Truck accidents are very different from other types of accidents. They are characterized by increased severity of fatalities and injuries, special investigations, commercial insurance coverage, and specific trucking industry laws.
One of the most critical considerations after a truck accident is the issue of liability. Victims can pursue compensation from the right party once they establish the party/parties that caused the crash. An Orange County personal injury attorney can explain how fault is determined, and help victims bring a lawsuit against the right person or company.
When Can We Blame the Driver For a Truck Accident?
All drivers, including the one behind the wheels of a truck, have to keep all other road users safe. When a truck driver disregards the safety of other vehicles that weigh around 20 times more than them, they might be held personally responsible. Such irresponsibility could be evident through:
- Poor driver decisions
- Driving aggressively
- Over speeding
Other motorists often witness these kinds of recklessness and would make excellent witnesses in a personal injury case. So, if you think that the truck driver was to blame, make sure that you get contacts of any witnesses to back up your account of the incident.
When is the Trucking Company at Fault?
Truck crashes aren’t always the driver’s fault, even when it looks obvious. For instance, if the driver falls asleep while driving and causes an accident, it is not automatically their fault. The truck company might be liable if they failed to allow the truck drivers enough time to rest. Other staff-related mistakes include:
- Unsafe hiring practices
- Allowing undertrained or untrained drivers to drive
Other circumstances that would be the truck company’s fault include failing to inspect and maintain the vehicles regularly. This could manifest in the form of:
- Inadequate tires
- Poorly functioning lights
- Faulty breaks
- Incorrect cargo loading
But if proper maintenance was done before the truck left the yard, the manufacturer of the truck or its spare parts might be the faulty party.
When is the Manufacturer Liable in a Truck Accident?
If the driver was driving as expected, and the truck company had adequately inspected and maintained its staff and the vehicle, a manufacturer might be the next possible culprit. A product liability lawsuit would be appropriate if a defect is found in:
- The truck itself
- One of its parts
Note that the truck might contain parts from various manufacturers, and in-depth investigations could reveal the exact parts that were of inferior quality. Such fact-finding missions often require a lot of resources. So, make sure that you work with knowledgeable and experienced Orange County truck accident lawyers.
What Types of Evidence Help in Establishing Fault in a Truck Accident?
Apart from witness statements, several other pieces of evidence can be used to establish the at-fault party in a truck accident. Moreover, the nature of the accident could determine the type of evidence available to you. For instance, if you are badly injured, you might be unable to take photos at the scene.
Experienced Orange County truck accident lawyers could also use various contracts to see if there are violations. They might find answers in the documents handling matters between:
- Trucking companies and maintenance companies
- Trucking companies and the manufacturers of the products they are hauling as loads
- Truck drivers and their employers
The sooner victims speak to a legal expert, the easier it will be to find and preserve relevant proof of fault. Malicious parties can possibly destroy evidence over time, to weaken the victim’s case.
How Can a Lawyer Help in Determining Fault in a Truck Accident?
A skilled lawyer is conversant with the federal regulations on trucking. Thus, it won’t be difficult for them to assess the person in violation and hold them liable. They can also use a legal tool known as discovery, which involves gathering evidence from the parties involved.
A Santa Ana personal injury attorney can easily access maintenance reports, and relevant contract documents might give them insights into who could be at fault. These can form solid pieces of evidence in your personal injury or product liability case. Coupled with extensive experience, they could build a solid case to earn you maximum compensation.
What Happens When Both Drivers Were Partly At Fault?
Investigations into the accident might reveal that both the truck and the other vehicle contributed to the crash. To drag you into the matter, the other attorney must prove that:
- You engaged in negligent behavior/activity
- The negligence significantly contributed to the accident
Notably, California is not one of the four remaining states that still use contributory negligence in awarding compensation. Instead, judges use the principles of pure comparative negligence. This means that victims of accidents can still get an award even when they are partly to blame. Even if your contribution is 99%, you could still get the 1% damages in Orange County.
How Do You Deal With the Truck’s Insurance Companies?
Large trucking companies have a team of lawyers at their disposal, established insurance companies, and deep pockets.
They are also probably used to handling cases similar to yours, and might have two objectives in mind:
- Settle for as little money as possible
- Settle fast
Your car’s insurance company might not be a match to the team at the trucking company. Additionally, they might lack the resources to investigate the claim and establish liability. But specialized Orange County truck accident lawyers are equipped and able to protect your interests.
Experienced Attorneys Helping Victims Recover Compensation
Legal battles against a truck company and its insurance company are often an uphill battle. Unless you invest in an able legal team, it might not be easy to win against them because they have invested heavily in cashing out the least possible amounts of money.
Injuries sustained after a truck accident might be costly to treat and can come with other life-changing effects. Therefore, it is best to work with an experienced and skilled truck accident attorney in Orange County. Speak to us today to discuss a winning formula.