Proven Long Beach Truck Accident Attorney Ready To Help You
If you or someone you love suffered injuries due to a negligent truck driver, you have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries in California. However, pursuing a claim for your damages can be complicated, and insurance companies rarely offer the full value for injuries.
Insurance companies' goals are to resolve injury claims as quickly as possible for as low as possible. A skilled Long Beach truck accident attorney can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Don't become a victim again by allowing the defendant's insurance company to try and take advantage of you. Instead, let The Beliz Law Firm, P.C. protect your rights.
Truck accidents are common occurrences in the greater Long Beach area with heavily traveled routes within the city.
The 710 freeway, also called the Long Beach Freeway, runs in a north-south direction. It is especially busy with trucks since it connects the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports via the Terminal Island Freeway (SR-47). The 710 freeway ends in San Pedro with exits in Downtown Long Beach, Pacific Coast Highway, and Artesia Boulevard. The 605 freeway, also known as the San Gabriel Freeway, is 27 miles long and has three exits within the city at Carson Street, Spring Street, and Willow Street. Interstate 405 or the 405 freeway is a highly trafficked highway that runs through 8 miles of Long Beach. It starts at Studebaker Road and ends at the 710 freeway with exits at Atlantic Avenue and Lakewood Boulevard.
You need an attorney who has experience handling truck accident claims and understands the state and federal regulations that apply in these situations. Attorney Michael Beliz has years of experience representing injured victims in Long Beach truck accident claims. If you need assistance, contact our office to schedule a consultation.
Case Spotlight$100,000 Settlement Amount
Settlement for a Rear End Accident Case
The Beliz Law obtained a policy limit settlement of $100,000 for a 51-year-old female. The incident occurred on Katella Avenue in the city of Anaheim. A truck driver was approaching stopped traffic and applied the brake pedal. Unfortunately, the driver’s foot slipped off the brake and pressed the accelerator. This caused the driver’s 4-ton truck to jump ahead and crash into the vehicle where the client was sitting as a passenger. The crash was so forceful that eventually, it caused three more vehicles to crash.
The client felt immediate pain to her right arm. Due to the severity of the accident and the pain, an ambulance took the client to the hospital at the University of California, Irvine. Doctors diagnosed the client with a right wrist fracture. The arm was splinted and the client was discharged with instructions to see the client’s primary care physicians. For months, the client presented to physical therapy, however the client’s wrist continued to have issues with pain, grip strength, and movement. Eventually, the client presented to an orthopedic surgeon that recommended surgery. Approximately a year after the accident, the client had surgery on her right wrist.
After signing the client, The Beliz Law Firm investigated the crash details and contacted the truck driver’s insurance company. The Beliz Law Firm presented the facts of the case and the client’s injuries to the other party’s insurance company. Because of the severity of the injuries, The Beliz Law Firm demanded and obtained the other driver’s automobile insurance limits.
Most Important Steps to Take After a Tractor Trailer Accident in California
Accidents involving large trucks have a greater potential to cause serious damages and injuries. The sheer size of the vehicles, especially when compared to passenger cars, makes the impact that much harder. The collision may initially leave you in a shocked state. However, it is imperative to take steps to keep yourself safe and ensure you’ll be compensated for your injuries.
Steps to take after a large truck accident:
- Call 911 – You need emergency medical services and police to get to the scene as quickly as possible. Emergency medical services will help with your injuries. The police or highway patrol will investigate the scene and create a traffic collision report. The report will include information on the drivers, any statements made at the scene, the condition of the roadway, and a reason for the crash. When serious injuries result from a crash, it is common for investigators to photograph the scene.
- Get Medical Attention – Injuries from truck accidents can be severe. For this reason, individuals involved in the crash should seek medical attention. Paramedics at the scene of the crash will often treat injured individuals and transport them to the hospital. Medical treatment can also happen after you leave the accident site by going to the emergency room, urgent care or making an appointment with your primary care physician. Regardless of where you treat, it should happen as soon as possible. You want a medical professional to perform an examination of your present pains and complaints; in addition, the exam may find unseen ones like a brain injury, internal bleeding or spinal damages. Seeking medical attention will document your injuries with a healthcare professional, which will help you prove damages in your case against the trucking company.
- Preserve Evidence – Most of us carry smartphones these days, so make use of yours after the accident. Assuming your injuries aren’t too serious, survey the scene and take photos of the property damage, the location, and anything else that may be important to your case.
- Take Care of Your Car – After a trucking accident, you need to determine if your vehicle is drivable. If it is inoperable or unsafe to be on the road, you will need to get the car towed to a storage facility. Call your auto insurance promptly to mitigate any costs involved. If you are able to drive away from the scene, call your insurance company so they may take photos and send the vehicle out to an auto body shop for an estimate and the possibility of repairs.
- Hire a Long Beach Truck Accident Attorney – Dealing with an insurance company can be quite difficult. Oftentimes, they will offer you far less compensation than you demand. Hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer will protect your interests. They’ll send out spoliation letters to the truck company to make sure they preserve the truck involved in the accident. They will also help in the hiring of investigators and experts to thoroughly examine your case and ensure you receive full compensation.
How Our Truck Accident Lawyers in Long Beach Can Help
When you retain The Beliz Law Firm, P.C. to represent you, we will immediately start an independent investigation. The other driver’s insurance company will be looking for any way to place the bulk of liability on you. Their primary goal is to reduce their exposure and potential payout.
We will work tirelessly to build the strongest case possible. We will use aggressive legal strategies and preserve all necessary evidence in your case. Examples of investigative steps we will take in your case include:
- Researching whether the driver had proper training;
- Obtaining the truck driver’s driving record;
- Requesting safety records from the trucking company;
- Checking the truck’s maintenance records;
- Ordering the police report and all your medical records, support of lost wages, property damage estimates; and
- Verifying whether the truck driver was on the phone at the time of the accident.
We will also handle all communication with the defendant’s insurance company and lawyers—including settlement negotiations. When you are unrepresented, insurance companies will try to take advantage of your inexperience by offering you less than your case is worth. We will fight for the maximum compensation possible. If the defendants don’t engage in fair negotiation talks, we will file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in California
Truck accidents can occur for any number of reasons. Some of the most common truck accident causes include:
- Speeding: As usual, speeding is one of the biggest causes of accidents. A truck driver may be more prone to speeding than an average passenger driver. A truck driver makes a living by getting to his destinations on time. The more cargo the driver transports, the more money he makes. The opposite is also true. If the vehicle is late, there are penalties, which in many cases involve money. Truck drivers may have a tendency to press the gas pedal a little more, which can lead to severe consequences to other drivers.
- Recklessness: As with speeding, a truck driver may be more subject to drive aggressively to make deliveries on time. Drivers need to remember large trucks can be 80 feet long carrying close to 40 tons of cargo. This means stopping distances and turning radiuses are much different in a big rig compare to a standard car. Being aggressive behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler may lead to serious injuries.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol: Truck drivers are subject to aggressive screening. Still, impaired driving happens. The law in California states it is illegal to operate a vehicle requiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL) with a blood alcohol level of 0.04 percent or above, which is half the standard for a passenger driver. However, any traces of blood alcohol level in a commercial driver’s system may impair his judgment on the roadways.
- Driving while fatigued: Over 4,000 people die each year from truck accidents due to driver fatigue. Driver fatigue is a factor in 13% of large truck crashes. Fatigue can be due to all sort of physical and mental reasons. Lack of adequate sleep, long work hours, tough work conditions, and nondriving activities are some of the reasons that cause fatigue. California has new rules in place to help drivers get the rest they need. One rule makes drivers take a 30-minute break every 8 hours and another rule reduces the maximum number of driving hours per week from 82 to 70.
- Defective equipment: There are many moving parts on 18-wheelers, which leaves more to break. Two equipment failures that cause crashes are brake issues and tire problems. Based on government data, equipment failure is responsible for 35% of large truck crashes.
- Overloaded or improperly loaded cargo: When a truck is loaded past capacity, maneuvering and braking become more difficult than normal. An overloaded truck contributes wear and tear on its equipment bring the brakes and tires to failure quicker than a properly loaded truck. Cargo loads need to be properly distributed in the truck so there is not a heavy side to the vehicle. Overloading one side of a truck may cause it overturn and rollover.
- Driver inexperience: In California, large truck drivers need to complete a physician’s medical exam, pass a written exam and a road skills test to receive a commercial drivers license. Even with a proper license, a driver may not have enough experience and confidence to be driving a large truck.
- Weather and road conditions: Road conditions play a big role in the handling and performance of a vehicle. Snowy, icy, or even wet roads may make it tough to drive, especially braking and turning. In addition, weather may limit a driver’s visibility making it important to drive cautiously.
Perhaps the truck driver fell asleep while driving and didn’t stop at a red light in time. Or the driver was speeding and couldn’t stop due to faulty brakes. Identifying all negligent parties is crucial to pursuing maximum compensation in your claim.
That’s one reason why hiring a skilled truck accident lawyer in Long Beach is so important.
Who can be Liable for a Semi-Truck Accident?
Determining liability and who is responsible in a truck accident can be exceptionally difficult. The trucking industry includes a wide variety of players. Naturally, this makes determining liability more complex.
Several parties may be responsible for your injuries and damages. They are the following:
- The driver
- The owner of the truck (may or may not be the driver)
- The owner of the trailer
- The supplier
- Parties responsible for parts and maintenance on the truck
- The driver’s employer
- Outside parties
What Factors Impact Your Long Beach Truck Accident Settlement
No two truck accidents are identical, which means no two claims will likely resolve for the same amount either. To understand what your case is potentially worth, you need to look at the individual factors that impact your claim. The main elements are injury type and severity, liability, damages, and available coverage.
Injury Type and Severity
The type and severity of your injuries play a significant role in determining the value of your accident claim. The more injuries you have and the greater their severity, the more likely your claim’s value will be.
For example, someone with a traumatic brain injury will likely have a much higher value than someone who sustained soft tissue injuries that healed after a couple of months.
It’s not uncommon to have similar injuries be worth different amounts, though. Consider two victims who both have broken leg. If one victim has residual pain and a permanent disability with future medical treatment may be potentially worth more than the other person whose leg healed.
Liability is another important factor in determining truck accident settlement values. California is a pure comparative negligence state. That means you can collect a portion of your damages, even if you are at some percentage at fault for the collision.
However, your award or settlement will reflect that. For example, if a jury finds you 30% at fault, you will receive 70% of your total damages. If you are 80% at fault, you could still receive 20%.
In addition, it is not uncommon for truck accidents to have more than two vehicles involved. It is important to get the traffic collision report to determine the various parties involved and potential fault.
With comparative liability, you can have two victims with identical injuries and damages resolve for vastly different amounts if liability differs. The defendant’s insurance company will do everything possible to place as much fault on you as possible. That is why it’s crucial to hire an experienced Long Beach truck accident attorney.
Another factor in your potential settlement amount is your overall damages. Damages are your losses, including items such as:
- medical expenses,
- time off work,
- property damage,
- pain and suffering,
- emotional distress,
- loss of consortium, and more.
Damages are related to your injuries and severity. The more severe your injuries, the potential higher value of your damages.
The amount of available insurance coverage can also impact your claim. Truck accidents usually involve significant commercial policies, so the liability limits are much higher than a person might carry on their own private vehicle.
There may be additional insurance if the truck was hauling a trailer or cargo. Plus there may be an umbrella policy covering the truck and the purpose of the trip.
Having a skilled and experienced Long Beach truck accident lawyer can help in determining liability coverage and insurance is important before moving forward on an injury claim.
Statute of Limitations in a Long Beach Truck Accident
You only have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit in California. This deadline is called the statute of limitations. In most personal injury cases, the time is two years from the date of the accident, including car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, etc.
If a victim dies from their injuries, surviving family members could have the legal right to bring a wrongful death claim. The statute in this situation could be two years from the date of death.
Failure to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations means the court will most likely dismiss your case. The defendants are under no legal obligation to continue negotiations with you should you miss the deadline. Don’t mistakenly assume that all cases fall under the two-year deadline either.
Some circumstances can either extend or shorten the filing time. For example, claims against government entities have different filing procedures and much shorter deadlines.
If the defendant denies liability or refuses to budge from their last offer, we will commence litigation and proceed with a plan to try your case. We have years of experience in the courtroom and aren’t afraid to try lawsuits against these trucking companies.
Contact Our Long Beach Truck Accident Law Firm
If you sustained injuries in a Long Beach truck accident, you don’t have to go up against the insurance company alone. Let our Long Beach truck accident lawyer assist you. We have experience representing injured California victims for all sorts of personal injury accidents, including large truck claims.
Our experienced attorney also handles:
- Motorbike accident claims,
- Auto accident claims,
- Dog attack claims,
- Pedestrian accident claims,
- Bike accident claims,
- Lyft accident claims,
- Uber accident claims,
- Bus accident claims,
- Brain injury claims,
- Premises liability claims, and
- Wrongful death claims.
We understand how these claims work and the tactics insurance adjusters and trucking companies use to avoid paying out. Contact The Beliz Law Firm, P.C. today to schedule an initial consultation to learn how we can help you fight for the compensation you are owed.
What Else Should You Look For In A Long Beach Truck Accident Attorney?
When you’re looking for the best legal representation for your personal injury case, you want to find someone you can trust.