Suffering severe injuries or losing a loved one in a truck accident is devastating. On top of grief and trauma, legal deadlines still apply that can easily take away your right to hold negligent parties accountable if you miss filing your case in time. An El Dorado Hills truck accident lawyer can help make sure you meet the strict statute of limitations to file your truck accident lawsuit.
California’s Two-Year Statute of Limitations
Under California Code of Civil Procedure §335.1, you generally have two years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit stemming from a truck accident. This strict two-year statute of limitations applies equally to both personal injury claims and wrongful death claims. The injury or fatality has to result specifically from the truck collision.
Failing to initiate legal action within two years prohibits you or grieving family members from seeking any compensation through the court system. Essentially, the right to sue expires. The two-year deadline also applies to any derivative claims filed by family members related to the primary victim’s injuries or death.
Certain exceptions, like being under age 18 at the time of the accident, can allow some extra time to file. However, in the vast majority of truck accident cases, California’s firm two-year statute of limitations will strictly apply. This makes acting quickly to prepare a potential case absolutely essential.
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Steps to Preserve Your Legal Rights After a Truck Accident
When you or a family member gets injured because of someone else’s negligence, you deserve your right to compensation. However, you must follow the proper steps and procedure. To ensure you do not lose your future ability to file a lawsuit, be sure to take the following steps immediately after a truck collision occurs:
- Report as many precise details as possible about how the accident happened to responding police officers and cooperate fully with any police investigation. Giving an accurate factual account on record is important.
- Seek prompt medical evaluation and treatment even if you do not feel significantly injured at the time. There may be injuries that are not immediately apparent.
- Thoroughly document critical identifying details about the truck driver who caused the crash, including their name, license information, employer trucking company, insurance details, truck license plate, DOT number, and any other relevant information. Eyewitnesses may be able to supplement accident details you cannot recall.
- Collect contact information from any witnesses while facts are still fresh in their memory. Witness statements can provide crucial supportive evidence later.
- Take several photos documenting all property damage, injuries sustained, skid marks on the pavement, debris scattered from the collision, and the overall accident scene from multiple angles. Photo evidence shows important details that could otherwise fade over time.
- Do not discuss fault or causation with anyone. Do not sign any documents the trucking company’s insurance provider may give you to review or sign accepting any portion of blame for the accident.
Having a diligent attorney on hand during any insurance or defense correspondence can prevent being taken advantage of when traumatized and vulnerable. Focus on recovery, and let your lawyer handle preserving evidence and protecting your interests. An experienced lawyer will shield you from intimidation tactics aimed at quick settlements.
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Consulting an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
Contacting and working with an experienced El Dorado Hills truck accident attorney as soon as possible after a crash is beneficial. A lawyer can immediately launch a thorough independent investigation of the collision. This is important as the evidence and facts will still be fresh.
They will send letters to the trucking company, truck manufacturer, and any other potential defendants warning them to preserve all relevant evidence. The attorney can also compel them to share records that may expose negligence through official requests, subpoenas, and discovery demands.
An attorney will also provide an objective assessment of all potential legal claims and liability theories that may apply based on the particular circumstances.
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How Lawsuits Hold Negligent Trucking Companies Accountable
Filing a lawsuit utilizes the legal system to establish responsibility. When trucking companies, manufacturers, or insurance providers refuse to accept liability or negotiate fair and full compensation, it can lead to settlement discussions. There are a few things to keep in mind when keeping a trucking company accountable, such as the following:
- Discovery: The litigation process compels negligent parties to share relevant records, documents, data, communications, safety reports, and other evidence exposing improper or dangerous actions. Attorneys use discovery procedures like interrogatories, depositions, requests for production, and requests for admissions to gather incriminating materials. Companies that resist cooperating face court sanctions.
- Depositions: Statements taken under oath lock the defendants into explanations of events, often revealing self-incriminating information useful for the case. They cannot deviate from deposition testimony at trial without consequence.
- Disclosure: Trucking companies must disclose history of prior collisions, safety audits, DOT violations, defective equipment, and other documentation that should have prompted corrective action to avoid repeated accidents.
- Expert testimony: Expert witnesses can be retained to analyze technical, medical, or scientific evidence and credibly explain before a jury how the defendant’s negligent actions directly caused the truck accident and injuries in question.
- Reputational damage: When companies display unwillingness to take appropriate responsibility despite clear culpability, open court litigation compels them through legal accountability. Public trials carry risks of large jury verdicts and reputation damage that trucking firms work hard to avoid.
Settlements are usually preferable. The option to file a lawsuit within two years is sometimes necessary, though. Some companies will not budge, and it ends up being the only option.
Why California’s Deadline Exists
It is important to understand that statutes of limitations like the two-year deadline in California are designed to eventually shield wrongdoers from liability if victims do not act promptly. Companies responsible for truck crashes know that delaying settlement negotiations could work to alter the lawsuits after two years have passed. Do not let this situation happen and let them delay things on purpose.
This deadline forces the injured to actively exercise their legal rights in a timely manner despite injuries or grief. An experienced El Dorado Hills truck accident attorney will help you with the options and time frames involved. Always remember, in California, two years means two years following the date of the crash.
Do not risk missing this critical filing deadline. If you do, the evidence will end up not meaning anything anymore once that deadline passes. The best way is to always seek legal representation right after an injury or accident to make sure you meet deadlines.
Fight for Your Rights After a Truck Injury with Triumph Law
Sustaining catastrophic injuries like spinal cord paralysis, traumatic brain damage, or amputation of limbs in a truck collision can alter your life forever. The losses involved, both economic and human, may be significant. Contact us for a free consultation to work towards the compensation you have a right to.