Thousand Oaks Truck Accident Lawyer
You were just trying to get to the grocery store off the 101 when the big rig speeding down the right lane, right behind you, failed to respond to a slowdown in traffic. You were stuck and couldn’t get out of the lane, so the truck slammed into the back of your SUV. You survived the ordeal, but the accident left your body badly broken, with compound fractures, a ruptured spleen, and severe head trauma. You were following the rules of the road and wearing your seatbelt, and yet you’re the one paying the price.
Eighteen-wheelers are a common site in Thousand Oaks, especially on the 101 freeway. You just always assumed truck drivers were trained professionals who would never put others’ lives in such danger. Turns out, the driver who hit you showed signs of sleep deprivation and was driving way too fast in order to make up for lost time. You learned this from your Thousand Oaks truck accident lawyer at Walch Law, who was able to get a fairly complete picture of what happened that led to your serious injuries.
You know you’re lucky to be alive, but lying in a hospital bed for weeks on end is no fun. You can’t even begin to imagine how this will affect your life going forward; on top of that, you’ve already missed quite a bit of work. Below, we’ll discuss the basics of truck accident liability and the types of injuries that may be compensated.Liability for Truck Accidents
When determining liability for a commercial truck accident, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The driver usually works for a trucking company, the company may lease the truck from yet another party, and the truck may be serviced by another party. You also have to consider whether the tires or brakes are defective, among countless other considerations. Generally, there are three main types of truck drivers:
- Owner-operators (drivers own their trucks and either work as independent contractors or lease their truck from a trucking company)
- Company drivers (drivers are employees of a trucking company, which owns the truck)
- Fully independent owner-operators (drivers own their trucks and haul their own loads)
On top of that, trucking companies may either own their trucks outright or lease them from another company. So you can see how complicated it can be to determine which party is liable. In practice, multiple parties often are at fault which makes it a complicated series of lawsuits but it also means that these cases are typically worth a lot of money from defendants that can pay large settlements.
Using the example above, the driver may be held liable because he was exceeding the speed limit and driving impaired (sleep deprived, specifically). However, the company may have had unrealistic expectations by requiring a route that couldn’t possibly be completed on time. In such a scenario, more than one party could share the liability for your injuries.
In any event, negligence (the most common cause of action for an injury claim) is determined by proving the following elements:
- Truck driver owed a duty to you
- Truck driver breached that duty
- Your injuries were in fact caused by this breach
- Truck driver’s actions were the proximate cause of the injury(ies), meaning it was obvious to a reasonable person that those actions could cause harm
- You have suffered actual damages (legally recognized injuries), such as bodily injury
To put this into plain language, the driver and his employer owed you a duty to follow traffic rules and drive safely. The driver breached that duty by failing to drive safely (while the employer perhaps was at fault for their unrealistic job requirements). Your injuries were in fact caused by their negligence. A reasonable person should have known that accidents like this could happen under those circumstances. And, finally, you suffered serious injuries as a result. Your Thousand Oaks truck accident lawyer will be able to sort this all out for you. Really, you don’t need to worry about any of this when you hire Walch Law to handle your Thousand Oaks truck accident case- just worry about getting better and know you are with some of the State’s top personal injury lawyers.Types of Truck Accident Injuries
Given the weight and velocity of big rigs, truck accidents tend to result in quite serious injuries, including fatalities. When someone dies as a result of a truck accident, their surviving family members may pursue a wrongful death claim. Medical expenses are the most obvious type of damages (which are legally recognized injuries for which a plaintiff may seek compensation).
Other damages may include:
- Permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished future earning potential
- Loss of consortium (intimacy and affection)
There’s usually no such thing as a minor fender-bender involving a truck accident. They’re often quite serious and result in life-altering injuries. While you’ll want compensation for your medical expenses, your actual damages will likely permeate other aspects of your life, including your career, your family, and your lifestyle. Don’t accept less than you deserve. Call the highly experienced team at the Law Offices of Gary K. Walch, a Law Corporation, today and get back on track.