Anaheim Truck Accident Attorney
Truck drivers and their employers are held to high government standards because the consequences of a truck accident can be devastating. Accidents that involve large commercial trucks often lead to severe injuries and damages, especially for pedestrians, bicyclists, and occupants of other vehicles involved in the accident.
If you have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Christopher Lee Law Firm has a decade of experience handling truck accident claims. They know the applicable state and federal trucking regulations, and they believe that every responsible party should be held accountable for the damages caused by negligent and reckless conduct.
Our Truck Accident Injury Practice
- Our goal is to deliver the best possible results to all of our injured clients. Our attorneys know that you may be facing significant physical, financial, and emotional challenges after a truck accident. They will pursue maximum compensation to help you get the care and support that you need to move forward after your accident.
- Our truck accident practice takes a collaborative approach to each personal injury claim. We know that it is in our clients’ best interests to provide them with high-quality legal services and personalized attention from our truck accident team. Our attorneys will always be there to answer your questions and address your concerns.
- We understand the importance of your financial recovery, and we will begin working on your case immediately. We will conduct thorough investigations and interviews, be available to answer all of your questions, and keep you informed as your case progresses.
- Our attorneys are compassionate, and they understand that you and your family may be going through an incredibly difficult time after a truck accident. We handle all of the legal work so that you can focus on healing and recovering.
How Often do Truck Accidents Occur?
Most people do not spend much time thinking about how often accidents involving large trucks occur. However, the reality is that these incidents are not uncommon throughout the US. Even though trucks are strictly regulated by both federal and state agencies, mistakes can occur that lead to crashes between large commercial trucks and smaller passenger vehicles.
According to the National Safety Council, we can see that there were 5,005 large trucks involved in fatal collisions during the latest reporting year of data on record. Additionally, there were 118,000 large trucks involved in injury-causing collisions during the same year.
The National Safety Council goes on to show that large truck involvement in injury crashes has been increasing steadily over the last five years. Additionally, fatal collisions have also been increasing over the same time period.
The state of California does not publish data specifically related to large truck collisions, so we have to extrapolate. California is the most populated state in the country, and citizens here rely heavily on large commercial trucks to deliver imports and exports. Accidents involving larger trucks are going to occur in California, regardless of how safely individuals operate on the roadway.
Truck Accident Liability
It is not uncommon for several parties to bear responsibility in truck accident cases. Truck accident causes and factors often include failure to comply with regulations and requirements, speeding, distracted driving, impaired driving, and negligent truck maintenance. In many commercial truck accident scenarios, truck company employers are responsible for accidents caused by their employee truck drivers.
Other liable parties may include manufacturers of defective trucks and vehicle parts, those responsible for negligent truck repair and maintenance, and other vehicle drivers involved in the accident. To secure full and fair compensation in a truck accident claim, you need an attorney with the necessary resources and experience to investigate your accident and discover all potentially liable parties.
Trucking Rules and Regulations
As mentioned above, those in the trucking industry are held to high standards, and in general, drivers and trucking companies are responsible for following state and federal rules and regulations that govern the trucking industry. An experienced truck accident attorney not only knows the applicable regulations, but also how to investigate the accident to determine if there were any regulation violations.
Evidence of noncompliance with state and federal trucking laws can be used to show that the truck driver and his or her employer’s negligence caused or contributed to the accident. Frequently violated regulations include driver training and licensing requirements, employee background checks, and hours of service limitations.
Maintenance and equipment violations can lead to vehicle safety problems, such as brake and tire failures and faulty underride protections. There are also guidelines for loading and securing truck cargo. Noncompliance can result in truck instability, loss of vehicle control, and cargo spills. Improperly secured truck contents frequently cause trucks to roll over or jackknife, resulting in severe and catastrophic injuries.
Hours of Service Regulations
When we turn to information available from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a part of the US Department of Transportation (DOT), we can see that this is the agency specifically tasked with handing down hours of service requirements for large truck drivers. Hours of service regulations are imperative because they help ensure roadway safety by keeping drivers from operating while fatigued behind the wheel.
Currently, the regulations set forth per the FMCSA state that the hours of service are as follows:
- After a period of ten consecutive hours, drivers are allowed a 14-hour driving window.
- During this 14-hour driving window, the driver can operate the vehicle for 11 total hours of driving time.
- The 14-hour driving window includes breaks for food, restroom stops, naps, etc.
- Drivers are required to take a 30-minute break if they have operated the truck for more than 80 consecutive hours.
- Workweeks are measured by either seven or eight days. In a seven-day workweek, a driver can operate for 60 total hours, and in an eight-day workweek, a driver can operate for 70 total hours.
Truck Accident Injuries and Damages
Large commercial trucks can be 14 feet tall and weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which is why injuries are often devastating in truck accidents. Due to excessive height and weight, semi-trucks cannot stop quickly and maneuver easily in emergency situations. Drivers can lose control of these massive vehicles, especially when traveling at high rates of speed.
Those involved in truck accidents often suffer from significant injuries as a result of the incident. The size and weight discrepancy between these large trucks and smaller passenger vehicles can lead to devastation. It is not uncommon for attorney Christopher Lee to help clients who have sustained the following:
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Severe sprains or strains
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Other severe back or neck injury
- Crush injuries or amputations
- Internal organ damage or internal bleeding
- Severe lacerations or puncture wounds
- Significant scarring or disfigurement
In addition to these visible traumatic injuries, we also know that crash victims are likely to suffer from a range of physical and emotional symptoms. This can include feelings of stress, fear, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The goal of our attorneys will be to recover compensation for all of our clients’ injuries, including the visible traumatic ones as well as the unseen hidden emotional and psychological injuries.
The amount of recoverable compensation in truck accident cases typically increases with the severity of injuries sustained. For example, the value of your claim will be higher if you have suffered permanent injuries and you are unable to enjoy life and work in the same capacity as you did before the accident.
You may recover compensation for your monetary losses in California, such as lost wages, future lost earnings, and medical expenses. You may also be entitled to compensation for non monetary losses, including physical pain, mental suffering, and emotional distress. If it is determined that the defendant acted with malice, oppression, or fraud, punitive damages may be awarded as well.
How Much Compensation is Available for an Anaheim Truck Accident Claim?
There may be various types of compensation available for Anaheim truck accident victims. At Christopher Lee Law Firm we work diligently to recover both economic and non-economic damages on behalf of our clients.
- Economic damages. This refers to the types of compensation a crash victim may be entitled to that relate to specifically quantifiable losses. Also referred to as special damages, this can refer to, but is not limited to, the following:
- Medical bills arising after the truck crash
- Physical therapy or rehabilitation expenses
- Prescription medications or medical devices
- Lost income if a victim cannot work
- Property damage expenses
- General household out-of-pocket expenses caused by the crash
- Non-economic damages. This refers to the type of compensation crash items may be entitled to that are more immeasurable and harder to quantify. Also referred to as general damages, this can revolve around, but is not limited to, the following:
- Physical pain and suffering damages
- Emotional distress damages
- Loss of quality of life damages
- Loss of consortium for a spouse
The total amount of compensation available in these cases will vary depending on the facts related to each particular Anaheim commercial truck accident. There are various factors that can affect compensation amounts in these cases, including the severity of the injuries, the level of property damage, the level of the victim’s pain and suffering, the length of the recovery time, and more.
Steps to Take After an Anaheim Truck Accident Occurs
If you or somebody you love has been injured in a crash involving a large commercial truck, there are a few steps you can take to help ensure that you have the best chance over covering compensation:
- Call 911. Law enforcement officials need to respond to every single large truck crash that occurs in California. The police are responsible for conducting a preliminary investigation, and they may determine fault on an accident report. Additionally, calling 911 helps to ensure that fire and EMS personnel are on the way to ensure the safety of the scene.
- Seek immediate medical care. Every individual involved in a truck crash needs to seek medical care. Even if the injuries do not seem very severe, a doctor needs to conduct an evaluation. Not only does this ensure the truck crash victims’ well-being, but it also helps establish a link between the injuries and the crash.
- Gather evidence. If possible, those involved should begin gathering as much evidence as they can. This can include using a phone to take photographs of everything at the scene, including vehicle damage, license plates, injuries, traffic and weather conditions, debris, skid marks, and more. If there were any eyewitnesses or other drivers and passengers who stopped, it is important to get their names and contact information.
- Contact an attorney. A skilled Anaheim truck accident lawyer can get involved very quickly and work to gather and preserve the evidence needed to help determine liability. An attorney will be responsible for handling communication with all of the parties, including insurance carriers, drivers, trucking companies, etc.
- Continue medical care. Every person involved in a truck crash in Anaheim must continue receiving medical care until their doctor says they have reached maximum medical improvement. Failing to complete any required care could result in the insurance carrier delaying or even deny the claim.
What if You Were Partially Responsible?
It is not uncommon for there to be more than one party at fault for a collision, including an injury victim seeking compensation for their losses. The good news is that crash victims can still recover compensation even if they are partially at fault for the incident that caused their injuries. California operates under a “pure comparative negligence” system. This means that the crash victim can recover compensation even if they are up to 99% at fault for the incident.
However, the total amount of compensation a large truck crash victim receives will be reduced based on their percentage of fault. For example, if a crash victim sustained $100,000 worth of medical bills and other losses, but they are found to be 30% responsible for the crash, and they would receive $70,000 instead of the full $100,000. This $30,000 discrepancy represents the amount of fault the victim had for this claim.
Fatal Truck Accident Injuries
Although damages for pain and suffering are generally not recoverable in fatal injury cases, survivors and the estate may be entitled to compensation for other losses. Surviving family members may bring wrongful death claims to recover compensation for their own damages, such as loss of the decedent’s financial support, loss of gifts and benefits, funeral and burial expenses, loss of love and companionship, and loss of training and guidance.
Survival actions may be brought on behalf of the decedent’s estate if the decedent survived long enough after the accident to suffer actual losses before death. For example, if the decedent incurred medical expenses after the truck accident, those expenses may be recovered for the estate in a survival action. Punitive and exemplary damages may also be awarded under some circumstances.
Time Limit to File an Anaheim Truck Accident Lawsuit
It is absolutely crucial for those involved in accidents with large commercial trucks to understand that they have a limited amount of time to file lawsuits or insurance claims in these cases.
First, we have to be very cognizant of the fact that there are multiple insurance carriers involved in most truck accident cases. Not only are victims typically dealing with traditional auto insurance carriers after a truck accident, but they may also be dealing with commercial insurance carriers of the truck company or driver. These insurance carriers typically have very strict reporting deadlines when it comes to these claims. If a truck crash is not reported within a day or two after the incident occurs, this could lead to a delay or even a denial of the claim.
Crash victims also need to be aware that the California personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. This means that Anaheim truck accident victims have a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent driver or trucking company. Failing to follow a lawsuit within this timeframe will result in the victims being unable to recover the compensation they are entitled to, regardless of how severe the injuries were or how much fault the other party had for the incident.
Call Our Anaheim Truck Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident, the Anaheim personal injury attorneys at Christopher Lee Law Firm can help. We provide free initial consultations and case evaluations to go over your accident and losses sustained. We represent our injured clients on a contingency fee basis so that you never have to pay out of pocket for attorneys’ fees. Our attorneys are only compensated for their legal representation after they have helped you recover compensation for your injuries and damages. Contact us today for your free consultation.