Perhaps a big rig veered out of its lane and sideswiped your SUV, while you were driving up to Wine Country with your family. Or maybe a tractor-trailer lost some of its load onto the freeway, causing you to swerve out of the way and into a guardrail. In any case, you want a clear, competent resource to guide you to get compensation for your truck accident injuries and property damage and to recover from the trauma of the crash as quickly as possible.

What should you do immediately after a California truck accident?

Obviously, your first step should be to get medical assistance for you and for any other passengers hurt. Even if you "feel fine" after getting rammed off the road, be aware that you might be experiencing a state of medical "shock." In other words, your body may be producing endorphins and other chemicals that shut down your response to pain and trauma. So, err on the safe side and get a medical evaluation. Call the California police and file an accident report. The more documentation you have of the truck accident, the easier it will be to make a claim against the negligent trucker or against that trucker's insurance company.

Collect as much information as you can from the scene of the accident. If you are too injured or out of it, deputize a passenger or friend to help you collect this information. Take license information, VIN numbers, insurance information, and pictures of the scene. For instance, use your cell phone camera to snap pictures of the damage and of the truck and of your vehicle. Also, take pictures of any injures.

Do not discuss the accident with the truck company's insurer or insurance adjuster. These entities will strive to strip you of your rights to hold negligent trucker or other entities liable, and anything you say or sign can be ultimately used against you, if you press for a claim down the road. Instead, connect with a competent California truck accident lawyer.

Potential Defendants

Depending on how the accident occurred, who was involved, and what happened afterwards, you could bring legal action against any or all of the following parties:

  • Negligent truck driver
  • Trucking company
  • Other driver or drivers who caused or contributed to the crash
  • Private or public entity that failed to maintain clear and safe road conditions
  • The manufacturer or engineer of a broken or defective parts that caused/contributed to the accident
  • Insurance companies that represent any of the defendants

The Importance of a Detailed Investigation

Federal and state regulations as well as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration require truckers to adhere to serious safety standards. For instance, a trucker may not drive more than his or her hours of service arrangement allows. Likewise, a trucking company needs to have a certain amount of insurance, the trucker needs to be licensed and tested regularly, and the vehicle and cargo load both need to comply with regulations.

Your California truck accident attorney will investigate to see whether any of these regulations were violated - for instance, maybe the trucker disobeyed his hours of service rules to earn a little extra that month; or maybe the trucking company did not order a proper and thorough inspection of brakes and other safety systems.

Potential Damages to Seek

Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to hold defendants liable for things like your medical bills, pain and anguish, loss of companionship (in the event of a wrongful death suit), and other costs. For immediate and confidential assistance with your truck accident questions, look to the truck accident law firm of Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP. Contact us at (800) 900-0863 to get more information about your rights and responsibilities.

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