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Determining Compensation For an 18 Wheeler or Semi Truck Accident -- Insight from the Best Truck Accident Attorneys

Truck accidents are most likely to happen on fast moving highways that are filled with every type of vehicle imaginable. The unfortunate reality is that when a large, heavy commercial truck is involved in a highway accident, it also has the potential to affect other passenger vehicles around it. Not to mention the resulting damages of this type of collision are not only catastrophic, but determining liability can be a logistical nightmare. 

In fact, large trucks and semis are one of the leading causes of traffic related deaths in the U.S. California in particular has seen some of the worst trucking accidents in the country. A tractor-trailer or eighteen-wheeler can weigh 20 to 30 times more than a passenger vehicle. Due to their size and weight, commercial trucks are dangerous and virtually guaranteed to crush smaller vehicles in an accident.

A report compiled by the Analysis Division of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2017 showed that at least one driver-related factor was recorded for 32% of the large truck drivers in fatal crashes. "Speeding of Any Kind" was the most frequent driver-related factor for these types of accidents, and "Distraction/Inattention" came in second. 

Moreover, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported that most deaths in large truck crashes are passenger vehicle occupants. In 2018, a total of 4,136 people died in large truck crashes, with 16% of these deaths being truck occupants, 67% being occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, and 15% being pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists. 

Just by the mere size and weight of these vehicles increase the likelihood sustaining severe or fatal injuries, altering a victim’s life forever. That’s why if you were involved in a truck accident, it is very important to file a claim to recover compensation for damages.

When it comes to how a personal injury claim is handled, truck accidents can be complex processes. Our excellent team of attorneys from West Coast Trial Lawyers break down how to determine a proper compensation for damages after a truck accident. 

Determining Liability


Truck accidents can be caused by many circumstances, and others can even be no fault trucking accidents, too. California is a comparative negligence state, meaning that an at fault driver may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit for damages, even if they were partially at fault for causing a trucking accident.

While multiple parties can potentially be held liable for a truck accident victims’ injuries and losses, proving liability will typically involve one or both of two legal theories: negligence and strict liability.

According to California negligence law, any truck driver found guilty of negligence can be held liable for causing injuries and damages to another motorist. A driver who was injured by a negligent truck driver is entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, the aggrieved party must prove that the truck driver was negligent in causing the accident.

California strict liability law states that designers, manufacturers and even any companies involved in a product’s chain of distribution can all be held liable if one of their defective products contributes towards causing a truck accident. In strict liability cases, negligence will not factor when determining liability, because any of these companies can be found liable whether or not they made any mistakes that contributed to the trucking accident.

Though compared to cars large trucks are responsible for less accidents on highways, the possibilities of severe harm and property damage are higher. The guilty parties in a truck accidents can include:

  • The truck driver

    All trucks are subject to state and federal laws and regulations to minimize accident risks, however, truck drivers are often under immense pressure to meet their deadlines. 

  • The trucking company

    Trucking companies may intentionally or recklessly violate transportation regulations or safety requirements to increase their profit margins. When these violations contribute to causing a trucking accident, that company may be held liable for any injuries or damages caused.

  • Designers, manufacturers, or any companies involved in a product’s chain of distribution 

    When a defective truck part causes, or contributes to causing, a trucking accident. 

  • Other driver(s)

    A driver, or multiple drivers, can also share some degree of responsibility for causing a trucking accident. However, an injured driver who is found partly responsible for causing a trucking accident may still be able to recover some damages.

Calculating A Settlement


Truck accident victims who result injured in these types of collisions typically need emergency medical attention, and in many cases costly, longer-term medical treatment. In some instances, they are no longer able to work, or not able to do so for a long time, causing financial hardships. Add rising medical expenses and this can quickly ruin the victim economically. 

That’s why it’s important to seek out an experienced truck accident lawyer in Los Angeles who can help you reach a fair compensation for your injuries and damages sustained. These settlements often vary case-by-case, but among the considerations factored in include:

  • Severity of injuries
  • Amount of medical bills accumulated and property damages
  • Future expenses, like upcoming medical bills or lost salaries
  • Wrongful death

After a trucking accident, compensatory damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for their losses. In general, a plaintiff must prove they were harmed or injured in order to be entitled to damages. A victim can typically file a lawsuit to recover two types of damages: economic and non-economic. The former includes tangible losses like property damage, while the latter refers to intangible losses, such as emotional distress.  

Some economic damages in a trucking accident may include: ER treatment, loss wages, prescription drugs, medical bills, loss of consortium, vehicle repairs, lost earning capacity, future medical treatment, and legal fees.

Non-economic damages, for their part, include: emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and physical disabilities and disfigurements. 

West Coast Trial Lawyers Can Help You


It is most important to understand that personal injury victims, including trucking accident victims, will typically have two years to file a claim for damages. After the two-year deadline, the court will almost certainly throw out the case without even hearing it.

If you or your family member has sustained injuries or even lost their life in a truck accident, you are likely entitled to receive compensation in your claim of personal injury. Let our experienced legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers help you recover the maximum financial compensation for the losses you suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. 

Call us today at 888-341-9802 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.

CONTACT WEST COAST TRIAL LAWYERS TODAY


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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