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In Some Cases, Victims of CA Truck Accidents can Pursue Treble Damages

December 10, 2015 | Category: Truck Accidents

Any collision between a small passenger vehicle and a massive commercial truck is bound to cause severe injuries to the passengers in the smaller vehicle. In some cases, the causes of these accidents can point to circumstances over which truck drivers have limited control, such as unexpected mechanical failures or even road conditions. When trucking accidents are caused by drivers operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol, however, they are completely avoidable, making every injury more tragic.

Particularly when such an accident causes severe injuries or fatalities, each Los Angeles truck accident lawyer at our firm recognizes that no amount of compensation truly makes up for losses suffered by victims and their families. Still, we applaud the California law that holds employers accountable when they might have prevented accidents with more proactive employment practices.

Treble Damage Rules are Very Specific

California law essentially ups the ante when truckers cause accidents after flouting state DUI law. When commercial truck drivers directly cause injury to anyone, Section 3333.7 of the California Civil Code entitles victims to pursue three times the damages from the drivers' employers under the following circumstances:

  • When evidence can show that the driver was under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances at the time of the incident, and
  • When the driver's employer willfully failed at the time of the injury to comply with certain requirements of federal law pertaining to the involved driver

The term, willfully failed is defined in the California Vehicle Code as any of the following:

  • Intentionally failing to have a testing program in place for controlled substance and alcohol use
  • Intentionally failing to enroll an employed driver into the controlled substances and alcohol testing program
  • Knowingly using a medically-disqualified driver, which essentially means that, after notification of medical disqualification of a driver, the employer fails to remove the driver from duties that might cause safety issues

Clearly, proving these precise conditions requires evidence that is not typically available from the police report at the accident scene. However, an experienced California truck accident attorney has the skills and resources to obtain and examine the trucking company records that support this type of claim.

Legal Representation is Essential in Trucker DUI Accident Cases

When driver DUI is involved, anyone who attempts to pursue an accident claim against a trucking company's insurance company is likely to lose out simply because the insurance company is under no obligation to reveal the treble damages rule. Furthermore, these claims can become quite complicated in the event that the driver faces criminal conviction for drunk driving.

While obtaining immediate medical attention is the first rule for victims of commercial truck accidents, victims need to seek legal support as soon as possible to ensure that all possible legal options remain available for their claims. Call The Rudman Law Firm APC toll-free at (844) 478-3626 / (844) 4RUDMAN, at our Los Angeles office (213) 375-3777 or at our Studio City office (818) 769-6969. You can also use our convenient online contact form to reach us at any time.

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