Articles Posted in Truck Accidents

If you watch enough TV and movies, you’ve probably seen a certain character. That character is the person who is involved in an auto accident and, in the immediate aftermath, is walking and talking and seemingly unaffected by the crash, only to re-emerge several days or weeks later sporting a gigantic neck brace. This may make for good comedy but it isn’t very realistic at all. The truth is that people may suffer injuries in auto accidents, including very serious ones, and not notice any symptoms for days or even weeks after the accident. Just because you did not show symptoms right away or you declined treatment at the scene doesn’t mean that you weren’t hurt and aren’t entitled to compensation. To learn more about your options for recovering damages, talk to an experienced San Mateo injury attorney.

A recent car crash case (San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2015-00037880) from Southern California is a good example. S.K. was an 18-year-old driver who was driving through Carlsbad. As he approached an intersection, his light was red. When the traffic signal turned green in his direction, he advanced forward. As he passed through the intersection, a cement dump truck broadsided the teen’s Nissan car.

At the scene, S.K. refused an offer of treatment. There are many reasons why an injured driver or passenger might say that he is “OK” and refuse treatment at the scene of an accident, even if he is injured. An injury, potentially even a serious one, can be masked in various ways. Especially for a young driver, there might be a very massive “dump” of adrenaline experienced as a result of the shock and stress of the accident. That uptick of adrenaline can sometimes mute pain receptors and make one think that they are not in pain, even though a significant injury has taken place.

In any injury case, the area or areas that will be the key that both sides focus upon can vary from case to case. Sometimes, the two sides will contest liability, with the defense counsel arguing that the defendant was not to blame at all for causing the injury-causing accident. Other times, both sides agree the defendant is liable. That, however, does not automatically mean the case itself is “open and shut.” The two sides may battle extensively over the amount of damages that the injured plaintiff should receive. In any case where the amount of damages is a major issue, it is extremely important to have “done your homework” and collected extensive evidence to support your damages claim. To make sure that you are accumulating the right amount and right type of evidence you need to get the outcome you deserve, be sure you put the skill of a knowledgeable San Mateo injury attorney on your side.

J.L.’s case (San Bernardino Superior Court Case No. CIVDS1613468) was one where the battle centered solely on damages. J.L. was a nursing student in southern California who, while driving through an intersection in Redlands, allegedly got cut off by a a semi truck. According to the student’s lawsuit, she was unable to avoid contact and the result was a collision between the car and the semi. The student’s airbags deployed and the impact fractured her right wrist, which was her dominant arm. The student underwent multiple surgeries, and suffered an infection that left her with a permanent scar . She also testified that she would need total fusion surgery performed on that wrist as part of her treatment in the future.

The trucking company admitted that its driver was liable for causing the accident.

In 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).

There 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.

When 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.

When 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.

In 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.

After 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.

A 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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In 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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