Getting into an accident with a truck can result in expensive medical bills and a long recovery if you sustain serious or catastrophic injuries. Multiple parties could be involved in your accident, including the truck owner, driver, and trucking company whose legal teams and insurance companies may attempt to deflect liability onto you.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible so they can preserve evidence and start building your case. The Glendale truck accident lawyers at The Shirvanian Law Firm can assist you with your claim by investigating the accident, identifying the responsible parties, and helping you recover fair truck accident compensation for your injuries.
The trucking industry is a significant contributor to the American economy, generating $368.9 billion for moving freight across the country, with an estimated 3.5 million U.S. truck drivers in the workforce.
As a result of the vast distances they operate across and the number of trucks on the road, trucking hazards are a daily risk for drivers throughout the country. In 2020, there were 28% more fatalities from large truck crashes than in 2009.
In 2009, the number of deaths was the lowest since 1975, the same year that the U.S. Department of Transportation began collecting truck accident data. These statistics show the number of deaths and injuries associated with truck accidents nationwide:
The California Highway Patrol recorded a decrease from 84 fatal truck crashes in 2018 to 83 in 2019, where truck drivers were at fault. Additionally, there has been a decline in truck accidents resulting in injuries from 3,098 in 2018 to 3,038 in 2019. Data still shows how hazardous trucks can be on California’s highways and roads.
California requires trucks to weigh at least 20,000 pounds for single-axle trucks. However, a fully-loaded truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, 20 to 30 times more than a passenger car. In California, vehicles and their loads cannot exceed 102 inches in outside width.
The trucks’ taller heights and higher ground clearances can endanger other passenger vehicles, increasing the likelihood of an accident. A truck accident can be hazardous when these vehicles collide based on the differences between passenger vehicles and commercial trucks.
Passenger vehicles do not transport people for hire under California law. These vehicles include sedans, vans, and pick-up trucks like a Dodge Ram or Chevy Silverado.
The state of California defines a commercial vehicle as a vehicle with the primary purpose of property transportation. Commercial trucks can include light trucks, heavy trucks, and buses.
The United States Department of Energy has established a classification system to define the size and weight of commercial vehicles. There are three classes of commercial trucks based on their weight:
Several different types of truck accidents occur regularly on California’s highways. These accidents can cause significant vehicle damage and injuries to you and your passengers. Your attorney can determine the kind of accident you experienced when they investigate your case.
The truck’s trailer can detach from the tractor and swing left or right. As a result, it can cause the trailer to cross into other traffic lanes. Eventually, the truck driver loses control of the vehicle, resulting in a jackknife incident. Equipment failure, improper braking, excessive speeding, or taking a rash turn may contribute to this accident.
Trucks need extra space to make a wide turn, occupying two or more lanes. When turning right, truck drivers must watch out for other vehicles since they may not turn quickly from the right lane and move left to make room for turning.
A trailer carrying cargo that breaks free of its tractor may hit vehicles in its path. Some of the reasons for these types of accidents include:
A truck’s broader size and heavier weight can cause a car to slide underneath the truck and rip off its roof. The federal government requires trailers to have rear guards that can withstand crashes. However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported underride guards could bend and separate in a crash, causing deaths and severe injuries to passengers in other vehicles.
Trucks need twice as long, or two football fields length, to stop. Rear-end truck accidents occur when a truck hits a car in its rear. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
Tractor-trailers and other large trucks that travel through intersections can run red lights and violate proper right-of-way. As a result, they collide with other vehicles, resulting in T-bone-shaped collisions.
After suffering a severe truck accident, you can work with a California truck accident attorney to help you navigate your case. The Shirvanian Law Firm can examine your case to determine liability in your accident. We also take other steps to help you pursue the best possible truck accident settlement, including:
Truck drivers and their employers must follow the FMCSA’s rules regarding the hours of service and regular drug and alcohol testing. Other laws include:
Your attorney can obtain records from the electronic logging device on the driver’s truck to see if they were speeding at the time of the accident. They can also seek the trucking company’s records of the driver’s history and if there were any previous driving violations.
Your lawyer can help you obtain crucial evidence, such as witness statements, police reports, and surveillance footage recording the accident. They can advise you to save all receipts and invoices for any repairs and replacement parts for your vehicle from this incident. Your lawyer can also connect with a network of medical professionals who can assess your injuries.
Insurance companies can use aggressive tactics to make you settle quickly by offering low-ball settlements and placing liability on you in the accident. Your attorney can speak on your behalf to discuss the physical and emotional impact of your injuries and the accident on your life and help you obtain compensation.
If the insurance company refuses to settle with you, you may need to file a truck accident lawsuit in court.
A knowledgeable motor vehicle accident attorney from The Shirvanian Law Firm is essential to successfully navigating the complexities involved in obtaining compensation from the responsible parties in a truck accident.
The Shirvanian Law Firm works with victims of truck accidents to recover the compensation they need for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses associated with their injuries. We have law offices in Glendale, Riverside, Bakersfield, and Sacramento to serve our clients throughout California with professional legal assistance when they need it most.
Our law firm works on a contingency fee arrangement so you can get the legal representation you need to maximize your settlement without worrying about an upfront fee. We only get paid if we win your case. Call us today to book a free, no-obligation case evaluation.