Best Truck Accident Lawyers Los Angeles, CA (2024) – Forbes

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When filing a truck accident lawsuit in California, there are important laws to be aware of which can affect how and when you file.

California Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is the amount of time that an injured party has to file a lawsuit after an accident or after the cause of the injury occurs. If you are in a truck accident and are suing for your injuries or damage to your car, you have two years from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit in California.

However, suppose the accident causes severe injuries to a family member. That family member has two years to file a personal injury lawsuit, but if they die six months later, you and your family have two years from the date of their death to file a wrongful death lawsuit, since it’s the death and not the injury that creates the cause of the lawsuit.

California Laws for Truck Drivers

In California, as in every state, the laws concerning Trucking are a combination of federal and state laws. most of the laws concerning trucking are from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These laws include:

  • Hours of service requirements. Drivers must take breaks every few hours and must take longer breaks between driving shifts and between driving weeks. Truck drivers can drive no more than 11 hours in a 14-hour period and then must take at least 10 hours off before another “on duty” period begins. Drivers must also take a 30-minute break every 8 hours of driving and must take at least 34 hours off from driving between each seven or eight-day work week.
  • Driver logs. The FMCSA requires the above-mentioned breaks as well as all stops and inspections to be logged by each driver.

These regulations apply to all trucks engaged in interstate commerce, but California has created similar regulations that govern trucks that only travel within the state. California has also banned certain types of trucks from operating in the state. Effective January, 2023, any diesel vehicle over 14,000 pounds must have an engine made in 2010 or later or it will be denied registration.

Identifying Fault for a Truck Accident

In California, when it comes to auto insurance, they follow a “fault-based” or “tort” system. Basically, this means that every driver needs to have liability insurance, which covers the damages if they’re at fault in an accident. This rule applies to trucks as well as passenger vehicles, too.

Now, let’s say you’ve been in an accident, and you want to get compensated for your losses. These losses could be things like medical expenses for injuries or fixing/replacing your damaged car or motorcycle. What you need to do is file a claim with the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident.

The driver considered to be at fault—as determined by the insurance companies initially—is responsible for the damages they cause.

California is one of the few states that uses something called pure comparative negligence to figure out how much each party can recover after an accident. Most other states have a modified version of comparative negligence, which means if you’re 51% or more responsible for the accident, you can’t get any compensation.

In California, however, they allow anyone to get compensation no matter how responsible they were. But, keep in mind that the amount you receive will depend on how much responsibility you had in the accident.

A jury or judge could determine that you’re 90% responsible for an accident. That means that if you sue for $100,000, the most you can recover is $10,000. In states with the modified comparative negligence rule, however, you wouldn’t be able to recover anything.

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