Palm Desert Truck Accident Attorney
Commercial trucks are the largest vehicles on the roads in California. As such, they are inherently the most dangerous vehicles when it comes to the damage they can inflict in an accident. Commercial truck accident claims are inherently complicated due to the potentially high ceiling for associated damages and the difficulty often presented by determining liability for these extensive damages.
An experienced Palm Desert truck accident lawyer can help you determine the best approach to securing compensation for your losses after a truck accident. It’s natural to have many questions after this kind of experience. It can be overwhelming to try and address them on your own while also contending with the pain and difficulty of recovery. Your legal counsel can help you construct and pursue your civil claim, handling your legal proceedings on your behalf throughout every phase of your case so you can focus on your recovery.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
Hiring an attorney after a truck accident can be an incredible asset in several ways. First, you will have a legal advocate on your side who can assist you in navigating an insurance claim from the defendant’s auto insurance policy, if possible. In most truck accident cases, the at-fault party’s insurance may include the driver’s personal policy or the employer’s commercial policy. In some truck accident cases, both might come into play depending on each party’s liability for the incident.
Your Palm Desert truck accident lawyer can help you determine liability for your damages, including clarification of vicarious liability statutes should they apply in your case. Your legal team can also handle your procedural obligations with the court, ensuring everything for your case is filed accurately and on time. Procedural delays can sometimes amount to a case being thrown out of court before it ever really begins. Having an attorney ensure timeliness with your court filing is an additional layer of security of your claim, increasing the chances of successfully securing a recovery.
Ultimately, a Palm Desert truck accident attorney can offer peace of mind as you and your family recover from your experience. At the Law Offices of Susan Handel, we understand the devastating effects that commercial vehicle accidents can have on victims and their families. That is why we strive to provide the most reliable and comprehensive legal counsel available to Palm Desert truck accident victims.
What Do I Look for When Choosing a Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer?
When you need legal counsel for a truck accident claim in Palm Desert, it is essential to locate an attorney who has successfully handled cases like yours in the past. Find an experienced attorney with solid testimonials from happy clients and verifiable credentials. Many personal injury attorneys throughout California offer free consultations to potential new clients. This is as helpful for attorneys as it is for potential clients, helping the former earn new business and helping the latter secure the legal representation they need for their claims. During a consultation with a potential Palm Desert truck accident attorney, consider asking a few questions to help you gauge the attorney’s suitability to represent your case:
- “How many truck accident cases have you successfully settled?” There is nothing wrong with asking the attorney to verify their track record of cases like yours. This helps you gauge the attorney’s experience level.
- “What unique factors do you notice about my claim?” A good attorney should be able to quickly identify opportunities and potential challenges as they review your claim. It’s good to be aware of these variables as soon as possible.
- “Do you believe I have solid grounds for a case?” An attorney who accepts clients on a contingency fee basis will be unlikely to represent a losing case. Contingency fee payment means the client only pays legal fees if they win their case, and their fees are paid as a percentage of the case award. If the attorney is willing to represent you on a contingency agreement, this is a good sign you have a solid case.
- “What do you expect from my recovery?” A Palm Desert truck accident lawyer should be able to outline the damages you can claim in your civil action and provide a rough estimate of your case’s value. Compared to the attorney’s billing policy, this can provide you with an idea of how much you will ultimately recover from your claim.
- “What kind of timetable do you expect in my case?” The attorney should provide you with their expectations as to how your case will unfold, whether settlement is likely, and how long litigation could take if it is necessary.
These questions can ultimately help you choose a Palm Desert truck accident attorney with the skill, experience, and responsiveness to allow you to approach your case with more confidence. At the Law Offices of Susan Handel, our team has more than 20 years of experience handling difficult claims, including truck accident cases with significant damages on the line and unclear liability. You can rely on our legal team to help you determine your best possible legal options.
What Does a Lawyer Look for in a Truck Accident Case?
An initial consultation is just as much an opportunity for an attorney to evaluate a potential client as it is for a client to evaluate a potential attorney. An attorney will be more likely to accept a case in which liability is clear and the plaintiff’s damages can be easily calculated. Attorneys are also far more likely to accept cases in which the plaintiff is clearly not at fault for their damages. California upholds a pure comparative negligence statute. While this allows a plaintiff with partial fault to recover compensation in a personal injury claim, they lose a percentage of the case award to reflect their percentage of fault for causing their damages.
An attorney may hesitate to accept a claim in which the plaintiff clearly bears some fault for their claimed damages, or if there is too little evidence to accurately identify the defendants in the case. Ultimately, an attorney is unlikely to take a case that is likely to lose, so if a potential attorney is willing to represent you, take this as a sign that your case is solid.
Common Liability Issues in Palm Desert Truck Accident Claims
In any motor vehicle accident claim, liability is the main determining factor for assigning responsibility for a plaintiff’s claimed damages. One of the most common complications to arise in accident claims involving commercial trucks is vicarious liability. When a tractor-trailer or other large commercial vehicle causes a collision, it may not be the truck driver who bears sole liability for the incident. Liability could also fall to their employer or another party under vicarious liability statutes.
Vicarious liability typically comes into play when a truck accident occurs due to a failure of both the driver and the trucking company or business that employed them. For example, a truck driver causes an accident due to driving under the influence. Typically, the driver would absorb full liability in this situation since drinking on the job is likely a violation of their employment contract. However, if their employer did not conduct an appropriate background check during hiring that would have uncovered the driver’s DUI history, the employer would likely face vicarious liability for the accident.
This is just one example of how unclear liability can significantly complicate a truck accident claim and why it is important to have reliable legal representation on your side when facing a complex truck accident claim like this. Your attorney can help you discern every avenue of compensation open to you to ensure you get as much compensation as possible from your truck accident claim.
Possible Recovery from a Truck Accident Lawsuit
A successful personal injury claim for a truck accident could yield substantial compensation for the plaintiff. These accidents tend to cause catastrophic injuries and substantial economic damages for plaintiffs, including:
- Medical expenses, both for immediate treatment costs following an accident and long-term treatment costs for injuries that require long recovery times. A plaintiff has the right to pursue compensation for any and all damages related to medical expenses resulting from a truck accident.
- Lost income, including lost future earnings if a plaintiff is left unable to work again due to their injuries. A Palm Desert truck accident attorney will likely consult financial experts to help a client in this situation determine the future income they could have reasonably expected to earn had the accident not happened.
- Pain and suffering. California state law allows personal injury plaintiffs to claim compensation for intangible losses like physical pain and psychological suffering. The exact amount a plaintiff receives for noneconomic damages like pain and suffering typically hinges on the amount of their other claimed damages. Many possible formulas may be used to calculate acceptable pain and suffering compensation.
- Property damage, such as vehicle repair costs or vehicle replacement costs if a vehicle is damaged beyond repair.
It is also possible for a truck accident claim to entail additional or alternative damages, such as in a wrongful death claim or in a case in which the defendant was grossly or criminally negligent. An experienced Palm Desert truck accident lawyer can help you anticipate potential damages that could arise beyond your compensatory and noneconomic damages.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Commercial trucks are the largest and most dangerous vehicles on the road. It’s vital for all drivers to understand this fact and take appropriate precautions when driving around large commercial trucks. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents in the Palm Springs area include:
- Aggressive driving, both on the part of truck drivers and other drivers around them. All drivers should avoid aggressive maneuvers at all times, but this is especially true when large commercial trucks are present. Similarly, commercial truck drivers must acknowledge the inherent dangers their large vehicles present on the road and use appropriate professional caution.
- Truck driver errors, such as taking turns too fast or failing to apply the brakes correctly. Drivers must possess adequate credentials and experience before handling difficult trucking routes. Driver error could implicate both a driver and their employer in a truck accident claim.
- Poor visibility. Commercial trucks are much larger than passenger vehicles and therefore have much larger blind spots. When other cars linger in these blind spots too long, the risk of an accident increases.
- Speeding and moving violations. The size and weight of commercial trucks make it impossible for them to maneuver like smaller vehicles. While a driver in a small passenger car might swerve to avoid a sudden obstacle or when another driver suddenly changes lanes without signaling, a large commercial truck cannot do the same.
- Cargo loading errors. Cargo inside of a commercial truck’s trailer must be packed carefully and balanced. An improperly balanced load could easily cause the truck to tip over on its side as it takes a sharp curve, leading to a rollover accident.
- Truck equipment failures. Sometimes mechanical failures in commercial trucks’ systems cause accidents. If such an equipment failure could have been prevented with appropriate maintenance, the party responsible for the truck’s maintenance will likely absorb liability for the resulting damages.
This list is not an exhaustive one, and ultimately a truck accident can potentially happen due to the same reasons as any other car accident. However, the liability questions that truck accident claims arise can complicate recovery for injured drivers. It’s essential to seek guidance from an experienced Palm Desert truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after such an accident to determine your best options for securing a recovery for your losses.
Winning Your Truck Accident Claim
The vast majority of truck accident claims settle outside of court, just like the majority of all personal injury claims filed in the United States. Settlement offers a more expeditious recovery for an injured plaintiff and a quicker resolution to legal liability for the defendant. In a truck accident claim, it may be necessary to negotiate a settlement with multiple defendants.
The right attorney can be an incredible help, no matter what complexities you may face in a truck accident claim. If you are ready to discuss your legal options with a compassionate and responsible Palm Desert truck accident attorney, contact the Law Offices of Susan Handel today and schedule a consultation with our team. We can identify the opportunities and challenges we notice in your claim and let you know how our firm can assist in your recovery.