Trucks are cumbersome vehicles, and if they are involved in an accident, it could be fatal. This is because of the amount of force exerted on other smaller cars of individuals involved in the crash. If you or your loved one suffers injury from a truck accident due to the negligence of another person, you are entitled to compensation. After the accident, you can file a personal injury claim where you stand a chance at receiving compensation benefits for your injuries. The process of filing a personal injury claim is complicated, and it would be wise to seek legal representation. At San Diego Personal Injury Law firm, we provide expert advice to residents of San Diego, CA, to help you make vital decisions in your case.
Overview of Truck Accidents
Trucking accidents are on the rise in California. Most of these accidents result from driver’s negligence and failure to follow the regulations set by the department of transportation. Laws that govern the trucking industry specify a certain amount of weight that the trucks need to carry ad the speed at which they should be operated. Trucks are heavy vehicles, and their impact on other vehicles could result in fatal accidents. The type and severity of injuries you will suffer after a trucking accident will depend on:
- Whether you were in another car or were a pedestrian when the accident occurred
- Whether or not you had your safety belt
- The nature of the crash. A trucking accident could be either rear-end car collision, head-on collision, or side.
- The position you were sitting in the car at the time of the accident
- Speed of collision with the truck
Types of Injuries in Trucking Accidents
Injuries that result from a trucking accident will range from minor to fatal or even death. Also, the injuries could result from the impact of the vehicle or an object penetrating inside the body. The following are injuries you are likely to suffer after a trucking accident:
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injury is often damage to the tissues, ligaments, and tendons. In most cases, even when the accident was minor, you will suffer these injuries. Soft tissue injuries can be in different forms. Whiplash is one of the most common mild tissue injuries, and it results from stretching and sudden movement of the head. When a car is rear-ended, your body will move forward and suddenly back. Whiplash accidents can manifest through:
- Neck pain
- Decreased head motion
- back pain
- Headache dizziness
- Sleep disturbance and fatigue
Neck and muscle injuries can have severe consequences when left untreated. After the accident, it is essential to seek medical attention. Your medical records will also be used as evidence of injury in the compensation claim.
Scrapes and Minor Cuts
The impact on your car from a truck can be severe. A loose object in the vehicle can be a hazard when shaken. Also, glass from the car windows may scrape and cut your skin. When the accident was not serious, these scrapes and cuts may be minor, needing little or no medical attention. However, in severe accidents, the cuts can cause severe bleeding and deep wounds.
A truck accident can shake up your car, causing you to move front and back in the vehicle. Especially when you are behind the steering wheel without an airbag, your chest may hit the wheel and get severe injuries. The chest holds vital orgasm in the body, and trauma in this part can cause severe pain. Impact injuries on the chest can cause breathing problems or even broken ribs. When the damage is penetrative, your internal orgasm could be bruised. Internal injuries can be fatal, and it is crucial to seek medical care if you have had a chest injury in the truck accident.
Bones can break in different forms ranging from minor cracks to bones cracking in multiple pieces. The severity of one injury will depend on the nature of the accident. The impact that sends the car rolling on the ground will cause you to move in the car. Bones can break in different parts of your body, especially when you are not on a seat belt. Broken arms and legs can be painful and also hinder you from moving. When the bones break in the ribs or other vital parts, they could injure the internal organs. It can be devastating to nurse broken bones after a negligent truck accident. However, you can file a personal injury claim and get compensation for those injuries.
Suffering a spinal injury can have long term consequences in your life. When the accident is severe, you may experience significant injury or even complete severing of your spinal cord. A damaged spinal cord can cause you to spend a long time in the hospital. Also, you are likely to incur substantial medical bills to treat spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injury can impair your nerves from the waist downwards. This may also affect the function of your bladder and reproductive system.
When the injury occurs in the upper part of the spinal cord, you may lose sensation in all the parts of the body below the injury position. A food drop occurs when you are not able to lift your legs as a result of paralysis. Most spinal cord injuries are fatal ad may result in the death of the victim. Victims who suffer spinal cord injuries may not be in a position to return to their normal activities and have to depend on others. With the help of a personal injury attorney, you can receive compensation for spinal injuries from a trucking accident.
Head and Brain Injury
In a trucking accident, your head is likely to suffer all sorts of injuries. The injuries to your head could range from concussions to traumatic brain injuries or internal bleeding. A strong impact on your skull may result in fractures, swelling, or bruising. Some of the fractures are minor, while others may require stitching or surgery to heal. When the injuries to your head are penetrative, your brain may be injured. A traumatic brain injury can manifest in slurred speech, seizure, severe headaches, and difficulty concentrating. Long term side effects of severe brain injuries could be emotional and personality changes, impaired cognitive and motor functions.
When two vehicles collide, gas tanks may burst and break out a fire. Trucks are heavy vehicles and can cause severe damage to a car. Most vehicle fires are fatal ad could result in severe burn injuries or even death. If you or your loved one suffers burn injuries as a result of someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation for those injuries. Also, if your loved is killed in a fire resulting from a truck accident, you can file a wrongful death claim against the negligent party.
Filling a Personal Injury Claim after a Truck Accident
If you suffered injuries in a negligent truck accident, you could file a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party. After a truck accident, you have two years to file a personal injury claim. However, the statute of limitations could vary depending on the individual circumstances of your case. If the truck accident resulted from poor road conditions, you could file the claim against the state. A petition against the state should be filed within six months from the time when the accident occurred. If you file a complaint after the stipulated time ends, your claim may be dismissed. Therefore, it is crucial to seek legal representation as soon as the accident takes place.
When you suffer injuries in the accident, the insurance company of the defendant may attempt to make you accept fault and receive some settlement out of court. Even when you are partly at fault for the accident, you should not admit to it. Also, you should not make any statements before consulting a personal injury attorney.
In a personal injury lawsuit, multiple people or companies can be held liable for your injuries. All of these individuals will be mentioned during the lawsuit. Each person who played a part in the accident will be made responsible for their percentage of fault.
Fault in a Truck Accident Personal Injury Claim
When you file a personal injury claim after a truck accident, compensation will depend on liability for the accident. Fault in a vehicle accident is based on negligence. A negligent truck driver will be held liable for the accident and any injury suffered by the victims. There are several ways in which a truck driver’s conduct can display negligence, including:
- Distracted driving
- Over speeding
- Improper changing of lanes
- Failure to obey traffic rules
- Failure to yield the right way
Also, failure to correctly follow traffic rules could be enough evidence that the truck driver was negligent. The fault for a trucking accident can also be the trucking company. This is by violating transportation regulations and safety measures. When trucking companies
- Allow overloading of cargo
- Fail to maintain the trucks in good condition
- Allow drivers to break sleep hours
- Hire untrained drivers
They will be liable for accidents that result from these trucks. However, when a truck is involved in an accident, the fault is not always from the truck drivers. An accident could either be caused by unsafe road conditions or other drivers on the road. The elements of negligence that your attorney needs to prove before you are awarded compensation benefits are:
- Duty of Care
It must be shown that the truck driver or other responsible party owed you a duty of care. In California, the burden of care is the responsibility to make sure that you are safe. The duty of care requires the driver to use reasonable care when operating the truck. Also, the truck driver needs to look out for pedestrians and ensure they perform at the right speed. After presenting your evidence, the jury will determine whether the defendant owed you the duty of care.
- Breach of duty
Negligence is often a result of a breach of duty. In a truck accident, the truck driver breaches the duty of care by failing to follow the right traffic rules.
You must prove that the other party’s negligence was a substantial factor in the accident and hence caused your injuries. Proving that the defendant’s actions were the leading cause of your injuries can be quite complicated. Therefore, it is crucial to seek guidance from a personal injury attorney.
If you are injured in a truck accident, you can still be held liable for the accident. This would be the case if your conduct were reckless. Even when you had a part to play in the accident, you can still get compensation. Under comparative fault, payment will be awarded depending on the percentage of fault. Seeking compensation when you are partly at fault for the accident can be challenging, and you will require legal guidance.
Compensation Benefits in a Truck Accident Lawsuit
If you file a personal injury claim after a trucking accident, you may receive compensation for the following:
After a trucking accident in California, it is crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible. In most cases, the responsible party will not take fault for the accident until the case is concluded. While waiting for your injury claim to be settled, you will have to pay your medical bills. When getting medical care after a negligent accident, it is wise to use a health insurance cover rather than getting attention on a lien basis. This is because practitioners who operate on a lien basis will be repaid from the claim settlement. If the bills exceed your recovery from your claim, you will be responsible for paying the extra amounts.
If you pay your medical bills with an insurance cover, the provider cannot charge you more than the contracted rate. Also, you will have more insurance providers to choose from if you decide to take that route. If you have different insurance coverage providers, it may be challenging to choose. A personal injury attorney will help you make the right decision.
If you do not have a medical insurance cover, California law requires the hospital to negotiate a reasonable repayment plan for you. If you choose to go with the lie medical providers, payment will be delayed until the settlement for your case is done. When seeking medical care after a truck accident, it is vital to ensure that all your injuries and treatments are documented. Medical records are crucial evidence when making compensation for your injuries. With the help of a competent attorney, you will be able to receive compensation for all medical expenses you incurred.
Some injuries you suffer after a truck accident make it difficult for you to act to work. Also, as you nurse the wounds in the hospital, your income-generating activities will be affected. In California, lost wages are all the amount you would have earned during the time you were injured. The lost wages will include;
- Overtime pay
- Normal salary or wages
- Bonuses and commissions
- Self-employed income
In California, you have two years from the time the accident occurred to file a claim for lost wages. To be compensated for lost earnings, you have to prove the amount that you lost when you were not able to work. Some of the ways through which you can verify the lost wages include:
- A lost wages Letter. If you have a regular job, you should obtain a lost wages letter from your employer. A lost wages letter comprises the nature of your employment, the date of the injury, the amount you earn per hour, and what you lost when you were injured.
- Providing tax returns and pay stubs. If you have an irregular income, your tax returns can be of great help when determining the wages you lost.
- If you are self-employed, showing billing statements for months preceding the injury can be poof of the amount you lost when nursing the injuries.
When you suffer severe injuries in a truck accident, a forensic accounting expert will be involved in the calculation of lost wages. It is vital to have legal representation to recover lost wages after a truck accident.
Lost Future Earning Capacity
Lost earning capacity is the loss of your ability to earn in the future. Lost earning capacity will be calculated as the amount you would have earned before the injuries and the amount you earn with the injuries. You have two years after the accident to file compensation for lost earning capacity. Some injuries from a truck accident are too severe that you cannot go back to your job. Some of the injuries that that could make you incapable of returning to your work include:
- Severe brain damage
- Broken bones and amputation of limbs
- Spinal cord and back injuries
You will receive compensation for lost future earrings even when the injuries are not permanent. Payment for these damages will be made as long as the injuries do not resolve by the claim settlement date. Also, the number of benefits you receive for future earning capacity will depend on:
- Duration of incapacitation
- Your ability to return to the position you held before the injuries
- Your age and life expectancy
- The nature of your health before the truck accident
- Your future career goals and the possibility of promotions
- The terms of your employment contract
Pain and Suffering
Injuries from a truck accident are likely to cause you great physical pain. Spending a lot of time in hospital and battling for composition can result in emotional breakdown and suffering. Even though there isn’t a precise cut method to calculate pain, you can get compensation for pain and suffering from a trucking accident. Sometimes, a physical injury is not required for you to receive compensation for pain and suffering. However, having physical injuries may be a more natural way to prove pain and suffering.
After a successful personal injury claim, you can receive punitive damages. However, you will only receive the damages if the defendant acted out of malice. In California, malice is conduct that is intended to cause harm to someone else. Also, if the defendant wanted to accrue some personal gain from the accident, you can receive punitive damages. Before compensation, you must prove the element of malice and fraud.
There is no specific way to determine the amount in punitive damages you are entitled to get. The amount you get is not intended to compensate you for the injuries but a way to punish the defendant for their actions. When filing a personal injury claim, it is vital to have legal representation. A competent personal injury attorney will help you seek maximum benefits for your injuries.
Wrongful Death in a Truck Accident
If your loved one succumbs to death after a truck accident, you can seek compensation in a wrongful death claim. However, the law will require only the spouses, domestic partners, or the children of the deceased to claim compensation. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit is the only way the person responsible for the accident can pay for their actions. If you are successful in the wrongful death claim, you can get compensation for burial and funeral expenses. Also, you can get compensated for lost support and companionship, as well as pain and suffering.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
After involvement in a truck accident in California, you are likely to be left with severe bodily injuries. If another person’s negligence caused the accident, you are entitled to receive compensation. By filing a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party, you can recover damages for medical bills, lost wages, and future earning capacity, among others. Liability for the accident must be proven to get compensation for your injuries. Therefore, it is essential to go through the process with the legal guidance of an attorney from the San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm. If you are in San Diego, CA, you will need us in your corner. Call us today on 619-478-4059 and allow us to guide you through the claim process.