Los Angeles Commercial Driver Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one were injured in a commercial driver accident, you have the legal right to pursue compensation for your injuries, as the negligent parties need to be held accountable.
However, without experienced legal representation, you might receive lower than a full and fair financial recovery, even though commercial trucking companies and their drivers are well-insured.
Being hit by a commercial driver is traumatic, catastrophic, and highly frustrating. Not only do you have to manage your recovery or support someone else as they recuperate, but the specific way you can work toward compensation will likely be much more confusing than if you were involved in a simple collision with a smaller vehicle.
Further, they are willing to use significant legal resources to fight liability and save money. Thus, it would be best to have an injury lawyer with the knowledge and resources to be used on your behalf.
Your attorney might be able to build a strong case using legal strategies against the commercial trucking company and help you prove liability.
It would be best to never settle for less than your case is worth during insurance negotiations. Your lawyer should fight for maximum compensation from all at-fault parties, whether the commercial trucking company or the truck driver.
Our qualified Los Angeles commercial and truck accident attorneys can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. We have helped many families recover compensation for their catastrophic injuries or wrongful death of a loved one.
In this article, we will empower you with the law basics. Then, here's what you can expect to feel more in control as you heal after being hit by a commercial driver.
What Are Some Facts About Commercial Driving Collisions?
The first definition you need to understand is that commercial truck accidents differ significantly from truck accidents. Not only is the size of the accident on an entirely different scale, but the number of parties a victim may need to deal with to negotiate fair compensation can also be considerable.
The trucking industry is federally regulated to promote road safety for drivers and others. Failure to follow these regulations is negligence and could cause a catastrophic injury.
Suppose a commercial truck driver spends long hours on the highway. In that case, it could result in careless driving mistakes or falling asleep at the wheel due to driver fatigue.
Failing to load cargo properly or follow weight restrictions might cause cargo to dislodge during travel. Further, it might cause the truck to jackknife on crowded highways and cause serious injuries.
Other examples of trucker negligence in significant commercial truck accidents include distracted driving, drunk driving, or speeding to meet deadlines. The most common causes of commercial driver accidents in Los Angeles include the following:
- Driver fatigue;
- Poor weather;
- Lack of driver training;
- Negligence by the driver;
- Negligence by the driver's company;
- Negligence by the truck manufacturer.
What Are the Rules for Commercial Truck Drivers?
Commercial truck drivers must follow specific rules regarding how long they are on the road. For example, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, they must adhere to the following rules:
- Commercial drivers can only drive for a maximum of 11 consecutive hours. Ten if they carry passengers after ten or eight hours off duty;
- After eight cumulative hours of driving, commercial drivers must take a 30-minute break;
- Commercial drivers may not drive after up to 70 hours on duty in eight days;
- If adverse driving conditions, such as poor weather, drivers can extend these limits by two hours.
While these and similar rules were established for a driver's health and universal road safety, pressure from trucking companies, and other involved parties, to meet quotas and deadlines can force commercial truck drivers to push these limits or drive dangerously to meet them.
Your attorney may be able to demonstrate that this is the case and sue the relevant trucking company for this behavior.
What Damages Can a Commercial Driving Accident Victim Claim?
Other parties that your attorney may seek to include in your suit include:
- The commercial driver;
- The commercial driver's trucking company;
- The truck's manufacturer;
- Government entities, if applicable.
Each party may have its insurance representative, who will be highly interested in deflecting responsibility from their client. The settlements associated with commercial truck accidents are generally extensive, as commercial trucks are enormous.
They tend to obliterate smaller cars in a collision and victims a lot of pain and suffering victims. A victim may experience a wide range of injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Neck injuries, including whiplash;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Back injuries;
- Burn injuries;
- Broken bones;
- Wrongful death.
The number of resources you will need to care for yourself or your loved one after these incidents can be startlingly high. Not only will the victim of a commercial truck accident be in the hospital for a long time, but they may also require support long after they are discharged.
As you and your California personal injury lawyer decide what fair compensation might look like for you, you might consider the following:
- Your pain and suffering;
- Any property damage sustained (e.g., your car);
- Lost wages while you were recovering;
- Any lost earning capacity, such as if you're going to need to be away from work for some time;
- The total medical expenses related to the accident, including any future expected bills;
- Wrongful death compensation, if applicable.
As a truck accident victim, you might be eligible for noneconomic, economic, and punitive damages depending on the situation.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Commercial Driver Accident?
Most commercial truck accidents in Los Angeles will deal with company liability. The trucking company is liable for its actions and truck drivers because they are responsible for reasonably preventing accidents.
They could accomplish this through regular vehicle inspections, proper hiring, training, and obeying federal trucking safety regulations. If the commercial truck company is negligent in fulfilling this duty of care and causes a preventable accident, it can be liable for damages.
Through the rule of vicarious liability, the commercial trucking company could also be held liable for the negligence of its employees, including independent contractor truck drivers.
Suppose a truck driver, cargo loader, or another trucking company employee caused your accident. In that case, the company is liable if the at-fault party worked for them during negligence.
The commercial trucking company will have better insurance coverage than the individual driver, so holding the company liable for your injuries will be preferable.
We have also handled commercial truck accident claims in with third-party defendants. This means they were not directly involved in the collision contributing to the victim's injuries.
An example includes a truck manufacturing company that produced a defective vehicle part. A tire blowout might be the manufacturer's liability. Our experienced Los Angeles truck accident attorneys can help you determine fault and assign liability for your accident case.
Under California law, an accident victim typically has two years from the date of the truck accident or injury discovery to file an injury claim with the civil courts.
Why Do You Need a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Your lawyer can help you with many different processes after you or a loved one has suffered a hit by a commercial driver.
For example, our truck accident lawyers can help you manage the logistics and financial details of your medical treatment and ongoing medical care. We can help you file a strategic truck accident claim with the most relevant insurance companies.
We can gather pertinent evidence, such as manufacturer and police reports, to work towards identifying the party responsible for your accident.
We can negotiate with an insurance company and other involved parties for you and support your best interests as you work towards maximum compensation.
All of our commercial driver crash cases are handled on a contingency basis. This means we only charge a fee if we obtain compensation for you. You can contact our law firm for a free case evaluation by phone or using the contact form. Injury Justice Law Firm is located in Los Angeles, California.