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If you suffered serious injuries in a truck accident in Los Angeles, contact the truck accident attorneys at Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP to discuss your case. Our law firm has a history of securing record-setting verdicts for accident victims throughout Southern California.
What is the Time Limit To File a Truck Accident Claim in California?
The state of California sets an amount of time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. This time limit is called a statute of limitations, failure to file a claim within this time limit means your right to recover compensation for your injuries will be lost. In California, the time limit to file a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the injury.
If you are filing a claim for property damage only after a truck accident in California, you have three years from the date of your collision to bring a claim against the at-fault party. If you wish to hold the government responsible, such as for a pothole or another road defect, you must file a claim within six months of the truck accident. There could be other exceptions to the rule that also change your time limit to file. It is important to contact an attorney right away.
If you don’t file a lawsuit within your time limit, you may give up your right to seek financial compensation for a truck accident in Los Angeles forever. With only a few exceptions, the courts do not give extensions or second chances.
A truck accident attorney from our law firm will be able to determine if you have a valid case and make sure you don’t lose your right to compensation.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Car accidents are complex events, and there are several elements that can influence the occurrence of a crash. The trucking industry comes with many elements and issues that can increase the risk of an accident. Most truck accidents come down to human error or negligence. Negligence means that a driver or another party did not use enough care, resulting in injuries or deaths to others. Some common causes of truck crashes include:
- Drowsy driving. Driver fatigue is an especially common problem in the trucking industry due to issues such as sleep apnea, tight schedules, long hours on the road and broken hours-of-service regulations.
- Alcohol and drug use by the truck driver. The maximum blood alcohol content (BAC) level for commercial drivers in California is 0.04 percent – half of the amount of a noncommercial driver.
- Distracted drivers. Distracted driving is as much an issue in commercial trucking as it is for standard vehicle drivers. If a truck driver tries to pass the time by texting, checking emails, watching videos, reading a book or engaging in other activities, he or she could cause an accident.
- Lack of driver experience. Operating a big rig requires special training and experience. Hiring an inexperienced or incompetent truck driver increases the risk of a crash.
- Failure to obey traffic rules. Traffic rules are in place to decrease the risk of collisions. Breaking a traffic rule, such as a truck driver running a red light, increases the odds of a crash.
- Speeding. Speeding can refer to driving over the speed limit as well as driving too fast for conditions, such as in dangerous weather. Speeding is common in trucking due to the pressures of the job and tight deadlines.
- Improperly loaded cargo. If a trucking company, cargo company or cargo loader fails to abide by the rules of cargo securement, it can lead to an imbalanced truck and a rollover accident, or a lost cargo load in transit.
- Defective parts or poor truck maintenance. A trucking company or maintenance crew could be responsible for a crash caused by poor fleet maintenance, such as bad brakes, tire blowouts or part malfunctions.
One or more parties could be responsible for causing a trucking accident. If you or a loved one suffered injuries and other damages in a trucking accident caused by negligence, schedule a free consultation with our truck accident lawyer in Los Angeles. We can carefully investigate your accident to determine cause and fault.
Types of Truck Accidents
The type of truck accident that you were involved in can yield information about fault and causation. If you were injured in a tire blowout accident, for example, this could point to the fault of the tire manufacturer for a defective tire or the trucking company for lack of tire maintenance. The following are common types of truck accidents in Los Angeles, as well as their possible causes:
- Rollovers. A truck rollover accident can take place when the truck experiences a problem that makes it off balance, such as a tire blowout or shift in cargo. A truck may also rollover if the truck driver jerks the wheel, slams on the brakes or takes a turn too sharply.
- Jackknifes. A jackknife accident is when the trailer of a truck swings out at an angle from the cab. This can lead to loss of truck control and a rollover accident. Jackknifing is often caused by an equipment malfunction, locked wheels or brake failure.
- Lane-change accidents. Lane-change accidents are common, as big rigs have large blind spots known as No Zones where the truck driver cannot see vehicles in the surrounding lanes. It is a truck driver’s responsibility to prevent these collisions by switching lanes slowly and carefully.
- Underride and override accidents. An underride accident is when a passenger car gets lodged beneath the trailer of a truck. An override accident is a truck riding over the top of a smaller passenger car. Both are possibilities in a rear-end collision.
- Lost load accidents. Truck accidents and injuries caused by lost cargo loads are often preventable with proper cargo loading and securement. It is a company’s responsibility to obey federal load securement laws to avoid these accidents.
If you are not sure what caused your truck accident, our attorneys can carefully investigate the crash for signs of causation. We can use expert investigators and accident reconstructionists to piece together how your accident took place. Then, we can help you gather evidence to establish fault and liability.
Who is Responsible for Truck Accidents?
Commercial truck drivers are professionals with special training and special safety regulations governing when and how they may drive. Truckers and trucking companies routinely ignore those laws in order to meet strict delivery deadlines. Sometimes, that leads to truckers piloting ten-ton vehicles on very little sleep or taking drugs to stay awake. At other times, a trucking company may fail to maintain brakes, tires, lights, and other equipment, putting their own drivers and everyone around them at risk of a serious truck accident. And a few unscrupulous companies knowingly employ cheap but unqualified truck drivers who never earned a commercial driver’s license in the first place. Federal statistics show that large trucks – like big rigs and 18-wheelers – are only three percent of the vehicles on our roads but are involved in 12 percent of traffic fatalities. Smaller and personal trucks share some of these dangers. They may not weigh 80,000 pounds, but they’re still taller and higher than many of the passenger cars on the road, giving them the potential to crush smaller vehicles in an auto accident. Statistics show that pickups and other personal trucks are also more than twice as likely as smaller cars to have a fatal rollover accident. And recent-model pickups have seen a slew of recalls and product defects that can put their occupants at grave risk, including defective tires, door latches that don’t work, and improperly secured seat belts. A Los Angeles truck accident lawyer can help you recover compensation from the negligent person or company that caused your accident.
Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP can provide a comprehensive crash investigation to determine who or what caused your truck accident. If we believe you have grounds to hold a truck driver, truck owner, trucking company, cargo company, truck manufacturer or another party responsible, we can take care of the claims filing process on your behalf.
Compensation Truck Accident Victims Can Recover
Truck accident victims can recover economic damages and non-economic damages with the help of an experienced truck accident attorney. Economic damages are out-of-pocket costs and losses that have a specific dollar value, such as medical bills and property damage repairs. Noneconomic damages are the intangible losses suffered in the truck accident, such as emotional distress.
Damages that can be included in a settlement are:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Future medical treatment
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Loss of companionship for the wrongful death of a loved one
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
- Emotional trauma
It is important to come up with a complete list of your losses when seeking financial compensation for a truck accident in Los Angeles. This includes your existing losses as well as your latent foreseeable costs. Otherwise, you may accept a smaller settlement from an insurance company than you deserve.
Speak with an attorney to discuss your case and determine how much your truck accident claim is worth.
What Is My Truck Accident Claim Worth?
It is important to learn what your truck accident claim might be worth before you settle with an insurance company. Once you accept a settlement, you generally cannot reopen your case or seek a greater amount, even if you learn that you will have more extensive losses than you originally thought. You must be certain that the amount offered to you by an insurance company fairly and adequately compensates you for your losses. The best way to do this is by working with an attorney.
An attorney can help you accurately evaluate your truck accident case. Although there is no average truck accident settlement, an attorney can provide a personalized evaluation based on factors unique to your case. These factors include the seriousness of your injuries and property damage, the extent of other losses that you suffered in the accident, the number of defendants, and the amount of insurance coverage available.
While we do not guarantee results for any claim or client, we do promise to do everything that we can to optimize your odds of a successful settlement or judgment award. Our attorneys have achieved life-changing results in commercial truck accident cases in the past through the use of smart legal strategies and aggressive negotiation tactics. Below are examples of the results that we have achieved for previous clients.
What Makes Truck Accidents So Dangerous?
Trucks are an essential part of the American economy — but on the road, they can be deadly. Thanks to lax federal regulations and manufacturers that put profit first, personal trucks like pickups aren’t held to the same safety standards as passenger cars, even though they’re often used for the same purposes. Large commercial trucks like tractor-trailers, big rigs, or eighteen-wheelers weigh up to 20 times as much as a passenger car, virtually guaranteeing that they’ll crush smaller vehicles in an accident. Worse, some truckers and truck companies ignore safety regulations in an effort to maximize profits and make their deadlines. Victims of commercial truck accidents — those in or outside the truck — are likely to be killed or sustain brain damage, spinal injuries, amputations and other very serious injuries.
Successful Settlements for Accident Victims
The Los Angeles personal injury lawyer team at Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP law firm has a strong record of success in litigation over car and truck accidents. Our wins include a $36.5 million verdict for a woman injured when the car in which she was a passenger was hit by a big rig, a $34.5 million jury verdict for a man who suffered a below the knee amputation after being hit by a tractor-trailer while he was on a sidewalk, a $27 million verdict for a child killed by a municipal truck that ran onto a sidewalk; and a $20 million verdict for a woman who was seriously injured by a hit and run JB Hunt truck driver. Together, our truck accident lawyers have won more than 150 verdicts or settlements of $1 million or more, including several that number in the tens of millions or higher.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Commercial truck accidents often cause more significant injuries than standard passenger vehicle collisions. The size and weight of a large truck can smash, crush or completely obliterate a smaller passenger car. This can cause catastrophic and life-changing injuries for the occupants of the smaller vehicle. At Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP, our Los Angeles truck accident attorney has experience representing victims with many different types of injuries.
Some of the most common injuries suffered in truck accidents include:
- Amputations and disfigurement
- Head, back, and neck injuries
- Cuts, lacerations and bruises
- Orthopedic injuries
- Permanent scarring
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Wrongful death
No matter what type of injury you or a loved one suffered in a truck accident in LA, our law firm can help. We understand how serious injuries have and will continue to affect truck accident survivors. We can connect you to a doctor, help you understand the elements of your claim, gather evidence, prove fault and take other steps toward achieving a fair resolution for your injury claim.
An experienced trial attorney can help you recover fair compensation for the losses you suffered in a semi-truck accident in California. Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP offers free, no-obligation initial consultations for accident victims, contact us to discuss your case and how we can help you hold a negligent party accountable.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
If you get involved in a truck accident, try to remain calm and collect evidence while at the scene, such as the truck driver’s information and photographs of the scene. Call the police to report the crash. Go to a hospital in Los Angeles right away for injury treatment. Then, call your automobile insurance company to file a claim.
Someone called an insurance claims adjuster will take over your case and determine if you are eligible for benefits. Be careful what you say to the adjuster, as he or she works for the insurance company – not for you. Do not accept an initial settlement offer, as it may be less than you deserve. Instead, contact a truck accident attorney. Contacting an attorney as soon as possible is important so that you can protect your rights as a victim from the very beginning.
Need Help After an Accident? Contact Our Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyers
Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP offers free, no-obligation initial consultations for accident victims. Contact us to discuss your case and how we can help you hold a negligent party accountable. Our lawyers will address your concerns and make sure that you have everything you need during this difficult time.
Our personal injury attorneys are nationally recognized as leaders in auto part defects, auto and truck accident litigation, in part because they’ve won record verdicts and settlements. Partners Brian Panish and Adam Shea have made headlines with the nation’s largest defective tire verdict and the largest jury verdict of any kind in U.S. legal history. We have the expertise, skills and resources to take on and win these complicated, lengthy cases. Our Los Angeles truck accident attorneys have repeatedly been honored as leaders among consumer-focused trial lawyers, and frequently speak and write to other attorneys about consumer law. Visit our California truck accident website for more information on truck accidents across the state.
Examples of Truck Accident Verdicts & Settlements
- Sheth v. Schneider National $36,482,302.56
- Casillas v. Landstar Ranger, Inc. $34,555,220
- Dominguez v. City and County of San Francisco $27,394,567
- Nelsen v. Hillyard, Inc., et al. $21,067,093
- Rivas v. JB Hunt $20,011,798.17
- Tilton v. Southern California Gas Co. (Sempra Energy) $15,000,000
- Korol v. General Parts $10,000,000
- Doe v. Express Delivery Com. $9,600,000
- Rennie v. FedEx $7,500,000
- Vega Family v. Verizon $7,000,000
- Robert Crenshaw v. Land O’Lakes, Inc. $6,450,000
- Gonzalez v. Dresick Farms $5,700,000