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Everyone knows being involved in a motor vehicle accident with another car can be dangerous or even deadly. However, most individuals have never considered the potentially catastrophic after-effects of being involved in a truck accident – not only due to truck size, but because these collisions usually occur at faster speeds on highways. Trucks can be huge, and it is not uncommon for 18-wheelers or semi-trucks to weigh in at over 100,000 pounds – far cry from even a large, 5,000-pound SUV. Truck accidents result in fatalities far more than other motor vehicle accidents; in 2017 alone more than 4,200 fatalities were the result of trucking accidents. If you were involved in a truck accident, you should contact a Lake Elsinore Truck Accident lawyer today to understand if you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Lake Elsinore Truck Accident Facts

Lake Elsinore sits next to the bustling 15 freeway and only a few miles from SR 74. It sits in Riverside County It is in western Riverside County, the third-busiest commercial trucking county in the state logging more than 2.1 million trucking miles easy day. Many of these miles pass right by Lake Elsinore on the 15 freeway and residents using this freeway almost daily. Lake Elsinore alone, a small town of only 66,000, had 312 traffic injuries and fatalities in 2016. In conjunction with the number of fatal truck accidents rising from 3,622 in 2015 to 4,237 in 2017 and Lake Elsinore’s proximity to the 15, puts Lake Elsinore motorists at risk for injury in truck accidents.

Trucking Laws

Because trucks are more dangerous due to their size, the government created rules to govern trucking company and truck driver behavior. These regulations are meant to increase the safety of motor vehicle operators and truckers by creating hour limits for driving, deterring impaired driving, ensuring only safe trucks are on the roadways, and preventing unsafe movement of hazardous materials in trucks. These laws set standards for many areas of the trucking industry and trucker behavior such as:

  • Impaired driving;
  • Hour limits and mandatory rest breaks for drivers;
  • Hazardous material transportation;
  • Licensing; and
  • Truck inspections.

Additionally, California has taken the additional step beyond federal regulations and imposed lower-than-posted speed limit regulations on truck drivers operating on the state’s freeways.

How Do Truck Accidents Happen?

Despite all the regulations in place, injury-causing truck accidents occur too often around Lake Elsinore. Though some accidents result from honest mistakes, but all too often disobeying government regulations causes these accidents – drowsy, impaired, or distracted driving, speeding, unsafely loaded cargo, and unsafe or improperly serviced vehicles can all be deadly. Additionally, truck drivers may not be the only party to blame for accidents – truck manufacturers, trucking companies, and government agencies in charge of road maintenance and roadway design may all be to blame. Contact a skilled Lake Elsinore Truck Accident lawyer for help understanding who may be liable for your truck accident injuries.

How to I Prove Someone Is Responsible for My Truck Accident Injuries?

Most commonly, truck accident victims pursue recovery through a theory that someone’s negligence caused their harm. The most common argument truck accident victims assert when seeking compensation is that another party’s negligent behavior caused their injuries. It’s necessary to prove more likely than not that:

  • Defendant owed you a legal duty of care;
  • The duty was breached by either an affirmative action or failure to act when needed; and
  • The defendant’s breach caused the victim’s harm.

An alternative recovery theory is negligence per se. California allows you to sidestep proving the elements of negligence by showing the defendant caused your injuries when they violated a law or regulation – for example, the speed limit. If you can do so, it creates a presumption the defendant was negligent, and they will be liable for your injuries unless they can raise a valid legal defense.

What Can I Recover for my Injuries?

It’s normal to wonder what you case may be worth. If you establish a defendant is negligent or negligence per se, you may be eligible for both compensatory and punitive damages. Truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries that can generate immense medical expenses for a victim – both for treatment and for accommodating permanent injuries and being able to carry on day to day life activities. Severely injured victims commonly find they cannot work for at least a short period of time; may are out of the workforce for much longer. To handle these sobering realities and ensure wrongful actors will be able to pay damages, the government requires every commercial truck always keep at least $750,000 of insurance; that amount skyrockets to $5 million of coverage for every truck that ever transports hazardous material.

Compensatory Damages

These damages are meant to make victims whole for harms they suffered. Compensatory damages can make up for quantifiable injuries such as medical expenses and property damage, but they can also be issued for harms that do not easily come with a price tag such as disfigurement, loss of consortium, and pain and suffering.

Punitive Damages

Once you qualify for a compensatory damage award, in some cases victims may qualify for a punitive damage award. If you can show the injurious conduct was perpetrated with fraud, malice, or oppression, these may issue to punish the perpetrator’s reprehensible behavior. These damages are at the judge or jury’s discretion, and there is no limit on an award amount. Quite often, to serve their purpose of punishing and deterring this behavior, these awards exponentially outweigh compensatory damage awards. However, proving a defendant’s intention can be incredibly difficult and tricky, so this is a task best accomplished with the help of a skilled Lake Elsinore Truck Accident lawyer.

Speak to a Truck Accident Attorney in Lake Elsinore

If you were injured during a truck accident, contact the skilled Lake Elsinore Truck Accident attorneys at Walton Law today. Time is not on your side, so act quickly to protect your health and your rights. Our experienced attorneys have represented victims like you for years and recovered millions in compensation for their injuries. Contact us at (866)-338-7079 or through our online Contact Page to schedule a no risk, no obligation initial evaluation today. The consultation is free – you do not pay until we win your case. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Let our experienced attorneys review and analyze your unique circumstances, explain your options, and help secure the best possible outcome for you to put your life back on track.