California motor vehicle accidents involving tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicles are the most deadly type of motor vehicle collisions. The sheer magnitude and design of these vehicles make them more prone to causing wide-reaching destruction. After a California tractor-trailer accident injury, victims may suffer from long-term physical and psychological medical conditions. Insurance companies’ initial offers rarely cover the full extent of an accident victim’s losses and expenses, and a personal injury lawsuit is often the best way to recover damages.
Accident victims may recover damages from the negligent truck driver, their employer, or any other party responsible for the accident and resulting injuries. California plaintiffs may pursue damages for losses such as medical expenses related to the accident, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In some rare cases, victims or their families may pursue punitive damages against the culpable party. Under California’s comparative fault framework, injury victims who bear some responsibility for their injuries may still be able to recover against the defendant.
Despite the state’s comparative negligence laws, tractor-trailer accident victims often face challenges determining fault after these accidents. Plaintiffs must establish negligence on the part of each potential defendant. For instance, in claims against a truck driver, plaintiffs may be able to prove negligence by establishing that the driver was distracted, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or they were engaged in other unsafe behavior. In cases against the trucking company, the plaintiff may be able to point to negligence by showing that the tractor-trailer was over or improperly loaded, the vehicle was not maintained, or the employer engaged in negligent hiring or training. Moreover, plaintiffs may be able to file a claim against a truck’s manufacturer if the vehicle or any of its parts was defective. In each of these cases, the plaintiff must prove that the other party’s negligence caused the victim’s injuries.