California – March 7, 2021

Collisions between 18 wheelers and passenger vehicles continue to be widespread in the United States, revealing at least 4,657 fatal crashes involving large trucks in 2017, and yielding high levels of damage to property and catastrophic physical injuries. One government study revealed that driver fatigue played a large part in 31% of the cases where the driver died and was a factor in approximately 13% of large truck accidents each year in the United States.  Operating an oversized vehicle while fatigued is a deadly risk to all travelers and the reason that the federal laws outline “hours of service” for truck drivers.

Medical records and damage awards.

After a truck accident, victims should be expecting insurance companies to request copies of all medical records related to the injury sustained in the accident.  The insurance company requests these documents to verify injuries, medical treatment and the overall expenses related to past, current, and future medical treatment that was caused by the accident.  In some cases, they may want to further explore a patient’s medical history to use past medical conditions, or injuries to lower a settlement amount, basing their reduction on pre-existing conditions not related to the accident itself.  It is prudent to have a truck accident attorney review any requests for medical records to make sure legal counsel adjusts the language in the request to reflect that records should include only accident-related treatment.  Medical records of a truck driver may also become important to a damage award and claims of negligence in an accident case, as the records may reveal evidence of medication use, drinking, or other substances that may alter reaction times of drivers.

Negligence and insurance.

The basis for most civil lawsuits is negligence, and compensation is estimated on the degree of fault exhibited by a driver who caused injury and property damage.  “Fault” is based on the level of negligence measured when an individual fails to exercise the degree of care expected of someone in a similar situation.  California is a “fault state” which means that the party found to be responsible for the accident will have to compensate the other party involved in the accident.  Individuals who are involved in an accident must file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.  An experienced accident attorney will build a case for negligence by collecting and reviewing various supporting evidence.

Damages.

Damages covered include medical bills, lost wages, property damages and wrongful death claims.  Depending on the extent of damage to property, or injuries sustained by a person in an accident, the minimum might not cover the whole recovery amount and legal action may be warranted.

Hire an attorney.

A California accident attorney can be instrumental in damage recovery to cover unexpected expenses related to untimely death, and to ensure future financial stability for dependents of the person who died.  They can work with insurance companies to expediently pay costs related to funeral and burial expenses, and address losses sustained to property,  medical bills, lost wages, or future expenses incurred by the estate of the person who died.  The Law Offices of Jeffrey E. Estes & Associates, provide experienced accident attorneys who can assist with a wrongful death and survival action when necessary.

 

Jeffrey E. Estes & Associates, a Professional Law Corporation

501 West Broadway, Suite 1650

San Diego, CA 92101

Phone: 619-233-8021

Fax: 619-233-3730

Sources:

https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/wcm/connect/a299397a-aad1-4022-a3b2-cedc548339d9/DUI_Fact_Sheet_2003-2013.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-of-service

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-analysis-brief

https://www.dmv.org/ca-california/automotive-law/dui.php

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=VEH&sectionNum=23152

https://www.statista.com/statistics/191544/fatal-large-truck-crashes-in-the-us/

https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/vehicle-registration/insurance-requirements/

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=VEH&sectionNum=23152

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