your demand for compensation when it’s time to settle or go to trial. In some circumstances, we may also be able to provide you with financial advances to help you through difficult times, which will be repaid once your case is resolved.
Who Is Typically Responsible For Causing Trucking Accidents?
Trucking accidents can be caused by various factors, and the responsible party may vary depending on the circumstances of the accident. However, some common causes and potentially responsible parties for trucking accidents include:
- Truck Driver: The driver may be responsible for an accident if they were driving recklessly, distracted, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or fatigued.
- Trucking Company: The trucking company may be responsible if they were negligent in their hiring practices or failed to properly maintain the truck.
- Cargo Loaders: If the accident was caused by shifting or falling cargo, the company or individuals responsible for loading the cargo may be held liable.
- Manufacturer: If a mechanical defect in the truck caused the accident, the manufacturer of the truck or a component part may be responsible.
How Much Time Do I Have To File A Lawsuit After A Truck Accident Injury?
Generally, you have two years to file a lawsuit against non-governmental parties after the accident. However, if you are suing a government entity, you have only six months to file a claim and must follow strict guidelines under the California Tort Claims Act. Exceptions to these rules exist, and it’s crucial to have a top-rated personal injury attorney to help navigate these complex legal waters.
How Long Does A Truck Accident Lawsuit Typically Last?
In most jurisdictions, the trial date is set for 12 to 18 months after the lawsuit is filed. If your injuries are severe, it may benefit you to wait until they stabilize before filing the lawsuit, which can lengthen the total duration of your case.
How Does Your Firm Establish Negligence And Win Truck Accident Cases?
At our firm, we immediately launch investigations and fact-finding with our 24/7 staff and investigators after being retained on an injury case. We believe in-depth investigations are critical to build a strong foundation for a winning case. Our award-winning personal injury lawyers have a hands-on approach and deeply examine the case’s facts when devising their strategy to secure a successful outcome. We possess a firm grasp of the intricate interplay of federal, state, and local laws and regulations governing truck operations. We also have the resources to engage truck accident experts who provide expert opinions on the accident’s cause and the injuries sustained.
In some cases, we also examine the systemic issues of a company that pressures its drivers to engage in unsafe practices that prioritize profits over safety. Unfortunately, such practices are pervasive in the industry, and we hold all potential at-fault parties responsible for the injuries, pain, and losses they cause.
Additionally, our in-house trial team is a force to be reckoned with, ready to take your case to trial before a judge and jury.
What Types Of Damages And Monetary Claims Can I Make In My Case?
Besides establishing fault, it is also necessary to demonstrate the extent of the harm you have suffered, which is referred to as “damages” in legal terminology. Damages cover various categories of losses, such as medical bills, physical and emotional distress, and any other negative consequences that have arisen from the accident both presently and in the future. Some of the damages you may be able to claim include:
- Medical costs
- Lost earnings
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage and loss of use of vehicle
- Out-of-pocket expenses, including medical insurance co-pays
- Re-training or re-education to find a job you are able to do if you’ve become disabled
- Any other expenses or lost opportunities you’ve incurred as a result of your accident
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death (loss of support, loss of companionship, loss of love, and many others)
- Loss of consortium (for the spouse of the injured victim)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health illnesses
- Any other non-economic loss that you’ve suffered a result of your auto accident
Demonstrating the extent of damages often requires a collaborative approach involving medical professionals, life care planners, vocational experts, accident reconstruction specialists, and other relevant parties. At our firm, we excel at assembling a skilled and effective team of experts to advocate for your case and ensure you receive the maximum compensation allowed by law.
Factors Affecting Your Settlement
Various factors influence the amount of compensation you may receive for a truck accident settlement, including:
- The extent of your injuries
- The level of damage sustained by your vehicle
- Duration of hospitalization
- Anticipated recovery time and costs
- Presence of permanent disability or lifelong injury
- Time off work or inability to return to work
- Pre-accident health and lifestyle
- Adverse effects on your overall quality of life
Selecting A Law Firm To Represent You
When it comes to selecting a law firm to represent you, our track record speaks for itself. With years of experience, we have secured hundreds of millions in total recoveries for injury victims in a broad range of cases, including truck injury accidents.
At Culver Legal, we prioritize our clients and approach each case with empathy and compassion. Our team works diligently to handle all aspects of your case and to support you throughout the entire process. We view the client-lawyer relationship as a team effort, where collaboration leads to the best results. We keep our clients informed at all times and involve them in all major decisions.
Our three core values – compassion, service, and results – are integral to our approach in every case. At Culver Legal, you are not just a case number. We take pride in providing exceptional service to each and every client. Our lawyers and professional staff work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for you. If a jury trial is necessary, our in-house, award-winning trial team is ready to advocate for you. We have the resources and expertise to hold major insurance companies and defendants accountable for the harm they have caused.
Our mission is to make things right by maximizing your financial recovery and helping you return to the life you had before the injury. If you or a loved one has suffered a truck injury accident, our experienced lawyers are here to help. Contact us at any time for a free consultation at 310-600-7881. There is no obligation, and if we don’t recover compensation for you, you don’t owe us anything.