You Only Have 2 Years to File a Claim!
California has a 2-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, so if you have been injured, it is critical that you get an attorney as soon as possible. If you wait too long, you could forfeit your right to pursue compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost income and earning capacity, and other damages.
When you contact BD&J, our team can immediately launch an investigation of your accident to uncover important clues that will establish liability for the accident and support your claim for compensation. Depending on the circumstances, liable parties may include the truck driver, his or her employer, a maintenance or cargo loading company, or a third party.
Truck accidents can result from a variety of causes, including:
- Improper maintenance
- Improper loading of cargo
- Overloading of cargo
- Intoxicated driving
- Fatigued driving
- Reckless driving
How to Prove a Commercial Trucking Company Is Liable for Your Accident
Proving liability in truck accident claims is very complex. Unlike in other types of motor vehicle accidents, such as car and motorcycle crashes, it’s not always obvious who is at fault for a truck accident. In California, employers are generally responsible for the actions of their employees under respondeat superior laws. As a result, if a truck driver causes an accident, his or her employer — the trucking company — could be legally liable.
In order to prove that a trucking company is liable for an accident, you will need to show that the person or entity who actually caused the accident — be it the truck driver, a supervisor, or even a maintenance worker — was in the employment of the trucking company and that the trucking company was liable for that employee’s actions. Another way to prove trucking company liability is to show that the trucking company broke the law by encouraging drivers to violate hours-of-service laws, failing to conduct mandatory truck driver background checks, failing to perform truck maintenance, overloading trucks, or in some other manner.
It’s important to work with an experienced truck accident attorney if you wish to pursue compensation after a truck accident. Contact BD & J, PC for a free consultation with an attorney at our firm.
Do I Really Need a Truck Accident Attorney?
In the wake of a truck accident, you may be asking yourself if you really need an attorney to help you with your claim. You may have even already received a settlement offer from the trucking company’s insurance adjuster.
However, it’s very important that you remember that the trucking company’s insurance provider is not on your side, no matter how friendly or helpful they may seem. After all, insurance companies are businesses and, just like any other business, their primary objective is making money. They often attempt to lower their costs by disputing, denying, or devaluing truck accident claims. That settlement offer you may have received is likely much, much lower than what you are entitled to receive for your current and future medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
That’s where a truck accident attorney comes in. An experienced attorney will understand what a reasonable settlement looks like, taking into account all of your actual and projected losses. An attorney will also know how to conduct an exhaustive investigation into the cause of the accident, determine liability (including whether there are multiple liable parties), and build a strong case on your behalf.
Truck accident cases aren’t like other types of motor vehicle accident claims. The last thing you want to do is accept a low settlement offer from the insurance company only to find yourself in need of more treatment than you originally thought. At BD&J, our Riverside truck accident lawyers have extensive experience navigating complex truck accident claims; we know the law, and we know how to fight for the full, fair recovery you deserve. We strongly encourage you to refrain from speaking with the insurance adjuster from the trucking company in order to avoid accidentally implicating yourself. Instead, turn to our experienced legal team for the advocacy and representation you need.
What to Expect from the Personal Injury Claims Process
Recovering compensation after a truck accident can be a lengthy and complex process. At BD&J, we understand that you likely have many questions about what you can expect.
While every case is different, and no outcome is guaranteed, there are certain things you can expect from the personal injuryprocess:
- The process begins with your free initial consultation. During the consultation, we’ll listen to you as you describe how the accident occurred, what injuries you suffered, and how the incident has affected your life. If we believe you have a viable claim, we will accept your case.
- Next, we’ll conduct an independent investigation into the events surrounding the accident. Our team often works with accident reconstruction specialists and other experts in order to determine exactly what caused the accident and the impact it has had on your physical, emotional, and financial well-being.
- Following the investigation, your legal team will put together what is known as a “demand package.” This is essentially a letter outlining your injuries and other damages, as well as your settlement request. After reviewing the letter, the opposing party will either accept or reject the demand or provide a counter-offer.
- If a fair settlement cannot be reached, we will then elevate your claim to litigation. This means that our attorneys will file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. If your case does proceed to trial, our team will guide you through the discovery phase, mediation, and trial, as well as any appeals the opposing party may file.
Commercial Trucking Regulations in California
All truck drivers and trucking companies must abide by regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These regulations, which cover things like how many hours a truck driver may operate a vehicle and when maintenance must be carried out, extend to trucking companies nationwide.
Federal trucking regulations include:
- Truck drivers transporting property/goods cannot drive more than 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty; those carrying passengers cannot drive more than 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off duty
- Truck drivers transporting property/goods cannot drive more than 14 consecutive hours after coming on duty after a 10-consecutive-hour period off duty; the limit for those carrying passengers is 15 hours after an 8-consecutive-hour period off duty
- Neither property-carrying nor passenger-carrying truck drivers may drive more than 60/70 hours in a period of 7/8 consecutive days on duty
Additionally, truck drivers are regulated as to how often and for how long they must use/be in the sleeper berth of their vehicles. Additional federal regulations cover the total gross weight of vehicles, frequency of truck maintenance, and more.
California imposes the following trucking regulations:
- Truck drivers must rest for at least 10 minutes after every 4 hours of driving/working
- Truck drivers must take a meal break of at least 30 minutes after every 5 hours of driving/working
However, recent changes to the law took away truck drivers’ paid rest breaks, meaning California trucking companies no longer have to provide truck drivers with paid rest breaks. This means that, potentially, drivers could unlawfully skip breaks.
California Truck Accident Statistics
Riverside sits in the middle of some of California’s busiest highways. Every day, thousands of vehicles, including large commercial trucks, cross the Inland Empire on the I-15, I-215, I-10, CA-91, and CA-60. This constant flow of vehicles leads to a disturbingly high rate of accidents, many of which involve semi-trucks and 18-wheelers.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):
- Nationwide, there were 4,889 trucks and buses involved in accidents that resulted in fatalities in 2017 (the latest year for which data is available).
- There was a 10% increase in the number of trucks involved in fatal crashes from 2016 – 2017 and a 5% increase in the number of trucks involved in injury crashes.
- There were 4,251 large trucks involved in fatal crashes and 102,000 involved in injury crashes in the U.S. in 2017.
- In 2017, approximately 27% of fatal truck accidents occurred on major highways, whereas about 57% occurred in rural areas and 13% occurred on rural highways.
- For every 1 million people in the U.S., there were 13 fatal truck accidents in 2017, marking an increase from 2010 of 23%.
Zealous Advocacy Backed by a History of Results
Because of the massive disparity in size and weight between trucks and the average motor vehicle, truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries such as brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. The physical and financial consequences of such injuries can be tremendous for victims and their families. Knowing this, we leave no stone unturned in seeking every dollar of compensation our clients are due for everything they have suffered.
While nothing can undo the damage caused by an accident, our firm is committed to helping our clients reclaim their futures by ensuring that they have the financial resources they need for their healing and continued care. Check out our case results to see some of our past victories in truck accident cases.
We encourage you to contact our Riverside firm to learn more about how we can help you. With our contingency fee policy, you pay nothing unless we win your case.