Newport Beach Personal Injury Attorneys | Accident Lawyers
Newport Beach Truck Accident Attorneys
Accidents involving commercial trucks tend to cause devastating injuries due to the immense size and weight of these vehicles. When a crash victim incurs significant damages, the insurance company has more incentive to find reasons to deny or reduce the value of their claim. Our truck accident attorneys in Newport Beach can make sure the insurance adjuster treats you fairly, and we will fight aggressively for the highest compensation possible.
It’s not uncommon for claimants to overlook certain damages to which they are entitled, only to find out later that they left thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars on the table. Our lawyers can help you account for all the damages you may be owed. To schedule a free, no-obligation case review, call 1-800-GO-HARRIS.
When Are Punitive Damages Recoverable After a Commercial Truck Accident?
You may already be aware that medical bills, lost income, and property damage can be included in an auto accident claim. These are called “economic damages.” You might also be entitled to “non-economic damages” such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment in life. Depending on the nature of your injury, your spouse might also be able to obtain compensation for loss of consortium.
Sometimes punitive damages will be awarded in addition to economic and non-economic damages. As the name implies, punitive awards are intended to punish the defendant for egregious misconduct and to prevent similar behaviors in the future.
All successful personal injury cases will result in compensatory damages of some amount—the term “compensatory damages” encompasses both economic and non-economic damages—however, not all cases yield punitive damages. To obtain a punitive award, your Newport Beach truck accident lawyer will have to prove that the defendant’s behavior constituted malice, oppression, or fraud:
- Malice: A defendant is considered to have acted with malice if they intentionally caused harm or acted with a willful or conscious disregard of other people’s rights or safety.
- Oppression: A defendant is considered to have acted with oppression if they engaged in despicable conduct in conscious disregard for the victim’s rights or safety that subjected the victim to unjust, cruel hardship.
- Fraud: Fraud means the defendant covered up a material fact known to the defendant through deceit, concealment, or misrepresentation. The fact must have pertained to the harm caused, and the concealment must have been done with an intent to deprive a person of their legal rights, property rights, or to otherwise cause injury.
As you may have inferred from the above definitions, malice is the most common basis for awarding punitive damages after a truck accident. Examples of behavior that might constitute malice include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Fleeing the scene of the accident; or
- Driving well over the speed limit or violating another traffic law to an egregious degree that surpasses ordinary negligence.
It may also be possible to recover punitive damages if your family member died in a truck crash. Punitive awards may be available through a survival action. Your family might be able to bring a survival action if the deceased survived for even a short period of time after the crash.
Punitive damages are not recoverable against a government entity.
Our Newport Beach truck accident lawyers have many decades of combined experience helping clients pursue punitive damages. We have an in-depth understanding of the case law and statutes pertaining to punitive awards, and we have a track record of success obtaining these damages in auto accident cases.
How to Prove Liability in a Truck Accident Lawsuit
To win a truck accident claim against the party who caused the crash or their insurance company, you must be able to prove liability, causation, and damages. Liability means “legal responsibility.” In other words, you must be able to prove that the defendant was legally responsible for the circumstance that caused your injury or loss.
In most auto accident claims, liability is established by proving driver negligence. Speeding, making an illegal turn, and running a stop sign are examples of driver negligence. In truck accident cases, it is often possible to hold the motor carrier vicariously liable for the negligence of a truck driver. For vicarious liability to apply to your case, you must be able to prove that the trucker caused the crash while performing duties within the course and scope of their employment.
Depending on the circumstances, other potentially liable parties include an auto part manufacturer, a careless mechanic, or the party that loaded the cargo.
Evidence of liability may include:
- The accident report;
- Video footage of the collision;
- Photos of the scene;
- Deposition from an accident reconstruction expert and eyewitnesses;
- Black box data;
- Chemical test results; and
- Cell phone records.
Contact Us Today to Speak with a Newport Beach Truck Accident Lawyer
You can reach us 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-GO-HARRIS. The consultation is free, and we accept truck accident claims on a contingency fee basis. You can also schedule a case evaluation by sending a message on our Contact Page.