Whether you were the person hurt in the collision or a loved one of the injured party, this information should help guide you on what to do after an accident.
1. Focus on your health.
Lawyers can figure out the insurance and legal issues. Instead of worrying about that, concentrate on getting the medical attention you need. It will benefit your short and long-term well-being.
2. Avoid giving an insurance adjuster any information about the wreck until you speak with an attorney.
You have no obligation to speak with the trucking company's insurer. Furthermore, anything you tell them about the collision or your damages will most likely result in them trying to twist your words against you down the road.
3. Consider getting a free consultation from a lawyer with experience handling 18-wheeler and other commercial vehicle accidents in California.
It might turn out that you can handle your case without legal assistance, but there is no harm in at least getting some free legal advice from an experienced truck accident attorney who understands the issues specific to your case.
Semi Truck Accident & Trucking Collision Statistics in the U.S. & California:
The reality is there are over 15 million trucks driving on the road in any given year and over 500,000 folks are injured (about 140,000 with serious injuries) in commercial truck accidents each year (according to the U.S. Department of Transportation). Of these accidents, there are about 4,500 to 6,500 folks who die in these unfortunate accidents each year. Alarmingly, over 98% of the time, it is the passenger or driver of the other vehicle, not the driver or passenger of the commercial truck, who is killed in these deadly accidents. California is a big leader in this statistic given its heavy Pacific Coast ports with tons of cargo being offloaded onto commercial trucks for transport on California highways and roads.
In recent years, government organizations and commercial trucking companies have done much to reduce the number of serious truck wrecks on the freeway systems - the reason is due to the fact that big rig trucks, semis, and 18-wheelers are extremely dangerous when they strike a passenger automobile and causes a truck vs. car accident. The San Diego Truck Accident Law Firm, The Law Offices of Mark C. Blane, have witnessed commercial truck companies claim they are revising their internal safety policies and procedures to try and reduce these deadly accidents, but then, turn around and continue to put company profits ahead of driver safety.
The highest number of fatal or deadly commercial truck accidents tends to happen in California given its busy ports and loading of cargo onto these trucks. For example, in 2003, there was a staggering 5725 fatal auto v. commercial truck accidents! These accidents are potentially deadly when you consider that a big truck can weigh more than 80,000 pounds and can be up to 75 feet in length. In 2007, California saw about 10,626 non-fatal truck accidents, just under 7000 truck accidents required tow truck services to tow away the truck wreckage, and 3 truck accidents required Hazmat services. You combine this with the fact that commercial truck drivers are under pressure to make their connections and sometimes resort to amphetamines to stay awake. Sadly just over 1% of all fatal commercial big rig truck accidents can be attributed to drug abuse by the truck driver.
Entities That May Be Held Liable in a Commercial Trucking Accident Are:
- commercial trucking companies;
- independent contractors;
- trucking equipment manufacturers;
- truck driver employers; and
- truck drivers.
It is a complicated matter to establish the liability of a third party for a commercial trucking accident and even more complex when a truck driver is an independent contractor in a large trucking firm. These firms are well acquainted with trucking investigations and are famous for aggressively defending against injury claims.
Some Causes of California Commercial Truck Accidents:
There are many causes of semi-truck, tractor-trailer truck, or big rig semi-truck accidents - however, the following (Top 10) causes tend to be the most common:
- Failure of the truck driver to adhere to or obey the rules of the road;
- Speeding or unsafe acceleration;
- Under-inflated tires on big rig trucks;
- Cargo shifting or improperly loaded commercial trucks;
- Truck driver fatigue (over driving without proper rest breaks);
- Truck driver substance abuse (amphetamine abuse);
- Improper braking or deceleration;
- Poor truck maintenance or shoddy repair work;
- Vehicular blind spots (usually truck drivers sit up higher than most other vehicles on the road);
- Careless or reckless driving (combine this with heavy cargo);
Hiring an Experienced California Truck Accident Injury Attorney
If you or someone you know has been injured in a commercial truck accident, you do not have to deal with the aftermath of such an accident alone. Our team knows what to do in order to protect your legal rights with such an accident. Did you know the Department of Transportation (DOT) requires the use of sleep logs by commercial truck drivers, and they can be a key piece of evidence in your California big rig or trailer truck accident? Did you know the insurance companies for these big rig trucks have financial incentives to protect their commercial truck driver, who may be at fault for your accident? Did you know gathering key pieces of evidence is extremely important in any automobile case, but even more so with commercial truck accidents?
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