In rare cases, accidents can be straightforward, where it’s clear from the evidence and eyewitness testimony that one person is at fault and legally responsible for the damages. Unfortunately, many truck accidents are not only traumatic but also complex because of the number of people involved and each person’s varying degrees of fault.
Por ejemplo, maybe a truck driver failed to check their blind spot before merging into your lane. They may be driving under the influence of fatigue because of pressure from their employer. The truck’s maintenance provider may have failed to fix the turn signals, which didn’t work at the time of the accident. Plus, you may have been speeding in a way that contributed to the truck driver not seeing you in time to avoid a crash. Everyone in this scenario could be held responsible for contributing to the incident.
When multiple people might share the fault for causing an accident, California law follows a system of pure comparative negligence, otherwise known as culpa comparativa.
The way comparative fault shakes out in your case can significantly impact the compensation you receive after a trucking accident. Empresas de transporte y compañías de seguros will try to minimize their proportion of fault as much as possible to avoid paying out big settlements, but you deserve justice and restitution for the losses you’ve suffered. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help you put forward a strong case to get you the full damages you’re owed.
Understanding Comparative Fault in Trucking Accidents
The legal idea of comparative negligence is used to define the amount of fault that each person holds in an accident. Comparative fault often plays a part in truck accidents because responsibility is not always clear-cut. Various factors could contribute to the crash, including driver error, vehicle malfunctions, or even other drivers on the road.
In one study, California had the second-highest number of deadly truck accidents of any state in the country. With the amount of trucking traffic that goes through Southern California’s ports and the Central Valley’s highways and freeways, it’s critical to understand your rights if you get involved in this type of accident.
Cases involving multiple people at fault require a detailed analysis of the accident’s circumstances, investigating each party’s actions leading up to and during the incident. Liability, or legal responsibility, gets split between the parties based on their proportion of fault.
An experienced lawyer may employ the help of peritos to reconstruct the crash, as well as eyewitness testimonies, traffic camera footage, and other relevant pruebas. Because these are complex cases, it’s critical to find a capable attorney to protect your best interests. Your attorney can help prove that your fault is not as significant as the other parties.
California’s Pure Comparative Negligence Model
California pure comparative negligence law breaks down everyone’s fault into precise percentages. After a trucking accident, you can file a lawsuit for daños. The amount of financial compensation you can recover from such a claim will be reduced by the amount of fault that usted shared in causing the accident. For example:
If the pruebas shows that you were 25% at fault for causing the accident, you can recover up to 75% of your total damages from the other parties who are at fault. That means if you file a claim for $100,000, you can recover up to $75,000 in damages.
In a pure comparative fault state like California, you can get back some of your losses even if you share most of the fault. For example, you may be 99% at fault for causing a crash, but you could still recover 1% of your losses from the other liable parties. This model ensures that victims of truck accidents can still get some level of redress for their injuries and losses.
What Is Joint and Several Liability in Trucking Cases?
Under the practice of joint and several liability in California, any one defendant can be held liable for the total amount of your damages, regardless of how much of the fault they actually share. This means that if one party cannot pay for their proportion of the damages, the other liable parties may have to cover the difference.
If you file a lawsuit for damages, the principle of joint and several liability ensures that you get a better chance of receiving the completo compensation you’re owed, even if one or more of the defendants cannot pay. This is important for truck accident cases because the financial resources and insurance coverage of the involved parties can vary greatly.
En California, joint and several liability applies to daños económicos such as medical expenses, out-of-pocket costs, and other financial losses. This type of liability does no apply to daños no económicos such as pain and suffering or angustia emocional.
Can You Still Recover Compensation If You’re Partly at Fault?
Yes. Under California’s culpa comparativa rules, you can still recover a portion of your total damages even if you’re found partly at fault for the accident. These laws help ensure fairness and recognize the complexities of most trucking accidents.
Por ejemplo, you may have rolled through a stop sign, but the truck that hit you was speeding through the intersection without stopping. Nearby security camera evidence determines that you were 40% at fault for rolling through the stop sign, but the truck was 60% at fault for speeding and running the stop sign. You can still file a lawsuit for damages and recover up to 60% of the losses you suffered in the crash.
The legal journey following a trucking accident may seem daunting, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There are resources and professionals dedicated to helping you – one of the most important steps you can take is to contact an experienced California truck accident lawyer about your case as soon as possible.
En Sepúlveda Sanchez Law, podemos ayudarle. Póngase en contacto con nosotros for a free consultation – with our contingency fee structure, you don’t pay us unless we recover compensation for your case.