Representing Costa Mesa Clients in Truck Accident Claims
Commercial trucking is one of the most critical components of the American supply chain, transporting cargo to communities all over the country every day. Many communities around the Costa Mesa, CA area, rely on tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, and other commercial trucks to receive the goods and supplies residents need each day. In addition, businesses across the country depend on the trucking industry every day, and truck drivers are responsible for ensuring the safe delivery of billions of tons of cargo every year in the US.
The prevalence of commercial trucking in the US means that almost every driver will regularly see large commercial tractor-trailers on the roads every day. These vehicles are crucial to the economy, but they are also inherently dangerous due to their size. An average tractor-trailer with a full load can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and stand nearly 14 feet off the ground, making them significantly larger than even the most oversized passenger vehicles in the country. When truck drivers fail to operate their trucks responsibly, or other drivers operate their vehicles unsafely near large trucks, devastating accidents are possible.
If you or a family member recently experienced a truck accident in the Costa Mesa, CA area, knowing how to secure compensation for your losses is essential. A truck accident can easily cause devastating injuries and substantial economic losses. If you find yourself in this situation, you need legal counsel you can trust to secure the compensation you deserve and hold the party responsible for your truck crash accountable for their actions.
Why Do I Need an Orange County Truck Accident Lawyer?
An Orange County truck accident lawyer can be the best asset you can have after experiencing a commercial truck accident. Do not make the mistake of thinking you can handle your recovery completely unassisted. Some people believe they can manage this while simultaneously recovering from painful injuries and maintaining order in their households. Unfortunately, it’s common for the aftermath of a trucking accident to quickly snowball into severe financial problems for victims and their families.
Navigating the civil court system without an attorney is extremely challenging for anyone with no professional experience in civil law. However, you face several risks if you attempt to file your own personal injury claim and handle it yourself. Specifically, there is a risk that you could settle for less than you deserve from your claim. There is also a risk that you could make a mistake with your court filings or miss a vital deadline, jeopardizing your case before it even reaches a judge.
Hiring the right Costa Mesa truck accident attorney to represent your claim is the best way to ensure an acceptable recovery from a commercial truck accident. Your attorney can help you determine the best path forward after a truck accident, whether that includes filing an insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy, filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver, or both. When you work with Easton & Easton, you can rest assured our team will extend the full scope of our professional resources and experience in handling your truck accident claim, guiding you to the best possible result and maximizing your recovery.
What Questions Should I Ask an Attorney for a Truck Accident?
Before you accept a Costa Mesa truck accident lawyer’s representation, you should be confident they are the right fit for your case. Take advantage of consultation offers to interview potential attorneys and choose the attorney who inspires you with the most confidence about your claim. Consider a few questions you should ask an attorney before agreeing to their representation:
- “How much experience do you have with truck accident claims?” It’s essential to hire an attorney with a solid track record of successful cases similar to yours.
- “How likely do you think I am to win my case?” Most personal injury attorneys offer contingency fee billing, meaning they accept legal fees only when they win. If an attorney offers contingency fee billing and agrees to represent you, this is a good indication they believe you can win your case.
- “Do you notice any unique factors in my case?” No two truck accident claims are exactly alike. A good Costa Mesa truck accident attorney should be able to quickly and accurately identify any challenges or opportunities present in your case.
- “How long do you expect my case to take before it reaches a conclusion?” The economic impact of a truck accident can escalate quickly when the victim is unable to work. A good attorney should offer a reasonable estimate of the timeline your case is likely to follow.
- “What kind of compensation can I expect if I win my case?” The attorney should be able to provide you with a reasonable estimate of how much compensation you are likely to secure if you succeed with your truck accident claim.
These examples should help you start your list of questions to ask a potential attorney before hiring them. Then, take time to create more questions based on your circumstances, so you can get the best impression of every attorney you interview.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
If you intend to take legal action after a commercial truck accident, one of the most important first steps you must complete is determining how your accident occurred. Some of the most commonly cited causes of truck accidents in California include:
- Driver errors and negligence. Truck drivers have demanding jobs, but this is no reason to engage in reckless driving, neglect required rest breaks, or commit moving violations while operating their vehicles. If a truck driver causes an accident due to their own negligence and fails to uphold their employer’s policies, the driver could absorb liability for an accident caused by their negligence.
- Trucking company negligence. Trucking companies and organizations that employ truck drivers can sometimes absorb liability for trucking accidents if an investigation shows they failed to properly vet or train drivers. For example, if a trucking company hired a driver and assigned them a route but failed to conduct a background check, they could face liability if the driver causes an accident.
- Poor vehicle maintenance. Tractor-trailers are larger, more complex machines than standard passenger cars. They also spend more time on the road than most passenger cars, meaning they require more frequent and more extensive maintenance. If a party responsible for commercial truck maintenance fails to conduct appropriate repairs and a mechanical problem causes an accident, that party may absorb liability for the resulting damages.
- Improperly secured cargo. It’s vital to ensure a truck’s cargo is properly secured. For example, trailer cargo must be loaded in a way that balances the trailer; otherwise, the truck may tip over or roll over around a sharp curve. Special cargo,such as building materials, smaller vehicles, lumber, and concrete pipes, requires specific loading standards.
- Distracted driving. All drivers, including commercial truck drivers, must refrain from distractions while behind the wheel. Even a few seconds of distraction can equate to driving blind for hundreds of feet and causing a serious accident to drivers, their passengers, even a pedestrian. Distracted driving is the leading cause of all traffic accidents in the US.
- Driving under the influence (DUI). Some truck drivers cope with the stresses of their jobs by consuming drugs and alcohol before driving. This is illegal and extremely dangerous. Other drivers who operate their vehicles while intoxicated can also cause accidents with nearby commercial trucks. No driver should ever consume alcohol or drugs before getting behind the wheel. Any driver who does faces civil liability for victims’ damages as well as criminal prosecution for DUI.
- Reckless third parties. Another driver can cause an accident with a nearby tractor-trailer that in turn causes an accident with your vehicle. If one or more drivers bear fault for a trucking accident, anyone injured in the accident has the right to pursue legal action against every party bearing fault for the incident. Your attorney can help you determine which defendants to name in your truck accident claim.
These are some of the most commonly cited causes of commercial truck accidents throughout the Costa Mesa, CA area. If you believe your recent truck accident occurred due to circumstances such as these, it is vital to contact an attorney as soon as possible to determine your best options for legal recourse.
Claiming Damages in Your Truck Accident Lawsuit
Truck accidents are typically far more damaging than crashes involving smaller passenger vehicles. If you have experienced a truck accident in the Costa Mesa, CA area, you have likely suffered severe injuries along with many different economic losses. An experienced Costa Mesa truck accident attorney will help you thoroughly review your damages and determine the total cost of your truck accident. Some of the most commonly sought damages in truck accident claims filed in the US include:
- Medical expenses. Any vehicle accident is likely to cause injuries, but injuries from truck accidents are usually more serious than those caused by passenger vehicle accidents. Therefore, a personal injury plaintiff in California has the right to claim compensation for all medical expenses resulting from a defendant’s negligence. This includes medical expenses immediately after the accident, such as hospital bills and long-term treatment costs, such as rehabilitation and physical therapy.
- Lost income. If your trucking accident causes you to be unable to work for an extended period, you can claim any wages lost during this time in your lawsuit. It’s also possible to secure lost future earning potential if your accident causes a disability that prevents you from returning to the workforce in the future.
- Property damage. You have the right to claim vehicle repair costs resulting from a truck accident. However, if your car is damaged beyond repair, your attorney can help you maximize insurance coverage and/or secure the total cash value of your vehicle.
- Pain and suffering. California state law acknowledges that many accidents caused by negligence are traumatic and cause painful injuries. Therefore, a personal injury plaintiff can claim compensation for their physical pain and emotional suffering resulting from a truck accident.
Depending on how your accident occurred, it may also be possible to collect punitive damages. A plaintiff does not directly demand punitive damages. Instead, a judge awards them at their discretion to punish a defendant’s bad behavior, whether that entails egregious negligence beyond the scope of typical negligence or criminal behavior. The amount paid in punitive damages depends on the overall financial status of the defendant; wealthier defendants can expect to pay more in punitive damages than those who have limited assets.
Hiring the right Costa Mesa truck accident attorney will significantly impact the outcome of your case. A good attorney will not only assist you in proving negligence and accounting for all your claimable damages, but they can also coordinate testimony from expert witnesses to help you prove fault in your case and establish the full scope of your claimable damages. For example, a medical expert witness can help the court understand the full effects of your injuries and the pain they caused you. In addition, an accident reconstruction expert can help prove how an accident occurred to assist you in establishing liability for the accident. The average person with no legal counsel would be unable to secure the expert witness testimony they may need to succeed with a truck accident claim.
Negligence and Vicarious Liability in Truck Accident Claims
A truck accident claim is a personal injury claim, so that negligence will be a central legal concept in any truck accident case. Proving negligence is essential for any plaintiff who wishes to succeed with their personal injury claim. If you file a truck accident lawsuit against a negligent driver, a trucking company, or a combination of multiple defendants, your attorney must help you prove that the defendant or defendants were negligent in some way that directly caused your claimed damages.
First, your attorney must establish the defendant’s duty of care in the situation in question and then prove how the defendant breached this duty of care. For example, if your trucking accident occurred due to drunk driving, your Costa Mesa truck accident attorney must prove the defendant failed in their duty of care to operate their vehicle safely and was under the influence of alcohol when the crash occurred. Next, your attorney must help you establish the full range of your damages and provide evidence that shows these damages were the direct results of the defendant’s negligence and not some other cause.
Truck accidents are often more complex than standard passenger vehicle accident claims due to the legal concept of vicarious liability. This term applies in any situation in which one party bears liability for the actions of another. For example, a negligent truck driver causes an accident due to drinking and driving. They had a recorded history of drinking and driving, but the trucking company that hired the driver failed to conduct an appropriate background check before assigning them work. In this situation, the trucking company bears some responsibility for the resulting accident.
What to Expect From Your Costa Mesa Truck Accident Lawyer
Filing a truck accident claim may be your best option for recovering from your losses. If you or a loved one suffered severe injuries and incurred expensive medical bills, these losses may just be the start of the financial impact your accident can have on your life. Most truck accident plaintiffs also sustain additional economic losses in the form of lost income, unpaid household bills, and vehicle repair costs. Some damages may be immediate, while others affect them far into the future. Ultimately, filing a truck accident claim offers the best chance of maximizing your recovery after a truck accident.
Typically, the first step toward recovery after any motor vehicle accident is filing an insurance claim against the at-fault driver. California state law requires all licensed drivers to carry auto insurance. Therefore, if another driver causes an accident, you can file an insurance claim against their policy to secure compensation for your losses. However, there is no guarantee that their insurance coverage will fully compensate your losses, and dealing with insurance agents is rarely easy. Hiring an attorney will make this initial phase of your recovery much more manageable. Your attorney can draft your demand letter to the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier and deal with claim adjusters on your behalf. If insurance is not enough to cover your losses, your Costa Mesa truck accident attorney can then assist you in filing a personal injury claim to ensure maximum recovery from your damages.
Find Your Legal Team Now
The attorneys at Easton & Easton have years of experience representing clients in a wide range of motor vehicle accident claims in Costa Mesa, CA, and surrounding areas. If you or a loved one suffered injuries from a truck accident that you believe occurred due to the negligence of a driver or another party, we could help you recover. Our firm strives to provide client-focused, responsive, and comprehensive legal counsel. We will thoroughly review the details of your claim and help you approach your case with greater confidence.
Contact Easton & Easton today to schedule your consultation with our team. Once we have the details of your situation, we can let you know how our firm can assist in your recovery.