At GJEL Accident Attorneys, we’re here to help. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck there is a lot you need to know.
Our attorneys have helped hundreds of clients over the past 40 years get the settlement they deserve due to someone else’s negligence.
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In a collision with a commercial truck, most passenger vehicles will bear the brunt of the damage. Commercial trucks fill the interstates, thoroughfares, arterial roads and byways, and their drivers are often overworked and under-rested. When you are the victim of a truck accident, it is important to have experienced lawyers to represent you.
Personal injury attorneys explain your rights under California laws. At GJEL Accident Attorneys in California, we help big rig accident victims who have experienced injuries and property damage. If the insurance company is giving you the runaround, we offer the legal representation that you need. We negotiate with insurance companies and take your case to court if that course of action is warranted.
How Our Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help You
A trucking accident lawyer can help you navigate the road to recovery.
An attorney help you get the maximum compensation for your claim including but not limited to medical bills, loss of work, pain and suffering and more.
A tractor-trailer accident is a life-altering event for which nobody prepares.
Immediately after a truck accident, a claims adjuster from the truck driver’s commercial insurance company may contact you. You should never speak to a claims adjuster without consulting with a lawyer. A claims adjuster might come across as friendly, but it’s important to remember that this person’s goal is to settle your claim for as little money as possible. He or she might try to get you to say things that ultimately hurt your claim.
An attorney can help you understand whether filing a personal injury lawsuit after a truck accident is the right course of action for you. Sometimes, it’s not possible to negotiate a fair insurance claim settlement and you need to pursue legal action against the truck driver and his or her trucking company. An experienced truck accident lawyer will be familiar with what it takes to win your case, including gathering the right types of evidence, working with expert witnesses from the commercial trucking industry, and establishing that the truck driver is legally at fault for the accident.
Truck Accident Laws in California
Commercial trucks are vital to California’s economy. Big-rigs, tractor-trailers, equipment haulers, semi-trucks, refrigerator trucks, tanker trucks, and other large commercial vehicles transport raw materials, food, gasoline, chemicals, machinery, and finished products in and out of the state. Without the trucking industry and the truckers, California would come to a standstill.
Unfortunately for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and drivers of passenger vehicles, accidents involving large trucks are extremely common and often cause serious or fatal injuries. In 2014 alone, close to 4,000 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes in the United States.
In 2015, there were nearly 300 fatal accidents in California involving a large truck. With commercial trucks weighing as much as 80,000 pounds (or 40 tons), these devastating consequences of truck accidents come as no surprise.
If you were seriously injured in a truck accident in California, you should understand why it is so important to work with an experienced semi trailer accident lawyer. Because semi truck accidents can be highly complex and almost always involve one or more commercial insurance policies, you should never try to negotiate or settle a truck accident injury claim on your own. This post first explains the most common factors that contribute to truck accidents in California.
It then gives a general overview of some of the laws that apply to truck drivers in the state. Finally, it discusses how a truck accident victim can secure compensation for his or her injuries and other losses with the assistance of an experienced truck accident lawyer.
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Truck Accident Statistics in the United States
Both the federal government and the individual states keep track of all types of motor vehicle accidents. The statistics about truck accidents are often categorized separately from passenger vehicle accidents.
In 2016, 4,440 commercial trucks were involved in fatal crashes. This was a 2 percent increase compared to 2015. The rate of fatalities from these large truck accidents in 2016 was 0.144 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled by all motor vehicles. In 2016, there were an estimated 119,000 injury crashes caused by commercial trucks in the United States.
Commercial trucks were involved in more than 475,000 crashes reported to the police in 2016. Of those accidents, 0.8 percent involved a fatality and 22 percent involved an injury. Of the fatal accidents, 61 percent occurred in rural areas. About 27 percent of the fatal accidents took place on an interstate. Only one vehicle, the commercial truck, was involved in 22 percent of the crashes. Most accidents involving commercial trucks included two vehicles.
In the fatal truck accidents, 37 percent happened at night from 6:00 pm until 6:00 am. About 23 percent of the injury accidents involving commercial trucks took place during these hours. Most of the accidents took place on weekdays.
Rollovers happened in 5 percent of the fatal crashes involving large trucks in 2016. About 8 percent of the fatal accidents happened in work zones. In fatal accidents involving commercial trucks, 91 percent of the fatalities were not occupants of the truck. Most of the accidents involved one death, with an average of 1.12 deaths per fatal accident involving a large truck in 2016.
What Factors Contribute to Truck Accidents?
When a semi-truck or other large commercial truck is involved in an accident, there may be many contributing factors at play. These are just some of the most common causes of truck accidents in California.
- Driver Fatigue. Although state and federal laws require drivers to get rest for certain amounts of time during every long shift, unscrupulous trucking companies sometimes put pressure on their drivers to drive even though they are fatigued or exhausted. Driver fatigue leads to poor decision-making and slowed response times, and is a major cause of trucking accidents in California.
- Excessive Speed. Truck drivers are often required to drive at a lower speed than drivers of passenger vehicles. When truck drivers fail to abide by posted speed limits or drive too fast for road conditions, the consequences can be devastating.
- Equipment Failure. Modern commercial trucks are highly sophisticated machines with advanced equipment on board. Despite technological advances in the trucking industry, equipment failures are still a major contributing factor in truck crashes.
- Overloading. State and federal regulations require commercial trucking companies to adhere to specified load sizes. When a truck is carrying too much weight, braking time can be affected and this can lead to devastating accidents.
- Drug or Alcohol Use. Commercial truck drivers and their employers follow strict alcohol and drug testing rules that are required by federal law. Nevertheless, drug and alcohol abuse among truck drivers remains a major problem and is often a contributing factor in serious truck accidents.
- Aggressive Driving. Anyone who has driven on California’s highways has probably witnessed aggressive driving. When a commercial truck driver engages in aggressive or reckless driving, the results can be catastrophic.
Almost all of these common causes of trucking accidents are preventable or can be controlled with proper safety measures. If you believe that one of these contributing factors played a role in your truck accident, contact a truck accident lawyer right away to discuss your case.
There are many causes of commercial truck accidents. According to the federal statistics, 73 percent of the fatal commercial truck crashes involved the encroachment of another vehicle or a person in the lane occupied by the truck. About 23 percent of the fatal crashes involved erratic movement of the truck or some loss of control not caused by the presence of any other vehicles or pedestrians. About 74 percent of the fatal truck accidents and 76 percent of the non-fatal crashes involved a collision between the moving truck and another moving vehicle.
In about 5 percent of the fatal commercial truck crashes and 3 percent of the non-fatal crashes, problems with the truck were the main cause of the accident. The most common cause of those issues was the commercial truck’s tires. Other vehicle-related problems identified as causes of commercial truck crashes included shifting cargo, spilled cargo and brake problems. Issues such as debris in the road, an animal in the road or a problem with the road itself are also causes of commercial truck accidents.
Why Commerical Trucks are So Dangerous
Commercial trucks weigh much more than a passenger car, even when the trailer is not at capacity. A typical box truck or city delivery truck weighs 10,000 to 19,500 pounds. A furniture truck, city refuse collection truck or truck tractor weighs between 26,000 and 33,000 pounds. Cement trucks and trucks with a sleeper cab weigh at least 33,001 pounds. A pickup truck, SUV or minivan weighs less than 6,000 pounds. This means that commercial trucks weigh two to five times as much as the heaviest passenger vehicles.
Truck drivers are often overworked. Their long hours on the road may result in fatigue. A tired driver is an unsafe driver. Some trucking companies may be lax on maintenance and upkeep of their vehicles. Maintaining a fleet of commercial trucks is a costly endeavor, and attempts to cut costs might result in vehicles that are unfit to be on the road.
The size of commercial trucks also makes them less safe when compared to other vehicles. They need more time and distance to come to a complete stop. If the truck has a full load in the trailer, it needs more time to stop. Commercial trucks also require more space to turn. They are not as maneuverable as passenger vehicles. The length of the trailer creates a large blind spot around the vehicle, which also causes safety problems.
Commercial trucks may carry hazardous materials. About 4 percent of the commercial trucks involved in fatal accidents and 2 percent of those in non-fatal accidents in 2016 carried hazardous materials. In 16 percent of all commercial truck crashes involving an injury or fatality, hazardous materials were released from the truck. In more than 60 percent of those cases, the hazardous material released was gasoline, diesel fuel or oil. These materials are flammable. The release of flammable materials and other hazardous materials puts the lives of other drivers, first responders and the community at risk.
Truck Accident Questions & Answers
Below are common questions our truck accident attorneys receive regularly.
What Types of Damages Can a Truck Accident Victim Receive?
If you are successful in a truck accident lawsuit, you may be entitled to receive compensation for the following types of harms.
- Costs of Medical Treatment. If the truck driver was totally at fault, you should receive full compensation for the costs of your medical treatment. This includes costs for time spent in a hospital, copayments for visits to your doctor, prescription drug costs, and the cost of any ongoing physical therapy or other care you had to undergo as a result of the accident.
- Compensation for Pain and Suffering. If your injuries were severe and caused you to experience extreme pain and emotional suffering, you may be entitled to compensation.
- Lost Wages. If you had to take time away from your job to recover from the injuries you sustained in the accident, you may receive an amount equal to what you would have earned during that time. Some truck accident victims are permanently disabled or have a reduced capacity to work in the future. In this case, you may be entitled to money damages for lost future earnings.
- Damage to Property. If your vehicle or other property was damaged in the accident, you may receive compensation for the fair market value of your property at the time of the truck accident.
Identifying Defendants in Semi Truck Accident Cases
An experienced truck accident attorney who handles these accident cases can help you better understand how much your case may be worth and what types of damages you should expect to receive.
Common Transportation Companies With Truck Accidents
With so many vehicles on the road, it’s no wonder why there are so many truck accidents yearly. These companies have previously been labeled as companies with the worst drivers.
US Xpress Trucks
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