Important Tips for Filing a Truck Accident Claim

At The Swanson Law Group, we offer free initial consultations & you don't pay unless we win!

If you’ve been injured in an accident with a commercial truck and would like to file a claim, you can do so by following these steps:

  • Document the Details of the Accident
  • Select a Truck Accident Lawyer
  • Allow Your Legal Team to Investigate
  • Send Your Personal Injury Lawyer Demand Letter
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Should I hire a lawyer for a truck accident?

At The Swanson Law Group, our truck accident attorneys in San Jose represent those injured in an accident with a semi-truck, big rig, 18-wheeler, or other commercial truck. Our goal is to achieve justice for the injured and help them rebuild their lives by getting their health back and recovering top compensation for their injuries.

Hiring a lawyer after a truck accident is crucial for several reasons:

  • First and foremost, a skilled attorney understands the complexities of truck accident cases and can navigate the legal process on your behalf.

  • They will protect your rights and advocate for fair compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and other damages.
  • A lawyer will also handle negotiations with insurance companies, ensuring you don't settle for less than you deserve.
  • Additionally, they have access to a network of medical professionals who can provide the necessary documentation and expert testimony to support your claim.

By hiring a lawyer, you gain peace of mind, knowing that you have a knowledgeable advocate fighting for your best interests.

Driving in and around San Jose involves sharing the roadways with many commercial trucks.

A semi-truck weighs up to 80,000 lbs. when fully loaded and requires a much longer distance to stop, making it far more difficult to control. When a truck driver does not control the vehicle safely, this can lead to serious or fatal injuries to others who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Types of truck accidents

When a truck driver is unable to control a vehicle safely, several types of collisions occur, including:

Jackknife truck accidents:

When a truck driver speeds, drives on wet roads, or has an unevenly loaded trailer, the trailer can swing sideways, resulting in the tractor pulling the load being pushed sideways. The vehicle is no longer in control, and the tractor's and trailer's weight continues in motion, sweeping aside any car nearby.

Rollover truck accidents:

A big rig traveling on curved roadways at an unsafe speed can cause the vehicle to become unbalanced and the trailer to tip over. Driver error is the most common cause of a rollover, performing negligent actions such as talking on the phone, alcohol or drug intoxication, fatigue, or failure to operate the vehicle safely. 

Rear-end truck accidents:

A driver who is operating a large commercial truck too fast for the road conditions or who is speeding may be unable to bring the vehicle to a stop fast enough to avoid ramming into a passenger car ahead.

Sideswipe truck accidents:

A truck driver may be operating the vehicle unsafely, allowing it to swing into an adjoining lane or changing lanes and impacting a vehicle in another lane, causing a serious or fatal collision.

Underride truck accidents:

When another vehicle slides beneath the body of a truck, the vehicle's cabin can be sheared off or crumpled, crushing the driver and passenger. 

Our big rig accident lawyers in San Jose are here to help you in your most trying times. 

What Causes a Commercial Truck to Jackknife?

The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) reports the number of truck accidents each year. In the most recently reported year, a staggering 4,587 fatal truck crashes with 5,039 deaths occurred in the USA. Many of these crashes involved a jackknifed truck. The causes of these terrible accidents include:

  • An unevenly loaded truck: Truck cargo must be balanced correctly. When a truck has been loaded incorrectly, it may cause the trailer to swing from side to side, resulting in a jackknife.
  • Speeding: A driver exceeding a safe speed around a turn may lose control, causing the truck to jackknife.
  • A distracted driver: A driver who is busy texting, talking on the phone, or involved in another distraction may fail to notice that traffic ahead has come to a stop. The driver suddenly brakes, throwing the vehicle out of control and causing a jackknife.
  • A tired driver: To earn a living, truck drivers are under great pressure to deliver their loads on time. A tired driver often makes bad decisions due to lack of sleep, which can lead to negligent driving and a jackknife.
  • Alcohol or drug intoxication: A truck driver that has consumed alcohol or taken drugs (whether legally prescribed or not) can make a deadly error, causing a jackknife.
  • Faulty brakes: If the brakes on a commercial truck are faulty, the driver is unable to bring it to a stop when needed and may swerve to avoid a collision, leading to a jackknife accident.
  • Lack of experience: The trucking industry is in trouble, and drivers are badly needed. Drivers with less experience are now behind the wheel of commercial trucks, and the lack of driving experience can lead to errors in judgment and a jackknifed truck.

Who is liable? 

Filing a compensation claim requires identifying all liable parties. In a truck accident, multiple parties may be liable, including:

  • The truck driver: A negligent driver who has failed to operate the vehicle safely, exceeded speed limits, or made a serious error in judgment could be named in a claim or lawsuit.
  • The trucking firm: The trucking firm that owns the vehicle and employs the driver may be held responsible due to failure to maintain the vehicle or train the truck driver as required by law.
  • The truck manufacturer: If a truck system fails, the truck manufacturer may be liable in a truck accident injury case.
  • The truck parts manufacturer: If a critical truck part fails, the part manufacturer may be held liable.
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Settlement or trial? 

Many times, a case will be settled — but we never compromise. Our clients deserve to recover fair compensation, and when an insurance company offers a low settlement (which they usually do), we prepare for battle. 

To understand how we communicate with insurance companies, look at a few of our insurance letters and some of our case results. While our clients wait for the case to resolve, we provide up-front money to help them through the tough times.

Get the help you need from a team you can trust

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Our investigation into a truck accident: What is involved?

After we take on a client in a truck accident case, our investigation into the facts begins. Every detail of the collision will be reviewed, including: 

  • The truck’s black box data: Commercial trucks are equipped with a black box that tracks speed and other data. This information can reveal truck driver errors such as speeding and any false information in the truck driver’s hours-of-service log.
  • Truck driver training and experience: The Code of Federal Regulations covers the laws regulating commercial drivers. A driver may have a history of violations, or the inquiry required into the driver’s history may not have been performed by the trucking firm.
  • The hours-of-service log: Truck drivers must follow the hours-of-service regulations. They have strict rules regarding how long they can drive without rest, as well as the breaks they must take. This information is kept in a log, but does the information match the black box data? Truck drivers can be under pressure to deliver a load on time, and therefore may violate the hours of service regulations. We investigate every detail.
  • The accident investigation report: Reports are issued by several agencies, including local law enforcement and, in serious accidents, federal accident investigators. These reports can be a key part of the evidence supporting a claim for compensation.

Types of damages in a truck accident: What is your case worth?

Every case is different. When valuing a claim, several types of damages can be pursued, including:

  • Economic losses: These damages include the cost of medical treatment (past, present, and estimated for the future), lost wages, lost earning capacity, property damage, medications, rehabilitation costs, and other losses.
  • Non-economic damages: The injuries sustained have a terrible impact on the individual. These damages include pain and suffering, reduced quality of life, the losses associated with intimacy with a loved one, and other very personal and very significant losses.

You are not alone. Let The Swanson Law Group guide you

Losing your health can be hard to grasp until it happens. A severe injury can make you feel helpless.

Our semi truck accident lawyers in San Jose at The Swanson Law Group have the expertise you need when dealing with a truck accident. If you're looking for exceptional results, you need an exceptional attorney. We are fully committed to achieving fair and full compensation and willing to go to battle for it. 

While many lawyers may attract clients, send them to a chiropractor, and push them to accept whatever the insurance companies offer, that's not how we operate. We genuinely care about helping our clients recover after a truck accident and provide access to our network of skilled physicians and specialists. These are the same great doctors we would trust if we had a similar injury to yours.

Your well-being is our utmost priority, and we'll assist you in any way we can. 

Free case consultation

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, we offer a free case consultation to discuss what happened. We are interested in your side of the story. If an insurance company has made a settlement offer, we urge you to have it reviewed. These companies are profit-based and often offer a settlement far lower than you deserve — particularly to members of the Hispanic community, a group that often gets victimized by insurance companies.

We have a lot of respect for this community, and we do everything we can to fight back against the tactics of the insurance companies. All our cases are represented on a contingency fee basis. This means there are no legal fees unless we win. Call us today and talk to a law firm with a strong record of successful results that genuinely cares about you. 

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