Truck & Bus Accidents

What Happens If I Get Into an Accident?
The Accident
How We Help You

Experts in Truck and Bus Accident Cases

“Commercial truck and bus accidents often cause severe injury. In these complex cases, our firm has extensive experience and a high success rate obtaining substantial results for our clients.”

In the U.S., someone is injured or killed in a commercial-truck related incident every 16 minutes. Overall, there are close to 500,000 trucking accidents each year. Of these accidents, approximately 5,000 of them result in fatalities. In fact, one out of every eight traffic fatalities involves a trucking accident. While most truck and bus drivers are experienced and drive safely, 30% of truck-related accidents involve sleepiness or driver fatigue.

Truck and bus accident cases are complex and therefore proving negligence can be complicated. It is advisable to seek legal assistance as soon as possible in order to determine whether you have grounds to file a claim for compensation.

Since 1980, Howard Blau Law has been fighting for injured parties in truck and bus accidents. We know what a threat large tractor trailers, commercial trucks and buses are to smaller vehicles. We understand the forces at work on the road and also the lengths that trucking and bus companies will go to limit their liability in accident cases.

It is important that the attorney you hire be fully aware of all federal and state commercial vehicle regulations, as well as fully committed to you and to your legal rights as an injury victim.

Insurance companies representing truck and bus companies are very quick on the scene of these accidents. While accident victims are dealing with the physical and emotional aftermath of their accidents, the truck and bus insurance companies are bringing in highly-trained investigators and experts in an effort to limit their liability. Faced with this level of response, it is important that individuals involved in truck and bus-related accidents find representation with an attorney who specializes in these accidents. There are special Vehicle Code sections, which apply to commercial truck and bus drivers and their companies, and there are special licensing and training requirements for these drivers as well.

Responsibility for a truck or bus accident can sometimes be difficult to determine. In general, any person or entity that was at fault for causing the accident can be sued. This includes the driver and the company, the owner of the trailer, the shipper, as well as any other driver, person or entity who in any way contributed to the accident, such as the manufacturer of one of the vehicles involved in the accident, the manufacturer of a tire that contributed to the accident or the owner of any public or private property whose negligence contributed to the accident.

What if the truck or bus was loaded over stated capacity? What if there was a mechanical failure or defective parts? What if the driver was using controlled substances? What if the driver has exceeded the allowed number of consecutive hours behind the wheel? What if the driver was not fully licensed to be operating the vehicle in question? What if the truck or bus was not equipped with federally required parts and accessories?

The bottom line is that there is just too much to know to let an inexperienced personal injury lawyer handle your case. Your first call should be to an experienced truck and bus accident attorney. Answering these and other such questions makes it imperative that you retain a legal team experienced in pursuing the answers to just such questions. Even more so than accidents involving other personal vehicles, trucking and bus companies have the means and spare no expense when it comes to limiting their liability. It is up to you and your attorney to hold them fully accountable.

Howard Blau Law will provide you a FREE confidential legal consultation in these matters. It is best to call us either at our Westlake Village (818-888-0303) or our Oxnard (805-644-2112) office (or send us an email) BEFORE you say or do anything that might jeopardize the determination of responsibility in your case, or your rights to full compensation.

Request Free Case Evaluation

The Accident

At the Accident Scene

Here are some important steps to read and to remember to take following an accident:

  1. Stay calm and gather all necessary facts, names, addresses, phone numbers and license numbers.
  2. Look for witnesses and get their contact information.
  3. Be extra careful about what you say to law enforcement officials. It is far better to say too little than too much.
  4. Do not give any statements or sign any releases for medical or employment records. Often the medical release allows an insurance adjuster to obtain your medical records and talk to the doctors without you or anyone being present.
  5. If the accident is serious or if you are uncertain whether it is, it is best to contact an attorney.
  6. Do not talk to the other person’s insurance company, ESPECIALLY if you think you might be hiring an attorney. Just don’t do it.
  7. Contact me, Howard Blau, personally to discuss your rights.

Contacting an Attorney

Truck and bus accidents (particularly ones involving serious physical injury) are not an area where you trust that the other guy will look out for your interests. That is not going to happen. His insurance company will not let that happen. The only one who will look out for you is you and your designated attorney.

Truck and bus accident cases are almost always taken by a law firm on a contingency basis – meaning the attorney gets paid a percentage of the recovery only when your case is won. This is why you want to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome by choosing an attorney who has a successful track record in winning cases just like yours.

Once you are in consultation with your attorney, you can decide on the best course of action. Your attorney will also contact both insurance companies and obtain coverage information. He will also move to interview witnesses, take photographs of all visible injury, property damage and the accident scene. Should your case require retaining an accident reconstruction engineer or other expert, it will be especially advantageous to have an experienced truck attorney helping to direct those experts.

Your Case

What You Should Do to Help your Case:

  1. Make a detailed list of damage to your vehicle and personal property, and the cost to replace them. Take photographs of all damages and injuries.
  2. Total any and all medical costs resulting from the incident – both present and future. Your attorney will have a better idea of the long-term effects and complications of traumatic injuries.
  3. Calculate lost income, including overtime and benefits – again as it applies to both your present and future earning power.
  4. A careful consideration of the pain, suffering and emotional duress that resulted from the accident – as it plays out now and into the future. How long will you carry the physical (and emotional) scars from the accident? How might it effect you as a wage earner or as the head of a household? This is an area where defense attorneys will look to reduce their exposure, and therefore an area that you should generally trust your attorney to make clear and explicit for you. Howard Blau Law deals with these issues on a daily basis.

Trucking and Bus Regulations

A good truck and bus accident attorney will be well-versed in all the various Federal and State regulations that might apply in your case.

Such regulations do differ from state to state, and sometimes out of state drivers may not be fully aware of the difference in those regulations as they apply in California. Your attorney should be able to make these distinctions clear to you.

Federal law requires commercial vehicles traveling in interstate commerce to carry $750,000 of insurance for bodily injury and property damage. Most State laws also impose minimum insurance requirements on trucks not covered under Federal law.

Your Need for Insurance

California insurance laws require compulsory liability insurance (minimum limits of $15,000/30,000/5,000). A driver involved in an accident who fails to prove existence of financial responsibility at the time of an accident may have their driver’s license suspended for one year. In 1996, California passed Proposition 213 that states that if you are not covered by liability insurance and you are a driver involved in an accident, you are not entitled to pain and suffering damages, but are limited only to actual economic damage and vehicle repair costs. This may significantly limit your right to recover damages.

Every driver should have full coverage insurance. Full coverage insurance breaks down as follows.

  1. Liability covers and protects you for personal injury and property damage to the other party, if the accident is determined to be your fault.
  2. Uninsured/Underinsured covers you if you are injured by another party who has no insurance or insufficient insurance to fully compensate you.
  3. Collision covers repairs to your vehicle irrespective of who is responsible for the damage.
  4. Comprehensive covers theft of your vehicle and its parts and damage caused by vandalism and, generally, by flood or fire.
  5. Medical Coverage pays for your medical bills.
  6. Umbrella Insurance provides additional liability coverage for those situations in which the damages are extensive.

Put the Blau Experience to Work for You

There is no obligation and never a fee to discuss your personal injury case directly with Howard Blau.

Fill out the form above and click the orange button to request your free case evaluation or call us at:

805.644.2112 or 818.888.0303