Truck Accident Attorney In Irvine, CA
Believe it or not, large trucks such as 18 wheelers, tractor-trailers, garbage trucks, and semi-trucks, are directly responsible for one out of every eight deaths in motor vehicle accidents. When a truck driver or trucking company makes a costly oversight it can have traumatic consequences for all other drivers involved. Unlike a typical car accident, the immense size and weight of commercial trucks create a profound risk to all other motorists on the roads. That’s exactly why there are federal and state regulations that were implemented to make sure truck drivers follow a rigorous protocol to keep other motorists safe in California. Unfortunately, it’s all too common for truck drivers and the truck companies who employ them to continue to disregard these regulations, no matter how small. If you’ve been involved in a serious truck accident in the Orange County area, it’s best to leave no stone left unturned when seeking who was at fault for the accident. By working with an experienced Irvine truck accident attorney at Tim Dominguez Injury Law, victims can rest assured that their legal rights and interests are protected. Our team is dedicated to helping injured victims throughout Orange County, including Irvine, Santa Ana, Huntington Beach, and others. Call our office today for a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.
What To Do After A Truck Accident In Orange County?
The moments following a truck accident are terrifying, but what many forget is the aftermath of a truck crash can be just as dangerous as the initial collision. Impact with a large commercial vehicle can block the roadway, leaving pedestrians and accident victims less visible to other vehicles passing speeding by. Blind spots on the road as well as bad weather conditions can make matters worse, especially for smaller vehicles like motorcycles.
After a truck accident, the most important thing is to make sure that you and your passengers are safe. Next, do your best to stay calm, and dial 911 for assistance. If possible, it’s recommended to find a safe space away from the accident and wait for help to arrive. First Responders can help administer medical assistance and block oncoming traffic from causing additional injuries. As mentioned previously, the scene of the accident is often an unsafe place to be, in fact, there are many reported examples of wrongful death cases of truck accident victims being hit by other passing drivers while waiting for help to arrive on the scene. It’s also necessary to understand that anything you say after an accident could be used in court proceedings to demonstrate your involvement in the accident. It’s natural to want to say sorry after an accident, even if you’re unsure who was truly at fault, but saying the wrong thing could cause you to compromise any potential personal injury claims for injuries sustained in the accident. Once you’re away from the accident and have been checked by medical professionals for any serious injuries, your next move should always be to call a qualified Irvine truck accident attorney to begin discussing your case and determining if you’re eligible for compensation.
Who Is At Fault In A Truck Accident?
In many cases, a truck accident frequently gets more than just the drivers of each vehicle legally implicated. Depending on what caused the collision, other third parties quickly become involved in the potential case. Additionally, each of the parties involved will have support from their own insurance companies. They will also likely have their own legal team fighting for them to minimize any settlements as much as possible. Due to the number of variables in these types of cases, the value of high-quality legal representation from an Irvine truck accident lawyer is evident. A credible personal injury law firm that has worked countless similar cases and comprehends the intricate complexities and tricks involved from the other parties seeking a way out.
The Truck Driver
In most cases, the driver in a truck accident is likely to have been the main wrongdoer if they are driving haphazardly, carelessly, or impaired. Typically, these types of truck accident cases can be straightforward if negligence is obvious; however, other cases will involve other parties who may have played a role in the wreck as well.
The Trucking Company
The truck may have another owner or be owned by a company. It’s also possible that the driver’s insurance may be covered by the trucking company. When this is the case, the company’s legal team would then handle the details of the truck accident.
The Truck Manufacturer
Although not as common, trucks do experience mechanical failures from time to time, but these malfunctions can be catastrophic. In the event of a mechanical failure, the accountability may shift to the manufacturer of the vehicle. One of the most common malfunctions that trucks experience is the air brakes not working correctly.
The Loading Company
If loose cargo turns into falling debris, the loading company can face liability if the truck was not packed correctly before departure. Falling debris from trucks is a phobia for many drivers, and rightfully so because these types of accidents happen fairly frequently. Most of us have seen the Final Destination scene with the falling tree logs from the back of a truck, and unfortunately, these types of accidents are more common than you might think.
Common Causes Of Truck Accidents In Orange County
Negligence and irresponsible actions while operating a large truck are often the core cause of semi-truck accidents in Orange County. More often than not, the truck driver is operating the vehicle in a way that they shouldn’t and jeopardizing the safety of others on the road. Plain and simple, there is no room for negligence when driving a commercial. Those who demonstrate this type of recklessness must be held accountable by an Irvine semi-truck accident attorney. Some of the more common causes of truck accidents in Orange County, CA include the following:
- Hazardous Road Conditions
- Oversized Loads
- Falling Debris
- Blind Spots
- Distracted Driving
- Reckless Driving
- Poorly Screened Drivers
- Impaired Driving
- Fatigued Driving
5 Common Types of Truck Accidents in California
Rollover truck accidents generally happen when a truck driver is turning or swerving while traveling at a high rate of speed, or environmental conditions impact the semi-truck’s traction on the road. These accidents are especially dangerous because they can frequently involve multiple vehicles in the crash.
In a jackknife truck accident, the truck’s trailer swings out to the side while the cab remains facing straight ahead. The front wheels of the semi-truck lock up, but the rear wheels continue traveling and can cause a devastating path of destruction. Traveling at a high rate of speed, swerving suddenly, or driving carelessly on rainy or icy roads raises the chances of jackknife truck accidents.
Rear-end truck crashes can be especially dangerous and potentially result in catastrophic injury or wrongful death. The size and force of a commercial truck can result in the truck driving up and onto the back of a car during a rear-end collision. This type of accident is often called an “override crash.” A small car can also get stuck underneath the back of a semi-truck trailer after an accident. When a vehicle gets stuck like this, it is called an “underride crash.” Both override and underride truck accidents have a higher likelihood of causing severe, potentially fatal injuries, and as a result, the rear-end accident payout could be much greater.
Head-on collisions involving a semi-truck are horrific and often fatal. Unfortunately, head-on collisions are all too common when a driver is distracted or falls asleep at the wheel. Whenever the truck driver averts their attention from the road, the chances of a catastrophic head-on collision increase. Head-on collisions can result in life-altering injuries such as paralysis or traumatic brain injury.
All drivers have a responsibility to maintain adequate tire pressure before driving. However, truck drivers bear even more responsibility due to their commercial vehicle’s size and the potential damage it can cause. When a truck tire blows out due to being overly worn or having insufficient tire pressure, a truck driver can lose complete control of their vehicle, causing serious damage to other drivers. It can be challenging to prove negligence in a tire blowout accident. An insurance adjuster may try and tell you there was no one at fault. But a knowledgeable Las Vegas truck accident lawyer can review your case and examine the evidence.
Wide Turn Accidents
Semi-trucks will often swing in one direction as they begin their turn towards the opposite direction. We see these often at intersections and other ninety-degree turns. These wide turns take up a massive part of the road, and they can trap cars between the truck and the curb. Low-profile cars and motorcyclists are especially at risk of this type of truck accident.
Truck Accident Cases Often Result in Catastrophic Injury
Most semi-tractor trailer accident cases result in catastrophic injuries that require more than just a cursory knowledge of medicine and anatomy. Rather, an 18 wheeler wreck attorney must know how to evaluate injuries and explain them to a judge or jury, including what the future needs and limitations may be and what compensation is appropriate.
Some of the most common types of personal injuries that our lawyer could recover compensation for a victim include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Paralysis such as paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Amputations or loss of a limb
- Fractures and broken bones
- Organ injuries
- Blindness or loss of vision
- Burn injuries from explosions, fires, or chemicals
- Crushing injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Significant disfigurement
- Nerve injuries and damage
- Torn muscles, tendons, or ligaments in the shoulder, including rotator cuffs, SLAP tears, or biceps tendon injuries
- Damage to the knee, including a torn meniscus or tears in the ACL, LCL, MCL, or PCL
- Back injuries and neck injuries, including annular tears, herniations, and slipped discs
- Other serious or catastrophic personal injuries that our trucking accident lawyer in Orange County, CA could recover for victims.
Commercial Vehicles Have Special Rules to Follow
In addition to California state laws and regulations, all commercial vehicles must comply with the FMCSA regulations. These regulations govern trucks, truck drivers, and trucking companies no matter what state they are from, licensed in, going to, or driving in. The FMCSA regulations set the minimum rules that must be followed, even if a state’s laws allow for something less.
The regulatory sections are complicated. Most regular car accident lawyers do not know about these regulations or how to use them to help prove a case. This is why victims of a box truck wreck need to retain a trucking accident lawyer in Orange County, CA who knows how these regulations work and can use them against a negligent trucker or trucking company.
Tractor Trailers Have More Parts and Different Mechanical Systems
The most obvious truth about 18 wheelers and other box trucks is that they have very different mechanical systems and parts than smaller passenger vehicles. This includes everything from the braking system (air braking versus disc braking), to hitches, larger blind spots, and cargo securement systems. Even just the obvious point that trucks have significantly more wheels just highlights the fact there are many more moving parts than another type of vehicle.
When a truck driver and trucking company fails to properly install, inspect, and maintain any of these parts, it could contribute to a trucking crash due to a mechanical issue. This could result in very serious or catastrophic personal injuries to a victim. This means that a victim and his family need to have a lawyer who knows how these truck systems work, how they should be maintained, signs of deterioration, and how to use that as a sword in a lawsuit to recover compensation.
But it is not just the mechanical component. Trucks have onboard systems called an electronic control module, or ECM. This functions like an airplane’s “black box” and records helpful data in a crash. Trucks also have a logbook that monitors how long a truck driver is driving and resting as required by the law. Having a lawyer who knows how to quickly obtain this electronic data before a defendant could review, alter, and destroy it can really help protect a victim’s rights.
Damages From Truck Accidents
Truck accidents commonly leave those within the smaller vehicle involved with agonizing injuries that can alter their life long term. Our Irvine truck accident lawyer understands the ramifications of these types of serious accidents and the negative impact they can have on your life. Tim Dominguez Injury Law will fight on your behalf to ensure that you are awarded compensation for the full extent of your losses. Some of the common damages that our legal team often see in truck accident personal injury claims include the following:
- Hospital bills
- Property damages
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
- Loss of Consortium
- Wrongful death
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Statute Of Limitations For Truck Accidents In California?
Like with any accident, you must act fast to bring your truck accident claim to ensure you meet California’s filing deadline, otherwise known as the statute of limitations. According to California law, an accident victim normally has two years from the date of the truck accident or injury to file an injury claim with the civil courts. Forgetting to file a lawsuit within that time frame typically results in the courts throwing out the injury claim. It’s critical that you do not wait to take action after a semi-truck accident in Orange County. Contact a skilled Irvine truck accident lawyer in as soon as possible to preserve your legal rights and hold the negligent party accountable for your injuries and damages.
How To Prove A Truck Accident Personal Injury Claim?
As with other types of auto accidents, responsibility for a truck accident in Orange County is based on a theory of negligence. Normally, a person is negligent when they fail to use the care that a reasonable person would in a similar situation. However, in truck accidents, the driver and other third parties could be found negligent. In California, a driver who is careless is financially liable for any injuries and other losses that they caused another person. There are four elements of negligence that must be proven for a successful truck accident personal injury claim:
- Duty: the truck driver owed the victims a duty of care to operate the truck in a safe manner;
- Breach: the truck driver violated that duty of care;
- Causation: the driver’s breach or violation caused an accident; and
- Damages: the victim suffered injuries as a result.
Speak With An Experienced Irvine Truck Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has had the misfortune of being involved in a serious truck accident, Tim Dominguez Injury Law can help you recover from damages caused to you. Our Irvine truck accident attorney understands how difficult of a time this can be and we are committed to fighting for you by demanding the maximum compensation from the at-fault party. You can rest assured that your case is in the right hands so that you can focus on recovering both physically and mentally from a likely traumatic event. Call Tim Dominguez Injury Law today for a free case evaluation.