ACCIDENTS WITH COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLES

auto accident lawyer in Stockton

Auto accident lawyer in Stockton helps victims of commercial motor vehicle accidents

As our economy continues to grow, so does our consumption of consumer goods, meaning more commercial truck on the road transporting such goods. In fact, large trucks, also known as semi trucks, semi trailers or tractor trailers, are responsible for delivering around 70% of all goods in the U.S. According to the Department of Transportation, about 4.3% of all highway vehicles are commercial trucks. That amounts to about 93.5 billion big rigs on the roads. Society’s need for commercial trucking comes at a serious cost. These trucks were involved in over 3,000 fatal crashes and about 60,000 injury crashes nationwide in 2011.

California, has the third most tractor trailer registrations in the country and the second most fatal large truck crashes. These trucks, weighing in from 10,000 to 80,000 pounds can cause severe injuries if striking a normal vehicle. If you’ve been injured from one of these big rig trucks, contact an attorney immediately to get legal representation. Deciding who is at fault when a big rig accident occurs is a challenge best suited for an experienced auto accident lawyer in Stockton.

Who’s at fault?

Commercial vehicle accidents can result from a variety of factors, including negligence. Drivers, vehicle manufacturers, distributors, retailers and government entities are all parties that could be held liable for accidents. Some causes include:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving (texting, eating, etc)
  • Alcohol or drug impairment
  • Fatigue
  • Obscured vision
  • Mechanical defects (defective electrical systems, wheels, tires, brakes, etc)
  • Environmental issues (road maintenance and upkeep)

Proving fault is very important in order to get compensation you deserve for the injuries you sustain. When investigating your truck accident, there are a number of different things your attorney should look into, including trucking compliance with state traffic laws. If a trucker violates one of the following:

  • Lack of insufficient training
  • Overloaded trucks
  • Unsecured or improperly balanced loads
  • Skipping mandated sleep breaks or driving over the daily amount of permitted hours
  • Improperly maintaining vehicles

The truck driver, the truck driver’s employer, the truck owner, the truck leasing company owner, the manufacturer or a combination of the above could be found at fault. Contact a professional and licensed auto accident lawyer in Stockton who can evaluate your specific case and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Shocking Statistics

California is home to a very large and complex market for freight movement. Southern California alone has the second largest metropolitan area in the country, home to roughly 16.5 million people, and very complex and rigorous cargo and distribution centers. Southern California, especially San Diego, shares a border with Mexico, making it a very important gateway for international trade. This makes accidents between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles extremely dangerous. Some statistics prove just that:

  • In 2011, commercial motor vehicle crashes cost Americans $87 billion
  • The most dangerous semi truck accidents are rollovers – which is when a truck tires go onto a loose surface and the driver loses control
  • In 2009, one out of every 10 traffic fatalities in the U.S. was a result from collisions involving large trucks
  • In 2011, 88,000 people were injured in large truck crashes
  • Nearly ⅔ of fatal truck crashes occur on rural roads and ¼ occur on Interstate highways
  • Most crashes occur on weekdays

Many injuries such as brain, neck and back injury; spinal cord injury; internal organ damage; broken bones; paralysis; amputation and even death could occur if you’re struck by a big rig on a California road. Don’t wait a second after an accident. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or death, seek legal representation immediately. You may be eligible to recover your damages to pay for medical bills, lost income, pain, suffering and much more.

Commercial truck accidents are very different than other motor vehicle accidents. It requires an experienced and compassionate auto accident lawyer in Stockton at The Friel Law Firm to help you.

Speak With One Of Our Attorneys About Your Car Accident Injuries

Contact our auto accident lawyer in Stockton to discuss your injuries. We offer a free initial consultation to all new clients. You can reach us by phone at (209) 464-8000 or send us an email to schedule an appointment.

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MEDICAL BILLS AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT

Personal Injury Lawyer in Stockton
 
When you are involved in a car accident, there are many bills that accumulate to cover immediate medical attention, ongoing medical bills and property damage if needed. Not only may you feel emotionally overwhelmed by the accident, dealing with the legal nuances of insurance companies and filing a personal injury claim can get stressful. Speak with a personal injury lawyer in Stockton who can help you through all the elements.

How to Pay the Upfront Costs

After a car accident, victims of injury must cover their medical costs initially. It may later be determined that the other driver was at fault and must cover medical costs, but this will happen after treatment. Luckily, there are several options for taking care of medical bills after an accident:

  • Medical Payments/No Fault Coverage – Commonly referred to as “med pay.” Med pay is optional coverage that an individual may opt into when choosing a car insurance policy. If an individual has this coverage, the insurance company will pay for medical costs no matter whose fault it is. They will pay for medical care before the lawsuit is completed. These policies often have a limit of $5,000, but there is a wide range of options available. Talk to your insurance company to understand your coverage or speak to a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento for more information. The amount covered varies as do the rules regarding how soon medical treatment must be sought or completed. You will be required to reimburse your insurer in the case of a settlement or other financial compensation.
  • Health insurance – If you have health insurance coverage through an employer or independently, it may cover some of the necessary treatment. This is not a permanent way to pay – there is a contractual duty to pay them back if you were awarded compensation. Using health insurance to pay for the upfront costs can help alleviate stress and allow you to get the treatment you need. If the case settles in your favor, you may get enough compensation to cover paying your insurance company back and then some.
  • Medicare/Medicaid – They typically will pay for treatment but can be more aggressive in being repaid.
  • Signing a lien. Signing a lien means postponing payment until the end of a case. Many doctors and health facilities will agree to a lien and treat you without immediate pay. However, if you lose the case or decide not to proceed, you will still owe whatever medical costs you incurred.
  • Out of pocket – If you have no other way to pay for bills, and the doctor will not sign a lien, then you may have to pay for the bills out of your own pocket, and hope for a quick settlement so you may be repaid promptly.

Car accident victims are accountable for all medical costs until a lawsuit has been settled. Individuals who receive a settlement or financial compensation must repay their insurance company or medical provider if their care was covered. This is because when an individual receives compensation, the sum the defendant is asked to pay is meant to cover at least some of the incurred medical costs. If the plaintiff’s medical costs were covered by insurance or the doctor, that individual has had their bills covered twice.

What Can a Lawsuit Cover?

When it comes to seeking compensation from a car collision, medical bills can be a part of the conversation you have with a Sacramento accident attorney. Financial compensation can include many costs and loss of wages for the victim.

Under California law, you can recover damages for:

  • Medical bills
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages

In the most unfortunate case of a loss of life due to a car accident, damages relating to that loss may be sought. The estate of the victim and the surviving family members can seek compensation for:

  • Medical bills due to the accident but before death
  • Funeral costs
  • Wrongful death
  • Loss of companionship, etc.

Proving Fault

There are two main ways in which fault and compensation can be determined in California:

  • Directly through insurance companies
  • Through a court of law with a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento

Individuals can try to negotiate a settlement directly with their insurance company without filing a car accident claim or lawsuit. The initial offer will most likely be unsatisfactory, prompting an individual to send a demand letter explaining the exact injuries due to the car accident and listing the costs of medical care.

In the case that an individual cannot come to an agreement with their insurance company, it may be necessary to seek compensation in court through a lawsuit. Car accident lawsuits are also helpful as additional damages such as for pain and suffering, emotional distress, or wrongful death can be sought.

In order to win a case, the plaintiff and his or her attorneys must prove several points:

  • The defendant caused the accident.
  • The plaintiff incurred injury during or due to the accident.
  • The defendant’s actions directly or indirectly caused the plaintiff’s injury.

The state of California has a comparative fault system. This means that the individuals involved in a car collision can be deemed each partially at fault for the incident. How much an individual is at fault affects how much they can receive in compensation. For example, if an individual is deemed to be 20% at fault, he or she can only recover 80% of the offered compensation.

A Personal Injury Lawyer in Stockton Can Fight To Get Your Medical Bills Compensated!

Have you been involved in a car accident? Contacting a knowledgeable and motivated personal injury lawyer in Stockton at The Friel Law Firm can help you get the compensation you deserve. We understand that the bills accumulated from a car accident can be high so we fight hard to get you compensated. Give us a call today for a free consultation.

What information should I get from the other person?
Be sure to get the same information you gave them as well as as much additional information you can, such as:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • License number
  • License expiration date
  • The vehicle’s identification number
  • The name and address of the car’s owner
  • The name and address of their insurance company
  • Their insurance policy number
  • The other car’s make, model, license plate number and expiration date, the vehicle’s identification number
  • The name, contact information, and insurance information of the car’s owner if different from the driver

What other information should I gather at the scene?

  • The names and contact information of any nearby witnesses. Ask them to stay to make a statement to the police. If they must leave, ask them to describe the incident and leave a contact number.
  • If there are witnesses that don’t want to get involved or tell you their names, don’t push them. Just ask if they have any information, especially if it was a hit and run and they saw the other car.
  • The name and badge number of the police officer(s) that arrive on the scene. Ask them when you can get a report.
  • TAKE PICTURES. If you can’t take pictures, draw a diagram of the scene – don’t forget skid marks. Try to be as accurate as possible. Take note of the weather and any other conditions, such as the time of day and how well-lit the area is. A Sacramento car accident lawyer uses evidence like this to prove liability.
  • Precisely record the time, date, and place of the accident. Try to estimate your speed at the time of the incident. The sooner you write down your own report, the more accurate it is likely to be.

What if the property owner can’t be found?
If you collide with an individual’s property and that individual cannot be located, you may leave the scene so long as you leave behind your name, address, an explanation of the accident, and the name and address of the car’s owner if it’s not you. This information must be left in an obvious location so that the property owner will see it and it won’t be lost by some natural cause, such as wind.

You also must inform the local police or highway patrol ASAP. If an officer does not come to the location of the collision, you must go to the police department and file a report yourself. A personal injury lawyer in Stockton will use this report to help fight your case.

What if someone is injured?
You are required to help an injured person from a collision. First check yourself, then try to help someone else. Stay calm. Breathe deeply – you will probably feel some amount of shock. You may need to call an ambulance or take the individual to the hospital yourself, so long as that person is not severely injured. If an individual is severely hurt do not try to move this person unless moving them will prevent further harm such as vehicle collision or fire, even if this moving worsens their initial injury.

What if I don’t have a phone?
If you cannot place a call for help, try to indicate to passing vehicles that there is a problem. Place flares on the road, so long as there is nothing flammable nearby. Turn on your hazard lights and pop your hood. Try to flag down a passing car.

What do I say to 911?
Try to get an idea of where you are – can you see street signs? If you’re on the highway, is there a sign for nearby towns, or can you see at what mile marker you are? It’s important to try to be as precise as possible when explaining where you are to the 911 operator as their location systems are not always perfectly accurate. Explain what happened and whether you need an ambulance or a firetruck. Do not hang up until the operator tells you it is okay to. Stay calm and follow the operator’s directions.

If you have been injured in a car accident, motorcycle accident, or truck accident, you should call an experienced personal injury lawyer in Stockton immediately. It is imperative that you seek legal guidance as an attorney will have the industry experts and investigators to build a strong case. The attorney will fight to ensure just compensation is received, call for a free consultation today!

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE

REQUEST YOUR FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY

YOUR PRIVACY IS
IMPORTANT US

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE

REQUEST YOUR FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY

YOUR PRIVACY IS
IMPORTANT US

WHAT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT

Car Accident Attorney in Stockton

CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY IN STOCKTON

When you’ve been involved in a car accident, you might be overwhelmed with feelings of fear, anger, confusion, stress and pain among so much more. There are certain things you should always keep in mind if you’ve been involved in a vehicle accident. The first thing you should do is seek medical attention if you’ve been injured and then contact a car accident attorney in Stockton.

Do I have to stop?

Yes. Under California law, you are required to stop whether you collided with another car, a pedestrian, or someone else’s property. If you do not stop, you could be charged with hit and run, even if it wasn’t your fault! Depending on the severity of damages to individuals and property, hit and run charges may result in a fine, jail time, or both.

Do I have to give anyone my information?

Yes. Under California law, you are required to exchange your name, your driver’s license number, the vehicle’s identification number, the name and address of the car’s owner, the name and address of your insurance company, and your insurance policy number or some other evidence of financial responsibility.

What information should I get from the other person?

Be sure to get the same information you gave them as well as as much additional information you can, such as:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • License number
  • License expiration date
  • The vehicle’s identification number
  • The name and address of the car’s owner
  • The name and address of their insurance company
  • Their insurance policy number
  • The other car’s make, model, license plate number and expiration date, the vehicle’s identification number
  • The name, contact information, and insurance information of the car’s owner if different from the driver

What other information should I gather at the scene?

  • The names and contact information of any nearby witnesses. Ask them to stay to make a statement to the police. If they must leave, ask them to describe the incident and leave a contact number.
  • If there are witnesses that don’t want to get involved or tell you their names, don’t push them. Just ask if they have any information, especially if it was a hit and run and they saw the other car.
  • The name and badge number of the police officer(s) that arrive on the scene. Ask them when you can get a report.
  • TAKE PICTURES. If you can’t take pictures, draw a diagram of the scene – don’t forget skid marks. Try to be as accurate as possible. Take note of the weather and any other conditions, such as the time of day and how well-lit the area is. A Sacramento car accident lawyer uses evidence like this to prove liability.
  • Precisely record the time, date, and place of the accident. Try to estimate your speed at the time of the incident. The sooner you write down your own report, the more accurate it is likely to be.

What if the property owner can’t be found?

If you collide with an individual’s property and that individual cannot be located, you may leave the scene so long as you leave behind your name, address, an explanation of the accident, and the name and address of the car’s owner if it’s not you. This information must be left in an obvious location so that the property owner will see it and it won’t be lost by some natural cause, such as wind.

You also must inform the local police or highway patrol ASAP. If an officer does not come to the location of the collision, you must go to the police department and file a report yourself. A car accident attorney in Stockton will use this report to help fight your case.

What if someone is injured?

You are required to help an injured person from a collision. First check yourself, then try to help someone else. Stay calm. Breathe deeply – you will probably feel some amount of shock. You may need to call an ambulance or take the individual to the hospital yourself, so long as that person is not severely injured. If an individual is severely hurt do not try to move this person unless moving them will prevent further harm such as vehicle collision or fire, even if this moving worsens their initial injury.

What if I don’t have a phone?

If you cannot place a call for help, try to indicate to passing vehicles that there is a problem. Place flares on the road, so long as there is nothing flammable nearby. Turn on your hazard lights and pop your hood. Try to flag down a passing car.

What do I say to 911?

Try to get an idea of where you are – can you see street signs? If you’re on the highway, is there a sign for nearby towns, or can you see at what mile marker you are? It’s important to try to be as precise as possible when explaining where you are to the 911 operator as their location systems are not always perfectly accurate. Explain what happened and whether you need an ambulance or a firetruck. Do not hang up until the operator tells you it is okay to. Stay calm and follow the operator’s directions.

CONTACT A CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY IN STOCKTON

If you have been injured in a car accident, motorcycle accident, or truck accident, you should call an experienced car accident attorney immediately. It is imperative that you seek legal guidance as an attorney will have the industry experts and investigators to build a strong case. A car accident attorney in Stockton at The Friel Law Firm will fight to ensure just compensation is received, call (209) 464-8000 for a free car accident case consultation today!

 

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE

REQUEST YOUR FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY

YOUR PRIVACY IS
IMPORTANT US

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE

REQUEST YOUR FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY

YOUR PRIVACY IS
IMPORTANT US