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Any collision between motor vehicles is cause for concern; these collisions regularly result in serious injury and death. However, this concern understandably grows greatly when a truck is involved in that collision. Trucks, commonly weighing in at over 100,000 pounds, are exponentially larger than most motor vehicles. Accidents involving trucks usually occur on freeways at much greater speeds than collisions on city streets with speed limits around 35 miles per hour, so it’s no surprise accidents involving trucks cause fatalities at a much higher rate than those between motor vehicles. Because of the size of these vehicles, safe behavior by drivers, trucking companies, and truck manufacturers should be paramount –unfortunately, this is not always the case and can result in devastating losses. If you were injured in a truck accident, contact an experienced Hemet Truck Accident Attorney to find out if you may be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries.

Truck Accidents in Hemet

Hemet, a growing town of over 84,000, is boxed between 3 major freeways: the 15 freeway, the 10 freeway, and the 215 freeway. Both California State Routes 74 and 79 pass through the city’s 25.9 square mile geographic landscape. Hemet is also located in Riverside County, the third-busiest commercial trucking county in California which logs over 2.1 million trucking miles each day. A large portion of these trucking miles pass by and through the city, so trucks are a constant presence on freeways in the local area. A considerable number of out-of-towners also take these roads to get to any number of Hemet’s parks and trails, as well as to cultural attractions such as the Ramona Amphitheatre. This geography and the busy trucking industry in the area expose a large number of people to trucks and raise the risk of accidents.

Over 4,200 people lost their lives in truck accidents nationwide in 2017. In 2016, 638 people in a city of 84,000 were killed reported killed or injured in traffic collisions in Hemet (and untold numbers of unreported injuries took place) – many of these we a result of truck accidents. All these factors come together to put motorists and their passengers at high risk of involvement in a serious truck accident.

Trucking Laws

Commercial trucks present a risk to other motorists because of their massive size compared to other vehicles on roadways. Recognizing this, the federal government created laws to maximize safety by regulating the conduct of drivers and trucking companies. These rules mandate safe driver behavior, outline truck safety procedures, and control hazardous material transportation. Rules deal with issues such as:

  • Impaired driving;
  • Truck driver licensing procedures;
  • Truck maintenance and safety inspections; and
  • Limiting driver hours on the road, mandating rest breaks, and verification procedures.

California has enacted additional regulations that impose further restrictions on driver behavior. For example, a California law requires truck drivers to abide by a lower speed limit than the one posted on freeways in the state.

How Do Truck Accidents Occur?

Despite the copious rules and regulations designed to maximize safety, serious truck accidents still happen around Heme. Most of these are due to someone’s negligent behavior – whether it is the driver, trucking company, or even a truck manufacturer. Truck accidents are frequently caused by:

  • Driving while intoxicated;
  • Drowsy driving due to noncompliance with federal rest breaks and hour limits;
  • Speeding;
  • Distracted driving;
  • Improperly loaded cargo; and
  • Defective trucks;

Because this list is not all-inclusive, you should contact a Hemet Truck Accident Lawyer if you have been involved in a truck accident to see if your circumstances may give rise to a claim for damages.

How Do I Recover for My Truck Accident Injuries?

Victims usually argue a defendant was negligent when seeking compensation for their injuries. To prove negligence, you must show defendant owed you a legal duty of care, the duty was breached by an act or omission, and the breach caused your injuries. Once these elements are satisfied, unless defendant has a valid legal defense, they become liable for your damages.

Another method to establish liability is using the theory of negligence per se, which allows a victim to bypass the usual requirement of establishing all elements of traditional negligence. If a victim can demonstrate their injury resulted because defendant violated a law, rule, or regulation, it creates a legal presumption of defendant’s negligence. If, for example, a truck driver did not obey federally mandated rest break periods and caused a collision, they will be presumed to have acted negligently.

What Is My Truck Accident Worth?

You may wonder what you’re able to recover for being placed in a very traumatic, trying situation. If you can show a defendant was negligent, you may be able to recover compensatory or even punitive damages for your injuries. Truck accidents by the nature of the disproportionate vehicle sizes often result in catastrophic, severe injuries and astronomical bills for medical care and long-term expenses accompanying them – assuming the victim is lucky enough to survive. commonly inflict extremely traumatic, catastrophic injuries that lead to gargantuan medical bills for the victim. Additionally, victims are often unable to work temporarily or even permanently due to their injuries.

The government understood the grave impact truck accidents can have on victims, so to address this issue and ensure liable parties are financially able to compensate victims, they mandated that every commercial truck carry insurance coverage of least $750,000. The minimum amount skyrockets to $5 million for every truck that ever carries hazardous materials.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are meant to redress injuries a victim suffered due to defendant’s negligence. These awards are given for both for economic and noneconomic harms inflicted. Economic damages can include concrete, quantifiable injuries including:

  • Funeral costs;
  • Medical bills;
  • Property damage; and
  • Lost wages.

Noneconomic awards address mental, emotional, and psychological trauma that does not have a concrete monetary value. These include:

  • Mental anguish;
  • Emotional distress;
  • Scarring and disfigurement; and
  • Loss of consortium.

Punitive Damages

In some cases, victims may be awarded punitive damages. These are not usually awarded because there is a high burden of proof and it must be shown the defendant acted with fraud, malice, or oppression. These awards are completely discretionary – the court will decide if damages should be given as well as the amount. Because they are designed to punish defendant’s bad behavior, they are often exponentially higher than compensatory damage awards. The complexity of punitive damages is best tackled by an experienced Hemet Truck Accident Lawyer to avoid potentially costly legal pitfalls.

Contact a Hemet Truck Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one were involved in a truck accident, contact the experienced Hemet Truck Accident Attorneys at Walton Law today to protect your legal rights and get the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys have spent years providing dedicated, personalized representation for victims like you in and around Hemet and recovered millions of dollars to compensate them for their injuries. Contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (866)-338-7079 or through our online Contact Page to schedule a risk free, no obligation initial consultation today. The initial evaluation is free, and you do not pay until we win your case. Let our highly skilled attorneys review the unique facts of your situation, help you understand your options, and fight for the best outcome possible in your case so you can focus on getting your life back on track.