Commercial trucks are common sights on California roads and crucial to the state’s supply chain. Every day, millions of trucks deliver billions of dollars in cargo throughout the country, delivering goods and materials that businesses and communities need to function. While most drivers in the Inglewood area encounter large commercial trucks while driving through the area without having any problems, it is vital to acknowledge the fact that truck accidents do occur. When these accidents do happen, they often result in devastating damage.
Helping Inglewood, CA, Truck Accident Victims Recover
If you or a family member was recently injured in a truck accident, an Inglewood truck accident attorney is the ideal resource to have on your side as you seek compensation for your damages. Truck accidents technically follow similar statutes as standard car accidents in some respects, but they are often far more challenging to resolve. You could face a host of complex legal issues that you are unprepared to address on your own, and the right attorney can provide guidance and support when you need it most.
The attorneys at McLachlan Law, APC, have years of personal injury experience ready to be placed at your disposal. We take time to learn each client’s unique story, ensuring that we address their individual needs and concerns throughout all their recovery efforts. If you believe another party is liable for your recent truck accident, our team can help ensure accountability and secure compensation for your damages.
How to Prove Fault for Your Recent Truck Accident
The state enforces the fault rule for resolving car accidents, meaning the driver at fault for an accident faces liability for all resulting damages. This may sound straightforward at first, but the reality is that liability can be called into question in any motor vehicle accident case. When it comes to truck accidents, proving fault can be even more challenging due to the legal issue of vicarious liability that often comes into play in these cases.
Vicarious liability applies to any situation in which one party bears fault for another party’s actions. This most commonly applies to employers bearing liability for the actions of their employees. Trucking companies are required to thoroughly vet their drivers with background checks, ensure they hold all required credentials to handle their job duties safely, and pose no extraordinary risks while transporting cargo. If an investigation reveals that a trucking company or other employer was in any way negligent in their handling of a truck driver, they may face vicarious liability for an accident that the driver caused.
Truck accidents tend to occur from many of the same causes as all other traffic accidents. However, they often result in much worse damage. A few commonly cited causes of these accidents include:
Truck driver error. It’s possible for a truck driver to face liability for an accident if they were negligent in their handling of their truck. Distracted driving, speeding, or failure to properly handle the truck’s onboard systems are all examples of truck driver negligence that may lead to accidents.
Driving under the influence (DUI). Any driver who causes an accident from intoxicated driving faces not only liability for the damages they inflict on others but also criminal prosecution for DUI. Penalties for conviction automatically increase when a defendant has hurt or killed someone with their actions.
Mechanical failures. Large commercial trucks have more complex internal systems than most passenger vehicles and spend more time on the road. This means they have much more demanding and more specific maintenance requirements. If the party responsible for the maintenance of a truck fails to address a foreseeable safety issue or does not perform maintenance correctly, they face liability for a resulting accident.
Third-party negligence. It is possible for a truck accident to happen because of the actions of a third party. The truck driver involved in your recent crash may not bear liability, or it is possible for more than one party to share fault for the crash. Your Inglewood truck accident attorney can be invaluable for reviewing the details of the accident and helping you accurately determine liability for the damages.
A good legal team can help their client gather the evidence needed to establish liability, such as traffic camera recordings, vehicle computer data, driver cell phone records, and witness testimony from others involved in the accident or who saw the accident happen firsthand. Once you have established liability for the accident, you can start claiming compensation for your damages.
Filing an Auto Insurance Claim for Truck Accidents in Inglewood
Every driver is legally required to have auto insurance that includes liability coverage for bodily injuries and property damage. This applies to trucking companies as well. In fact, most trucking companies have insurance beyond the minimum coverage required by state law. However, this does not guarantee that you will be able to fully recover your losses through auto insurance alone or that the insurance company will handle your claim in good faith.
An experienced Inglewood truck accident attorney can be a crucial asset when it comes to maximizing your insurance claim settlement. They can help draft your initial demand letter for coverage and verify that the insurance company is processing your claim efficiently and in good faith. If you encounter any problems with your claim or if the insurance carrier unfairly denies coverage, your legal team can be ready to address these problems on your behalf.
Claiming Compensation With a Personal Injury Suit
After exhausting your recovery options through insurance, you have the right to file a personal injury claim against whoever caused your damages. Success with this case can yield compensation for any losses that insurance won’t cover. Under state law, a plaintiff has the right to seek compensation for economic damages such as:
Property damage. Your auto insurance claim could cover some of your vehicle repair costs, but any remainder of the property damage can be cited as economic damages in a personal injury claim.
Medical expenses. Any vehicle accident has the potential to cause devastating physical harm to those involved, but this risk is substantially higher in truck accidents. The defendant who caused your accident is liable for all medical expenses you incur for treatment of the injuries they caused. This includes immediate healthcare costs like your hospital bills and ambulance fees, but you can also seek compensation for future medical expenses arising from the accident. If you sustained severe injuries that require rehabilitation and other ongoing care, the defendant is liable for all these medical expenses.
Lost income. Many people injured in truck accidents are unable to work as they recover from their injuries. If this applies to your case, the defendant is responsible for the income you are unable to earn because of the accident they caused. Your Inglewood truck accident attorney could help calculate the total amount of compensation you can seek not only for lost income but also lost future earning power if you were left permanently disabled by your injuries.
McLachlan Law, APC, always strives for maximum client recovery in every case we accept. While we can assist you with maximizing compensation for your economic losses, this may not form the bulk of your recovery if you suffered severe injuries. California law also allows a personal injury plaintiff to claim pain and suffering compensation, and there is no limit to how much they can claim in a truck accident case.
Determining Appropriate Pain and Suffering Compensation for a Truck Accident
The average person may hear pain and suffering and wonder how they could possibly assign a monetary value to immaterial losses like these. Your Inglewood truck accident attorney can offer valuable guidance for this aspect of your case, and most personal injury attorneys use two methods to calculate appropriate pain and suffering compensation for their clients:
The per diem method is commonly used for clients expected to fully recover from their injuries. The attorney sets an appropriate amount of daily compensation and then multiplies this amount by the number of days it takes the client to reach maximum medical improvement from their injuries.
The multiplier method is more suitable for clients who have suffered life-changing injuries. Their attorney calculates the total of their claimable economic damages and then multiplies this figure by a factor, typically one to five, to reflect the severity of their condition. If you have suffered extreme injuries and your attorney uses this method, your pain and suffering compensation may overshadow the total of your economic damages.
In either case, your pain and suffering compensation may form a sizeable portion of your final case award. McLachlan Law, APC, has the personal injury experience necessary to carefully analyze the details of your accident and your injuries to help determine the maximum amount of pain and suffering compensation you could foreseeably obtain from a successful civil case.
Other Variables That Influence Your Case Award
Beyond your economic damages and pain and suffering, other factors could influence your final case award. For example, if the defendant caused your accident through some illegal misconduct, they may face criminal prosecution. This could lead to restitution or punitive damages ordered by a judge that will be added to your other claimed damages. The amount you can receive in punitive damages generally depends on the overall financial status of the defendant and the severity of the harm they have done.
On the other hand, some variables can diminish a plaintiff’s total case award. California upholds a pure comparative fault rule that will come into play in any civil case in which the plaintiff shares fault with the defendant for causing the damages. If you are found partially liable for your accident, the judge handling your case will assign you a percentage of the total fault. This percentage is then deducted from your case award as a penalty. For example, if you are deemed to be 30% at fault, you will lose 30% of the total compensation claimed from the defendant.
Working with an experienced Inglewood truck accident attorney is the optimal way to maximize your final recovery. A good attorney will know how to gather the evidence needed to firmly prove liability for their client’s damages. If comparative fault factors into your case, your attorney will know how to minimize your fault percentage and help you retain as much of your total compensation as possible.
How to Resolve Your Truck Accident Case in Inglewood
The majority of the civil claims for damages filed throughout the state each year do not go to trial. Protracted litigation is time-consuming, stressful, and ultimately more expensive for everyone involved in the case. For this reason, most civil claims filed end in private settlement negotiations. This process enables the parties involved in the case to meet privately and discuss mutually acceptable terms for resolving the claim. As long as both the plaintiff and the defendant are willing to negotiate, they can resolve their case in a fraction of the time that litigation would likely require.
However, if settlement proves fruitless for any reason, or if the defendant refuses to accept liability and engage in settlement negotiations, the case will need to be resolved through litigation. This is a lengthy process that can sometimes take months or even years to resolve. If you must take your case to court, it is crucial to have legal representation you can trust to guide you through these proceedings as efficiently as possible.
Find Your Inglewood Truck Accident Lawyer Today
The attorneys at McLachlan Law, APC, are ready to provide the legal counsel you need to approach your truck accident claim with confidence. We can offer legal representation at no financial risk to you with our contingency fee policy. Our firm will only accept a fee if and when we win your case, and your fee is a percentage of the total compensation we win on your behalf. This billing policy ensures that the legal counsel you need is accessible when you need it most.
Our firm generally strives to settle each of our client’s claims as quickly as possible whenever possible, but we are experienced and confident litigators if we must take your case to court. Whatever your truck accident claim entails, you can trust our firm to guide you to a positive outcome. Contact McLachlan Law, APC, today to schedule your consultation with an Inglewood truck accident lawyer you can trust and start working toward your recovery with confidence.
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"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."
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