Orange County Truck Accident Attorney
Commercial trucking accident cases are a sub-specialty of automobile crash cases that Aitken * Aitken * Cohn has extensive experience handling, including through trial.
Strong knowledge of commercial vehicles and how they should be safely used on the road is necessary in order to fully and adequately represent a plaintiff injured in a trucking accident.
In Orange County, the number of accident injuries and fatalities is rising, from 336 and five, respectively, to 339 and 13 during a recent three year period.
Contact our Orange County truck accident lawyer today at (866) 434-1424 to learn more about how we can help you pursue critical legal action following a collision.
Why Should I Hire an Orange County Truck Accident Attorney?
Dealing with accidents involving trucks requires a strong understanding of the law, including state laws that impact the roadways; laws protecting drivers, passengers, and pedestrians; and the court system. At Aitken * Aitken * Cohn, we have extensive personal injury experience in the field of litigation that applies to individuals. Our Orange County personal injury attorneys are committed to providing the highest quality of representation to those injured by commercial vehicles. Consider how our past results have helped shape our success and allowed our clients to pursue a better quality of life in spite of their injuries.
Past case results do not guarantee a successful outcome in every case, but at Aitken * Aitken * Cohn we will bring our extensive experience to the table when dealing with your truck crash lawsuit. By working with us, you’ll know that you have a team of experienced attorneys on your side who will be willing to fight for you, increasing the odds that you’ll be able to receive the compensation to cover your expenses and support you as you move forward with your life.
Understanding Truck Accident Injuries
Because trucks are often larger than other vehicles on the road, they have the potential to cause greater injury to the other drivers and passengers involved in accidents with them. There are several types of common truck accident injuries that you may find yourself dealing with in the aftermath of your accident.
- Whiplash and spinal cord trauma are common in any type of accident. Whiplash occurs when the body is jolted abruptly, requiring the spine to work rapidly in order to secure the head. Often, the muscles are strained as a result of this type of movement, leading to significant pain and suffering following the accident. In some cases, this rough movement may cause higher levels of spinal cord trauma, leading to ongoing pain or even paralysis.
- Broken bones are commonly caused when a part of the body strikes the pavement, the vehicle in which the injured individual was riding, or another vehicle. During a truck accident, broken arms and legs are common, as are broken extremities: hands, feet, and more. Truck accidents may cause a single broken bone, or they may cause several broken bones across the body, depending on the severity of the collision.
- Traumatic brain injury occurs when the injured party strikes their head during the accident. Traumatic brain injury can have life-altering symptoms that last for life, including everything from memory loss to struggling to concentrate, personality changes, and difficulty processing normal sensations.
- Burns can occur when one of the vehicles involved in an accident catches on fire. Vehicles often ignite quickly, requiring injured individuals to move fast in order to get out of danger’s way and prevent a more severe burn injury. Unfortunately, once they have been involved in a serious accident, it can be difficult to prevent vehicles from catching on fire, especially if there is a gas leak or an electrical problem.
- Cuts and lacerations can be caused by contact with broken pieces of the vehicle or by contact with flying objects within the vehicle during the accident. These cuts and lacerations may be sustained during the accident itself or as victims are attempting to get away from the vehicle.
- Soft tissue damage may be caused by several factors during the truck accident. Victims may experience bruising, including severe bruising; sprains; strains; and even organ damage.
- Emotional trauma is every bit as challenging as the physical injuries suffered by individuals involved in truck accidents. Some individuals experience PTSD as a result of their involvement in a truck accident. Others may find themselves dealing with high levels of anxiety, moodiness, depression, or struggling to involve themselves in their normal, everyday activities following a truck accident. Emotional trauma can limit the victim’s life just as much as any physical damage caused by a truck accident.
- Death. In many cases, truck accident injuries may be severe enough to lead to wrongful death. Because trucks are larger than other vehicles on the road, many vehicles may have little protection against them, which means that their passengers may experience more severe injuries.
Determining Fault in a Truck Accident
Determining who is liable for your truck accident injuries can have a far-reaching impact on your life following your truck accident. Working with an attorney is one of the most effective ways to help you determine exactly who is responsible for the injuries caused in your truck accident case as well as pursuing the compensation you deserve following the accident.
The driver who operated the truck at the time of the accident: Often, truck accident cases appear to be fairly straightforward. The truck driver may have caused the truck accident for a range of reasons, including:
- Failure to follow appropriate traffic laws, including yielding right of way as indicated by traffic signs, failing to stop for a red light, excessively speeding, or merging unsafely
- Distracted driving, including looking at a smartphone or other device while operating the truck
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving drowsy in an effort to meet deadlines or to ensure that they’ve spent enough time on the road
The automobile manufacturer may be responsible for the accident when a product defect in the truck is discovered to have played a critical role in the truck accident. In some cases, the manufacturer may have known that there was a defect in several vehicles of this make and model, but failed to take appropriate steps to notify drivers. In other cases, the manufacturer may not yet have been aware of the defect.
An auto mechanic who worked on the truck. If the truck has recently been in for repairs, but the mechanic who worked on the truck failed to properly repair it, that lack of proper repairs can be one of the contributing factors of an accident. The mechanic can also be held liable if they could have reasonably been expected to see a potential problem with the vehicle while they were fixing it but failed to make note of that problem while they were repairing the truck.
The company that employs the truck driver. In some cases, the company that employs the truck driver may also be held partially liable for the damages caused by the accident. If the company has unsafe practices, including requiring the driver to drive for too long or even to falsify records so that it appears that they haven’t been on the road as long as they really have, they may be partially liable for the circumstances that led to the accident. The company may also be held liable if the driver is known to have had problems with drinking and driving or has caused multiple accidents in the past, but is still employed by the trucking company.
The government. Take a look at the area where your accident occurred. Is it poorly maintained? Was there poor visibility that contributed to the circumstances of the accident? If so, the government agency responsible for maintaining that area or for the design that led to poor visibility may be partially liable for the events that led to the accident.
In the case of truck accidents, there can be many different factors that contribute to liability. By working with an experienced trucking attorney, you can significantly increase the odds that you will correctly identify all the factors that were at work in your accident case so that you can ensure that the people responsible for your accident bear the appropriate liability.
What are Federal Truck Hours of Service Requirements?
In an effort to combat truck driver fatigue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the amount of hours that commercial truck drivers are allowed to operate within a day and throughout the workweek.
These regulations limit truckers to driving for 11 hours during a 14-hour. Truckers are responsible for taking a 30-minute rest break after driving for eight consecutive hours. After truck drivers have reached their 11 driving hours for the day, they are required to take 10 hours off before they can resume a new set of daily hours.
The FMCSA also prohibits truckers from being on duty for over 60 hours in a given seven-day period or more than 70 hours in a given eight-day period. After truckers have reached their weekly limit, they are required to take at least 34 hours off before they can resume driving and start a new work week.
Recovering Damages: What Can You Expect?
Recovering damages after your accident may be a top priority, especially if your bills are mounting fast. There are several key types of damages that you can recover under the law:
- Compensation for past and future pain and suffering. You’ve suffered a great deal of physical and mental anguish as a result of the accident, and compensation can help you move forward with your life.
- Payment for past and future medical expenses.
- Lost wage recovery. If you were seriously injured in your truck accident, you may have had to miss work as you were recovering from your injuries. Lost time at work means lost income.
Funeral and burial expenses. When a truck accident ends in death, the surviving family members may be able to recover reasonable funeral and burial expenses used to help lay their loved ones to rest.
How Long Do You Have to File a Truck Accident Claim?
Every state is responsible for setting time limits for how long victims in these cases have to file personal injury lawsuits against an alleged negligent truck driver or trucking company. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in California is two years from the date the injury occurs. This means that victims of truck accidents have a two-year window with which to file their claim, or they risk losing the ability to recover any compensation for their losses.
However, it is not recommended that you wait this long to file a personal injury claim. First, insurance carrier deadlines are typically much shorter and require that accidents be reported within days of the incident occurring. Additionally, the longer the truck accident victim waits to file their claim, the more time the evidence involved has to disappear. The sooner you can file a claim and begin working with a truck accident attorney, the better. An attorney will be able to begin securing all evidence necessary to prove liability in an effort to obtain maximum compensation on your behalf.
Trucking Companies, Insurance Companies, Mechanics: How Do They Try to Avoid Paying After an Orange County Truck Accident?
In an ideal world, the parties responsible for your truck accident would immediately payout the funds you’re owed. Unfortunately, they may instead use several common legal strategies to avoid paying. They may attempt to:
- Shift liability in your truck accident case to you or another potential cause.
- Offering a settlement lower than you deserve. Many insurance companies will provide a fast settlement offer that simply doesn’t reflect the true amount of the damages you have suffered.
What to Do Immediately Following a Truck Accident
As soon as a truck accident occurs, there are various steps you can take to help your claim when you seek to recover compensation.
- Seek medical care immediately. It is incredibly important that you seek medical care as soon as a truck accident occurs. Not only does this ensure your well-being, but this also establishes a link between the truck crash and your injuries.
- Document any evidence that you can. If you can safely do so at the scene of the crash, use a phone or another device to take pictures or video evidence of any damages, injuries, causes of the crash, debris, and more. Obtain the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses to the crash and make sure to ask police officers how to obtain copies of the accident report.
- Keep track of all expenses. Keep track of every expense you incur due to the accident. This can include hospital and doctor visits, travel to and from your visits, general household out-of-pocket expenses, lost income, and more.
- Contact an attorney. If you speak to an attorney soon after an accident occurs, you will have a better chance of building a strong case against a negligent truck driver or trucking company.
Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer in Orange County Today
If you were involved in a truck accident, working with a qualified attorney can help increase the amount of your recovery and save you time and energy in dealing with the insurance company. When you contact Aitken * Aitken * Cohn, you’ll start with a free consultation that will help us better understand your accident and your needs and we operate on a contingency fee basis instead of requiring payment upfront, so our attorneys do not get paid unless we win.
If you were in a truck accident, don’t wait to get legal help. Contact us today through our confidential contact form or by phone at (866) 434-1424 for a free consultation to learn how we can help you.