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Freight truck speeds through to cause me in accident

San Francisco, CA |

I was driving in a freeway junction on the left lane of two when a commercial freight truck speed passed me in the right lane on a turning junction. As he was passing me he started entering my lane so I slowed down because I was scared he was going to hit me. After he passed me I got caught in the cross wind from the large truck and lost complete control of my car causing me to spin and hit the side of the freeway. I was the only car that was damaged and the truck continued leaving me with bodily injury. The highway patrol helped me an hour later and told me that if I filed, I would be 100% at fault no matter what because I was not hit and I would have to pay full coverage and have a point go toward my record. I don't see how I could have avoided this other than driving at unsafe speeds

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Attorney answers 8

Posted

What is your question?

Asker

Posted

Sorry character limit. Is what the highway patrol say true? Am I completely at fault? I am afraid to file a claim to my insurance company and declare my vehicle as totaled.

David Lee Fiol

David Lee Fiol

Posted

That's a big question that I would be reluctant to answer with the limited information you provide here. I would venture to say that you would have a difficult time avoiding a finding that you were entirely or mostly at fault unless you had a witness and some corroboration of your story (such as an ID on the truck and the driver and some confirmation that the truck was there at the time). I cannot say that I have ever encountered a case where someone successfully argued that their accident was caused by the wind off a truck, but if you were forced out of your lane because the truck moved into your lane, and you can prove that, you might escape some portion of fault. You also need to consult with a trusted insurance broker to figure out if you are better off making the claim and getting your car repaired or replaced, or no making the claim to keep your rates down. I don't see how making an insurance claim will put a point on your driving record, but I am not an DMV lawyer.

Posted

Have a lawyer investigate a UM claim.

Posted

I am sorry to hear about your incident. I think it would very difficult and expensive case. Unless you can identify the truck, I don't know who you would sue. Look on the Avvo site for a lawyer in your area if you are interested in pursuing this matter.

Posted

If the purpose of your post is to inquire as to whether you are liable for your accident, then the answer, sorry to say, is - Likely. Not to diminish the action of the truck in almost entering your lane, the description you provide could lead to a conclusion that you may have very well panicked and over compensated in the turn leading you to lose control and strike the side of the highway. The truck had already passed you before your loss of control; I am not in any way minimizing the wind-affect from a passing semi, but it is highly doubtful that it was of such hurricane or gale force that it was the cause of you leaving your lane without being contacted by that truck or any other vehicle. At a minimum, it is problematical if your insurance company would want to pay on such a claim without something more in the way of proof aside from your word. But, as suggested, consult with a local attorney to see if there are any further details which may help to paint a better picture.

Posted

Single vehicle accidents, such as the one you describe, are very difficult to establish third party liability. First, it is my understanding from your post that there was no physical contact between the truck and your vehicle (but rather the loss of control was secondary to cross wind). Without physical contact with the phantom vehicle (i.e., the truck) most auto insurance companies providing coverage in California will deny a UM claim. Check your vehicle thoroughly. Even a small amount of paint transfer can make the difference. In the absence of contact, you will face two uphill battles concerning liability and causation. You have the burden of proof as to both. As to liability, it must be proven that the truck driver was driving unsafely in a manner below the standard for the average truck driver. Yet, the truck driver will respond by saying he passed you (which is legal) and that there was room to pass because of there not being any physical contact between the vehicles. Causation will require proof that in this instance the foreseeable condition of the cross wind made your vehicle lose control. However, such a situation differs from the common experience of other drivers on the freeway. Consider a different approach such as a product defect claim if there was something improper about the design of your vehicle to make it unusually and unsafely vulnerable to winds.
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This response is not meant as legal advice or as a legal opinion. Such advice would be impossible or impractical without additional information and more facts giving rise to the question. A consultation with an attorney is necessary.

Posted

I agree you should consult with an attorney.

Posted

I am terribly sorry about your incident. I agree with the responding attorneys that you may want to consult with a California car accident attorney to review your accident and advise you further. Best of luck.

Posted

Unless the freight truck was going 120 miles per hour it is hard to imagine that the crosswind would be the causation of your accident. If you really believe that you are correct you would have to retain the expertise of a reconstruction accident specialist, who could attempt to put together the pieces and establish the validity of your claim.

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