Commercial trucking is a highly regulated industry, with good reason. Big rig accidents comprise a significant portion of wrongful death cases and accident lawsuits filed near Riverside and throughout California. When an accident attorney takes on a big rig crash case, he or she carefully reviews all the evidence to determine if the trucker failed to abide by any requirements , such as California’s truck lane requirements.
In this state, truck drivers must use the lane designated by any posted signage. If road signs do not indicate a designated truck lane, then big rigs must keep to the right-hand lane. Trucks passing other vehicles must use the lane adjacent to the far right-hand lane, or a designated lane. These lane requirements are intended to cut down on the number of lane change accidents between big rigs and passenger vehicles. These crashes can be particularly dangerous, and often result in accident lawsuits. The penalty for a first violation of a lane requirement results in a $100 fine. Subsequent violations within the same year result in higher fines.
Big rig accidents can happen at any time. Merging into traffic and changing lanes are particularly hazardous. Passenger vehicle drivers are fortunate to escape from a truck accident with their lives. Adding insult to injury, survivors must then contend with exorbitant medical bills and perhaps even permanent disability. For survivors in the Riverside area, a car accident lawyer is an essential advocate. He or she can pursue an accident lawsuit to help the survivor secure much-needed compensation to recover from the crash .
When is the truck driver to blame for the crash?
Truck drivers are found to be at least partially to blame in the majority of all types of truck accidents. It’s possible that other factors can contribute, such as poor visibility, inclement weather, and poor road construction. Truck drivers can make dangerous decisions when they are in a hurry to reach their destination, such as weaving between lanes, failing to use a turn signal, failing to remain aware of nearby traffic, and failing to carefully check the mirrors. When filing an accident lawsuit, your lawyer can evaluate the driver’s medical records, as well as surveillance footage, eyewitness statements, and police reports to consider the role of the trucker’s possible negligence.
Aren’t truck drivers trained to make safe lane changes?
Yes, all commercial big rig operators in the U.S. are required to complete rigorous training and testing. However, truck drivers are still human and they often make mistakes, some of which can be costly. During an investigation, your accident lawyer may find that the truck driver was negligent in any of the following ways:
- Being distracted by an electronic device
- Driving aggressively
- Misjudging the distance between vehicles
- Falling asleep at the wheel
- Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Is it possible for the passenger vehicle driver to be at fault?
Most passenger vehicle drivers know that big rigs need plenty of space on all sides, including in front of them. It’s impossible to slow down such a large vehicle quickly enough to avoid hazards ahead. A car driver may be at fault for the crash if he or she merged into the trucker’s lane ahead of the big rig, and didn’t leave enough space between vehicles.
Personal injury lawsuits are sometimes subjected to unexpected snags, such as the incarceration of the defendant. You do have the legal right to sue someone who is in jail or prison, but the logistics will be more challenging. Talk to a personal injury lawyer serving Riverside about the particulars of your case to determine whether it’s worth your time to file a lawsuit. This will depend on factors such as the strength of the evidence against the defendant, the extent of your damages, and the amount of assets the defendant is likely to have. Since the defendant is behind bars, it’s likely that the most significant factor to consider is whether the defendant can pay the damages.
If you do have a personal injury lawyer file a claim against an inmate, expect some complications to arise. Inmates are subject to being transferred to different facilities. The same inmate may be transferred several times during his or her sentence. This may delay the resolution of your case. On the other hand, if the inmate was convicted of a crime pertaining to your injuries, then it stands to reason that the lawsuit is based on substantial evidence supporting your claims.
Battery is the act of injuring someone without legal justification. If you’ve been physically attacked by someone, you can consult a personal injury lawyer in the Riverside area to determine if you can file a lawsuit . The law does allow victims to sue for intentionally inflicted injuries, but there are exceptions. Your personal injury lawyer will need to review the police report and your medical records.
The professional featured in this video explains that you can legally defend yourself in a fight and retain the right to sue for damages. However, your claim isn’t likely to be successful if your actions cross the line from acting in self-defense to acting as an aggressor. Your personal injury lawyer will assess whether your use of force corresponded to the use of force by your attacker.
A business might be held liable for slip and fall injuries that occurred on its property, provided the owner was negligent in preventing the incident. Before a personal injury lawyer in Riverside can file a slip and fall lawsuit on your behalf, he or she needs to determine who the defendant is. Businesses that are sole proprietorships are owned and operated by one person, and it’s this person—not the business itself—that can be sued.
Your slip and fall attorney might determine that the business is run as a partnership. Each partner is legally responsible for the business, and so each person would be named as a defendant. Corporations are different. They are separate, legal entities. Your legal counsel would file the lawsuit against the legal name of that corporation. A limited partnership is treated the same as a corporation for the purpose of naming a defendant. Of course, even if you’re suing a corporation or limited partnership, there could be multiple defendants, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Statutes of limitations apply to both criminal cases and civil accident lawsuits . A statute of limitations is a deadline. Once it expires, an injured party no longer has the right to file an accident lawsuit. This is one crucial reason why it’s important to speak with an accident attorney in Riverside as soon as possible after an incident occurs. If you wait too long to speak with a lawyer about your options, legal recourse may no longer be available to you.
Statutes of limitations vary from state to state. There are different deadlines for different types of claims. For example, a claim for property damage carries a statute of limitations of three years. Any type of personal injury claim usually has a two-year statute of limitations. The clock starts ticking from the date of the injury. However, it is possible for a patient to not detect the injury right away. If this is the case, then patients have one year to file the accident lawsuit from the date that they discovered the injury, even if two or more years have passed.
After a car accident, survivors are likely to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and possibly in physical pain. Because of this, many survivors make crucial errors when speaking with the insurance adjuster. These mistakes can be costly, potentially jeopardizing a future accident lawsuit . It’s always a good idea to speak with an accident lawyer serving Riverside about your case before you speak to the insurance adjuster. An attorney can caution you about the tricks insurance adjusters often use to minimize the compensation the company pays.
Obtain important information for your records.
An insurance adjuster will contact you soon after you file the insurance claim. Before the conversation gets started, ask the individual to provide his or her full name, employee ID number if applicable, and phone number at work. Write this information down, along with the name of the insurance company and its address. Keep this information for your own records, and provide a copy to your accident attorney. Once the call is over, it’s a good idea to make a few notes about what was said.
Keep your temper in check.
Dealing with red tape while you’re recovering from a crash is never pleasant, but it’s important to stay calm and be polite. Insurance adjusters are human, after all, and they may respond poorly to verbal aggression. On the other hand, an insurance adjuster who remembers having polite interactions with you may make an effort to ease the claims process.
Provide personal information.
During this initial phone call, the only information you need to provide to the insurance adjuster is your full name, number, and home address. Assuming that you’re speaking with the other party’s insurance carrier, you do not and should not provide any more information than you must. If you’re speaking with an adjuster from your own insurance company, you must abide by any rules specified in your policy. Your accident attorney can give you personalized guidance about your policy.
Avoid discussing the details.
Expect the insurance adjuster to ask you lots of questions about the accident and your injuries. You might also get some casual questions about your work schedule and income, and whether there were any witnesses to the crash. Do not answer these questions, even if they seem harmless. Instead, simply tell the individual that you’re still investigating the incident, there may be witnesses, and you’ll provide this information when it’s appropriate.
Driver distraction often forms the basis of car accident lawsuits filed in Riverside. Your car accident lawyer may uncover evidence that shows the other driver was texting or talking on a cellphone just before the crash. In addition to unlawful and dangerous cellphone use, there are many other causes of distracted driving. If surveillance footage of the crash scene is available, your car accident attorney can review it to determine if other distractions may have played a role. An accident lawyer can also interview passengers and other eyewitnesses.
During the course of this investigation, the accident lawyer may find that the other driver was reading a map or using a GPS device before the crash. Other forms of distraction include gawking at billboards, rubbernecking at roadside accidents, and talking with passengers. It’s not unheard of for some negligent drivers to apply makeup or eat while trying to drive. Adjusting the radio or CD player, and disciplining unruly children in the backseat are other common causes of driver distraction.
When your personal injury lawyer files a lawsuit on your behalf, it’s quite likely that it will be resolved with a settlement. Many plaintiffs never see the inside of a courtroom because they decide to accept a sum of money in exchange for dropping the lawsuit. However, you do have the right to decline a settlement offer and take the defendant to court. A personal injury lawyer serving Riverside will ensure you are fully prepared for your day in court.
Do plan to arrive early.
It isn’t acceptable to arrive late to a court appearance or even to arrive on time. Instead, plan to arrive at least half an hour before you are scheduled to appear in court . Leaving your home with plenty of time to spare gives you some leeway in case you have car problems or encounter traffic delays on your route. When you arrive early, your personal injury lawyer will have time to give you some last-minute advice.
Do dress appropriately for court.
As a general rule of thumb, dress for court in the same way you would dress for a funeral. Men should wear a suit and dress shoes, and ladies should wear a pantsuit, skirt suit, or other conservative outfit that doesn’t reveal much skin and doesn’t draw unnecessary attention. If you have tattoos, make sure your clothing covers them up.
Don’t leave your cellphone on.
Leaving your cellphone on vibrate mode isn’t enough to prevent embarrassing disruptions in the courtroom. Turn it off instead or leave it in your car. You shouldn’t have any other electronic devices on, either.
Don’t interrupt anyone.
Your personal injury lawyer has probably instructed you not to speak in court unless you are directly questioned. You may respond to the judge, whom you should address as “Your Honor.” If you’re on the witness stand, you’ll respond to the questions. But otherwise, it’s best to stay silent—and never try to talk to a member of the jury.
Do control your reactions.
Hearings and trials can be incredibly stressful, even if you’ve been in court before. But it’s important not to let your temper get the best of you. Even if the opposing counsel asks you questions that seem insulting, you’ll need to take the high road and maintain a calm demeanor.
Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs is among the most common causes of truck accidents. Big rig accidents have the potential for catastrophic injuries and death, even at low speeds. If you were injured or you lost a loved one in a big rig crash, contact an accident lawyer in Riverside promptly. You may be able to file an accident lawsuit to hold the negligent truck driver responsible for his or her actions.
Commercial big rig operators are professional drivers who are supposed to be appropriately screened and trained. It’s often thought that truck drivers are less at risk of driving while under the influence of alcohol compared to others on the road, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case. As your accident lawyer can explain to you, a truck driver can be charged with DUI if his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above a certain limit. In most states, this threshold is typically half the BAC limit for non-commercial drivers. Truck drivers are routinely tested for alcohol impairment after accidents. If they refuse, according to the rules established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the resulting penalties are roughly equivalent to pleading guilty to DUI. Criminal investigations of truck accidents proceed separately from accident lawsuits. However, a finding of DUI under criminal law can become an important factor in civil trucking litigation.
Truck drivers are held to higher safety standards than non-commercial drivers, but this doesn’t mean they are immune to the dangers of substance abuse. Some truck drivers may operate big rigs while under the influence of marijuana , which can be particularly dangerous because it can induce sleepiness and inattentiveness. Others may take illicit stimulants in an effort to stay awake during the long hours on the road. An accident lawyer can obtain evidence, such as the police report, to determine if substance abuse might have been a factor in the crash.
Prescription Drug Abuse
It isn’t just illicit substances that can impair a truck driver’s abilities. Many prescription drugs can affect alertness, reaction time, judgment, and perception. Truck drivers are required to undergo intensive medical evaluations to determine if any medical conditions or medications might affect driving ability. An accident lawyer can investigate whether a truck driver failed to comply with these requirements.
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