Need the best commercial vehicle accident lawyer in Palo Alto?
California’s highways, streets, and freeways are congested with traffic. Among the many different types of vehicles that share the road are commercial vehicles. These are vehicles that are driven for work and include commercial trucks, delivery vans, buses, and commercially owned cars. Like other types of vehicles, commercial vehicles are sometimes involved in accidents. If you have been injured in a commercial vehicle accident in Palo Alto that was caused by the commercial driver, San Jose Personal Injury Attorneys are available to help.
Liability In Commercial Vehicle Accidents
While the recovery sources of most regular motor vehicle accidents will be the at-fault drivers’ insurance policies, an important difference in commercial vehicle accidents is the potential liability of the companies that employ the drivers. California follows a legal principle called vicarious liability. Employers are vicariously liable for the actions of their employees when they are working within the scope and course of their jobs. This means that when a commercial driver negligently causes an accident while he or she is driving for his or her job, the employer may have to pay damages for the losses that were caused to the victim. If you have been injured by a commercial vehicle in Palo Alto.
Contact one of our experienced commercial vehicle accident lawyers in Palo Alto to determine if you have a case. We will aggressively fight for you! Call us today for a free consultation: (408) 335-7966
Causes Of Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Commercial vehicle accident claims largely involve theories of negligence. A driver is negligent when his or her conduct falls below what a reasonably prudent person would do in a similar situation. In the case of a motor vehicle accident, negligent conduct might include the following types of actions:
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Distracted driving
- Inattentive driving
- Improper lane changes
- Aggressive driving
- Failing to obey traffic control devices
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Drowsy driving
Like other motorists, commercial drivers sometimes make driving mistakes. When those errors cause accidents, they may be liable to pay damages for the victims’ losses.
Some commercial vehicle accidents involve drivers who are classified as independent contractors. In these cases, the companies might claim that they are not vicariously liable because the drivers were independent contractors and not the employees of the companies. In this type of case, an experienced attorney might challenge the company’s classification of the worker as an independent contractor. The court will consider several factors to determine whether the driver was properly classified. If he or she was misclassified, the court may deem the company to be an employer, meaning that vicarious liability will stand.
In situations in which a driver was truly an independent contractor, an attorney might still be able to hold the company directly liable. If the company negligently hired, retained, or supervised the driver, it can be directly liable for the company’s negligence.
Why Companies May Try To Settle With You Directly
Companies that have fleets of vehicles are required to carry insurance with high policy limits. With some types of commercial vehicles, the policy limits are very high because of the risk of serious injuries and fatalities.. For example, large trucks might carry insurance policies of up to $5 million. When the policy limits are high, and the injuries are extensive, the insurance companies may engage in a variety of tactics to reduce how much they might be forced to pay or to avoid liability altogether.
In many cases, companies will send investigators to the accident scene as soon as they learn about the accidents. Insurance companies have numerous defense attorneys who are ready to defend against commercial vehicle accident claims.
Insurance companies might try to settle with you directly to try to secure an agreement with you before you have a chance to hire an attorney. These early settlement offers are frequently far less than what the claims are worth. If you are offered a settlement soon after your accident, you should talk to an expirienced commercial vehicle accident lawyer in Palo Alto at San Jose Personal Injury Attorneys. Our attorneys will review the evidence and facts of your case and properly value it. This can allow you to determine whether the settlement offer is fair or unreasonably low.
You should also avoid signing a medical authorization form for the insurance company. An insurance adjuster might tell you that the company needs you to sign this form to verify your injuries. The insurance company will then use the release to analyze your entire medical record to try to find a different incident to blame your injuries on. You should also never agree to provide a recorded statement. The companies use the statements that victims make in their recorded statements against them in their injury claims.
Get Help From An Experienced Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorney
Being injured in a commercial vehicle accident can leave you trying to physically recover while dealing with mounting expenses. By getting help from San Jose Personal Injury Attorneys, you might avoid making costly mistakes. Our attorneys can handle the details of your claim for you while you recover. Contact San Jose Personal Injury Attorneys today to schedule a free consultation by calling us at: (408) 335-7966