The use of commercial trucks or big rigs in the course of business in California is a common phenomenon. While the use of big trucks is common, several accidents may inevitably arise in California. Truck accident cases bring about massive injuries and the injuries result in lost wages, pain and suffering, huge medical bills and other inconveniences that would ordinarily arise following an accident. When such accidents happen, the victims would endeavour to ensure that they are compensated by the at-fault parties for the same.
The victims would ordinarily seek the services of personal injury lawyers in a bid to ensure that they are adequately compensated. The truck accident lawyers deploy their expertise to such cases and aim to ensure that their client’s interests are well protected. This article shall look into the different types of cases handled by truck accident attorneys.
General Scope of California Big Rig Accidents
Huge commercial trucks are involved in big rig accidents. Such heavy vehicles include tractor-trailers, mini-trucks, and other vehicles ferrying goods. Such accidents are mostly catastrophic in effect owing to the size and weight of such vehicles. The accidents mostly result in body injuries, property damage and even deaths. The impacts of such accidents are severe and need great attention to approach them.
What causes big rig accidents in California?
There are several causes of big rig accidents in California. Victims must understand such causes. Both the victims and personal injury attorneys need to understand such causes to get a clear approach thereto. Some of these causes are discussed below:
Tiredness of an operator: Drivers of such heavy vehicles spend many hours on the roads traversing from one point to another. As a result of long hours spent on the roads, the drivers get fatigued which predisposes them to such accidents. It follows from this that they must park the vehicles that they are driving the moment they get tired so that they can avoid causing big rig accidents.
Overspeeding: When a vehicle is driven at a very high speed, it is difficult to control it and when this happens, avoiding accidents would be extremely difficult. It follows from this that drivers should ensure that they drive vehicles at a speed that they can easily manage so that they can avoid causing accidents.
Poor Cargo Handling: where cargo is not handled properly, there are high chances that the same may fall and cause accidents. it follows from this that cargo on the various vehicles in California must be properly loaded into the vehicles so that the same does not fall off or in certain instances cause a major imbalance on the vehicle thereby resulting in accidents.
Vehicular Breakdown: where vehicles develop mechanical problems such as brake failure, they are exposed to accidents which are prone to occur. By driving a car that has issues with the various parts, controlling such vehicles would certainly be extremely difficult and this would most definitely result in big rig accidents.
Distracted Driving: when distracted driving occurs, the driver may not concentrate and to that extent may cause accidents. It follows from this that drivers of various vehicles must ensure that they only drive when they are concentrated on driving.
Use of drugs while driving or before driving: Drugs have the effect of impairing the judgment of the drivers. Because of their impaired judgments, the drunk drivers may fail to appreciate certain hazards on the road and this may likely lead to accidents that would have been avoided.
Bad weather: driving in poor weather conditions is likely to lead to accidents as there shall always be poor road vision. Drivers must therefore ensure that they only drive the vehicles when the weather is good and should stop driving when there are extreme weather conditions.
What types of claims can be pursued in truck accident cases?
Bodily Harm Cases
Such cases often arise where people have sustained physical injuries. Claims of this kind mostly focus on compensation for healthcare bills, missed earnings, suffering and anguish, and further related damages. The party at fault bears liability in such instances.
Negligence was brought out and specifically that drivers have a duty of care to protect other road users whether commuters or pedestrians.
Unlawful Death Cases
Such accidents may result in fatalities and as such, the estate of a deceased person may pursue compensation caused by loss of life. Such compensation seeks to cater for burial costs, loss of dependency, and psychological impact caused by death.
Destruction to Property Suits
Such claims are instituted to seek compensation for damaged property and loss sustained from such damage. It is imperative to note that the comparative negligence doctrine applies in such circumstances. Comparative negligence is a defence which reduces the amount of compensation that an injured party can get based on the injured party’s contribution to the occurrence of the accident.
There has to be a thorough investigation into the circumstances leading to a big rig accident. The establishment of liability is key in identifying and apportioning the percentage of liability each party bears. This case underscores the importance of such investigations to the cause of the accident.
How is liability determined in a truck accident in California?
Various parties could be held responsible for big rig accidents. Liability is a factual issue and any of the following parties could be held liable:
Truck driver: where a truck driver fails to exercise due diligence and causes damage, they are often held liable for negligence.
Trucking companies: such companies may be held vicariously liable for faults caused by drivers. They have to train their drivers on safety and operational guidelines. Failure to offer such guidance could be disastrous and may lead to the company being held liable.
Manufacturing Plant and Maintenance Service Providers: Mechanical challenges that arise may be visited by the manufacturer or maintenance service provider. Such parties may be held accountable for accidents caused by such breakdowns.
Relevant Case Law: California Civil Code § 1714(a)
The said provision of the Code illustrates the general duty of care, emphasizing the need to take due diligence over all road users. This provision of the statute is always a guide in big rig accident cases to apportion responsibility for the party at fault under the comparative negligence doctrine.
What Are the Loopholes in Big Rig Accident Claims?
Several setbacks are affecting big rig accidents and the same requires a deep understanding thereof. Among the few challenges affecting such accidents are as discussed below:
Assessing Fault: There is a need for total investigation to establish fault apportioned to any of the parties concerned. There is a need for experts and opinion shapers regarding big rig accidents.
Sticking to the Legal Provisions: A great mastery of the law is required while pursuing big rig accident cases.
Engaging Insurance Companies for Settlement: Insurance companies are in the market for business purposes and will seek to maximize profits while minimizing costs. A victim needs to retain an experienced truck accident lawyer to offer expertise in pursuit of the truck accident claim.
Relevant Case Law: California Code of Civil Procedure § 998
The said provision of the Code enables parties to negotiate for settlement of claims. A competent personal injury lawyer applies this statutory provision to implore parties to have a negotiated settlement at the option of pursuing litigation.
In summary, truck accident attorneys entertain various strains of cases including bodily injury cases for various truck accident victims. There is a need for a proper understanding of the law on big rig accident cases. There is a need to understand the law and the emanating jurisprudence relating to such accidents. It is key to retain an experienced truck accident attorney while pursuing such cases.
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