Hit by a Commercial Driver
Being hit by a commercial driver is traumatic, catastrophic, and extremely frustrating. Not only do you have to manage your recovery (or support someone else as they recuperate), the specific way you're able to work toward compensation will likely be much more confusing than if you were involved in a simple collision with a smaller, privately-owned and insured vehicle.
In this article, we will empower you with the basics of the law. By knowing what to expect, you can feel more in control as you heal after being hit by a commercial driver.
Definitions and Facts about Los Angeles Commercial Driving Collisions
The first definition you need to understand is that commercial truck accidents are very different from regular 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 causes of commercial driver accidents in Los Angeles may include:
- Driver fatigue
- Poor weather
- Lack of driver training
- Negligence by the driver
- Negligence by the driver's company
- Negligence by the truck manufacturer
Commercial truck drivers have to follow very specific rules regarding how long they are on the road. For example, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:
- Commercial drivers can only drive for a maximum of 11 consecutive hours (10 if they're carrying passengers) after 10 (or 8) 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 8 days.
- If adverse driving conditions (e.g., poor weather) are present, 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 in order to meet them. Your attorney may be able to demonstrate that this is the case and sue the relevant trucking company for this behavior.
Other parties that your attorney may seek to include in your suit include:
- The commercial driver themselves
- The commercial driver's trucking company
- The truck's manufacturer
- Government entities, if applicable
Each of these parties may have their own insurance representative, who will be highly interested in deflecting responsibility from their client.
The Damages a Commercial Driving Accident Victim May Claim
The settlements associated with commercial truck accidents are generally extensive, as commercial trucks are enormous, and the damage they can cause likewise tends to be extensive. They tend to obliterate smaller cars in a collision and cause a lot of pain and suffering for victims.
A victim may experience a wide range of injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck injuries, including whiplash
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back injuries
- Broken bones
The sheer number of things to do in ensuring the proper care for yourself or your loved ones after any of 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 CA personal injury lawyer decide what fair compensation might look like for you, you might consider:
- Your pain and suffering
- Any property damage sustained (e.g., your car)
- Lost wages while you were recovering
- Any lost earning capacity (e.g., 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
Do I Need a CA Personal Injury Lawyer for my Commercial Driving Accident Case?
Your Los Angeles or CA personal injury lawyer will be able to help you with all the steps and procedures after you or a loved one has suffered an accident with a commercial driver.
For example, a truck accident lawyer can:
- Help you manage the logistics and financial details of your medical treatment and ongoing medical care;
- Assist with filing a strategic truck accident claim with the most relevant insurance company (or companies);
- Gather pertinent evidence (such as manufacturer and police reports) to work towards identifying the party responsible for your accident;
- Negotiate with an insurance company and other involved parties on your behalf, and
- Support your best interests as you work towards maximum compensation.
We work on contingency, which means we do not charge you any money unless we obtain compensation for your injuries. Call us today for a free consultation at 310-734-7974.