Attorney Portrait Truck Accidents

What is the Average Semi-Truck Accident Settlement in California?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

When a car and a truck collide with each other, the crash is more likely to injure the occupants of the car than the truck driver. This is due to the sheer differences in weight and power between a semi truck and a passenger vehicle. While commercial trucking companies have a responsibility to operate their large vehicles in a safe manner, semi-truck accidents remain a serious public safety problem. According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), around 300 people are killed in large truck crashes in the state each year. Truck accident victims can file personal injury claims to compensate for their damages. These damages can include their medical bills, their lost wages, and their pain and suffering damages. This may include their emotional distress and need for hired domestic help while they recover. How much compensation can you actually expect to recover in the average case? The answer is that it is complicated: every commercial truck accident claim is unique. A truck accident attorney is committed to helping our clients recover the maximum compensation. We know how to hold negligent trucking companies legally accountable. To find out more about how much your semi-truck accident claim is worth, please contact our law firm for a free consultation. Semi-Trucks Usually Carry Higher Insurance Values In California, every passenger vehicle driver needs to carry insurance. Minimum coverage is $15,000 per person, $30,000 per incident. However, a semi-truck usually carries higher liability insurance. This is because semi trucks can cause more serious injuries in crashes. The insurance limits for semi-trucks may be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is even possible to have a seven-figure policy. Therefore only in catastrophic injury cases like death, paralyzation, or brain injury, may an injured person not be fully compensated for his or her losses in a truck crash. Factors that Can Impact your Settlement With your personal injury claim, you can seek compensation for your medical bills, your lost wages, and your pain and suffering. California divides damages into two categories, general and special. Special damages come with a tangible price tag. These include your medical bills and the wages you could not earn while recovering. General damages are the less tangible expenses you face, as the cost of a permanently reduced quality of life. There is no definite way to calculate fair compensation figure for your general damages. Parties of a case will look at how the incident affects your social life with family and friends, household chores, and spousal relationships. Testimonies from loved ones and documentation showing your ongoing need for psychological counseling to overcome the emotional distress of the injury may be used to show your general damages. Other factors that can impact your settlement amount include: Whether you received medical care in a timely manner after the accident; Your level of fault for the accident; The amount of medical bills; The amount of loss of earnings; Any future medical treatment; and The amount of evidence you can provide showing the extent of your damages. With limited exceptions, your settlement offer should account for your specific, individual damages. In practice, this means that your truck accident injury claim must be well supported by the evidence. Without well-organized, comprehensive documents and records that establish the value of your damages, it will be difficult to get the full and fair settlement offer that you deserve. A collision with a semi truck may leave you severely injured. You are facing extensive medical treatment, time out of work, or even an end to your career. These, compounded by issues like emotional trauma following the accident, chronic pain in the time that follows, and past and future expenses related to the injury, maybe collectible damages in a potential personal injury claim. Indeed, under California law, you have the right to hold the negligent defendant legally liable for the full value of your damages. Unfortunately, recovering fair compensation after a commercial truck accident can be deeply challenging. The personal injury claims process is notoriously complex. The large insurance providers that typically defend personal injury cases on behalf of the trucking companies are extremely aggressive in settling and litigating these claims. In fact, insurance companies are known to try to resolve claim as quickly and as low as possible — even trying to deny liability altogether if possible. Work With An Experienced Semi Truck Accident Lawyer in California Today At The Beliz Law Firm, our Long Beach, CA truck accident attorneys fight to protect the rights and interests of injured victims. Among other things, our legal team will: Conduct a free, comprehensive review of your truck accident injury claim; Take action to investigate the collision and ensure that all evidence is obtained; Prepare all medical documents and records to prove the value of your medical damages; Organize all financial documents and records that indicate your other economic damages; Negotiate for a full and fair settlement offer with the insurance company; and If necessary, prepare to file a truck accident injury lawsuit. We want to make sure that you and your family get access to every dollar that you deserve under the law. Our law firm will push for the best settlement offer. Most personal injury claims can be settled prior to litigation. At the same time, we are always ready to litigate your truck accident claim if the truck company or its insurer refuses to play by the rules or treat you fairly. At The Beliz Law Firm, our California personal injury attorney has the skills and experience needed to hold negligent trucking companies liable. If the truck driver, trucking company, or truck manufacturer was at fault for your accident, you should seek compensation for your losses. You will need to file a personal injury claim. To find out more about your legal rights and your legal options, please contact The Beliz Law Firm today to set up your free case evaluation.

Continue Reading

Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

What are the Laws in California Regarding a Pedestrian Hit by a Car?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

It’s dangerous out there being a pedestrian. Not only do you have to worry about California’s crumbling sidewalks, but distracted and aggressive motorists show very little respect for pedestrians. According to one source, pedestrian deaths account for 22% of all traffic fatalities, so it important that pedestrians protect themselves. At the Beliz Law Firm, we receive a common question: “I got hit by a car while crossing the street. What are my rights?” In this post, we will explain how the law protects pedestrians in California and what to do after a collision. Hitting a Pedestrian in a Crosswalk All motorists must operate their vehicles with sufficient care. This does not mean that they must be perfect, but they must use due care so as not to injure anyone—including pedestrians. When drivers fail to be sufficiently careful, they are negligent and legally responsible for the injuries they cause. Examples of negligence include: Failing to stop Running a red light Trying to scoot around a pedestrian Distracted driving, such as texting or talking on the phone while driving Backing up without checking in the rearview mirror California Vehicle Code § 21950 confirms that both pedestrians and motorists owe each other a duty of care. The code specifically states that motorists who are approaching a pedestrian in any marked or unmarked crosswalk must slow down their vehicle and take any other action necessary to avoid hitting a pedestrian. However, the Code also says that pedestrians must not rush in front of a vehicle so that they create a hazard. Pedestrians also cannot delay traffic while in the crosswalk. If a driver fails to operate their vehicle carefully, and they injure a pedestrian, then the pedestrian can sue the driver for compensation. However, if the pedestrian did not exercise care, they might not have a lawsuit. Use Common Sense Pedestrians and motorists can protect everyone’s safety by using common sense and not being in a rush to get somewhere. Simply wait for vehicles or pedestrians to get through the crosswalk before heading across. The California Driver Handbook implores pedestrians and motorists to exhibit courtesy to each other, which will reduce the chances of an accident. Of course, some accidents are unavoidable, and pedestrians should do everything possible to protect their right to compensation. For example, you should do the following after getting struck: Contact emergency services to have an ambulance come out. Take pictures of anything, such as damage to the car that hit you, or the area where you landed. If you are in extreme pain, ask someone else to take these pictures with their camera. Contact the police to come out to the accident and write up a police report. These reports will contain important information. Identify any witnesses to the collision. Get their names and contact information. Promptly seek medical attention. The more information you find, the greater your case for compensation. If you are too injured to collect anything, then ask for help or have your lawyer look for this information as soon as possible. Contact Us Today If you are a pedestrian hit by a car, laws in California protect you. These laws allow injured pedestrians to hold negligent drivers accountable when they negligently injure other people. At the Beliz Law Firm, we meet with many people who have suffered devastating injuries in pedestrian crashes, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and permanent nerve damage. We know how stressful it is to be in pain and possibly unable to work. To speak with an attorney, please reach out to us today. One of our pedestrian accident lawyers can meet with you to discuss your case. Avoid delay. California law gives injured pedestrians a short amount of time to request compensation after a crash.

Continue Reading

Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

What Time of Day do Most Car Accidents Happen?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Car accidents can strike at any time. However, your chances of suffering an accident increase when there are more people on the road. For that reason, drivers should expect the most accidents to occur during rush hour traffic. And statistics bear this assumption out. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the most dangerous time to drive on the road is during afternoon rush hour traffic. Read on for more information about when your risk of getting into an accident is elevated. A Closer Look at the Most Dangerous Time to Drive Avvo looked at Fatality Analysis Reporting System data, provided by the federal government and broke down the number of fatalities according to the time of day in 3-hour increments: 1:00 am to 3:59 am: 4,019 fatalities 4:00 am to 6:59 am: 3,520 fatalities 7:00 am to 9:59 am: 3,345 fatalities 10:00 am to 12:59 pm: 3,864 fatalities 1:00 pm to 3:59 pm: 5,273 fatalities 4:00 pm to 6:59 pm: 6,201 fatalities 7:00 pm to 9:59 pm: 6,067 fatalities 10:00 pm to 12:59 am: 4,829 fatalities One thing that jumps out is how safe the morning rush hour period is compared to driving home from work.  For example, traffic fatalities early in the morning are very low. In fact, it seems that drivers are much more careful early in the morning. Indeed, fatalities are much lower in the 7:00 am to 9:59 am window than even in the 1:00 am to 3:59 am a window when fewer people should be on the road.  This could mean driving skills decrease as the day goes on.  Being drained from work may increase the chance of a serious accident while driving home.  Finally, darkness and visibility may increase fatal vehicle collisions. The Most Dangerous Day to Drive According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the most dangerous day to drive is the Fourth of July, based on a 2016 analysis. This should not be entirely surprising. As part of the festivities, many people enjoy far too much alcohol to drink, which impairs their driving ability. Also, because the weather on the Fourth is often hot, a driver will be even more impaired. With so many vehicles on the road, even sober drivers can become frustrated and engage in dangerous driving. Based on the same 2016 analysis, the other most dangerous days to drive include: January 1 September 18 August 2 August 27 July 5 October 2 Of the seven days of the week, Saturday is the most dangerous according to NHTSA. Actually, the weekend is when the most fatal accidents occur.  Less traffic with higher speeds may be the reason for the higher numbers.  Conversely, the safest day to be on the road is Tuesday. (Interactive Map) In 2016, the number of car crash-related fatalities were as follows: Sunday: 5,809 Monday: 4,883 Tuesday: 4,444 Wednesday: 4,695 Thursday: 5,002 Friday: 5,826 Saturday: 6,802 If you need to go on a long trip, then Tuesday or Wednesday would seem to be ideal days. Protecting Yourself The reason so many accidents happen on certain days and at certain times is that roads are congested. But you probably need to be on the road at the same time, along with everyone else. What can you do? Clearly, drivers should exercise extreme caution when driving during rush hour. Remember to leave enough room between you and other vehicles, preferably four seconds of time. Also be reasonable when someone is trying to merge into traffic. If possible, you can scoot into the other lane, leaving the room. You should also avoid drinking on holidays, since alcohol will dramatically slow down your reflexes and impair your judgment, thus increasing the likelihood of a crash. If you see someone driving erratically, report them to the authorities. If you are feeling fatigued, remember to pull over to the side of the road. Speak to a Long Beach Car Accident Lawyer Rush hour might be the most dangerous time to drive, but motorists and pedestrians can suffer a serious injury at any time. If you have been injured in an accident, you need compensation to help you cover medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Your pain and suffering also warrant compensation. Contact the Beliz Law Firm today. Our car accident lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve and are prepared to negotiate aggressively on your behalf. Call 562-452-3772 for a free consultation or send us an online contact form.

Continue Reading

Attorney Portrait Truck Accidents

What to Do After a Truck Accident in California

| Read Time: 3 minutes

A car accident with a semi-truck is different than one between two smaller vehicles, like a car, motorcycle, or standard pickup truck. In addition, there may be more parties involved since many semi-trucks are owned by companies rather than individuals. There may be different laws and regulations, and injuries tend to be more severe given the size difference between the vehicles involved. Steps after a Truck Accident The number one step, if necessary, is to seek medical treatment immediately for any injuries you may have sustained in the accident. In the event you don’t need emergency medical treatment at the scene, the next step is to collect as much evidence as you can. Get names, addresses, driver’s license number, insurance information, and commercial company name (if applicable). It’s important to get as much information about the commercial truck company as you can, since you may be up against a large corporation who has tons of resources. Photos are definitely helpful for an investigator to determine liability and prove what the road conditions were like at the time the accident occurred. Take photos of the damage, skid marks, physical surroundings, and weather can be important if it was raining heavily or snowing at the time. Be cautious what you say at the scene. Do not admit liability to anyone, including law enforcement, witnesses, family members, etc. Once you get home, you should contact your insurance company to report the loss. They can ensure the loss is reported with the other driver’s employer and insurance company as well. If the other insurance company contacts you, do not give them a recorded statement, as they may trick you into admitting liability or use other information against you during negotiations. Retaining a California truck accident attorney is highly recommended since commercial truck accident settlements tend to be more complex. There are multiple parties and companies that may be working on behalf of the driver. Average Semi-Truck Accident Settlement If you were hit by a semi-truck, settlement amounts are likely to be higher than if you were struck by a compact vehicle. However, there is no blanket value to name, as a liability, injuries, and damages will vary in each accident, and those are critical factors in determining a settlement amount. The main components in average semi-truck accident settlements include economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are made up of medical expenses, ambulance fees, future medical treatments, loss of earnings, future loss of earnings, and your vehicle damages. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and other damages that are not as easily calculated. You can help your case by ensuring you seek immediate medical attention, as the longer you wait, the more the other side will argue your injuries were not that serious. Ensure you go to all your scheduled doctor visits and follow their instructions. If you skip a few appointments, the other party will be quick to point this out. When it comes to your doctor visits, be candid and tell them everything. Even if it seems like a minor complaint, it’s best to have it documented in your medical charts.  Retaining a California Truck Accident Attorney If you were injured in an accident with a semi-truck, a skilled personal injury attorney who is experienced litigating these types of commercial losses can be an invaluable resource during this difficult time. You need to concentrate on healing and getting back to work rather than taking on the added stress of dealing with the truck driver’s insurance company and/or attorney. The Beliz Law Firm can handle your claim and protect your rights so you get the compensation you deserve. Contact our office at 562-452-3772 to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Continue Reading

Attorney Portrait Truck Accidents

What Should I Do if I am Rear-Ended by a Semi-Truck

| Read Time: 3 minutes

Getting Rear-Ended by a Semi-Truck Often Leads to Serious Injuries Settling with the insurance company after an accident like this is usually a big mistake. An experienced truck accident lawyer can make sure you aren’t stuck with unfair bills and worries after the crash. With Michael Beliz, consultations are free, so call today. Learn more about what you should do after a crash: Semi-trucks, also called tractor-trailers or big rigs, can cause devastating injuries when they collide with passenger vehicles. These trucks can weight 50,000-80,000 pounds when fully loaded, up to 40 times the weight of a passenger vehicle. Unfortunately, crashes involving semis seem to be on the rise. According to statistics kept by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were over 4,000 large trucks involved in fatal accidents in 2015, almost a 10% increase over the year before. Furthermore, there were 87,000 large trucks in accidents that caused bodily injuries. If you have been rear-ended by a semi-truck, remember the following tips. Call the Police If you don’t call the police, you are making things harder for yourself. Once the police arrive, they will make a police report identifying the parties involved in the collision and any witnesses. The officer also might identify who is at fault for the accident. A police report is a great way to jumpstart the evidence-gathering process. If you are too hurt to call the police, ask someone else to call for you. Seek Medical Treatment There is no way around it—semi trucks can cause catastrophic injuries to those involved. In addition to death, they cause the following serious injuries: Broken bones Crushed limbs Amputations Head injuries Back injuries Spinal cord injuries Pinched nerves Paralysis Even if the injuries are not apparent immediately after the collision, you should seek medical attention immediately. Many types of injuries, like traumatic brain injuries and internal bleeding, may not be visible or felt at the accident site. It may take days for the pains to appear, which may be too late. Therefore you should go to a medical provider to get a thorough physical examination. Do Not Talk to the Semi Truck Insurance Insurance Do not talk and admit that you did something wrong that led to the crash. Anything you say can be used against you later, so always stay quiet. There is no law that says you must talk to the insurance company regarding the facts or injuries of the claim. If an insurance adjuster wants to speak to you, have them contact your lawyer first. Collect Evidence In order to receive compensation, you need to show that the semi-truck driver was responsible for the crash. And to prove who was at fault, you will need evidence. Remember to gather the following: Take pictures of the final resting place of the semi-truck and any vehicles involved. Use your smartphone and ask a bystander to take pictures if you can’t move around. Get the name of the driver of the semi-truck plus get the insurance information. Take photos of the semi-truck both of the cab and the cargo area. Get a copy of the police report. Identify witnesses if they are not identified in the police report. Your lawyer will find this information helpful when analyzing whether you can have a case and the determination of the value of the case. Hire a Long Beach Truck Accident Lawyer To make a claim against the trucking company’s insurer, you need a seasoned advocate in your corner. Insurance companies play tough, trying to settle claims for as little as possible. Instead of negotiating with the insurance agent on your own, you should hire a truck accident lawyer who will fight for your rights. At the Beliz Law Firm, we have over a decade of experience in personal injury law and have helped numerous clients reach favorable results in their cases. To schedule a free consultation, contact us today.

Continue Reading

Attorney Portrait Truck Accidents

Will I Have to File a Trucking Accident Lawsuit?

| Read Time: 2 minutes

When you become involved in a collision with a large truck in Southern California that results in serious personal injuries and significant property damage, you are likely wondering: will I have to file a trucking accident lawsuit? Before you try to decide on your own about the best way to proceed with your case, it is important to work with a California truck accident lawyer who can tell you about your options. In addition, you may be able to receive compensation through an insurance claim, but it also may be necessary to file a lawsuit to receive the compensation you deserve. We will tell you a bit more about the process and how truck accident claims typically work. No matter what, it is important to reach out to a truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Under California law, you will likely have only two years and as little as six months from the date of the accident to file your claim. Contacting the Insurance Company and Negotiating a Settlement If you become injured by a large truck, a semi-truck, or an 18-wheeler in California, it is likely that you sustained severe and debilitating injuries. In addition, you may have suffered massive property damage. Also, it is important to report the accident to your own auto insurance company after the collision. However, you should recognize that even your own insurance company may be only able to assist you in the property damage part of your case and not your injuries. While you should report the accident immediately to your insurance company and answer basic fact-based questions. Your California truck accident lawyer can assist you with your medical issues, and handle negotiations with your insurance company, and with the trucking company’s insurer, on your behalf. It may be possible to negotiate a settlement with the help of your attorney in the claim stage.  However, if your injuries are serious, you may need to file a trucking accident lawsuit. Filing Your Lawsuit with the Help of a Long Beach Accident Lawyer If you do need to file a trucking accident lawsuit, this may mean that you will need to understand it may take some time to get compensation through a settlement. Your truck accident lawyer can discuss options with you for filing a claim against the responsible party. Which may be any of the following depending upon the specific facts of your case: Truck driver; Trucking company; Truck owner; Truck loader; Manufacturer of a truck part; Designer of a truck part; or Mechanic who improperly serviced the truck. You may be able to name multiple defendants in your lawsuit. In many cases, even trucking accident lawsuits get settled before a trial, and plaintiffs receive the compensation. Contact a California Truck Accident Attorney Your California trucking accident attorney can help with every step of the process. We can ensure that you become treated fairly by the insurance company present the best possible case if you need to turn to a trucking accident lawsuit. Contact the Beliz Law Firm today for more information or to get started on your case.

Continue Reading

Attorney Portrait Truck Accidents

Why Are Accidents Involving Semi Trucks Common in Riverside?

| Read Time: 2 minutes

Help with Riverside Commerical Vehicle Accidents Semi-truck accidents are a small minority of total motor vehicle accidents in the United States. State and federal regulations passed over the last few decades reduced the number of semi-truck accidents that occur. But when these accidents do happen, they are twice as likely to be fatal. Unfortunately, Riverside and the greater Inland Empire area sees more than its fair share of commercial truck accidents. The manufacturing and agricultural industries make Riverside a popular destination for the import and export of goods. Semi-trucks transport a majority of these goods. Riverside’s populous but sprawled population creates traffic congestion with more drivers on the roads. Riverside is also the meeting place for three major freeways: Interstate 215, State Route 60, and State Route 91. Because of these factors, Riverside has a reputation as a hotbed for 18-wheeler and commercial truck accidents. Find out how to protect yourself from a Riverside semi-truck collision. Common Causes of Semi Truck Accidents Commercial truck drivers are usually some of the best drivers on the road. Yet, when a truck driver causes an accident, the consequences can be serious and often fatal. Some of the common reasons for semi-truck accidents in Riverside include: Driver fatigue. Truck driver fatigue causes about a third of commercial truck accidents. Drivers sometimes skip breaks or mandated rest periods to meet deadlines or get home to their families. Distracted driving. Texting, talking on the cell phone/CB radio, listening to loud music, or eating may distract truck drivers. Speeding. 18-wheelers take a long time to slow down or come to a complete stop when moving at a high rate of speed. This makes speeding a very dangerous behavior for commercial truck drivers. Truck drivers sometimes speed to meet strict delivery timelines. Equipment Failure. Trucking companies are responsible for the proper maintenance and care of their vehicles. When companies neglect truck maintenance, truck drivers may experience several issues. These include tire blowouts, faulty brakes, and other malfunctioning equipment. Any of these issues can lead to an accident. Poor training and/or driving practices. Safely operating a semi-truck requires training and experience. Therefore, poorly trained and inexperienced truck drivers are more likely to cause an accident. Finding a commercial vehicle accident lawyer in Riverside When a truck driver causes an accident, both the driver and the trucking company may be responsible for the financial, physical, and emotional damages that result. Unfortunately, insurance companies that represent trucking companies are very skilled at minimizing payouts to truck accident victims. If you are in a semi-truck accident, be sure to consult with a personal injury attorney before accepting any offers or settlement from an insurance company. Involved in an 18-wheeler Truck Accident? Call a California Personal Injury Attorney. If you or a loved one was injured in a commercial truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. The Beliz Law Firm will fight the big corporations to protect your rights and interests. Contact our office in Long Beach, California to schedule your free initial consultation and case review.

Continue Reading