Articles Posted in Truck Accidents

Legal News GavelIn many vehicle accident cases, the basic misconduct that has led to the injured person’s harm is negligence. The wrongful conduct that is to blame for most vehicle crashes is merely negligent and is not intentional. However, there may be many different negligent missteps made, and these may allow you, as an injured plaintiff, to assert many different causes of action in your injury lawsuit. Asserting multiple different causes of action is often beneficial to your case. The more different bases you can give the jury (or the judge in a non-jury trial) to hold the people you’ve sued to be responsible and liable for your damages, the better your chances of obtaining a full and fair compensation award. For advice and strategies for pursuing compensation in your auto accident case, be sure to talk to an experienced California car accident attorney.

A recent example of how an injured plaintiff may bring multiple different negligence causes of action was the case of two brothers injured by a trucker. This was a result of a horrific highway crash. Hector was driving his semi-truck through a construction zone when the commercial truck allegedly crossed the center line and slammed into a private vehicle carrying two men, Michael (an off-duty law enforcement officer) and his brother, Matthew.

The accident caused extremely extensive harm to the brothers, including, according to a livetrucking.com report, shattered vertebrae (Michael), fractured ribs (Matthew), and traumatic brain injuries (both). The injured brothers sued Hector and his employer. In the brothers’ case, they accused Hector of being negligent in his operation of the truck. This is a common claim and essentially argued that, if the truck driver had driven his vehicle in a sufficiently safe manner, the accident wouldn’t have happened. This claim frequently relies upon a combination of witness testimony, document evidence (like accident scene photos and accident reports), and, in some cases, the opinion testimony of an expert (like an accident reconstruction specialist).

Legal News GavelThere may be many reasons why you, as a person injured in an auto accident, might prefer to litigate your case in court as opposed to arbitration. You may feel that a jury will give you a fairer hearing, or that a jury will be more likely to award the full and fair amount of damages for the harm you’ve suffered. Regardless of the reasons, if you and your California truck accident attorney have identified trial as a better option than arbitration, it is important to avoid traps that will force you to arbitrate your claim.

One example of an injured person who avoided arbitration was Virgil, a warehouse worker for a company that sold fitness equipment. In the summer of 2013, the worker’s supervisor, Charles, instructed him to haul a load of massage chairs and exercise machines to the Sacramento State Fair. The employer sent Virgil to Sacramento in a truck that the employer had rented.

During the trip from San Bernardino County to Sacramento, the truck blew a tire. The blow-out caused Virgil to suffer injuries. Virgil sued the company that owned the rental truck, arguing that the owner had negligently maintained the truck, and that negligent maintenance had caused the blow-out and the man’s related injuries.

Legal News GavelWhen you’ve been injured in an auto accident, you may have a case for damages. Even with a strong claim, there are several things you’ll need to do if you are to convince a jury and receive a favorable verdict and award of compensation. In many cases, achieving a successful result may rely, to a significant degree, on having compelling and persuasive expert witness testimony. Knowing which type of expert testimony, and which type of expert witnesses, you need to succeed is one of the areas where experienced California auto accident counsel can help you and your case.

One case (Monterey County Superior Court Case No. M133274) in which experts played an important role was a truck accident involving Sabino, a man who was hurt traveling along Highway 101 in Monterey County. Sabino was headed southbound on Highway 101 at around the same time that Dalvir was approaching Highway 101 on eastbound San Juan Road. Dalvir steered his tractor-trailer onto the southbound 101 and stopped. Sabino tried to stop his Honda Accord in time but could not, eventually crashing into the rear of Dalvir’s truck. Sabino suffered serious injuries in the accident. Specifically, Sabino alleged that the accident inflicted a lumbar spine injury upon him and that it forced him to undergo lumbar decompression and fusion (back) surgery.

The car driver sued the trucker and the trucker’s employer for the injuries he suffered. Sabino’s lawsuit asserted a fairly common and familiar claim as the basis for recovery:  that Dalvir was negligent because he improperly failed to yield the right of way when he pulled in front of Sabino and stopped, and that the employer was liable because Dalvir was acting within the scope of his job when the accident happened.

Legal News GavelWhen you are injured in a vehicle accident, you may suffer many different types of damages. The harm you suffer may be primarily physical, involving extensive medical treatment and care and considerable pain and suffering. Other times, though, your damages may be mostly something other than physical. In some cases, the effects of your accident may have a dramatic impact on your employment situation. When this happens, you may be entitled to a large award for lost wages, even if your physical harm and property damage were relatively low. With the help of a skilled California truck accident attorney, you can pursue everything that the law permits you to recover.

A recent trial court case (Orange County Superior Court case number 30-2016-00852025-CU-PA-CJC) showed this in practice. The plaintiff, Christie, suffered injuries that were a result of a Southern California freeway accident. Christie was heading westbound across the Riverside Freeway in Orange County when a delivery truck driver, who had been traveling in a lane adjacent to Christie’s, changed lanes. The truck driver was attempting to slide in behind Christie but clipped the right rear side of Christie’s vehicle.

In addition to property damage, the accident also caused Christie to suffer strains to her neck and her lower back. In a lot of personal injury cases, an accident that caused the injured driver to suffer low back and neck strains and that damaged a bumper and fuel tank on her car might not necessarily create a claim for a large amount of damages. If, for example, the vehicle was reparable, and the driver had to undergo a limited amount of treatment and missed only a modest amount of time at work, the total amount of damages might be moderate.

Legal News GavelIn your personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, there may be many key hurdles to overcome in achieving success. One of these may be finding ways to get all of your helpful evidence admitted and placed before the court. An experienced California injury attorney can help throughout the process of dealing with the rules of evidence as you pursue your case. In the matter of a truck driver injured at work, the driver’s family was entitled to put the deceased driver’s statements made from his hospital bed into evidence because they satisfied an evidentiary rule that allows dying declarations into evidence, even if those statements are otherwise inadmissible as hearsay.

The accident that led to this lawsuit took place at a potato packing plant in Bakersfield. Hernandez was loading potatoes into Baldemar’s truck. Hernandez was driving a forklift; Baldemar was helping from inside the truck cargo compartment. That’s where things went wrong. Some amount of potatoes (either a single box or multiple boxes) ended up falling off the forklift and on top of Baldemar.

The truck driver got up under his own power, but he decided not to take the load that day. He said he would return the next day. He never did. Within a few days, he began spitting up blood and entered the hospital. Less than four weeks later, he died.

Legal News GavelAfter you’ve been injured in a vehicle crash, and you’ve decided to sue to seek the compensation you deserve, you likely will face off against a strong opposition from the defense. The defense may seek to escape liability by attempting to depict your case as one in which you were actually the one who was negligent and at fault. To give yourself the best chance of success, you may need to make sure that potentially harmful evidence that is too speculative to be reliable and admissible is kept out of your trial, which is one of many areas in which a skilled and determined San Mateo injury attorney can help.

The plaintiff in one recent case was injured in a terrible crash along the Pacific Coast Highway in June 2010. A semi truck driver had, after resting in a parking area next to the southbound lanes, been crossing the southbound lanes to turn left and head northbound when the plaintiff’s minivan struck the semi’s flatbed trailer, which was still in the southbound lanes.

The crash was so massive that it took 45 minutes to extract the plaintiff from the minivan’s driver’s seat. He had a fracture of his left shoulder, and the bone was protruding through the skin.

Legal News GavelA jury in Sacramento recently awarded an injured plaintiff nearly $2.9 million in damages for the injuries the plaintiff suffered in a serious rear-end accident (Case 34-2013-00149232-CU-PA-GDS). The plaintiff’s evidence was enough to convince the jury that the harm from the accident had caused numerous serious injuries and forever altered the life of the very active 26-year-old plaintiff.

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Legal News GavelIn any civil lawsuit, steps like marshaling all of the evidence that supports your case is an obviously important part of the process. There are other procedural details, however, that can be easier to overlook or, alternatively, easier to get wrong if you aren’t keenly familiar with the rules. In one recent case involving a fatal vehicle crash, the plaintiffs retained counsel, and they did comply with the rules, which is why their $2 million judgment survived a defendant’s challenge to the manner in which they provided service of process.

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Legal News GavelSometimes, obtaining a truly successful outcome in your auto accident case involves not just proving your case and establishing your damages but also making sure that the judgment asserts liability against the right defendants. This is especially true if your damages award is large. Obtain a multi-million dollar judgment against an employee making $15 an hour, and you may recover only a small fraction of your total damages. Obtain that same judgment against the employee and his corporate employer, and you may have a much greater chance of obtaining the full amount of the damages awarded to you.

That is why, in many auto accident situations, it is beneficial, as a plaintiff, to pursue both a driver and the driver’s employer when possible. In many situations, the fact that the accident took place while the employee was commuting to work would close the door on obtaining a judgment against the employer. The “going and coming” rule of liability says that, if an employee causes an accident while going to or coming from work, the employer generally isn’t liable under a respondeat superior theory of liability. In one recent case originating in Orange County, a motorcyclist was allowed to pursue a driver’s employer, even though the accident occurred as the driver was traveling to work.

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Legal News GavelWhen your case goes to trial, you have several hurdles to clear. Sometimes, obtaining a jury verdict in your favor isn’t the last one. In the case of one trucker, he had to fight off a defense claim that juror misconduct should invalidate the outcome and trigger a new trial. The Second District Court of Appeal sided with the injured driver, concluding that, even if the juror engaged in misconduct, the defendant lacked the necessary proof of prejudice that the law required to overturn the verdict and the damages award.

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