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Hundreds of thousands of semi trucks drive through San Luis Obispo and the rest of California every year. When one of these trucks causes an accident, it has the potential to do far more serious harm than any other accident on the road. As semi truck accident lawyers, we are dedicated to working with the victims of truck accidents and their families.

The law says you are entitled to compensation, and that compensation can help with medical bills, lost work time and other costs. In addition, you could be compensated for pain and suffering and other non-economic losses. We believe that you should not have to pay these costs out of pocket, and we are here to help.

Negligent Truck Drivers

Under California law, any driver who behaves negligently and causes an accident is liable for the costs of that accident, including medical costs. But truck drivers have a much larger vehicle, and the capacity to much more seriously injure anyone involved in a wreck with them. That means that a single moment of negligence on the part of a semi truck driver can be incredibly dangerous.

Examples of negligent behavior include:

  • Speeding
  • Sudden lane changes
  • Not looking in the truck’s large blind spots
  • Any illegal turn
  • Looking left while turning right into a crosswalk
  • Any load that falls off the truck
  • Using a cell phone while driving
  • Alcohol
  • Other drugs

If any of the above are involved, the truck driver has not been reasonable in their operation of their enormous truck, and can be held responsible. The way the law does this is by making them and their insurance companies liable for the cost of damages.

What to Do After a Truck Accident

As you may imagine, being struck by a semi truck can be a devastating experience. However, after the collision, there is a process you should follow, if possible. Of course, if there are serious injuries, priorities may change. Once you’ve checked yourself and any passengers for injuries, take these steps:

  • Report the Accident. As soon as you can, call 911 and let them know what has happened. Give your location, whether there are any injuries and other important facts. The dispatcher will ask a battery of questions as they send emergency vehicles to you; answer them all as best you can. Stay on the scene until you are cleared to leave by police.
  • Go To the Hospital. After you are told you are allowed to leave, go to the hospital, even if you don’t think you are injured. For one, you never know if you have internal or hidden answers. And for another, if you plan on filing a lawsuit, you will need medical records to back up your case.
  • Work with the Authorities. After the accident, an investigation may be launched to find out what happened. You will need to answer their questions truthfully. If they find out you lied, your entire case could fall apart — or you could even be charged with obstructing justice. However, never incriminate yourself with statements like “I wasn’t paying attention” or “I didn’t see the truck.”
  • Document Everything. Take down notes of everything you remember. What was the weather and traffic like? Were there witnesses you can talk to? Also make sure you take down the license plate number of the truck and any other vehicle involved in the wreck. If possible, take photos of the accident, including damage to your car and any strange conditions (like wet roads).
  • Don’t Sign Anything. The only document you should sign is a police statement. That’s it. Don’t sign any form from the truck driver or their insurance company. You should also avoid discussing the accident with the truck driver. Instead, get their contact information and let them know your attorney will be in touch with them.
  • Have a Check-Up. Make sure you go back and visit the doctor again. Injuries may crop up days after the initial accident. Do note that you are allowed to go to any licensed doctor you want. Insurance companies may tell you that you have to visit certain “authorized” clinics. This is false. If they harass you and tell you otherwise, be sure to speak with your attorney.

How a Truck Accident Case Works

Following your accident, it’s important not to sign any deal or other paperwork offered by the insurance company without speaking to a lawyer first. Insurance companies will typically make an offer of quick money if you sign away your right to further compensation; this is a trap. The amount they offer is usually far less than the maximum you can receive. Plus, it often won’t even cover all of your medical costs, not to mention lost wages and other damages.

An accident lawyer will know how to pressure the insurance company to get you the full amount you deserve. When you bring your case to us, we recommend different doctors who specialize in these kinds of accidents. They will provide a complete diagnosis so nothing is overlooked. You will then have a much clearer idea of the true cost of the accident, and we can begin to negotiate with the insurance company to get you what you need.

In many cases, we can convince the insurance company to pay you the right amount without ever going to court.

How Compensation Helps You

If you or a loved one was seriously injured by a truck driver, no amount of money can truly set things right. However, financial compensation can make a real difference for you after the accident. It can help you pay for treatments you could not afford on your own, go through rehabilitation or physical therapy if needed and pay off medical bills that are already piling up. It also serves as a way to supplement lost wages if you’re unable to work. We firmly believe that every victim of a truck accident deserves the full compensation allowed by law.

Don’t Miss Your Deadline

If you’ve been injured by a semi truck, you have limited time to start your case. If you wait too long to act you may not be allowed to seek compensation at all. In California, that’s two years, except under special circumstances. That’s why we want to help you today.

When you call the Ernst Law Group, we will meet with you and provide you with a detailed, FREE consultation on your case. We’ll help you determine if the truck driver was at fault, whether you have a case for compensation, and how strong the evidence is. You will finally have a clear sense of what your legal options are and can decide for yourself if you want to go forward.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact us and get your free consultation today.