Large trucks and 18-wheelers are a large part of commercial vehicles that operate in everyday traffic. The outcome of an accident involving a fully loaded commercial truck can be much more severe than a collision between two passenger cars. With 80,000 pounds or more in tow, large commercial trucks can be up to 25 times heavier than a passenger vehicle. The drastic imbalance of vehicle weight between passenger vehicles and 18-wheelers can cause catastrophic and even fatal injuries. Any time you or a loved one is involved in a large truck accident, due to the nature of these accidents, the experienced Manhattan Beach truck accident lawyers at Dinsmore & Sandelmann, LLP should be consulted right away.
What Causes Large Truck Accidents?
A large number of truck accidents are caused by the negligence of truck drivers and the companies that employ them. An additional hazard can be the load of the truck. For example, if the truck load is toxic or inflammable, it can result in secondary injuries unrelated to the collision.
As part of their professional responsibility, truck drivers have to be particularly careful on public roads. Truck drivers are required to have basic skills and knowledge related to the operation of 18-wheelers and their employers are required to verify that the drivers have the proper skills, knowledge and training. If a commercial truck is involved, the owner of the company may also be held liable.
18-wheeler trucks usually have large blind spots, which are referred to as “NO-zones.” This a particular aspect of commercial trucks that other motorists often are not aware of. This area encompasses the left rear quarter, the right rear quarter, and directly behind the truck.
Key factors that can cause a truck accident include:
- Fatigue/Violation of Safety Guidelines
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances
- Inadequate training
- Distractions such as television, CB radios or cell-phones
- Wheel blowout
- Equipment failure
- Under-ride accidents
- Blind spots
- Truck driver’s failure to maintain gap control
- Truck driver improperly turning in front of other cars
Among the most common causes of truck accidents is failure to properly maintain the vehicle. If sufficient maintenance is not performed, this is often negligence on the part of the trucking company.
Filing a Claim Involving a Large Truck
As in most other vehicle accident cases, the victim has to prove the following aspects when filing a claim:
- The driver did not exercise reasonable care while operating the vehicle.
- The victim is injured.
- The negligence of the driver was the cause of the victim’s injuries.
If you can prove that the truck driver was at fault, you may be entitled to compensation for financial, physical as well as emotional losses and damages. However, since the truck driver was acting on behalf of their boss and the truck is owned by the company for which they works, the distribution of responsibility becomes much more complex than it may initially seem.
Before filing the claim, the Manhattan Beach truck accident lawyers at Dinsmore & Sandelmann, LLP will identify the liable parties. The liable parties may include the driver, the company that employs them, the owner of the truck or trailer, the manufacturer of the vehicle, and even the manufacturer or supplier of the hazardous cargo the truck was carrying.
Avoiding Truck Accidents
While sharing the road with big trucks comes with a certain amount of risk, drivers can take steps to minimize the chances of getting into an accident with an 18-wheeler.
We recommend the following when driving near large commercial trucks:
- Be cautious when changing lanes and don’t cut too closely in front of a large truck.
- Give plenty of room when following or passing an 18-wheeler.
- Avoid driving in the truck driver’s blind spots.
- Watch for turn signals and give plenty of space to a turning 18-wheeler.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents
There are many ways in which accidents involving large commercial trucks such as 18 wheelers are different from accidents involving just passenger vehicles. Some of these differences are: the size and weight of the vehicles involved; the severity of injuries and insurance limits involved; the rules and regulations involved.
Read more about the difference between truck accidents and car accidents
California is a comparative negligence state. That means that in a truck accident claim, the amount of damages you can recover for your injuries can be reduced by the percentage to which you are responsible for the accident.
For example, if you were hit by an 18 wheeler but it was determined that you were speeding at the time, you may be found to have some percentage of fault.
Read more about comparative negligence
We recommend starting as soon as possible. The statute of limitations for filing truck accident claims in California is generally two years from the date the injuries occurred. In addition to this time limit, it’s important to get started before the evidence disappears, witnesses move away and memories fade.
Read more about when to file a personal injury claim
Get Help From Manhattan Beach Truck Accident Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one have become a victim of an accident with a commercial truck, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages, losses, as well as medical costs for personal injuries. A truck accident lawyer at Dinsmore & Sandelmann, LLP can help you sort through the different scenarios and their corresponding laws to ensure you receive the maximum compensation allowed by law.