Truck Accident Lawyers
TRUCK ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS
Since 1976 Richard D. Hoffman has successfully helped his clients gain the maximum settlement possible during a painful time in their lives when they need it most.
We represent clients who have been injured or whose loved one died in any type of car accidents including truck accidents.
We have the knowledge, skill and experience to win your case or to receive a full compensation.
And we also know the types of injuries that can happen in accidents and the care required to your recovery to help your physical and mental health.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, call us now! at (323) 782-8600 for legal representation.
You can also send email via Info@RichardHoffmanLaw.com
If you are unable to come to our office, we are happy to come to you at home or in hospital.
- Why You Need Truck Accident Lawyers
- Condsider the Statute of Limitations
- Preparing for the Initial Consultation
- Steps to Take After a Truck Accident
- When Truck Driver Does Not Want to Report an Accident
- Common Causes of Truck Accidents
- Injuries Caused by Trucking Accidents
- Compensation for Truck Accidents
- Value of My Case – Level of Compensation Available for Victims:
- Factors to Determine Fault After a Truck Accident
- What We Can Do for You
Why You Need Truck Accident Lawyers
Every year truck accidents involving large commercial trucks – 18 wheeler, semi truck, cargo truck, freight truck, or delivery truck – result in more than 3,000 fatalities, 70,000 severe injuries and an estimated $40 billion dollars in property damage. They account for 6.2% of all car accidents and one-third(33%) of fatalities in California.
There is no drivers who want to collide with a truck due to its fatal danger, but every year thousands of people are either killed or severely injured in truck accidents due to the negligence or recklessness of a trucker with distracted, fatigued or reckless driving.
California is the state that has the largest population and production capacity among the 50 states in the United States. And there are some of the worlds largest port cities in California. As a result, large commercial vehicles pass through California highways and streets day and night without a break than any other state in the US. So truck accidents always can happen along major interstates as well as city streets and lesser-traveled urban streets in California.
Large commercial trucks range in weight between 10,000 and 80,000 pounds and can reach lengths of up to 53 feet while an average passenger vehicle weighs roughly only 3,000 pounds (at least 3times, maximum 27 times). Especially, 18 wheels and 53 feet of deadly steel and cargo that can match the weight of a building.
So truck accidents lead to the most severe and fatal types of car accident on the road due to their physical size and weight. You’ve seen them hurtling down the highways carrying heavy loads at top speeds and you can imagine the devastation and fatality when the truck and normal vehicle collide in interstates or streets. Unfortunately, it’s those in other vehicles who suffer the most as a result of trucking accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the majority of those killed in large truck wrecks are people in passenger vehicles. Not surprising, they are often left unscathed, while passenger vehicle occupants suffer an incredibly high mortality rate.
There are numerous examples of truck accident injuries where innocent people are affected by the negligence and unsafe driving of truck drivers. In many cases, large-truck drivers involved in extreme crashes resulting in fatalities or severe injuries had previous records of prior speeding infractions.
The impact truck makes when it collides with another object is often very serious and critical, regularly resulting in total write-offs of other vehicles involved in the collision. For instance, a collision involving a tractor-trailer truck and an Amtrak train in North Carolina left the train devastated, with three of its cars derailing and 54 of its passengers injured.
Truck accident leaves victims and their families to struggle desperately to the damage of property and health rendering a victim paralyzed or maimed permanently, extreme financial difficulty and loss of the loved one. Following an accident with a commercial truck, you, the victim, will be left with debilitating injuries and exhaustive financial burdens.
But, in some cases, commercial trucking companies and insurance company will do their best to avoid or minimize compensation and even deny the responsibility and liability of accident. Trucking companies know all too well the level of damage that their vehicles cause, and they attempt to stack the deck in their favor after a crash. These companies are backed by insurance companies with armies of lawyers and accident investigators. In many cases, they have already begun building a case against the other driver by the time the first responders have arrived at the accident scene.
So maybe you want to go to battle with these bad companies, insurance companies and their defense lawyers. But in order to fight and win with them and to ensure a reserved compensation for damages suffered, having an experienced and skilled lawyer on your side is essential and extremely important. He will prove fault and damages for the serious injuries often catastrophic injuries that occur as a result of a truck accident. He can gather documents pertaining to the driver, showing how long they were driving, reported rest stops, whether or not they were under the influence or under any other kind of chemicals, prescription medicines, or narcotics which may have caused the driver to be inattentive and violate the law. Often he can also help to arrange for medical treatment which may be otherwise difficult to obtain for someone who does not have medical insurance or a doctor who can work on a lien basis.
Our truck accident lawyers at Richard D. Hoffman understand the intricacies of specifically handling truck accident claims and know how to win the case and to receive a maximum compensation. We are committed to providing you with the necessary expertise and strategy to succeed. We are highly skilled in developing successful cases involving truck accidents.
If you or your loved one have been involved in truck accident, please contact our lawfirm for a free consultation.
Condsider the Statute of Limitations
Under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1, the statute of limitations for truck accidents is two years.
The time limit starts on the date of the accident, unless the accident resulted in the death of the victim.
When the victim die in an accident, the statute of limitations starts on the date of the victim’s death.
If the liable party is a public entity, such as a city or school district, then a claim must be filed with the appropriate government entity within six months of the incident.
So if you are a victim in a truck accident and are considering filing a claim, you have to bear in mind of the period limit.
* What if Period Limit has Run Out
In certain circumstances courts will allow for a temporary halting or tolling of the time limit such as minor statute of the victim (under the age of 18), mental and physical incapacitation of the victim. You can discuss this issue with our attorney.
Preparing for the Initial Consultation
For the initial consultation after a car accident, bring as much information as possible you can secure, including:
– Pictures of the accident and of your injuries
– Information on the other driver (the driver’s name, address, telephone number, license plate, and make and model of the vehicle)
– Insurance information for both parties to the accident
– Names, addresses and phone numbers of witnesses
– Medical records
– Medical bills
– Emergency room bills
– Emergency room records
* If You Are Uninsured at the Time of The Accident
If you are uninsured at the time of the accident, unfortunately, your legal rights will be limited and you may not be entitled to claim compensation for pain and suffering. You will have fewer options and be vulnerable to recover for damages and compensation.
It is wise to have car insurance at all times.
But you can talk to a truck accident lawyer about this issue, too.
Steps to Take After a Truck Accident
1. Check where there you are injured and contact an emergency responses team or paramedics. (Be aware that not all medical problems show up in the first few minutes or longer after a car accident. You may think that back pain means only a sprain, but it may be much more serious than you think and should be examined immediately after a crash.)
2. Contact your local law enforcement and file an accident report. (Truck accidents often happen on busy highways in dangerous situations where other accidents can happen as a result of both parties stopping on the highway. So, those involved in a truck accident should always call the police to assist them in writing a report on the truck accident. And do not speak with the driver regarding fault or liability.)
3. Write down important information (the at fault party’s name, address, telephone number, insurance information, license plate, make and model of the vehicle)
4. Contact a truck accident lawyer and ask for a legal consultation regarding your rights for claim and compensation.
* After a truck accident, do not speak with insurance adjusters, first. Insurance company can use your statements to lower or deny your claim for compensation. You do not need to spend your after-accident period in a fight with insurance companies. A truck accident lawyer representing you can do it for you.
When Truck Driver Does Not Want to Report an Accident
If truck drivers violate laws prohibiting driving too long, hauling excessive loads, failing to report rest stops, and not maintaining their vehicles in a proper condition, they are ordinarily exposed to legal penalties and lose their commercial license and their jobs.
So, sometimes truck drivers and truck companies will tell victims not to report the accident to avoid those penalties.
You should ignore this suggestion and call the police and truck accident lawyer as soon as possible for your legal right to receive compensation.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Collisions with large truck and trailer rigs traveling at top speeds can be devastating and may cause significant damage and injuries. Common causes of trucking accidents are:
– Driver Fatigue (Tired truck driver who has been overworked and become sleepy due to long hours and busy delivery schedule. Asleep at the wheel creates a volatile situation when you combine drowsiness and nodding off at the wheel in a massive piece of machinery traveling at high speeds.)
– Insufficient Driver Training(Inexperienced Drivers) (It may results in a collision based on a new truck operator’s lack of exposure to driving hazards when a commercial company does not take the time to sufficiently train and educate them to uphold the highest safety measures on the road.)
– Maintenance Negligence (Insufficient Truck Maintenance or Mechanical Failure.) (This occurs when a trucking company or driver fails to adequately maintain equipment and perform routine inspections. Without proper inspections, equipment can fall into disrepair and go unnoticed, causing dangerous situations on the highway. Poorly maintained brakes, tires or lights of an 18 wheel semi-truck may causes the truck to become unstable, removing the integrity of its foundation and functionality. These factors are covered by California law: making it unlawful for truck drivers and trucking companies not to implement proper maintenance of their vehicles and to drive beyond the lawful amount of time without taking a rest break.)
– Defective Vehicle or Vehicle Parts (Defective manufacturing of the vehicle or defective manufacturing of parts including tires, and brakes. It may results in a malfunctioning of the truck and trailer, such as a tire blow out that can cause a truck to roll over based on it being rendered unstable.
– Overloaded or oversized freight and cargo trucks (It may creates an unstable load that is more prone to roll over accidents.)
– Negligence of a truck driver
– Failure to Follow Posted Traffic Signage (It creates dangerous driving situations such as ignoring “one way” indications that may result in collisions with oncoming traffic.)
– Rushed delivery schedules
– Road rage by a large truck driver
– Aggressive delivery truck drivers
– Tailgating or reckless driving by a truck driver (While operating a large truck and trailer is unsafe for the driver and other motorists based on the sheer size and mass of the rig.)
– DUI Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (Driving Under the Influence of an Illegal Substance) (It is highly illegal and responsible for the severe impairment of judgment and ability to safely operate machinery.)
– Jackknife 18 wheel semi truck accidents
– Speeding or ignoring the speed limit for trucks on the freeway or highway (Lessens a driver’s reaction time to respond to road hazards and other drivers.)
– Impaired Vision from Night Driving (It makes it difficult for drivers to recognize potential road hazards and conditions.)
– Brake Failure (It makes difficult or impossible to slow a heavy load safely, potentially resulting in a serious accident.
– Poor Driving Conditions such as rain, snow, ice or high winds. (It may causes large truck and trailer rigs to slide out of control, careening off of embankments or into other vehicles.)
– Defective or poor roadway conditions
For over a decade it has been widely accepted by the National Transportation Safety Board that driver fatigue is the leading cause of truck-related accidents.
Often incentivized by trucking companies to cut delivery times down by foregoing necessary sleep, a truck driver’s ability to safely operate their machinery is greatly diminished and the probability of falling asleep at the wheel is increased significantly.
In addition to fatigue, many drivers suffer from sleep apnea, a condition that occurs when the airway is partially or fully blocked during sleep and the sleeping pattern is continuously disrupted. This can result in a loss of oxygen to the brain and an impairment of reaction rates, focus and overall ability to drive safely.
To maintain the fastest delivery times, truck operators have been known to rely on narcotics and prescription medications to assist them in staying awake, however side effects from these drugs can have adverse effects, resulting in impaired driving and occasional accidents.
Another type of big rig accident that occurs, is one where a truck hits a pedestrian or by-stander. While these occurrences are less common, the damage incurred, can be much more significant. With limited visibility, and multiple blind spots, these types of accidents do occur.
Injuries Caused by Trucking Accidents
Tuck accident result in the highest percentage of severe injuries and fatalities requiring extensive medical and rehabilitation care than any other type of traffic accidents. Some of the most common injuries caused by truck accidents are as follows:
– Broken Bones – fractures ribs, broken legs, arms and wrists.
– Lacerations, Contusions and Abrasions
– Bone Dislocation
– Cosmetic Disfigurement
– Neck Injuries
– Spinal Cord Injuries resulting in paralysis, paraplegia and quadriplegia.
– Traumatic Brain Injuries including concussion and post traumatic headache disorder.
-Facial injuries – facial fractures, lacerations, broken nose, and dental injuries.
Internal organ damage – collapsed lung, lacerations to the liver, and kidney failure
– Torn Ligaments
– Torn Tendons
Whether you or your loved ones have been the victim of fatigued, neglectful or reckless driving, you are entitled to a just compensation.
Compensation for Truck Accidents
One of the most common questions asked by our clients is “what is the value of my case?”. The average settlement amount of a truck accident lawsuit is dependent on several factors unique to each case.
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident that was not your fault or mostly not your fault, you may wonder what compensation you may be entitled to.
And it is very important to fully understant your legal rights for compensation in your truck accident, and the value of a truck accident case is generally determined by:
– The extent of the damage to property
– The extent of injuries of the victims
– The size and type of insurance policies held by both the neglectful party and the victims.
Of course, it can vary depending on a number of factors.
For a truck accident case evaluation, contact a truck accident laywer.
He will support you in bringing appropriate legal action against an insurance company or the plaintiff.
And your lawyer can guide you whether your accident was happened by driver’s negligence, manufacturer liability or malicious intent.
Whether you are dealing with an uninsured driver or an uncooperative insurance company seeking to reduce or deny your compensation for damages, truck accidnet lawyers are committed to obtaining maximum compensation on your behalf.
In situations where Personal Injury Protection(PIP) insurance does not sufficiently cover damages, you may be entitled to full or partial compensation beyond your coverage limitations.
A truck accident can be fatal to you and your family with exorbitant medical expenses, loss of wage and income, and irreversible permanent injuries. In some extreme cases, your family may be faced with excessive funerary costs after wrongful death.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries as a result of a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the following:
* Compensation for economical damages
– Compensation for all current and ongoing medical costs and prescription drug cost (Often referred to as “Medpay,” this pays medical expenses for driver and passengers injured in an accident.)
– All future medical and rehabilitations costs including corrective and revision surgeries when required
– Loss of wages and future income earning ability due to inability (Loss of earning capacity)
– Loss of essential home services (An injured homemaker who suffers injuries from an accident and who now needs to hire someone to do their household work may be compensated for the loss of the ability to do domestic work.)
– Loss of property (damage to your vehicle)
* Compensation for non-economical damages
– Payment for pain and suffering for for the physical pain you suffered as a result of the injuries sustained in your truck accident
(The type of injury, the level of pain, and how long that pain can reasonably be expected to continue will factor into these damages.)
– Payment for emotional and psychological distress including mental trauma, post traumatic stress, and depression resulting from the accident
(If you suffered a catastrophic injury such as a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury, you could be entitled to damages for the mental pain and anguish you have suffered.)
– Loss of consortium if a truck accident resulted in a strain on your relationship.
– The inability to have children due to accident-related injuries
As you can see, many of these compensation caluses are subjective or subject to interpretation. How do you show your pain and suffering and how do you prove that you will lose income in the future based on your potential? It may be difficult to put a figure on these types of damages and the amount of money which can be obtained for this type of damage is a question of fact for the jury.
It is our job to maximize your compensation by fully demonstrating the degree of your damages and injuries. Whether its employing the services of an occupational expert to show future loss of earnings, or a medical professional to prove the true level of pain and suffering, we will go the extra mile for our clients.
Our firm has been successful in settling cases and convincing juries to award the maximum amount of pain and suffering, and non-economic damages that our clients deserve. Depending on the types of injuries suffered, and whether or not the injury is permanent or has permanently changed a person’s life, the value of non-economic damages may be in the millions of dollars.
The defendant, his/her insurance companies and defense lawyer will do everything to deny or minimize your damage and injuries. We will protect your rights for compensation.
* Punitive damage
Punitive damages could be awarded when the plaintiff displays an intent to cause harm or a reckless disregard for the life of victims. In this case, the defendants will receive all or some portion of the punitive damage award.
* Wrongful death (Fatality)
Wrongful death is a claim against a person held liable for a death in a truck accident. If your loved one was killed in a truck accident due to a negligent driver, family members are entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit on his or her behalf.
Value of My Case – Level of Compensation Available for Victims:
The estimates settlement amount for your case is dependent on several factors. Some of the common factors in determining the value of your case include:
* The level of insurance available – Under California law, truck companies and commercial vehicle operators are required to take out a car insurance in excess of what is normally required by other motorists.
* The extent and severity of your injuries – This is usually proved by the past, current and future medical expenses and needs following a truck accident.
* The level of pain and suffering – In the state of California injured victims of accident are entitled to financial recuperation for the physical pain and suffering, and emotional trauma sustained in a truck accident from at-fault parties.
* Lost wages and loss of future income – Evidence of lost wages can be past pay stubs, and tax information. To determine the amount of the loss of future income, the valuation of vocational experts is usually required.
* Punitive damage – When the victim can prove that the plaintiff displays an intent to cause harm or a reckless disregard for the life of victims.
We will research the elements of your case extensively, interviewing witnesses and reviewing police, accident and medical records.
Our truck accident lawyers will assist you in filing a personal injury lawsuit to seek further compensation when your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance does not adequately cover the extent of damages suffered as a result of your truck-related accident.
Police departments often do not have the necessary expertise to accurately assess the nature of an accident involving a large truck. Truck accident lawyers at Richard D. Hoffman can assist you in launching an immediate investigation into your case to preserve evidence and reconstruct the accident elements.
Factors to Determine Fault After a Truck Accident
After a crash, accident parties want to know who was at fault. There are many factors involved in determining who was at fault for the truck accident, including:
* The police report.
The police report is most important factors in the determination of who was at fault in a truck accident.
Police officers are trained to determine fault listening conflicting stories of both sides, and are also trained to accurately read and analyze the evidence at the scene of the accident.
So insurance companies are typically put the most weight in the police report to determine who was at fault.
* Evidence collected by parties of accident.
After a crash, it is very important to take photographs of the vehicles, injuries and the scene of the accident, if you are not severely injured.
And if there were witnesses to the accident, write down names and phone numbers, and then give it your truck accident attorney.
It is also extremely helpful to determine who was at fault in an accident.
* Which driver admits fault at the scene.
It is very important that you never admit fault at the scene of an accident. You may not actually be aware of the true cause and fault of your accident, but if you admits fault at the scene, it would be very disadvantageous to you.
After a crash, cooperate with the police and exchange information with the other driver, but do not say anything about the accident. The police and your insurance company will determine who was at fault after reading and analyzing the evidence at the scene.
* Fault and No-fault State
In California, before a person’s insurance pay for compensation for damages, that person must be found to be responsible for causing the accident. And then, the at-fault driver’s insurance will pay for medical, car repairs expenses and all other losses.(In no-fault states, there is no requirement to show who was at fault.)
* Comparative Negligence (Comparative Fault)
California also follows the pure comparative negligence law (pure comparative fault law), which allocates fault between the parties, the plaintiff and the defendants, reducing recovery accordingly by the percentage of fault attributable to them.
For example, a plaintiff who was at fault of 70% for an accident should pay 70% of damage for the defendant. Of course, a defendant who suffered injuries could only recover 70% of losses from the other party.
Comparative negligence or comparative Fault is a partial legal defense that reduces the amount of damages that a plaintiff can recover in a negligence-based claim, based upon the degree or percentage to which the plaintiff’s own negligence contributed to cause the injury.
If there was a crash between quick lane changing driver and a driver exceeding the speed limit, the court may ruled that both are responsible for a truck accident and can recover accordingly by the percentage of fault.
What We Can Do for You
– Introduce caring doctors
– Make a thorough investigation of accident
– Found out the cause and fault of accident and the liable party or parties
– File and handle all insurance related paperwork for the maximum compensation
– Handle your personal injury lawsuit including mediation, arbitration, depositions, and trial
– Keep updating and delivering of the process of your case
– Answer any of your questions and address any of your concerns with a serving heart