If you ever confront an accident with a tractor-trailer or a semi truck, you could be left with serious injuries regardless of where you are. There are several lawsuits to take legal action against the trucking company or the truck driver if there is negligence on their part. This could be a personal injury lawsuit if you want to claim recovery compensation such as doctor’s bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages, or it could be a wrongful death lawsuit in case the negligence of the truck company or the driver led to the demise of the person(s) in the other vehicle.
Below are some of the most frequent doubts that people have regarding California truck accidents, for which you might need to consult a Los Angeles truck accident attorney.
Filing a Lawsuit after a Trucking Accident in California
Anyone involved in an accident with a truck can file a personal injury lawsuit in the name of the damages caused in the mishap. If the driver or the operating company was guilty of causing the accident by any way, then the victim of injuries has the right to reclaim lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, lost future earnings, punitive damages, and loss of consortium,
In case the injured person also has partial responsibility for causing the accident, they are eligible to recover a portion of the damages caused to them. According to California’s “comparative fault” law, even if the person has a slight responsibility for the accident, they may file a lawsuit for damages.
One of the first things to remember if you are involved in an accident is that you have to get in touch with a Los Angeles truck accident attorney before you speak with the other party’s insurance company or discuss any sorts of settlement. The absence of a lawyer on your side may lead to denial of your claim, delay, or settlement of your claim for a paltry amount of money.
Damages Available in a Trucking Accident Lawsuit
Compensatory damages are enlisted to assure the compensation of the plaintiff for the losses incurred in an injury accident. In a trucking accident lawsuit, the damages include and “non-economic” damages and “economic” damages
Economic damages are those whose values can be assessed. They offer financial expenses the plaintiff has endured or is due to pay in the future. Economic damages under a trucking accident cover medical supplies, medical bills, prescription drugs, ER treatment, lost wages, vehicle repairs, loss of consortium for a spouse or partner, pain and suffering, court costs, lost earning capacity, and future medical treatment.
Non-economic damages include those, which cannot be attached to money. This comprises of losses for which the plaintiff has suffered emotional and physical pain. Under this category, those included are emotional distress, loss of enjoyment in life, physical disability or disfigurement, as well as pain and suffering.
In case of the unfortunate event of the death of a loved one, the family’s surviving members will be eligible to recover the damages under California wrongful death laws. In other instances, the plaintiff will be eligible to recover “exemplary” damages or “punitive” damages. If the defendant acted with meanness or caused intentional damages, punitive damages can be granted to punish the defendant for their unacceptable conduct.
Those at Fault in a Trucking Accident
Motor vehicle accidents are often caused by negligence. It is the responsibility of the negligent truck driver for any damages caused to pedestrians or passengers. This can be seen in behaviors such as failing to drive with care and violation of traffic law. Note that in a trucking accident, the truck company’s negligence is also a reason for the cause of the accident.
Under the California negligence law, a driver is liable for injuries and harm inflicted on others. Similarly, under a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff has the responsibility to prove that the defendant was negligent in creating the accident. In this, the elements of negligence in California are:
- The truck driver owed the victim(s) a duty of care;
- The driver’s breach was a substantial factor in causing the victim’s injuries; and
- The truck driver breached the duty of care.
Under the duty of care, a driver has to employ reasonable caution and be mindful of others when driving down the road. The same applies to truck drivers. According to the duty of care for driving through California, the driver requires to:
- Look out for pedestrians, obstacles, and other vehicles;
- Use reasonable care when operating the vehicle; and
- Control the speed and movement of the vehicle.
Note that many tractor-trailer accidents are also the result of the violation of traffic laws or the lack of proper care. Truck driver negligence includes driving under the influence of drugs, speeding, distracted driving, texting while driving, not obeying traffic signals, improper lane changes, and failure to yield the right-of-way. The violation of California vehicle codes is clear evidence of negligence of the truck driver.