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Who Can Be At-Fault for a Truck Accident? What Types of Damages Will Be Granted to the Victim?

Dealing with the aftermath of a truck accident in Beverly Hills is very different from dealing with a car accident. For one, injuries sustained after a collision with a commercial truck are more severe and fatalities are not uncommon. As a result, subsequent medical care for truck accident injuries is typically more costly. The next key difference is truck industry laws. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) is responsible for enforcing important truck regulations to make roads safe for truck drivers and all drivers.

Truck drivers and commercial truck companies are required to abide by the highest safety standards. A truck driver or truck company that does not comply with safety regulations can be held responsible if their negligence causes a truck accident. Therefore, commercial truck insurance policies also involve much higher dollar amounts than for passenger vehicles.

Finally, truck accidents involve commercial truck accident investigations. These investigations are meant to determine liability and are more extensive and expensive than regular car accident investigations. An experienced Beverly Hills truck accident attorney understands the protocol for conducting a truck accident investigation, and will do so in a timely manner to preserve important evidence.

Please don’t hesitate to contact our 24/7 legal team by calling (310) 919-5962 or emailing info@westcoasttriallawyers.com to schedule a free consultation with our Beverly Hills personal injury law firm. 

Facts About Truck Accidents 

  • According to Statista, in the U.S. from 2001 to 2017, large trucks were involved in some 107,000 crashes where passengers were injured.
  • According to the FMCSA, in 2017 of the approximately 450,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks throughout the country, 75 percent resulted in injury and 9 percent of those crashes resulted in death.
  • According to the California Highway Patrol 2017 Annual Report, that year 2,656 people were injured and/or killed in truck accidents throughout Los Angeles county alone.

At-Fault Truck Driver Accidents

All commercial trucks are required to follow state and federal laws and safety regulations. Unfortunately, it is common for many truck drivers and commercial trucking companies to ignore safety laws to meet deadlines and maximize profits. For example, according to Vehicle Code 21702 VC, it is a misdemeanor for a California truck driver to drive more than twelve consecutive hours in a 24-hour period.

A truck driver who is found in violation of California’s safety regulations and causes an accident, may be liable to an injured driver for any injuries and losses caused. For the most part, commercial trucking accidents are usually caused by a negligent truck driver who was not using reasonable care or who was in violation of safety regulations.

Common examples of truck driver negligence may include:

At-Fault Truck Company Accidents

A commercial trucking company may also be found responsible for causing a truck accident. Examples of truck company negligence include:

  • Overloaded trailers
  • Encouraging drivers to forego sleep and hour restrictions
  • Inadequate truck maintenance
  • Allowing overweight vehicles 
  • Negligent hiring or training practices
  • Retaining underqualified or underperforming drivers
  • Allowing violations of safety laws

California and federal regulations exist to limit truck size, weight, and route designations for trucks. Unfortunately, many commercial trucking companies deliberately avoid these safety regulations by falsifying their documentation process to hide evidence of their negligence. These are reckless acts that subject a truck company to punitive damages.

Consider this example of commercial trucking negligence: A truck company that serves the West LA and Beverly Hills area experiences a sudden loss of drivers. The truck company is expectedly desperate to hire more drivers as soon as possible. However, instead of  hiring and training a professional group of drivers, they recruit several drivers with previous substance abuse issues.

This new group of drivers give up drugs, pass their mandatory drug test, and go to work. Later that same week, one of the new drivers relapses and drives while under the influence. Unfortunately, this driver falls asleep at the wheel and causes a serious accident, killing three people.

In this example, both the driver and the truck company are guilty of negligence and are responsible to the victims and their families for their losses.

Compensation After a Truck Accident

Despite safety regulations, truck accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of truck driver or truck company negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages that may be available to truck accident victims. Damages are a monetary award which is determined by a court of law to compensate a truck accident victim for injuries sustained as a result of negligence or deliberate acts of malice.

  • Economic damages. Economic damages are awarded to compensate a truck accident victim for any losses that a dollar amount can objectively be attached to. Compensation is calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses a victim has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries. Common examples of economic losses include loss of earning capacity, medical bills, and lost wages.
  • Non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are awarded to cover losses that are “subjective” and do not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Punitive damages. The final type of damages a California court may award are punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.

Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

If you have sustained injuries in a commercial trucking accident that was caused by someone’s negligence or deliberate acts of malice, you have the right to hold the guilty party responsible for your losses. A Beverly Hills truck  accident attorney at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help recover compensation for the losses you have suffered.

Call us today at (310) 919-5962 or email info@westcoasttriallawyers.com to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.

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