Being involved in an accident with a 18-wheeler is a horrific event that often leads to fatalities on the nation’s highways. Big truck accidents also commonly involve several vehicles when crashes occur in congested traffic or when a tractor-trailer goes out of control. These scenarios can be very complicated legal issues when it comes to unraveling what actually happened in a big-rig collision. Accident investigations conducted by the police department of jurisdiction is not always as comprehensive as San Diego truck accident attorneys would like to see, often choosing to conduct their own investigation that supports their client’s injury claims for whole compensation when a truck driver is totally at fault for the wreck that resulted in the injuries or death. While a typical automobile accident will normally only result in a claim against another individual driver, accidents involving any type of commercial vehicle could very well result in standing to pursue multiple parties who have been negligent as well as the driver. Primary among those other potential litigants are trucking companies that employ the driver.
Trucking Company Liability
There are many potential material case facts that could indicate negligence on the part of the trucking company employing the driver. Even when the tractor-trailer included in a collision is privately owned by the driver, the trucking company still controls the actions of the driver in terms of orders for delivery and time bonuses. They often require drivers to drive the full extent of allowable hours according to the Department of Transportation rules and regulations, which commonly leads to accidents when drivers are fatigued or falling asleep at the wheel. Delivery time focus also encourages truck drivers to use excessive speed on the highways, which which makes big trucks the most dangerous vehicles on the road. The court is primarily concerned with the nature of the relationship between the trucking company and a contracted driver, which is clearly an employer/employee structure. Trucking companies attempt to use contracted drivers as company Management insulation, but both parties potentially liable for damages because of the association. San Diego truck accident attorneys normally file claims against all parties involved and let the court decide who is not liable, including truck parts manufacturers in product liability situations.
Investigating a Trucking Company
While a police department will investigate any accident that occurred on public roadways, they rarely do any investigation into the prior conduct of the trucking company. Drivers who are intoxicated at the time will face a thorough investigation regarding criminal charges, which can be very valuable in negotiating an injury claim or wrongful death settlement. It then becomes the responsibility of the injured plaintiff’s legal counsel to obtain information concerning prior company behavior regarding citations and earlier trucking accidents. If multiple trucks for one company have been involved in crashes, this could very well be an indication internal company maintenance problem or a failure to follow state law or an established safety policy. The trucking company also may have been cited in the past for specific rules and regulations from any of a number of government agencies such as OSHA or the DOT. In addition, an experienced San Diego truck accident attorney will know how to inspect a truck for potential mechanical malfunction or shifted loads that could also contribute to causation of the wreck. Evidence in truck accident cases can be found in many locations when the right attorney is handling and crafting a solid case for maximum damages.
Potential Truck Accident Damages
Claim settlements from personal injuries suffered in a truck accident can be very extensive, but there are some factors that could reduce the total amount of damages available for drivers when their comparative negligence percentage is applied to a final settlement. This same issue applies in a wrongful death claim as well. Trucking company lawyers almost always try to get ahead of the curve immediately after an accident in hopes of influencing the accident reconstruction specialists to make a determination regarding the fault level of injured drivers. Personal contribution to an accident causing injuries can be used by the insurance providers and trucking company representatives in attempting to reduce general damages for pain-and-suffering and wrongful death. Luckily in California, even drivers that are 99% at fault for an accident can receive 1% of total damages available, but an aggressive truck accident attorney will always be diligent in protecting their client when the negligent respondents are using bad faith legal tactics to lessen total claim values. Punitive damages maybe available as well when a San Diego truck accident attorney opts to take a claim to a full jury trial. Punitive damages are considered as punishment, only being subject to discounting according to California state law. Whole damages is always the goal in a truck accident case, and punitive damage is usually what accomplishes that task for injured clients.
Contact Farar & Lewis LLP San Diego Truck Accident Attorneys
It is never a good decision to attempt handling a truck accident injury claim personally. Truck accident claims are often very valuable in both instances of personal injury and wrongful death, and the cases are always strongly defended. The best method of receiving all of the compensation you deserve in a California truck accident case is by calling or clicking on the official law firm website of Farar & Lewis LLP for a free comprehensive evaluation of your injury claim potential.
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