Accidents involving commercial trucks—also called 18-wheelers, semi trucks, or tractor-trailers—are often catastrophic. The law might entitle you to a settlement if you or your loved one were injured in a San Jose truck crash. This money could compensate you for your injuries, medical care, lost wages, and other damages.
The San Jose truck accident lawyers at Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP can help you understand your legal rights. We work on a contingency fee basis. Our firm does not collect attorney fees unless we secure a settlement on your behalf. Learn more about our payment structure at your free consultation. Contact Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos online or call us today.
Why choose the San Jose truck accident attorneys at Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP?
Our law firm's core is dedication and empathy for truck accident victims. We know insurance companies don't have our clients' best interests at heart. When you hire us, we work with persistence and dedication to obtain maximum compensation on your behalf.
Testimonials from past clients underscore that we are professional yet personable. As a well-established San Jose personal injury law firm, we are not intimidated by large trucking companies. We could represent you if you were involved in an accident with any local or national trucking firm, including UPS, FedEx, XPO Logistics, Amazon, Old Dominion Freight Line, Great Western Transportation, California Freight, and Cherokee Freight Lines.
Our attorneys have won substantial compensation for our clients. For example, Partner Chantel L. Fitting had secured $974,628 and $500,000 settlements when the insurance companies wanted to pay out just a fraction of these amounts. Each case is unique and individual factors affect San Jose truck accident injury claims. Past results do not guarantee success in all claims; we must carefully review your accident to tell you how much compensation we might recover for you.
Five ways our San Jose truck accident attorneys can help you
You can't count on the insurance company to do the right thing. They aren't concerned with your physical, emotional, and financial recovery. Their goals are to pay out as little as possible and to close your claim as quickly as possible. Working with our firm offers you several advantages over negotiating a settlement on your own.
1. We’re prepared to go head-to-head with the trucking company’s lawyers.
Trucking companies know that most accidents involving a semi are expensive. A commercial truck’s size and weight often mean that accident victims suffer severe and catastrophic injuries.
You can expect the trucking firm's insurer and legal team to take immediate action. They may even attempt to contact you or your family while you are still in the hospital or rehabilitation facility. This isn't out of concern for your well-being but rather to collect evidence against you and possibly offer you an immediate payout for much less than what the law entitles you to.
Once you hire Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP, we take over all communication with the insurers and other parties involved in your accident. You can focus on your recovery, not insurance negotiations.
2. We can determine who is financially liable for your accident-related damages.
Semi-truck accident victims can sustain catastrophic, life-altering injuries. Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries impact every aspect of a person’s life. These are often high-value claims that no one wants to take responsibility for. While the truck driver and the trucking firm are busy blaming each other, we can get to the bottom of who or what caused your accident.
3. Our lawyers can protect you from false accusations.
Insurance companies do not like paying out settlements, period. As for-profit businesses, they have a bottom line to protect. They make money by undervaluing and even outright denying payouts. Our attorneys can help shield you from false accusations that the accident was your fault or that you contributed to your injuries in any way.
4. We have deep knowledge of the commercial trucking industry.
Our attorneys are familiar with the federal regulations that govern the trucking industry. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that trucking firms can destroy electronic driver logs after six months. We can take immediate legal action to obtain the driver’s log, which may include critical information to back your injury claim.
5. Our lawyers can determine a fair assessment of your damages.
What California law entitles you to and what the insurer thinks your damages are worth are often two different amounts. Insurance companies often undervalue the cost of future medical care and attempt to downplay subjective damages like emotional distress.
Don’t miss the deadline to pursue a San Jose truck accident injury lawsuit.
You have limited time to take legal action after a truck accident. The California Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1 has a statute of limitations of two years for truck accident injuries. If a lawyer attempts to file your claim after that deadline, there is a good chance the court won’t hear your case.
Another reason to contact Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP, right away is evidence. Most evidence deteriorates or disappears over time. It becomes more difficult to track records, interview witnesses, and recreate the accident scene with time.
A timeline for a San Jose truck accident settlement
One of the first questions our clients ask is, “How long will it take to settle my case?” From the day you hire us until your case concludes could be several months to a year or more. Semi-truck accidents often take longer to settle due to the high monetary value of most victims’ injuries and other damages.
We understand that no one wants a drawn-out legal case. However, a fast settlement may not provide enough money to cover your expenses. It may take time to maximize your compensation.
Many people who reach out to us after an accident do not have experience with personal injury claims filed in civil court. Knowing what to expect and understanding the process can make it easier.
While each case is unique, most may follow these steps.
- Your free consultation. We’ll discuss the details of your truck accident. This is also your opportunity to ask us questions. If you decide to hire one of our San Jose truck accident lawyers, we can move on to gathering evidence to build a strong claim.
- The investigation process. The amount of time and effort we need to collect evidence depends on the nature of the accident. Some cases are relatively clear-cut. Other cases may require us to take legal action to access the truck firm’s records and other related documentation. We may need to re-create the crash scene and interview witnesses.
- The insurance company may offer a payout. The insurer may come forward at any point and offer you a settlement. This initial offer is often less than what the law entitles you to.
- Out-of-court negotiations. Our attorneys can begin negotiations to pursue maximum compensation for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
- Court trial. Sometimes, an insurance company will not budge. If we believe that a court trial could result in the best possible outcome for your case, we can discuss that option with you.
Common causes of semi truck accidents in San Jose
Truck accidents can result from driver error, negligence on the part of the trucking company, and reckless actions by a third party. It's not unheard of for an accident to have more than one cause. Below, we take a closer look at some factors that can contribute to a San Jose truck accident.
San Jose weather
While freezing rain is rare in the San Jose area, it does make the roads dangerous. Semi-drivers can underestimate how much distance they need to come to a complete stop on slippery roads.
A truck's height and length can make it difficult for drivers to control the vehicle during windy conditions. Drivers can lose control of their trucks, causing the vehicle to swerve into an adjacent lane or even tip over.
Dense traffic throughout the San Jose metro
Several major roads pass through the metro, including I-280, I-680, I-880, and U.S. Route 101.
The roads are filled with commuters, visitors, and commercial trucks passing through. Silicon Valley sees increased traffic due to several companies headquartered, including Adobe, Apple, Google, and PayPal.
Truck driver negligence
Truck drivers take on a huge responsibility when they get in a big rig or 18-wheeler.
Any of the following behaviors can lead to a crash.
- Driving while fatigued. Truck drivers often face immense pressure to meet unrealistic deadlines. They may skip or shorten required breaks to arrive at their destination on time.
- Speeding. The posted speed limit is the maximum speed at which any vehicle should operate. Inclement road and weather conditions may necessitate a lower speed. Drivers may speed up to compensate for lost time due to bad weather, traffic jams, or other unforeseen events.
- Distracted driving. Driving several hundred miles in one day can take its toll. Semi-drivers who travel alone may become bored. Cell phones and other electronic devices can create a distraction.
Negligence on the part of the trucking company
Some trucking firms prioritize profits over safety. They may turn a blind eye to or even outright encourage false recordkeeping, skipping breaks, and other dangerous behavior. They may set unreasonable deadlines that do not consider rush hour traffic, road construction, or bad weather. Trucking companies may take shortcuts to keep their vehicles on the road and cargo moving. Firms may skip required vehicle maintenance or let truckers work without proper training.
A truck accident can involve other parties, including drivers of passenger vehicles and government entities.
Passenger vehicle drivers. Commercial truck accidents can involve multiple passenger vehicles. You can hold the driver of another car liable for your accident if they drove negligently.
Government entities. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is responsible for several roads in San Jose and greater Santa Clara County.
The law may hold Caltrans responsible if poor road conditions contributed to your accident, including:
- Rough pavement
- Missing or damaged guardrails
- Missing, broken, or obscured traffic signs and signals
- Improperly marked road construction zones
San Jose truck accident settlements: How much is my claim worth?
An adequate settlement can compensate you for your current and future accident-related damages. The law divides these damages into two categories: monetary and non-monetary.
Common monetary damages after a truck accident
Monetary damages are those that have a set cost, including:
- Medical bills: doctor visits, surgeries, diagnostic tests, hospitalizations
- Ongoing rehabilitative therapies
- Prescription medications
- Lost wages while you recover
- Loss of future income if you are permanently disabled
- Home modifications necessary to accommodate a wheelchair or walker
- Around-the-clock care for those with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries
- The cost to hire professionals to perform services you no longer can, such as childcare and housekeeping
Monetary damages are also called economic damages.
Common non-monetary damages after a truck accident
Non-monetary damages are the subjective ways the crash has changed your life. Insurance companies may attempt to undervalue or even deny these damages.
Our San Jose truck accident lawyers fight hard for compensation for your non-monetary damages, which may include:
- Physical pain
- Emotional suffering
- Loss of fertility
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Diminished self-esteem due to permanent scarring
- Loss of companionship for your spouse
Non-monetary damages are also called non-economic damages.
San Jose Truck Accidents: FAQs
Loose cargo fell off a truck and caused my crash. Who is responsible?
Semi-trucks hauling improperly secured cargo are dangerous. Flying debris can crush passenger vehicles or cause vehicles to roll over. The truck driver may slam on their brakes or swerve when they realize cargo has come off their trailer.
Our San Jose truck accident attorneys can thoroughly investigate if loose cargo causes your accident. We can work hard to find out who loaded the trailer and secured the cargo and if the driver made any adjustments during their trip.
How long do I have to file a San Jose truck accident injury claim?
California law allows you to file a personal injury claim two years from the date of your accident. However, there is no reason to delay contacting us. We offer free consultations so you can know what your legal options are.
Who can file a wrongful death claim after a fatal truck accident?
The law generally allows the decedent’s spouse to file a wrongful death claim. If the deceased wasn't married at the time of their death, their children might pursue a lawsuit.
If there isn't a surviving spouse or children, the right to pursue a claim may go to the deceased's parents and possibly others who relied on the deceased for support. Wrongful death lawsuits are often complex matters. You can learn more about your eligibility to file a wrongful death lawsuit at your free consultation.
Must I go to court to win a San Jose truck accident settlement?
Not necessarily. Our skilled and experienced attorneys can negotiate fair settlements out of court. However, there are circumstances where a trial may be appropriate: negotiations stall, or a dispute arises over responsibility.
There are advantages and disadvantages to a trial, which we can discuss with you before we move on to that stage. As the injured party or surviving family member, you say whether your case goes to court.
Did a San Jose Truck Accident Injure You? Call Us
If a negligent trucker crashed into and injured you or took the life of a family member, please reach out to Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos’s San Jose truck accident lawyers. Trucks can do a lot of damage, leaving survivors with enormous bills that they should not have to pay.
We can investigate the accident to determine if we can hold the trucker, trucking company, and others liable so that we can seek the most compensation you deserve.
Contact us or call our San Jose truck accident lawyers at (650) 345-8484 and we’ll start with a free claim evaluation.