Los Angeles Commercial Vehicle Accidents Lawyer
On any given day, commercial vehicles fill the streets and highways of Los Angeles. Commercial drivers are busy people, as they transport goods, make deliveries, shuttle between work sites, and transport people from one place to another. With so many commercial vehicles on the road, an accident seems inevitable.
In fact, accidents involving commercial vehicles are not inevitable. They are actually entirely preventable, and in the vast majority of cases, they only occur because one or more people were negligent. If you have been hurt in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, it is critical that you understand your legal options. At Personal Injury Legal Group, a Los Angeles commercial vehicle accident lawyer can explain them to you and help you claim any damages to which you are entitled.
California classifies commercial vehicles widely, including:
- Transport trucks
- Trucks for business (commercial) usage
- Utility company trucks
- Delivery vans and trucks
- Tow trucks
- Company-owned vehicles
- Emergency service vehicles
- Uber, Lyft, limos, and taxis
- Catering/food trucks
- Drilling rigs for water wells
- Cement mix vehicles
- Profit-generating vehicles transporting 10 to 15 or more passengers
What are Commercial Vehicles?
Commercial vehicles are defined by the California Department of Motor Vehicles as any vehicle that is used to transport persons for compensation, hire, or profit. For example, trucks used primarily to transport goods and vehicles employees use to carry out their job duties are both commercial vehicles under the state law description. Trucks are some of the most common types of commercial vehicles, but they are not alone in this category. Other types of commercial vehicles include:
- Passenger vehicles transporting people for hire
- Multipurpose vehicles
- Pickup trucks with campers attached
- Motor trucks
Operators and owners of commercial vehicles, as well as the individuals they hire, are held to much higher standards than drivers and owners of other vehicles. If you have been involved in an accident, it is critical that you speak to a Los Angeles commercial vehicle accident lawyer who can provide the sound legal advice you need.
Who is Liable in a Commercial Vehicle Accident
Assigning fault in a commercial vehicle accident can be complicated. While chances are high that the driver will be held liable, other factors must also be considered. The company employing the commercial driver is responsible for hiring qualified, experienced drivers, providing appropriate training, and ensuring all commercial vehicles are in good, working condition. They must ensure vehicles receive necessary routine maintenance by qualified mechanics and undergo regularly scheduled inspections and they are responsible for any other form of vehicle or cargo negligence. Personal Injury Legal Group provides experienced commercial vehicle attorneys who will aggressively fight for the compensation to deserve from both the commercial driver and his or her employer.
The 7 Reasons Why Most Commercial Vehicle Accidents Happen are driver…:
- Failing to react appropriately to road conditions
- Or feeling rushed/dealing with an unrealistic schedule
Specific Commercial Vehicles Accidents Include:
- Jackknife – This happens when the rear end of a tractor-trailer folds into the front of its own cab
- Underrides – When a smaller vehicle crashes or is pushed into the back or side of a commercial truck, and lodges underneath the truck.
- Rollovers – Rollover crashes can result from extremely high winds, unsafe speeding, sudden braking at high speeds, or taking steep turns or curves.
- Tire Blowouts – Large vehicles such as semi-trucks and tankers can cause a devastating accident if even one of 18 tires blows out on the road.
Why are Accidents Involving Commercial Vehicles Different From Others?
Due to the sheer size and weight of commercial vehicles, these accidents can cause much more serious injuries than crashes involving passenger vehicles. Due to this, accident victims tend to suffer some of the most catastrophic injuries after being involved in a commercial vehicle accident. Insurance companies understand this, as well as the importance of preserving their bottom line. As such, insurance adjusters and brokerages are much less willing to offer a fair settlement that will fully cover the cost of an accident victim’s injuries. The more severe the injuries, the more the insurance company will have to pay, and the more they become reluctant to do so.
Accidents involving commercial vehicles also have many potential liable parties. When two passenger vehicles are involved in a crash, it is typically one of the drivers at the scene that is responsible for paying damages. This is not the case when a commercial vehicle is involved. Liability in an accident involving a commercial vehicle includes the driver of the vehicle, the company they work for, manufacturers of defective products, loading companies, inspection and maintenance companies, other drivers, and more. Determining liability for an accident is never easy. When a crash involves a commercial vehicle, though, it becomes much more challenging.
Common Injuries After a Commercial Vehicle Accident
The injuries sustained during an accident with a commercial vehicle are some of the most catastrophic. The most common of these include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
- Torn ligaments
- Fractured and broken bones
- Torn tendons
- Wrongful death
If you have suffered any of the above injuries, our experienced attorneys can help you claim the compensation you need for the medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more they will incur.
What Causes Commercial Vehicle Accidents?
As with any other collision, there are many common causes of commercial vehicle accidents. These include:
- Inadequate maintenance of a commercial vehicle
- Oversized or overloaded freight of commercial vehicles
- Drowsy or fatigued commercial vehicle drivers
- Commercial vehicle driver road rage
- Rushed delivery schedules
- Reckless driving, such as tailgating
- Aggressive driving, such as commercial vehicle drivers experiencing road rage
- Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Mechanical defects
It is critical to determine the cause of a commercial vehicle accident so you know who to hold liable for paying damages. Unfortunately, determining who is liable is rarely easy. A Los Angeles commercial vehicle accident lawyer will conduct a full investigation to determine how the crash happened, which can help determine who is liable for paying damages.
Wrongful Death Due to Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Commercial vehicles are typically much larger and much heavier than other vehicles on the road. As such, when they are involved in a crash, there is a much greater possibility of fatality. If you have lost a loved one due to a commercial vehicle accident, you still have legal options.
In Los Angeles, as throughout the rest of California, you have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit if your family member was killed as a result of someone else’s negligence. Under state law, only certain individuals can file a wrongful death lawsuit. These include immediate family members, such as surviving spouses and children. If you have lost a loved one due to a commercial vehicle accident, it is important to speak to a lawyer who can review the facts of your case and provide legal advice.
Determining Liability After a Commercial Vehicle Accident
One of the most challenging legal aspects after a commercial vehicle accident is to determine who is liable, or at fault, for the accident. This is because, unlike other crashes on the road, there are many potentially liable parties after a crash involving a commercial vehicle. These include:
- The driver of the commercial vehicle: Most accidents involving commercial vehicles are caused by the actual driver of that vehicle. Commercial vehicle drivers can act negligently by speeding, driving while distracted or impaired, and following too closely, just like any other driver on the road. When they behave in this manner, they can be held liable for a crash.
- The company who hired the commercial vehicle driver: Companies who own and operate commercial vehicles can be held for many reasons. If one of their employees caused the crash, they can be held liable for their employee’s actions. If they failed to properly inspect or maintain their vehicles, they can also be held liable. Owners of commercial vehicles can also be held liable when they engage in negligent hiring practices or do not properly train their drivers.
- Manufacturers of commercial vehicles and their parts: Manufacturers have a responsibility to make sure the products they create are safe and free of defects. If a commercial vehicle manufacturer or a manufacturer of any part of a vehicle created a flawed or defective piece of equipment, they can be held liable when it causes an accident.
- Third-party companies: Owners or companies who operate commercial vehicles hire a number of different third parties to help them in business. They hire inspection companies to inspect their vehicles and make sure they are safe. They hire maintenance companies to correct issues when they arise. And they also sometimes hire third-party companies to load and unload the cargo the vehicles are carrying. All of these third-party companies are responsible for providing a duty of care and performing their jobs in a manner that keeps everyone safe. When they fail to meet that duty, they can be held liable.
What Compensation is Available After a Commercial Vehicle Accident?
If you have been the victim of someone else’s negligence, you should not be responsible for paying for the losses you will incur. You will have high medical bills for the treatment you need, and you may not be able to work for a period of time while you are recovering. You can pursue damages for all of these losses through a personal injury claim.
The damages in these cases are classified into economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are easy to calculate, as they have a quantifiable value. The most common forms of economic damages include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity, if the accident victim cannot return to the same line of work in the future
- Property damages
- Physical therapy costs
- Costs of renovations to a home, such as the installation of wheelchair ramps
Non-economic damages do not have a clear dollar value, and they are much more difficult to calculate. The most common types of non-economic damages are as follows:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of consortium when the injury interferes with an intimate relationship
Not all losses in a commercial vehicle accident are easy to calculate. It is critical to work with an attorney who can accurately evaluate your losses so you claim the full and fair settlement you deserve.
At Personal Injury Legal Group, our Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorneys Also Focus on the Following Practice Areas:
- Car Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- Catastrophic Injuries
- Construction Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Train Accidents
- Slip & Falls
- Product Liability
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Uber & Lyft
- Wrongful Death
- Trucking Accidents
- Sports Injury
- Cruise Ship Accidents
PERSONAL INJURY LEGAL GROUP IS COMMITTED TO PROTECTING YOUR INTERESTS
If you or a member of your family experienced a commercial vehicle accident, you want a trusted and experienced personal injury attorney to handle your case and fight to make sure you receive the care and compensation that you need and deserve.
No matter what type of legal issue you are confronted with, our legal team is experienced, professional, and dedicated to making sure you receive a favorable settlement. AND, YOU WON’T PAY US UNLESS WE WIN YOUR CASE
Contact us for a free consultation with an experienced commercial vehicle personal injury attorney. Our contingency fee practices mean you pay no upfront charges and so you’ll only pay if we successfully win your case.
Personal Injury Legal Group headquarters are located in Los Angeles with additional offices throughout California. Since 1999, we have been serving clients nationwide, with a concentration in Southern California counties including Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Orange, San Diego, Kern, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial. We also serve Northern California counties of San Francisco, Alameda, Marin, Sacramento, San Mateo, Solano, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Napa, Yolo, and Sonoma.
Our Commercial Vehicle Accidents Lawyer in Los Angeles Can Help with Your Case
Commercial vehicle accidents cause the most catastrophic injuries. At Personal Injury Legal Group, our Los Angeles commercial vehicle accident lawyers can determine who was liable for your accident and hold them fully accountable for paying the damages you are rightly entitled to. Call us now at 310-388-4306 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.
Frequently Asked Questions for Los Angeles Commercial Vehicle Accidents
What are some common causes of commercial vehicle accidents in Los Angeles?
Common causes of commercial vehicle accidents include driver fatigue, speeding, distracted driving, improper vehicle maintenance, and failure to follow traffic laws.
What should I do if I’m involved in a commercial vehicle accident?
If you’re involved in a commercial vehicle accident, seek medical attention immediately if necessary and call the police. Collect contact and insurance information from the other driver and any witnesses, and take photos of the scene and any damage.
What if the commercial vehicle driver is at fault for the accident?
If the commercial vehicle driver is at fault for the accident, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the driver and/or their employer to seek compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
Can I file a claim against the commercial vehicle driver’s employer?
Yes, you may be able to file a claim against the commercial vehicle driver’s employer if the driver was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident.
What if the commercial vehicle driver is an independent contractor?
If the commercial vehicle driver is an independent contractor, you may still be able to file a claim against the company that hired them, depending on the specifics of the case.
How long do I have to file a personal injury claim for a commercial vehicle accident in Los Angeles?
In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally two years from the date of the injury. However, there may be exceptions, so it’s important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
Should I speak to an insurance company after a commercial vehicle accident ?
It’s best to speak to an attorney before speaking to an insurance company, as they may use your statements against you to minimize your compensation. An attorney can help guide you through the claims process and protect your rights.
What damages can I recover in a personal injury claim for a commercial vehicle accident?
You may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and other damages related to the accident.
What if the commercial vehicle driver doesn’t have insurance?
If the commercial vehicle driver doesn’t have insurance, you may still be able to file a personal injury claim against their employer or seek compensation through your own insurance policy.
Should I hire an attorney for my commercial vehicle accident case in Los Angeles?
It’s highly recommended that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney for your commercial vehicle accident case in Los Angeles. An attorney can help protect your rights, navigate the legal system, and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Personal Injury Legal Group
11601 Wilshire Blvd 5th Floor, West Los Angeles, CA 90025