Truck Accident Attorneys in Huntington Beach
Dealing with the aftermath of truck accidents is very different from typical car accidents. Reckless actions from the trucking company result in innocent people being harmed. This is why it’s so important to have top-tier legal representation when recovering damages. The Huntington Beach truck accident lawyers at Coast Car Accident Lawyers advocate on each victim’s behalf, protecting their rights and delivering justice. If you or a loved one were injured in a Huntington Beach auto accident with a truck driver, schedule a free consultation with Orange County’s winning personal injury law firm.
Truck Accident Laws in California
Commercial trucks, like tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, and semi-trucks, are large and can weigh tons, which is why accidents involving these oversized vehicles can be catastrophic. Due to the threatening nature that commercial trucks inflict on California highways, trucking companies are legally obligated to operate under a specified set of rules. Additionally, if a trucking accident occurs, the applicable laws and regulations will vary in comparison to a regular car-to-car collision.
Statute of Limitations for Truck Accidents
California laws limit how long someone has to file a claim or lawsuit against the truck driver and/or trucking company. Similar to car accidents, a trucking accident must be filed within a two-year span from the date of the crash. However, if the truck accident was caused by a government vehicle, like a USPS delivery truck, city bus, garbage truck, or fire truck, victims only have six months to file a truck accident claim. If the process has not been started in the given timeframe, then truck accident victims will be left covering all expenses.
When filing a truck accident claim, the at-fault party must be identified. What complicates matters is that fault is based on who was negligent and caused the truck accident. In this type of crash, a trucker, trucking company, loading company, or another party could be found liable. Although a truck driver is employed by a truck company, that company may not always be held responsible for an employee’s negligence. For example, if the trucker was drinking and driving, then that driver could be held solely responsible. However, if the truck driver fell asleep at the wheel because they were instructed by their employer to not take a rest break to meet a dropoff deadline, then the company could be held liable.
Federal laws require that a special license be acquired before someone can operate a commercial truck. Referred to as a commercial driver’s license or CDL, this type of license allows truckers to transport cargo weighing an excess of 26,001 pounds or more. Passengers, hazardous waste, and vehicles that are being towed can also be transported with a CDL. There are different types of licenses that can be obtained, such as a Class A, Class B, and Class C CDL. Depending on the type of commercial license that is obtained, truckers are limited to the type of cargo they can haul. It is absolutely illegal for truck drivers to drive commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) without the proper licensing.
Damages and Insurance Requirements
California requires all CMVs to have proof of financial responsibility in the event of a truck accident. Liability insurance for these vehicles ranges from $300,000 – $5,000,000 depending on coverage, the type of commercial vehicle, and the property that was being transported. However, this does not mean truck accident victims are guaranteed these payout amounts. Insurance of the liable party (trucker, trucking companies, etc.) should cover damages. However, they will make a strong attempt to minimize compensation by placing fault on the victims or minimizing the severity of the sustained injuries.
Compensation From Truck Accidents
Truck accident victims have the legal right to recoup all economic damages, which include any financial losses that the crash caused. They can also be compensated for intangible losses. Oftentimes, victims are not aware of the non-economic damages that are compensatable. Victims can be compensated for:
- Past and current medical bills
- Future medical costs to rehabilitate injuries
- Lost wages if work was missed while recovering
- Loss of future earnings when injuries force victims out of commission
- Diminished earning potential if injuries prevent certain areas of work
- Property damage, like vehicle repair or replacement
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish or post-traumatic stress
- Disability or permanent disfigurement
- Wrongful death of a loved one
When recovering compensation, the insurance companies will attempt to justify their reasoning for valuing a truck accident claim much lower than what an experienced personal injury attorney would value the claim. After a claim is filed and the insurance company makes a settlement offer, postpone immediately accepting the offer.
Instead, consult with a Huntington Beach truck accident lawyer immediately following the crash. In addition to being advised on what to do next, a truck accident attorney can estimate how much your case is worth.
Common Injuries Truck Accident Victims Sustain
Accidents with semi-trucks and 18-wheelers can cause serious injuries. Sometimes, it appears like an injury has not been sustained. Even if this is the case, you should see a doctor. The severity of some injuries can take time to manifest, and the longer you wait to see a physician, the more injuries can worsen. The most common types of injuries victims sustain include the following.
- Head and brain injuries – TBI (traumatic brain injuries), concussion, brain contusion
- Back injuries – fractured vertebra, herniated disk, spinal cord injuries, paralysis
- Neck injuries – neck sprain or strain, pinched nerve, whiplash
- Broken bones – fractures to the body’s upper extremities and lower extremities
- Internal injuries – broken ribs, internal bleeding, organ damage
- Wrongful death – fatal injuries
What to Do After a Huntington Beach Truck Accident
The early stages of what to do following a crash with a truck are similar to what to do after regular motor vehicle accidents. Following a truck accident, proceed with the following steps:
- Move to the side of the road and out of traffic
- Call 911 to report the truck accident to the California Highway Patrol (CHP)
- Get a copy of the police report from the Huntington Beach Patrol Department (HBPD)
- Take pictures of the scene of the trucking accident
- Collect witness statements and their contact information
- Seek medical attention even if you don’t believe you suffered severe injuries and retain all medical records, medical bills, and other invoices
Similar to a motor vehicle accident, victims will also need to exchange information with truck drivers and all other involved parties. Then, truck accident claims can be filed. However, there are further instructions involved for each process.
Getting the Right Information
Because California is an “at fault” state and follows comparative negligence laws, multiple parties will be held responsible for their role in the truck accident if found guilty. Therefore, victims must ensure that they collect all necessary information while at the accident scene. This includes the trucker’s name, personal insurance information with the policy number, driver’s license number, the truck license plate number, and the name of the employer with a contact number. Depending on the investigation, it could be discovered that the trucking company shared fault in the truck accident, so it’s vital to make sure you have a valid way to contact them.
Filing Truck Accident Claims
California’s statute of limitations laws only allow injured victims to file a personal injury claim within a two-year span. Therefore, it’s essential to begin the claims process as soon as possible. To ensure deadlines are met and safeguard your claim, seek legal advice from a qualified truck accident attorney. Our experienced truck accident lawyer helps clients complete and file all necessary paperwork and prepare them for the questions insurance adjusters will ask. Responding to these questions before being prepped by a legal professional can severely affect your case and result in your claim being denied. We will protect you from being taken advantage of by the insurance companies.
How a Huntington Beach Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You
Trucking accidents with large commercial trucks are not only catastrophic but taking legal action against the appropriate party is complex. You will not only be dealing with the insurance companies, but you will also be up against the trucking companies and their team of lawyers. Equip yourself with legal expertise from knowledgeable truck accident lawyers who can recover a fair and full settlement.
At Coast Car Accident Lawyers, our Huntington Beach personal injury law firm has helped our clients recover millions in compensation. In addition, we maintain a 99% success rate in helping victims of auto accidents. The services we offer begin with filing a claim against the at-fault party, negotiating with the trucking company and their insurance adjusters, and litigating truck accident cases in court to achieve maximum results.
We are adamant about keeping clients up to date on the progress of their cases, and we will be honest with you from the start. When you schedule your free case evaluation, we will go over case details and provide you with honest feedback on who will likely be held liable for the crash, as well as determine how much your truck accident is worth.
Our law firm is composed of compassionate individuals who will invest their best efforts to help you feel whole again.
Truck Accident Facts
Many trucks pass through California’s highways, as the state is home to many industries and businesses. With so many goods being transported throughout Southern California, Huntington Beach experiences truck accidents on a regular basis along the busy 405 Freeway and i-5.
Common Causes and Statistics
Huntington Beach truck accidents, like most auto accidents, are caused by negligence. Negligent behavior while operating a tractor-trailer or 18-wheeler can be exhibited in the following ways:
- Driving under the influence (DUI) – involving over 160 victims who either suffered serious injury or were killed
- Distracted driving – HBPD issued almost 3,000 citations in a given year to motorists who were texting or talking while driving
- Aggressive driving – 8/10 drivers demonstrate forms of road rage, like speeding and tailgating
According to INRIX, a Washington-based research group that studies traffic patterns, it ranked Edinger Ave. and Beach Blvd. as one of the worst intersections in the city. These roads also accumulated the most traffic in Orange County. Auto accidents that can involve trucks often take place at the following intersections in Huntington Beach.
- Magnolia St. and Yorktown Ave.
- Edwards St. and Heil Ave.
- Ellis St. and Newland Ave.
- Bushard St. and Yorktown Ave.
- Hamilton St. and Magnolia Ave.
- Newland St. and Yorktown Ave.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a truck accident in Orange County that was a result of someone else’s negligent actions, you deserve to be fairly compensated for your injuries, lost wages, property damage, and the overall trauma you had to endure. Schedule a free consultation with our Huntington Beach office to begin building your winning case.