Being involved in any kind of vehicular accident can be a traumatic and life-altering experience. However, when a regular passenger car collides with a heavy commercial truck, the injuries sustained are often catastrophic or even fatal. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), large trucks accounted for 11% of all traffic fatalities in 2019, despite making up just 4% of all registered vehicles in the United States.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident in Los Angeles, having an experienced attorney by your side is crucial. The team at CZ.Law has extensive expertise dealing specifically with truck and commercial vehicle accident cases. They understand the complex legal nuances, help victims and families maximize compensation, and provide compassionate support through the legal process.
This comprehensive guide will provide an in-depth look at truck accidents in Los Angeles, the role of a specialized attorney, and how CZ.Law can help you obtain justice.
Understanding Truck Accidents
Before diving into the legal implications of truck accidents, it’s important to understand what constitutes a truck accident and what makes them different from regular car crashes.
What Constitutes a Truck Accident?
By definition, a truck accident occurs when a heavy commercial vehicle like a:
- Dump truck
- Tanker truck
- Delivery van
- Commercial bus
Is involved in a crash with another vehicle, pedestrian, motorcycle, bicycle, or stationary object.
Unlike regular passenger vehicles, these trucks are massive in size and can weigh up to 25 times more than the average car. They also require greater stopping distances and can cause more damage in collisions, especially at high speeds.
Why Los Angeles?
The City of Angels sees much higher rates of truck accidents compared to the national average for several reasons:
- The high volume of commercial trucks sharing the roads
- Congested traffic and crowded highways
- Port of Los Angeles – largest port facility in the Western Hemisphere
- Trucking routes connecting ports, railyards, and distribution centres
- A large number of manufacturing and industrial zones
In fact, truck accidents account for about 13% of all crash fatalities in LA, compared to 11% nationally. The severity of crashes also tends to be greater, with trucks overturning, crossing medians, or crushing smaller vehicles.
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The Aftermath of a Truck Accident
In the moments and hours following a truck collision, victims are often in a state of shock and overwhelmed by what happened. But it’s important to take certain steps:
- Get medical assistance – Call 911 and get evaluated by paramedics or head to the ER even if injuries are not visible. Symptoms of traumatic brain injury or internal bleeding can take time to manifest.
- Report the crash – File a report with the police and cooperate with the investigation. Obtain a copy of the official crash report.
- Document evidence – Take photos of the scene, damage to vehicles, skid marks on the road, injuries, etc. Write down or record eyewitness accounts.
- Seek legal help – Contact an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as feasible. They can launch an independent investigation.
- Prioritize recovery – Follow doctor’s orders for treatment and rehabilitation. The physical and emotional trauma of a truck crash can be immense.
The Legal Landscape
Truck accidents lead to a complex legal web of insurance policies, commercial interests, and regulations not present in regular car crashes. Having legal representation experienced in navigating this landscape is key.
Differences Between Regular Accidents and Truck Accidents Legally
There are several key legal differences between a truck accident and a regular motor vehicle crash:
- Multiple liability sources – The truck driver, trucking company, parts manufacturers, cargo loaders, etc. can share fault.
- Higher policy limits – Trucks carry commercial policies with coverage in the millions, unlike regular auto insurance.
- Complex regulations – Special trucking regulations related to maintenance, cargo, safety, and driver hours.
- Substantial injuries – Crashes nearly always lead to severe or catastrophic injuries requiring extensive treatment.
- Higher burden of proof – More evidence and resources needed to establish liability and negligence.
These factors allow for the pursuit of maximum compensation through in-depth investigations, aggressive negotiations, and litigation.
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Since multiple parties can share liability in a truck crash, finding and proving fault requires extensive legal work. The attorney’s role includes:
- Obtaining evidence like black box data, maintenance records, trucking logs, and inspection reports.
- Proving truck driver negligence through cell phone records, drug/alcohol testing, driving history, etc.
- Pinpointing truck company liability via policy violations, poor driver screening, lack of vehicle maintenance, etc.
- Identifying third-party liability of cargo loaders, and parts manufacturers (for malfunctioning brakes, tires, etc.)
Thorough evidence gathering and litigation savvy are required to win truck accident claims and reach optimal settlements.
Role of a Truck Accident Attorney
Having an attorney explicitly experienced in truck crashes is invaluable after these complex and devastating collisions.
Why Hiring a Specialized Attorney Matters
Truck accidents differ greatly from regular car crashes in terms of laws, navigation of claims, liable parties, and severity of injuries. An attorney well-versed in the intricacies of truck accident litigation can make all the difference through:
- Expertise in trucking laws and regulations – Specialized knowledge of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and other commercial vehicle rules.
- Ability to identify all liable parties – Inspector general reports indicate that attorney representation leads to 50% larger settlements.
- Resources to investigate thoroughly – Access to private investigators, analysts, accident reconstructionists, etc.
- Proficiency handling severe injury cases – Extensive experience with catastrophic injury settlements such as spinal cord paralysis, traumatic brain damage, amputation, burns, etc.
- Litigation capabilities – Willingness to take cases to trial if fair settlements cannot be reached.
Services Offered by CZ.Law
The award-winning truck accident attorneys at CZ.Law (Carpenter & Zuckerman) has over 25 years of serving clients. They provide clients with end-to-end legal and investigative services including:
- Free case review – Assess the merit and specifics of your potential claim.
- Crash analysis – Thoroughly reconstruct the accident to pinpoint causes and liability.
- Evidence gathering – Obtain police reports, black box data, medical records, and other evidence.
- Trucking regulation review – Identify any violations of FMCSA or state trucking safety regulations.
- Insurance negotiation – Fight for maximum compensation from multiple insurance policies.
- Litigation – Take uncooperative insurance companies to court if fair settlements cannot be reached.
- Client support – 24/7 availability to address your concerns and questions through the legal process.
The team at CZ.Law has helped hundreds of truck accident victims recover substantial settlements and verdicts, including:
- $21 million settlement for a motorcyclist who suffered permanent brain damage after being hit by a commercial truck making an illegal U-turn across multiple lanes. He requires round-the-clock care for the rest of his life.
- $4.2 million verdict for a young mother who lost one leg above the knee after an overloaded gravel truck tipped and landed on top of her vehicle. She endured over 25 surgeries.
- $1.6 million settlement for a grandmother with severe shoulder and pelvis fractures after a refrigerated trailer with no functional brakes crushed her car. She has been confined to a wheelchair ever since.
The attorneys at CZ.Law treats every client like family and is dedicated to obtaining the maximum compensation possible.
Why should I hire a truck accident attorney instead of a general personal injury attorney?
A truck accident attorney has much more specific experience dealing with the complex legal, medical, and insurance issues unique to these cases. They will identify all liable parties, aggressively investigate fault, deal with multiple insurance policies, coordinate expert witnesses, and ultimately obtain significantly higher compensation.
How much will hiring a truck accident attorney cost me?
Reputable truck accident attorneys work on contingency, meaning legal fees are a percentage (usually 33-40%) of the final settlement amount and are paid only if you win compensation. There are no upfront fees or charges. Costs are deducted at the end from your total settlement or award.
What kind of compensation can I expect from a truck accident claim?
You may recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earnings, pain and suffering, property damage, and other accident-related losses. Catastrophic injuries like spinal cord damage or brain trauma often lead to lifetime care needs and multi-million dollar settlements.
How long does the legal process usually take?
Each truck accident case is unique, but the typical timeline is 12-18 months from the crash date to final settlement. Complex cases involving extensive litigation can extend to 2+ years. An experienced attorney will handle the investigative work while you focus on recovery.
What if the accident was partially my fault?
Even if you were partially at fault, you are still entitled to compensation. Legal doctrines like comparative negligence and joint/shared liability mean any damages awarded will be reduced by your percentage of fault. An attorney proves the larger share of blame lies with other parties.
Tips for Victims
Being proactive and informed as a truck accident victim can impact your ability to recover damages. Keep these tips in mind:
Immediate Steps to Take Post-Accident
- Get immediate medical attention even if you don’t feel pain or see injuries
- Call the police and obtain a copy of the official crash report
- Take photos of property damage, skid marks, injuries, and the overall scene
- Exchange contact and insurance information with all parties involved
- Write down witness accounts and relevant contact information
- Seek out an attorney for legal counsel as soon as possible
Being thorough with evidence and reporting in the immediate aftermath helps build your case down the line.
Documenting the Scene
Try to capture the following through photos, videos, written notes, etc.:
- Position of vehicles and debris
- Features of the road like blind spots or construction
- Overall weather and traffic conditions
- License plates, names, and insurance details of all drivers
- Badge numbers of responding officers
- Photograph visible injuries (yours and others)
Thorough scene documentation provides critical evidence. Consult your attorney before posting anything to social media.
Seeking Medical Help
- Get checked out by EMTs/paramedics at the scene
- Go to the ER or set appointments with your doctor
- Be compliant with all exams, tests, and prescribed treatment
- Keep diligent records of medical visits, expenses, medications, equipment, etc.
- Be forthcoming about all symptoms and transparent with medical professionals
Following medical guidance is key to recovery. Detailed injury records also strengthen your claim.
Wrapping It Up: The CZ.Law Difference
Dealing with the aftermath of a truck collision can feel daunting and isolating. You may face physical pain, emotional trauma, disability, lost income, and limited time to obtain just compensation. The seasoned attorneys at CZ.Law are here to handle this heavy burden while you focus on healing.
CZ.Law offers a unique advantage through their 2 decades of exclusive focus on truck accident cases. Over 95% of their clients come from referral and word-of-mouth thanks to their reputation for empathy, integrity, and success. Their award-winning team has in-depth knowledge of:
- Navigating complex trucking laws and insurance policies
- Building strong liability and negligence cases
- Maximizing compensation through aggressive pursuit of all avenues
- Crafting ironclad demand letters, court filings, and litigation arguments
At CZ.Law, every client is treated like family. They will handle the legal intricacies while providing compassion and counsel. Their proven track record of results speaks for itself.
Last From Me
If you or someone you love has been harmed by a truck accident in the Los Angeles area that was not your fault, contact CZ.Law today for dedicated legal guidance. Call at (310) 273-1230 now for a free, no-obligation review of your potential case. Time is often a factor in these cases, so don’t delay in pursuing the maximum compensation you deserve.