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What Should You Do After a Semi-Truck Accident in California?

What Should You Do After a Semi-Truck Accident in California?

This article is for informational purposes only, please see our disclaimer for more details.

California is a leader in many areas, including traffic stats. Our state is home to more registered vehicles than any other, and it’s not even close. Working in the Riverside area, we’re familiar with a southern California commute.

An unfortunate part of living in the Inland Empire is that you may have to spend a good deal of time on the road. And with time on the road, that means contact with semi-trucks.

California is a big site for international trade and shipping, meaning a large volume of goods is transported by road. Semi-trucks log a lot of miles on California’s highways. With a lot of miles comes lots of accidents.

We’ve all had a few scares with large trucks. Maybe they veered into your lane, or started braking much later than they should of. However, most of us are lucky enough to avoid any serious accident involving semi-trucks.

Life After an Accident

But for those who are injured by a truck, life can be permanently changed for themselves and for their families. Accidents with trucks can be disastrous. The size and slow braking time of these vehicles mean that many accidents lead to severe, often disabling injury for those involved.

You’ll need a Riverside truck accident legal team that knows how to fight and earn you the maximum compensation for your case. An accident with a semi-truck can mean years of expensive medical care and lost income. At Montgomery and Steele, we are personal injury attorneys who fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

Here, we’ll walk you through what California law says about truck accidents, and how you can get the help you need to file a claim.

Right After the Accident

If you are involved in or witness a semi-truck accident, it’s important that you know what the law says you must do. In California, state law requires that motorists render ‘reasonable assistance’ to those injured by an accident. This may include California law states that those involved in an accident must:

  • Provide name and address, as well as that of the owner of the vehicle, if different from your own
  • Provide current vehicle registration and insurance
  • Show their driver’s license, if requested by a police officer

When to Report an Accident

The law states that not all truck accidents must be reported, but that any accident that leads to injury must be reported to law enforcement right away. Since nearly all accidents involving semi-trucks are serious, it is advised that you alert law enforcement. This helps reduce any liability you may have, no matter what role you had in the accident. Police will file a report, also noting any damage done to public infrastructure.

A properly filed report is crucial in any case where an injured party seeks compensation. It will become the basis of any claim that you will make later on. It is used to establish the degree of negligence of the driver, and whether the driver and his employer were in compliance with all state and federal laws that relate to commercial trucking and the particular vehicle involved in the accident.

Understanding Truck Accident Laws

California law has a lot to say about truck accidents. It is worthwhile to familiarize with some of the major laws and how they could apply to you.  The following are a few important statues:

  • Section 17150 of the California Vehicle Code says that vehicle owners are responsible for any damage caused by the operation of their vehicle
  • Section 17300 and 17301 say you are liable for damage to roads and bridges
  • Section 20001 assigns penalties for failing to stop in the event of an accident
  • Section 20003 covers information that must be provided at the time of the accident as well as the aid that must be given to injured parties
  • Section 20004 states that accident reports must be filed
  • Section 34620 describes the permits needed for commercial trucking

It is also crucial that you file any claims or begin any legal action in a timely manner. California law says you have 2 years for personal injury, and 3 for property damage.

Getting Help After an Accident

In the case of an injury to yourself or a family member in a truck accident, it is crucial that you know your legal rights. These accidents can involve serious injury, and with that there may be years of unexpected medical bills and lost income from being unable to return to work.

You’ll need an Inland Empire personal injury lawyer with experience winning maximum compensation in truck accident cases. Contact Montgomery and Steele for a free case evaluation. If you choose us, you get our best attorneys, not a first-year associate. We give you the individual care your case requires. We fight to win you the money you deserve.

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