One of the most frightening encounters that a driver on the road can encounter is an accident involving a truck. Large tractor trailers and even mid-sized delivery trucks tend to carry far more weight than the average vehicle, and thus pose a much greater risk for injury or death if you are involved in a collision with one. However, many people who are injured by accidents involving trucks are left uncertain if their injuries or situation would be appropriate for hiring a personal injury attorney.
In California, personal injury lawyers regularly handle cases involving accidents with trucks such as pedestrian collisions, collisions with bicycles, truck rollovers, multi-vehicle collisions involving trucks, jackknife accidents, wide turn accidents, injuries caused by improperly secured cargo, and many more. In this article, we explore the various types of truck accidents, the typical injuries they cause, and the role of personal injury lawyers in securing fair compensation for affected parties.
Types of Truck Accidents
- Definition: Jackknife accidents occur when a truck’s trailer swings out and forms an acute angle with the cab, resembling a folding knife.
- Potential Causes: Sudden braking, equipment failure, or improper maneuvering.
- Legal complexities: Determining the liability as it could lie with the driver, trucking company, or manufacturer.
- Definition: Truck rollover accidents happen when a truck tips over onto its side or roof.
- Potential Causes: High speed, abrupt turns, load shifts, or tire blowouts.
- Liability aspects: Investigation of the driver’s actions and the condition of the truck and cargo.
- Definition: Occurs when a truck crashes into the vehicle in front of it.
- Potential Causes: Tailgating, distracted driving, or brake failure.
- Challenges in claims: Issues of driver negligence or vehicle maintenance may arise.
Wide Turn Accidents
- Definition: These happen when trucks make wide right turns and collide with other vehicles.
- Potential Causes: Misjudgment of space, failure to signal, or lack of visibility.
- Claim considerations: May involve city planning and road design factors.
Collisions with Bicycles and Pedestrians
- Definition: Accidents involving trucks and vulnerable road users.
- Potential Causes: Driver inattention, blind spots, or failure to yield.
- Special legal considerations: The grave nature of injuries can complicate compensation claims.
Injuries Resulting from Truck Accidents
Common Injuries From Truck Accidents
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Broken or fractured bones
- Internal organ damage
- Lacerations and burns
- Bruising or bleeding
- Chronic pain
- Disability and disfigurement
- Psychological trauma
- Loss of Employment
Who Could Be Held Liable In A Truck Accident?
In California, liability for a truck accident can be complex and involve multiple parties. Here’s a breakdown of who may be held liable:
- The Truck Driver
- Truck drivers can be liable if their negligence or recklessness caused the accident. This could include speeding, driving under the influence, fatigue, or violating traffic laws.
- The Trucking Company
- The company that employs the truck driver may be liable under the legal doctrine of “respondeat superior,” which holds employers responsible for the actions of their employees performed within the scope of their employment. Moreover, if the company failed to maintain vehicles, pushed drivers to ignore regulations, or hired an unqualified driver, it could be directly liable.
- Cargo Loaders and Shippers
- If improper loading or overloading of the truck’s cargo contributed to the accident, the parties responsible for loading the truck could be held liable. This includes failure to secure the load properly or exceeding weight limits.
- Truck Owners and Leasing Agencies
- If the owner of the truck is separate from the trucking company, they could be held liable for inadequate maintenance or inspections that should have identified and corrected potential issues before the vehicle was on the road.
- Parts Manufacturers and Mechanics
- Defective parts or improper repairs can lead to an accident, in which case the manufacturer of the part or the mechanic who performed the maintenance may be liable under product liability or negligence theories.
- Other Drivers
- Sometimes, other drivers on the road contribute to or cause an accident involving a truck. In such cases, these drivers could also share in the liability.
- Government Entities
- If road conditions or traffic control devices played a role in the accident, a government entity responsible for road maintenance and safety could be at fault. However, claims against government entities are subject to strict procedural rules.
Determining liability involves proving negligence. This requires showing that the party had a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused harm as a result. In truck accident cases, establishing liability often requires extensive investigation, including reviewing logbooks, maintenance records, employee records, and the accident scene itself.
California follows a comparative fault rule, which means that if the injured party is partially at fault, their compensation may be reduced by their percentage of fault. Truck accident lawyers in California are adept at navigating these complex liability issues to ensure that all negligent parties are held accountable and victims receive the compensation they deserve.
How Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
- Knowledge of federal and state trucking regulations
- Experience with the intricacies of truck accident claims
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
- Loss of enjoyment in life
Investigation and Litigation
- Gathering evidence
- Negotiating with insurance companies
- Representing clients in court
Advocacy and Support
- Ensuring clients’ rights are protected
- Providing emotional and legal support throughout the process
Navigating the aftermath of a truck accident in California requires skilled legal representation. If you are uncertain if a personal injury lawyer can help you, it is best to call a firm like J&Y Law Firm in Los Angeles for a free consultation so you can find out if your case would result in a successful outcome. Personal injury lawyers with expertise in truck accidents can offer invaluable assistance in securing compensation for your injuries.