San Rafael, California Truck Accident Lawyer
Accidents with large commercial trucks result in some of the most serious injuries. These trucks are large and it doesn’t require much force to completely destroy a smaller vehicle. If you or others in your family are injured in a commercial truck accident, the lawyers at the Dolan Law Firm have the experience you need to compel a sizeable settlement that represents the full value of your damages. Give us a call or contact us online for a free consultation.
Why Do Truck Accidents Happen?
Truck accidents occur for a number of different reasons. When the trucking company is liable for the accident, it’s usually because of:
- Driver fatigue,
- Driver substance abuse,
- Reckless operation of the vehicle,
- Improper loading of the truck,
- Poor upkeep or maintenance on the truck,
- Improperly trained staff.
What to Do if You are in a Truck Accident
Your first order of business is to seek medical attention. You may be of the opinion that you feel okay and you don’t need medical help. If that turns out to be the case, then great. More often than not, the shock of the experience has left you numb. You aren’t sure how badly hurt you are because you have adrenaline pumping through your veins. It’s very important to seek medical attention right away.
The police and the truck company will have taken pictures of the crash scene and, if you can, you should too. Under no circumstances should you talk to the insurance company or anyone else about the accident. That is your lawyer’s job.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
Shares of fault and liability will be determined during litigation, where truck companies will be represented by their insurance companies. The insurance company’s job is to advocate on behalf of their client, which in this case means devaluing your claim and blaming you for the accident. While they are required to pay out if the truck company or their driver is found negligence for the accident, they will do everything in their power not to.
If you’ve been in a major accident with a commercial truck company, it’s imperative that you don’t talk to the truck company’s insurance company. If you’ve suffered extensive injuries, you likely have a lot riding on the outcome of any lawsuit or settlement. That’s also true of the trucking company and their insurance company: they both stand to lose a great deal of money.
Insurance companies are not above contacting injured parties and asking them loaded questions. They will be skiptracing you and if there’s enough money on the line, they will be sending a private investigator out to watch you. Do not post anything about the accident on social media. If you’re on Facebook talking about how great your recovery is coming along, then you can bet that will show in a deposition. If you can disable your social media accounts make it so that your accounts cannot be searched for.
Launching an Investigation
The first part of the litigation process will be to determine which party was responsible for the accident, usually through negligence. However, it’s important to remember that California is a “pure comparative fault” or “pure comparative negligence”state, which means that in a lawsuit the court will apportion liability among each individual partially responsible for the incident. So long as the truck driver has done something to contribute to the accident, they are partly liable. Even if the driver is only 30% to blame, you can and should try to recover something from the accident since your damages are likely to be much higher than their damages, especially if your injuries are serious.
In some states, a plaintiff who is more than 50% responsible for an accident cannot sue for damages, under a doctrine known as “partial” or “modified” comparative negligence. In California, however, this is not the case and each party must pay their share of the blame as a percentage of total damages. Under a pure comparative negligence rule, an individual can pursue damages in a truck accident lawsuit even when they are mostly to blame.
Who Else is at Fault?
In addition to the truck driver, the truck company is also liable for anything that their employees do on the job, assuming the injured party was not mostly at fault for the accident. In addition, there may be other defendants. In some cases, machinery or equipment fails causing the truck driver to lose control of the truck. In some cases, tires blow out or treads separate and this causes the driver to lose control of the truck. In either case, the manufacturer of the defective equipment is also to blame for the accident.
When you are injured in a major traffic accident, you are entitled to recover money from your damages. Damages include:
- Past and future medical expenses,
- Past and future lost wages,
- Pain and suffering.
In the worst case scenarios, permanent impairments result from the accident. In this case, the stakes are incredibly high. Those who are paralyzed need to make major changes to their homes. They may need an intensive and extended period of rehabilitation. They may also require 24-hour care.
If your injuries prevent you from doing your old job, you are entitled to pursue vocational training for a new one. If your injuries prevent you from doing any job, then you are entitled to support for that. In instances where your injuries prevent you from supporting your family, they may also be able to collect damages on your loss of employability. This is especially true in cases where you suffer permanent traumatic brain injury. Lifestyle changes that result in the loss of enjoyment or sex are also injuries that you’re entitled to collect on.
In rare cases, punitive damages can be awarded as well. These are awarded when the trucking company or their driver’s behavior is so egregious or reckless that the court determines that they deserve to be punished and levies a hefty fine, which is then awarded to you.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer in San Rafael Today
The dedicated San Rafael truck accident attorneys at the Dolan Law Firm can help you recover the full value of your damages. Don’t get steamrolled by the insurance company or settle for less than you deserve. Give us a call or contact us online and let us help you get the money that you’re owed.