Were you injured in a improper lane change accident involving a big rig? Are you wondering what you should do next? Are you wondering who is at fault? Determining fault is one of the fundamental elements of a personal injury case.
Once a determination is made of who is at fault in a lane change big rig accident, other issues can be addressed. The Sacramento truck accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Zappettini & Bradley are experienced with trucking accident victims, and we will help you through every step of the process, including determining the severity of your injuries, damages and other losses resulting from your accident.
Truck Driver Cause an Accident from an Improper Lane Change?
Unfortunately, there are as many scenarios that can precipitate a lane change accident as there are trucks on the road. Some of these scenarios include:
- Failing to signal
- Illegal lane changes in an intersection
- Dangerous passing
No matter the actual cause of the improper lane-change accident, if you were injured as a result of someone else’s reckless driving or negligence, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries, suffering and damages.
Contributing Factors to Lane-Change Accidents
In addition to scenarios that are likely to result in a trucking accident, there are some additional factors that may be at play too. One of the most common factors contributing to vehicle accidents is distracted driving. Commercial truck drivers are just as susceptible to distractions like cellphones, eating or drinking, using the CB radio, and more.
Two other major factors in truck accidents are driver fatigue and drug or alcohol intoxication. Drowsy truck drivers are unfortunately more common that any of us would like. Truckers have strict regulations regarding how much rest they are required to take, but there are many trucking companies that push their drivers to meet often realistic deadlines. This can result in drivers who may be skipping or taking less than the mandatory rest periods in order to meet those deadlines, and thereby, more trucking accidents. There are cases too, of truck drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol caused lane-change accidents as well.
Most Common Types of Big Rig Lane Change Accidents
Typically, we see two common types of collisions resulting from a truck’s improper lane change. One of those is a rear-end accident, the other is a sideswipe accident. While both of these types of collision can have very serious consequences, a sideswipe accident is usually the most disastrous, and comes with the most severe injuries.
The Elements of Negligence in a Truck Accident Claim
Most improper lane change accidents are a result of negligence. This means that the irresponsible or negligent conduct of one or both drivers caused the accident. As a plaintiff, your goal is to prove that the other driver was negligent. For this purpose, you need to establish that a duty of care existed in the first place and the defendant did not observe it.
The elements of negligence are as follows:
- the duty of care;
- the breach of the duty of care;
- causation: the negligent actions were the ones to cause the injury;
- damages: the physical or material damages were a direct result of those negligent actions.
A commercial truck driver has a legal duty to operate a big rig in a reasonably safe manner.
The value of eyewitness testimonies can’t be stressed enough. If you are hurt in a lane change crash, try to get contact importation at the scene from all witnesses. Do not rely on law enforcement to record that information.
There are several ways that a truck driver can breach the duty of care, such as making unsafe lane changes, speeding, or driving under the influence. The accident must have been a direct result of the truck driver’s breach of duty in order to prove negligence.
The “damages” incurred as a result of the crash typically include medical expenses, lost wages, ongoing medical care, pain, suffering and disfigurement.
What do I do After a Big Rig Accident?
1. Seek Medical Attention
You should always check the physical states of everyone who was involved in the accident and call 911 if necessary. Make sure you tell emergency responders detailed information about the crash as well as any symptoms you are having. You should know that sometimes people underestimate how severe their injury is because of the adrenaline rush brought on by accident. Always request a complete examination and follow all of the doctor’s orders for treatment. This helps you heal faster and prevents another party from making the claim that you are partially to blame for your ailment since you didn’t listen to your doctor’s advice.
2. Call the Police
Call the police immediately and ask them to write up a report that details the car accident. Ask the officer for a copy of his report and keep this write-up for your own records. Your auto accident attorney will use this report to prepare your claim.
3. Collect Evidence
Figuring out how an improper lane change accident happened is best done right after it occurs. Make sure and write down the contact information ( including the name, address, driver’s license number, and insurance information ) for everyone involved. Also, make sure and get pictures of the scene of the accident. You can take pictures of the parts of the crash scene that you think contributed to the wreck and the parts of your car that are damaged. Make sure you get close-up shots that show detailed information as well as wide shots of the entire scene. Also, it is a good idea to keep parts of the vehicle that broke off in the accident. Your car accident lawyer will examine those parts and could learn crucial information on how the crash happened.
4. Do Not Admit Liability
You should watch what you say to other parties involved in the accident, to bystanders, and to insurance agents. Any admission you made can limit your ability in bringing forth a claim later. Instead, let your lawyer handle these kinds of communications.
Consider Hiring an Attorney if You Were Hurt in an Improper Lane Change Accident
Our attorneys work with economic experts, accident reconstruction specialists, and medical specialists to determine and authenticate the full extent of your damages. It’s our shared primary goal to make sure that you receive fair and full compensation for your damages, so you and your family can feel as secure as possible.
Our attorneys are committed to upholding justice and are beyond ready and willing to take your case to trial if necessary. We work for you and truly believe that your case deserves the very best representation possible. We maintain the philosophy that places our clients’ needs front and center, which in turn fuels our pursuit of optimal case resolutions. The meticulous, honest, enterprising and highly principled representation of our clients is the heart of this firm. Contact us as soon as possible after your accident, and schedule a free consultation.