Being involved in a truck accident can be a traumatizing experience. Navigating the aftermath, from medical attention to legal proceedings, can seem overwhelming. As a California personal injury law firm, we are here to help you understand the intricacies of a California truck accident investigation. Below, Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates PC provides insights to truck accident victims exploring their legal remedies in California.
The Collision Investigation Unit (CIU): Pivotal Player In Accident Investigations
Established in 2011, the Collision Investigation Unit (CIU) has been a significant development in the landscape of California’s road safety enforcement. The unit, a combination of the Accident Investigation (AI) Training and the Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT), plays a key role in all phases of accident investigations.
Their responsibilities encompass a wide range, from advice on coding issues to revising critical manuals such as the Highway Patrol Manual and Collision Investigation Manual. The CIU is instrumental in maintaining and updating resources like the Report of Traffic Collisions and the Program of Traffic Accident Reconstruction Specialist. They also contribute to the continuous improvement of the California Automated Reporting System (CARS).
Shared Fault In Collision: An Essential Aspect Of California Law
Contrary to common misconception, both parties involved in a collision can be found at fault according to California law. During an investigation, the officer determines which party is most at fault. However, if the second party contributed to the collision, they may be listed as an “Other Associated Factor” in the cause of the collision.
Witnessing A Collision: What You Need To Know
Under California law, specifically CA Penal Code § 679.01(c), a “witness” is not necessarily someone who saw the accident happen. A witness could provide other valuable information about circumstances before, during, or after the collision. This may include observing the driver on a cell phone, consuming alcohol before driving or exhibiting unsafe driving behaviors before the collision. Even overhearing a statement related to the collision could make one a potential witness.
Key Information For Collision Investigation
The more detailed the information provided to the investigating officer, the more accurate the investigation. Crucial details could include:
- Identifying the drivers involved.
- Describing the vehicles involved.
- Indicating the direction of travel and lane of the vehicles.
- Estimating the speed of the vehicles.
- Pinpointing the location of the collision.
- Detailing actions of the involved parties.
- Narrating events after the collision.
Navigating Legal Requirements Post-Collision
The obligations and legal rights of individuals post-collision vary depending on the circumstances. For instance, in a property damage-only collision, moving your vehicle from the scene is permissible and advisable for safety reasons, provided you notify other involved parties or law enforcement. However, in the event of an injury collision, you are required to stop at the scene and fulfill specific obligations.
Accessing Collision Reports: Who Has The Right?
Collision reports are critical documents in any accident investigation, and it’s important to understand who can access these. Any party involved in or interested in the accident, such as insurance companies, attorneys, the coroner, Caltrans, and parents of minors, can legally request a copy of a collision report.
The Role Of A Personal Injury Attorney In A Truck Accident Investigation
In the aftermath of a truck accident, a personal injury lawyer plays a critical role. While investigating officers and units like CIU establish the basic facts surrounding the accident, your truck accident injury attorney digs deeper to protect your rights and help you seek the compensation you deserve through a truck accident lawsuit.
Building A Strong Legal Case
Your attorney conducts a parallel investigation to the one carried out by the CIU. This often involves gathering additional evidence, such as photographs, surveillance video, or witness statements. They work with experts to reconstruct the accident, evaluate truck maintenance and driver logs, and even determine whether trucking regulations were violated. This thorough investigation can significantly strengthen your truck accident case.
Filing And Negotiating Claims
Once they have gathered the necessary evidence, your personal injury attorney helps you file a claim with the appropriate insurance companies. This claim will detail the extent of your injuries, the cost of your medical treatment, any income you lost due to the accident, and other damages. The attorney then negotiates with the insurance company on your behalf, using their experience and knowledge of California law to secure the best possible settlement.
Representing You In Court
In some cases, negotiations with the insurance company may not result in a satisfactory settlement. When this happens, your personal injury attorney will represent you in court, arguing your case before a judge or jury. Their deep understanding of the truck accident investigation process and California law is essential to effectively presenting your case and seeking justice.
Handling Legal Complexities
Truck accident cases can be particularly complex due to the numerous laws and regulations that govern the trucking industry, both at the state and federal levels. These cases may also involve multiple parties, including the truck driver, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, and insurance companies. Your personal injury attorney navigates these complexities for you, determining who is liable for your injuries and ensuring all relevant parties are held accountable.
Preserving Your Rights
Throughout the investigation process, your personal injury attorney’s primary role is to protect your rights. They will ensure that evidence is preserved, that deadlines are met, and that your interests are represented at every step. They can also answer any questions you have about the process, provide advice on dealing with insurance companies, and guide you through the legal proceedings that follow a truck accident.
Truck Accident Lawyers
If you’ve been the victim of a truck accident in California and are seeking justice and rightful compensation, don’t wait any longer. Contact the truck accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates PC now at (888) 848-5084 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Our experienced team of truck accident lawyers is dedicated to fighting for your rights and will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Time is of the essence, and we’re here to guide you through the complexities of your truck accident lawsuit or insurance claim. Reach out to a truck accident lawyer today and let us help you secure the justice you need.
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