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Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident in California?

Truck accidents are a common cause of traffic-related deaths in California. As the populated state continues to deal with heavy traffic in many cities, especially in Los Angeles, the chances of getting involved in a truck accident are likely to occur.

A truck accident can be more catastrophic compared to a car accident as trucks are much larger in size and have the ability to execute powerful force in a crash. Multiple parties can be involved in a truck accident as a truck’s large size can damage more than one vehicle. Many victims involved in a truck accident have sustained moderate, severe, or fatal injuries that have required immediate medical attention.

If you were involved in a truck accident, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim against the party at-fault for damages. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our qualified California truck accident attorneys are readily available to offer legal assistance. We will assess your personal injury claim to determine what parties should be held accountable for damages. With our track record of recovering more than $1 billion in settlements for our clients, we are confident that we will deliver a good outcome to your case.

To schedule a free consultation, please contact our 24/7 legal team by calling (213) 652-5649 or filling out our quick contact form.

Potential Guilty Parties in a Truck Accident

Truck Driver

All trucks are subject to state and federal laws and regulations to minimize accident risks. However, some truck drivers and commercial trucking companies will ignore safety laws in order to meet their deadlines and maximize profits.

Truck drivers are required to follow state and federal laws and regulations to reduce any risks of an accident. However, there are truck drivers and commercial trucking companies who choose to ignore these laws to keep up with their schedules.

As truck drivers are often placed under pressure to perform well and complete their tasks on time, they become influenced to commit unlawful actions to avoid facing repercussions. A common violation that truck drivers are often found doing is exceeding a 12 consecutive hour shift within a 24-hour period (California Vehicle Code 21702 (b)). Those who commit such a violation will be guilty of a misdemeanor and will be punishable by a fine ranging from $100 to $1,000 for each offense.

By enforcing these regulations, it will allow a truck driver to have enough time to rest before their next shift. However, those who go against these truck driving laws may experience stress and fatigue, which will make it difficult for them to drive safely while on the road. This can be dangerous, especially since truck drivers are operating large vehicles. The chances of a truck accident occurring would become more likely.

Other Drivers
Other drivers may violate traffic laws to travel at their preferred pace. This is an unsafe practice as it can create safety risks for those nearby. Common types of negligent actions a driver has been found committing on California roads include the following:

  • Speeding
  • Aggressive driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Drug-impaired driving
  • Drunk driving
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Disobeying traffic laws

Commercial Trucking Company
The commercial trucking company can also be found negligent for contributing to a truck accident. Trucking companies may intentionally or recklessly violate transportation regulations or safety requirements to increase their profit margins.

Examples of negligent actions committed by a commercial trucking company include the following:

  • Overloaded trailers
  • Allowing overweight vehicles
  • Not properly maintaining trucks
  • Poor hiring skills and training practices
  • Allowing trucks to carry unbalanced cargo
  • Encouraging drivers to forego sleep and hour restrictions
  • Allowing or encouraging drivers to drive in violation of safety laws
  • Negligent retention of underqualified or underperforming employees

Other Third Parties
Multiple other parties can be held accountable for a truck accident. This includes the truck manufacturer, truck dealership, and the previous owner of a truck.

  • Truck manufacturer. If a truck got into an accident due to a defective part, the truck manufacturing company can be held accountable for damages.
  • Truck dealership. A truck dealership must inform the commercial trucking company of any hazards that are present in the truck. If no warnings are provided and an accident occurs, the truck dealership can be found liable for damages.
  • Previous truck owner. Similar to a truck dealership, if the previous truck owner does not provide any warnings about defective parts in the truck, they will be held accountable for a truck accident if it is caused by that defective part.

Statute of Limitations for Truck Accidents in California

Truck accident victims are given two years to file a personal injury claim starting from the initial date of the incident. If the victim exceeds the deadline, they will no longer be qualified to file a claim against the party at-fault for damages. However, California does offer a few exceptions. The victim must be a minor, out-of-state, incarcerated, legally insane, or incapacitated.

Available Damages in a California Truck Accident

If you were injured in a truck accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your losses. This includes economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages will compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. It is calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries. Some examples of economic damages include lost wages, medical bills, and loss of earning capacity.

Non-economic damages will compensate for losses that are thought of as subjective and will not cover out-of-pocket losses. A few examples of non-economic damages include loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.

The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. It is 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 as a result of someone’s negligence or deliberate acts of malice, you have the right to hold the guilty party responsible for your losses. Our California truck accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers can recover compensation for the losses you have suffered.

Contact us today by calling (213) 652-5649 or filling out our contact form to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.

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