Los Angeles Truck Accident Attorney
Commercial truck accidents are different than car accidents. The injuries and losses are usually more significant, and the problems related to these accidents are often compounded by multi-party responsibility for the accident.
Truck accident injuries can haunt you for a lifetime. Your injuries may cost you time off work, extensive medical bills, chronic pain, and the inability to participate in activities you once enjoyed. Additionally, the insurance company may deny your claim leaving you feeling stressed and hopeless about the future.
The dedicated commercial truck accident attorneys at Ellis Law are committed to helping you recover maximum compensation for your truck accident injuries and holding the negligent truck driver or trucking company responsible for their negligence.
You can put your trust in Ellis Law. We are skilled negotiators and trial litigators who will fight aggressively on your behalf. Our truck accident attorneys have:
- Extensive knowledge of the trucking industry and its regulations;
- Decades of experience helping accident victims recover for their losses;
- A track record of results securing millions in compensation for our clients; and
- The resources necessary to take on trucking companies and their insurance companies.
Call Ellis Law now to discuss your legal rights and options during a complimentary, no-obligation consultation. The sooner you contact our attorneys, the faster we can help you get started on the path to recovery.
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How an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney Can Help
At Ellis Law, our truck accident attorneys work tirelessly to build a solid case for total compensation after your truck accident. Our legal team conducts a thorough investigation of your truck accident to determine the cause of your accident and the parties responsible. We do this by reconstructing your accident using physical evidence and witness testimony.
After your initial meeting, Ellis Law immediately starts collecting physical evidence and witness testimony before it deteriorates, is lost, or is no longer fresh in the minds of witnesses. It is crucial you contact us right away so we can ask the court to order the wrecked truck and any records associated with the truck be held and made available to our attorneys and experts for evidentiary purposes.
The evidence we gather will include the truck’s event data recorder or black box information. The black box records information from the time of the accident, including changes in speed or engine malfunctions.
In addition to investigating the circumstances of your truck accident, Ellis Law’s attorneys will do the following on your behalf:
- Coordinate with accident experts and injury specialists to analyze, build, and value your claim;
- Handle all conversations and correspondence with the liable parties, their insurance providers, and any accident-related creditors;
- Aggressively negotiate a fair settlement for your losses, both current and future; or
- Litigate your case in front of a judge and jury, if necessary.
At Ellis Law, our truck accident attorneys understand a trucking accident can instantly change your life. We know you need to focus your time and energy on healing from your injuries and managing the recovery process. That is why we handle every aspect of your truck accident claim.
Contact us in Los Angeles today and schedule your complimentary appointment with an experienced truck accident attorney. Ellis Law’s attorneys will answer your legal questions and address your most pressing truck accident concerns.
Federal Rules and Regulations for Commercial Trucks
The commercial trucking industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA. The FMCSA puts forth laws and regulations to make the roadways safer for commercial truck drivers and other motorists. The FMCSA’s rules are enforced by state agencies or by the federal government.
FMCSA regulations cover all areas of the trucking industry including, but not limited to:
- Regulatory fees;
- Trucking company record retention;
- Truck driver hours-of-service;
- Truck driver qualifications;
- Truck maintenance;
- Cargo limits and transportation of hazardous materials; and
- Prohibited practices by truck drivers, trucking companies, and other members of the trucking industry.
Types of Commercial Truck Accidents
Accidents often occur when truck drivers and trucking companies ignore FMCSA rules and regulations. Some accident configurations are more common to commercial trucks than others.
- Head-on collisions. These occur when truck drivers lose control and swerve into oncoming traffic. These accidents usually occur at high speeds and result in fatalities;
- Rear-end accidents. Commercial trucks are difficult to stop quickly because of their size and weight. This results in a higher number of rear-end accidents involving commercial trucks;
- Under-ride accidents. An under-ride accident occurs when a car collides with the back of a truck and gets lodged underneath the trailer. In many cases, the car remains stuck beneath the trailer until the truck driver can find a safe place to pull over and stop. Under-ride accidents are frequently fatal;
- Jackknife accidents. Jackknife accidents occur when a truck driver applies the brakes too quickly and causes the trailer to swing toward the cab. These crashes frequently cause the truck to skid and collide with other drivers; and
- Rollover accidents. A rollover accident is when a truck tips over onto its side or top of the cab. These are among the most deadly types of accidents for commercial truck drivers.
Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents
Regardless of the type of commercial truck accident, tens of thousands of Americans are killed or injured each year in truck accidents. These accidents are typically caused by driver error.
Driver error accounts for 88% of truck-related crashes. Driver error can include any of the following and more:
- Failure to check blind spots;
- Driver confusion;
- Distracted driving;
- Drunk or drugged driving; and
- Drowsy driving.
Truck drivers are supposed to abide by the Hours of Service policies put forth by the FMCSA that determine the length of time they can be behind the wheel for a single stretch. However, one of the most commonly cited driver errors is drowsy driving.
Many truck drivers drive over long distances for many hours with very little rest due to tight delivery schedules and pressure to deliver cargo on time. Accumulated fatigue causes loss of concentration, coordination and can lead to falling asleep at the wheel.
Liability for Commercial Truck Accidents
There are cases where the truck driver is not directly at fault for a truck accident. Instead, the truck driver may share liability with their employer or another party responsible for putting the truck and its cargo on the road. An experienced truck accident attorney will know how to investigate a complex truck accident case and identify the party or parties liable for any accident.
Liability for a truck accident may reside with any of the following:
- The truck driver;
- Another driver on the road;
- The trucking company that employed the driver;
- Someone who maintained or repaired the truck;
- The manufacturer of the truck’s parts;
- The manufacturer of the truck; and
- The facility that loaded the truck.
Truck Accident Injuries
Whether a truck accident resulted from truck driver error or liability resides with another party, with the apparent differences between the two vehicles, it is easy to comprehend how a truck accident can be devastating to those involved.
A fully loaded commercial truck can weigh approximately 80,000 pounds, while a passenger car weighs around 3,000 pounds. Passenger cars are much easier to maneuver and stop than large trucks.
The sheer force and speed at which the two different vehicles collide regularly cause passengers in smaller vehicles to suffer severe injuries and even lead to their death. Common truck accident injuries may include any of the following and more:
- Broken bones and fractures due to blunt-force trauma. Often a leg, foot, ankle, arm, hand, collarbone, pelvis, sternum, facial bones, or ribs are broken or fractured. Compound or complex fractures may require surgery and a lengthy hospital stay;
- Soft tissue injuries from being jostled, tossed or ejected from a vehicle. These include sprains, strains, and tears of muscle, tendons, and ligaments. Soft tissue injuries result from broken glass, sheared metal, or loose cargo coming into contact with a passenger;
- Whiplash. The extreme forces in a truck crash can cause a person’s head and neck to stretch backward and then snap forward. This whipping motion may strain and sprain the muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons in the neck. Whiplash can take weeks or months to heal;
- Burns from flammable cargo, ruptured radiators, or hot metal. These are serious, catastrophic injuries requiring long recovery periods. Burns pose a continual threat of infection and other complications;
- Head and brain injuries. A blow to the head or the sudden jolt of a crash can cause short- or long-term brain damage or traumatic brain injury (TBI). Severe TBI requires long-term medical care and assistance with daily life functions. Complications from severe TBI may lead to premature death;
- Spinal injuries. A blow to the back or sudden awkward movement in a truck crash can break the spine’s vertebrae or tear the spinal cord. A broken back could cause chronic pain and a loss of mobility. Damage to the spinal cord causes paralysis;
- Internal injuries. Blunt or penetrating blows to the body can damage internal organs like the heart, liver, stomach, spleen, bowels, or kidneys. Fractures of the ribs or sternum may cause pieces of bone to tear into organs and require immediate surgery; and
- Emotional and mental anguish. The trauma of suffering a catastrophic injury or witnessing a loved one’s serious injury or death can cause tremendous psychological damage such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, or anxiety.
Truck Accident Compensation
The injuries suffered in a truck accident can be lifelong and require ongoing medical and daily care expenses. Many victims of truck accidents can no longer perform their previous job or work in any other capacity, and they may suffer from chronic pain, disfigurement, and cognitive problems.
The compensation sought in a truck accident claim will depend on the severity and type of injuries suffered, the prognosis for recovery, and the overall impact of the accident on the victim’s life. Truck accident compensation often includes two types of damages, economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are monies awarded to cover any medical expenses, bills, and monetary losses that arise from a truck accident.
Economic damages often include the following:
- Present and future medical bills;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of earning capacity;
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy; and
- Funeral and burial costs if a truck accident is fatal.
Non-economic damages are for the personal costs of a truck accident. These are subjective expenses and do not have set dollar values.
Common non-economic damages are:
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental and emotional trauma;
- Disfigurement and scarring;
- Loss of quality of life; and
- Loss of consortium.
Another type of damages available in a truck accident lawsuit is punitive damages. Punitive damages are a rare type of damages awarded by the court meant to punish a wrongdoer for egregious behavior and to deter similar behavior in the future.
An experienced truck accident attorney can review the facts of a specific truck accident case and offer advice on the types of damages available to an accident victim.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today
If you are involved in a truck accident in Los Angeles, it is crucial that you stay calm and call for medical and police assistance. Next, take the following steps to protect your legal right to a truck accident claim:
- Follow your doctor’s orders for your care, work, and leisure activities;
- Take pictures. If possible, take photographs of the vehicles, and damages, and accident skid marks;
- Get contact information from other drivers and witnesses. Take a picture of other drivers’ car insurance documentation and drivers’ licenses if available;
- Preserve your evidence by keeping any accident photos or videos in a safe place;
- Maintain records. During your truck accident claim, you may accumulate medical records, medical bills, pay stubs, repair estimates, and benefits statements. Keep all of these together and in order for your legal claim;
- Keep a pain journal. Proving pain and suffering can be difficult. A pain journal can document how your injuries affect your life; and
- Contact an experienced truck accident lawyer. Do not try to handle your own truck accident claim. Contact an attorney who is experienced in pursuing truck accident claims and who will guide you through the process.
Do not give any statements or sign anything with the insurance company after your truck accident. Call Ellis Law to manage all those communications on your behalf and ensure your legal rights are protected. Schedule a complimentary consultation with our truck accident attorneys now to discuss your claim and how we can help you and your family.
Truck accident claims are more complex than accidents involving just passenger cars. Truck accidents are usually more severe, and insurance claims are much higher. At Ellis Law, our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers have the experience and resources needed to investigate your case, assess the total amount of damages you deserve, pursue the trucking company, and hold every liable party responsible for your injuries.