When accidents occur on the road, trucking crashes are often some of the most devastating. A tractor-trailer is considerably larger than most of the vehicles it’s sharing the roadway with at any given time. This means that if a truck crashes into a car (or vice versa), the injuries sustained by the car’s driver or its passengers are likely to be catastrophic. In some instances, a California truck accident can even result in wrongful death.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, regardless of the severity, it is essential that you get in touch with a qualified Elk Grove injury lawyer. Working with The Ward Firm, you can remain confident that you’ll receive the settlement you’re owed.
After a California Truck Accident, Who Can I Sue for Damages?
Following a truck accident, the vehicle’s driver isn’t the only potential liable party. Rather, you are within your rights to pursue legal action against whoever was responsible for your injury, regardless of if they were driving the truck at the time.
Truck accident victims might also sue one or more of the following parties, depending upon their liability:
- The trucking company
- The truck’s manufacturer
- Government entities
- Property owners
Whoever acted negligently, whether it was one or more parties, is the one at fault for the accident — and, in turn, your injury. For instance, if there was a manufacturing error or defect that caused the driver to lose control of their vehicle, it would be more reasonable to sue the manufacturer, rather than the driver.
The Importance of Proving Liability During an Elk Grove, CA Trucking Accident Claim
During a truck accident claim, much like any other personal injury case, the outcome is dependent upon fault and liability. The party that is deemed at fault for the accident will be considered liable. Consequently, this liable party will be the one responsible for providing the appropriate damages to the opposing party.
The settlement you end up receiving hinges on liability, whether you take your case to trial, or you settle during the insurance negotiations stage.
To prove that the opposite party was at fault, you and your attorney will need to first show the judge that they had been acting negligently. Whenever a party acts with negligence, they are failing to uphold their duty of care. In essence, that party acted in a way contrary to how a reasonable person would behave if they were placed in the same situation.
If you can prove that the trucking accident was the result of the other party’s negligence, then you can succeed at proving their fault, maximizing the settlement that you receive.
What Damages Can I Receive, After a CA Truck Accident?
The damages you can recover during a CA truck accident claim don’t simply come in one form. Instead, there are several kinds of damages that will need to be accounted for, each dependent upon how the accident has impacted your life in various ways.
The state of California has two overarching types of damages: compensatory and punitive (sometimes known as exemplary damages).
Compensatory damages include two additional subsets of damages, known as economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are based around the monetary repercussions of the accident and are far simpler to prove using empirical figures and documents (compared to their non-economic counterparts). One of the most common forms of economic damages is medical expenses, including the bills you have received so far, as well as projected future expenses in some cases.
The liable party might also be required to pay lost wages, both past and projected. Finally, another economic damage you could receive relates to property damage or loss; for example, if your vehicle was totaled in the accident, the other party could be ordered to pay the appropriate amount in damages.
Non-economic damages can be a bit more difficult to determine in court. While economic damages can be supported with hard numbers and calculations, non-economic damages are largely up for interpretation. Many non-economic damages fall into the category of “pain and suffering,” which largely describes how the accident (and the injury it caused) has taken a toll on your daily quality of life. This could come in the form of emotional distress, physical pain, and more.
Generally, punitive damages will only be involved in a truck accident claim if the liable party’s actions were exceptionally negligent or egregious. While the purpose of compensatory damages is to pay the victim what they are rightfully owed, punitive damages are utilized as a means to punish the liable.
In California, for punitive damages to be awarded, the court is first required to examine:
- How reprehensible were the defendant’s actions?
- How much is already being awarded to the plaintiff in compensatory damages?
- What does the financial condition of the defendant already look like?
Determining punitive damages in CA also involves examining malice, oppression, and fraud, as described in the state’s Civil Code.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Truck accident injuries are often severe, and in some instances, can even be fatal. Others could also result in lifelong disability or impairment.
Although they can vary in severity, some of the most common truck accident injuries are:
- Neck and back injuries
- Head injuries
- Broken bones
- Rib and torso injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Internal injuries
- Seat belt injuries
- Wrongful death
No matter the extent of your injuries, your first priority after a truck accident should be to seek medical attention immediately.
Causes of Elk Grove, CA Trucking Accidents
While truck accidents can occur for a number of reasons, more often than not, it will be the result of one of the following:
- Driving above or below the speed limit
- Road rage or aggressive driving
- Distracted driving
- Fatigued driving (often due to drivers violating hours of service restrictions)
- Overloading cargo
- Severe weather or poor visibility
- Brake and/or vehicle failure
- Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
Although many of these causes can seem like minor infractions to the truck driver, it’s easy for them to devolve into fatal road accidents as soon as something goes wrong.
What Do Truck Accidents Injury Lawyers Do?
Throughout your truck accident case, your attorney will perform a wide range of duties. Prior to litigation, they will start by negotiating with insurance providers on your behalf, in order to reach a fair settlement.
If this fair settlement cannot be achieved, however, your truck accident lawyer will aid your claim, throughout the entirety of the legal process.
Some of the primary duties of your truck accident attorney are:
- Filing a claim against the liable party
- Managing your medical care and helping plan for ongoing treatment if necessary
- Performing an investigation of the accident and gathering evidence, to prove liability
- Filing insurance claims with the opposing party’s provider
Should I Hire an Elk Grove Truck Accident Attorney After a Crash?
If you were injured in a truck accident, then it is almost always in your best interest to hire a personal injury attorney. Even if you decide against litigating, a lawyer can walk you through the entire insurance claims process, negotiating with providers on your behalf. This is the best way to maximize the likelihood of receiving a fair settlement, based on the details of your accident and the injury you’ve suffered.
During the insurance negotiations stage, it can be difficult for newcomers to successfully communicate with these companies. The priority of your insurance provider is going to be protecting their bottom line, similar to any other profit-motivated business. Sadly, this means that they will typically search for ways to provide you with a lower settlement than you deserve. This is often accomplished by misconstruing your own account of the accident, to assign you partial or total fault for the crash.
Your truck accident attorney, however, understands exactly how to best communicate with insurance companies to avoid harming your settlement.
In a similar vein, if your case is taken to court, your California truck accident attorney has developed a practiced familiarity with the personal injury process. Not only will they be able to perform a thorough investigation of the accident, but they will also know what information or materials the judge is looking for, to determine liability. Your lawyer can also ensure that you stay on top of essential paperwork and deadlines throughout the process of litigation.
Aggressively Pursue Justice After a California Truck Accident | Top CA Injury Attorney
The Ward Firm proudly provides trucking accident victims in Elk Grove, California with superior legal representation, allowing them to receive the settlement they’re rightfully owed. We will perform a careful investigation of the accident, gathering any evidence to prove the opposing party’s liability in the crash. We’ll make the claims process as straightforward as possible, allowing you to focus on your recovery, rather than the many legal ramifications of your accident.
To get in contact and schedule a consultation with The Ward Firm, simply fill out the form on our website.