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Truck Accident Attorneys in Los Angeles – Helping victims of Truck injuries

Truck Accident

Commercial truckers are among the most regulated motor vehicle operators in California and across the United States. Federal and state regulations dictate everything, from the number of hours a trucker can drive, to maintenance requirements, weight limits, and more. Truck drivers typically have more training than drivers of passenger cars, and have passed more rigorous tests before licensing. Speed limits on interstate highways are generally lower for large trucks. In short, operators of large Big-Rigs are carefully vetted and then subject to strict regulation.

So, why do large truck accidents kill thousands of people each year, including hundreds in Los Angeles, California? Why do accidents involving big rigs injure about 95,000 people each year? There’s no simple answer to these questions. Rather, a complicated mix of factors combine to make large commercial vehicles dangerous companions on California roadways.

Trucks and Semi-Trucks are More Dangerous Because of Their Size and Weight

The simplest and most obvious contributing factor is the size and weight of a commercial vehicle such as a semi-truck or tanker. These physical characteristics mean that big rigs:

  1.  Are more difficult to control and maneuver
  2.  Have fewer options for avoiding collisions
  3.  Take longer to slow and/or stop

Those characteristics make collisions more likely, even when drivers have made mistakes common to drivers of passenger cars. For example, a distracted commercial truck driver may be more likely to cause an accident than the distracted driver of a car or light truck, because he is less able to adjust his course or to stop the vehicle when he belatedly notices a hazard.

Truck accidents are also more dangerous. The size and weight of a large truck creates a greater risk of serious injury or death to others involved in the accident. Fewer than one in four people injured and fewer than one in five people killed in large-truck accidents are actually driving or riding in the big rig. The vast majority of injuries and fatalities are sustained by drivers of passenger vehicles, passengers in other vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Other common accident causes that may have more serious consequences in the commercial trucking context include:

  • Speeding
  • Driving too fast for conditions
  • Fatigued driving
  • Failure to maintain the vehicle in safe condition

List of Truck types, causing the most Truck accident injuries in California

  • Box truck
  • Semi-truck
  • Big rig
  • Flatbed truck
  • Firetruck
  • Motorhome
  • Delivery truck such as UPS or Fed Ex
  • Concrete transport truck
  • Garbage truck
  • Tractor unit
  • Tank truck
  • Heavy hauler
  • Haul truck
  • Trailer bus
  • Livestock trailer
  • Trailer coach
  • Fifth-wheel travel trailer
  • Box Truck
  • Dump truck
  • Stake body truck
  • Tow truck

Disregarding Safety Regulations Increases the Risk of Commercial Motor Vehicle Accidents in California

The federal government strictly regulates commercial drivers. Unfortunately, not every driver or company follows the rules.

Hours in Service Violations

One common example is violations of “hours in service” regulations. Understanding the dangers of drowsy driving and the importance of having a driver controlling a massive piece of machinery on a public highway fresh and alert, the federal government has devised a complex set of regulations governing the number of hours a commercial truck driver may drive. The regulations include limits on hours per day, limits on hours across a block of days, and mandatory rest periods.

Drivers are required to maintain logs to demonstrate that they are abiding by hours in service rules. However, logging is not yet fully automated, and logs may be fabricated. In some cases, it is the driver himself making the decision to keep driving in order to maximize profit or cut down days on the road. However, many hours in service violations result from pressure from employers or companies that contract with independent truck drivers.

Weight Limit and Maintenance Violations

Federal law also regulates the weight of commercial vehicles such as trucks and trailers and requires regular maintenance. However, both “overweight vehicle” and “brake problems” make the list of the top 10 causes of commercial motor vehicle accidents.

Many other maintenance issues can impact the likelihood of a crash, as well. Some examples include:

  • Faulty brake lights and turn signals
  • Poorly maintained tires
  • Insufficient reflective material

Commercial Truck Cargo Increases Risks for California Truck drivers

Many commercial truckers carry materials across the country. Their cargo ranges from groceries and toys to live animals and hazardous chemicals. While there are obvious differences in the type and degree of risk associated with different types of cargo, virtually anything being hauled can be dangerous if it is not properly loaded and secured.

While the danger associated with materials breaking loose from a truck and flying into traffic are readily apparent, goods and raw materials landing in the road can be just as dangerous. According to AAA, road debris causes about 50,000 motor vehicle accidents each year. Those accidents result in nearly 10,000 injuries and more than 100 deaths each year.

Of course, the dangers are significantly enhanced when the materials carried by a commercial vehicle are large, heavy, sharp, or toxic. Again, regulations are in place to ensure safe transport of these materials, but some drivers and companies cut corners when it comes to safety regulations.

Liability for Commercial Trucking Accidents in California

In most motor vehicle accident cases, liability is fairly clear. While there may be some dispute as to the degree of fault attributable to each driver, the analysis often stops there. In the case of a commercial motor vehicle accident, such as those involving Trucks and Semi-Trucks, the analysis as to who may be legally responsible can be much more complicated.

In addition to the driver, some parties who may bear some or all of the responsibility for a commercial truck accident include:

  • The driver’s employer or the company contracting with the driver
  • The manufacturer of the truck
  • The manufacturer of parts that have been installed on the truck

If you’ve been injured in a big rig crash or have lost a loved one to a truck or Big rig involved accident, you may find it difficult to determine exactly who might be liable for your losses. Assessing legal responsibility requires an understanding of the complex interplay of state and federal laws, as well as the logistics of commercial trucking accidents. Often, this type of case requires assessment by an expert, who may also be required to provide evidence in your case.

Building a Commercial Truck Accident Case

Determining who may be liable for your accident is just the first step. While your expert witness will provide some of the evidence necessary to prove liability and damages, putting together a strong commercial motor vehicle accident case can be challenging.

One challenge injury victims face is that evidence in a commercial trucking case may disappear or be altered soon after the accident. In some cases, this is an intentional effort on the part of the defendant to obscure liability for the crash. In other cases, though, the ordinary course of business erodes or entirely eliminates critical evidence.

For example, if a commercial truck has faulty brakes and is involved in an accident, the truck’s owner will naturally have the brakes replaced before taking the truck back out on the road. If the owner of the vehicle hasn’t been served with a legal notice requiring that evidence be preserved, the repair shop may simply discard the old brakes, making it difficult or impossible to prove that they were defective.

Thus, it is in your best interest to act quickly to protect your rights after a commercial truck accident. An attorney who understands the many state and federal regulations in play and knows how to preserve evidence and connect with the right expert can be your best resource. The Los Angeles personal Injury Attorneys at Yarian & Associates, have the experience and  knowledge to get you the maximum compensation you deserv

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