Helping Serious Injury Victims Navigate Their Claims
As a firm that has helped the seriously injured in Torrance and throughout the South Bay since 1984, AgnewBrusavich is all too familiar with truck accident cases. Thanks to the weight and size of trucks – the average passenger car weighs 3,000 pounds, while trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds – any injuries that occur in accidents are much more likely to be serious and even fatal. Crashes can be even more devastating when the truck involved is carrying heavy or dangerous cargo. If you've been injured, you need to be represented by a caring team of lawyers that has handled cases like yours before – you need to call our Torrance truck accident attorneys. We're well-versed in the trucking industry and understand how complicated it can be to determine negligence and establish liability. In a free consultation, we can sit down with you to learn more about your story and your needs.
How Are Truck Accidents Caused in California?
Over the years our lawyers have seen similar types of motor vehicle accidents that are known to cause serious injuries. But because commercial trucks are significantly bigger than other vehicles and are comprised of multiple parts (cabs and trailers, for instance), there are unique types of collisions that can occur.
Additionally, the amount of time trucks spend on the road transporting cargo also makes drivers more likely to get into accidents. A U.S. government report estimated that around 65 percent of on-the-job fatalities of truck drivers were caused by crashes and road accidents. More than 400,000 truck-related road accidents occur in the country every year.
Some unique truck accidents that can cause severe injuries, such as spine injuries, brain injuries, amputations, burn injuries, and more, include:
- Jackknife accidents: Jackknifing refers to a truck that folds in on itself and forms a 90-degree angle after losing control on the road. Because the truck swings in on itself, it will often collide with nearby vehicles and cause severe injuries.
- Underride accidents: These accidents occur when a smaller vehicle traveling behind or alongside a truck becomes lodged beneath the truck. More than 300 people are killed in underride accidents every year, as underrides often result in shearing off the top of the smaller vehicle.
- Rollover accidents: Rollovers occur when truck drivers lose control of their vehicles, causing the truck to tip onto its side or flip over completely. These accidents can cause a lot of destruction when other vehicles are crushed by the truck, or when cargo is dangerous or toxic. Many highway spillovers are caused by rollovers.
Driver negligence is a leading cause of all motor vehicle accidents, including truck accidents. Distracted driving, speeding, and driving under the influence have all contributed to California crashes, but fatigued driving is also fairly common among drivers. Because truck drivers have long shifts and are required to transport cargo day and night, it's common for them to be exhausted. Though federal law mandates that drivers take rest and meal breaks like any other employee, drivers will often skip breaks so they can make deliveries on time.
Fatigue can sometimes impair a person's judgment and motor functions in the way that alcohol and drugs can. An exhausted driver is less likely to notice important traffic signals or red lights and pay attention to how fast they're going. If a driver dozes off or falls asleep at the wheel completely, they can drift over lanes and collide with nearby vehicles or drive across the divider and crash into oncoming traffic.
Who is Liable for Damages in a Truck Accident?
Determining liability in a truck accident claim is inherently more complicated than a typical car accident claim because multiple parties can be at fault for damages. Because truck drivers are usually on the job at the time of the accident, there are many instances in which their employer can be held responsible.
Trucking companies may be held responsible if it can be proven that they contributed to their drivers' negligence. Some drivers cause accidents because of a lack of experience or proper training, while others have a record of causing collisions. Companies are required to train their drivers and certify them – if they're found to have cut corners, they can ultimately be held responsible for your medical bills and lost wages.
Other parties that have been held liable in truck accidents include:
- Truck drivers, particularly those classified as independent contractors and not employees
- Cargo companies, such as in cases where dangerous cargo causes explosions or fires
- Cargo loaders, if it can be proven that their uneven distribution or lack of security caused a rollover or cargo to fly off the truck
- Truck manufacturers, if a defective part contributed to the accident
After you've been injured, the last thing you want to do is worry about determining who exactly owes you compensation for your injuries. You can leave this task up to us while you focus on healing.