Los Angeles truck accident lawyer
Every year in Los Angeles, many people are seriously injured or killed in collisions involving commercial trucks. People who occupy passenger vehicles have a much greater risk of being killed or suffering catastrophic injuries when they are involved in large truck accidents. According to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 4,136 people were killed in tractor-trailer accidents in the U.S. in 2018. A large majority of the people who were injured or killed were the occupants of passenger vehicles. People who have suffered serious injuries or who have lost loved ones in accidents involving large trucks should contact the attorneys at LA Personal Injury Attorneys to learn about the rights that they might have.
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Causes of Los Angeles truck accidents
Commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and have much taller profiles than passenger vehicles. These factors make them much more difficult to maneuver and to stop. Large trucks have a much greater braking distance to stop than other types of vehicles. When they cause accidents with passenger cars, the results are often devastating. Truck drivers have a duty of care to others on the road to drive safely so that they can prevent accidents from happening.
Because of the greater risks of injury and death in commercial truck accidents, the trucking industry is heavily regulated. The regulations are meant to reduce the risk of accidents and to protect people. Under federal and state laws, trucks must be regularly inspected and properly maintained. California also has regulations that govern the sizes and weights of trucks and the freight that they transport. Truck drivers also must comply with many regulations, including holding commercial drivers’ licenses, the hours of service rules, and the number of days that they are allowed to work consecutively. Despite the regulations and laws, commercial trucks frequently are involved in collisions. Some of the causes of large truck accidents include the following:
- Negligent hiring, supervision, and hiring of incompetent truck drivers
- Improper maintenance
- Drowsy driving
- Speeding or driving too fast for the conditions
- Distracted driving
- Inattentive driving
- Inclement weather
- Poorly maintained roads
- Aggressive driving
- Failing to notice that traffic has slowed ahead
- Improper securement of loads
- Overweight trucks
- Drugged or drunk driving
- Defective truck parts
Trucking companies may be vicariously liable for the negligent actions of their employees when they are acting in the scope and course of their jobs. A trucking company may be directly liable for truck accidents that are caused by their negligence in hiring, supervising, and retaining incompetent drivers. Similarly, the truck owners can be liable for failing to properly inspect and repair trucks, and the manufacturers of defective parts can be liable when a truck accident is partly or wholly caused by the defective components. Drivers are also expected to meet strict delivery deadlines, and some drivers speed or engage in other problematic driving behaviors that cause collisions. All of these problems can contribute to a truck accident. In some cases, multiple parties could be liable.
Potential damages in a truck accident lawsuit
The available damages in a truck accident claim will vary from case to case, depending on the circumstances of what occurred. This means that a Los Angeles truck accident lawyer cannot tell you how much your claim might be worth without carefully examining the facts and the evidence. The compensatory damages in a truck accident are monetary awards that are meant to compensate victims for their economic and noneconomic losses. Some of the types of damages that might be available in a truck accident claim include the following:
- Past medical expenses
- Potential medical expenses in the future
- Past wage losses
- Future anticipated wage losses
- Funeral and burial expenses in wrongful death claims
- Lost inheritance rights in wrongful death claims
- Amounts the decedents would have contributed to their families in wrongful death claims
- Property losses
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium and guidance
- Reduction in the ability to enjoy life
- Disfigurement and scarring
In cases in which the behavior of the defendants was outrageous, punitive damages might also be awarded. These are damages that are not meant to compensate victims. Instead, they are awarded to punish defendants and to deter them from engaging in similar actions in the future.
Dealing with insurance companies following truck accidents
Insurance companies aggressively defend against truck accident claims because they typically involve substantial sums of money. Trucking companies must carry insurance with high liability limits, and the insurance companies frequently send investigators to the accident scenes as soon as they learn about what happened. Insurance companies also have teams of defense attorneys who are prepared to defend against injury and fatality claims when they are filed by the victims.
Insurance company representatives frequently call accident victims as soon as they learn that people were injured. If you are contacted by an insurance adjuster or receive an early settlement offer from a company, you should be aware of some of the tactics that are used by insurance companies in truck accident cases.
Early settlement offers are commonly made by trucking insurance companies. These offers are often substantially lower than what the claims are worth. The companies do this to try to convince victims that their cases are worth much less than they are. They want to settle with people personally to try to avoid paying what the claims are worth. Once you accept a settlement offer, you will be barred from trying to recover more money for your losses later.
You should never agree to give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster or sign a medical authorization form from an insurance company after a truck accident. Remember that the insurance adjuster works for the trucking company’s insurance provider, which means that the adjuster’s loyalty lies with the company and not with you. You should also not agree to sign a medical authorization that is sent to you by the trucking company’s insurance company. Insurance companies use these to dig through your complete medical record to try to blame your injuries on a different incident.
Why it is important to seek help from a Los Angeles truck accident lawyer
The experienced lawyers at LA Personal Injury Attorneys know the types of strategies that trucking and insurance companies use to try to avoid liability following truck accidents. We can represent your interests and deal with the insurance company on your behalf. Never sign anything or provide recorded statements without getting help from an experienced truck accident lawyer.
Contact the attorneys at LA Personal Injury Attorneys
If you were seriously injured in an accident that was caused by a commercial truck or lost your loved one, you should get legal help as soon as possible. Contact the experienced Los Angeles truck accident attorneys at LA Personal Injury Attorneys to schedule a consultation by calling 323-553-1000.
Learn more about other accident case types:
Personal Injury | Car Accident | Uber & Lyft Accident | Motorcycle Accident | Rear-end Accident | Truck Accident | Rollover Accident | Bus Accident | Government Vehicle Accident |