Everyone understands the risks associated with being in a car accident; however, most people have not stopped to consider the catastrophic, life-altering consequences of involvement in an accident involving a massive vehicle such as a 100,000 plus pound 18-wheeler or a semi-truck. Truck accidents are more common than most people realize – over 4,200 fatal truck accidents happened in the United States in 2017 – and can have especially devastating consequences considering most occur on highways and at higher speeds than normal auto collisions do.
Because truck accidents especially are more likely to cause not only greater injuries but more lifelong limitations, disabilities, and long-term recovery processes, victims should be aware they may be entitled to compensation for the massive expenses associated with their injuries. If you were injured during a truck accident, speak to a Menifee trucking accident attorney today to learn more about your legal rights and whether you may be able to recover for the damages you incurred.
Menifee Trucking Accident Facts
Menifee is located directly next to the busy I-215 freeway and a stone’s throw from the crowded I-15. It sits in Riverside County which logs the third most commercial trucking miles in the state and averages over 2.1 million daily miles – a large portion of these miles going right by Menifee and the residents that regularly utilize these freeways. Additionally, the number of fatal truck accidents is on the rise with a nationwide jump from 3,622 such accidents in 2015 to 4,237 in 2017. The increase in rates of accidents, in combination with Menifee’s proximity to some of the busiest freeways in the country and a large number of truck drivers, means drivers in Menifee need to take extra precautions as they are at a higher risk than most for involvement in trucking accidents.
Because trucks are recognized as posing higher risk of injuries and fatalities when not operated safely, government rules and regulations have been enacted to control the behavior of both trucking companies and truck drivers. These regulations are designed to keep motorists and truckers safe by curbing impaired and drowsy driving, ensuring roadworthy trucks operate in and around Menifee, and safely transporting hazardous materials. Not only do truckers have to operate at lower speed limits than posted on California’s freeways, the laws affect govern areas including:
- Truck driver impairment;
- Inspection of Trucks;
- Truck driver licensing;
- Transport of hazardous materials; and
- Driver hours and mandatory breaks.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
Despite the good intentions behind government regulations to safeguard drivers and the public, trucking accidents do still happen in Menifee. Simple driver error can account for some accidents, but failing to adhere to trucking laws can result in accidents from:
- Reckless, distracted, or drowsy driving;
- Improperly or unsafely loaded cargo;
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Unsafe or defective vehicles;
- Improperly maintained or serviced trucks; and
- Improper or negligent hiring by trucking companies.
There may be multiple parties to blame for your injuries from a trucking accident – truck drivers, trucking companies, vehicle manufacturers, and government agencies responsible for highway design and roadway maintenance. To understand who may be liable for your injuries and owe damages for the harms you have suffered, it is advisable to seek legal advice from a Menifee trucking attorney today.
How Do I Recover for My Truck Accident Injuries in Menifee?
The most common argument truck accident victims assert when seeking compensation is that another party’s negligent behavior caused their injuries. In order to prevail and establish liability through the theory of negligence, you must prove several elements more likely than not occurred. To succeed, you must show the party you are accusing of negligence owed you a legal duty to act as an ordinarily prudent person would in their situation, the party breached their duty through either an affirmative action or an omission, and that their breach of duty was the cause of actual harm or losses to the victim.
Another way to establish a party’s liability is through the theory of negligence per se. Rather than proving all the elements of negligence in a step-by-step manner, California law permits you to establish the presumption of another party’s negligence by demonstrating they violated a rule, regulation, or law which caused your injuries. A truck driver would be presumed liable under negligence per se if you can demonstrate they ran a red light and caused an accident with another motorist. Once negligence or negligence per se is established, a party will be liable if they are unable to raise a valid legal defense.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
It is common to wonder how much you may be entitled to recover for your injuries. Once you have established a party’s liability, you may potentially receive both compensatory and punitive damage awards. Truck accidents can result in massive, catastrophic injuries racking up enormous amounts of expenses for the victim both for treatment and long-term accommodations that must be made for permanently injured individuals to carry on daily life activities. Victims may also find themselves unable to work on a short-term, long-term, or even permanent basis.
The trucking industry is unusual when dealing with personal injury cases, as the federal government mandated all commercial trucks to carry no less than $750,000 in insurance coverage and $5 million for each vehicle transporting hazardous materials. This ensures victims that massive damage awards will usually not result in an insolvent defendant unable to pay for injuries they caused.
These awards, upon a showing of proof by the victim, are designed to make them whole for their injuries. Compensatory damages can reflect both concrete losses such as lost wages and medical bills as well as more abstract losses reflecting emotional and psychological trauma such as pain and suffering, scarring, and permanent disability.
If you are awarded compensatory damages, you may be eligible for an award of punitive damages intended to punish the injuring party’s bad behavior if you can show they acted with malice, fraud, or oppression. There is no cap on the amount that may be awarded – they are entirely up to the discretion of the judge or jury. These awards are often substantially larger than compensatory damages to serve their deterrent purpose, but the injuring party’s intention may be difficult to prove and is best tackled by an experienced trucking accident attorney.
Speak to a Truck Accident Attorney in Menifee Today
If you have been injured during a truck accident, you know firsthand the traumatic, life-changing consequences that come with the experience – contact the highly skilled Menifee truck accident attorneys at Walton Law today. Time is of the essence in preserving your legal rights, so do not delay in acting to preserve your claim and seeking justice for your injuries. Our attorneys have spent years representing victims just like you and have helped them recover 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 case review 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 to help you. Let our experienced attorneys evaluate your situation, provide expert legal analysis, and provide personalized, aggressive advocacy to secure the best possible outcome for you and your loved ones starting today.