Truck Accident Lawyer Gives Advice
Whether transporting goods or cleaning up the city, large commercial trucks are everywhere. These vehicles are essential for the economy and the society, but they also pose a significant risk to other road users. As experienced truck accident lawyers in Orange County, we have witnessed some serious truck collisions on the I-5, I-405, and 55 freeways.
According to the Institute of Highway (IIHS), there were 4,714 people killed in crashes involving large trucks in 2021, an increase of 17% from 2020. Trucks often weigh 20 to 30 times more than passenger vehicles. In the event of an accident, it is the passenger vehicle occupant who is most likely to suffer from serious or fatal injuries.
These are just some of the trucks you may encounter on the road:
- Semi-truck (also known as a big rig or 18-wheeler)
- Delivery trucks, like Amazon and UPS
- Cement trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Dump trucks
- Tow trucks
- Flatbed trucks
Causes of Truck Accidents
Some truck drivers may work up to 60 hours a week, which is far over the standard 40-hour work week. Additionally, truck drivers are allowed to drive up to 12 hours a day. This makes truck drivers much more prone to drowsiness and fatigue. If a truck driver was asleep at the wheel and caused an accident, the other driver may be able to sue the driver in a truck accident claim.
Texting, calling, turning the radio on or off, eating, and drinking may all seem like innocuous behaviors, but are actually some of the most dangerous things a truck driver can do. All it takes is a few seconds of inattention to cause a serious or fatal accident.
Poor Road or Weather Conditions
Construction zones or poor road maintenance can spell disaster for truck drivers. A large pothole or confusing detour may cause a truck driver to lose control of their vehicle and crash. Bad weather can also be extremely dangerous for large vehicles, as they are more likely to roll over due to their higher center of gravity. If the roads are not properly maintained in rain or snow, the city municipality may be held liable.
Alcohol or Drug Impairment
Since truck drivers operate commercial vehicles, they must hold a commercial driver’s license. Under this type of license, also known as a CDL, truck drivers must not exceed the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04% or higher – considerably lower than the 0.08% for regular vehicle drivers. If they are found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, their CDL will be revoked for life.
Large trucks are bound by strict speed limits on California highways. According to the California Vehicle Code, a truck with three or more axles cannot drive more than 55 miles per hour. If they choose to go over the speed limit, they put themselves and others at risk. The higher the speed, the longer it takes for large trucks to stop. A high-speed truck crash can cause serious injuries or fatalities, especially when a truck collides with a smaller vehicle.
Poor Truck Maintenance
Every trucking company has a legal duty to inspect, maintain, and repair their vehicles regularly. This is required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which sets the standards for truck safety. A trucker must examine various parts of the truck every day and report any issues. Driving a truck that is not inspected or maintained is not only irresponsible, but also illegal and may be considered as negligence per se.
Large commercial trucks undergo constant wear and tear. Some malfunctioning parts that can cause an accident include:
- Faulty brakes
- Worn-out tires
- Broken headlights and taillights
- Steering problems
- Suspension errors
The transportation industry, which includes truck driving, is considered one of most dangerous industries in the U.S. While commercial truck drivers must undergo a background check, tests, and training before they can operate a truck, human error is still inevitable. Inexperienced drivers are much more likely to be involved in an accident like a rear-end collision or blind spot collision. Bad weather can also prove risky for inexperienced drivers, as they may not be able to operate their vehicle safely with slick or icy roads.
Improperly Loaded Cargo
Semi-trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Cargo like hazardous material or large machinery that is not properly loaded can cause a truck to tip over. The cargo may also fall into the roadway. Both situations are extremely serious and can cause the potential for a serious accident. Both the truck driver and the trucking company can be held liable for this type of truck crash.
Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident in California?
Determining liability in a truck accident case is far more complex than a regular car accident. Truck collisions also involve more severe injuries than car accidents. Truck accidents may involve multiple liable parties, including:
- Truck driver
- Trucking companies
- Another vehicle driver
- Government agency
- Truck manufacturer
- Cargo owner
If the truck driver was speeding or distracted and caused the crash, they would be found at-fault. Most truck accident cases are based on negligence in which someone acts in a careless or “negligent” manner, resulting in injuries and property damage. However, a truck accident may also involve strict liability law. If a truck accident was caused by a faulty or defective part, the truck manufacturer or operator may be held liable. In this case, negligence is not a factor.
Keep in mind the statute of limitations in California for a personal injury lawsuit is two years. Our experienced truck accident attorneys can help you determine the liable parties within the deadline.
Contact Our Truck Accident Law Firm in Santa Ana, CA
If you sustained serious injuries in a truck accident in Santa Ana, CA, you may be eligible to recover compensation. Our truck accident lawyer at Riverview Accident Lawyers can help you obtain financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We understand the pain truck accident victims suffer, and we are here for you every step of the way. If your loved one died in a truck accident, we can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Our knowledgeable team will conduct a full investigation of the accident scene, file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company, and negotiate for maximum compensation.
Contact a truck accident attorney today by calling (657) 662-8033 or filling out our quick online form. We always offer a free consultation and no upfront legal fees.