Trucks are frequently at the center of some of the most severe and costly accidents.
We often hear their rumble and tumble well before we see them. They have their own lanes and weigh stations and are not allowed onto quiet streets, and for good reason! Trucks are a fact of life. We have to put up with them. They carry millions of things around the country and are a significant vein of the national economy.
However, maybe because of their high numbers, or perhaps because of their complexity, trucks are frequently at the center of some of the most severe and costly accidents.
Jimmie Kang Law Firm has represented many people involved in various kinds of trucking accidents in Southern California involving: motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists and even other truckers. We understand that while the law is a complex series of institutions, rules, and procedures, the endgame for you is simple.
You need recovery. You need the person or company who caused the truck accident to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, disability, disfigurement, and other damages. You can count on us to stand up for you in the critical hours, days, and weeks after your accident to ensure that your recovery does not vanish.
In fact, we can work to make sure that it is maximized. To give you a sense of what that process looks like, we put some information below on the laws surrounding truck accidents and the awards that other victims have recovered. This should give you a good lay of the land of California truck accident law.
The Law Surrounding California Truck Accidents
California truck accidents are governed by the law of negligence. Negligence actions allege that someone or some entity failed to act reasonably in the circumstances. This is a subjective question left to the jury to decide. However, context does matter, and they can look at various things to establish the proper standard of conduct including custom, practice, law, and so forth.
Therefore, the appropriate standard for driving a truck will inevitably be different than performing surgery.
There are four things that every negligence lawsuit must allege and prove to be successful. First, the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty. Second, the defendant breached that duty. Third, the breach caused the plaintiff injury. Fourth, those injuries resulted in economic or non-economic damages to the plaintiff.
One dimension of negligence that is particularly relevant to truck accidents is negligence per se. These are acts deemed negligent because they violate a law. To win on a negligence per see action, you must allege and prove that the defendant broke the law, you were injured, the injury was of the kind meant to be prevented by the law, and you were in the class of people intended to be protected by the law. Examples of negligence per se in California include driving a car without working lights or brakes.
WHY TRUCK ACCIDENT SETTLEMENTS ARE LARGER THAN CAR ACCIDENT SETTLEMENTS
“What settlement should I expect after a truck accident?” this is the question our truck accident attorney often hears. This question is tricky to answer, but we will do our best to estimate the average truck accident settlement for California.
There is no going around the fact that truck accidents cause devastating injuries and even fatalities, especially when they collide with passenger vehicles, motorcyclists, bicyclists, or pedestrians.
When the truck driver and/or his/her trucking company are clearly at fault for the accident, the victim can expect a sizable personal injury settlement, because there is not one but two parties to sue. Normally, truck accident settlements have a much bigger dollar figure compared to accidents involving passenger vehicles.
“Truck accidents have bigger settlements compared to accidents involving any other type of vehicle for several reasons,” says our experienced truck accident attorney in Southern California. “First of all, there are strict insurance requirements for commercial trucks. Second of all, a victim suing a truck driver can usually sue the driver’s trucking company as well, as opposed to only suing one party (the at-fault driver of a passenger vehicle) in car accidents.”
Also, truck drivers in California are held to a higher standard than all other motorists. This is because in order to get a commercial driver’s license in California, drivers are required to go through extensive training and comply with a plethora of safety regulations.
For example, one such safety regulation is that truck drivers are not permitted to drive more than 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty on a given day. If a truck driver violates the hours of service regulations and someone gets injured or killed as a result, the driver will face criminal penalties in addition to personal injury liability.
FACTORS AFFECTING THE AVERAGE TRUCK ACCIDENT SETTLEMENT
And yet, the question “What’s the average truck accident settlement in California for 2018?” is still up in the air. Even the best truck accident lawyer in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California will not be able to determine the cost of your damages without looking into many factors surrounding your case. For example, there are several factors that affect the amount of your truck accident settlement:
– Liability: How many parties can be held liable for your injuries? It is only the truck driver or his/her trucking company as well? Was there a defect in the truck, which would make the manufacturer liable? Or was a third party to blame for the accident in addition to the truck driver’s fault? Were you partially at fault for the accident? Our Los Angeles truck accident attorney reminds readers that California is a pure comparative negligence state (meaning: the amount of your recoverable damages will be reduced by the percentage of your own fault, if any).
– Severity of injury or disability: The severity of your injury is also a major factor affecting the settlement amount in your truck accident case. Typically, the more severe your injury is, the larger the settlement amount. Whether or not you will be entitled to recover loss of income and loss of earning capacity also affects the settlement, and so does the existence or absence of prior medical conditions.
– Insurance coverage: The insurance policies in effect also impact the settlement amount in a truck accident case. The minimum amount of insurance coverage that the truck driver and/or trucking company carries depends on the type of transported freight. For example, hazardous materials moved by private carriers require the minimum coverage of $5,000,000.
HOW MUCH IS YOUR CASE WORTH?
Here at Jimmie Kang Law Firm, our lawyers have helped victims of truck accidents obtain settlements and win verdicts that range from $100,000 to several million dollars. When wrongful death is involved (which we certainly hope is not the case in your particular situation), the settlement amount will skyrocket. And the more parties you can sue in your personal injury lawsuit (the truck driver for violating federal trucking regulations, the trucking company for failure to maintain the vehicle, the local government for failure to ensure good road conditions, etc.), the larger the settlement amount.