Truck Accidents

It was late and night and the roads were wet.  Nonetheless, the last thing Sam Hernandez expected as he cruised along the empty Southern California highway was a truck accident.  He was concentrating on his upcoming exit when a big rig lost control, careened across the highway and crashed into Sam’s Toyota.  As a result, Sam was trapped under the truck, suffering serious injuries.  After working for 20 minutes, firefighters extricated Sam who had to be medically evacuated to a nearby hospital.

Sam was fortunate that he did not suffer from a serious brain injury.  However, his life will never be the same.  His pelvis was crushed by the truck and he might never walk again.  He began to search immediately for the best auto accident lawyer Los Angeles has to offer.

Sam learned quickly that truck accidents are much more common than people think and very often include fatalities.  According to truck accident statistics, in the past decade there have been, on average, over 400,000 truck accidents each year in the United States.  About 5,000 people are killed every year as a result of these accidents.  In fact, 12.5% of all traffic deaths involve some type of a trucking collision.  That means that about 14 people per day lose their lives because of a truck!

Trucking companies collectively have revenues in the billions of dollars each year.  These trucks are particularly lethal in car collisions – 98% of tractor-trailer fatalities occur to the individuals in the passenger vehicles.

In recent years, there has been a lot of media coverage on accidents and road hazards involving trucks.  In order to increase the safety of America’s roadways, trucking companies, truck drivers and their trucks are heavily regulated and governed by federal laws.  For instance, a truck driver must have formal “truck driving” education, obtain a special driving license, and learn how to load and unload a truck safely.

Additionally, there are many other federal rules and regulations that govern the entire trucking industry.  To combat truck driver fatigue, one of the leading causes of truck accidents, the “hours of service” law was implemented in 1939 and has since been updated.  According to the new rule, a truck driver can drive for a maximum of 11 continuous hours in a 14-hour work day, after which he is required to take a mandatory rest period of 10 hours before driving again. Federal Law also limits the number of hours that any truck, driven by a single truck driver, can continuously be on the road.

In any seven-day period, the truck can be on the road for 60-77 hours.  In an eight-day period, the truck can be driven between 70-88 hours. If the truck and its driver have been off the road for two and a half days continuously, they can then start their week at zero hours.

Federal laws also requires that all truck companies as well as drivers for the company carry legally required minimums of liability insurance coverage, property damage, and bodily injury insurance. The higher amounts of insurance required is due to injuries caused by truck accidents being more severe than other types of vehicular accidents. There are several reasons that truck accidents occur. The most common are:

  • Dangerous actions by drivers of passenger vehicles
  • Unsafe actions of truck drivers
  • Unavoidable and unforeseen circumstances

There are certain precautions that a passenger driver can undertake to minimize the risk of an accident with a truck.  Entering traffic in an incorrect manner, driving in a truck’s blind spots, trying to pass a truck or driving between two big trucks, can all create situations that increase the likelihood of a collision with a truck.

Of course, regardless of how safe a passenger driver can be, truck drivers can be the ones who are at fault in an accident.  If truck drivers are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, are insufficiently trained or are too tired, they are the ones who are increasing the risk of causing an accident.  When trucking companies fail to properly maintain trucks, or set delivery deadlines that are unrealistic, they are breaking laws and causing grave danger to passengers on the road.

If you have been involved in a truck related accident, or if your family member has been fatally injured in a truck related accident, you could be entitled to hefty compensation. Because truck accident cases are often complex, involving many laws, multiple parties and a lot of money, it can be difficult to prove fault or establish liability.  Additionally, there are time-limits by which the claim must be filed – also known as the statute of limitations.

In order to maximize your chances of a successful claim for compensation in these situations, an expert auto accident lawyer should be consulted as soon as possible.  The lawyers associated with Jacoby & Meyers will use their extensive knowledge and experience to help you achieve the settlement you desire.  They will provide legal advice, accident compensation and information as well as guide you to proper long-term medical care, when necessary.

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