Do I need an attorney to litigate my truck accident case?

truck accident case

The short answer to the question of the need for legal representation in a truck accident case is absolute yes, and for a variety of reasons. It is an established fact that trucking accidents are the worst mishaps on the highways and even a seemingly simple collision can easily result in fatal injuries, including to the truck driver. In addition to being horrific events in many instances, the injury claims following the accident are always defended vigorously even when the trucking company knows they are liable. Not only are the transportation companies involved in the claims, but they also attempt to influence the accident investigation team by sending their own team to inspect the crash as well. They know immediately when an accident happens because of continuous onboard communications between drivers and dispatchers while trucks are in transit. Their insurance companies also have legal input and a requirement to investigate the claims as well, both of which will attempt to sway the official accident report in their favor. Damage control begins immediately in truck crash cases, and the ultimate goal is to limit the amount of liability exposure and settlement payments that will be made in total regarding the crash. This is especially true when multiple vehicles are included. These are ample reasons why it is essential to have a California truck accident attorney and injury lawyer when filing a claim.

Accident Investigation

There are typically multiple personal injury claims resulting from a truck collision. The details of the accident can matter, such as whether or not the truck was a placarded hazardous material tanker. Also known as “candy stripe” containers, the cargo in a tanker can be highly flammable and even cause serious damage when the contents are released into the atmosphere. This is especially problematic in a state like California with significant mountain range residential areas and potential proximity to open highway crashes. While not all trucks are necessarily hauling hazardous materials, this is an example of how complicated truck accident cases can get. Each claimant legal counsel along with the transportation company, their insurance providers, and the state Department of Transportation will evaluate the crash in every conceivable aspect looking for a way to bolster their own legal position regarding claim rights and liability. While the state generally tries to use neutrality as the basis of the official report, the reconstruction officers can still be influenced by the defending trucking and insurance companies. All claimants need their own legal team as well as conducting an independent investigation that is beneficial to their personal claim when the defendants begin accusing each other of greater comparative negligence.

Crafting the Personal Injury Case

Personal injury cases are built on negligence and documentation of injuries. All details of medical diagnosis are vital to calculating proper financial damages, including potential punitive damages such as when a truck driver is under the influence at the time of the crash. An experienced California truck accident attorney can assemble all medical evidence in building a solid comprehensive case for compensatory damages and possible extended damages based on material case facts. Your case can also include medical evidence of mental trauma suffered from the crash, which is always significant in a truck accident merely by the fear associated with memory recall alone. In addition, non-economic compensatory damages for long-term pain and suffering are also allowable and typically the element of a claim that makes the injured victim financially whole following the fact. Each claim will be unique in some aspect, and an aggressive and comprehensive personal injury lawyer will understand how to calculate this amount with maximum financial return in mind. This is not to mention the potential for a wrongful death claim for the families when the injury is fatal, and having an attorney who is familiar with the case from the beginning is a real advantage when wrongful death claims could be the result. And there could also be a potential automotive product liability claim when defective vehicle parts contribute to a crash.

Addressing Comparative Negligence Defense

Shipping companies are always concerned with the negligence of other drivers when a trucking accident occurs. Injured passengers are not assessed for personal fault unless there are significant details that indicate interfering with the driver of the vehicle they were riding in. All California accident cases are centered around negligence of all types. Injured drivers could be assessed specifically for personal contribution to causation because any percentage of fault assigned to any drivers will be used by the transportation company and their insurer when the case goes to trial. And they always attempt guessing at what that percentage will be in negotiations beforehand. More often than not, the defending transporter will force the case to court looking for an opportunity to influence a jury regarding the driving actions of other involved vehicles. Attorneys representing injured victims can then find themselves in a situation where they also defend their client in presenting the case in court, which is something no novice injured party can do effectively because of legal technicalities. Level of injury matters not to the defending insurance company, and shifting the blame is the first defense in all situations.

Determining Equitable Damages

Calculating a fair amount of compensation for a trucking case victim is not an exact science. Each case will have particulars that others do not, and all factors should be considered. Typical damages will be for medical bill recovery and compensation for lost wages when it applies, along with physical property damage. But, the most important part of the claim will be general damages for long-term impact and difficulties in life after the accident. Factors such as the age of a victim and their income earning capacity can even be used in determining proper compensation. Punitive damages could also apply in egregious cases, and arriving at a proper figure for financial punishment takes experienced legal counsel who has other cases to use for comparison. Punitive damage cases always go to trial, which also takes legal expertise for a successful outcome.

Always remember that trucking companies and their insurance providers will go to great lengths to defend their case even in obvious cases of fault because assigned comparative negligence percentages can reduce the total cost of their payout significantly. While the only drivers who cannot be compensated for injuries are those totally at fault, the assigned percentage will be used to reduce the amount of total damages available and shift the financial burden of liability to other drivers in many instances. The attorney you choose to represent your case matters greatly in California. Always retain an experienced and aggressive injury attorney with a solid track record of financial success for their clients in trucking injury accident cases


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here