Truck Accident Attorney in Orange County, California
How Truck Injury Lawyers Can Win Your Case
Trucks are large, lumbering, imposing vehicles. They dominate the road, and it is best for drivers of smaller vehicles to keep their distance from them. If you must drive near a truck, it is best to drive from a distance or ensure that they know exactly where you are. However, doing so will not always keep you safe. Even though truck drivers are experienced and trained in the operation of their vehicles, they can still get into accidents.
The unfortunate thing is that such accidents tend to cause disproportionate damage to the smaller vehicle and more harm to everyone in it.
Truck accidents are serious, and they often result in wrongful death. If you have been a nearly fatal accident, then you should be taken straight to the hospital for examination. When you are feeling up to it, you should call a lawyer who specializes in truck accident cases. You need someone who will be on your side. You need someone who will fight for you against the trucking company.
Your lawyer is the first person you should call. The moment the trucking company finds out that one of their vehicles has been in an accident, they will track you down and attempt to contact you. All communication and correspondence with the trucking company and their representatives should be done through your lawyer. The first thing they will do is sit you down and have you recall what you remember of the accident. They will use this to build a case against the trucking company. It is important that you don’t say or do anything that may undermine the legal strategy decided by your lawyer.
The trucking company may offer you a sum of money to preclude legal action. Our firm has the experience to know when such an offer is fair and adequate. If the money offered does not compensate you for medical expenses, wages lost, and pain and suffering, then your lawyer will urge you to reject it. They will push for more money. If the company rebuffs them, then you will need to sue.
One of the most important things your lawyer will do is determine who is liable for the accident. Even though the action or inaction of the driver may have caused the accident, the trucking company is the employer and is therefore responsible for paying any damages. Truck drivers must adhere to clear and stringent laws regarding the amount of rest they must get in a given day. Some trucking companies are in the habit of encouraging drivers to blow through mandatory rest breaks. They offer all kinds of incentives, including the threat of termination, to get drivers to over-exert and tire themselves. A trucking company that engages in such practices will be held liable for them.
The accident may have been caused by a truck part or system defect. Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring that all trucks scheduled to go on the road are safe. If the accident was caused by a bad part, then you can sue both the manufacturer and the trucking company for negligence.
The Impact of a Serious Truck Accident
If you have been seriously injured in a truck accident, then you may need to spend quite a long time in the hospital. When you return to your job, you may have to reduce the number of hours you work. This can cause serious strain on your family. You should not have to shoulder this burden on your own.
Truck accident attorney Newport Beach, California
Truck accident attorneys help ordinary people get the justice they deserve. Your lawyer will go beyond the official police report of the truck accident. They will hire their own professional investigators to look into the events that led to the collision.
If the truck company refuses to offer you adequate compensation, your lawyer will file a lawsuit. This will allow them to depose witnesses and subpoena documents from the truck company. These legal tools will be used to determine the practices of the company and whether they are in line with state and federal law regarding driver training, qualification, and rest periods. A separate investigation will be undertaken into the accident itself. Professionals will re-interview witnesses, get copies of video footage of the accident scene, and gather other types of evidence. Some people don’t like speaking to the police, but they may not mind talking to a private investigator. Your legal team may uncover cell phone video footage and other evidence that corroborates your version of events.
The case does not need go to court. If your attorney gathers enough evidence against the defendant, then they may decide to settle rather than risk a jury trial.
Steps to Take After a Truck Accident
Dealing with the aftermath of a truck accident is stressful, and victims may not know what steps to take, which can cause even more stress than what they have already gone through with the accident itself. Our attorneys have compiled a list of steps to take after an accident below so that you are best prepared for the worst case scenario.
Remain at the Scene: It is legally required for anyone who has been involved in an accident to remain at the scene of the crash, even if their vehicle is not damaged. Always make sure that everyone is safe and remove your vehicle from the road and out of traffic’s way, if possible. You should also call 911, and the dispatcher will call emergency medical professionals and law enforcement officers to the scene. The responding police officer will create an official accident report, which will help in determining liability.
Seek Medical Treatment: It is very important that you seek medical treatment immediately and never put it off, even if you don’t believe that you are injured. Your adrenaline from the crash can prevent you from feeling or noticing an injury, which can only worsen the problem. Common traffic accident injuries like concussions and internal bleeding may not be noticed right away, but they can become life-threatening. If you choose not to seek medical treatment, this can negatively impact your ability to obtain compensation for your losses later down the line.
Exchange Information with the Other Party: Make sure to exchange contact information and insurance information with the other party at the scene of the accident. Make sure to document the driver’s name, their insurance company and policy number, their license plate number, and the name of the company they were driving for if they were a commercial truck driver.
Check for Witnesses: If there were any witnesses near the scene of the accident, you can either collect a statement from them yourself, or obtain their contact information for later down the line so you can contact them for any needed details. A witness can provide evidence that will prove to be crucial in providing fault, and fault will determine who pays for the damages in the accident.
Document the Accident: It’s easy to obtain photos of anything nowadays with the mass popularity of smartphones. Take photos of the accident scene, damages vehicles, your injuries, and other necessary information that can provide value to your case. This type of evidence is crucial, as it can be used to make sense of the accident and how it happened.
Be Careful of What You Say: You will likely be contacted by an insurance adjuster, therefore, it is essential that you are careful of what you say because anything you say can be used against you and hurt your case. It is in your best interest to consult with a personal injury lawyer prior to speaking with an insurance adjuster so he or she can guide you. You should decline to give a or written or recorded statement and refer the adjuster to the attorney.
Contact a Lawyer: You should contact a lawyer that specializes in truck accidents as soon as possible so they are able to guide your case. Hiring an attorney is the best way to ensure that you receive maximum compensation.
Drug Tests For Truck Drivers
Driving commercial tractor trailer vehicles is a dangerous job due to the massive weight of the vehicle. These heavy vehicles can take yards to stop, so it’s essential that their drivers are in optimal driving condition. This includes being alert and having quick reflexes and judgment. In order to prove that they are committed to the safety of other drivers on the road, they must take regularly scheduled drug tests.
These drug tests are enforced by the Department of Transportation. However, it is also important to know that there are private drug test requirements that need to be met as well. For instance, employers can enforce additional testing requirements for their employees. They can even test for other types of drugs. In addition, if a driver chooses to refuse to take a drug or alcohol test, then it usually means that it is equivalent to a positive result.
There are a number of drugs that may be tested, such as:
- Alcohol tests that result in a reading of 0.02 or higher
Truck Driver Fatigue
The long hours required of truck drivers makes those in this profession susceptible to fatigue. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has set out clear rules and regulations to reduce fatigue-related truck accidents. If you felt pressured by your employer to meet unrealistic scheduling expectations, then your employer is responsible for your injuries and those suffered by others in the crash. You should rely on Accident Lawyers Firm to defend you in these kinds of situations.
The FMCSA has established hours of sleep regulations designed to keep tired drivers off the road and you are expected to follow them. Here are some of the limits:
- 14-hour driving window
A trucker can drive up to 11 hours within a period of 14 consecutive hours after they have been off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours. The window starts the moment the driver comes off their rest break. Other off duty time, including naps and lunch breaks, do not stop the clock on the 14-hour window.
- 30-minute rest break
A driver must take a 30-minute rest break if they have been on the road for more than 8 consecutive hours. This can consist of a break for a meal or a nap, and it does not count against the 14-hour driving window.
- 60/70-hour duty limit
This is referred to as the weekly limit. These time limits are not based on any set day of the week. It is the total hours during a 7-or-8-day period that must be complied with. If you have worked 60 or 70 hours in a week, you must have 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. The clock starts again after you have taken this time off.If you are a truck driver and you find yourself constantly yawning, unable to keep your eyes open, having trouble to keep within your lane, and missing exits, you should let your supervisor know.
Common Causes & Liability for Trucking Accidents
In addition to fatigue, the most common causes of truck accidents are:
- Distracted driving
- Impaired driving
- Poor judgment
- Disregarding traffic rules
- Lack of truck driving experience
Commercial trucking firms are required to regularly inspect, maintain, and repair their trucks by federal regulations. The companies should also keep files of each vehicle’s inspection reports for the last 30 days.
The trucking company will be found responsible for causing the accident if they:
- Failed to train their drivers properly
- Have imposed unrealistic deadlines on their drivers
- Failed to inspect and maintain the trucks
- Allows their drivers to violate the stipulated hours of service threshold
- Failed to carry out thorough vetting on new hires