If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, you have the right to hold the negligent parties accountable. Whether it is the fault of the driver, the trucking company, a manufacturer, or the local government that maintains the roads, Ernst Law Group is here to support you in your claim.
Our firm has the resources to go up against large corporations. Our California personal injury attorneys will help you take on trucking companies with large insurance providers who try to intimidate you out of getting what you deserve. For no fee until we win, our expert truck accident lawyers will provide you with the best representation to ensure justice is served.
Call us today for a free, no-obligation quote.
What is the truck’s “black box” and what does it track?
The term “black box” comes from the mechanical systems in airplanes that record flight data and are used to determine the cause of accidents after the fact.
Modern commercial trucks have a similar system composed of three parts: the electronic control module, electronic logging module, and event data recorder. Each system tracks different metrics, such as speed, driver hours, and faulty equipment.
Together, these systems can be used by your Los Angeles truck accident lawyer to prove your claim for damages after an accident.
Electronic Control Modules
In the past, there were many false claims of faulty parts as trucking companies tried to get new parts for free. Manufacturers realized the need for a component that would register the status of each part of the truck’s engine. Enter electronic control modules.
Electronic control modules are built into modern commercial trucks by the manufacturer. The modules are considered the “brain” of the truck. They record truck speeds, along with more information such as sudden accelerations.
Since electronic control modules were not designed with accidents in mind, they must be examined more thoroughly. Experts will need to go through more data before they can find relevant information. The data will be limited by the module’s processing capabilities and the data that it is programmed to record.
It is best used when the data is contextually fit into the data from the electronic logging module and the event data recorder.
Electronic Logging Devices
Electronic logging devices are devices that record truck driver behavior. These are required by law to ensure that drivers adhere to legal driving hours and reduce the amount of fatigued drivers on the road.
Where electronic control modules are built into the engine, electronic logging devices are often separate components attached to the dashboard of commercial trucks. They connect to the truck’s engine to record drive time and distance, the driver’s speeds, and when the truck is in motion.
Drivers and their trucking companies can use these devices to track work schedules, such as when the driver is on or off duty. The logging device will store their hours and work history, which is then transmitted back to their trucking company for inspection.
The same tools that allow the electronic logging device to transmit data to employers can also be used to transmit data to the police after a truck accident. Your Los Angeles truck accident lawyer will fight to get a copy of this data to show engine hours, the length of time the driver was behind the wheel, the location of the accident, and more.
Event Data Recorders
An event data recorder is the device most akin to an airplane’s “black box”. It is specifically designed to record vehicle accidents for up to a few minutes.
When properly connected in a commercial truck, an event data recorder will be triggered by a sudden change in the vehicle, such as a sudden deceleration due to impact. At this time, it will begin to record data about the circumstances of the accident.
Although data recorders only hold a few seconds to a few minutes of data, this information is highly valuable in proving a truck accident claim. Learning about the truck’s behavior, its speed, and if there are issues in the engine can prove fault in a case.
Why Commercial Truck Black Boxes Matter to Tractor-Trailer Accident Victims
When the data of these three “black box” systems are combined, they paint an accurate picture of the events leading up to the accident. Knowing whether the truck driver was driving erratically, working over their allotted hours, or had a malfunction will help a Los Angeles truck accident lawyer determine fault.
For example, if a truck driver is found to have been driving 20 miles over the speed limit, it would be clear that they were not obeying traffic regulations.
Alternatively, if the collision was caused by a malfunction in a part of the engine, a Los Angeles truck accident lawyer would know that the truck driver was not completely at fault. This would redirect the claim to the manufacturer or the mechanic who installed the part.
Understanding the accident allows your lawyer to create a more comprehensive case for your claim. Gaining access to the data of truck black boxes is crucial to this.
What do I do if I’m involved in a truck accident?
After a truck accident, your world has been shaken. It’s difficult to consider what to do next. However, these next steps are crucial to ensuring your safety and protecting your rights.
Take the following steps after a truck accident:
1. Get to safety.
Truck accidents can severely damage vehicles, potentially leaking hazardous chemicals or flammable fluids. For your safety, it is advised that you get away from the vehicle, but only if you can extract yourself safely.
2. Move off the roadway.
Most truck accidents occur on highways and rural roads. These are areas with high speed limits that mean other cars will be coming past you very quickly. Move away from these areas to the side of the road to avoid further incidents.
3. Call 911.
You are legally required to call the police to the scene of a truck accident, even if there aren’t obvious injuries. This is because many injuries and damage to vehicles may not be discoverable at first glance. The police will also create a report and protect evidence.
4. Exchange information.
Get the truck driver’s insurance information, license plate number, driver’s license number, employee number, and who they work for. You will need this information to file an insurance claim against them and/or their company.
5. Collect witness statements.
Ask those who saw the accident for a statement. Collect their names and phone numbers.
6. Take pictures of the scene.
You don’t just need to photograph the property damage. Also take the time to photograph any injuries, the road conditions, the weather, and any other factors in the area that may be relevant.
7. Seek medical attention.
The first thing you do when you leave the scene of the trucking accident is go to a doctor. This can be a family practitioner or the emergency room, depending on the severity of your injuries. Even if you don’t think you are injured, get a doctor to examine you.
8. Keep all receipts.
Speak to a truck accident attorney in Los Angeles. Get further advice on how to communicate with your insurance company and determine liability in your case by calling a local truck accident lawyer. They will examine your case and discuss your options with you.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
If you are driving in the same area as a truck, be mindful of these common causes of truck accidents. If you can, avoid driving close to the vehicle in case one of these causes results in a collision.
Truck drivers are often required to meet tight deadlines and ship additional materials. To meet these demands, drivers push themselves to drive past their recommended hours. When this occurs, drivers can become extremely fatigued and end up falling asleep at the wheel. A fatigued driver is very likely to cause an accident.
Phones and radios can help drivers stay awake on the road, but they can also be distracting. It only takes a second of inattention to cause a critical error. The driver may drift between lanes, miss a traffic signal, or lose control of the vehicle.
Reckless Driving Choices
Reckless driving includes illegal and unsafe practices, such as speeding or tailgating, that put a driver at a higher risk of collision. Speed is involved in most traffic accidents. Due to the size of commercial trucks, speeding can quickly turn an accident fatal. It is important to drive safely, leaving enough room between your vehicle and others, and not letting your impatience affect your driving.
Vehicle Failures or Product Liability
Occasionally, parts do fail. This may be due to negligence, an unfortunate chance, or malice. If a truck’s engine begins to malfunction, the driver will lose control of the vehicle, creating what is likely to become a vehicle rollover or multiple-car collision.
Poor weather can easily impact a driver’s ability to stay in control. Many more accidents occur during periods of rain or when the sun is in a driver’s eyes. It is important to drive with extreme caution during these times.
Roadways that are not properly maintained can easily cause accidents. If traffic signals are not maintained, drivers may not know to stop or yield appropriately. If there are large potholes, the truck could be damaged and lose control. Sometimes roadways are so poorly maintained that a truck may roll over, causing a severe accident.
If cargo is not properly secured on a commercial truck, there is a risk of the items falling off during transit. That can lead to road closures and severe injuries, especially when debris goes flying and hits other vehicles.
Trucks have a high center of gravity that makes them prone to tipping. The U.S. has standardized weights for shipping cargo to avoid overloading the vehicle and making it easier to tip. However, some trucking companies force employees to overload their trucks to make shipping targets. When this happens, the truck is more unstable and prone to losing control.
Untrained or Undertrained Drivers
A trucking company has a responsibility to train drivers. If a trucking company puts inexperienced drivers on the road before they are properly trained, they are liable for any accidents caused by the driver’s inexperience.
Common Types of Truck Accident Injuries
Commercial truck accidents cause severe injuries when they collide with a smaller vehicle. In most cases, the truck driver suffers far less than those in the other vehicle. It is only a rare few who are able to walk away with minor injuries after a truck accident. In most cases, truck accidents cause life-altering juries, or worse, death.
Common injuries that we have helped our clients seek damages for are:
- Back and neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Internal injuries
- Lacerations and contusions
- Permanent disfigurement
- Rib injuries
- Seat belt injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Wrongful death
How much does it cost to hire a truck accident lawyer?
It does not cost you anything to hire a truck accident lawyer in Los Angeles, as most lawyers work on a contingency fee. This offers clients a significant advantage, as you do not have to take a financial risk to hire an attorney. Your legal team will take on the financial risk by investing in experts and research to support your claim and strengthen your case. This will create a stronger legal argument without you needing to spend any money.
Since you are not paying your legal team until you receive compensation, your team has more incentive to help you win your case. In fact, they will try to get you the largest compensation possible to increase the amount that they will earn as well.
This is a win-win situation for clients and attorneys in truck accident cases, as both are equally as invested in the largest financial outcome possible.
Lawyers who operate on contingency fees only take on cases that they are certain they can win. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to have an Ernst Law Group truck accident lawyer in Los Angeles analyze your case.
If we feel that you have a case against the trucking company, we will take it on without requiring any money up front.
What is the average car accident settlement in Los Angeles?
Commercial trucking accidents in Los Angeles earn larger settlements than most car accidents due to the severe damage that they cause. The massive size of commercial trucks results in injuries that permanently affect the lives of victims. Many suffer life-altering injuries, such as spinal cord injuries, that forever change their ability to work or enjoy life.
There is no way to determine how much your car or truck accident is worth based on other accidents in the area. This is because every accident is different, meaning that every settlement is different.
Settlement amounts are determined based on the severity of the accident, the criminality of the negligence, the size of the entity you are suing, and how long-lasting the victim’s injuries are.
What damages can I collect in a truck accident?
Truck accident victims are entitled to collect economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. In the case of the death of a loved one, the victim’s direct family can also file for wrongful death damages.
These damages are meant to reimburse truck accident victims for their losses due to an accident. The economic damages relate to financial losses that they suffered as a direct result of the accident and healing from their injuries.
Non-economic damages refer to emotional losses that affect their mental health and permanent ability to function in society.
Punitive damages are only awarded by judges in the case of such extreme negligence that the at-fault party is or is nearly criminally negligent.
Some examples of things that you can collect damages for are:
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Vehicle damages
- Lost wages
- Lost ability to work
- Permanent disabilities or disfigurement
- Wrongful death
How Our Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help You
At the Ernst Law Group, our clients aren’t dollar signs. We take on cases that we care about on an individual level because we believe in creating a safer society for us all. Every case that we win for a wronged victim is another time that we have succeeded in making our city a better, safer place to live.
We know that a truck accident is catastrophic and can dramatically alter your life. Our Los Angeles truck accident lawyers will help you face the difficult process of filing a legal claim so you don’t have to do it alone. We will support you through insurance company intimidation tactics, fighting trucking companies for black box evidence, and building evidence to ensure the strength of your case.
Our team is here to support you and get you the maximum compensation.
Maximum Results for Truck Wreck Victims
It isn’t easy to go up against large trucking companies and their insurance agents. These companies have vast resources and access to large law firms. It is nearly impossible to stand up to the pressure of facing these large teams alone.
An experienced truck accident lawyer in Los Angeles is a fierce ally who will help you make your voice be heard. They will support you by building a strong case with expert analysis of the crash to ensure that your case is as strong as the other side’s.
If the at-fault party is going to have an aggressive legal team who isn’t afraid to go to trial, then you should, too. Ernst Law Group is here to increase your potential compensation by 300% versus representing yourself.
The sooner you call, the sooner we can start collecting evidence to build your case and get you more damages.
Call a Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Don’t wait to contact a truck accident lawyer after your accident. While dealing with your injuries may feel all-consuming, you need to call a Los Angeles truck accident lawyer as soon as possible following the crash.
Every moment you wait gives the trucking company more time to destroy evidence on the black boxes and craft a stronger legal defense. In fact, they may take preemptive actions before you even have a chance to file your claim.
The sooner you contact a lawyer of your own, the more assistance they can provide. Bringing a lawyer onto your case early will allow them to collect more evidence and advise you on how to appropriately respond to the other side. It will increase your chances of winning.
Call Ernst Law Group today to start building your case. We will help you get the justice you deserve, ensuring that the trucking company pays for their fault.
Truck Accident Questions and Answers
The best way to protect your rights after a truck accident is to hire a Los Angeles lawyer from the Ernst Law Group who can advise you throughout the process. An expert lawyer will ensure that you do not make errors that can affect your ability to collect damages after an accident.
They will advise you to do the following:
- Do not make statements about the accident to anyone, including on social media
- Do not speak to insurance companies without the help of a lawyer who will not fall for their intimidation tactics
- Do not accept low settlement offers (especially the first offer)
- Always get medical attention after an accident to ensure you are safe and healthy
- Know the types of damages you are entitled to and maintain receipts of their expenses, if applicable
- File your claim before the California statute of limitations expires
Never speak to another insurance company without your lawyer.
If you do not yet have a lawyer, you can tell the other insurance company that you will pass their contact information along to your lawyer. They cannot force you to speak to them.
Once you get off the phone, immediately find a Los Angeles truck accident lawyer and schedule a no-obligation consultation.
The most important thing to remember when the other side’s insurance company calls you is that they are not trying to help you. They are the ones who will be responsible for paying your damages. Therefore, it is in their best interest to minimize the damages that you’ll receive. They will try to use your words against you.
It is best to not say anything to them aside from collecting a phone number or email address to send to your future lawyer. Never let them record a statement from you without a legal representative’s go-ahead.
Police are in our society to protect every individual’s rights. However, in the case of a truck accident, they can accidentally impair your ability to file a claim if you are not careful.
Police attend to vehicle accidents to create police reports. You will need this report to file an insurance claim and for proof of the accident.
This report can make or break your ability to file a truck accident claim. This is because insurance companies and courts look to this document as if everything on it is 100% factual.
This means that if you tell the police that you have no injuries, but later see a doctor and find out you have a broken bone, you are unlikely to receive compensation for your injury.
It is best practice to tell the police only statements that you are certain of. Do not make assumptions unless you have the facts. For example, don’t assume how the accident occurred.
Do not say you don’t feel any injuries until you have medical proof that you are unharmed.
While it is important to cooperate with the police, it is equally important to protect your rights.
Truck accident victims can sue the person or people or corporation(s) who are partially or completely at fault for their accident. In some cases, the victim may be able to sue multiple parties who were comparatively negligent, all in ways that resulted in the victim’s injuries from the crash.
The most common individuals or entities that can be sued in a truck accident case are:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- Vehicle manufacturer
- Mechanic who performed maintenance on the vehicle
- Local legislative bodies responsible for road maintenance
- The owner of the goods on the truck
Fault is a key element in a truck accident lawsuit. To file a motion, you must first determine who you will be filing it against.
Truck drivers are not always responsible for truck accidents. In the United States, truck drivers that were involved in an accident with a single-passenger car were only found to be at fault 44% of the time. However, on average, 55% of all truck collisions nationally are caused by truck drivers.
In some cases, although the driver’s actions may have led to the accident, they will not be found at fault. This is the case if their speeding or overloading the cargo was related to their company’s unsafe practices or their client’s transported materials.
In these cases, the entity that created these unsafe circumstances would be found liable. Did a part malfunction because a company failed to maintain the truck? Did the warranty fail? Did a mechanic do a poor job?
If the person who installed the faulty part is found liable, they can be sued for your truck accident.
California law states that a victim of an accident has two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim in civil courts. It is important to adhere to this date, as the courts will likely not hear your case if you bring your claim forward after the statute of limitations has expired.
Contact an expert truck accident lawyer in Los Angeles today to protect your rights to file your claim.
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