Truck accidents are rarely minor fender benders and often involve catastrophic injuries that can affect a victim for their entire lifetime. This reality has much to do with the power and size of these trucks and the devastating impact they have when colliding with other vehicles on the roadway.
If you have the misfortune of being in a trucking accident, California has laws in place that entitle you to compensatory damages. This compensation should cover any medical expenses, ongoing care, lost wages, and damage to your vehicle to make you whole again. In addition to this, state law also makes it possible for injured victims to receive punitive damages in limited circumstances.
When Would I Receive Punitive Damages from a Truck Accident?
The main purpose of California’s civil justice system is to compensate victims only for what was lost and not seek to punish the at-fault party. Courts generally don’t go beyond this threshold when awarding personal injury compensation, but there are occasions where punitive damages are appropriate. In cases where a truck driver performs their job recklessly or commits an egregious act of negligence, the court may reinforce the unacceptable nature of the driver’s conduct and require additional compensation.
Because of the dramatic nature of a trucking accident compared to regular vehicle collisions, the discovery that other contributing factors may warrant punitive damages is important. Working with an experienced Beverly Hills truck accident attorney is critical in assessing whether you have a case for these additional damages.
Examples of accident circumstances that would make a solid case for punitive damages include:
Accidents involving the influence of alcohol or drugs can prove that the truck driver was not only reckless but acting illegally. In California, trucking operators with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.04% or higher are guilty of driving under the influence.
While difficult to prove, demonstrating that the trucking company or driver purposely disregarded federal, state or local regulations is often grounds for punitive compensation. Your trucking accident attorney will look for a history of ongoing violations like overloading or not maintaining vehicles to prove your case.
Negligently Employing Dangerous Drivers
When trucking companies fail to conduct thorough inquiries and background checks when hiring a driver, they put the public at risk. Hiring operators with a history of DUI or previous accidents due to reckless behavior like road rage shows demonstrated negligence on the part of the carrier.
In some cases, proving negligent or reckless actions on the part of the driver or carrier may be difficult. If the company takes steps to hide or destroy evidence that would prove your claim, this may be indicated by missing maintenance or log records.
If you or a loved one experiences a trucking accident that has circumstances similar to those listed above, you may receive additional punitive damages on top of your personal injury compensation. Working with a highly trained trucking accident attorney is vital to gather evidence of wrongdoing, make discovery demands, and get testimony from eyewitnesses or accident reconstruction experts.
Seek Legal Counsel from A Trusted Truck Accident Lawyer
Throughout California, trucking accidents devastate the lives of thousands of families every year. Your best first step after surviving a catastrophic crash is to consult with an experienced Beverly Hills truck accident lawyer to evaluate your case and damages. The trusted attorneys of Setareh Law dedicate themselves to providing every client with a personalized experience that will help them earn the compensation they deserve.
Recognized by SuperLawyers and Avvo.com, our attorneys are some of the best and are members of the California Bar Association and the Beverly Hills Bar Association. We have the needed skills and experience to successfully represent your trucking accident claim.
If you’re ready to pursue a claim against the driver and carrier who caused your accident, there’s no better time to call us than now. Call 310-659-1826 or contact us online today to schedule your free consultation. We look forward to discussing your case with you soon.