What Are My Rights If I Was Hit By A Commercial Truck?

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    Nobody wishes to be hit by a vehicle, let alone a massive commercial truck. If you are hit by one, you may have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries. However, there are certain legal limitations you need to be aware of. Learning about and understanding your legal rights can help you make informed decisions.

    Commercial vehicles, from delivery trucks to the colossal 18-wheelers, are much heavier compared to most cars you travel with on California roads. That’s why accidents involving them often lead to serious injuries. Tragically, it’s also not uncommon to hear gruesome news of deaths involving innocent motorists and pedestrians brought about by these road giants. In fact, the National Safety Council (NSC) reported 436 truck-related fatalities in 2022 in the Golden State alone.

    For something so devastating, what could victims do to protect their future? California law grants any person injured in a truck accident specific rights to help them recover. From the right to file a claim to the right to obtain fair compensation, a personal injury lawyer by your side can ensure your rights are protected in this ordeal.

    What Are My Legal Rights After Being Injured In A Commercial Truck Accident?

    Insurance Claim after a truck accident

    Here are your legal rights as a commercial truck accident victim:

    Right To Medical Treatment

    Truck accident victims tend to sustain more catastrophic injuries than other traffic accident victims. Whether you suffer from whiplash, head trauma, lacerations, or brain and spinal cord injuries, you have the right to appropriate medical treatment regardless of its severity. The best thing you can do is get medical help right away.

    Not only does this ensure your safety, but a full health assessment may prove useful later on. Medical reports documenting your injuries can be used as evidence once you claim damages or sue the negligent party.

    Right To Seek Fair Compensation

    Another party’s negligence in causing your injuries entitles you to seek compensation from them. You can file a claim against their insurance company and get paid for the damages you incur. The state also allows undocumented immigrants to file a personal injury claim.

    Your right to obtain a fair settlement entails coverage for both economic and non-economic damages. The former includes medical bills, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses, while the latter compensates you for intangible losses, such as pain and suffering.

    Right To Legal Representation

    Although not required, the law allows you to get a commercial vehicle accident lawyer to represent you and advocate for your best interests. Hiring an attorney makes you more likely to succeed in negotiations or court proceedings. Your truck accident attorney will deal with all parties involved, protect your rights, and pursue the highest financial recovery.

    Having an injury lawyer also helps prevent costly mistakes that could jeopardize your truck accident claim. Insurers are well-known for harassing victims and making lowball offers. They won’t hesitate to take advantage of your situation and manipulate you into answering questions that only benefit them. With a personal injury attorney, you’re better protected from these tactics.

    Right To File A Lawsuit

    If you can’t reach a fair resolution with the insurance company, you can sue the party who caused your injuries. Filing a lawsuit means your case goes to court, where a judge or jury decides who is responsible and how much you can receive.

    Right To Prove Negligence

    Once you decide to take legal action, you have the right to prove they were negligent. Doing so involves showing they failed to take reasonable care and that their actions or inactions directly led to your injuries.

    While seemingly daunting, this step is crucial because it determines whether you are entitled to receive monetary reparation for your damages.

    Right To Safeguard Evidence

    Of course, the process of proving negligence includes gathering crucial evidence. As a commercial truck accident victim, you also have the right to access, gather, and preserve whatever evidence you deem necessary for your claim. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

    • CCTV videos
    • Black box data
    • Phone records
    • Driver’s logs

    The list above may confuse you, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, especially when you’re busy recovering. One way to guarantee that evidence relevant to your case is kept safe is by hiring skilled personal injury attorneys.

    Right To Privacy

    Keeping your personal information confidential throughout the legal process is paramount. Fortunately, since your truck accident injury attorney is responsible for handling any sensitive information, they can only share what is needed at a given moment.

    Right To Punitive Damages

    In addition to economic and non-economic damages, you may qualify for punitive damages if your case involves gross negligence or intentional misconduct. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar future behavior rather than to compensate for your losses. However, it’s important to note that punitive damages are infrequently awarded in California.

    Can You Refuse A Settlement Offer?

    You have the right to refuse any settlement offer from the negligent party at any stage of the claims process. By refusing, you can continue negotiating or going to court.

    Remember, acceptance is final. Once you accept an offer, you cannot file another claim for additional compensation, even if you discover the initial amount doesn’t cover all your expenses.

    It remains vital to consult a trucking accident attorney to ensure you’re not getting the short end of the stick. They can provide a more accurate estimate of your claim’s value, thereby giving you better metrics when accepting or rejecting offers.

    It’s always for your own good to ask your team of personal injury lawyers for advice. They can give you professional opinions that’ll help you make informed decisions. Ultimately, however, the final choice is yours to make.

    California Laws And Regulations Regarding Commercial Truck Accidents

    California laws and regulations for trucks

    Now that you’re well-informed of your rights, here are some pertinent laws and regulations to know, all of which could affect your commercial truck accident case:

    Statute Of Limitations

    California’s statute of limitations provides accident victims with only two years from the accident date to file a claim against the liable party. Victims only have six months to act if the liable party is a government entity. Additional exceptions to the rule are as follows:

    • Underage victims can wait until they turn 18 to file a claim. Once they reach legal age, the statute of limitations will begin running.
    • The same “tolling” or pausing of the deadline is applicable for mentally incapacitated victims.

    Missing the deadline also means you are no longer eligible to pursue compensation. That’s why starting the legal process as soon as possible is crucial. The first step would be to hire a commercial truck accident lawyer.

    Comparative Negligence

    California is a “pure comparative negligence” state. This rule means that if the victim is partly to blame, their compensation would be reduced according to their degree of fault. For example, if the victim is 15% liable, their final settlement amount will be reduced by 15%. If their damages amount to $100,000, they can only recover $85,000.

    Minimum Insurance Requirements

    All drivers in the Golden State must carry the minimum liability insurance coverage. Per the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the minimum requirements are:

    • $15,000 for injury/death to one person
    • $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person
    • $5,000 for property damage
    Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

    The state also mandates that all auto insurance policies include underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. The policyholder can sign a waiver to decline this coverage, but UI/UM insurance can help if the person who is responsible for compensating you doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance.

    What Should You Do After A Commercial Truck Accident In California?

    Knowing what to do if you are hit by a commercial truck helps ensure your safety. Furthermore, you can put yourself in a better position if you choose to pursue legal action.

    Here are the steps you should take after a commercial truck accident:

    • Try to stay calm. Assess the situation and check yourself for any injuries. Call 911 as soon as possible.
    • If it is safe to do so, move to a secure location by the side of the road, but do not leave the scene.
    • Get medical attention as soon as the paramedics arrive. You might feel fine initially, but it could be the adrenaline masking the pain. Sometimes, external wounds might seem minor, but some internal injuries require immediate attention.
    • If your injuries are severe and you must be wheeled to the hospital, let the paramedics take you. Your health is your priority.
    • Otherwise, start gathering evidence. Document the accident scene and your injuries in photos and videos. Take close-ups from different angles and pictures from a distance. Also, photograph other information that could be relevant later on, such as traffic signs, skid marks, your position in traffic, and weather conditions.
    • Get witnesses’ contacts; you might need their testimony at a later date.
    • Exchange information with the commercial truck driver and other parties involved. Get their driver’s license numbers, contact information, and insurance details. Write down the trucking company they work for, license plate numbers, and other identifiers.
    • In California, involved parties must report accidents to the DMV within ten days. You must also report the accident to your insurance company within 24 hours.
    • Consult an injury attorney. They can evaluate your claim and determine the best legal course of action.
    Who Is Liable In A Commercial Truck Accident?

    As an injured victim of a commercial truck collision, you should also know the possible parties you could hold liable for the accident. You may file a claim against them and receive compensation.

    The type of truck accident will partly determine the liable parties, which could include:

    Truck driver falling asleep while driving

    • Commercial Truck Drivers – The truck driver could be liable for your injuries if their recklessness contributed to the accident. For example, they may have gone over the speed limit, drank alcohol before or while driving, or used a smartphone while operating the truck.
    • Trucking Companies – These companies can be held accountable for your damages if they fail to train, supervise, or maintain their fleet properly. They may also share responsibility if they pressure drivers into violating safety regulations.
    • Truck Owners – If the truck owner is different from the driver, they may also share liability, especially if auto defects caused by poor maintenance led to the accident.
    • Cargo Loaders – Unsafe and unsecured cargo loads are among the most common causes of commercial truck accidents. Whoever is responsible for loading them can be held liable.
    • Truck/Vehicle Parts Manufacturer – If the truck’s faulty design or part is responsible for causing the crash, victims can file a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
    • Other Motorists – Some truck accidents are caused by cars. The recklessness of other motorists could also contribute to a collision. In these cases, you can file a claim against them.
    • Government Entities – If the accident is partly caused by poor road conditions, lack of signage, defective traffic lights, and other factors that fall under the government’s responsibility, they could share some of the liability.

    Why Should You Hire Arash Law’s Reputable Truck Accident Lawyers?

    If you’re injured in an accident, you might wonder how to find the right accident attorney for your case. One of our competent injury lawyers will do much more than simply represent you.

    Here is what you can expect from our commercial vehicle accident lawyers at Arash Law:

    • They can explain your rights in full detail.
    • They are knowledgeable of the federal and local truck regulations and laws.
    • They can help you file a claim within the statute of limitations.
    • They will launch a private investigation about your accident, collecting information, evidence, and witness statements to bolster your side of the story.
    • They can establish negligence and give you an accurate estimation of your losses.
    • They will handle all negotiations between you, the negligent parties, and the insurance companies involved.
    • They understand how comparative fault laws work and can ensure they are applied correctly to your specific case.
    • They can initiate a lawsuit if all parties do not reach an agreement at the negotiation table.
    • They will guide you and keep you up-to-date with developments throughout the claims process.
    • They have a proven track record, winning over $500 Million for thousands of clients in California.

    Protect Your Legal Rights By Consulting Our Commercial Truck Accident Lawyers Today!

    Following a commercial truck accident, or any accident for that matter, knowing your legal rights is essential. This knowledge can protect your future and give you an advantage when filing a personal injury case. If you are unsure of what to do next or what you’re entitled to, contact our personal injury lawyers as soon as possible. We will assess your situation, advise you on the validity of your claim, and discuss all possible courses of action.

    Our injury lawyers can quantify the value of your case and calculate the highest compensation you deserve from the liable party, essentially maximizing your commercial truck accident settlement.

    Although we can’t undo the trauma and injuries you sustained, we will fight to help you get back to your normal life. Our award-winning injury attorneys in California will do all the legwork and communicate with the other parties on your behalf so you can focus on your recovery. If you want to file a lawsuit, our commercial vehicle attorneys will present a compelling case.

    At Arash Law, we will guide you throughout the process from the moment we take your call to the final handshake. In addition to commercial truck accidents, our top-rated personal injury lawyers help victims of car accidents, Lyft and Uber collisions, wrongful deaths, premises liability claims, and other cases.

    We cater to all injured victims across the Golden State on a contingency basis, so you don’t have to worry about upfront fees when hiring our lawyers. You’re not obligated to pay if we don’t win your case.

    Start your journey to healing today and learn your legal rights if you were hit by a commercial truck with the help of one of our acclaimed injury attorneys. Contact us at (888) 488-1391 for a free initial consultation.

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    DISCLAIMER: Information provided on this blog is not formal legal advice. It is generic legal information. Under no circumstances should the information on this page be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal action. Always obtain a free and confidential case evaluation from a reputable attorney near you if you think you might have a personal injury lawsuit.

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