Santa Ana Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorney
Under California law, a commercial vehicle is any car, truck, van, SUV, pickup, or bus that is:
- Used or maintained for the transportation of persons for hire, compensation, or profit (for example, a taxi or limousine); or
- Designed, used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property.
There are over 500,000 registered commercial trucks in California alone, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles reporting, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of other commercial vehicles that operate daily carrying passengers and cargo on California roads. Like any other class of vehicles, commercial vehicles get into accidents that cause fatalities and serious injuries. Unlike accidents involving personal vehicles, however, accidents involving a commercial vehicle often add significant complexity to a legal action seeking compensation for injuries and losses.
Investigating and litigating commercial vehicle accident matters requires a law firm with particularly sharp skills. In Southern California, the Santa Ana commercial vehicle accident lawyers at Aitken * Aitken * Cohn is one of the few law firms with the resources and experience to represent commercial vehicle accident victims with consistent excellence.
If you or your family have had life upended by a commercial vehicle accident, contact our Santa Ana personal injury lawyers today to learn more about your rights.
Aitken * Aitken * Cohn – Legal Advocates for Californians Injured in Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Over its years of advocacy on behalf of injured Californians and their families, the team of Santa Ana injury attorneys at Aitken * Aitken * Cohn has earned a stellar reputation as a group of top-tier personal injury attorneys. As a firm and individually, we have received the most prestigious accolades in the legal profession, including recognition as a “Best Law Firm” by U.S. News & World Report and a preeminent “AV” rating by legal publisher Martindale Hubbell. These are marks of one of the finest law firms in America.
We take pride in having achieved these awards of excellence from our peers and industry leaders, of course. But, more importantly, our Santa Ana car accident lawyers take heart that the honors we’ve earned benefit our clients by reinforcing our reputation as fierce advocates on behalf of innocent victims of the tragedy. Having recovered millions of dollars in settlements and jury verdicts for our clients, Aitken * Aitken * Cohn has grown into a firm with the financial ability and legal know-how to take on the most complicated commercial vehicle accident cases against the most well-funded defendants and insurance companies. When our lawyers enter their appearance as an attorney for the plaintiff in a personal injury matter, our opponents know they’re up against the very best.
The Wide Variety (and Common Thread) of Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Considering the broad definition California law gives to the term “commercial vehicle,” it will come as no surprise that what we mean by “commercial vehicle accidents” encompasses a broad swath of crashes on California roads. Any of the following could fall into that category:
- Pile-ups involving large tractor-trailers;
- Passenger bus collisions;
- A drunk driving accident in which the driver was behind the wheel of a work vehicle;
- A single-car accident involving a taxi carrying a passenger; or
- A dump truck side-swiping a cyclist or hitting a pedestrian.
As diverse as these accidents are, what they all have in common is that at least one of the vehicles involved was on the road for some business-related or profit-making purpose. Most of those vehicles are owned by a corporate entity for which the driver works. Many of them carry cargo owned by someone else, too. It is these multiple layers of legal and business interests that can inject significant complications into what might seem like an “ordinary” car accident case.
The Complicated Nature of Legal Liability in Commercial Vehicle Accidents
What we mean when we say “significant complication” is this: unlike, say, a two-car collision between two personal vehicles, in which each driver carries insurance and the scope of potential legal liability is relatively limited, a commercial vehicle accident could impose liability on a wide variety of parties, many of whom may not have been directly involved in the actual accident.
Here’s an example. Suppose a loaded tractor-trailer rolls over on the I-5, colliding with a car in a neighboring traffic lane. The truck driver walks away from the crash, but the accident leaves the driver of the car with catastrophic injuries. The truck is owned by a trucking operator based in Virginia that has a contract with a garage in Oregon to perform service on the truck, but on the last service the garage didn’t have a part it needed so it sent the truck back out on the road without it.
The driver works for the trucking operator and knew the garage had cut corners. At the time of the accident, he was driving in violation of his federal hours-of-work limits, and had been taking excessive amounts of over-the-counter caffeine pills he bought at a truck stop in Humboldt County. A San Diego-based auto parts retailer had ordered the truck’s cargo from an auto parts manufacturer in Detroit, but the cargo had taken a roundabout route on its way west, and had only been loaded into this particular truck in Seattle by an independent warehousing company that had failed to balance the load properly, making the truck top-heavy and prone to rolling over.
In the scenario above, which would be fairly typical of a commercial vehicle accident in our experience, any of the following parties could have a legal liability to the driver of the car:
- The truck driver, for operating in violation of regulations and, potentially, under the influence of over-the-counter stimulants;
- The truck owner, for failing to prevent the driver’s unsafe driving practices;
- The Oregon garage, for putting the truck back on the road without an important part;
- The caffeine pill maker, for failing to warn of dangerous side-effects of taking too many pills at once;
- The truck stop, for selling pills that are unsafe for its customers to use;
- The auto parts retailer, for pressuring the shipper to deliver the parts on an unrealistic schedule;
- The parts manufacturer, for failing to instruct anyone who handles the parts about proper loading configurations; and
- The warehouse, for loading the cargo incorrectly, causing the truck to have a dangerous load imbalance.
Believe it or not, that is just a partial list. We could also include government road agencies whose failure to maintain roads might have led to the crash, truck-parts manufacturers for producing defective parts that might have caused the crash, the insurance companies who play a role in this shipment, and so on.
Why You Need a Top Law Firm in a Commercial Vehicle Accident Case
In other words, commercial vehicle accident cases challenge lawyers to sort through the facts to identify the one or more parties who may have a legal liability to the accident victim. In a case like the one above, that’s no small task. The victim’s attorneys will need to act simultaneously as:
It takes time, skill, and resources to investigate many commercial vehicle cases. Attorneys at Aitken * Aitken * Cohn typically work in close coordination with specialists in accident reconstruction, highway safety, and vehicle engineering to help them collect important evidence and unpack what the evidence says about where fault for the accident may lie. A plaintiff’s firm like ours invests significant effort in the investigation phase of a case so that we have a thorough command of the facts and of what the law says about them.
Any motor vehicle accident has the potential to upend our clients’ lives. As personal injury lawyers, we aim to make sure our clients feel secure placing their legal and financial interests in our hands. That means delivering hands-on client service, responding to phone calls, emails, and texts as soon as possible, and giving sound, solid advice in a language our clients can understand, not in “legalese.”
Every attorney at Aitken * Aitken * Cohn spends a significant portion of their lives negotiating with insurance companies and opposing attorneys for the best possible settlement of our clients’ claims. We’re good at negotiating. It takes strong persuasive skills, which we have, and also a firm grasp of the most important facts and legal issues that will influence not just whether the other side acknowledges its legal liability, but also how much money the other side decides to offer our client.
To make sure we know exactly how much our clients deserve, we work with financial and medical experts to help us understand the costs and losses associated with their injuries. Typically, the claim we make on a client’s behalf will include calculations of our clients’ present and future medical expenses, lost wages and earning capacity, and pain and suffering, among others. Our goal, always, is to obtain the amount of compensation necessary for our client to return to as normal a life as possible.
Santa Ana Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyers
Most of our cases settle because of our negotiation skills. Occasionally, however, the defendants in a case will not be swayed by facts and reason, leaving us with no choice but to recommend our clients take their claims to trial. Some personal injury lawyers shy away from the courtroom, but not the team at Aitken * Aitken * Cohn. In fact, we love going to trial when that’s what it takes to see justice done for our clients.
Aitken * Aitken * Cohn only represents victims of personal injury. We put our clients’ interests above all other priorities. In commercial vehicle accident matters, that often means standing up to the most powerful insurance companies and staring down large, well-funded corporate lawyers. We know what it takes to fight and win the most complex cases.
Why It’s Important to Get Legal Help as Soon as Possible
The right time to get legal help after a commercial vehicle accident hurts you or a loved one is immediate. Why? Because the moment an accident happens, the clock begins to run on asserting your rights as an accident victim, and with every day that passes, obtaining justice can get more and more difficult. We urge any commercial vehicle accident victim to seek legal help right away. Having a skilled lawyer at your side from the get-go can help you in at least the following three ways:
- Preserving evidence. Commercial vehicle accidents often leave a swath of destruction that road crews and first responders need to clean up as soon as possible to keep roads open. That poses a potential problem for the accident victims, who are usually in no shape to know what evidence is most important for protecting their legal rights, much less to take any steps to preserve that evidence. Lawyers, on the other hand, can act quickly to help ensure the preservation of any evidence that may point to legal liability.
- Self-protection. Commercial vehicle accidents tend to make the news. They often involve multiple victims and draw the sort of public attention that victims and their families would rather avoid. Soon after an accident, insurance adjusters and law enforcement investigators usually come calling, too, making recovery even more difficult for accident victims. One role an experienced commercial vehicle accident attorney can fill is that of gatekeeper, managing access to their clients so as to preserve their clients’ privacy and legal interests.
- Enforcing legal rights. As we noted above, the clock starts ticking on a personal injury claim the moment an accident happens. The facts and circumstances of an accident will determine how much time our clients have to act, but no matter how much time there is until a deadline, the sooner we begin asserting those rights, the better our client’s chances of recovering the maximum compensation allowable under California law.
Your Santa Ana Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorneys
Victims of commercial vehicle accidents need the best lawyers they can find to protect and assert their legal rights to compensation. The trial lawyers at Aitken * Aitken * Cohn represent accident victims throughout Southern California and beyond. We offer a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation and take most of our matters on a “contingent fee” basis, in which we only get paid if we recover compensation for our client. Call us today at (714) 434-1424 or write to us at Aitken * Aitken * Cohn online to learn more.