Catastrophic injuries in truck accidents may have lasting consequences on a person's health and financial standing. The 18 wheeler vehicles are usually heavy and large such that when they roll, fatal injuries are the result, with survivors having life-changing experiences.
Unfortunately, getting compensation from truck accidents is hectic through a straightforward process. Most of the time, the process is tedious and lengthy, with steps like finding the responsible parties for the damage and holding them accountable for the injuries caused.
However, these accidents are preventable.
Statistics at the U.S Department of Transportation show that truck crashes happen because of reasons pointing to the driver's fault like driving while fatigued, driving while intoxicated, driving distractedly, or reckless driving. When accidents arise because of the mentioned reasons, it's usually a challenging task for the victims to identify whether there was an intention on the cause of the accident resulting in injuries and maybe the death of a loved one.
The trauma accompanying these accidents can be overwhelming with substantial medical bills, lost wages, and even property damage. For this reason, you need to contact Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney to help you find the liable party and negotiate the best compensation for your injuries.
Types of Truck Accidents
Compared to car accidents, truck crashes also occur depending on the prevailing circumstances like how and where the accident happened. They vary according to the collision's impact, with the highest consequences of fatal injuries and even death.
The accidents occur based on roads, traffic, weather conditions, truck driver's improper maintenance, and reckless driving on the driver's side. The common types of truck crashes include:
This type of crash happens when a motorist drives or stops abruptly at the red lights. A truck crashes on them from behind because of speeding, reckless driving, mechanical brake failure, or an inattentive driver. When this type of accident happens with small vehicles, it may be of minimal damage. But in the truck cases, they have devastating consequences for the parties involved.
From the name, rollover accidents are a common type of crash in Los Angeles. This trucking accident occurs when a truck is narrow and heavily laden when the driver fails to navigate turns in the right manner, making them swerve the lanes and fall. Most of the time, the crash happens because of the overloading or incorrect securing of the cargo posing a threat to all road users.
Sideswipe crashes are other common types of trucking accidents. They occur when truckers try to switch lanes inappropriately or even pass and collide with other vehicles in adjacent lanes.
These types of accidents happen at intersections when a trucker crashes into the side of another vehicle because of inattention or ignoring traffic signals.
Underride and Override Accidents
Of all the types of truck accidents, underride is a dangerous accident with catastrophic injuries. It entails a car striking the back or side of a moving or parked truck and sliding beneath it. Mostly, the roof of the vehicle is crushed and sometimes sheared off completely. The truck driver is to blame for stopping suddenly or slamming the brakes in some occurrences, causing the cars behind to go beneath the truck's rear bumper. A precautionary measure by NHTSA requires all trucks to have underride bars installed on their bumpers.
However, override crashes occur when the trucking driver cannot stop the 18-wheeler vehicle making it run over a car in front of them or oncoming. It's hard to explain how the accident happens, but often the crash happens because of mechanical failure or the driver's negligent actions while driving. Other common causes of override accidents include: a trucker closely following another vehicle, poor visibility due to fog, trucking driver failing to yield the right of way, over speeding, and maybe a tire blowout.
This type of accident is deadly though not a common one on the California roads. When the driver leaves their lane and collides head first into the other coming vehicle in the opposing traffic, this gives this type of accident another name known as front-end crash. The statistics stagger at 31% of passengers being killed in 2018 alone due to head-on truck accidents.
The force of impact on the collision is severe, being that the commercial truck, tractor-trailer, or 18-wheeler truck and the oncoming car is violent. When the accident happens, the truck can crush the smaller car passengers or, worse, ride over the vehicle dismantling it totally plus the occupants. In case it rides over a car, the accident becomes an override, which is more deadly.
You can suffer from spinal cord injuries, cuts, burns, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and other related injuries, affecting your financial standing, thus a need for an experienced attorney to help you settle your damages.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has concerns over bridge strike accidents in California because they affect many parties. Besides, FMCSA addressing the situation the trucking companies and the truckers also are burdened with this type of crashes.
It happens so because these accidents are fatal and happen when drivers drive on highways and roads with potential hazards. Mostly one common type of danger is low-hanging bridges, which risks the driver's life and other road users. Besides, it also interferes with the driver's trip if a crash occurs.
When a trucking driver travels on a highway that was not built for the 18-wheeler vehicle operations, the chances of coming across a low-hanging bridge are high, with the vehicle not fit under the bridge. The driver may sustain injuries, damage the truck and the road infrastructure, interrupt commerce, and delay time for other road users.
The FMCSA advises the drivers to adhere to the route restrictions, encourages drivers to be attentive to road signs, and use GPS systems ideal for truckers and bus operators.
Cargo Overload and Spills
Cargo securing is a responsibility of sometimes, a truck driver, the trucking company, loading company, or the delivery company. It means that any slight carelessness or negligent action can cause a devastating spill on a route that causes a catastrophic accident.
However, these parties are swift in making profits with speed, disregarding the safety of the cargo. Drivers may recklessly behave when loading, or even the loading team may be advised to pack more shipments into the trucker as possible. Other road users are at significant risk when the trailer is in transit in any case of a mechanical failure, overloading, or improper and insecure loading.
Since the crash may happen due to a rollover, a trailer hitch failure, or jackknifing, cargo spills can be hazardous, more so if the truck was carrying a dangerous material. Imagine having a rollover, then the cargo spills; it becomes more traumatic, creating another wave of destruction.
In case a tanker truck was carrying chemicals like gasoline, crude oil, or corrosive acids and a jackknifing accident occurs, the tank can crack open, opening another series of accidents with serious injuries. Besides, some of the chemicals can cause fatal illnesses when inhaled at the accident scene. Also, the chemicals may explode into severe fires endangering the lives of people present at the scene.
Jackknife crashes happen when a tractor-trailer's cab and the trailer forms a shape V. In most cases, the truck swings forward towards the cab of the truck. These accidents often occur due to abrupt or unsuitable braking actions, unfavorable weather, incorrect loading, or other drivers' negligence.
These accidents are fatal, with the victims being the truck driver themselves, other drivers on the road, and nearby pedestrians. The voluminous shape plus velocity of the commercial truckers when they bend in half is fatal to individuals at the road at the particular time and vehicles in close range.
Unlike the small cars with a tiny blind spot area which is challenging to recognize surrounding vehicles, commercial truckers have larger spots, making it even worse. Because of this feature, drivers are usually cautioned to stay primarily on the truckers' rear sides to avoid these accidents. While the thumb says the trucking driver can't see you, remember you also can't see the truck mirrors.
On that note, it's ideal to always pass by the left side of the semi-truck to give them sufficient space before moving back to their regular lane.
Trucking collisions can cause significant damage plus horrific injuries. If you are a victim of the crash or your loved one suffered or passed away due to the truck driver's fault, you can contact our attorney to advise you on the necessary steps to follow.
Causes of Truck Accidents
There are numerous causes of 18-wheeler crashes in Los Angeles. However, the major contributing factors are drowsiness and fatigue amongst trucking drivers. In some cases, improper maintenance of the truck also causes crashes.
Here are the common causes of truck accidents:
At all hours, trucking drivers cruise the streets of Los Angeles with cargo to a different part of the United States. They spend long hours behind the wheels to meet their target and deliver as expected. As per the federal laws, the drivers are regulated to drive 14-hour a day, with only 11 hours resting before the cycle restarts. If they continually do this, the sleep deficit piles up with drowsiness posing a danger to other road users.
From the fatigue, responses slow, and the drivers become dull, and if they drift and fall asleep shortly while on the wheels' chances are a catastrophic accident will be imminent. Besides, drivers are known to be non-compliant by driving beyond legal limits and falsifying their logs.
Improper Truck Maintenance
Truck safety groups are known to hold annual roadside inspections in partnership with other government agencies. The inspection target 18-wheelers and other commercial vehicles are operating through the roads. According to the 2017 Road check, about 20% of the trucks and other commercial vehicles inspected had dangerous shapes posing a danger to the road forcing the agency to pull them off the road. Another quarter of the percentage was pulled off due to brake issues. Another 15% were also out due to dangerously unsafe tires.
Like any other vehicle drivers, truckers are also susceptible to texting, talking on the phone, eating, and engaging in other distracting behaviors. Besides, the long hours trucking on the road makes them bored and prone their minds off from their tasks.
From the strict deadline and trying to make up for the lost time, truck drivers can speed or drive recklessly, which is not safe for themselves and other road users. The pressure can be intense with their sole aim to achieve the set target.
When a truck is in transit, and the load was not correctly loaded, it can pose a danger. In the case of imbalance, there's a likelihood of the driver losing control and winding up swiveling the truck. If a trailer is a flatbed with unsecured loads, chances are they might fall on the road causing further disasters. According to the 2017 Road check, unbalanced loads were present in 15.7% of all the vehicles inspected, posing a threat to road users.
A trucking driver may drink and drive by ingesting stimulants to stay alert. The substances taken can impair judgment and the ability to respond quickly to changes in traffic patterns or weather conditions. If a driver is impaired, he or she may overreact. At other times underreact or even fail to react at all in the time of need. This might cause a wreck if the reaction needed them to navigate a lane to avoid a collision.
If you can find the cause of the accident that subjected you to severe injuries, you may file for a personal injury lawsuit. Get a skilled lawyer to help you argue the claim to get the deserving compensation. Remember that identifying the liable party can be challenging, but fruitful at the end of the day. Therefore, get a lawyer to help you in your truck accident case today.
Establishing Liability in a Truck Accident
Compared to other vehicle accidents, establishing the liable party in a truck accident is more complicated. It is hard because a trucking crash involves more people when it happens than the drivers alone. Even though it is hard, you need to identify the responsible parties to get compensation for damages.
A Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney will come to your aid and help you get the liable person for your injuries. If you can hold all responsible parties accountable, probably the compensation amount will increase. Here are the parties that can be found liable:
A trucking driver may be fully responsible for a crash or, at times, partially accountable. Chances are for an accident to occur; the driver may be tired, intoxicated, speeding, lack experience, or engage in distracted driving. If the company may have noticed the driver exceeding the allowed hours, the agency will be held responsible for a crash.
Trucking Agency or Company
For a trucking company to hold the responsibility of a crash, it must have been aware of hiring insufficiently trained drivers. In addition, it may have failed in conducting a comprehensive background check on the said driver. If so, the responsibility for the crash would be shared. But if the driver exhibited negligent behaviors resulting in the accident, partly the trucking company would carry the liability.
In some instances, a trucking company or the driver may not be liable for the truck accident. It may be a mechanical defect in the truck. If it is so, the manufacturer can be responsible for the accident. The accident could be because of failed brakes or a blown defective tire resulting in the crash.
Truck Maintenance Company
In some cases, where a truck accident happens, it may be due to the maintenance company's failure to do their job. Since maintenance should be done regularly, they may have taken long to check the brakes, change the tires, and do maintenance to other truck areas.
For improper loading companies, they can be held responsible if the accident happened because of improper loading. The company's responsibility is to ensure that when loading a truck, it must be adequately done to bring security to all parties involved in transit.
Liability for truck accidents can be shared between several parties and, in some cases, can be directly related to a person or an entity. It is ideal if a skilled lawyer ensures that liability is credited rightfully, and the trucking victim gets equitable settlement of the damages.
How to Establish Negligence in a Trucking Accident?
If there is a challenging task in a truck accident is proving negligence. However, you must prove them to get compensation for the damages. If you get involved in a truck accident, it's not automatic that you're entitled to compensation if you suffer injuries and have property damages.
You have to prove that a driver, company, or other parties had a negligent or reckless action causing the accident. Your lawyer will have to show that the party had a duty of care to care for you as the victim. Also, they may have breached the duty of care, and from their action, the accident happened to cause damages.
You may need to scour a driver's license or company's logbook to prove the said party's negligence. At times you may be required to look for technical data from the truck and even bring forth expert witnesses' opinions to win a claim.
Even though establishing negligent actions in a trucking accident may be an uphill task for a victim, you may find solace with an attorney. A Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney will help with all aspects of your case. We have expertise in investigating a claim, building a case, and proving negligent actions in a truck accident.
Penalties in Truck Accidents
Enacting stringent measures and harsher penalties may discourage trucking companies and drivers from reckless behaviors that risk other motorists' lives. There is a significant rise in large truck accidents, and a number of them happen because the parties violated the laws designed to prevent dangerous behaviors and negligent actions.
From the common factors contributing to trucking accidents, some can be avoided. The long hours of driving, lack of the required qualifications and license of vehicles, and failure in testing drivers for drug and alcohol use are preventable.
If a trucking company fails to maintain the trucks, they can be the party at fault. Unsafe handling of hazardous cargo and failing to maintain a vehicle repair history records warrants hefty penalties.
The penalties include:
- Taking a truck driver out of operations until off duty period has been met.
- A truck driver may be given a fine by the local or state law enforcement officers.
- They are charging a civil penalty on a driver or the carrier company by the federal motor carrier safety administration ranging from $1000 to $11000 depending on the violation's severity.
- A downgrade for a company's safety rating due to a consistent pattern in breaches occurrence.
- In case the driver or the trucking company knowingly and willingly violated the stated regulations, federal criminal penalties may be impounded on them.
Other than the highlighted penalties, drivers and truck operators may suffer additional penalties and other legal consequences if they refuse to pay for the assessed penalties. It is, therefore, ideal if you lodge a claim when involved in a fatal trucking accident.
Damages to Collect in A Truck Accident
When involved in a trucking accident, chances are you may get extensive injuries, property damage, and even death. The hurts may be life-changing to the victims, making them have a permanent disability or make you unable to return to the routine job.
If a loved one dies from the crash, the whole family could suffer from financial hardship if the deceased was the breadwinner. Fortunately, the family can receive compensation to help them recover from the devastating experience they had since losing the loved one.
In case you got injuries in a truck accident having the truck driver, the trucking company, or the truck manufacturer at fault, you can file for a compensation lawsuit. Our expert personal injury lawyer will help you evaluate the case and settle for the best possible compensation. Though issues may differ from one to the other, damages to recover in a truck accident are:
- Expenses incurred in medical care and future related costs
- Cost of rehabilitation for catastrophic injuries like physical therapy
- Damage to property
- Loss of income both for the current time and future
- Miscellaneous costs in transportation
- Assistance with daily tasks
- Compensation for physical pain and mental anguish
- Wrongful death compensation
- Permanent deformity
However, for a wrongful death lawsuit where your loved one passes on, you may be liable for further compensation. Generally, you will receive the following compensation that includes:
- Medical expenditure before the timely demise
- Loss of financial standing and benefits of the deceased person
- Burial expenses
- Loss of future income
- Loss of potential inheritance
- Loss of consortium
- Mental anguish and suffering
Besides, you may be awarded other compensatory awards presented to yourself and other family members. When a truck accident happens, the trucking company or insurance may reach out to you to quickly settle for the losses. Mostly it might be a better offer to you but tread carefully if you don't want to regret later on in the future.
It is essential to consult a personal injury attorney before appending a sign to the documents or negotiating with the crash's responsible parties. At the best of your interest, the lawyer will fight for you in the case.
The attorney will tackle tough questions and negotiate for the best settlement and compensation for your case. We assure you of a no-obligation consultation in assessing the nature of the case. Contact us today and let us help you determine the liable parties for your damages.
Find a Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney Near Me
Truck accidents can be mind-blowing and traumatic. These crashes come with severe consequences, whether you suffer from damaged property, catastrophic injuries, or loss of a loved one. You suffer from incapacitating injuries and the devastating blow that can affect your financial standing and that of the family. Mostly you may have to struggle to get the deserved compensation from the insurance company and the liable parties.
If the crash happened because of another party's fault, be rest assured of compensation. Our team of personal injury attorneys from Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney will help you recuperate damages for injuries and other financial losses. Our lawyers will take the legal battle to argue with the trucking company or the driver for the outcome.
We will protect you and your family from incurring additional costs or future expenses coming from the accident. Contact us at 424-237-3600 if you are injured in Los Angeles, CA.