You can get economic damages, covering your medical bills and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages.
San Francisco, CA – California ranks second nationwide for the most fatal motor vehicle accidents and if you live in the Bay Area you’ve certainly seen plenty of crashes. Truck accidents are by far the most dangerous due to the large size and huge weight of fully loaded commercial vehicles. The occupants of passenger cars involved in such crashes often sustain severe, life-changing injuries and the financial consequences are enormous. Recovering large sums of money from an insurance company is never easy, but in truck accidents, you also have to deal with the added problem of determining who may be liable for your damages. In a regular car crash, things are pretty straightforward – it’s got to be one of the drivers. In a truck accident, you can have more than one party that can be held accountable, which is why you should always contact an experienced San Francisco truck accident lawyer before taking legal action.
How is liability determined in a truck accident?
If you are injured in a truck accident, you will have to file a personal injury claim. Any claim of this type, no matter what type of accident caused your injuries, is based on proving negligence. To win such a case, your truck accident lawyers will have to demonstrate that four all four elements of negligence existed. Here are the four elements of the process.
Duty of care
To accuse someone of negligence, you first need to show they had a duty of care for your safety. This is rather obvious in motor vehicle accidents as any driver with a license is required to obey traffic rules and look out for the safety of other road users. In California, commercial drivers are held to even higher standards of care, as their vehicles can cause significantly more damage than a passenger car.
Breach of duty
This is an element that requires the help of a skilled California truck accident lawyer, as you need to show in what way the trucker failed to do his duty. The police report, which is essential in this type of claim, already states the main facts and presents the cause of the accident – speeding, reckless driving, driver’s error, etc. However, your lawyers will have to dig deeper to understand what other factors may have been at play.
For instance, if the trucker made some error, this might have been caused by driver fatigue. When a driver is exhausted his judgment and his reaction time can be severely impacted. A good truck accident lawyer will want to know if his employer can be held accountable for that. If the trucking company failed to monitor its employees or pressured the trucker to drive on when he should have been resting, you may have a case against the company. The same goes for any mechanical failure that may have played a role in the crash. The trucking company failed in its duty to maintain its vehicles roadworthy.
If it was a rollover accident, your lawyers will investigate the way the cargo was loaded. If the truck was overloaded or the cargo was not balanced and properly secured, you may have a case against those responsible for the loading.
This element can be proved with medical records, which is why you should see a doctor right after the accident. You don’t want to hear the insurance adjuster or the lawyers representing the other party claiming that your injuries had nothing to do with the crash.
Once again, you will need a lawyer with many years of expertise in this area to help you determine how much your claim is worth.
These are known as pain and suffering damages and the law in California does not impose any cap on this type of damages.