Last month, four people were seriously injured in a collision involving a Honda Civic and a big rig truck. Surprisingly, no one was injured in the crash. However, the driver of the Civic reportedly suffered critical burns and other injuries that required around-the-clock medical attention.
Reports indicate that the truck driver lost control of the vehicle when another motorist swerved in front of him to change lanes. The truck, traveling on the 405, struck the center median and rolled over onto the Civic. All four victims may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.
Causes of Truck Accidents in Los Angeles
Each year, there are more than 300 reported fatal truck accidents in California. Approximately 15-20 percent of these accidents happen in Los Angeles County. Why? There could be a few explanations for the high rate of fatal truck accidents in the area.
More Trucks on the Road: The economy in Los Angeles is getting better. As the economy does better, people are working more and spending more money. Trucks are an essential part of commercial logistics. Since the economy is doing better, more trucks are traveling in and through Los Angeles. Increased truck traffic also means that the likelihood of being involved in a truck-related accident is greater.
Road Design: California’s roads are built for speed. Trucks, on the other hand, are not. Trucks are difficult to navigate and often require additional time to speed up and slow down. When trucks share the road with passenger vehicles that can easily navigate the city’s roadways, collisions are more likely to happen.
Aggressive Drivers: Traffic is a reality in Los Angeles. When drivers finally escape a traffic jam, they may be inclined to bend the rules and drive aggressively to make up lost time. Drivers, including the motorist who reportedly caused the most recent Los Angeles truck accident mentioned above, often think that they can cut in front of trucks without consequence. As we can see, this kind of behavior can result in serious accidents.
Fatigued Drivers: Truck drivers, by law, are prohibited from driving for extended periods of time. Driving a truck takes concentration, expertise, and energy. Drivers who are overtired are more likely to lose control and be involved in an accident.
Damages Available to Truck Accident Victims
What kind of compensation can a Los Angeles truck accident victim recover from a personal injury lawsuit? In most cases, economic and non-economic damages will be available.
Economic Damages: Economic damages make up for the victim’s out-of-pocket financial costs related to an accident. The purpose of these damages is to make it as if the accident never happened. A victim is generally entitled to recover an amount equal to any verifiable costs they have spent, as well as any reasonably calculable future costs. These may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Rehabilitation, and
- Property damage.
Non-Economic Damages: Non-economic damages are paid to compensate a victim for hard-to-value injuries of an accident. These injuries tend to vary significantly from case to case. Example of non-economic damages may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and
Comparative Fault in California
In California, anyone who contributes to the cause of an accident can be held financially responsible for injuries. This includes victims who also suffer an injury in the crash. Each person is simply held liable to the degree of his or her own fault. If a victim contributes to their own accident or injury, his or her ability to recover compensation is reduced.
Here’s an example: Let’s say that the only person who was to blame for the Los Angeles truck accident was the driver who cut off the truck. The four people who were injured in the crash played no role in the accident. Each would be entitled to 100% of the damages they suffered. The single at-fault motorist would be entirely responsible for all damages.
Now, imagine that the truck driver was texting at the time of the accident. Since the driver was distracted, he was unable to prevent the accident. An investigation shows that the truck driver and other motorist are both 50 percent at-fault for causing the accident. Both drivers would be responsible for shouldering 50 percent of the damages suffered by other victims. If the truck driver suffered an injury, he would only be entitled to 50 percent of his own damages from the other driver.
Los Angeles Truck Accident Attorney
Truck accidents have the potential to cause serious and life-threatening injuries. If you or someone you love has been injured in a Los Angeles truck accident you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Los Angeles Accident Law Center to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer today. We will review your case, explain your rights, and answer any questions you have.