Semi-truck or tractor-trailer accidents tend to result in the most catastrophic property damage and injury. After these incidents, California injury law allows victims and their loved ones to collect damages from any negligent party. While the negligence standard may seem straightforward, the law encompasses many complex nuances that make financial recovery a challenging process.
Damages after a California truck accident typically fall into two main categories, compensatory or punitive damages. Compensatory damages include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are designed to address objective losses that have a dollar value. Typical economic damages include medical expenses, emergency room treatment, prescription drugs, medical supplies, lost wages, and loss of future earning capacity; non-economic damages refer to subjective non-monetary losses. Some common non-economic damages may include emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, or loss of consortium, and pain and suffering. Punitive or “exemplary” damages refer to damages designed to punish and deter the at-fault party. Courts permit these damages in a narrow subset of cases that involve malice, oppression, or fraud.
After a California trucking accident, the victim may file a claim for damages against any liable party. Some negligent parties may include the truck driver, the trucking company, or any defective truck part manufacturer. In some instances, the exact cause of an accident is unclear. For example, local news reports described a California multi-vehicle crash on the Route 15 freeway. According to Highway Patrol, a sedan with a blown-out tire was traveling slowly when a semi-truck slammed into the vehicle. The truck continued and struck a pickup truck hauling a trailer. Emergency responders transported four people to local hospitals with one critically injured person life-flighted. The Highway Patrol stated that the cause of the accident is still under investigation.