Truck accidents kill a disproportionate number of Americans every year. Those who survive these collisions often sustain permanent, life-altering injuries. The commercial transportation industry is vital to the economy, but truck operators must be held accountable when they cause innocent people to suffer.
When a truck accident affects you or your family, do not pursue a legal claim alone: the trucking industry has teams of experts representing its interests, and you deserve the same. A Bakersfield truck accident lawyer can ensure you understand your legal options and help you pursue a claim for compensation after a truck accident. Call a dedicated injury attorney to learn more.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
A trucker must carry a Commercial Driving License (CDL), which requires special training. Even though CDL training emphasizes the safe handling of large, cumbersome vehicles, truck driver error is a factor in most crashes that cause injury or death.
Because trucks are so large and heavy, a collision between a truck and a passenger vehicle often totals the smaller vehicle, severely injuring its occupants. Truck accidents frequently occur due to the following circumstances:
- The trucker drives too fast for the road conditions and overturns
- The truck operator does not notice a vehicle in its blind spot and merges into it
- The negligent trucker brakes suddenly, causing the trailer to jackknife
- The semi operator hauls an overweight trailer and experiences tire or axel failure
- The trucker fails to maintain a safe distance and becomes involved in a multi-vehicle pileup
Tractor-trailer drivers also cause accidents when they operate their rigs under the influence of alcohol or drugs, although this is less common among CDL holders than other drivers.
The negligence of trucking companies and others could contribute to a tractor-trailer collision. For example, when a trucking company imposes unreasonable delivery schedules, the trucker might ignore federal driving regulations, drive while fatigued, and drive too fast. Some companies also defer maintenance on their fleet, leading to mechanical failures and avoidable collisions. A skilled Bakersfield attorney can investigate the factors contributing to a crash and hold the company responsible for its role.
How to Bring a Claim After a Truck Crash
Often, people who get hurt in truck accidents suffer severe injuries that could leave them incapacitated for weeks or months. Even while the injured person is still in the hospital, engaging a legal professional immediately offers the victim numerous benefits.
The trucking company’s investigators will immediately examine the crash site and collect evidence. However, when the truck crash victim has legal representation, their Bakersfield attorney can perform an investigation of their own by interviewing witnesses while their memories are fresh and subpoenaing crucial evidence before it disappears.
In addition, trucking company insurers often approach accident victims with settlement offers while they are recovering. These offers usually represent a small fraction of the victim’s actual damages, but the companies take advantage of the injured person’s shock and uncertainty. Fortunately, a legal representative can handle all communications with the insurance company, rejecting lowball offers and forcing insurers to negotiate in good faith.
Seeking Damages in Truck Accident Cases
Anyone injured in a truck accident can claim their damages, which is the legal term for the losses they experienced due to the accident. Damages include all the crash-related expenses the injured person incurred and will incur, such as diminished income, medical costs, property loss, and incidental expenses.
The non-economic losses associated with a truck crash are often greater than the out-of-pocket costs. For example, the injured victim could seek compensation for their temporary or permanent disability, physical pain, inconvenience, embarrassment, disfigurement, psychological suffering, and the other subjective impacts of the crash.
California Civil Code §3294 authorizes the court to award additional damages called punitive damages when the defendant’s conduct is malicious, fraudulent, or oppressive. Malicious behavior under this statute includes acting with willful disregard for others. In some cases, a dedicated Bakersfield attorney can prove that a trucking company’s conduct showed an intentional and reckless failure to consider others’ safety, convincing the court to award punitive damages to the injured plaintiff.
Trust Your Truck Accident Claim to a Knowledgeable Bakersfield Attorney
Severe injuries take time and energy to heal. Worrying about the future and your family’s economic stability after a tractor-trailer collision could delay your recovery.
A Bakersfield truck accident lawyer can pursue a claim against the trucking company and any other negligent parties contributing to your injuries. Call today to work with a diligent attorney.