Front End of a Wrecked Semi-Truck After a Head-On CollisionHead-on truck collisions in San Diego and Southern California are an especially dangerous type of truck accident that can result in victims suffering catastrophic injuries or even death. If you were injured in a head-on truck accident in Southern California, you must understand how trucker negligence may have caused the crash. An experienced truck accident attorney can help go up against the insurance company for the compensation you deserve.

Top Causes of Head-On Truck Collisions

Truck accidents can occur for many reasons related to trucker negligence. Here are some common causes of head-on truck crashes:

  • Speeding. Speeding is a top cause of truck accidents. When truck drivers exceed the posted speed limits or drive too fast for the road conditions, they can lose control of their vehicles and cause devastating head-on collisions. Speeding reduces the trucker's ability to react to changing traffic situations, increases the stopping distance, and makes maneuvering a large, heavy truck harder.
  • Failure to obey traffic laws. Truck drivers must follow all traffic laws, including traffic signals, signs, and right-of-way rules. However, truckers failing to obey these laws can cause head-on collisions. Common traffic violations that lead to head-on truck accidents include running red lights, making illegal U-turns, or failing to yield to oncoming traffic.
  • Distracted driving. Distracted driving is dangerous and causes many serious accidents, including head-on truck collisions. Texting, talking on a cellphone, or adjusting the radio while driving are common distractions that cause truckers to take their eyes off the road and their minds off their driving.
  • Intoxication. Intoxicated truck drivers may have impaired judgment, reduced reaction times, and decreased motor skills, which significantly increase the likelihood that they will cause a catastrophic head-on truck collision.
  • Drowsy driving. Truck drivers often cause collisions when they have to drive long hours without adequate rest. Drowsy driving is as dangerous as driving while intoxicated and can impair a truck driver's ability to focus, react, and make sound decisions. A trucker fighting to stay away or falling asleep at the wheel could veer across the center lane right into oncoming traffic.
  • Inexperience. Inexperienced truck drivers may lack the necessary skills and knowledge to operate a large commercial truck safely. Trucking companies must hire and train experienced truckers before sending them out on the road.
  • Lack of truck maintenance. Proper truck maintenance is crucial for the safe operation of commercial trucks. When truckers and trucking companies breach their duty to maintain their trucks, the brakes could fail, or a tire could blow out, causing the truck driver to lose control of their truck and crash head-on into another motor vehicle.

Liable Parties in Head-On Truck Collisions

There may be additional liable parties besides the trucker whose negligence caused the head-on collision. You need the help of a skilled truck crash lawyer to determine the cause of the wreck and who faces liability. Potentially liable parties include the following:

  • Truck driver. The truck driver who caused the head-on collision through their negligent actions, such as speeding, distracted driving, or intoxication, can be held liable for the damages and injuries they caused.
  • Trucking company. Trucking companies are legally responsible for the actions of their drivers while they are on duty and can be liable to compensate truck collision victims if the trucker's negligence caused the crash. Accident victims may also have a claim against the trucking company for negligent hiring and supervision of truckers, failure to maintain their trucks, and violation of other Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations designed to prevent truck crashes.
  • Shipper. Sometimes, the shipper who loaded the cargo onto the truck may be responsible for a head-on truck collision. If the shipment was loaded improperly or exceeded weight limits, it could affect the stability and maneuverability of the truck, leading to a crash.
  • Truck maintenance facility. If the truck had maintenance issues that caused or contributed to the head-on collision, the truck maintenance facility responsible for servicing the truck might be liable if they failed to perform routine inspections, repairs, or replacements of faulty parts.
  • Truck and parts manufacturer. If the head-on collision was caused by a manufacturing or design defect in the truck or its parts, you may be able to hold the truck and parts manufacturer responsible for compensating you in a product liability case.

Types of Compensation You Can Recover After a Head-On Collision

You must prove that the truck driver's and trucking company's negligence caused your head-on crash, the severity of your injuries, and your damages to be entitled to compensation from their insurance company. If you can prove the elements of a negligence claim, you may be entitled to the following types of compensation under California law.

Medical Expenses

You should obtain compensation for all of the medical expenses related to treating your injuries, including:

Lost Wages and Lost Earning Capacity Damages

If you become permanently disabled because of your injuries, you may be able to recover compensation for your lost wages while you are recovering. These damages can include both past and future lost earnings.

You can also be reimbursed for other perks of your job that you lost, such as lost vacation and sick time, bonuses, and commissions. If you must make a career change and take a pay cut or become permanently disabled, you may be able to obtain lost earning capacity damages to replace your lost income for the rest of your life.

Pain and Suffering

Being involved in a semi-truck head-on collision in San Diego can be a frightening experience, and coping with your injuries can be stressful and painful. Under California law, you may deserve compensation for the physical pain and emotional suffering caused by your injuries. Pain and suffering damages can compensate you for the chronic pain, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life caused by the crash.

Property Damages

If your vehicle or personal property suffered damages in the head-on accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the cost of repairing or replacing them. You should obtain several estimates of the cost to repair or replace your property to prove that these expenses are reasonable. If you have to rent a car while yours is being repaired, be sure to ask for reimbursement for these costs.

Wrongful Death

If a loved one was killed in a head-on collision, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death action against the at-fault trucker and trucking company. Damages awarded in wrongful death actions include the following:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of financial support
  • Loss of companionship and advice

Benefits of Hiring a Skilled Truck Accident Lawyer

Retaining an experienced truck accident lawyer is essential if you are seeking compensation for your damages and losses from the insurance company. These cases are extremely complex, and the insurance company could do everything it can to deny your claim or try to force you to accept less money in your settlement. Some benefits of retaining an attorney include the following:

  • Protecting your legal rights. An experienced truck accident lawyer can protect your legal rights and ensure your best interests are represented throughout the legal process.
  • Gathering evidence. Your lawyer will obtain evidence to prove the elements of your case, such as the police report, witness statements, trucker personnel file, and their logbooks. They can also send the trucking company a spoliation letter advising them of your claim and not to destroy evidence that could help prove their liability.
  • Negotiating with insurance companies. Insurance companies are focused on protecting their bottom line, not compensating accident victims. Your attorney will negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to ensure that you receive the maximum recovery in your settlement.
  • Litigating your claim. If the insurance company refuses to offer you the settlement you deserve or the deadline to sue will expire soon, your attorney can litigate your case in court to seek the maximum compensation you deserve.
  • Providing peace of mind. Navigating the legal system and the insurance process can be stressful and overwhelming, especially while coping with serious injuries. Hiring a skilled truck crash lawyer who will handle settling your claim can relieve your worries and allow you to focus on your recovery and getting on with your life.
Mark Blane
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San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer | California Car Accident Attorney
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