Side-Impact Truck Accidents in Palm Springs

Side-impact collisions occur when the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another (often called T-bone collisions) or when two vehicles collide at an angle (commonly referred to as sideswipes or broadside collisions). These accidents frequently cause severe injuries—a danger significantly compounded when a passenger vehicle is struck by a large, heavy truck. Side-impact truck accidents in Palm Springs can be devastating.

When you are injured in a tractor-trailer collision, you can take steps now to protect your rights. And, even if you believe you were partly at fault, you still may be entitled to monetary damages.

Injuries Associated With Side-Impact Collisions

Side impact collisions cause a broad range of injuries and commonly include:

The structure and design of passenger vehicles make side-impact collisions particularly dangerous. Most vehicles have structural buffers at the front and rear ends that can crumple and absorb impact, but very little such protection is contained on the sides. As such, passengers in a side-struck car are physically closer to the point of contact and may take on more of the impact. Seat belts and headrests are designed to protect the body when moving forward and backward but provide little protection when the body is jerked side to side. Additionally, the driver of a car struck from the side may not see the oncoming vehicle in time to avoid or mitigate the impact. For these reasons, side-impact collisions—particularly those involving commercial trucks—can cause significant injuries.

A person injured in Palm Springs by a truck in a side-impact collision should be examined by a physician, even if their injuries are relatively minor. This is vital for both personal recovery and the protection of legal rights because failure to seek medical care could ultimately limit a person’s ability to recover damages.

Apportioning Fault in California

California courts apply the rule of pure comparative negligence when apportioning fault in automobile accidents. This means damages are apportioned in direct correlation to the percentage of fault imposed on each driver by the judge or jury. For example, imagine the driver of a Toyota in Palm Springs is T-boned at an intersection by a commercial truck. The jury finds the Toyota driver sustained damages of $100,000 while the truck sustained damages of $10,000. The jury further finds the truck driver was 90 percent at fault and the Toyota driver was 10 percent at fault. In this scenario, the Toyota driver can collect 90 percent of their damages ($90,000) but is also responsible for ten percent of the truck driver’s damages ($1,000). The Toyota driver’s recovery will be offset by their obligation to the truck driver, making their total award $89,000.

Following a truck accident causing injury, the trucking company’s insurer will likely run the above calculation and present it as a settlement to the injured person; but remember—the insurer’s goal is always to limit their liability to the greatest extent possible. As such, a person injured in a semi-truck wreck should seek legal counsel before accepting any settlement offer.

Monetary Damages in Side-Impact Trucking Accidents

A person injured in Palm Springs by a side-impact truck crash may have a right to compensatory damages, which include special damages (medical expenses, lost wages, and other out-of-pockets) and non-economic damages (pain and suffering). Importantly, a person injured by a commercial truck driver can likely recover from the employer trucking company—even when the company was not itself negligent—because California law generally holds employers liable for their employee’s negligent driving. Even when a truck driver is an independent contractor and not technically an employee, the trucking company is usually liable for the driver’s negligence. This is crucial because the injured person is much more likely to collect their full damage award from the trucking company, which will almost always have greater assets and higher insurance limits than the individual driver.

Take Legal Action After a Palm Springs Side-Impact Truck Collision

The aftermath of side-impact truck accidents in Palm Springs can be long and hard. The injuries can be severe, and questions around appropriate compensation and apportionment of fault can be confusing and stressful. However, the opportunities for monetary recovery after trucking accidents could be robust, and the lawyers at Walter Clark Legal Group have the knowledge and experience to evaluate your claim. Call today for a free initial consultation.

Walter Clark Legal Group

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