Orange County Truck Accident Attorney
With Offices in Huntington Beach
Do you need legal help?
Orange County Truck Accident Attorney
With Offices in Huntington Beach
Do you need legal help?
- Georgia Cunradi
- D. Franklin Welch
- J. Weber
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Orange County Truck Accident Attorney
Truck accidents are scary and often cause devastating injury. When you’ve been seriously injured in a truck accident because of another driver’s carelessness or negligence, you deserve justice.
If you’re reading this, you may have been badly hurt in a truck accident. You’re probably still in the recovery process and may still be in pain. You’ve probably missed work and need to miss more, causing financial strain. And you’re probably searching for someone to help you with a truck accident claim.
We are here to help. Our firm offers free legal consultations. Call our Orange County truck accident attorney at Timothy J. Ryan & Associates today.
Don’t let worry that you’ll need money upfront stop you. Give us a call as soon as possible and schedule a free legal consultation.
The information below will help you understand your truck accident claim. First, we’ll make you aware of the many ways you can damage the value your claim. Then, we’ll use a client story to provide additional context about your claim. Be sure to read to the end to learn as much as you can.
Truck Accident Statistics in Huntington Beach, California
California has always been home to many industries. Although it may be known as a vacation spot and for its film industry, the largest industry in the state is the export of manufactured goods. That means there are a lot of trucks on the road and plenty of drivers who are not used to driving on the freeway.
The Golden State has more automobiles of every kind on the road than any other state. There are a few things that make truck accidents unique:
- Highway 99 in California is considered to be one of the most deadly in the U.S.
- Truck Driving is considered to be the most dominant job in the state
- The average semi weighs 20 times more than other passenger vehicles.
- 200 to 300 people die in truck accidents a year in the state.
Causes of Truck Accidents in Southern California
Many things cause truck accidents in Huntington Beach. Commercial trucks are hard to navigate, and when truck drivers are negligent or make mistakes, the results can be devastating. Knowing the common causes of truck accidents can help you to avoid them.
Speeding is a major cause of accidents. Newton’s Second Law of Motion states that the acceleration of an object is reliant on net force acting upon an object and the mass of that object. Hence, when a small car or SUV is struck by a truck, it will have a much greater impact than it would in an ordinary car accident.
Distracted driving has always been a major cause of accidents in Orange County and the rest of the country. It has only gotten worse since smartphones came along. Unfortunately, truck drivers are not immune to the distraction of text messages and social media. Although laws have driven the number of distracted driving crashes down, handheld devices are still a major cause of accidents.
Violations of Trucking Law
A truck driver in California has to follow strict rules. Not only do drivers of commercial trucks need a Commercial Driver’s License, but they also need to meet specific training requirements. In the state of California, a trucker can only work 60 to 70 hours a week. The federal Department of Transportation limits over the road truckers to 11 hours of driving time a day,
Trucking companies must also adhere to rules pertaining to the type of cargo that they carry. They cannot overload their trucks or pack them in a way that might throw them off balance.
When a truck hits you, you should always ask if they are independent or work for a trucking company. If they work for a company, you may want to talk to a Huntington Beach truck accident lawyer about seeking additional compensation.
Common Truck Accident Claim Mistakes
There are several ways you can endanger the value of your truck accident claim. Please read through each to help you avoid these missteps yourself.
Refusing Medical Treatment
After a truck accident, you may fail to recognize that you’re injured. Stress hormones triggered by the accident will be surging through your veins and can mask pain for hours. On top of that, you may feel the temporary surge of energy and strength that accompanies an adrenaline rush.
Failing to get checked by a medical professional puts you at risk of not getting treatment for internal injuries you may not know you have. It also endangers your claim, as you’ll be without an official, dated, time-stamped record of injury to support your claim.
When you skip the doctor’s exam, the insurance company can suggest your injuries mustn’t be all that severe. If you wait and then seek out a doctor days or even weeks later, the insurance company may point out that you could have been injured on another day in an unrelated incident.
Don’t let the insurance company slide out of their obligation to compensate you for what you deserve. Call our Orange County truck accident attorney as soon as you can.
Neglecting Your Treatment Plan
When you leave the doctor’s office or emergency room, you’ll be given a treatment plan. It may include any number of ways to assist in your recovery, such as medication, physical or occupational therapy, or chiropractic. Be diligent about doing whatever your doctor advises during your recovery, and avoid activities that are too strenuous for your condition.
If you fail to do the activities you need to do or engage in activities you shouldn’t and the insurance company finds out, they can attempt to lower your claim by blaming you if your recovery stalls. Don’t let them victimize you all over again; get as much rest as possible and follow your treatment plan.
Providing the Insurance Company with a Recorded Statement
It’s not uncommon for people to make the mistake of speaking to the insurance company when they call after the accident. If you take this call, you can expect them to eventually ask to record your statement about the accident. Allowing them to do so is a mistake.
The insurance company is not trying to be thorough in processing your claim. Rather, they are looking for anything they can use to shift blame for the truck accident away from them. The more blame they can shift to you, the less they have to pay you in compensation.
You may not realize you’re not obligated to speak to the insurance company. Many people assume they must take this call or risk their claim stalling or being denied. You are within your rights to decline speaking to the insurance company. This is a call better handled by your Orange County truck accident attorney.
Waiting Too Long to Hire a Lawyer
It’s understandable to need to wait a few days to contact a lawyer after a truck accident. You are likely dealing with the physical, mental, and emotional trauma of severe injuries. But as soon as you can contact a qualified attorney to handle your truck accident claim, it’s best to call.
People sometimes mistakenly believe if they handle their claim on their own without a lawyer, they’ll save money. But statistics don’t bear this out. People who hire a qualified personal injury lawyer to handle their claims are awarded many times more than those with no legal help.
Sadly, one of the reasons for this is the insurance company is not afraid of you. If you fail to negotiate a fair settlement, they know you’re not likely to drag them to court, let alone win a legal case against their lawyers.
Without a lawyer by your side, all the insurance company has to do is stall and deny your claim. If you give up, they’re home free. If you don’t give up, they may just wear you down so much that when they finally toss you a pitifully low offer, you’ll jump at it.
When you hire a qualified personal injury attorney to take on your claim, however, the insurance company is far more likely to arrive at a fair settlement. Your attorney will be able to accurately assess your claim’s value. They have the resources to gather evidence to support that value. They also have the experience to fight for the compensation you deserve; all the way to court, if necessary.
Some people intend to call a lawyer, but assume there will be plenty of time to get around to filing a claim, based on the state’s statute of limitations. No matter how long the statute gives you, however, remember that the longer you wait, the less evidence you’ll have.
Accident scenes get cleaned up. Evidence may be lost. Witnesses may forget crucial details.
In addition, in the state of California, filing deadlines vary, depending on the type of personal injury involved. Also, a claim that involves a municipality may have a much shorter deadline for filing.
In all respects, the sooner your Orange County truck accident attorney can get started on an accident investigation, the stronger your claim will be.
Choosing the Wrong Attorney for Your Truck Accident Claim
Assuming all lawyers can get your claim the same results is a big mistake. Just as neurologists, cardiologists, and dermatologists are all doctors, not all of them are the best choice if you need a skin patch test. It’s crucial to find a personal injury trial lawyer with a record of success handling the kind of claim you need help with.
The best way to get the compensation you deserve is to hire a qualified personal injury trial attorney with experience winning truck accident claims.
Typical Injuries from Truck Accidents
When you have a collision with a truck in Huntington Beach, you will need medical treatment. You should see your doctor even if you feel just fine. Some injuries are not immediately apparent. There are a few types of injuries that are very common after a truck accident.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
When your skull or your spine are impacted in a semi-truck accident, you may experience a brain injury. The severity of the injury will depend on where you were hit and the impact itself. There are a few different kinds of brain injuries.
Diffuse Axonal Injury
This kind of injury happens when a person’s head is moved back and forth faster than their brain stem can move. This can cause tears in the brain stem, which can lead to brain damage and paralysis.
When an object pushes through the skull to the brain, it is called a penetrating brain injury. This can cause severe damage to the brain and even death.
A concussion is a minor injury to the brain caused by the shaking that happens during a collision. It can also be caused by a sharp and sudden movement.
A bruise on the brain tissue is called a contusion. It can happen when a blood vessel breaks. When you get a bruise on your skin, it is no big deal. When it happens on the brain, it can cause problems due to a buildup of fluids under the skin.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Truck accidents can also cause injuries to the spinal cord. The spine controls much of your cognitive abilities. The seriousness of your injury will depend upon where on your body you were injured and how severely you were impacted. You may experience lessened sensations in your limbs, or you may not be able to move them at all.
A spinal cord injury can have a severe effect on your life. You may not be able to work or function normally in society. A person with a spinal cord injury may have medical expenses for the rest of their life.
Accident victims who suffer catastrophic injuries should always contact a personal injury law firm. Our lawyer is one of the top personal injury attorneys in the state.
If a truck hits you, you are very likely to end up breaking a few bones. Breaks can be caused when another vehicle hits you in the side or if a limb is trapped or crushed during an accident. In some cases, your bone can be fractured, and this may require surgery and months of physical therapy.
Truck accidents are amongst the most deadly kinds of collisions. If you have lost a family member to a truck accident, we can represent you in a wrongful death case. We can get you money for lost wages and for the loss of affection and companionship you have experienced.
What To Do When You are in a Truck Accident
When you have an auto accident, you must pull over to the side of the road and see if anyone is injured. You are required to contact the police and wait for them to arrive.
You should always request a copy of the accident report, and it is a good idea to take pictures if you can. You should also get the names of any witnesses who might have seen the accident.
The more evidence, the better a case our truck accident attorney will build for you. The attorney-client relationship is very important to us, and we want to keep you involved and informed every step of the way.
Seeking Medical Attention
When your car collides with a truck, there is a good chance that an ambulance will arrive. If the paramedics tell you to go to the hospital with them, you should go. You will want to seek medical attention after any car accident, even if you feel just fine. Personal injury attorneys and doctors alike will tell you that many injuries do not manifest themselves until months after a truck accident.
It is essential to save a copy of every medical bill you get, including those for alternative treatments. You will want to save all the receipts for any prescription or non-prescription drugs you need to take for your injuries.
Most people have to miss work when they are injured in a truck accident. Remember to get your employer to write you a letter documenting any hours you have missed from work as well as your lost wages.
Filing an Insurance Claim
You may want to seek legal advice before you call your insurance company. Trained personal injury attorneys in Orange County can help you prepare your paperwork and prepare you for the questions that insurance companies will ask you.
Once you have talked to an insurance adjuster and sent in the necessary paperwork, the insurance company will have 40 days to accept or deny your claim.
If they deny your claim, you should give us a call. Our truck accident lawyer can give you legal assistance and tell you if your claim is worth pursuing in court.
If they accept your claim, they will make you a settlement offer. You should never accept a settlement before talking to a truck accident attorney in Orange County.
Orange County Truck Accident Client Story
We are sharing the story below to give you additional perspective about your truck accident claim. The names and specifics have been edited to maintain the privacy of our client, but you’ll learn a lot by reading it just the same. When you’re done, consider calling to schedule your own free legal consultation.
On a warm June day not too long ago, Melissa Beltrani was putting the finishing touches on a wedding cake.
She’d been piping the last of the gold icing filigree on the Chaudhry wedding cake when her phone rang. Stepping over to the phone in the sunny country kitchen that doubled as her bakery’s home base, she surveyed her work.
Not bad, she thought with a smile.
When the bride requested an ivory and aqua tiered wedding cake wrapped in ropes of baroque-style gold filigree frosting, Melissa worried it would be gaudy. To her surprise, it was stunning.
“Karma Cakes,” Melissa said without looking at the ID as she wiped her hands on her apron.
“Mel, it’s me —,” said her best friend and business partner, Raúl. The panic in his voice got her complete attention.
“Don’t tell me your van broke down, Raúl, you’re due here in an hour.” Melissa interjected, panic rising from the pit of her own stomach.
“The van is working. Sort of. The air conditioning’s blowing hot air,” her partner said quietly.
“Raúl, the wedding is in four hours. We’ve got to get this thing to the banquet hall in two.”
“What about your hatchback?” Raúl asked hopefully.
“You want to put a tiered wedding cake in the back of a subcompact,” Melissa said, trying to process the new plan.
“Aren’t you always telling me it’s got the best cargo rating in its class? Besides, the cake can’t be more than, what, seventeen inches tall?”
“You could leave the tiers off and assemble it at the banquet hall,” Raúl suggested.
“No way. Too much room for error. Look, I’ll put the dowels in and put it together before I go, but you’ve got to get over here and help me load it. And you’re riding with me.”
“On my way,” Raúl said. He was gone before she could tell him to hurry.
Seventy-five minutes later, Melissa and Raúl had the cake in the hatchback of her small, red Chevy Sonic.
“Get in,” she commanded. She held her breath and closed the hatch as if it contained a house of cards.
“Want me to drive?” Raúl offered.
“No way. Just ride shotgun and keep me calm. You can help me look for turns if the Bluetooth goes out.”
“Fine. There’s three recommended routes. I recommend the middle one. It’s got the most surface streets except for one straight shot down the San Diego Freeway. Hopefully, we can get away with a steady, slow crawl to the banquet hall.”
They threaded their way east. By the time Melissa pulled onto the freeway twenty minutes later, they were both shivering from the air conditioning. Neither of them mentioned it for fear the air conditioning would spontaneously break, turning the cake into a puddle. After all, the company was named “Karma Cakes.”
“So far so good, Mel,” Raúl said in the low, calm voice she’d heard him use when handling nervous horses. A third car swerved around them in frustration. “Just ignore those idiots,” Raúl soothed. Melissa made a mental note to speak to him later about talking to her as if she were a tense filly. Still, her best friend was pretty much a horse whisperer in his spare time. She winced as the driver of a blue Honda made a rude hand gesture and nearly cut them off to get to the freeway exit three seconds faster.
Eight harrowing minutes later they pulled off the six-lane nightmare and turned left, heading north on Hoover, the last leg of their trip. Melissa breathed a sigh of relief as she passed under the freeway.
“See Mel, smooth sailing from here,” Raúl said, patting her shoulder.
“It’s a good thing I keep you around,” she said to her partner fondly.
“Yeah, not only do I repeat everything your nav system tells you to do, I can sing to you while you drive,” said Raúl.
“Nooooo, please don’t sing!” Melissa begged, laughing as her best friend began the intro to “Danny Boy.”
They were crossing the intersection at Washington as he finished the first verse. He never got to the second.
A truck ran the light and rammed into the passenger side of the small car. The impact sent the car spinning across the intersection, narrowly missing a city bus before slamming into a light post.
Melissa woke up in the hospital. Her father was at her bedside. He told her she’d been in a medically-induced coma for two days. She’d broken her back, and the doctors were unsure whether she’d regain feeling in her legs.
Miraculously, Raúl survived the impact with a broken arm, three broken ribs, and a neck sprain. Unfortunately, the wedding cake didn’t make it.
Melissa had been taken to Cedars Sinai because of the nature of her back injury. She’d undergone surgery when she’d arrived but would likely need another in ten or twelve weeks, depending on her recovery.
Raúl visited her frequently, and kept her spirits up as much as was possible. A week after the accident, he arrived to find Melissa in an argument with her dad.
“Am I interrupting?” He asked at the door.
“Not at all. I was just leaving,” Melissa’s father said quietly, clearly upset. He left them alone in the room, closing the door carefully as he left.
“He wants me to sell the business,” Melissa said through angry tears. “He obviously doesn’t think I’ll be able to handle it now.” To her chagrin, she found herself grateful when her partner used the horse whisperer voice.
“Mel, I’m sure he didn’t mean it. He’s out of his mind with worry is all,” he said, adding, “You know, Mel, I’d buy you out, but you know I’m just in it for the donut holes,” Raúl joked. “Besides, you wouldn’t want to eat anything I baked.”
They both knew he was in no position to buy anyone out of anything until his school loans were paid off. That was what he’d hoped to accomplish by becoming her partner. When he’d achieved his goal, he had his heart set on opening riding stables.
They talked about everything and nothing until Melissa had calmed down and almost cracked a smile. Before Raúl left, he showed her our website and suggested she call.
That afternoon she made an appointment for a free legal consultation with our firm. She said she wanted to know how much it would cost to hire our firm, what her claim was worth, and how long she could expect a claim to take.
How much does it cost to hire a lawyer?
We met Melissa the next day in her hospital room. Her first concern was the expense.
“How much would it cost to hire you?” Melissa asked, explaining that her baking business was “in limbo” until she knew what was happening with her health.
“I’ve got my assistant wrapping up two events that just needed finishing touches and delivery, but I’ve had to cancel two weddings to give my clients time to find someone else. As much as I’d like to pursue a claim, I don’t know if I’ll be able to afford it,” Melissa said.
“There is no upfront charge,” our lawyer explained. “We use a contingency fee model, which means the firm covers all the expenses for your case, including the investigation and administration. We work the whole case up as if it’s going to trial. We’ll even cover litigation expenses, if a trial should be necessary.
“We only get paid, Melissa, when we bring you a successful resolution to your truck accident claim.”
“Okay, Melissa said, “That’s encouraging.”
What is my truck accident claim worth?
“Can you give me any idea what my truck accident claim is worth?” She asked.
Our lawyer explained that it wasn’t possible to provide an accurate estimate of the value of a claim at the outset.
“We need to conduct a thorough accident investigation first. We also need to be really sure of your economic and non-economic damages. We can get the investigation started immediately, gathering evidence and speaking to witnesses. But we won’t be clear on your damages until you reach ‘maximum medical improvement.’
“This is when you’ve recovered to the point that the doctors declare you ‘back to normal.’”
Melissa stared blankly at her immobile legs. “And what if ‘back to normal’ doesn’t turn out to be possible,” she choked out.
“Then maximum medical improvement will be when you’ve reached the best level of recovery possible, given your injuries. It will also mean you’re through with surgeries and the doctors have a clear idea of what, if any future care you will need for your injuries.
“When you get to maximum medical improvement, we’ll know what your damages are. That’s when we can tell you what your claim is worth, Melissa, because your case is unique to you and your injuries. I recommend you treat any lawyer who tosses a random case value at you with great skepticism,” the lawyer said.
“In the meantime, you need to channel all of your energy and frustration into your recovery. It may sound trite, but try to relax and rest as much as possible. The sooner you reach maximum medical improvement, the sooner we’ll know your damages.”
“Okay,” Melissa said with a sigh, clearly still frustrated. She knew deep down that her mindset was going to play a big part in moving her toward recovery. She made a commitment to herself to stay positive.
How long will my claim take?
“Can you give me an idea how long my claim will take?” She asked, afraid of the answer. “Sounds like it can’t move any faster than the pace of my recovery.”
“You’re correct, Melissa,” our lawyer replied. “Since we need to know your damages to know the value of your claim, the first thing your case timeline will depend on is how long it takes you to reach maximum medical improvement. When you get there, we’ll send a demand letter to the insurance company.
“The second factor In the timeline your claim is how the insurance company reacts to our demand letter. If they are open to negotiating fair compensation, we’re all set to wrap things up. If they balk, however, we’ll take your case before a jury.
“Please don’t let his possibility worry you though, Melissa. Our firm has a long and very successful record in both truck accident claim negotiations and trials. The insurance company most likely knows our name. They may even decide to work out a settlement to avoid facing us in a jury trial.
“No matter which way your case turns out, Melissa, we’ll be ready to fight for your right to full and fair compensation,” our lawyer assured her. “That’s why no matter whom you retain to handle your claim, we recommend a Orange County personal injury trial lawyer with a successful record handling truck accident claims.”
Melissa was content with the answers we gave her in her free consultation. She retained our firm and we’re happy to say we got her over six times the amount the insurance company initially offered.
Contact Our Orange County Truck Accident Attorney Today
We hope you’ve found this information helpful. Keeping in mind that no two cases are identical, we urge you to give us a call as soon as you can to schedule your free legal consultation. You’ve got enough to deal with. Give Timothy J. Ryan & Associates a call and let us take the burden of your truck accident claim off your shoulders.
Tim Ryan took my small personal injury case and turned it into a “win” for me. I appreciate his time, patience, and professional expertise in resolving this neighborhood dog injury issue for me. I feel safer because of Tim Ryan. Thank you!