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If you have been in an accident involving a semi truck or other commercial truck, a truck accident lawyer in Orange County can help you get the compensation you are entitled to. This money will help cover your ongoing medical expenses and vehicle repair costs. It may also include additional funding to compensate for any pain and suffering you are experiencing. Read on for everything you need to know about the intricacies of truck accidents and the compensation you might be eligible to receive. Contact us for any questions!
How Chudleigh Law Can Help
Accidents involving commercial big rigs tend to be more complex in terms of insurance settlements than regular car accidents. For starters, semi trucks are significantly larger than typical vehicles so they are capable of causing extensive damage to your vehicle and possibly injuring you severely in the process. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may have hefty medical bills or require ongoing care and rehabilitation. In addition, the truck driver may be an independent contractor or may work for an employer, complicating insurance matters even further.
Because of all this, you need an experienced truck accident lawyer in Orange County to help you with your case. Here at Chudleigh Law, we have helped countless clients with personal injury lawsuits involving accidents with commercial vehicles, including semi trucks. Our dedicated truck accident attorneys will be happy to assist with your case.
Cost of a Truck Accident Attorney in Orange County
We’ll work hard on your behalf to secure the largest possible settlement for you, navigating the complicated world of insurance claims so you don’t have to. This way, you can relax and focus on your recovery, knowing that your truck accident case is in capable hands. What’s more, you won’t owe us a single penny until after we have won your case. Then, we’ll take a small percentage of your settlement, typically 33 to 40 percent, as payment for our legal counsel. If we are unsuccessful in achieving a settlement for you, there is no charge for our services.
You read that right: you only pay us if we win. That’s a deal that you can’t beat so get in touch with us right away after you have been in an accident with a big rig or other commercial truck. One of our truck accident attorneys will schedule you for a free consultation to discuss your case with our team. This is a risk-free situation for you so call us today to get started!
What to Do After a Truck Accident
While it can be challenging to focus when you’re dealing with shock and injury in the aftermath of a truck accident, it is important that you follow these steps to maximize your chances of receiving a favorable settlement.
1. Stay at the Scene
Unless you need immediate medical care, do not leave the scene of the accident right away. Pull your vehicle to the side of the road and out of traffic if possible. Turn on your hazard lights and set up flares to warn other drivers of the situation, if you have them. As long as you are feeling able, check on any others who were involved in the accident and call 911 to report it to emergency personnel and the police. Wait until the police have arrived so you can give them your account of the accident for their report. Ask them to send you a copy of the report once they have filed it as well. It will come in handy in preparing your truck accident case.
2. Gather Evidence
While you are waiting for the police to arrive or after they have finished, be sure to collect important information from the others involved in the accident, including the truck driver. Make note of each person’s:
- Name, address, phone number and email address
- Driver’s license number or commercial driver’s license number
- License plate number
- Insurance policy details and company contact information
- Name and contact details of the truck driver’s employer, regardless of whether that employment is full-time, part-time, contract-based, freelance or under some other business arrangement
Write everything down or take pictures of relevant documents. Be as detailed as possible and double-check to ensure any photos are clear and legible. The more information you can provide your truck accident lawyer, the easier it will be for them to build a strong personal injury case for you.
3. Seek Out any Witnesses
If there was anyone else there who saw the accident but was not involved in it, like a pedestrian or the driver of a vehicle on the other side of the road who stopped to help, ask for their contact information and account of the accident as well. They may have greater insight into the cause of the accident as they were able to see it from an outside perspective. These individuals can later serve as witnesses if your case goes to court.
4. Record the Details of the Accident
Once you have moved your vehicle safely away from traffic, if possible, don’t leave the scene without photographing everything. Take close-up photos of any damage to your vehicle and the truck, as well as of any visible injuries you sustained in the crash. As you recover from your injuries, take photos that show your healing progress. It is also a good idea to get some big-picture shots of the scene of the accident. This could include things like tire marks on the road, damage to neighboring property or foliage, or the positioning of the vehicles relative to an intersection, for example.
5. Seek Medical Care
Even if you are feeling alright, it is still essential that you see a doctor as soon as possible after a truck accident. Some injuries, like whiplash and other back or neck problems, don’t present symptoms until several days after the accident. A doctor will be able to run various tests to detect injuries you might not yet feel. This record will be critical to the success of your personal injury claim for a truck accident as it shows that your injuries were truly the result of the crash. Your doctor can also advise you of any ongoing treatment you may need.
6. Consult with a Truck Accident Attorney
An experienced truck accident lawyer can assist you greatly with your case. When it comes to dealing with insurance companies, your attorney can represent you in the negotiations, saving you the stress and hassle. If you hope to receive a sizable settlement for your injuries, a truck accident lawyer can help you maximize it, using their expertise to ensure you don’t miss out on any compensation to which you are entitled. Call Chudleigh Law today to speak with a truck accident attorney in Orange County.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck drivers are human, just like any other driver. It is possible for them to make mistakes from time to time. Many of the common causes of truck accidents are the same as those for many other car accidents.
- Driver Fatigue – While any driver can become tired behind the wheel, this is especially of concern for truck drivers. Although drivers are restricted from driving excessively long hours, they do still tend to drive for far longer than typical drivers do. Over time, fatigue can build up, causing them to lose focus on the road.
- Reckless Driving – Behaviors like speeding, not obeying traffic laws and tailgating, among others, can cause truck accidents just as they can car accidents. Especially in a large vehicle like a big rig, it can be easy to lose control, causing a crash.
- Driver Distraction – GPS devices, mobile phones, roadside attractions and more can all cause a truck driver to take their eyes off the road. When traveling at high speeds on the highway, even momentary distractions can be disastrous.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
There are many injuries you can sustain in an accident with a semi truck, including:
- Fractured or broken bones
- Back, neck and spine injuries
- Head trauma
- Internal bleeding
- Cuts, scrapes or lacerations
- Collapsed lungs
- Cracked or broken ribs
- Seat belt injuries*
*While it is possible for your seat belt to injure you in a crash, it likely saved you from injuries that would have been far more severe or even fatal. You should always wear a seat belt when in a moving vehicle of any kind.
Assigning Fault in Commercial Trucking Wrecks
In many cases, a truck accident is the fault of a truck driver who was not driving safely or made a mistake behind the wheel. However, some circumstances may have been out of their control. For example, if the driver’s employer had been pushing them to drive longer hours, you may be able to hold the company liable for creating unsafe conditions. Similarly, a faulty brake system could have prevented the driver from slowing down to avoid the crash. In this case, the manufacturer of that brake system could be held responsible. Your truck accident lawyer can advise you as to where to direct your claim.
How Insurance Companies Try to Reduce Your Settlement
Insurance companies aren’t trying to give you a large settlement. The reality is, they are private companies trying to earn a profit. Because of this, they may attempt certain tactics to lower the amount of money you may be eligible to receive. A truck accident attorney can help you avoid these pitfalls but it is still a good idea to be aware of some of the most common.
- Reaching Out to You Immediately After the Accident – The insurance company undoubtedly knows that some truck accident injuries won’t show up until later on so they’ll call you before symptoms appear in the hopes that you’ll admit you are feeling fine. If they try to do this to you, politely decline the call, letting them know that you will call back at a time that is more convenient for you. This way, you can consult with your truck accident lawyer beforehand.
- Recording Your Statements – Insurance companies often record your statements for their records, and they must have your permission to do so. Beware, though, as they can use anything you say against you to reduce your settlement. Consult your attorney for advice first.
- Offering a Fast Settlement in Exchange for Dropping Your Claim – Many insurance companies will give you a low-ball offer upfront to encourage you not to move forward with litigation. However, you will likely be able to claim a much larger settlement if your case goes forward, so it is in your best interest to decline this initial offer.
- Stalling or Denying Liability – Some insurance companies will try to drag out your case by not responding or by claiming that you were at fault, hoping that you’ll just give up. While this can be incredibly frustrating, don’t give up. Your lawyer will assure you that this is common and will continue to fight on your behalf to get you the settlement you deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
What Will My Settlement Include?
While the specific answer to this question will depend on the details of your case and the extent of your injuries, many truck accident settlements include compensation for the following components:
- Past, present and future medical expenses
- Ongoing pain and suffering
- Permanent injury ramifications, like lost limbs, paralysis or scarring
- Property damage
- Lost wages
Your truck accident attorney will emphasize all of these factors to the insurance company in an effort to maximize the settlement you receive.
Will I Be Suing the Truck Driver, Their Employer or Another Entity?
Again, this answer will depend on the specifics of your case and who is truly at fault. As discussed in the section about assigning fault, above, the driver may be at fault, but their employer or an outside company, like a truck parts manufacturer, could be liable. Your case could also involve a combination of culprits. Your attorney will help you work out the details as you discuss your case.
Will I Need to Appear in Court?
While it is sometimes necessary to take truck accidents to court, oftentimes we can resolve your case without you ever having to set foot in a courtroom. We may be able to negotiate a suitable settlement for you without having to take formal legal action.
How Do I Know if I Have a Case?
If you have been injured in an accident with a commercial truck and the accident was not your fault, you will likely be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries. The legal team here at Chudleigh Law can review your case and let you know if you are a candidate for a financial settlement. There is no cost to you unless we win, and our fee comes out of your settlement, not your pocket. With no risk involved, this is a win-win scenario for you. Get in touch with us today to set up a free consultation with a truck accident lawyer in Orange County.
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