Any accident is traumatic but being hit by a truck can have devastating consequences on a person’s life. If you are injured as a result of a truck accident, here is a checklist of action items you should do if you are able:
1. Get out of harm’s way immediately, but only if it’s safe to do so.
2. Call 911 immediately.
3. Seek or demand medical treatment.
4. Get witness contact information, as well as the name of the driver and trucking company.
5. Take photos of your injuries and injuries to anyone else. Also photograph damage to all vehicles involved, as well as the truck and the scene of the accident including traffic signals and street signs.
6. Do not give any statements or sign any documents given to you by a trucking company or insurance representative. And don’t apologize! Apologizing to anyone will be used against you as proof of fault for the accident.
7. Keep all accident-related medical bills and receipts in a secure place. Your attorney will use these to calculate some of the damages (financial compensation) you should be entitled to.
8. Enlist the help of a proven powerhouse truck accident personal injury lawyer at Nordanyan Law.
It’s very important to follow these guidelines immediately after a truck accident to make sure your rights are preserved.
Generally, it’s two years from the date of the accident. But you should never wait until the last minute to file since it greatly reduces the strength of your claim. There are several reasons for this:
• Evidence can be lost or destroyed.
• Recollection of the facts can become hazier as time passes.
• A jury and the defense may question why you waited so long to file a claim.
If your accident was with a government vehicle, you only have six months to file a claim. The sooner you file a claim and allow your truck accident attorney to get to work on your case, the better.
In addition to having to prove liability, you must also prove your damages. “Damages” is a term used in the law to categorize all of the medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses you have suffered from your accident in the past and in the future. These include the following:
• Economic Damages:
o Medical costs
o Lost earnings
o Lost earning capacity
o Property damage and loss of use of vehicle
o Out of pocket expenses, including medical insurance co-pays
o Re-training or re-education to find a job you are able to do if you’ve become disabled
o Any other expenses or lost opportunities you’ve incurred as a result of your accident
• Non-economic Damages:
o Pain and suffering
o Emotional distress
o Loss of enjoyment of life
o Wrongful death (loss of support, loss of companionship, loss of love, and many others)
o Loss of consortium (for the spouse of the injured victim)
o Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health illnesses
o Any other non-economic loss that you’ve suffered a result of your auto accident
Proving damages typically takes a coordinated effort between your medical team of doctors and providers as well as lifecare planners, vocational experts, and accident reconstruction experts, among others. We are adept at putting a winning team of experts together to champion your case and maximize your compensation to the fullest extent of the law.
Federal regulations allow truck drivers to drive for up to 11 hours at a time, with many drivers going well beyond that time frame. They travel thousands of miles at a stretch to meet strict deadlines. This can cause a deadly combination of driver fatigue and speeding, both leading causes of catastrophic truck accidents.
Municipal trucks, like fire trucks or ambulances, can also get into major accidents as they speed through city streets to get to an emergency. Other factors that contribute to truck accidents include:
• Driver error – As previously noted, truck driver fatigue and speeding are two of the leading causes of truck accidents in California. Other examples of driver error include:
• Distracted driving
• Poor training
• Failure to obey traffic signals
• Large blind spots
• Alcohol and/or drug use
• Vehicle Issues – By their very nature, trucks present obvious safety problems. For example, even a perfectly maintained truck carrying a full load of cargo needs 525 feet of room to come to a full stop. To put that into perspective, that’s the length of two football fields! That, along with drivers having to deal with huge blind spots makes them inherently dangerous to all of the passenger vehicles surrounding them. Adding poor maintenance to the mix increases the risk even more. Some common truck maintenance problems are:
o Overweight trailers
o Loads that aren’t secured properly
o Brake problems
o Tire problems
o Not following the truck’s recommended maintenance schedule
• Weather – California is rightfully famous for year-round great weather. Yet rain, snow and high winds can come on suddenly, especially at higher elevations. Encountering bad weather can make a truck driver’s job even harder, especially if they’re already fatigued. Hydroplaning and swerving can send a truck out of control in an instant, endangering everyone in their path.
Parties that can be potentially at-fault for causing truck injury accidents include:
• The truck driver (whether an employee or owner-operator)
• The corporation, business, commercial enterprise, non-profit, or public entity that owns and/or operates the truck, or employs the driver
• The owner and/or lessee of the tractor
• The owner and/or lessee of the trailer
• The owner, seller, distributor, and/or buyer of the goods being shipped
• The operator and/or lessee of the tractor and/or trailer
• Maintenance companies that serviced the truck if a mechanical issue caused the accident
• The designer and/or manufacturer of the truck and/or trailer if there was a mechanical or recall issue
• The driver and/or entity that owns another vehicle (that causes or contributes to the accident)
• A public entity for roadway design or maintenance issues
Truck accident injuries can be severe because of the size and mass of the trucks, especially when a multiple-axle, big rig is involved. The various types of injuries can include:
• Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
• Wrongful death
• Spinal cord injuries, up to and including paralysis (full, partial, permanent, and/or temporary)
• Broken bones/fractures
• Whiplash injuries
• Cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine injuries
• Back pain, including strain and sprain
• Nerve injuries and damage, numbness, and radiculopathy
• Cuts and lacerations
• Crush injuries
• Scarring and burns
• Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental illnesses
Factors that contribute to the value of a truck accident settlement include:
• Severity of your injuries
• Magnitude of the property damage to your vehicle
• Length of hospital stay
• Prognosis, amount of time, and costs of your anticipated recovery
• Whether there’s a permanent disability or life-long injury
• Time away from work and/or inability to continue working
• Your health and lifestyle pre-accident
• Your age
• The negative impact on your life
We will help you get the justice and compensation you deserve for a wide-range of Personal Injury cases: Motor Vehicle Accidents, Premise Liability, Slip and Falls, Dog Bites/Animal Attacks, Catastrophic Injury Accidents, Wrongful Death Accidents, and more.