Any vehicular accident can be devastating for everyone involved. If you were injured in a truck accident, there are a number of complicating factors that can arise. Each state has its own particular rules governing these issues, making it even more essential that you have an attorney on your side with experience in California law. Here are some of the issues you should be aware of in a truck accident.
The Extent of Truck Accident Damage:
Because of their size, when a truck is involved in an accident, both the injuries and damages are typically worse than in ordinary cars accidents. It’s also normal for a truck accident to involve more people, vehicles, and property than other accidents. This can mean a lot more people in need of compensation than in a typical motor vehicle accident.
The Difficulty in Figuring Out Cause:
It typically costs more money and takes more time to investigate a truck accident. This is because there are more factors involved. For the vast majority of car accidents, human error or weather are at play. Although driver error and weather are often an issue in truck accidents, this can be exacerbated by the trucking company if they failed to property maintain and inspect equipment, or if they pushed drivers to ignore safety protocols.
Deciding Who is Responsible:
Many times, accidents are caused by several contributing factors, and sorting out who is responsible for what can be a difficult task. In come cases, a government entity failed to maintain roads or replace signs or lights. In other cases, a driver skipped an inspection or a mechanic was negligent.
In other cases still, the trucking company required their drivers to ignore rules about how long they can drive without a break or skipped routine maintenance on vehicles. Or the cargo supplier contributed by packing the truck in a dangerous manner or with goods that were unsafe to transport.
Issues with Independent Contractors:
One of the major complications with trucking accidents is employment issues. Some truckers may work directly for a company, while others are independent contractors acting as a delivery service. The same can be true of technicians, mechanics, and the people who loaded the trucks.
When this happens, insurance issues in particular become far more complicated. You might need a truck accident attorney in California who knows the laws and regulations and how they are applied to specific cases.
Specific California Legal Issues:
California law recognizes that trucks always have an advantage when it comes to a run-in with a pedestrian. This means that the law generally favors the pedestrian in an accident, even if the accident was partly the pedestrian’s fault. There are complicating factors, however, that are related to California’s specific right-of-way regulations.
Additionally, California has more regulations about big rig trucks and their drivers than most states, and the standards in California for safe driving and transport are much stricter than the national ones. This means it’s possible out-of-state deliveries can be in violation of California law, even if they aren’t aware of it.
Intent and Scope:
A final factor that comes into play in California’s laws is the scope of a driver’s employment. If an employee causes an accident in the normal course of his or her job, the employing company can often be held liable. However, if the accident took place outside the employees “scope of work” then the company is not liable.
This means, for example, that if you’re are in an accident on the highway with a truck making a routine delivery, you will normally be able to sue the company. However, if you are in an accident with a truck making a detour so the driver can get a coffee, this could be outside the scope of employment. The same is true if the driver deliberately intended to harm.
There are many complicating factors when it comes to trucking accidents. If you find yourself involved in one, don’t hesitate to call an experienced lawyer to make sure you have the help you need to get the compensation you deserve.