Any collision between motor vehicles is cause for concern; however, this worry should grow vastly when a big rig, semi-truck, or 18-wheeler is involved. Commercial trucks, often weighing over 100,000 pounds, present great risk to motorists in and around Hemet in a collision because of the size disparity compared to regular motor vehicles and the fact these crashes often take place on highways at higher speeds than in city limits. The risks involved mean responsible behavior by motorists, big rig drivers, trucking companies, and manufacturers should be paramount, and that injury-causing negligence should be punished. If you were injured by a large commercial truck, contact an experienced Hemet Big Rig Truck Accident Attorney to learn if you may be entitled to compensation.
Big Rig Truck Accidents in Hemet
Hemet, a growing town of over 84,000 residents, is sandwiched between 3 major freeways: the 15, the 10, and 215. Additionally, both California State Routes 74 and 79 run directly through the city’s 25.9 square mile geographic area. Hemet is also located in Riverside County, the third-busiest commercial trucking county in California, which reports that large commercial trucks log an average 2.1 million miles on the county’s roads daily. Many of these trucking miles pass by and through Hemet, so trucks are a constant presence and local motorists are consistently exposed to the risk of collision. This geography and the busy trucking industry in the area expose numerous people to injury from big rigs and other large trucks.
More than 4,200 people were killed in commercial 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 commercial truck accidents. This puts motorists and their passengers at serious risk for injury or death every time they get on the road in Hemet.
Do Big Rig Drivers and Companies Owe Me a Duty of Care?
Commercial trucks like big rigs pose a risk to all other motorists in standard vehicles due to their large size disparity. To help mitigate the risk to others, the government passed laws regulating the conduct of both commercial truck drivers and trucking companies. These rules govern driver behavior, outline truck safety procedures, and regulate hazardous material transportation and insurance coverage. Rules deal with issues such as:
- Impaired driving;
- Commercial driver licensing procedures;
- Truck maintenance and safety inspections; and
- Limiting driver hours on the road and mandating rest break periods.
In addition to federal regulations, California has enacted additional regulations at state level that further restrict truck driver behavior and regulate safe operating procedures. For example, a state law requires commercial truck drivers to operate their vehicles on highways at a speed limit lower than the posted speed limit for non-commercial vehicles.
Can I Win My Case?
In California, personal injury victims usually seek compensation by filing a lawsuit for damages and arguing they were hurt by someone’s negligence. To prove negligence, you must usually show a defendant owed you a duty of care, breached it through an act or omission, and the breach caused you injury. If you can demonstrate this, a defendant is liable for your harm without a valid legal defense. Another way to establish liability in California is through negligence per se – proving someone injured you while violating a rule, law, or regulation (including a traffic violation such as speeding) creates a presumption they acted negligently.
How Much Can I Recover for My Injuries?
It’s natural to wonder how much you can recover for injuries from a tragic, avoidable big rig truck accident. If you can show someone’s negligence caused your harm, you may be entitled to damages as compensation. The nature of commercial truck accidents, usual occurrence on highways at high speeds, and vehicle size disparity often results in life-changing, catastrophic harm to victims lucky enough to survive. You may face monumental medical bills, a need for long-term or lifetime care, and even a temporary or permanent inability to return to work. The government understands this potential impact on victims and has created insurance requirements to make sure trucking companies can pay large damage awards. Currently, every commercial truck must carry liability insurance coverage of least $750,000, and if it ever carries hazardous material the minimum coverage skyrockets to $5 million.
If you have been able to prove you were hurt by someone’s negligence in a big rig accident, you may be entitled to an damage award to make you whole for physical, emotional, mental, psychological, and even financial harms you can prove resulted from the incident. You may be able to recover for injuries including:
- Medical bills,
- Property damage,
- Lost wages,
- Pain and suffering,
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement, and
- Loss of consortium (companionship).
Sometimes you may be entitled to an additional damage award from the court to punish a defendant’s particularly egregious behavior and discourage repetition of the conduct by them or others. Because punitive damages are discretionary and awards may be large, you must satisfy a high threshold of proof before you’re eligible to receive them. The difficulty of satisfying the burden of proof as well as proving a defendant’s state of mind are best handled by a skilled Hemet Big Rig Truck Accident Lawyer.
Contact an Attorney
If you or a loved one were hurt in a crash by a commercial truck, you know how devastating they can be. Don’t wait; contact the skilled Hemet Big Rig Truck Accident Attorneys at Walton Law, APC to protect your rights and put your best foot forward in your case for recovery. Our attorneys have spent years delivering comprehensive, aggressive representation for victims like you and secured millions in damages for their injuries. Contact us 24/7 at (866)-338-7079 or through our online Contact Page to schedule a risk free, no obligation initial consultation today. The confidential evaluation is free, and you pay nothing until we win your case. Let our highly skilled attorneys your situation and fight for you to get the compensation you deserve.