Santa Rosa Truck Accident Lawyers
Depending on the circumstances of your truck accident, you have two years to file a lawsuit in California for a personal injury or wrongful death. Turn to the Santa Rosa truck accident attorneys at Cutter Law P.C. for assistance with your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires.
Thousands of vehicle accidents occur every year in California. Hundreds of these crashes involve trucks, such as tractor-trailers and large trucks. These collisions often destroy vehicles, and harm drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded 51,247 vehicles involved in fatal collisions in 2019, with 5,005 large trucks involved in those crashes. Most truck crashes involved tractor-trailers, but the NHTSA also listed large pickup trucks, box trucks, and other heavy vehicles as participants in those crashes.
What should I do if I've been in a trucking accident in California?
Despite the chaos of an accident scene, you must take specific steps to ensure your safety and anyone else’s health involved in the collision. The truck accident reports can help strengthen your case should you choose to pursue a personal injury lawsuit in Santa Rosa.
The Department of Motor Vehicles in California offers helpful information on what to do when you’re involved in a vehicle collision. The DMV recommends you take the following steps:
- Call 911 to report the accident.
- Share license, insurance, and vehicle registration with the other driver.
- Report the collision in writing if anyone was killed or injured and the police were not present.
In the days following your accident, you can contact the Santa Rosa Police Department to request information about the incident, as well as the Santa Rosa hospital for medical records. These documents are essential tools for your lawyers if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department also keeps crash reports online of all accidents in their jurisdiction.
Causes of Trucking Accidents
According to trucking vehicle accident statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there are many causes of trucking accidents. Factors range from the driver’s state of mind to problems with the trucking vehicle or roadways.
Critical driver-related factors in trucking accidents:
- Physical impairment of the driver
- Distracted driving
- Bad driving habits, like speeding
- Substandard performance that results in driver panic
- Inadequate surveillance
- Prescription and over-the-counter drug use
Many associated factors may also come into play during an accident, including:
- Brake problems
- Unexpected traffic congestion
- Issues on the roadway
- Problems within crosswalks
In Santa Rosa, the California Office of Traffic Safety recorded 959 crashes in 2017 that resulted in injuries or death. Crashes involved cars, motorcycles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and all combinations of vehicles. The California Highway Patrol had 197,146 traffic crashes in the entire state, with fatal truck crashes numbering 2,967 where the truck driver was at fault.
How long after an accident can I file a claim in Santa Rosa?
If a crash with a truck injures you, California Civ. Code §335.1 indicates you have two years from the accident date to file a claim for personal injury or a negligent act. Alternatively, if you want to file a wrongful death claim after an accident, the statute of limitations for such an action under California Civ. Code §337.60 is also two years, starting from the date of the decedent’s death. If you’re only interested in filing a claim for property damage, California Civ. Code §338 gives you three years to file your claim.
A couple of years might feel like plenty of time to file your claim, but the process isn’t instantaneous. Your lawyer must gather a fair amount of evidence and prepare the necessary paperwork to file with the court correctly. Submitting on time is paramount, so your lawyer needs adequate notice to establish a solid case.
Who's liable in a Santa Rosa trucking accident?
California operates under comparative negligence law, allowing someone to file a claim for financial compensation after a Santa Rosa trucking accident even if they were partially responsible for causing the accident. Under California Civ. Code §1431.2, a court may award monetary compensation when someone experiences losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, burial costs, and other related damages.
The truck driver and the company they work for can be found liable in a truck accident lawsuit. Determining liability and the parameters of filing a truck accident lawsuit requires answering the following questions:
- Was the truck driver acting negligently, or were their actions unintentional?
- Was the truck driver employed by the company or acting as an independent contractor?
- Was the truck well maintained with adherence to safety regulations?
- Did the accident occur while the truck driver was on or off their shift?
An essential detail within the CCP is Civ Code §17150, which states that civil liability for an accident lies with every motor vehicle owner. This code means that the trucking company that owns a vehicle involved in a truck accident is liable in civil court even though their employee or independent contractor may have been the vehicle’s operator during the crash.
Compensation for a Trucking Accident in Santa Rosa
Minimum insurance coverage levels may indicate the amount of money you may see from a trucking accident injury in California. The California DMV suggests that the minimum amount of coverage for a motor vehicle liability insurance policy is $15,000 for a single death or injury, $30,000 for death or injury to more than a single person, and $5,000 for property damage caused by the accident.
These minimum amounts are part of California Civ Code §17150, which is the vehicle code that also explains civil liability based on who owns the vehicle in an accident. However, trucking accident injury lawyers can secure much larger settlements for their clients in the state of California. Despite these large settlements, it’s important to remember that California Insurance Code §11580.1b caps most claims at minimum insurance coverage levels, as listed above.
Should I contact the attorneys at Cutter Law if I've been in a Santa Rosa truck accident?
The total number of vehicle accidents in the United States has fallen significantly in the past twenty years, which means our streets and highways are safer than they’ve ever been. However, the danger of truck accidents still looms on California’s busy roadways, and the significant damage that can result to your person and your property may leave you with considerable financial losses, debilitating injuries, and a diminished livelihood. Contact Cutter Law P.C. for a free consultation to discuss your legal options if you or your family member suffered injuries, death, or other losses after a Santa Rosa truck accident.