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Truck Accident Lawyer

Truck Accidents in Los Angeles

Accidents involving large vehicles like tractor-trailers almost always result in severe injuries and property damage. The size and weight of these large vehicles make them extremely dangerous when not operated with utmost care. A truck driver has to be always alert of the truck’s surrounding. Because these 18-wheelers are approximately twenty times heavier than the average passenger vehicle, an impact with one is likely to cause severe or even fatal injuries. 

In 2019 in Los Angeles alone there were 57 fatal truck accidents and 1,972 truck injury accidents reported by the California Highway Patrol.(CHP)

Surviving such an accident is a lucky feat, but if you’re like most victims in these crashes, you’re facing a complicated recovery process. In terms of your physical health and well-being, Babaians Law Firm consults with and refers their clients to the most respected medical professionals in Los Angeles, California. We make it our top priority to ensure that we handle the legal aspects of your case with care and see that you receive the medical care you will need.

What to do if you're in Large Truck Accidents?

Based on an annual report from California Highway Patrol (CHP), in California from 2015 to 2019 there was a progressive increase of at least 4% in big rig accidents year over year. The biggest jump was 12% from 2018 to 2019 in fatal crashes climbing from 305 cases to 344. With over 7,000 injury crashes a year one needs to be aware of what steps to take in case of large trucks accidents. 

Truck Accident

Remain calm and check for injuries

If you're involved in a truck crash, the first thing you should do is check yourself and any passengers for injuries.

Call 911 and Report the Accident to California Highway Patrol

If anyone is seriously injured, call 911 immediately to request emergency medical assistance. Police reports are extremally important for a semi-truck accident claim.

Notify Your Insurance Company

After the accident, it's a good idea to contact your insurance company to report the incident and begin the claims process.

Seek Medical Attention

In the aftermath of a big rig accident, it's important to take care of yourself and seek medical attention if needed.

Gather Evidence

It's also important to document the accident scene as much as possible. Take pictures of the vehicles involved, the surrounding area, and any visible injuries. If there were witnesses to the accident, try to get their contact information as well. The more evidence you can gather, the easier your truck accident case would be to resolve. The California Highway Patrol will not be able to write an accurate report if they are not on the scene or if they don't have all the information from all parties.

Contact a Local Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer

Expert truck accident attorneys work on contingency fee basis. They have worked multiple cases of fatal crashes involving a big rig, a large truck or a semi truck. They know how to use the evidence you gathered and they can find any other evidence that will help your big rig accident case.

Exchange Contact Information

Next, you should exchange information with the big rig driver, including contact information and insurance information. Do not leave the scene be sure to also get the driver's name, license plate number, and the name of their employer, if they are driving a commercial truck.

Move to Safety

Once you've assessed the situation and ensured that any necessary medical help is on the way, you should move your vehicle to a safe location, if possible. If your vehicle is blocking traffic or creating a safety hazard, it's best to move it to the side of the road or onto the shoulder.

Causes of a Commercial Trucking Accident

We often can ask what are the leading causes of accidents involving 18-wheelers? 

There are many hazards that commercial drivers face that are not present in a smaller vehicle. The sheer size of these trucks makes them difficult to maneuver, especially on narrow or winding roads. Not all roads were built to accommodate gigantic trucks hauling eight or ten tons of weight. 

Their size also makes it more difficult to react quickly in emergencies or sudden situations that often occur on busy streets. Braking and swerving become hazardous by making it easy to lose control and difficult to avoid hitting cars and other objects. 

the following is a short list of the most common causes:

Truck Accident-4

Driver Fatigue

Truck driver fatigue is a serious problem that can lead to devastating consequences on the road. Truck drivers often work long hours and are at risk of becoming fatigued, resulting in slower reaction times, impaired judgment, and an increased risk for accidents. To help reduce the risks associated with truck driver fatigue, federal regulations have been put in place to limit how many hours truck drivers can operate their vehicles before taking a rest break or sleeping. Additionally, employers must provide adequate rest areas for their employees so they can get the necessary amount of sleep between shifts. By adhering to these rules and ensuring that all truck drivers are well-rested before getting behind the wheel, we can help keep everyone safe on our roads.

Distracted Driving

Texting, talking on the phone, eating, or other distractions while behind the wheel can cause a fatal crash.

Overloading Semi-Trucks

With the supply chain disruptions after the pandemic it has become a common practice for some trucking companies to overload their large trucks so that they can take more loads. Overloading a semi-truck can be extremally dangerous resulting in fatal crashes where a big rig failed to stopped. This is the trucking company's negligence and legal action by an attorney will be necessary against the company.

Improper Loading/Unsecured Loads

If a load is not loaded correctly it could shift during transit which increases risk for an overturned big rig and can result in a trucking accident.

Poorly Maintained Large Trucks

Fatal truck crashes can occur due to lack of maintenance. For example, brakes that are not properly serviced or tires in need of repair can cause collisions. Another common occurrence is a tire blowout. The tires on a big truck endure a lot of wear and tear. When this high use is paired with infrequent maintenance, the tires have a blowout and can become projectiles on busy roads. Other cars can be struck by flying tires or collide with the truck if the driver loses control after the blowout. It is recommended that you keep a considerable distance away from semi-trucks whenever possible. A big rig can overturn due to a blowout and crash into other vehicles. An overturned big rig can cause many fatalities and can be unstoppable on the freeway.

Unfamiliar Routes/Improper Turning

Navigating unfamiliar roads may increase chances for an accident due to confusion or lack of knowledge about road conditions. Over 550 out of 3000 cases that the big rig driver was at fault and caused injuries to pedestrians or other cars was due to unsafe speed. This will be considered as negligence on behalf of the operator of that big rig.

Weather conditions

Rain, snow, ice and fog can be dangerous for commercial trucks and contribute to crashes causing fatalities and serious injuries to occupants of other cars.

Jackknifing and Blowouts

In the event that someone involved in the building, loading, maintenance, or operation of a large truck fails at exercising due care and caution, there are many types of accidents that may result. 

Jackknifing is one of the most common accidents. This is when the truck basically folds at the connection between the cab and the trailer, making it impossible to control the movement of the truck. This can be caused by many things, including:

–       Slippery road conditions

–       Speeding

–       Improperly loaded cargo

–       Brake failure

–       Swerving or turning too quickly

Additional types of trucking accidents that frequently occur in California are:

–       Truck rollovers

–       Underride accidents

–       Hazmat spills

Any of these types of accidents can be terrifying to witness, much less be involved in. If you’ve been injured by a large commercial truck in California, we can help you fight for the compensation you need to start your healing process.

Who is Liable in a Truck Accident?

Insurance Claims and Big Rig Accidents

So, who is the defendant in these situations if you choose to pursue legal action? It really depends. It can be the driver, the company, their contractor, their insurance company, and even the maker of the truck’s cargo could be involved in a case like this. 

It’s important that you speak with a Glendale truck accident attorney well-versed in the specific laws and procedures that deal with a trucking accident. We have the industry experience and legal knowledge necessary to fight for you in court or secure a settlement on your behalf. 

Moving Forward and Filing Claims

Establishing liability is an essential step in your claims process. Liability is essentially based on the idea that everyone has a responsibility to do something in any given situation. The driver of a truck, for example, is responsible for driving carefully and obeying the rules of the road. They have a duty of care to other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. 

It is also possible that more than one person or entity will be found liable for the accident that caused your injuries. This is where a California Highway Patrol report would be valuable. 

Determining fault in truck accident cases is a very complex process; there is often no clear-cut answer to this question. 

  • Was the accident caused by a defect in a specific truck part? 
  • Did the materials that were loaded in the trailer create the hazardous conditions that led to the crash? 
  • Was the driver distracted or asleep at the wheel?

Many times, the trucking company will be strapped with the liability because pinpointing fault in an exact way is close to impossible when there are so many people involved. It is also commonly expected that the victim in these cases will be dealing with multiple insurance companies when more than one party is identified as being at fault. This can be overwhelming and intimidating, which is why it is beneficial to have your very own team of truck accident lawyers working for your best interests.

Compensation and Damages in a Big Rig Crash

Receiving compensation for things that have already happened is a large part of the financial damages you may be entitled to. This can include medical expenses you’ve already incurred, property damage resulting from the car crash, and lost wages. Economic damages will often also provide future earnings that you will miss out on because of your injury. You may also be entitled to recover for pain and suffering caused by negligent drivers.  At Babaians law firm our clients are like our family, and we always make sure we prioritize the care and well-being of our family. You can trust us to aggressively pursue the maximum compensation you deserve so you can get back on your feet following a truck, semi-truck or a big rig accident.  Best of all, you won’t owe us anything unless we win your case. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about our expertise in Los Angeles, California truck accidents.