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Claiming Damages in a San Diego Truck Accident

— July 6, 2022

You can file a personal injury claim against their insurance, but this might not be enough to cover even your medical expenses, let alone the other damages you are entitled to.

San Diego, CA – Most drivers know how to deal with minor crashes, which are unfortunately very common in California, but what do you do if you’re in a truck accident? There are many differences between car and truck accidents, starting with the outcome. Because of the sheer difference in size and weight between passenger cars and commercial vehicles, truck accidents are more likely to result in severe injuries or death. If you sustain brain trauma or spine damage, the medical expenses will be huge. You need to understand how much money you can recover and who you can get it from, and your best option is to talk to an experienced San Diego truck accident lawyer. 

Trucking companies are prepared to deal with accidents. Are you?

This is another major difference. When two regular folks are in a crash, they’ll both be confused, exchange insurance information, and wonder who’s going to pay for what. A truck driver is trained on what to do in such a situation and that is to report to his employer right away. Large trucking companies have strong legal teams who’ll spring into action right away in an effort to limit damages. They’ll alert their insurer and together they’ll do all they can to pin the blame on you and hide any fault of their own.

How does California’s comparative negligence rule affect a truck accident claim?

California follows a pure comparative negligence rule, which means you can recover damages even if you were partly or mostly to blame for an accident. There’s a catch, though. The value of your claim can be reduced by a percentage corresponding to your share of the blame. The insurance company representing the trucking company will look for any reason to minimize your damages. 

To counter this, you should have your own lawyers working on the case as soon as possible.

How is liability determined in a truck accident?

Once again, things are way more complex than in a regular car crash, as you can have more than one liable party.

When is the trucker liable for damages?

In many cases, it will be the trucker’s fault. Speeding, reckless or distracted driving are among the most common causes of truck accidents in California. As an example, if the trucker was texting he’ll be solely to blame as this is strictly prohibited under FMCSA regulations.

Tired driver; image by Johan Funke, via
Tired driver; image by Johan Funke, via

You can file a personal injury claim against their insurance, but this might not be enough to cover even your medical expenses, let alone the other damages you are entitled to.

When can you sue a trucking company?

There are many situations when you can sue both the trucker and his employer. 

For instance, if the driver was fatigued, the trucking company can be sued if they failed to monitor their employee’s activity or encouraged the driver to get to the destination fast, no matter what. To prove it was a case of driver fatigue, your California truck accident lawyers will have to subpoena the trucking company for the data in the driver’s log and see if the trucker complied with Hours of Service regulations.

Or, if the driver made an error, your lawyers will check what kind of license he had or if he had received adequate training before he was put behind the wheel of a big rig.

On the other hand, there are cases when it wasn’t actually the trucker’s fault, but that of his employer. If there was a mechanical failure that led to the accident, you can sue the trucking company for failure to provide adequate maintenance as required by federal law.

Your lawyers may have to bring in experts to examine the truck and determine if the company can be blamed for what happened. This is very important as large trucking companies operating interstate are required by law to carry at least $750,000 in liability coverage or up to $5 million if they transport hazardous materials.  

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