Utility trucks come in a variety of shapes and sizes. We all encounter them as we go about our daily lives here in Los Angeles and beyond. But if you get into an accident with a utility truck, did you know the laws surrounding them can be different than for other vehicles? And if you’re unaware of those important differences, it can cost you dearly. Don’t take any chances. If you’ve been injured in an accident with a utility truck, call The Dominguez Firm right away at 800-818-1818 for a free consultation.
Below you’ll find some important information regarding utility truck accidents and what makes them so unique compared to accidents between two privately owned vehicles.
What is a Utility Truck and Can You Give Some Examples?
These trucks are equipped to perform specific tasks. Unlike big rigs, which are used to haul large amounts of cargo over great distances, utility trucks tend to serve one general area, not travel thousands of miles. A large number of them are government owned, but some are commercial. Examples include:
- Garbage trucks
- Street cleaning vehicles
- Municipal utility vehicles, like LADWP or SoCal Gas trucks
- Heating and/or plumbing trucks
- Snowplow trucks
- Cable company trucks
- Telephone company trucks
Generally, utility trucks are smaller than big rigs but bigger than passenger vehicles.
Are They Subject to the Same Traffic Laws as Big Rigs?
For the most part, no. One of the biggest differences is that while big rigs don’t usually have full access to residential areas, most utility trucks do. That includes very narrow or even private streets. As an example, it’s common to see large utility trucks, like garbage trucks blocking narrow residential streets on garbage pick-up days.
They may, on some occasions even be exempt from obeying the posted speed limits if they are responding to an emergency situation. This combination of total access and speed limit exemptions (in some cases) means utility truck accidents are bound to happen. And while they lack the sheer size of a commercial truck, they can still cause heavy damage and serious injuries to anyone in a passenger vehicle.
Do I Need a Lawyer if I’ve Been Injured in a Utility Truck Accident?
Yes! Without a doubt, you should seek the help of an experienced truck accident attorney immediately. Utility truck accident lawsuits are extremely complicated. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration:
- Was the utility truck that hit you privately owned or a government vehicle?
- Was the utility truck leased from another company?
- Was the driver fatigued or driving while impaired?
These are just a few of the questions that need to be answered. And figuring everything out is usually too much for one person to take on by themselves, especially if they’re recovering from serious injuries.
Some of the possible defendants in a utility truck case include:
- The driver of the utility truck
- The owner of the utility truck
- The company that leased the utility truck
- The government entity that owns the utility truck
- The manufacturer of the truck
As you can see, utility truck accidents are very complex. In order to receive the compensation that you deserve to fully regain control of your life, you need an experienced utility truck accident attorney by your side.
How Long do I Have to File My Claim?
This is where utility truck accident claims often differ from other types of claims. Generally, you have two years from the date of your accident to file a claim. But, if you were hit by a government owned utility truck, you only have six months from the date of your accident to take legal action.
That’s why it’s so important to contact a personal injury attorney immediately after your accident. This is true if you were injured in an accident with a privately-owned utility truck, and doubly true if it was a federal, state or municipal utility truck.
What Compensation am I Entitled to?
No attorney can give you a specific dollar amount for your utility accident. However, they can estimate what your case may be worth based on similar cases. Among the factors they’ll consider are:
- The extent of your injuries
- Your medical costs
- Lost past and future income
- Pain and suffering
In the case of permanent injuries:
- Ongoing and/or lifelong care
- Home modifications
If a loved one was killed in a utility truck accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible. Obtaining justice in their name can bring a measure of comfort to you and your family while sending a very powerful message to those responsible.
If You’ve Been Injured in a Utility Truck Accident, Call The Dominguez Firm Right Away
Being hit and injured by a utility truck is a frightening experience. When they collide with a passenger vehicle, serious injuries to those in the passenger vehicles are common.
Utility truck accidents require the resources of an experienced personal injury firm. These types of accidents can involve government agencies as well as multiple defendants. At The Dominguez Firm, we have over 30 years of experience dealing with all of the complexities of utility truck accident cases. We have helped hundreds of clients and their families obtain the justice and compensation that they are entitled to. Call us at 800-818-1818 for a free and confidential consultation. And if you’re concerned about the cost of hiring a personal injury attorney, know that at The Dominguez Firm we stand by our promise: you don’t pay unless you win, so call today!