Large commercial trucks are the lifeblood of the California economy. However, these large vehicles can also lead to severe accidents. At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, we are standing by to help if you need a Napa truck accident attorney. If you or somebody you love has been injured in an accident that was caused by the careless or negligent actions of a truck driver or trucking company, our team will fully investigate the case in order to secure the compensation you are entitled to.
Why Choose Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger for Your Truck Accident Case?
At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, our Napa truck accident lawyers have extensive experience handling complex injury claims throughout the wine country including Napa and all of the state of California. We have the personnel, experts, experience and financial resources necessary to help you through this entire process, and we have no problem taking your case to trial if that is required to malke sure your recovery is full, fair and complete.
- The team at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger is ranked as a Top Tier firm nationally and has obtained countless million-dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients.
- At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, we have been helping individuals recover compensation after sustaining severe injuries for more than six decades. Our team of attorneys has helped shape personal injury law throughout the state of California.
- We have extensive resources to bring to bear against trucking companies and their insurance carriers to help with your case.
- We take Napa truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means our injury clients will pay no legal fees until after we obtain the compensation they deserve.
Napa Truck Accident Resources & FAQs
- Why Do You Need an Attorney for a Truck Accident Case?
- Causes of Truck Accidents in Napa
- Truck Accidents Often Result in Severe Injuries
- California Truck Accident Statistics
- Steps You Should Take Following a Truck Accident
- What to Say To Your Insurance After a Truck Accident
- Important Records to Obtain After a Napa Truck Accident
- Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident in Napa?
- How Does a Lawyer Collect Evidence For Your Case?
- What Damages Can You Recover?
Why Do You Need an Attorney for a Truck Accident Case?
Truck accident claims can be incredibly challenging. Our clients must overcome the strategy and tactics of aggressive insurance carriers, trucking companies, and their legal teams. A skilled team of truck accident lawyers representing clients in Napa can step in and use their resources to handle every aspect of the claim on your behalf. This will include gathering all evidence needed to prove liability, taking over negotiations with insurance carriers and legal teams, and fully representing you in civil court if a trial becomes necessary.
- Obtain any evidence needed to prove liability, including photo or video surveillance, truck “black box” data, trucking company and driver safety records, statements from eyewitnesses, and more.
- Obtain all medical records, proof of lost income, and proof of out-of-pocket expenses in order to calculate your total losses.
- Negotiate with all parties involved to obtain a fair out-of-court settlement while also preparing your case to go to trial if necessary.
Causes of Truck Accidents in Napa
Large commercial truck accidents can occur in a wide variety of ways throughout California. Just like any other vehicle accident, these incidents are often caused by the careless or negligent actions of one or more drivers. Yes, an accident involving a large commercial truck can certainly be caused by the careless actions of a passenger vehicle driver on the roadway. However, our attorneys regularly discover that these incidents are caused by the actions of a truck driver or trucking company.
Truck drivers have tremendous responsibilities on the roadway. Not only do they have to have their commercial driver’s licenses, but they have to be trained to operate each vehicle that they get in. There are various ways that a truck driver can cause an accident, including if they:
- Operate a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Drive too fast for conditions
- Are distracted behind the wheel by their phones or another device
- Follow other vehicles too closely
- Fail to yield the right of way to other vehicles
- Overload the trailer of the truck
- Drive beyond the allowable hours of service requirements
If a truck driver causes an accident, it could very well be the case that their employer is ultimately held responsible for their actions. This can get complicated if a driver is also the owner-operator of the particular truck in question.
Trucking companies can also be held directly responsible for these crashes due to their own actions. For example, a trucking company can be held responsible for a crash if they:
- Do not implement proper hiring procedures with regards to background checks or qualification checks
- Encourage drivers to disregard hours of service requirements
- Encourage drivers to overload the truck cargo area
- Fail to regularly inspect or maintain the vehicles per FMCSA requirements
In addition to these driver or company-related causes of accidents, a large commercial truck crash in California could be caused by a defective vehicle part or an overall faulty vehicle. If the truck or a part fails, the manufacturers could be held responsible through a product liability lawsuit.
Truck Accidents Often Result in Severe Injuries
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. The size and weight discrepancy between commercial trucks and traditional passenger vehicles means that these incidents often result in severe injuries. It is not uncommon for our attorneys to help clients who have sustained the following:
- Crush injuries
- Severe lacerations or puncture wounds
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Open head wounds
- Spinal cord injuries with paralysis
- Other severe neck or back injury
- Internal organ damage or internal bleeding
California Truck Accident Statistics
Data from the National Safety Council shows us that truck accidents are not just a California problem, they are a countrywide problem. During the latest reporting year of data we have on file, the NSC shows that there were 5,005 total large trucks involved in fatal accidents and more than 118,000 large trucks involved in injury-causing collisions.
When we look at data specifically available from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), we see that large trucks were responsible for 352 fatalities during the latest year of data they provided. The reality is that there are more large commercial trucks traveling through the state of California than in most other states, and collisions with these vehicles are going to occur.
Steps You Should Take Following a Truck Accident
There are some relatively simple steps that you can take to help ensure that you recover maximum compensation after a truck accident occurs in Napa:
- Call 911. The police absolutely have to come to the scene of any truck accident that occurs in Napa. Law enforcement officials are responsible for conducting preliminary investigations, which will include gathering information about all parties involved. They may even note down what or who they think caused the accident.
- Seek medical care. Any person involved in a truck accident needs to seek medical care immediately. Any obvious injuries are medical emergencies that must be treated right away. However, even if a truck accident victim does not feel any pain, there may be hidden injuries. The signs and symptoms of some truck accident injuries do not appear until hours or days after the incident in some cases. It is crucial that a doctor conducts an evaluation. Failing to seek medical care could jeopardize a truck crash victim’s settlement.
- Obtain evidence. If it is possible to do so at the scene, those involved should gather as much evidence as possible. This includes using a phone or other type of camera to take photographs of vehicle damage, injuries, traffic and weather conditions, truck company name and identifying information, and more. If there were any eyewitnesses to the crash, their names and contact information needs to be gathered.
- Report the incident to the insurer. You need to let your insurance carrier know about the incident so they can begin the process of investigating and contacting the truck company’s insurance carrier.
- Contact an attorney. A Napa truck accident lawyer needs to get involved as soon as possible. These cases can become immensely complicated, but an attorney will be able to cut through the red tape.
- Continue medical care. Truck accident victims need to continue all medical care until their doctor says they have reached maximum medical improvement. If a crash victim fails to continue medical care, this could be taken as a sign by the insurance carrier that the injuries were not as severe as has been claimed.
What to Say To Your Insurance After a Truck Accident
You will have to speak to your insurance carrier fairly soon after an accident involving a large commercial truck. This is necessary to get the claims process started so you can recover compensation. However, you should not go into much detail when you first talk to your insurance carrier. Even though they are your insurance carrier, this does not necessarily mean they are on your side 100%.
When you contact your insurance carrier, you need to let them know that the accident occurred, where it happened, the names and contact information of others involved, and whether or not you are seeking treatment for your injuries. The insurance carriers will conduct their own investigation into the incident, and the less you say to them, the better it will be for you in the long run. Often, individuals say things to insurance carriers that could end up jeopardizing their claim, particularly if they get comfortable with the insurance claims adjuster handling the case.
Important Records to Obtain After a Napa Truck Accident
Above, we mentioned the need to gather evidence in the aftermath of a large commercial truck accident in Napa. There are various types of records that you should work to obtain, both related to the accident as well as your recovery process. Some of the records that can help you secure compensation for your claim include the following:
- All medical records pertaining to the treatment of your injuries
- Proof of any medical devices or prescription medications you have needed
- Records of any physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Vehicle damage repair or replacement estimates
- Pay stubs, tax records, bank statements, and any other financial statement to show your lost income
In addition to these personal records, you and your attorney should try to gather the safety history of the trucking company and driver in question, including the driver’s history of accidents or traffic violations. Trucking companies are also required to keep records about the inspection and maintenance of vehicles, and you need to get ahold of these documents.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident in Napa?
There may be various parties that can be held liable in the aftermath of a truck accident. Our attorneys often discover that truck drivers and trucking companies are at fault for these incidents. Truck drivers can face liability if they:
- Operate while impaired by alcohol drugs
- While distracted by phones or other devices
- Ignore FMCSA hours of service regulations
- Willfully overload their truck
- Fail to follow traffic laws
Trucking companies can be held liable for these accidents if they:
- Fail to regularly inspect and maintain their vehicles per FMCSA regulations
- Do not properly train every driver
- Fail to adequately conduct background checks on their drivers
- Encourage drivers to overload vehicles to maximize profit
How Does a Lawyer Collect Evidence For Your Case?
One of the main reasons to work with an attorney after a Napa truck accident is because the attorney will have the resources necessary to gather the evidence you need. In many cases, gathering these records is a matter of time and money. This includes constantly sending requests to medical authorities to obtain the records necessary to prove the injuries that occurred.
However, it may be necessary for an attorney to go through the court system to obtain the records needed to prove what happened in the case. Truck drivers and trucking companies are not going to want to turn over evidence that could show that they are responsible for the collision. They may have to be forced to turn over this evidence. An attorney will likely have to get subpoenas from the court to obtain various types of evidence that will be needed to resolve the case.
As soon as an attorney gets to work on a Napa truck accident case, they will send a letter of spoliation to all parties involved. This letter will remind everybody that there could be pending civil litigation and that all evidence that could need to be used in the case needs to be preserved.
What Damages Can You Recover?
There may be various types of compensation available to Napa truck accident victims. Our lawyers work diligently to recover both economic and non-economic losses on behalf of our clients.
- Economic compensation. We can refer to this as special damages, and this revolves around relatively calculable expenses after a Napa truck accident occurs. This is calculable because we can gather up bills, receipts, and estimates to calculate the following:
- All medical bills the victim incurs
- Lost wages if a victim cannot work
- General household out-of-pocket expenses
- Property damage expenses
- Non-economic compensation. We can refer to this as general damages, and this will revolve around the more immeasurable losses a Napa truck accident victim incurs. We say immeasurable because we cannot add up bills or receipts to properly calculate a victim’s:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and psychological distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium for a spouse or family member
The total amount of compensation available to a Napa truck accident victim will vary spending on factors related to each particular crash.
Call Us for a Free Consultation of Your Case
If you or somebody you love has sustained an injury or property damage caused by the actions of a truck driver or trucking company, reach out to the attorneys at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger for help today. We have extensive experience handling complex truck accident claims in Napa and throughout California, and our goal is to make sure you recover maximum compensation for your losses. This includes coverage of your medical bills, lost wages, property damage expenses, pain and suffering damages, and more. When you need a Napa truck accident lawyer, you can contact us for a free consultation at any time by calling our team at (415) 981-7210.