What is Trucking Accident Law?

Trucking accident law is a subset of personal injury law that deals with accidents involving large commercial trucks, such as 18-wheelers and tractor-trailers. These accidents can cause severe injuries and fatalities, and associated legal issues are often complex, such as:

  • Liability, which refers to the legal responsibility of the parties involved in the accident
  • Negligence, which refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care causing harm to another person
  • Damages awards, which refer to compensation that may be awarded to the injured party for the losses resulting from the accident

Trucking accident law also involves regulations and standards that govern the trucking industry, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs).

These regulations set forth requirements for commercial trucks, such as:

  • Weight limits
  • Driver qualifications
  • Hours of service

Violations of these regulations can be used as evidence of negligence in a trucking accident case.

Who Can Be Held Liable In Trucking Accidents?

Liability refers to who is legally responsible for the accident and any resulting damages. Trucking companies may be liable for accidents if they were negligent in their hiring practices or failed to maintain their vehicles properly.

For example, if a trucking company hired a driver with a history of reckless driving and that driver caused an accident, the company may be liable for damages. Similarly, if a trucking company fails to maintain its vehicles properly and an accident occurs, it may be liable.

A truck driver may also be liable for an accident if they were driving recklessly, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or otherwise negligent. For example, if a driver was texting while driving and caused an accident, they may be liable for damages.

Several factors can be used to determine liability in a trucking accident. These include:

  • The cause of the accident
  • Whether the driver was adequately trained and licensed
  • Whether the driver was following all traffic laws and regulations
  • Whether the trucking company properly maintained the vehicle
  • Whether the trucking company followed all safety regulations

Once liability is determined, the responsible party may be required to pay for damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. However, determining liability in a trucking accident can be a complex process that requires the expertise of an experienced truck accident attorney in Pasadena.

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Trucking Accident Damages

Victims of trucking accidents may be entitled to compensation for their damages. Damages in trucking accident cases can be classified into economic and non-economic. Economic damages have a clear monetary value and can be easily calculated, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Property damage

Non-economic damages do not have a clear monetary value and are more difficult to calculate. These damages may include the following:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Other intangible losses

Economic damages can be calculated by adding up all of the victim's out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are often calculated using a multiplier based on the severity of the injuries and other factors.

Because the extent of the injuries plays a vital role in calculating damages, expert testimony may be necessary. Other factors that may be considered when calculating damages include the victim's:

  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Pre-existing medical conditions
  • State or federal laws limiting damage recovery
  • Insurance policy limits

What Are California’s Trucking Laws?

California has strict regulations and compliance requirements for commercial trucking companies operating in the state. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) enforce these regulations to ensure that trucks are properly maintained, drivers are adequately trained, and companies follow safety protocols. Some examples of the regulations that trucking companies must comply with include the following:

  • Maximum weight and size limits for trucks
  • Mandatory rest breaks for drivers
  • Regular vehicle inspections and maintenance
  • Drug and alcohol testing for drivers

California trucking companies must also provide their drivers with proper training and education. This includes:

  • Training on safe driving practices
  • Defensive driving techniques
  • How to properly operate and maintain a commercial truck
  • Specific training requirements for drivers who transport hazardous materials, such as undergoing specialized training to ensure they can safely handle and transport these materials

Commercial trucks in California must also be equipped with certain safety features to help prevent accidents, such as:

  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Electronic stability control
  • Blind spot warning systems
  • Collision avoidance systems
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When Can I File a Trucking Accident Lawsuit?

California's statute of limitations for filing a truck accident claim is two years from the crash date.  This means the court may not hear any lawsuit filed after this deadline and could be automatically dismissed. However, California offers the following few exceptions to its statute of limitations:

  • People who seek to sue a government-employed or government-contracted truck driver only have six months to file
  • People who were mentally or physically incapable of filing a claim within two years may file a claim after the statute of limitations
  • People who were minors at the time of their accident can expect the two-year deadline to start after they turn 18
  • People who discovered a previously unknown injury may be granted an extension if they can show their injury was caused by the accident
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Truck Accident Representation From a Real Trial Firm

While personal injury cases such as truck accidents can be difficult and time-consuming, they are also highly rewarding when successful. The legal process allows individuals to hold others accountable for their negligent actions and receive compensation for their injuries.

Insurance companies frequently offer a settlement that is less than what the victim or their family members deserve, and most lawyers want to settle your personal injury case quickly. Settling means that you agree to accept money in return for dropping your action against the person who injured you, absolving the other side of any further liability.

Fiore Legal is not your average law firm. We are a real trial firm looking at your issue from a different perspective than lawyers who will pressure you into settling, whether or not it’s your choice. Because we always have your best interests at heart, we would never settle a case unless for the total value. We’re here to represent you in your pursuit of justice, whatever that takes.

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Fiore Legal: Fighting For Pasadena

Being involved in a truck accident and facing insurance companies can be intimidating, so knowing that you have a team guiding you from start to finish is invaluable. You deserve a truck accident lawyer invested in your case as a confidant, someone familiar with the Pasadena community. You deserve Fiore Legal.

Our dedication to understanding and representing everyday people against powerful insurance companies has resulted in eight locations with over thirty team members. We offer extensive experience and empathy backed by a tireless work ethic. Contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation.

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