Truck Accident Attorney | Irvine Crash Lawyer
Large commercial trucks are a crucial part of our nation’s economy, from delivering raw product materials for manufacturers to shipping finished products to wholesalers and retailers across the country and around the world. The trucking industry supports nearly 800,000 workers and generates an annual revenue of approximately $650 billion, accounting for 84% of all revenue from commercial transportation.
By necessity, these vehicles are often extremely large, standing about thirteen feet high and weighing upwards of 80,000 pounds when fully loaded with cargo. Their sheer size makes large trucks difficult to maneuver and significantly dangerous to other motorists. In fact, one person is seriously injured or killed every fifteen minutes in a trucking accident in the US, while around 500,000 truck accidents occur every year.
Whether due to driver inattention, inexperience, fatigue, mechanical issues, simple negligence, or a combination thereof, an oversized truck that collides with other vehicles or objects in the roadway is likely to cause devastating injuries to multiple victims. In fact, the potential for catastrophic damage in truck accidents, along with the size and importance of this industry, have led federal, state, and local governments to impose strict regulations for safe operation. Any commercial freight company, delivery van, or other business that employs drivers who travel California’s roadways is required to adhere to regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and state regulatory agencies. Unfortunately, there are drivers and companies who fail to meet these regulations, and hundreds of thousands of victims are impacted by this negligence.
Irvine Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help You Obtain Compensation
If you were seriously injured in a collision involving a tractor-trailer, tanker truck, flatbed truck, tow truck, delivery truck, moving truck, or any other heavy truck used in commercial operations, you are entitled to pursue legal action against the responsible parties to recover compensation for your injuries. However, because there are often multiple defendants in a truck accident case, liability is a tricky issue, and it can be difficult to determine which party or parties are at fault for the accident. The only way to ensure you can identify all the liable parties, prove negligence, and receive fair compensation is by hiring legal representation from an Irvine truck accident lawyer. Learn more about truck accidents below, then contact the Easton Law Group today.
Why Do I Need an Attorney for My Truck Accident Case?
Compared to typical passenger car accidents, truck accidents in Orange County are far more likely to result in serious injuries, high medical bills, expensive vehicle repair and replacement costs, and fatalities. The sheer size and weight of these vehicles require specialized training and experience to ensure safe operation. However, even the most skilled driver can have trouble stopping or turning in poor weather and road conditions. Many variables can come into play that may cause even the most expert drivers to make fatal errors, and the force of impact from a truck collision can be over 2,000% greater than the force of impact from a car collision.
The laws surrounding truck accidents are complex, typically involving multiple defendants. What’s more, dealing with insurance companies is no easy task. Attempting to navigate a claim on your own leaves you vulnerable to making costly mistakes that reduce the efficacy of your claim and affect the potential outcome of your case. An Irvine truck accident attorney has the legal knowledge, resources, and litigation skills necessary to understand the law, explain how it applies to your case, and help you determine the best option for financial recovery. Your attorney can also ensure that you do not make any procedural or administrative errors that could impact your claim or cause your case to be thrown out before ever reaching court.
What Do Injury Lawyers Look for in a Truck Accident in Orange County?
For your personal injury claim to be considered valid, your attorney must determine liability for your injuries and identify which parties are responsible for the accident. This involves the legal doctrine of negligence and requires proving the following four elements:
The defendant owed you a duty of care.
Duty of care refers to the basic legal requirement for all drivers on Orange County roadways to use reasonable care and caution when operating their vehicles to protect themselves and other motorists. Truck drivers are held to an even higher duty of care than the average passenger car driver and are expected to exercise “extreme” caution, particularly while driving in inclement weather. Rather than simply behaving in a manner that would be expected from a reasonable person under similar circumstances, such as avoiding clear hazards, truck drivers must take many practical steps necessary for ensuring the safety of those around them.
Duty of care for truck drivers includes:
- Appropriately controlling the speed, position, and movement of the truck
- Staying alert for other vehicles, pedestrians, and obstacles in the roadway
- Following all traffic codes, signs, and signals
- Adapting their driving to accommodate poor weather conditions, such as maintaining a lower rate of speed or stopping altogether if it is impossible to ensure safe travel
- Adhering to licensing requirements and other industry regulations
- Monitoring loaded cargo to confirm it is not overloaded or shifting
The defendant breached their duty of care.
Proving a truck driver breached their duty of care involves showing they deliberately demonstrated careless, wrongful, or negligent conduct and knew this conduct could cause a “foreseeable” injury to others. Most instances of truck drivers breaching duty of care consist of:
- Distracted driving, such as talking, eating, adjusting the radio or GPS, or performing any other tasks that take their full attention away from the road
- Driving while fatigued, usually after driving more consecutive hours than allowed by law
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicating substances
- Failure to adhere to traffic laws, signs, and signals
- Failure to follow industry rules and regulations
- Neglecting to regularly inspect and maintain the vehicle and its cargo
- Failing to adjust for poor weather or road conditions
- Other forms of unsafe behavior, including speeding, tailgating, abrupt lane changes, or failure to yield right of way to other motorists.
You sustained specific injuries because of this breach.
After showing that the driver owed a duty of care to the victim and breached this duty, the next component an Irvine truck accident attorney must prove is the connection between the breach of duty and your injuries. This requires proving that you sustained specific injuries as a direct result of this breach, that you would not have experienced these injuries without the driver’s negligence, and that these injuries resulted from the accident and not other causes. To establish causation, your Irvine truck accident attorney will thoroughly examine the details of the crash and gather evidence that shows the full extent of the injuries you experienced from the crash. Often, evidence takes the form of medical records, police reports, and other documentation associated with the incident and injuries.
You incurred specific damages due to your injuries.
The final component of proving negligence in a truck accident case is showing that you experienced the specific damages you listed in your claim due to the injuries you sustained in the accident. These damages can include economic damages, such as hospital bills, lost wages, lost earning potential, and property damage, as well as non-economic damages in the form of pain and suffering.
Who Is Responsible for a Truck Accident in Irvine, CA?
Proving negligence is a more complicated matter in truck accidents than regular automobile accidents because there are typically multiple defendants involved beyond the driver of the truck. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, any of the following parties may be liable for your injuries along with the truck driver:
- The trucking company or carrier. The trucking company is responsible for the trucks it uses to deliver goods and the drivers it hires to operate these vehicles. A trucking company’s negligence can consist of:
- Inadequate vetting of candidates during the hiring process, such as hiring drivers with records of FMCSA rule infractions in the past
- Failing to provide sufficient training and support for new hires
- Neglecting to perform regular performance reviews or periodic drug tests
- Failing to ensure proper maintenance of the trucks and their parts
- Allowing drivers to violate the FMCSA’s limits on hours of service, which state that drivers should be on the road no more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period
- The cargo shipping and loading company. Some trucking companies serve as contractors that ship cargo for other companies. All parties in this type of arrangement must adhere to federal and state regulations, including the owner of the cargo and anyone responsible for shipping, loading, and transporting the cargo.
- Other vendors who provide service to the trucking company. Large trucking companies may hire other vendors for outsourced work, such as administrative workers to recruit drivers and perform background checks, or workers who maintain, repair, and dispatch trucks in the fleet.
- The manufacturer of the truck and its parts. While research shows that driver error is the leading contributing factor of truck accidents, accidents can also be caused by faulty or defective components. Common causes of mechanical failure consist of brake failure, tire blowouts, transmission failure, broken headlights, broken windshield wipers, and issues with steering systems or coupling. Sometimes, failure is the result of improper maintenance. However, in cases where the part or system was already defective when it was installed, you may be able to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer and distributor of the parts.
- Government agencies and contractors – When roadway hazards like broken pavement or crumbling shoulders contribute to truck accidents, the local or state government agencies responsible for that section of highway can be liable for the accident. These agencies often hire maintenance contractors to prevent such issues. If so, these contractors can also be held liable if their work caused a hazard or if they failed to set up proper cautionary measures for work zones and contributed to the crash.
What Does a Truck Accident Lawyer Do?
An truck accident attorney can be incredibly valuable for your claim by:
- Investigating the accident to gather evidence in support of your claim, such as reviewing photo or video footage, analyzing driver logs, and securing witness statements
- Examining trucking regulations to determine if the carrier was also at fault
- Identifying all liable parties and proving negligence
- Establishing the full extent of your injuries
- Calculating damages that you incurred due to these injuries
- Filing forms on your behalf completely, accurately, and on time
- Negotiating with insurance providers who cover the truck, the driver, or the carrier
- Litigating your case if these providers fail to offer a fair compensation award
Is It Worth Hiring a Lawyer for Truck Accident Injuries?
While it may be possible to represent yourself in a car accident claim, this approach is not recommended. The defendant’s insurance providers offer multi-million-dollar policies and employ in-house teams of expert attorneys to defend their interests. These providers and their attorneys are notorious for taking advantage of clients without legal experience and engaging in manipulative tactics to refute claims, minimize damages, or offer inadequate settlement awards. The only way to protect your rights and avoid losing your case on a simple technicality or being pressured into accepting less money than you deserve is by hiring an truck accident attorney in Irvine to advocate for you. Having an attorney on your side means the defendant’s insurance provider is more likely to offer a fair settlement and do so in a timely manner.
Get Help From Irvine Truck Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured in a truck accident, you are likely facing medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and significant pain and suffering. Securing legal representation is essential to ensure you can recover compensation for your injuries. You need a truck accident law firm with the legal knowledge and skills to beat large insurance companies and obtain the best results in your case. The Orange County truck accident attorneys at Easton Law Group have over 100 years of combined experience representing clients injured in truck accidents.
Contact the Easton Law Group today to put our experience to work for you. Widely regarded as one of the premier law firms in Southern California, we are dedicated to aggressively advocating for our clients and helping them achieve the optimal outcome in their cases. With our help, you and your family can focus on healing and recovery while we fight to get the justice and compensation you deserve.