Orange County Truck Accident Lawyer
Approximately 3.5 million truck drivers share the road with car drivers. With the miles and miles of roads and highways in the Orange County area, you can be sure that a large portion of those trucks make their way through Southern California. Since trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds (and soon may weigh even more) and are generally driven on freeways at up to 70 mph, the consequences of a crash can be catastrophic. This is especially true if the truck collides with an average small car – a sedan or compact. The Orange County truck accident lawyers at Panish Shea & Boyle, LLP are well versed in traumatic vehicle accidents involving large trucks and can help victims get the compensation they need.
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Why Choose Us?
- We win cases. Our lawyers are proud to maintain an over 99% success rate. Since 2010, our firm has won over $3 billion in case results for clients.
- We can take on any defendant. We regularly go up against large corporations, including trucking companies, on behalf of injured clients.
- We are willing to go to trial. Our results-driven lawyers will not stop at the settlement stage if we believe an injury trial will result in better compensation for your losses.
- We are personal. At Panish Shea & Boyle LLP, our lawyers cut to the heart of the matter – the person behind the personal injury. We customize all our legal services to suit each client.
- We work on a contingency fee basis. We only charge attorney’s fees if we win the client an award. You will only pay after we win.
Truck Accident Facts and Statistics
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the year 2018 saw 4,136 people killed in the United States by large trucks. Victims included truck occupants, occupants of passenger vehicles, bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcycle drivers. Truck accidents also contribute to a significant amount of serious injuries – such as spinal cord injury and brain injury. In 2018, 11 percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes involved a large truck.
Any motorist involved in a truck crash will need to negotiate with more than one responsible party. Most truck drivers are working for an employer, which means the employer’s insurance carrier will often be involved in the case. This makes truck accidents more complicated than standard Orange County car accident lawsuits.
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident in Irvine and the Orange County area, an experienced truck accident attorney can help you get the compensation you’re entitled to.
Some Common Causes of Truck Accidents
- Driving while intoxicated. Operating an 80,000 pound vehicle is inherently risky; adding alcohol or drugs to the mix puts everyone on the road in danger. These accidents can be the most infuriating because they are the most preventable.
- Overloaded or unbalanced trucks. Packing a truck correctly is every bit as important as driving it correctly. The forces exerted on a truck – wind, gravity, centripetal – are magnified by the truck’s size. An imbalanced load will affect the driver’s ability to steer or brake. Additionally, falling cargo can be just as dangerous as an out-of-control truck.
- Distracted driving. Truck drivers must always keep their eyes on the road and their minds on the task at hand. Driving while distracted by a cellphone, food, drinks, passengers, the radio, a map, personal grooming or something happening outside of the cab can lead to preventable truck accidents in California.
- Drowsy driving. A tired truck driver is a common risk due to the nature of the job. Long, lonely hours on the road and overnight drives can be difficult for truckers. To combat drowsy driving, truck drivers must obey federal hours of service regulations. Driving longer than the legal limit can cause drowsy driving accidents.
- Truck drivers with undisclosed medical issues: passing out at the wheel, epileptic seizures; heart attacks, etc.
- Speeding. Speeding, running red lights, making illegal U-turns and breaking other traffic laws are common causes of Orange County truck accidents. Truck drivers may negligently or carelessly break the rules or do so intentionally to meet a deadline.
Types of Truck Accidents
A dangerous roadway, a poorly maintained truck or a negligent truck driver could all cause a truck accident in California. Identifying the cause of the collision is often necessary before you can file a claim as an injured crash victim since California is a fault state. The party at fault for the accident – such as a trucking company or the city government – will be financially responsible for damages. Typical types of collisions include:
- Rear-end collision
- Override/underride accident
- Lost cargo/ load accident
- Wide-turn accident
- Lane change accident
- Intersection collision
- Jackknife accident
- T-bone accident
Most truck accidents are preventable with proper truck maintenance and due care by the driver. Improper braking techniques, following too closely and leaving the lot with improperly secured cargo could all lead to tragedies. Work with an Irvine truck accident attorney from Panish Shea & Boyle LLP for assistance in identifying the cause of your recent truck accident.
Truck Accident Injuries
A collision between a truck and a passenger vehicle almost always leads to more severe injuries for the passenger car occupants. Trucks can weigh several times more than regular cars, resulting in vehicles crushed or obliterated in collisions. If you are involved in a commercial truck accident in Orange County, you could suffer many different injuries.
- Complex bone fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Lacerations and permanent scars
- Loss of limb or disfigurement
- Severe burns
- Wrongful death
At Panish Shea & Boyle LLP of Orange County, our personal injury attorneys have helped clients with all manner of serious injuries. We know how to present injury cases to insurance companies, judges and juries in a way that expresses how much the victim has suffered and lost because of the accident. Contact us for counsel no matter what types of injuries you or a loved one suffered in a truck accident.
Determining Fault in an Orange County Truck Accident
In a standard auto accident, determining fault is usually a straightforward enterprise. One driver is proven to have acted carelessly or recklessly and is responsible for the damages. However, a truck accident – particularly one that involves an employer who owns the actual truck – requires more thorough investigations to determine fault. Some of the questions we use to determine fault include the following:
- Were there any defects in the truck itself? (could be a manufacturer at fault)
- Were there any faulty repairs done to the truck? (could be a mechanic at fault)
- Was the driver negligent? (driver at fault)
- Would anyone else be liable for the accident? (an employer who didn’t have the correct maintenance done, for example)
This kind of investigation can be costly and time-consuming, but the experienced Irvine truck accident lawyers at Panish, Shea and Boyle LLP will be able to ascertain if you have a valid case against another driver. Call our Newport Beach office today to learn more in one of our free over-the-phone consultations.
What If I’m in a Truck Accident?
The very first thing you should always do in any truck accident is to seek whatever medical help and treatment you need. Second, call your lawyer if you have one. Third, collect evidence. Photograph the incident (if you’re able) and any injuries as soon as possible. Get the names of anyone who might have witnessed the crash, the name of the other driver, and any police officers who arrive at the scene.
Do not discuss fault. This may lead to an agreement with the insurance company that does not benefit you. Instead, refer anyone who wishes to discuss fault to your attorney. Trust your trucking accident lawyer to gather all the necessary facts and evidence to establish fault.
Truck Accident FAQs
At Panish Shea & Boyle LLP, we are here to answer questions from those significantly injured in truck accidents throughout California. We know how difficult the aftermath of a commercial trucking accident can be for survivors. Our Orange County truck accident attorneys can guide you through the legal legwork of bringing a case and arguing for appropriate compensation, starting with a free initial consultation where we can give you honest answers to your questions.
- Who is liable? A truck company will be vicariously liable for most accidents that involve one of its trucks and/or drivers. Other liable parties, however, could include the city where the crash occurred, the cargo company, cargo loaders, property owners or product manufacturers. The liable party/parties will be those most at fault for causing your crash.
- When should I file? In California, you must file your truck accident injury claim within two years of the date of the collision. If you miss this deadline, you may give up any right to compensation from the defendant. Exceptions to the rule exist, however, so speak to our lawyers before assuming you missed your time limit.
- What evidence should I collect? When you retain our law firm, we can help with evidence gathering while you focus on healing. Some key pieces to collect include photographs of the crash, testimony from eyewitnesses, copies of police reports, medical documents and the truck’s black box.
- How do I handle an insurance claim? If you do not feel comfortable handling your insurance claim alone, call our attorneys to communicate with insurance claims adjusters on your behalf. Some general tips to remember are to never admit fault, only offer the information requested and decline to give a recorded statement.
- What if I contributed to the accident? California is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning you could still have a case even if you were partially at fault for the truck accident. The courts may reduce your compensatory award by an amount equivalent to your percentage of fault, however.
- Do I need an attorney? The answer to this depends on the case. In general, a lawyer is worthwhile if you suffered serious injuries or the loss of a loved one. Complex cases involving federal laws, criminal activity or disputed fault can also benefit from legal services. When in doubt, consult with a lawyer about your individual case.
It is common to feel confused and overwhelmed after a truck accident in Orange County. This may be your first serious auto accident or run-in with a commercial trucking company. We do not expect injured victims to know federal motor carrier laws or how to best protect themselves in the aftermath of a truck accident. We do, however, hope that as a crash victim, you will seek counsel from our attorneys before proceeding with a claim. Legal representation from Panish Shea & Boyle LLP could make a key difference in your claim to damages.
Damages Available in a Truck Accident Case
Another common question we receive from new clients is, “How much is my case worth?” This question deserves a personalized answer – one we can only give during a consultation. However, we can give you an idea of what types of damages may be available during a truck accident claim in California.
- Medical bills. Past and future costs relating to injury care, including surgeries, therapies, medications and disability expenses.
- Lost wages. The money you have lost from missing time at work, as well as future lost earnings due to a disability.
- Pain and suffering. A range of intangible losses, including physical pain, emotional suffering and mental anguish from the truck accident.
- Property damages. Money to repair your damaged vehicle or replace a totaled vehicle after a serious traffic accident.
- Wrongful death damages. If a loved one died, your family could be eligible for past and future economic and non-economic (loss of love, companionship, affection, society, guidance, training, assistance) damages.
Some truck accident cases in Orange County may also result in punitive damages for the victims. Punitive damages give an additional award to the victim as a way of punishing the defendant for wrongful acts, such as for gross negligence or criminal actions. Learn the potential value of your truck accident claim during a conversation with one of our attorneys today.
Recover Compensation for Your Accident – Contact Panish Shea & Boyle
An Orange County truck accident attorney will walk you through the investigation process and explain how long things might take. We also will not get paid unless we win your case. Our lawyers have experience handling truck accident cases and will handle communication and negotiations with the insurance companies.
Contact Panish Shea & Boyle today at 877.800.1700 for a free consultation to find out more about how we can represent your interests in a truck collision lawsuit in Irvine and throughout Orange County and Southern California.