Palo Alto Truck Accident Lawyer
Large commercial trucks cross the roadways of Palo Alto and the surrounding areas every day. However, these large commercial trucks can cause significant injuries in the event they collide with passenger vehicles. At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, we are here to help if you or a loved one have been injured in an accident caused by a truck driver or trucking company. Our Palo Alto truck accident attorneys will investigate your claim and work to secure full compensation for your losses.
Choose Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger for Your Palo Alto Truck Accident Case
After sustaining an injury in a truck accident in Palo Alto, turn to the trusted team at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger to help you secure full compensation for your losses.
- Our lawyers have more than six decades of experience handling complicated personal injury law cases.
- We have a track record of success and have sustained more multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts than any other firm in the Bay Area.
- We take Palo Alto truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that our clients will not pay any legal fees until after we obtain the compensation they are entitled to.
Why Do You Need an Attorney for a Truck Accident Claim?
Truck accident claims are notoriously complicated, particularly when dealing with well-funded trucking companies and their insurance carriers. A truck accident injury victim is going to need assistance from a skilled Palo Alto personal injury lawyer to help:
- Obtain all evidence needed to prove liability in the case, including any photo or video surveillance, “black box” data from the truck, accident reports, trucking company and employee records, etc.
- Enlist the assistance of accident reconstruction experts if necessary to show what happened in the crash.
- Work with trusted medical professionals to evaluate the client and calculate the total expected expenses.
- Negotiate with every party involved to obtain full compensation or prepare the case for trial if necessary.
What Do I Do Immediately Following a Truck Accident?
If you or somebody you love has been injured or sustained property damage in a Palo Alto truck accident, there are various steps you can take immediately following the incident to help recover maximum compensation for your losses.
- Call 911. You need to call 911 immediately following any truck accident in California. The police need to know what happened so they can come to the scene and fill out an accident report. Additionally, calling 911 ensures that the fire department and EMS personnel are also notified about the incident.
- Seek medical care. You need to assess every party around you for injuries after a Palo Alto truck accident. Even if you do not feel much pain immediately following a crash, you need to seek medical care as soon as possible. The signs and symptoms of some truck accident injuries do not appear until hours or even days after an accident occurs. These hidden injuries can lead to devastating long-term consequences. Seek medical care so a doctor can conduct a complete evaluation. Not only does this ensure your well-being, but it also establishes a link between the crash and your injuries.
- Gather evidence. You need to gather as much evidence as possible after a truck crash in Palo Alto. If you have your cell phone on you, use it to take photographs of everything you see, including vehicle damage, injuries, skid marks, debris, traffic and weather conditions, the name of the truck, and more. Additionally, if there were any eyewitnesses who saw what happened, get their names and contact information as quickly as possible so they can be contacted by insurance carriers and your personal injury attorney.
- Report to your insurance carrier. You have a limited amount of time to file these claims with your insurance carrier. In general, you must file any accident report within a day or two after the crash occurs. Failing to do so could result in your claim facing a delay or even a denial. You do not have to go into much detail when you make your report, but the insurance carrier does need to know the incident occurred.
- Contact an attorney. You need to let a Palo Alto truck accident attorney get involved as soon as possible. An attorney can use their resources to immediately begin gathering the evidence necessary to prove viability.
What Are The Different Types Of Truck Accidents?
There are various types of accidents that can occur involving large trucks. This includes:
- Jackknife crash. This type of collision often occurs when a truck applies the brakes too hard or hits slick spots on the roadway. This causes the front of the truck and the trailer to go different speeds, which can lead to the trailer skidding outwards, forming a 90-degree angle to the cab.
- Rollover crash. If a truck loses control at high speeds, or if a truck is operating in heavy winds, the impact can cause the truck to roll over altogether.
- Tire blowout. Tires on larger trucks are more susceptible to blowouts at higher speeds, and a tire blowout can lead to the truck losing control. Additionally, tire fragments can cause significant damage to other vehicles.
- Wide turn crash. Trucks regularly make wide turns, also referred to as swing turns. This can result in the truck entering other lanes and into other vehicles in the vicinity.
- Blindspot crash. Trucks have very large blind spots along each side of the vehicle, and this can lead to drivers slamming into unsuspecting vehicles.
- Underride collision. Larger commercial trucks typically sit much higher off the roadway than traditional passenger vehicles. Anytime a smaller vehicle slams into a larger truck, this can lead to the smaller vehicle riding underneath the truck, which often results in a shearing off of the top of the smaller vehicle.
- Override collision. Similar to an underride collision, an override collision occurs when a larger truck slams into a smaller car and rides over the top of the smaller vehicle.
Most Common Palo Alto Truck Accident Injuries
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), fully loaded semi-trucks can weigh tens of thousands of pounds. Unfortunately, the size and weight discrepancy between a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle means that severe injuries often occur in these crashes. At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, our Palo Alto truck accident lawyers regularly help clients who have sustained the following:
- Spinal cord injuries with paralysis
- Other severe neck or back injury
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Open head wounds
- Internal organ damage or internal bleeding
- Severe lacerations or puncture wounds
- Crush injuries or amputations
Common Causes of Palo Alto Truck Accidents
Accidents involving large commercial trucks often occur due to a driving error. In many cases, the truck driver is to blame. It is not uncommon for us to discover the truck crash was caused by the driver:
- Operating the truck while impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Operating the truck while distracted by their phone or another device
- Operating outside of the federal hours of service requirements
- Failing to follow traffic laws
In other cases, we find that the trucking company is at fault for the crash. This can include the company or operator:
- Failing to ensure the truck is inspected and maintained regularly
- Encouraging a driver to carry more cargo than is allowed
- Encouraging a driver to operate longer hours than allowed
- Failing to properly train new or inexperienced drivers
- Failing to conduct background checks on drivers
Why Shouldn’t I Accept The Insurance Company Settlement Offer?
It is not uncommon for truck accident insurers to offer very low settlements fairly soon after an accident occurs. This is particularly true if liability for the incident seemingly falls to the truck driver or trucking company. You need to understand that the initial settlement offer is going to be much lower than the compensation you should actually receive for the incident. Insurance carriers lowball an initial settlement offer in the hopes that you will take the bait and run with the money.
The reality is that you will likely be able to work with your attorney to negotiate a much higher settlement amount moving forward. Do not accept the first offer.
How Long Do I Have To File a Truck Accident Claim in Palo Alto?
Truck accident victims in Palo Alto have a limited amount of time to file these claims in court. The California personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an accident occurs. If a truck crash victim fails to file a lawsuit within this two-year timeframe, they will likely lose the ability to recover the compensation they need.
Additionally, please understand that insurance carriers have very strict reporting deadlines in these cases. If you fail to report it crash to your insurance carrier within a day or two, the claim could be delayed or denied.
How Do I File A Truck Accident Claim?
If you have been involved in a truck accident, we strongly advise you to contact an attorney immediately so they can help you when it comes to filing your insurance claim as well as any necessary personal injury civil lawsuits.
In theory, a truck accident claim will be filed just like any other vehicle accident insurance claim. You will report the incident to your insurance carrier and give them their information about the truck driver, the truck company, and the truck company’s insurance carrier. However, please understand that these cases are not just like any other vehicle accident. The truck company and the truck driver could have multiple insurance policies, and they will very likely have legal teams ready to defend them.
The important thing is that you file your claim on time and make sure you have an attorney handling every aspect of the case on your behalf.
How Does A Lawyer Collect Evidence For My Case?
There are various ways that a truck accident attorney in Palo Alto will collect evidence for your case. If an attorney is contacted quickly, they can even get to the accident site to gather the evidence before the scene is cleared. However, an attorney may have to rely on the evidence gathered at the scene before they get there. This includes photographs taken at the scene as well as the police report.
Importantly, an attorney will send a letter of spoliation to every party involved notifying them that there may be a civil claim related to the case and that they are not to destroy any evidence that could play a role in the outcome of the case.
Using their resources, a truck accident lawyer will gather any surveillance footage from nearby cameras, contact any eyewitnesses, and obtain subpoenas for a truck’s “black box.” Additionally, an attorney can work to obtain safety records related to the truck driver and the truck company to look for any concerns, such as past safety for driving violations.
How Is Fault Determined In Palo Alto Truck Accident Cases?
Evidence is the key when it comes to determining fault for a truck accident in Palo Alto. As we mentioned above, an attorney will work diligently to gather all of the evidence necessary to prove liability. However, evidence alone may not be enough to definitively prove what happened in the case. In some situations, it may be necessary to work with accident reconstruction experts.
An accident reconstruction expert can use the evidence gathered as well as their own analysis of the crash scene and vehicles involved. They will use complex algorithms and mathematics to create 3D renderings to show insurance carriers and personal injury juries what happened.
In some cases, there may be more than one party at fault for a truck accident claim. This can further complicate the process of recovering compensation. However, California operates under a “pure comparative negligence” system. This means that a person who is partially responsible for causing a crash can still recover compensation for their losses, even if they are up to 99% at fault. In a pure comparative negligence system, the total amount of compensation a person receives will be reduced based on their percentage of fault for the incident.
Contact Our Palo Alto Truck Accident Attorneys for a Free Consultation
If you or somebody you care about has been injured in an accident called by a truck driver or trucking company in Palo Alto, contact the team at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger for help with your case today. We pledge to conduct a complete investigation into the case so we can obtain maximum compensation on your behalf. When you need a Palo Alto truck accident lawyer, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling (415) 889-2919.