Driving in California can be daunting and made more dangerous by commercial trucks and 18-wheelers. Given that a typical tractor-trailer can weigh more than 80,000 pounds, between the weight of the vehicle and its cargo, a truck accident can be catastrophic to the occupants of a smaller vehicle. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident in Northern or Southern California, working with the right personal injury attorney is essential.
The truck accident attorneys at J&Y Law provide injury victims and their loved ones with powerful legal representation. Whether inside or outside of the courtroom, we have a proven history of helping truck accident victims obtain just compensation. When you consult us, we will fight tirelessly to protect your rights and hold the negligent truck driver and trucking company accountable. Knowing that being injured in a truck accident is an overwhelming experience, we will provide you with knowledge, compassion, and the personal attention you deserve.
Common Types of Truck Accidents in California
If you have driven the roads and highways of California, you may have witnessed any of the following types of truck accidents:
- Rollover Accidents — Truck rollovers are often caused by speeding, and are more likely to occur on steep inclines or declines. Rollover truck accidents can also be the result of a trucker hitting a curb, taking a curve too fast, or swerving around objects, debris or other vehicles on the road. Finally, improperly loaded trucks are also susceptible to rollover accidents.
- Jackknife Accidents — A “jackknife” occurs when the drive axle brakes on a tractor-trailer lock, causing the trailer to skid and stop at a 90-degree angle with the tractor. A truck driver will likely not be able to control a jackknifing truck as it rolls over.
- Brake Failure Accidents — Although truck safety laws requires brakes to be inspected regularly, breaks that are improperly installed or poorly maintained are at risk of failing. Additionally, aging brakes or sudden braking can cause overheating which increases the likelihood of brake failure, especially in heavier trucks.
- Runaway Truck Accidents — A properly-trained truck driver knows how to apply the brakes in a manner that gradually reduces the truck’s speed with each application to preserve the brakes. On the other hand, truckers who use improper braking techniques may cause the brakes to fail, which can lead to a runaway truck accident.
- Blind Spots — Given the size and length of a typical commercial truck or big rig, these vehicles typically have large blind spots along the sides and rear of the truck, often referred to as “No Zone” areas. A motorist who doesn’t avoid a No Zone area can quickly become involved in a truck accident if the truck driver cannot see the other vehicle.
- Rear-End — As the name implies, this type of truck accident occurs when a truck slams into the rear-end of another vehicle. Due to the weight of the truck and its cargo load, rear-end truck accidents often cause catastrophic injuries to the occupants of smaller vehicles.
- Under-Ride — If truck driver suddenly slams on the brakes, vehicles traveling behind the truck can become pinned beneath the rear of the truck trailer, often resulting in severe injuries or even fatalities to those in the car.
- Wide Turn Accidents — When a trucker underestimates the amount of space needed to complete a turn or fails to notice a vehicle in the trailer’s path, a wide-turn accident, also known as a swinging turn or squeeze-play accident, can occur .
Truck Safety Laws
State and federal truck safety laws are designed to keep the public safe and prevent truck accidents.
First, trucking companies have a duty to ensure vehicles in their fleet are maintained: braking systems, lights, steering, engine and other mechanical parts must be functioning properly. Trucking companies are also required to conduct maintenance and safety inspections regularly, and keep records verifying that necessary inspections and maintenance has been performed. A trucking company that fails to adhere to these requirements can be held liable for accidents that lead to personal injuries and/or wrongful death.
Additionally, truck drivers are governed by certain rules, including a requirement to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and to comply with hourly driving limits and regular break requirements. Truckers typically face strict delivery deadlines and cover long distances, however, which makes them are prone to fatigue. This can have an impact on a truck driver’s ability to respond to traffic and road conditions. Moreover, some truckers may take stimulants, such as methamphetamines, to stay alert which can affect their vision and reflexes. Driver fatigue and driving under the influence are among the leading causes of truck accidents. In the end, trucking companies and truck drivers that fail to abide by safety regulations and cause accidents must be held accountable.
Contact Our Los Angeles Truck Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in any of these types of truck accidents, you will be going up against the trucking company, its insurer and that insurer’s team of investigators, claims adjusters and attorneys. With J&Y Law on your side, you can level the playing field and fight back. Our truck accident attorneys will make sure that you are compensated fairly. If the trucker or trucking company fails to make a reasonable settlement offer, we will take them to court. Whether through negotiation or litigation, we will fight tirelessly to protect your rights. Please contact our office today for a free consultation.