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Orange County Truck Accident Lawyer

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Getting into an accident with a large commercial truck can have catastrophic results. Due to the sheer size and weight of 18-wheelers, they can be intimidating to drive around, especially for smaller passenger vehicles. If you were involved in a recent truck accident, give the personal injury attorneys at DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo a call today. An experienced Orange County truck accident attorney is standing by to give you the advice and help you need to get the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (714) 783-2205 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options.

Why is a Truck Accident Attorney Necessary?

Many truck crash injury victims think that they will be able to handle these cases on their own. After all, it is not uncommon for traditional vehicle crash injury victims to handle claims themselves by working with their insurance carrier. However, handling an Orange County truck accident case without assistance from an attorney is incredibly risky. First and foremost, you need to realize that commercial truck drivers and companies likely have extensive resources that they can use to combat any claim made against them. Not only are their insurance companies going to be incredibly aggressive and fight back against any claim, but they will also likely have legal teams used to dispute fault.

When the deck is stacked against you, you have to fight back. The best way to do that is to work with an experienced Orange County truck accident lawyer who has no problem taking on other parties involved in these cases. An attorney will use their resources and legal expertise to:

  • Obtain any evidence needed to prove liability. This can include photographs taken at the scene of the crash, video surveillance from nearby buildings, the police report, statements from eyewitnesses, truck “black box” data, and more.
  • Negotiate with progressive insurance carriers and legal teams in an effort to secure fair compensation for their client.
  • Fully prepared to take in Orange County truck accident case to trial if necessary to ensure their client is treated fairly.

Truck Crashes Are on the Rise

The trucking industry is rapidly changing. An ever-increasing demand for products and faster turnaround times, coupled with older generations retiring, resulted in what’s known as the trucker “capacity crunch.” Unfortunately, this capacity crunch also means truck drivers are trying to drive longer distances and take fewer breaks, thus leading to more deadly accidents.

Despite increased awareness and new safety technology, truck accidents and related injuries and fatalities are on the rise. The National Highway Safety Administration reported that accident rates increased by 18% between 2011 and 2012. In 2015, 3,852 people died in large truck crashes, a number that is 22% higher than it was back in 2009. Whether this is due to the increasing capacity crunch, drowsy driving, the rising population, or the deteriorating condition of our nation’s roads, it is a sad reality.

Semi-trucks on a highway with the text "Orange County Truck Accident Lawyer" superimposed

What Makes Truck Accidents Different From Car Crashes?

There are a number of reasons a trucking accident can occur, but some of them may indicate negligence on behalf of the other party involved. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents are mechanical failures, inadequate safety measures, driver error, reckless driving, poor road conditions, and driver fatigue (namely from sleep deprivation). In some cases, the driver of the other vehicle may be responsible, as is the case when drivers illegally change lanes or engage in distracted driving. No matter your situation, an experienced Orange County truck accident attorney can help identify if there is any negligence involved in your claim.

Weight and Size of Trucks

According to the NHTSA, trucking accidents tend to be more severe in nature than almost any other type of car accident because of the sheer size and weight of the vehicles. Not only does this make the impact on other vehicles more forceful, but it also lengthens the amount of time it takes to brake and limits maneuverability. Because of this, the majority of fatal crashes (73%) result in the deaths of the occupants of the other car, while only 18% end in truck driver fatality. Aside from fatal injuries, trucking accidents also commonly cause a number of catastrophic non-fatal injuries, including broken bones, lacerations, head trauma, and spinal damage.

Time Sensitivity for Litigation

When a truck driver is involved in an accident, they radio their dispatcher. The dispatcher then gets the trucking company’s lawyers and investigative team to the trucking accident site within an hour, sometimes even before the police, tow trucks, ambulance, or fire trucks arrive. Their team immediately starts to survey the scene and look for any evidence that can somehow pin the fault of the accident on you.

If the large trucking companies you will be facing in court are legally defending their case within an hour of the accident, shouldn’t you be too? Call an Orange County truck collision lawyer to help you preserve the evidence and protect your side of the case. Truck accident cases involve lots of moving parts and complicated factors. It is important to be proactive to ensure that you receive fair compensation.

How Should You Speak to Insurance Companies After a Commercial Truck Accident?

Following any motor vehicle accident, it is important to contact your insurance company to report it. However, you only need to provide them basic details, such as the time of the crash and where it occurred. At the time of your initial call, cause and liability may need further investigation. Do not give a recorded statement or voice your opinion on the accident until after you have spoken to a personal injury legal team. Trucking companies will advise their truck drivers to do the same.

Many people mistakenly believe that mentioning “lawyer” or “legal advice” to an insurance company will make them look guilty. The reality is that most serious accidents involve two insurers trying to reduce their financial responsibility. The important thing is to not give a recorded statement to an insurance claims adjuster before hiring a legal counsel to represent you. Truck drivers will do the same — call their dispatchers and hire a legal team to represent them before divulging any statements or opinions to insurance companies.

What Kinds of Damages Can Be Recovered?

Damages are the award granted to the party in order to compensate them for a loss or injury. Doctor’s visits, time lost from work, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering are all examples of expenses for which you can be compensated. Some of these costs, like medical bills, are easy to calculate while others, such as mental anguish, are less concrete. Hiring an experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer can help maximize your claim to help rebuild your life.

Pain and suffering isn’t an easy thing to measure, so the court will instead use a “pain multiplier” to come up with a number. The pain multiplier will be used in a formula to calculate an appropriate amount of compensation for your pain and suffering. When you file a personal injury claim with our law firm, we can help you determine a rough estimate for what that compensation may look like prior to litigation.

Common Truck Collision Injuries

From minor injuries to serious injuries, large trucks can cause extensive damage to you and your passengers. Some of the common truck accident injuries in Orange County include:


How Long Do I Have to File a Truck Accident Claim?

Orange County truck accident victims need to be aware that they have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit in order to recover compensation for their losses. The California personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an accident occurs. This gives a truck accident victim a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent driver or company. Failing to abide by this two-year window will result in the victim being unable to recover any compensation for their losses.

Additionally, it is important to know that this statutory deadline does not apply to any timeframes imposed by the insurance carriers. In most cases, an insurance claim needs to be filed very soon after a truck crash occurs, or the claim could be delayed or even denied altogether.

It is crucial to work with a skilled Orange County truck accident lawyer who understands all deadlines involved in these cases. An attorney who gets involved early will be able to help file your insurance claim, handle the insurance carriers, and file a personal injury lawsuit on time if one is necessary. Again, cases involving large trucks and trucking companies are immensely more complicated, and accident victims should not have to go through this process alone.


What Is the Timeline of a Truck Accident Case?

The timeline of a truck accident case will vary significantly depending on several factors. Truck accident cases are going to be more complicated than an accident involving only traditional passenger vehicles. However, these cases may look the same initially. For example, every driver involved will file a claim with their insurance carrier, and their insurance carrier will contact the other carriers involved. Most truck accident cases will end up being resolved through settlements with insurance carriers. If the facts of the accident are not heavily disputed, a truck accident claim in Orange County could be settled within a month or two. However, if the insurance carriers deny the claim or refuse to offer a fair settlement, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Once an Orange County truck accident lawsuit has been filed, the case moves into the civil court system, and the time frame is going to be extended. Even though most truck accident cases will still be settled before they go to a full trial, the personal injury lawsuit process could take months, a year, or even more time to reach a conclusion. If the case has to go to trial, it is not uncommon for the matter to not be resolved long after a crash occurs. It is crucial to work with a skilled truck accident lawyer who can walk you through this entire process help you choose the best route towards securing full compensation.

How Is Fault Proven in a Semi-Truck Accident?

Determining fault in the aftermath of a semi-truck crash in Orange County is not likely to be easy. However, proving who or what caused the crash is the most important factor for securing adequate compensation.

The process of determining fault is going to revolve around evidence. Truck crash victims may be able to gather some of this evidence at the scene of the incident, but only if it is safe to do so and if they do not need immediate medical care. Some of the evidence that can be gathered at the scene include:

  • Photographs taken using a smartphone or another type of camera. These photos can include damages to vehicles, injuries, skid marks, debris, causes of the crash, traffic and weather conditions, and more.
  • The names and contact information of any eyewitnesses to the crash.
  • The name, commercial driver’s license number, and insurance information of the truck driver.

The police must come to the scene of any semi-truck crash. Part of the job of law enforcement officers in these situations is to conduct a preliminary investigation and possibly assign fault for the crash. However, a truck crash injury victims should not rely only on the police report. A skilled truck accident lawyer will be able to use their resources to obtain additional evidence in these cases to determine fault. This can include:

  • Video surveillance from nearby homes or businesses.
  • The “black box” data from the truck.
  • Truck driver and truck company safety records.
  • Maintenance records for the truck.

Additionally, an attorney may also need to employ the assistance of an accident reconstruction expert who can use the evidence that has been obtained and paint a clear picture of what happened for the benefit of insurance carriers or a jury.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Lawyer?

This is one of the most common questions we receive, and the good news is that we take Orange County truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that our clients will not have to pay any upfront or out-of-pocket costs for their case. Our Orange County personal injury attorneys will not collect any legal fees until after we obtain the compensation our clients deserve. In other words, if we do not win the case, our clients do not pay a dime.

By working with a contingency for you, we recognize that this allows clients to stand up to the negligent parties who caused them harm, regardless of what resources they have and the resources of the opposing side.

What Is the Average Settlement in a Truck Accident Case?

The total amount awarded for a truck accident settlement or jury verdict will depend heavily on the factors related to each particular case. A relatively minor truck accident case may only result in a settlement of a few thousand dollars. However, for victims who sustain severe injuries or incur significant property damage, the settlement may be much higher. For example, it is not uncommon for a truck accident victim to suffer from a spinal cord injury and even paralysis. In these cases, the immediate medical bills are likely to reach into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Additionally, the long-term care for a spinal cord injury with paralysis can reach into millions of dollars. A truck accident settlement after a spinal cord injury is likely to be very significant.

We give these hypothetical scenarios to highlight the varying nature of Orange County truck accident cases. The most important thing you need to know is that if your truck accident injuries were caused by the careless or negligent actions of a truck driver or trucking company, an attorney will be able to help you maximize the total amount of compensation you receive. So many factors contribute to the overall total, including:

  • The initial medical bills
  • The ongoing cost of medical care
  • Total property damage losses
  • The level of the victim’s pain and suffering
  • Whether or not an injury victim is able to work

Let an attorney stand by your side, help determine your total losses, and get you on the road to recovery.

Different Types of Trucks

Semi-Trucks

A semi-truck is also called a big rig or a semi-trailer truck. It usually consists of two parts: the tractor and the trailer. The tractor is what tows the trailer and where the engine is. The driver works and sometimes sleeps in the tractor (also called the cab). The tractor typically has three axles. The front axle is for steering whereas the back two axles are used to hold wheels that support the load and the trailer. The trailer usually only has two axles but they can hold four wheels each. That is how a semi-truck can have 16 or 18 wheels and can be called a 16-wheeler or 18-wheeler. The trailer is coupled with the road tractor by being bolted or being coupled by fifth wheel coupling or automatic coupling. Commercial vehicles like semi-trucks are, of course, in heavy use by shipping companies and freight companies.

Peterbilt Truck

Peterbilt has been manufacturing and building trucks since 1939. They have mainly focused on making big rigs that are medium or heavy-duty in Class 5 through Class 8 range. During our over three decades of protecting victims of truck accidents, we have seen plenty of accidents involving Peterbilt trucks.

The most popular models that are on the road today that Peterbilt makes include the 389, the 388, the 384, the 367 (which is a Heavy Haul truck), the 365, the 330, the 335, the 340 (short haul and pickup model), the 325, the 320 (used in many cases as a concrete pumper), the 390, then 220, and the 587. Peterbilt also builds semi-trailer trucks, liquefied natural gas (LNG) trucks, hybrid models, aerodynamic trucks, vocational truck models, Freightliner trucks, dump trucks and cab-over-engine trucks. They typically utilize PACCAR engines for their trucks including the PACCAR MX Heavy Duty Engine, the PACCAR PX-8 Engine, and the PACCAR PX-6 engine.

Mack Trucks

Mack is a truck manufacturing company that is a subsidiary of AB Volvo. They make construction trucks, heavy-duty trucks, highway trucks, refuse trucks, and military trucks. They even used to make fire trucks and now only serve and refurbish the ones they already sold. Their construction models include the Mack Granite, Mack Granite Axle Black, TerraPro Cabover, Heavy Duty Titan, Highway Series Pinnacle Sleepers, Pinnacle Axle Forward, Pinnacle DayCab, Pinnacle Rawhide, Smartway Highway Truck, TerraPro Cabover Refuse Truck, TerraPro Low Entry Refuse Truck, Granite Axle Black Refuse Truck, Granite Refuse Truck, and the Granite Armored Line Haul Military Truck. The Mack Powertrain is well known especially the MP7 Engine Systems.

Dump Trucks

There can be numerous types of dump trucks on a construction site. The basic design is the same though: A bed or container for materials and an ability to lift the container or bed to let the load slide out of the dump truck to where it needs to go. They are often loaded by heavy equipment like cranes or shovel trucks. The most common types of dump trucks to cause accidents to include transfer dump trucks, side dump truck, dumper trucks, gravel trucks, hydraulic dump trucks, articulated dump truck, super dump truck, truck and pups, semi-trailer end dump truck, semi-trailer bottom dump truck, double trailer bottom dump truck, triple trailer bottom dump truck, off-road dump truck, winter service dump truck, garbage trucks and others.

Contact Our Orange County Truck Accident Lawyers Immediately

DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo has worked in personal injury law since 1979. We have experience winning favorable settlement offers for many truck accident cases. Our case results speak for themselves. Our goal is to obtain the most compensation possible for truck accident victims across Southern California. This includes medical expenses, damaged property, and anything else we uncover during our investigation. Whether your accident was caused by low safety standards, mechanical malfunctions, or another driver’s behavior, our experienced truck accident attorneys in Orange County will help you gather the evidence and substantiate your claim. From minor to severe injuries, contact us today at (714) 783-2205 to discuss your personal injury case during a free consultation.

For more information about truck driving traffic laws, federal laws, service regulations, and safety, check out the website for Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

We serve truck accident victims all throughout Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Irvine, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and San Clemente.