If the accident was caused by a mechanical failure, a skilled lawyer can help you file a claim against the company.
Each year, between 200 and 300 people are killed in truck accidents in California, while thousands of other people are injured in such crashes. The area around San Diego is one of the most dangerous in the state, with an average of 26 people losing their lives in accidents involving large trucks every single year.
How long does it take to settle a truck accident claim?
Each case is unique so there’s no telling how long your claim will take. In some cases, it may be weeks, while in others the bureaucracy may drag on for many months. However, the time it takes to settle a case is less important than the money you get. If you don’t want to be lowballed by an insurance company it’s best to get in touch with an experienced San Diego truck accident attorney as soon as possible to see how much your claim is really worth. As a rule, you should never accept the first offer your insurer makes. If they call you very soon after the accident, be very wary as they are probably trying to take advantage of your state of confusion and your difficult situation and trick you into accepting a low settlement. If you get an unexpected call from the insurer representing the trucking company, know that you don’t have to tell them anything. You are not required to give them a recorded statement and it is advisable to tell them your lawyer will be in touch.
How is liability determined in a truck accident?
Truck accidents are way more complex than a regular collision between two passenger cars. You’ll probably need an experienced lawyer to conduct an independent investigation into the cause of the crash, as it is possible to have more than one party liable for damages.
Many truck accidents are caused by driver errors, such as speeding, failure to yield or traffic rule violations. In such a case, the trucker may be solely responsible for what happened.
However, a seasoned accident lawyer will want to know whether the trucking company itself can be held responsible in any way. There is a very good reason for that. Trucking companies that operate over state lines are required to carry a minimum of $750,000 in liability coverage, while a trucker only has $25-30,000 liability coverage. If you sustain severe injuries, such as traumatic brain injury or spine damage, this will require an extensive hospital stay, one or more surgeries and expensive medication. You’re looking at huge medical bills so it is only sensible to determine where to get that kind of money.
The trucking company can be held accountable if they failed to check if the trucker has a valid commercial driver’s license or if they did not provide adequate training. If the accident was caused by driver fatigue, your lawyer will check the driver’s log to see whether he was in compliance with federal Hours of Service regulations. If he was not, you may have a case against the company if the employer pressured the driver to ignore federal road safety regulations and deliver the cargo as soon as possible.
At the same time, if the accident was caused by a mechanical failure, a skilled lawyer can help you file a claim against the company, as it is required by law to provide regular maintenance to its vehicles.