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  • By: David Kaufman, Esq.
  • Published: February 5, 2024
An overturned truck on the road causes traffic disruption and hazards - Law Offices of David A. Kaufman, APC.

Personal injury claims exist to let those injured by the negligence or recklessness of others claim compensation for their injuries. Nowhere are they more important than in trucking accidents, where the destruction and damages caused are that much more devastating than other accidents on California roadways. This article explains what sets trucking accident personal injury claims apart, including:

  • What kinds of severe and serious injuries frequently occur in trucking accidents.
  • How personal injury compensation is calculated in trucking accident injury claims, and what evidence is needed to collect it.
  • What sets trucking accident injury claims apart from other California roadway accident claims.

What Severe Injuries Occur In Accidents Involving Semi-Trucks Or Other Large Commercial Vehicles Across California?

Semi-trucks, garbage trucks, cement trucks, buses, or any such huge heavy vehicles are often called “moving barriers” during personal injury claims. Medical experts and biomechanical engineers use this term because, whether someone driving a normal vehicle hits something of this magnitude or vice versa, the occupant of the car or motorcycle may as well have crashed straight into a concrete wall.

All of the impact and substantial force involved end up directed toward the person in the smaller vehicle because of the difference in size and mass. Tragically, this often results in truly horrible injuries. When victims of trucking accidents are lucky enough to survive, they will often suffer spinal injuries or traumatic brain injuries just because of the force involved.

These vehicles are extremely dangerous and must be treated with utmost caution on the road. Accidents with them are all too frequently fatal, and the injuries suffered by survivors are virtually always serious and life-changing.

This also makes the personal injury claims afterward, which are needed to recover the costs and losses associated with such accidents, incredibly important. This means you need to be very careful about preserving what evidence you can at the scene.

What Evidence Is Important To Preserve And Collect After A Trucking Accident?

If you are fortunate enough to survive a trucking accident unscathed and mobile, it is a unique chance to gather vital evidence from the scene. Evidence that could make all the difference in an eventual personal injury claim to obtain much-needed financial compensation.

Even if you are not in a position to do so yourself, getting someone else to, a witness, family member or helpful stranger at the scene, could be vital. But what evidence do you need? Well, it is not that much different from the evidence you need for any other California vehicle collision.

  • Pictures of the scene, such as the road, tire tracks, debris, and even the weather. Everything can be important!
  • Pictures of the vehicles involved or what is left of them.
  • Names and contact information for the other drivers involved, as well as any witnesses who saw what happened.

All of this evidence from the scene will be added to evidence gathered later on in the process, such as the medical records of your injury and treatments, accounts from the police or paramedics at the scene, and investigation reports. All of these combine to create a strong case for personal injury compensation, which can be important in determining how much compensation you should obtain and how much you will actually be able to recover.

What Determines The Amount Of Compensation I Might Receive For My California Trucking Accident Personal Injury Claim?

Trucking accidents are complicated, which makes the personal injury claims required to obtain compensation even more so. There are a number of important factors, all of which combine to influence the outcome of your case.

  • Liability (aka fault and blame). It is important that the trucker be responsible, or at least that you not be. If you ran a red light and got hit by a truck, you are unlikely to be able to claim anything.
  • Partial Liability. As long as you are not entirely responsible for the accident, you can claim compensation, but it will be reduced by the portion of blame you bear for the accident.
  • Injuries and Deaths. The more serious, debilitating, and long-term the injury you suffer, the greater the compensation you will have a right to ask for in order to cover the costs and losses involved. For fatalities, loved ones can bring a wrongful death suit against the trucker or their company.
  • Insurance Policy Limits. Serious injuries can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions, when all losses are added up. Sometimes, this means your compensation will be limited by the size of the trucking company’s insurance policy, though it is usually at least a million dollars.
  • Companies Involved. Sometimes, an accident is just the truck driver’s fault; at other times, blame is more complicated to attribute: the company could be to blame for pushing them too hard, a maintenance team might have failed to catch a fatal flaw, or perhaps even the company responsible for the load they are hauling was negligent in securing or balancing it.

All of these factors add together and must be carefully considered and analyzed to establish how much compensation you can claim and from whom. One thing is certain, however: there is no way to know for sure how much a given claim is worth without studying it very carefully, and you should be wary of any attorney who does so.

What Makes Trucking Accident Claims Different Or More Complex Than Those Involving Passenger Vehicles Only?

Size is the primary distinction. The size of the vehicles, and indirectly, as a result, the size of the claim and the severity of the injuries. The size of the personal injury claim also rises proportionally, making them more valuable.

With more money on the line, if there is some sort of dispute over liability or causation from the insurance company, they are likely to put a lot more money into undermining your claim. Often, money will have to be spent litigating it (taking it to court), where the scale of the case will be bigger, too.

There will be more companies involved, more experts hired, and accident reconstructions will be more elaborate. Every detail will often need to be studied and proved before insurance companies are willing to part with the compensation you need and deserve.

While everything is bigger and more expensive, at their heart, trucking accident personal injury claims are not that different from other automobile collisions.

  1. You will need to show who violated the vehicle code or the safety rules to determine who was at fault for the collision.
  2. You need to determine what injuries were caused by the accident and how much they cost you in terms of medical bills and income lost.
  3. You need to demonstrate the non-economic losses (general damages) caused by the trauma, pain and suffering. These can become extremely consequential with long-term injuries or deaths.
  4. You need to show recklessness or negligence or outright illegal behavior, such as driving under the influence (for which punitive damages may be added).

While the steps are similar, the stakes are higher due to the severity of the injuries caused. They are not cases you want to take lightly, and certainly not the kind you can afford to make mistakes when preparing your claim. That is why it is vital to hire an attorney with experience handling elaborate personal injury claims, especially trucking accidents. For more information on Hiring A California Personal Injury Attorney For Your Trucking Accident Claim, an initial consultation is your next best step.

Attorney David Kaufman has many areas of proficiency, the first and foremost of which is personal injury representation – where he serves injured accident victims in La Jolla and surrounding areas of California. Attorney Kaufman brings an impressive ease with words to the explanation of a complex and emotionally difficult field, helping accident victims understand how to recover their sanity as well as substantial financial compensation

Connect with the Law Offices of David A Kaufman, APC for keen-minded and easy-to-follow insights on how to navigate the field of personal injury law in California.

Call For A Free Consultation - (619) 612-5554.

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