Frequently Asked Questions About California Commercial Truck Accidents
As leading accident attorneys in Southern California, we’ve helped countless injury victims fight for the compensation and justice they deserve. If you were in an accident with a commercial vehicle, you may be facing tremendous losses. Contact us online to explore your legal options.
Motor vehicle accidents come in all shapes and sizes. Our Costa Mesa truck accident lawyer explains that they can involve any type of vehicle, from motorcycles to self-driving cars to motorized scooters, and they range in severity from a simple fender bender to catastrophic collisions.
Although any type of accident has the potential to be serious, even deadly, few are as dangerous as those involving commercial trucks. These vehicles' sheer size and weight increase the potential for serious damage. Despite this fact, most drivers know very little about commercial truck accidents.
In this article, we will explore the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about commercial vehicle collisions in California to educate further and protect our community.
Need help now? If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident with a commercial truck in California, you could be dealing with life-altering consequences. Luckily, you don’t have to navigate your options alone. Schedule a free consultation online with our Orange County personal injury attorney to get started.
What Is Considered a Commercial Vehicle in California?
According to California Vehicle Code CVC §260, a commercial vehicle is “a motor vehicle of a type required to be registered under this code used or maintained for the transportation of persons for hire, compensation, or profit or designed, used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property.”
In other words, any vehicle used for commercial purposes may be considered a commercial vehicle under the law and subjected to specific insurance requirements and regulations. A commercial truck is a regular pickup truck used for commercial purposes but may also mean a large transportation truck or 18-wheeler.
What Is a Truck’s Black Box and Why Is It Important?
A truck’s “black box” is an electronic device that records certain information about the truck’s travel and driver’s behavior. This could include the speed at which the truck traveled before a crash when the driver applied the brakes, whether the airbag deployed, how long the driver had been traveling, and more. In the event of a crash, a truck’s black box may carry critical information about how and why it occurred, providing key evidence for your commercial truck accident claim.
If My Family Member Died in a Truck Accident, Can I Sue?
If your loved one was killed in an accident caused by someone else in California, you may be able to pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim. Eligible plaintiffs include the decedent’s surviving spouse, child, or children, dependent minors living in the decedent’s house, parents of the decedent, other heirs, or next of kin. To secure a settlement, the plaintiff will likely need to prove that the defendant acted negligently and, as a result, killed their loved one.
How Will I Know if the Truck Driver Was at Fault?
The police report will provide some key information about what happened, but probably not everything you need to know. That’s why when you partner with an experienced accident attorney, the first thing they do is investigate the accident. They can gather reports, talk to eyewitnesses, interview experts, and request access to critical evidence (such as the truck’s black box data) to pinpoint the at-fault party or parties.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Truck Accident Claims?
Most truck accident claims must be filed within two years of the date of the crash, but there are exceptions. For example, minors and certain people with mental disabilities may be given more time to file their claims; conversely, injury victims involved in government-related accidents may only have six months to file. If you’re unsure how long you have to pursue compensation, it’s important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
What Information Should I Get After a Truck Accident?
Remember: The more information you collect at the accident scene, the better position you’ll be in to argue your claim. If you can do so safely, taking photos of the accident, including the vehicles involved, the surrounding area, and even injuries, is a good idea. If there are any eyewitnesses, getting their names, contact information and a copy of the official accident report is a good idea. Ultimately, any information you gather may be invaluable evidence if you pursue an accident lawsuit.
What if I’m Partially Responsible for the Truck Accident?
The question of how to evaluate and assign fault in an accident is decided on a state-by-state basis. California is one of 13 states that adheres to a pure comparative fault rule of accident liability, which means that you can collect damages even if you’re partially at fault—or even 99% responsible—for the accident. However, the damages you can collect are limited by your actual degree of fault.
Do I Need a Truck Accident Lawyer?
If you were involved in a commercial truck accident, it’s natural to wonder if you should involve a lawyer. As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to call an attorney if you suffered serious injuries or other losses in the accident—even if you’re not sure who was at fault. An experienced truck accident attorney can investigate your case and help you decide the best path forward.
Most personal injury attorneys offer free initial consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only get paid if and when they secure your settlement. Ultimately, contacting an accident attorney in Southern California offers a low-risk way to explore your compensation options.