A previous post on this blog talked about how large trucks require a lot of extra stopping time. Because of this, it is essential that truck drivers pay constant attention to the road in front of them and also their surroundings more generally. If they do not do so, then they waste the valuable seconds they need to stop in the event of a sudden change in circumstances and thus avoid a disaster.

Unfortunately, many truckers choose to take the risk of talking on their cell phone or engaging in some other behavior that takes their minds and, in some cases, eyes off of the road. Even relatively innocent behavior, such as turning to look at something along the road or even reaching for a bite to eat, can take just enough time to cause a crash.

These sorts of accidents involving distracted truck drivers are preventable, and the victims of these accidents should be able to get the financial help they need from the truck drivers and trucking companies who are at fault for the accident.

In order to make sure that they get the compensation they need and deserve, however, victims should strongly consider getting an experienced attorney, like the professionals at our law office, to help. We have successfully represented victims of distracted truck drivers many times over the course of our 60 years of combined legal experience.

Before the victim of a Los Angeles area or Orange County truck accident chooses to speak with an insurance company themselves, they should strongly consider speaking with one of our legal professionals so they can evaluate and understand all of their options.

Would mediation ever be a good option after a truck accident?

Following a serious California truck accident, and as our blog has discussed on previous occasions, the goal is for the victim to get the compensation he or she needs to pay past and future bills related to the accident and to move on with their life. Moreover, a victim will often deserve at least some compensation for their pain and suffering and other non-economic injuries.

In some cases, a judge may order the victim to mediate with the other side, and the other side’s insurance company, in an effort to get the matter resolved. In this case, the victim will have to at least give mediation a good faith effort.

Although whether to volunteer for mediation is really a question to be discussed with one’s personal injury attorney, there are a few advantages to the process a person should keep in mind.

Mediation is basically a negotiation session or sessions that gets guide by an expert at bringing two different sides to the point of reaching an agreement. As such, mediation, like negotiating, allows a victim to get something rather than risk getting nothing at all, or much less than what they need, at a trial. In other words, mediation gives a victim some more predictability. It also is an efficient process that can mean less time and stress dealing with a lawsuit and more time focusing on one’s recovery.

On the flip side, victims need to remember that mediation is a give-and-take process, meaning that they likely will not leave the mediation fully satisfied. Moreover, it is important for the victim to understand how the process works and what can and cannot be accomplished. In this respect, it should be noted that the insurance company’s adjuster has likely been through mediation before.

Why do California truck drivers have to get medical exams?

Because tractor trailers are such massive vehicles, they can cause serious injuries and property damage if they are involved in an accident. Given the dangers involved in trucking, truck drivers must know exactly what they are doing before they get behind the wheel of a big rig. Accordingly, truck drivers in California, and in all other states, must get special training and licensing before they can legally operate a commercial truck.

In addition to the special licensing, what other safety requirements must California truck drivers satisfy before they can legally operate a truck? One essential requirement is a medical examination. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains a list of licensed medical doctors who can examine truck drivers and certify whether they are physically fit to be on the road. If the doctor finds that a driver is in satisfactory physical condition, the doctor will issue a Medical Examiner’s Certificate to the driver.

The Medical Examiner’s Certificate is only valid for two years. Therefore, at least every two years, the driver will have to get another physical examination from a physician approved by the FMCSA.

The medical examination and certification is important because a truck driver who is not physically fit to drive can pose a grave danger to other people on California’s highways. If a driver disregards this requirement and ends up getting in a truck accident caused by the driver’s medical condition, any injured victims may be able to use the driver’s failure to adhere to the regulations as evidence of the driver’s negligence.

State and federal regulations on truckers and truck companies exist for a reason. While some of the regulations may not be popular in the trucking industry, all are aimed at reducing fatal commercial truck accidents.

Legal guidance for complex truck accident cases

When truck accidents are reported on local California news programs, they often show the devastation that can result when massive vehicles are involved in collisions with smaller personal vehicles. A truck accident can result in massive personal and property damages, serious injuries, and even fatalities. Many truck accidents are caused by truck driver negligence and omissions committed by trucking companies.

However, truck accident cases cannot and should not always be handled like regular motor vehicle accident claims. Though there may be similarities between truck accidents and car accidents, complex issues concerning commercial vehicle-specific regulations, licensing, truck and business ownership, and other matters can make truck accident cases significantly more involved.

For example, a personal injury lawsuit filed after a truck accident needs to include all possible defendants. Aside from the driver of the truck in question, defendants may include the owner of the truck, the business that paid to have the truck carry its goods, and any insurers who cover other parties attached to the truck. Having an attorney who recognizes the differences between truck accident claims and other vehicle accident cases may make a difference in a victim’s outcome.

The law firm of Easton & Easton takes pride in supporting individuals who have suffered harm as a result of damaging truck accidents. They work to build strong, evidence-based cases for their clients and zealously pursue their rights to seek the best possible outcomes for them. Though no outcome can be guaranteed when a personal injury claim is litigated, strong representation can give victims confidence and support as they fight to become whole.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “DOT Medical Exam and Commercial Motor Vehicle Certification,” Accessed on March 2, 2016