Personal Injury Law Blog

Average Tractor-Trailer Crash Claims in California

The aftermath of an accident involving a car and a semi-truck can be catastrophic. Unfortunately, people rarely escape such a traumatic experience free of injuries and property damage. People encounter semi-trucks—also known as big rigs, 18-wheelers, and tractor-trailers—daily on roadways throughout California and may be unaware of the dangers they present. 

According to data from the California Highway Patrol, in 2017 there were 6,897 fatal and injury crashes involving trucks. While most drivers do everything they can to maintain their safety when driving, they can’t control the behavior of others. Accidents involving tractor-trailers carry a high risk of severe and fatal injury. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you have a right to pursue compensation. Read on to learn more about tractor-trailer crash claims in California and how a qualified personal injury attorney can help you! 

Major Causes of Tractor-Trailer Crashes

While the circumstances surrounding each tractor-trailer crash in California are unique and present their own set of facts, common causes of semi-truck accidents include the following:

  • Violating traffic laws,
  • Driver fatigue,
  • Aggressive driving,
  • Violating Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration laws,
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, 
  • Violating service hours for truck drivers,
  • Improper loading of cargo,
  • Negligent supervision of drivers, and
  • Defective truck parts.

Determining the cause of your accident is a vital part of your trucking accident lawsuit in California. When the truck driver is negligent, this fact supports tractor-trailer crash claims for recovery. The attorneys at Glotzer & Lieb use their resources to investigate your accident and uncover evidence of negligence on the part of the truck driver, the trucking company, or the truck manufacturer.  

Why Are Tractor-Trailers so Dangerous? 

Those involved in a trucking accident lawsuit in California receive a rude awakening as to the dangers tractor-trailers present. Several features of semi-trucks make them extremely dangerous to drivers, including:

  • Size: Tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds—20 to 30 times more than the average car. They are also much larger than the average car. 
  • Blind spots: Tractor-trailers have extremely long blind spots due to their size. Most truck drivers are unable to see drivers in their side mirrors or drivers behind them.  
  • Braking limitations: Because of their size and weight, semi-truck drivers require more distance to come to a complete stop. 
  • Acceleration: The weight of a truck also limits its ability to accelerate quickly. Therefore, some accidents occur when a truck attempts to merge onto a highway and is unable to enter at the speed of other vehicles. 
  • Cargo: If a truck’s cargo is improperly loaded, the cargo may shift, making the truck more difficult to control. Additionally, improperly loaded cargo may spill out onto roadways creating obstacles for other drivers and causing accidents.  
  • Center of gravity: A big rig’s center of gravity is much higher than other cars. For this reason, tractor-trailers may tip over and cause an accident. 

If a truck driver failed to implement proper safety measures, a personal injury attorney can use this information to build a strong trucking accident lawsuit in California on your behalf. 

What Factors Affect an Average Semi-Truck Accident Settlement? 

Two major factors affect the average payout for a semi-truck accident. These factors vary widely from case to case and affect tractor-trailer crash claims in different ways. 

Severity of Injuries 

Generally speaking, the more severe your injuries, the higher the average semi-truck accident settlement. Therefore, injury severity plays a vital role in the overall value of tractor-trailer crash claims in California. It’s important to seek medical attention immediately following a semi-truck accident for a complete evaluation. Additionally, it’s vital to complete all recommended medical care to ensure you present an accurate picture of the severity of your injuries.

Determination of Fault

California law follows a comparative negligence doctrine for personal injury lawsuits. For example, comparative negligence permits someone to pursue tractor-trailer crash claims in California even if they are 99% responsible for the accident. However, the value of your recoverable damages is reduced by your percentage of fault. 

What Damages Can I Recover from My Trucking Accident Lawsuit in California? 

The aftermath of a catastrophic trucking accident can leave you injured with an unclear path ahead. Your damages resulting from a truck accident are recoverable and are referred to as compensatory damages. These damages seek to make you “whole” after an accident caused by negligence. Compensatory damages are broken down into economic and non-economic damages. 

Economic Damages

Economic damages represent financial losses that are calculable. Economic damages typically include the following:

  • Past and future medical expenses, 
  • Past and future lost wages, and
  • Property damage.

However, economic damages may also include other expenses due to permanent injuries such as alterations to a home due to your injuries. Proof of economic damages is supported by receipts, bills, pay stubs, and other financial evidence.  

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages represent subjective and intangible losses related to your accident. These include the following:

  • Emotional distress, 
  • Loss of enjoyment of life, 
  • Loss of consortium, and
  • Disfigurement.

Personal injury attorneys know that tractor-trailer crash claims in California never include average non-economic damages. These vary greatly from person to person. Non-economic damages are not supported with receipts or medical bills but with testimony related to the impact a trucking accident had on an individual.  

Should I Handle My Trucking Accident Lawsuit in California Alone?

Pursuing compensation without the assistance of a qualified personal injury attorney isn’t easy. Most trucking companies possess vast resources, including a full legal team, to defend their position. Going through a complex personal injury lawsuit without the assistance of an attorney may be a mistake that only hurts you as you attempt to move forward. A truck accident attorney knows how to investigate your claim, discover all responsible parties, negotiate with opposing counsel, prepare for trial, and present a case that supports your claim for compensation. 

Contact Us 

We understand you may be feeling financially and emotionally overwhelmed following a tractor-trailer crash in California. Tractor-trailer crash claims in California represent a highly complex area of law, and the attorneys at Glotzer & Lieb, LLP, are here to help. For over fifty years, we have focused on the well-being of our clients while aggressively pursuing just compensation for their injuries. It’s important to act quickly following a semi-truck accident. Remember, our firm provides assistance to all clients—regardless of your financial situation. Contact us today for a free case evaluation to find out how we can help you!  

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