Category Archives: Personal Injury Lawyer

Determining Liability in Your Truck Accident Case

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Walking away from a truck accident as an uninjured driver or passenger of a standard-sized vehicle is rare simply due to the sheer size and force of a moving truck. The injuries that occur in a truck accident are generally severe, often including head trauma, internal bleeding, and back and neck injuries.  

Yet, seeking compensation for medical bills, ongoing treatment, wages, and even wrongful death in a truck accident is extremely challenging and tedious. Large trucking companies are prepared with legal teams and massive insurance policies that have the goal of protecting their company, their manufacturers, and their drivers from a large payout. 

Working with a truck accident attorney who has experience handling claims against trucking companies, drivers, and manufacturers, as well as aggressive insurance companies, is crucial to the success of your case and your peace of mind while you heal.

Crash Investigation

Attorneys can determine the cause of an accident through an extensive and in-depth investigation that will involve visits to the crash site, a review of the driver’s black box, driver log, and other factors including police reports, weather conditions, and eyewitness reports. Attorneys will address the potential for multiple parties involved by reviewing the trucking company’s history of accidents, manufacturing issues, or other logistical concerns. A detailed investigation can take months to review critical evidence in a truck accident. 

Multiple Parties

Layers of trucking laws, specific investigative procedures, and multiple involved parties can make a successful truck accident lawsuit seem out of reach. Unlike a typical car accident, truck accidents can possibly involve multiple negligent parties in addition to the driver. It is crucial for you and your attorney to understand the connection between various parties including the trucking company, manufacturer, and even cargo loaders. Determining which parties were negligent and should be held liable for injuries and damages is an essential part of your truck accident claim. 

Who Can be Held Liable in a Truck Accident?

The trucking industry has so many interconnected roles that negligence, as early in the process as manufacturing, can create potential harm for anyone on the road. Truck drivers, manufacturing companies, truck owners, and trucking companies, among others, can potentially hold responsibility for an accident.

Truck Drivers

The most common defendant in a trucking accident, the negligent behaviors of a truck driver can have tremendous consequences for others on the road. Common negligent actions among truck drivers include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Driving impaired
  • Failing to follow state or federal laws
  • Drowsy driving
  • Failing to maintain driver’s log

Truck Companies/Truck Owners

The truck’s owner, whether an individual, a company, or a leasing firm, is responsible for ensuring the truck is completely safe and roadworthy. If the truck’s owner fails to properly maintain the truck, and that lack of maintenance causes an accident, the owner can be held liable for any damages. In addition, companies are responsible for hiring fully licensed and experienced drivers and ensuring those drivers comply with trucking laws. Common negligence among truck companies and owners includes:

  • Poor truck maintenance
  • Hiring unqualified drivers
  • Insufficient training of employees
  • Encouraging their drivers to violate hour and sleep restrictions

Truck Manufacturer

Manufacturing errors are significant factors in truck accidents. Recorded data from 2021 showed that about 30% of all truck-related accidents are caused by tire defects. Even when warnings and recalls are in place, the truck manufacturer can still potentially be held liable for damages. 

Cargo Loaders

The companies that hire trucking companies to transport their materials and products can potentially be held liable if their materials are not securely fastened and come loose. Over-loading, improper balance or the use of unsafe straps, levers, or other securing devices are all common factors in trucking hazards.

How We Can Help

California remains among the top states with the highest fatal trucking accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Patrol’s 2019 statistics, 7.7% of California truck drivers were involved in fatal crashes during that year. 

Truck accidents are complex and require an experienced eye. Our Bakersfield trucking accident attorneys of Rodriguez & Associates have handled hundreds of truck accidents. Founder and senior attorney Daniel Rodriguez, along with attorneys Chantal Trujillo and Danay Gonzalez, obtained the highest personal injury verdict in Kern County history of over $70 million for a truck vs SUV case. Our firm is familiar with truck engineering, truckers’ fatigue, and other issues that lead to catastrophic accidents.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a truck accident, contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and possible legal options.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 8:54 pm

What is a Shared Fault Law and How Can it Affect Your Personal Injury Claim?

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Personal injury accidents are not always cut and dry. In California, shared fault laws can affect the outcome of your case. Aggressive insurance companies will use shared fault to their advantage, to minimize their client’s responsibility and damages payout. If you have been injured and are pursuing a personal injury claim, working with a highly experienced personal injury attorney at a reputable personal injury law firm can help you navigate the complexities of shared fault to ensure that you find justice in your case.

What is Shared Fault?

Shared Fault, or comparative negligence, is a law that allows for both the plaintiff and the defendant to be held partially liable for damages. In a situation where both parties were negligent, the court can issue percentages of fault, requiring each party to pay damages to the other, or mitigating the liability of the defendant. Comparative negligence follows the general understanding that the plaintiff does not have the right to recover what they contributed to the accident.

California is among the few states that abide by a “Pure” comparative fault rule which allows the defendant to recover some damages even if they are mostly at fault for the incident.

When Can Shared Fault Occur?

Shared fault can be found in many types of California personal injury cases. While most commonly seen in car accident claims, other common shared fault cases include:

Who Decides Percentages of Fault?

If you were injured in an accident that was caused by a drunk driver, but you were also driving distracted and did not see the other car, how much of the fault is placed on you versus the defendant must be decided. Typically, it is the judge or a jury who reviews the facts and makes an informed decision about the role each party played in the accident.

When your case goes to settlement or trial, your attorney will be able to negotiate the percentages of fault for your case. It may be found that the drunk driver in the example above was 80% at fault for the accident, and you were 20% at fault for driving distracted. The damages you receive would be reduced by the amount of 20%.

Every personal injury accident is unique and there is no absolute method to appropriating fault. With many factors that can influence comparative negligence in a case, it is important to have the support of a legal team who has the ability to advocate for you against large insurance agencies and big companies.

How We Can Help

If you have been injured by the negligence of another person in California, contact Rodriguez & Associates today at (661) 323-1400 or by filling out this online form. Our team of Bakersfield, California personal injury lawyers is skilled at handling all types of personal injury claims including those that involve shared fault, with the goal of securing the most possible damages for you as you recover.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 7:51 pm