When truck accidents occur, it is possible for the parties involved to suffer severe injuries, incur expensive economic losses, and face a wide range of legal challenges as they seek compensation for their damages. An experienced Carson truck accident lawyer is the ideal asset to have on your side in the aftermath of any commercial truck accident, as they can help you prove fault and recover fair compensation for the damages you suffered.
Large commercial trucks play an important role in the economy of California and the supply chains of the United States. While most drivers in the Carson area likely encounter these large vehicles on a regular basis without issue, truck accidents can and do happen for many reasons, often resulting in devastating harm to those involved.
Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
McLachlan Law, APC, has years of professional experience helping injured clients in Carson and surrounding areas of California with all types of motor vehicle accident cases, including commercial truck accident claims.
Throughout the years of our firm’s operation, we have assisted many past clients in recovering their damages, including compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and lost earning power resulting from the negligence and intentional misconduct of others. When you hire our firm as your legal counsel for a truck accident case, you are investing in a dedicated legal advocate who can guide you through every step of your proceedings with confidence.
How to Prove Liability for Your Truck Accident in Carson
California enforces the fault rule for all vehicle accidents, meaning the party at fault for causing an accident faces liability for the resulting damages. Before the victim of a truck accident can recover any compensation for the damages they suffered, they must be ready to prove the exact cause of the truck accident and the full extent of the damages resulting from the at-fault driver’s actions.
Many of the same causes of car accidents commonly cause truck accidents as well, but large commercial trucks are also vulnerable to a few unique risk factors. Their large size and high center of gravity make commercial trucks more vulnerable to tipping or rolling over in certain situations, and they also require more time and distance to slow down to stop to avoid collisions. A few of the most commonly cited causes of truck accidents in the Carson area include:
Distracted driving, which is a leading cause of accidents throughout the US each year. Whenever a driver is not paying full attention to the road, they put themselves and all other motorists around them at grave risk for injury. Cell phone use while driving continues to be the most common form of distracted driving in California, despite the state’s ban on the use of cell phones behind the wheel.
This is dangerous for any driver but especially so for commercial truck drivers. Speeding reduces the time and space a driver has to slow down or stop to avoid a major collision, and speeding is one of the top-reported causes of fatal vehicle crashes throughout the US each year.
Incorrectly packed cargo. A large tractor-trailer must have its cargo balanced and secured properly; otherwise, the driver could lose control of the vehicle if the trailer’s weight shifts in transit. Certain types of cargo, like lumber, construction materials, and smaller vehicles, also require extra security measures to keep them in place in transit.
Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. This is the most common form of illegal misconduct responsible for causing accidents throughout the country each year. Any form of DUI is illegal in California and punishable by fines, loss of driving privileges, and jail time.
Penalties automatically increase when a driver causes severe bodily injury or death in a DUI accident, and a truck driver will lose their commercial driver’s license (CDL) if they cause a DUI accident.
Moving violations. Incorrect passing, illegal turns, running stop signs, and failure to yield the right-of-way are just a few examples of moving violations that may cause severe commercial truck accidents in California.
Poor maintenance. Commercial trucks require more extensive and more regular maintenance than standard passenger cars. If the party responsible for maintaining a commercial vehicle fails to do so correctly, they can face liability for the resulting damages.
These are just a few examples of common causes of truck accidents in California. However your accident happened, a good attorney can help you secure evidence like traffic camera recordings, eyewitness statements, and physical evidence from the scene of the crash. Once you have identified the party responsible for causing the accident and proven how they caused it, you can proceed with claiming compensation for your damages.
Filing an Auto Insurance Claim for a Truck Accident in Carson
California law requires every driver to have personal auto insurance coverage that includes liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage they cause in an accident. An injured driver’s first option for recovering from any accident is typically filing a claim against an at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy, and most commercial truck drivers and their employers have more expansive coverage than a standard individual driver.
However, this does not mean that you should expect to fully recover from your accident with just an auto insurance claim. Dealing with insurance companies can be very challenging, as they have no incentive to pay out maximum settlements and will typically do everything they can to minimize insurance payouts.
Some insurance company representatives will even engage in bad-faith tactics, hoping to compel desperate claimants into accepting whatever they can get in the face of their mounting economic pressure. However, an insurance company is less likely to attempt any such bad-faith handling of a claim if they see that the claimant has legal representation.
Your Carson truck accident attorney can negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier on your behalf. They will help you fill out your proof of loss forms and submit your claim within the appropriate time limit. Your attorney can correspond with the insurance company’s representatives on your behalf and resolve any disputes they raise against your claim.
Once the insurance company notices you have an attorney representing you, they will be more inclined to process your claim efficiently and provide a fair settlement offer. After they send your settlement offer, your attorney can verify that it is acceptable under the terms of the policy in question.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim for Your Truck Accident
Whether insurance alone cannot fully cover your losses or an at-fault driver does not have insurance, the next step in your case is to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. Under California’s personal injury laws, you have the right to seek full repayment of any and all losses their insurance cannot cover. In most personal injury claims, plaintiff losses are designated as “economic,” “noneconomic,” or “punitive.”
You must be prepared to show evidence that the defendant was the direct cause of your claimed damages. This is known as establishing causation, meaning your claimed damages resulted directly from the defendant’s actions and not any other cause. Once you have proven fault and recovered as much as possible through auto insurance, you can proceed with your personal injury case.
Economic damages are likely to be the most straightforward in your truck accident case, as these include the direct financial losses you suffered from the accident. Your auto insurance claim may yield compensation for some of these financial losses, but any remainder must be claimed in a personal injury suit against the at-fault driver. In most California personal injury claims, economic damages the plaintiff may recover are likely to include:
Vehicle repair costs. The at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy must have coverage for property damage liability, but you have the right to recover full repayment of any and all vehicle repair or replacement costs incurred from the accident, as well as compensation for any personal belongings damaged or destroyed in your vehicle.
Medical expenses. Insurance may only cover a fraction of your medical expenses after a truck accident, and these crashes commonly cause catastrophic injuries that require extensive treatment. You have the right to claim compensation for all immediate and ongoing medical expenses resulting from the defendant’s actions, including the cost of future medical care you may need to manage a serious injury.
Lost income. Your accident could leave you unable to work while you recover from your injuries, and the defendant would be liable for any income you were unable to earn during this time.
Lost earning power. Some truck accidents cause severe injuries that leave victims permanently disabled. If you cannot return to your job after your truck accident due to permanent disability, the defendant is liable for the future income you are no longer able to earn. Your Carson truck accident attorney could help you accurately calculate how much you should have been able to earn in the future if the accident had not happened.
You may be surprised to discover that you can claim more compensation for your economic damages than you may have initially realized, but your recovery does not end there. You also have the right to seek compensation for noneconomic damages from the defendant, which include the physical pain and psychological suffering you experienced.
Calculating Pain and Suffering in Your Truck Accident Case
Attorneys in California will use two methods to calculate pain and suffering for their personal injury clients. If the client is expected to make a full recovery from their injuries in the near future, they are likely to use a “per diem” calculation, seeking pain and suffering compensation based on how long it takes the client to fully recover from their injuries. The attorney sets a daily compensation rate and then multiplies this by the number of days it takes the client to fully recover.
In the case that a plaintiff’s injuries are life-changing injuries, it’s more likely that their attorney will use the “multiplier” calculation. The attorney adds up the total of their client’s claimable economic damages and then multiplies this amount by a factor that reflects the severity of their condition, usually one to five.
For example, if the client sustained $500,000 in economic losses and has a permanent disability from their truck accident, their attorney may seek several times this amount in pain and suffering compensation. For many personal injury plaintiffs in California, pain and suffering compensation accounts for the bulk of their case awards.
Other Variables That Can Influence Your Recovery From a Truck Accident
In the event a defendant has caused an accident through any illegal misconduct, the judge handling the case may award the plaintiff punitive damages at their discretion. As the name suggests, punitive damages are meant to punish intentional misconduct or egregious negligence, and the value of the compensation the plaintiff will receive depends on the financial status of the defendant.
A defendant with considerable income or wealth will pay more money in punitive damages than one with limited assets. One factor that could work against a plaintiff and diminish their recovery is comparative fault. California follows a pure comparative fault rule, meaning that each party found liable for an accident will have a fault percentage assigned to them. These percentages correspond to the share of the damages listed in the claim for which they are responsible.
For example, if two defendants are found comparatively liable, they may receive fault percentages of 60% and 40%, meaning they are respectively responsible for 60% and 40% of the plaintiff’s claimed damages.
If a plaintiff is deemed partially at fault, their fault percentage is taken from their case award as a penalty. For example, if a plaintiff is found 10% fault in a million-dollar civil suit, they would lose 10% of the case award, or $100,000.
Even slight comparative fault can make a significant difference in the final case award you obtain, so if you have any concerns about bearing partial liability for your claimed damages, it is vital to address them with the help of an experienced Carson truck accident attorney.
Resolving Your Truck Accident Claim in Carson
Most of the personal injury cases filed in California each year end in private settlement negotiations. When a defendant is clearly at fault for a personal injury, it behooves them to seek a swift settlement so they can avoid the legal expenses that litigation would entail.
Throughout the settlement process, the plaintiff and defendant, along with both of their lawyers, meet privately to negotiate terms for resolving the claim. As long as they are willing to compromise, it is possible to settle the claim in a matter of weeks.
Unfortunately, settlement is not always a viable option for resolving a vehicle accident claim. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, or if the defendant disputes their liability or the scope of damages claimed by the plaintiff, the case will need to go to trial. Litigation is more demanding and time-consuming than settlement, and the final outcome rests in the hands of the judge overseeing the case.
When you choose McLachlan Law, APC, to represent your truck accident claim, we will strive to settle the case quickly if possible, but we are fully prepared to represent you in court if necessary to ensure the fullest recovery possible from your damages.
What to Expect From Your Carson Truck Accident Attorney
The right attorney can have a tremendously positive influence over the outcome of your impending truck accident claim. McLachlan Law, APC, takes time to learn as much as possible about each client’s individual needs. We know that no two cases are exactly alike, and no two victims have suffered the same losses, so we develop individualized case strategies that aim for maximum recovery for each client we represent.
When you choose our firm to handle your truck accident case, we can immediately begin looking for the evidence you will need to establish liability for your damages. Next, our team can help you accurately calculate those damages, aiming for the maximum possible amount of compensation you can claim from the defendant.
If you are concerned about the potential cost of legal representation, our firm takes personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means our client pays a percentage of the total compensation we secure on their behalf as their fee, but they only owe this contingency fee if and when we win their case. There are no upfront legal fees for our firm’s representation and no financial risk to you in choosing our team to represent you.
You have a limited window of time in which to pursue compensation for your losses. If you plan to file a personal injury claim, the statute of limitations is two years starting on the date your injury occurred. You have a much shorter time limit in which to file an auto insurance claim.
Reach Out to an Attorney Today
The sooner you connect with an attorney you can trust, the more likely you will be to meet the deadlines for your recovery efforts and maximize your compensation. Contact McLachlan Law, APC, today to schedule your consultation with a Carson truck accident lawyer and learn how our firm can assist you with your recovery efforts.
Carson Serious Personal Injury
Schedule a Consultation
Contact us now to discuss your case and learn more about our firm.
What Our Client Say About Us
"Attorney Mike McLachlan, did such an awesome job for me and I feel like anyone who has Mr McLachlan representing them is completely in capable hands as well as fortunate. Between his knowledge, compassion for the law, he takes his time and listens to your concerns and answers all questions thoroughly (Even the ones you ask three times, with patience!) returns phone calls or emails on a timely manner as well. Mr McLachlan and his team was always there for me at every step during this long process."
McLachlan Law regularly accepts case referrals on complicated matters
from other attorneys, and tries cases for and with other attorneys.