As April came to a close in sunny Southern California, accidents caused by big-rig trucks seemed to dominate the news. On April 25, Interstate 5 in Los Angeles came to a grinding halt after an 18-wheeler swerved across the freeway’s center median and crashed into a tanker truck traveling in the opposition direction. The crash caused a chain reaction involving at least three passenger vehicles, a van, and another truck. The driver of the truck that initially caused the accident died and at least 10 others were injured.
On April 30, an 18-wheeler reportedly crashed into an occupied Fullerton, CA apartment complex after the driver lost control of the vehicle. While this accident was not fatal, at least 5 apartment complex residents and the driver of the truck were hospitalized for serious injuries.
Both of these California truck accidents are still under investigation, but at this time there is no explanation as to what caused the drivers of the trucks to deviate from their lanes. The victims of these truck accidents may be able to recover compensation for their injuries with the assistance of an experienced Los Angeles truck accident attorney.
Tens of thousands of trucks travel Southern California’s freeways each day. These commercial trucks – including big rigs, 18-wheelers, and gas or oil tankers – collectively drive an estimated 8 million miles in and around Los Angeles. As the economy continues to improve, Southern California roads continue to see an increase in the number of trucks on the road. The Los Angeles/Long Beach port is one of the busiest in the world, and the business at warehouses further inland is booming. As the ports and warehouses thrive, the need for trucks to travel between the two increases.
With the number of trucks increasing, however, so do the number of truck-related accidents. California highway patrol statistics show that the number of truck-related accidents in California has increased to 5.6% of all vehicle accident since 2009, when truck-related accidents were at an all-time low in the state at 4.8%.
While the exact causes in the above-mentioned truck accidents have yet to be determined, there are certain factors that generally play a part in California truck accidents. California truck accidents are often the result of:
High Speeds on Rural Backroads. The majority of truck accident fatalities actually happen off of California’s freeways. Truck drivers try to bypass busy highways and opt for backroads, often exceeding the speed limit. Collisions with passenger vehicles on these roads are more likely to be deadly.
Congested Highways. Trucks can weigh upwards of 40 tons and require more stopping room than other passenger vehicles on the road. For example, a truck traveling 55 mph requires nearly 200 yards to come to a complete stop. A truck barreling along a freeway is unlikely to be able to stop in time if the road becomes congested without notice.
Lane Changes. Between 2002 and 2014 lane changes were cited as the top reason for truck accidents in Southern California. Trucks who change lanes improperly or without notice can cause a chain reaction with other vehicles. If a passenger car cannot see above or around a truck, blindly changing lanes – or exiting a freeway – increases the chances of a crash with another vehicle.
Fatigue. Truck drivers may be tempted to push their bodies to the limit to get the rig to the destination on or before the deadline. However, driving while fatigued is an often-cited reason for truck accidents. To combat this problem, the federal government has instituted mandatory rest requirements for commercial truck drivers.
Other causes of truck accidents may include speeding, distracted driving, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
While car accidents can be horrific, they are generally less catastrophic than truck accidents. Trucks are huge machines and when things go wrong…things really go wrong. Trucks can jackknife or rollover, and fires fueled by gasoline and/or diesel are not uncommon. The results of truck accidents can be devastating for those involved.
California truck accidents are twice as likely to be fatal than California car accidents. Not only are truck accidents more dangerous than car accidents, but they are also more costly, as well. The average cost of a fatal car accident in California is an estimated $1.4 million, while the average cost of a truck accident is an estimated $7 million.
Victims of California truck accidents may be able to recover damages through a truck accident lawsuit to compensate for medical costs, rehabilitation, in-home nursing care, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, or disfigurement. Families of victims may also be able to recover compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you are injured in a truck accident you contact an experienced Lost Angeles personal injury attorney as soon as possible to learn about the legal options that may be available to you. Truck accidents can be quite different from other vehicular accidents. The main differences are the costs incurred by a victim and the parties that may be held liable. Liability in most California car accidents is limited to the parties directly involved in the crash (and/or their insurance companies). Trucks, however, are generally commercial vehicles. This means that liability may be expanded to include owners and employers.
Truck drivers are generally required to have special training, education, and certification prior to hitting the open road. These requirements are above-and-beyond what is required of ordinary drivers. These requirements are imposed to ensure California roads are as safe as possible as these giant machines barrel down them. Truck company owners and trucking company employers of drivers who are improperly trained, negligently hired, or violating federal rest and logging requirements may be liable for damages caused by accidents in which those drivers are involved.
The attorneys at Glotzer & Leib, LLP understand that truck accidents can be incredibly overwhelming for victims and their families. To help ease the financial burdens most victims face in the wake of a catastrophic truck accident, we offer our serves on a contingency fee basis. While you focus on recovering, we focus on the legal claim against the at-fault party(ies). We only get paid when we recover compensation for you. This allows you to get quality legal representation without the fear of extra financial pressures. Contact us today to learn about how we may be able to help you in your time of need.
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