Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco tractor-trailer accident’
The scene of a Bay Area trucking accident is often chaotic, involving multiple vehicles, serious injuries and lots of activity. The trucking industry is the subject of many personal injury lawsuits resulting from truck driver negligence and other forms of negligence so trucking companies have a vast array of strategies to defend against claims brought by those injured by these monstrous sized vehicles. One common strategy used by insurance companies in trucking accident cases involves trying to shift liability to other potential parties. Because this is such a common ploy by trucking companies, it is important to understand the wide range of parties who may be responsible for a trucking accident:
Drivers of Motor Vehicles (i.e. not the truck driver or injury victim): Sometimes the truck driver will contend that the negligence of a third party forced the truck driver to take evasive action to avoid a collision. The truck driver and the trucking company will often argue that the truck driver’s reaction was appropriate and that there was no way the truck driver could have responded to the error by the other driver that would have prevented the collision.
Trucking Accident Injury Victim: Unfortunately, insurance carriers for trucking companies often add insult to injury by blaming the trucking accident on the injury victim. The trucking company will attempt to show that the injury victim’s own failure to take reasonable care to prevent foreseeable harm (i.e. injuries in a trucking accident) was partially or totally responsible for the trucking collision. Generally, this strategy will only result in a reduction in the damages that a trucking accident victim recovers in California unless it is established that the accident victim’s proportion of fault is a hundred percent.
Truck Driver: The most common defendant in trucking accident cases in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area are truck drivers. Truck driver errors that cause serious trucking accidents may include violation of hours of service rules (driver fatigue), speeding, improperly securing a load, drugged driving and other factors.
Truck Driver Employer (i.e. Trucking Company): Many times the trucking company cuts corners or ignores important California or federal safety regulations to increase profitability. When a trucking company fails to conduct drug testing or causes driver fatigue with unrealistic schedules the trucking company may be liable for injuries to a San Francisco trucking accident victim.
Independent Tractor-Trailer Repair Facility: Many times tractor-trailer maintenance or service is handled by an independent repair facility. If vehicle maintenance or repairs are not performed properly, this may be a basis for imposing liability on the repair company when the accident results from the substandard maintenance work.
Manufacturers and Retailers of Truck and Components: When a defect in a tractor-trailer component or system contributes to a collision, the manufacturer or retailer of the tractor-trailer may be liable for the resulting collision. For example, defective brake systems are sometimes the basis for a product liability claims against a manufacturer or retailer.
Public Entities: Government agencies that design roadways have a legal obligation to design and build roads that are reasonably safe, including ramps and signage. When a road is unsafe for a tractor-trailer because of steep grades or other factors, the public entity may be liable for not providing warning signs regarding the hazards posed for tractor-trailers. Similarly, public entities may have an obligation to implement remedial measures when a particular stretch of roadway is the sight of repeated trucking accidents.
While this is not a comprehensive list of every entity that may share responsibility in a San Francisco trucking accident, it should be clear that many parties may play a role in causing a trucking accident. Because there may be major differences in the insurance that is available based on the parties involved, our experienced San Francisco trucking accident lawyers work diligently to identify all potential responsible defendants in our clients’ cases.
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If you are involved in a San Francisco tractor-trailer accident, you may suffer catastrophic life-changing injuries. If you or someone you love has been injured or a loved one has died in a San Francisco tractor-trailer accident, you should contact us as soon as possible because critical deadlines apply. We invite you to contact The Law Office of Ian Zimmerman for your free initial consultation. We are open 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., speak Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese, and are available for weekend, evening, home and hospital meetings and visits. We also offer free initial consultations and work exclusively on a contingency fee basis so that you pay nothing if we don’t win your case.
Tractor-trailers are monstrous in size and mass when compared to a typical passenger vehicle. This basic difference in size and mass means that truck accident victims will often suffer devastating injuries. The magnitude of injuries that characterize a tractor-trailer collision make it imperative that trucking accident victims seek the full measure of damages they are entitled to receive. In other words, accident victims need to effectively navigate the potential roadblocks and obstacles that may be presented by the at-fault commercial carriers’ insurance company.
Although someone from the insurance company may contact you after the collision in the course of investigating the claim, the trucking company may not be trying to determine “the truth” about the collision. It is important to understand that the insurance adjuster for the trucking company is an employee of the insurance company. While the adjuster may seem reasonable and even friendly, the focus of the adjuster’s efforts and any communications with you are intended to avoid liability for your injuries, property damage, or loss of a loved one. Even if liability is absolutely clear, which is uncommon, the adjuster may contact you to obtain information about pre-existing injuries that could reduce the value of your personal injury claim.
The best practice in situations such as these is to simply decline speaking with the insurance adjuster. This is especially if you are being asked to make a recorded statement. The law imposes no obligation on you to speak to the insurance adjuster for the trucking company. Sometimes San Francisco trucking accident victims are convinced that the fault of the truck driver is beyond dispute so that making a recorded statement will facilitate payment of the victim’s claim. The victims of negligent truck drivers and trucking companies should keep in mind that the only reason that the adjuster wants a statement is to develop factual evidence that will support valid legal defenses to your claim.
Another common ruse used by insurance companies in trucking accidents is to encourage you to sign documents that will compromise your trucking accident claim. The most common document that you may be asked to sign is a Waiver of Confidentiality. The insurance adjuster may be looking for medical information or employment information that may create possible defenses for the insurance company or otherwise undermine the value of your claim.
The other document that you may be asked to sign is a General Release of Liability. The document may even be accompanied by a check. Depending on the precise terms of the agreement, execution of this document may result in a complete waiver of all rights and remedies, which even includes those that involve injuries that have not yet become apparent. This can be a devastating result if you have permanent injuries that are only diagnosed later. The bottom line is never sign anything without consulting an experienced San Francisco truck accident attorney.
If you or someone you love has been injured or a loved one has died in a San Francisco tractor-trailer accident, our San Francisco truck accident attorneys have the familiarity and experience to protect you from unfair tactics by the trucking company’s insurance company. We invite you to contact The Law Office of Ian Zimmerman for your free initial consultation. We are open 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., speak Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese, and are available for weekend, evening, home and hospital meetings and visits. We also offer free initial consultations and work exclusively on a contingency fee basis so that you pay nothing if we don’t win your case.