What Should I Do If a Company Truck Driver Hit My Car?
Being involved in a motor vehicle accident, no matter how minor, can be scary. If the accident is serious, the experience can be even more traumatic. And one thing that increases the risk of a severe accident is the amount of force that is involved in a crash, which is determined, in part, by vehicle size. In other words, the larger the cars involved, the more force, and the greater the risk of serious damages.
For those who are involved in accidents with delivery vehicles and large trucks, including Amazon/FedEx/UPS trucks and semi-trucks, there is hope. Our lawyers for truck accident claims in California can help you with your injury claim from a truck accident and help you to understand the various laws and rules regarding liability, vicarious liability, negligence, and more. Reach out to us today for your free consultation and the support that you need.
How Truck Accidents Happen
Whether a delivery truck, a commercial truck, a semi-truck or tractor-trailer, most truck accidents are caused by one of the following factors:
Driver error. Truck driver errors are a leading cause of truck accidents in our state. Common types of errors made by drivers include misjudging grade, taking a turn too fast, driving while fatigued or impaired, speeding, driving aggressively, and more. Truck driver errors are entirely preventable and, depending on the specifics of the situation, could result in the truck driver being held personally liable for the damages that result and which are pursued in a truck-hit-my-car injury claim.
Trucking company error. Another common cause of truck accidents is an error made on the part of the trucking company. Trucking companies have a number of responsibilities that must be satisfied in order to ensure that trucking operations are safe, such as properly screening drivers, ensuring that drivers have the proper license for truck operation, training drivers, holding drivers to hours of service requirements established by federal law, maintaining trucks and servicing them regularly, taking disciplinary action against drivers who fail to adhere to the law, etc. The failure to do any of the above could result in an accident and the trucking company could be held liable as such.
Vehicle defects. Sometimes, the cause of a truck accident has little to do with a driver’s error and instead is the result of a vehicle defect. Things like defective tires, which could lead to tread separation and a tire blowout, or defective brakes, and more can all cause devastating accidents. When a vehicle defect is to blame for a crash, an investigation must be opened to determine whether fault lies with the vehicle or vehicle part manufacturer, the distributor, the trucking company, or a maintenance or repair professional.
Third-party driver error. Sometimes, truck accidents are caused by other drivers on the road. For example, a driver may swerve in front of a truck, forcing the driver to suddenly brake or swerve and causing an accident. Sometimes, a smaller car may be unwisely hanging out in a large truck's blind spots, resulting in the driver performing a last-minute maneuver to avoid the vehicle when attempting to change lanes. If a third-party driver, or another third party, was the cause of an Amazon, FedEx, UPS truck or semi-truck hitting your car, you can hold that third party liable.
Shipping/loading error. Finally, some truck accidents are the result of a cargo shift that happens while the vehicle is in transit. When cargo isn’t properly loaded or secured, it can move. If the cargo is particularly heavy, it may actually cause the vehicle’s trailer to sway, leading to a serious crash.
Semi-truck Hit My Car or Amazon/FedEx/UPS Truck Hit My Car: Vicarious Liability in a Truck Accident Case
If you are hit by a driver of a delivery truck or a semi-truck, you may have questions about against whom you will file your car injury claim. Should you file a claim against the individual driver? Or should you file a claim against the delivery or trucking company?
In the vast majority of cases, you will file a claim against the company, not the individual driver. This is because of the rule of vicarious liability, which essentially holds that based on the employer-employee relationship, the employer can be held liable for the action of the employee, so long as the action took place within the course of employment. So, if a delivery or semi-truck driver is speeding, takes a turn too fast, or performs another negligent maneuver while “on the job,” then they will not be held personally liable; the company will be held liable for their actions. There are some instances when the company may not be held liable. For example, if the driver is using the vehicle for personal use and is off the clock (perhaps they are using the vehicle without company permission for personal errands), then the driver could be held personally liable.
For those who have been hit by a truck, the rule of vicarious liability improves the chances of being able to recover a full settlement amount, as commercial insurance policies for large trucks are not only mandatory, but often much larger than personal injury liability policies.
When you file a claim for damages against a delivery or truck company, you can seek compensation for the full value of your losses. In order to do so, you’ll need to prove that the duty of care owed to you was breached (in other words, the at-fault party did something negligence), the breach of the duty of care was the proximate cause of harm, and that you’ve suffered actual damages as a result. Our lawyers for truck accident claims at the office of Cutter Law P.C. can represent you as you seek compensation for your:
Economic damages. You can seek compensation for the actual value of monetary losses you’ve suffered, known as economic damages. These refer to compensation for your hospital bills, medical expenses, surgeries, ongoing or future rehabilitation costs, lost wages, lost earning capacity, property damage costs, etc.
Noneconomic damages. Noneconomic damages can be more difficult to understand and to calculate because they are intangible--this type of compensation is meant to pay you for the value of things like your physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, diminished quality of life, and other intangible losses you have suffered.
What Should I Do If a Company Truck Driver Hits My Car?
If a company truck driver hits your car, there are a few very basic steps to take:
First, you should make sure to file a police report immediately after the accident. Request a copy of the report.
Second, you need to get the name of the driver, their driver’s license, and details of the truck company’s insurance company. The responding officer should be able to help you with this if the driver is uncooperative.
As soon as you leave the scene, you should seek medical care. Within 24-48 hours of the accident, you should call your insurance company and make sure they have all of the information they need to proceed with a claim. Then, you should hire an experienced lawyer for truck accident claims if you haven’t already done so.
Call Our Truck Accident Lawyers Today
When you’re in a situation where you’re wondering what to do after a truck hits your car, one of the best steps to take is to call an experienced accident lawyer for truck accident claims. At the office of Cutter Law PC, we offer free consultations and can start working on your claim immediately.