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Large commercial trucks transport nearly three-fourths of our nation’s goods and move hundreds of billions of dollars worth of freight every year. These trucks are longer and taller than passenger vehicles and weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds when fully loaded with cargo, making them extremely difficult to maneuver. The sheer size and weight of commercial trucks mean they carry significantly more momentum than passenger cars, have larger blind spots, require longer stopping distances, and make wider turns. Any accident has the potential to cause harm, but collisions between commercial trucks and passenger cars nearly always result in catastrophic damage to the smaller vehicle and devastating injuries to its occupants.
If you sustained an injury in an accident with a commercial truck, review the information below to learn how you can recover compensation in a personal injury claim, then contact the Petaluma truck accident lawyers at Rush Injury Law to discuss your case.
Due to the potential for serious damage in an accident, truck drivers are held to a higher duty of care than other drivers. Non-commercial drivers are legally obligated to take “reasonable care” when operating their vehicles to avoid posing a hazard to other motorists and pedestrians on the state’s roadways. This means acting in a manner that would be expected from a reasonably cautious person in the same circumstances, such as following posted speed limits and keeping a proper lookout. Along with taking reasonable care, truck drivers are also obligated to use extreme caution in hazardous situations like inclement weather. “Extreme caution” is not merely avoiding clear dangers but entails taking all necessary steps to ensure their safety and the safety of those around them, for instance, pulling over if conditions become too hazardous.
Truck drivers must adhere to strict rules enforced by different government agencies, including obtaining certain qualifications, keeping detailed logs of their trips, submitting to drug testing, performing routine maintenance to ensure the trucks are road-worthy, and complying with hours-of-service regulations. If they fail to follow these rules and cause an accident that injures another person, they can be liable for the damages that result from the accident. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents are speeding, regulatory violations, improper maintenance, and poorly secured cargo, but mechanical defects and malfunction can also play a part in causing a collision. Victims can recover compensation for medical expenses, lost income, lost earning potential, property damage, physical pain, psychological trauma, and emotional distress.
However, truck accidents cases tend to be particularly complicated for a variety of reasons. It is vital to consult with a Petaluma semi crash attorney to ensure you can identify all liable parties, provide an accurate list of your damages, and negotiate for the maximum compensation. In contrast with typical car accidents where there is often only one defendant, trucking accidents can involve multiple liable parties. Trucking companies bear legal responsibility for the safety of their trucks and the actions of their drivers and may be named as defendants in an accident claim. The manufacturer of the truck and its parts, vendors that provide services to the trucking company (such as maintenance or cargo loading), the owner of the cargo, and local government entities in charge of maintaining the roadways can also be liable for accidents.
Accident lawyers charge a contingency fee for their services, which is a percentage of the settlement or trial verdict paid at the end of the case. A contingency fee of 33.33% is common in California, but attorneys may charge higher fees depending on their level of experience and the details of your unique case. This includes the nature and severity of your injuries, the complexity of your claim, the number of defendants, the damages you seek, the probability of reaching a successful outcome, and whether the case is settled or requires a full civil trial.
Choosing the right truck accident lawyer is crucial for achieving the best results in your case. Begin by asking friends, family members, and trusted colleagues if they have worked with a personal injury attorney in the past, how satisfied they were with the outcome of their case, and whether they would recommend their attorney for your claim. Next, conduct research online into potential candidates to determine their experience, area of specialization, and their record of obtaining favorable resolutions for clients. Check their websites to start, and then evaluate their profiles on attorney directories and review sites to get a more complete picture of their services.
After you have a list of half a dozen or so qualified attorneys in your area, begin calling them to schedule initial consultations on the phone or in person. Prepare for these meetings by compiling a list of questions to ask, including:
A reputable attorney will display compassion, respect, professionalism, and a commitment to their client’s success. They will be responsive to communication, honestly answer your questions, set realistic expectations for resolving your case, and transparently explain their billing policies. You will be spending a great deal of time working with them and will likely be sharing sensitive information, so you should feel comfortable discussing the details of your case and confident that they will fiercely advocate on your behalf.
Trucking companies carry multi-million-dollar insurance policies on their drivers and vehicles, and their insurance companies are well-known for denying and undervaluing claims. If you are injured in a truck accident, you need an attorney on your side to protect your rights and safeguard your interests. At Rush Injury Law, our Petaluma truck accident lawyers can investigate your accident, explain your options for pursuing legal recourse, and help you recover the maximum compensation available under the law. We are ready to guide you through the complicated insurance claims process and take your case to civil court with a personal injury claim if the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement. Contact us today to get started on your case.
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