Orange County Truck Accident Attorney
Large trucks are some of the most critical components of the American economy. Commercial trucks transport goods all over the country each day, and many communities rely entirely on commercial trucking to receive the goods they need from day to day. Unfortunately, while tractor-trailers and commercial delivery trucks are vital to the economy, they are also some of the most inherently dangerous vehicles on the road due to their large sizes and lack of maneuverability. Any motor vehicle accident is capable of causing severe injuries, but truck collisions have a very high chance of causing serious injuries and fatalities.
When you or a loved one experiences a truck accident, the road to recovery is not the same as when you have an accident with a private driver operating a passenger vehicle. Liability for truck accidents is not always immediately clear, and the damages in a truck accident often eclipse the damages caused by passenger vehicle accidents. If your family has experienced economic losses from a truck accident due to another driver’s negligence, it is essential to know your rights and legal options for recovery. The right Orange County truck accident lawyer can have a significant impact on the quality of your recovery.
Why Do I Need an Attorney for My Truck Accident Claim?
You may wonder whether you need legal counsel for a truck accident claim. If you know that you did not cause the accident and your damages seem straightforward, you might believe you can handle securing compensation on your own, saving money on legal fees. However, the reality is that an experienced Orange County truck accident attorney can provide many more legal services than you might realize, and they can also allow you to rest and recover from your injuries with peace of mind while they handle your legal affairs.
It can be incredibly difficult to attempt to manage your civil claim for truck accident damages while dealing with the aftermath of your accident. If you or a loved one experienced severe injuries, they likely incurred expensive medical bills. The victim may also be unable to work, causing further financial difficulties for the family. If you do not have legal counsel on your side, you not only face a more difficult road to recovery but are also likely to settle for much less than your claim is truly worth. An experienced Orange County truck accident lawyer can not only help you navigate your claim more efficiently but will also know the various channels of compensation available in your claim.
Are Truck Accident Lawyers Worth the Cost?
You may wonder whether the services offered by your Orange County truck accident lawyer justify the cost of their legal services. Attorneys’ fees can seem prohibitively expensive for many Americans, but it’s vital to weigh the value of your claim and what you stand to lose without legal representation against the potential cost of your attorney’s services. While you could save money on attorneys’ fees by handling your own claim, you are also likely to end up with a much smaller settlement or case award than you would obtain with an attorney’s representation.
When you choose Chris and Frank to represent your truck accident claim in Orange County, you do not need to worry about any upfront legal fees. Instead, we take clients on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only collect legal fees once we win a client’s case, and our fees come as a percentage of the client’s case award. This means that no matter what type of settlement you secure, you are guaranteed to only part with a reasonable percentage to cover attorneys’ fees.
What Do Truck Accident Attorneys Do?
Your Orange County truck accident attorney can provide many more legal services than you may initially realize. A personal injury claim does not necessarily require a protracted court battle. The majority of personal injury lawsuits filed in the United States settle outside of court in private negotiations. Therefore, you can rely on your legal team to represent you in your settlement negotiations or the courtroom if litigation is unavoidable in your case.
An experienced attorney can also significantly increase their client’s chances of successfully securing reasonable compensation for their losses. Your attorney can help you gather the evidence you will need to establish liability for your damages, often uncovering evidence that the average person may overlook. The attorney can also consult with various expert witnesses who can explain the more complex aspects of the case. For example, a medical professional can attest to the severity of the plaintiff’s injury, or an accident reconstruction expert may explain how the accident unfolded, establishing liability for the plaintiff’s claimed damages.
The average person with no legal training would also struggle to meet the Orange County civil court’s procedural requirements. Pursuing your own civil claim means meeting strict filing deadlines and paperwork requirements. Any mistakes in these initial stages of your civil claim could lead to a claim being thrown out before any proceedings begin. If you want to avoid this risk, increase the chances of success with your claim, and maximize the compensation you receive for your damages, working with an Orange County truck accident attorney offers the best chance of success in these efforts.
Who Is Responsible for a Truck Accident?
Determining liability for a motor vehicle accident can be difficult, especially when it comes to accidents that involve multiple vehicles. However, questions of liability are often more challenging in truck accident claims. Due to the nature of the relationship between truck drivers and their employers, liability is not always apparent after a truck accident, and it may fall to one or more parties depending on how the accident occurred. As a result, it’s common for truck accident claims to implicate multiple parties are liable for a plaintiff’s damages.
The concept of “vicarious liability” may also come into play in some truck accident claims. This legal term describes any situation in which one party bears liability for the actions of another party. In truck accident claims caused by the actions of truck drivers, those drivers’ employers may bear liability for damages depending on how these accidents happen. For example, trucking companies must ensure that their drivers have adequate training and experience before assigning them work. They must also conduct appropriate background checks on their drivers to ensure they are safe and capable of operating their trucks appropriately. For example, suppose a truck driver were to cause an accident due to drunk driving and had a history of driving under the influence (DUI) convictions. In that case, the trucking company should uncover this information through an appropriate background check. If the company did not conduct a background check and the driver causes a DUI accident, the trucking company will likely face vicarious liability for the resulting damages.
Another issue concerning liability for truck accidents is that many truck accidents involve multiple vehicles, and it may be unclear which drivers bear responsibility for these multi-vehicle collisions. Proving liability is crucial in any personal injury claim. The party filing the claim, the plaintiff, must identify the defendant or defendants responsible for the incident in question, show how the defendant or defendants breached their duty of care for the given situation, and provide a complete list of the damages resulting from this breach of duty. The plaintiff and their attorney must also show that their claimed damages resulted from the defendant’s negligence and not some other cause.
Your Orange County truck accident lawyer will help you gather the evidence necessary to determine how the accident happened and which party or parties bear responsibility for the damages. Truck accidents happen in many ways, and some truck accidents implicate multiple defendants. An experienced attorney is the best resource you can have when you are unsure who is responsible for your truck accident damages. Additionally, if you discover that multiple other drivers bear responsibility for your losses, navigating a complex civil claim against multiple defendants will be much easier with a reliable Orange County truck accident attorney on your side.
Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Orange County, California
Truck accidents happen for many of the same reasons as other motor vehicle accidents. However, due to most commercial trucks’ enormous size and heavy weight, trucks face several additional risk factors. Some of the most commonly reported causes of truck accidents in California and throughout the U.S. include:
- Driving at excessive speeds is always dangerous, but large commercial trucks lack the braking ability and maneuverability of smaller passenger vehicles. This means that when a truck is speeding, it requires much more time and distance to slow down or stop to avoid a collision. Other drivers may also cause truck accidents due to speeding close to commercial trucks.
- Truck driver errors. Truck drivers operate commercial vehicles as their primary job function, so they have a higher duty of care to drive safely and responsibly than private individual drivers. Therefore, when truck drivers make errors that cause accidents, they may absorb liability for the resulting damages. In addition, if a truck driver error occurs due to inexperience or lack of training, the truck driver’s employer may absorb vicarious liability for the accident.
- Driving under the influence. DUI is incredibly dangerous for any driver and even more dangerous for commercial truck drivers. When truck drivers attempt to cope with job stress by consuming alcohol or drugs on the road, they place themselves and every other driver around them at severe risk. In addition, when a truck accident happens because of DUI, the impaired driver faces civil liability for victims’ damages and criminal prosecution under California’s DUI laws.
- Poorly secured cargo. Large tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. The cargo inside a truck’s trailer must be secured appropriately and balanced to distribute the weight of the cargo evenly. Since trucks have higher centers of gravity than smaller passenger vehicles that drive closer to the road surface, any imbalance in cargo weight can cause the truck to tip over or roll over around a sharp turn. Certain types of large cargo, such as building materials, timber, and smaller vehicles, all require specialized loading and security measures to keep these loads safely balanced while the truck is driving.
- Distracted driving. The most commonly reported cause of all motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. is distracted driving. When drivers ignore the road due to visual, manual, or cognitive distractions, they place themselves and others at incredible risk. A distracted driver is essentially driving blind and may be unable to correct in time to avoid a collision once they regain situational awareness.
- Third-party actions. Some truck accidents occur due to no fault of the truck driver involved. However, when third parties are negligent behind the wheel close to large commercial trucks, their actions can easily cause devastating accidents that involve multiple other vehicles.
- Mechanical failures and poor truck maintenance. Large commercial trucks have larger and more complex internal mechanics than most passenger vehicles, and they spend much more time on the road. This additional stress on the truck’s mechanical interior means a greater need for regular maintenance. If a truck experiences a mechanical failure or the party responsible for maintaining the truck fails to perform appropriate service, the party responsible for the truck’s condition may be liable for a resulting truck accident.
When a truck accident happens, the experience can happen quickly, and the damages can be severe. These factors often make it difficult for truck accident victims to discern what happened and who is responsible. However, you can rely on the team at Chris and Frank to provide responsive and meticulous legal counsel through every phase of your case. We’ll help you determine liability for your recent truck accident and assist you in calculating the full scope of your claimable damages.
Damages and Compensation for Your Truck Accident Claim in Orange County
Commercial trucks are much larger than most passenger vehicles, so accidents involving commercial trucks tend to be far more devastating than standard motor vehicle crashes. As a result, it’s common for plaintiffs in truck accident claims to underestimate the values of their claims at first. They may accurately calculate some immediate damages, but an experienced Orange County truck accident lawyer can help their client explore every potential avenue of compensation. A successful truck accident claim can yield various economic damages for the plaintiff, including:
- Medical expenses. California state law allows a personal injury plaintiff to recover compensation for all medical costs they incur due to a defendant’s negligence. This includes immediate and long-term medical expenses. For example, a plaintiff may require emergency room treatment immediately following their accident and long-term rehabilitative care to restore full functionality. Therefore, the plaintiff can claim their immediate medical costs such as hospital bills and any long-term treatment costs resulting from their truck accident.
- Lost income. Your truck accident could leave you injured and unable to work until you recover. Your attorney can help you recover wages lost during your recovery period. Additionally, if you develop a disability or medical condition that prevents you from returning to work in the future, an experienced attorney can help you claim compensation for your lost earning potential, securing compensation for the income you would have reasonably expected to earn in the future if the accident hadn’t happened.
- Property damage. When a truck collides with a smaller vehicle, the smaller vehicle is likely to sustain severe damage. Therefore, a plaintiff in a truck accident claim has the right to claim vehicle repair or replacement costs. They may also claim property damage compensation for any personal property destroyed in the truck accident.
When you calculate the full scope of your economic damages with the help of an experienced Orange County truck accident lawyer, the total could be much more than you initially expected. However, California state law also allows personal injury plaintiffs to claim non-economic damages for their pain and suffering.
It may sound challenging to assign a financial value to intangible concepts like physical pain and emotional distress, but attorneys have several methods for calculating reasonable non-economic damages for their clients. For example, if you suffered injuries that will completely heal in time, but you will struggle with chronic pain until your injuries improve, your attorney could seek per diem pain and suffering compensation that awards a set amount for each day until you reach maximum medical improvement. For more severe injuries that result in permanent medical complications, an attorney may seek a larger lump sum of pain and suffering compensation for their client. The attorney would likely multiply their client’s claimed medical expenses by a factor of two to five to reflect the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries.
It’s common for truck accident plaintiffs to discover that their non-economic damages form the bulk of their case awards. So, when you choose an experienced legal team like Chris and Frank to represent you in your Orange County truck accident claim, you can rest assured that our team will explore every option for increasing your recovery to the fullest extent possible under California state law.
What Happens When a Truck Accident Is Fatal?
Unfortunately, many truck accidents are fatal. When a driver dies in a truck accident due to the negligence of a truck driver or another party, their surviving family cannot file a personal injury claim to recover damages. Instead, the family must pursue a wrongful death claim. This type of civil claim functionally replaces the personal injury claim the decedent could have filed had they survived. Wrongful death claims are very similar to personal injury claims, with a few notable differences.
California law restricts the right to file a wrongful death claim based on the state’s laws of intestate succession. Essentially, anyone who has a valid legal claim on the contents of the deceased’s estate can potentially file a wrongful death claim, but California requires the claimants to follow the typical line of intestate succession when it comes to determining who may file a wrongful death claim. Thus, the decedent’s surviving spouse or domestic partner would be first in line, followed by adult children or the deceased’s parents. If the deceased had no such kin, their surviving siblings and other extended relatives might pursue the wrongful death claim. Finally, if the deceased had no family, anyone who can prove financial dependence on the deceased or anyone with a valid claim on the deceased’s estate has the right to file a wrongful death claim in California.
A wrongful death claim can yield compensation for the family’s pain and suffering, the lost value of the deceased’s household services and income the deceased could have provided to the family. The wrongful death claim can also provide compensation for reasonable funeral and burial expenses. In some cases, it’s possible for the deceased’s family to also file a survival action. This type of claim seeks compensation for damages sustained by the deceased’s estate, such as the cost of their final medical expenses and the deceased’s pain and suffering following the accident until their death. Your Orange County truck accident attorney could help you determine the best approach to a wrongful death claim or survival action if you lost a loved one in a truck accident caused by another driver’s negligence.
What to Expect From Your Injuries Attorney for a Truck Accident
Facing a truck accident claim that involves uncertain liability, extensive damages, and an uncertain path to recovery can be highly challenging without proper legal counsel on your side. Working with an experienced attorney offers the best chance of success with your truck accident claim in Orange County.
You can rely on your attorney to handle the procedural requirements of your case, such as filing the necessary paperwork with the Orange County courthouse, making court appearance appointments, and filing necessary pretrial motions on your behalf. In addition, your attorney will help you gather evidence and witness testimony to prove liability for your damages and assist in compiling a complete and accurate list of the damages you can claim with your lawsuit. If your case involves complex technical questions, or if you need assistance proving the full scope of your damages, your attorney may consult with various expert witnesses to support your case.
Chris and Frank have years of experience helping our clients navigate the most challenging motor vehicle accident claims in Orange County, CA, including those about commercial trucks. We know the variables that often occur in these cases and can help you navigate your truck accident claim confidently. If you are ready to discuss your legal options with a trustworthy and compassionate team of Orange County truck accident lawyers, contact Chris and Frank today to schedule a free consultation with our team.
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