Trucking Accident Lawyers
Semi Trucks, large trucks, big rigs, and shipping vehicles are all a part of daily life. We see them on our streets and highways moving various goods throughout the city, around the state, and even across the country. While many truckers are attentive, accidents do happen, and sometimes these accidents are extremely serious. If you or someone that you love has been injured in an accident with one of these large vehicles, its important that you speak with the Trucking Accident Lawyers at San Diego Injury Law Center.
There are many reasons why a large truck accident may occur. One reason has to do with the size of these trucks and shipping vehicles. Large trucks have many blind spots and are also difficult to maneuver. This means that truck drivers need to be extra careful when turning and merging to avoid injuring other motorists. Particularly dangerous are jackknife truck accidents, in which a truck loses control and splays sideways across multiple lanes. Another possible cause of large truck accidents involves poorly secured loads which may fall into the roadway, creating dangerous obstacles for fellow motorists. Whatever the case may be, Trucking Accident Lawyers at San Diego Injury Law Center are here for you.
Another reason that trucking accidents occur involves driver fatigue and the practices of trucking companies. Some trucking companies push their drivers too hard, forcing them to drive long hours without a break. By tiring out their drivers, trucking companies are creating dangerous roadways for other motorists. When fatigued, decision making is impaired and reaction time is slowed. On top of these factors, fatigued drivers run the risk of falling asleep at the wheel. Drivers and trucking companies need to be held responsible for this sort of dangerous negligence.
Our Skilled Trucking Accident Attorneys
By working with a skilled trucking accident attorney from San Diego Injury Law Center, you will be getting the legal help you need to deal with complex litigation. The services of a trucking accident lawyer will be especially helpful if you have to deal with the attorneys of a trucking company or shipping company. These legal representatives tend to be rather tenacious, so it is important that you have someone on your side that will fight diligently for your legal rights. We have over 20 years of experience fighting insurance companies to make sure our clients receive a fair settlement. Your insurance company should offer a reasonable settlement that includes medical expenses and lost wages and our skilled accident attorneys are prepared to fight in court for you. Your top priority after a collision should be taking care of yourself and your family. Leave the rest to us.
Call San Diego Injury Law Center today to discuss your case. The initial consultation is free and we get nothing unless we win your case. We are available to meet you in our Mission Valley office or we can make arrangements to come to you. We not only practice personal injury; our attorneys have over a decade of trial experience. Since most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee, you should strongly consider hiring a law firm with successful trial experience who the insurance companies know are confident in filing a lawsuit and trying the case if required.
Truck Accident Statistics
Over the past two decades, the number of truck accidents has increased by 20%. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2002, 4,897 individuals died and 130,000 people were injured in crashes that involved a large truck. And even though large trucks are only responsible for 3% of injury-causing motor vehicle accidents, trucking accidents typically cause much greater harm than ordinary traffic accidents due to the large size and heavy weight of most trucks.
Laws Governing Truck Accidents
Federal laws and regulations govern the trucking industry. These laws establish certain standards that trucking companies, owners, and drivers must meet, and often determine who is responsible for a trucking accident. The bulk of federal regulations dealing with the trucking industry can be found in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
Agencies that regulate truck driving include the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Every state also has a department of transportation with its own set of trucking regulations.
Who is Responsible?
When it comes to truck accidents, many may be responsible for a victim’s injuries, including:
- The truck’s driver
- The owner of the truck or trailer
- The person or company that leased the truck or trailer from the owner
- The manufacturer of the vehicle, tires, or other parts that may have contributed to the cause or severity of the accident, and
- The shipper or loader of the truck’s cargo (in cases involving improper loading).
The trucking, hauling, and leasing companies often argue among themselves over whose insurance will compensate the victim. For example, the truck company might claim that the accident was caused by defective brakes. In turn, the brake company might then point the finger at the leasing company, claiming that it failed to maintain the brakes in good working order.
Trucking Companies Avoiding Liability
In the past, trucking companies often tried to avoid liability for trucking accidents by creating distance between themselves and the driver, the vehicle, and the equipment. Here’s how they did this:
The trucking company obtains the necessary permits to operate the truck. However, the company often does not own the tractor, trailer, or equipment used to haul the goods. Instead it leases (rents) the equipment, tractors, and trailers from the “owner/operator.” The trucking company also does not directly employee the drivers. Instead, it hires them as independent contractors from the owner/operator.
The trucking company gives the owner/operator a card which includes the name of the trucking company and its permit numbers. The card is then affixed to the door of the tractor which makes it seem like the truck is owned by the named trucking company and the driver is an employee of the named trucking company.
If the truck is in an accident, and the trucking company is sued, it would argue that:
- The driver was not the trucking company’s employee, so the trucking company is not liable for driver error, or
- The trucking company does not own the equipment, so it is not responsible for the operation, maintenance, repair, and inspections of the equipment.
Luckily, federal laws and regulations have put an end to these arguments. Under current federal law, any company owning a trucking permit is responsible for all accidents involving a truck that has its placard or name displayed on the vehicle. It doesn’t matter what the lease says with the owner/operator or whether the driver is an employee or independent contractor.
California’s Rules and Regulations
Below we address what some of these requirements are:
Truck drivers must carry certain documents with them at all times.
When operating a commercial truck, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Office of Truck Services says that a driver must carry the following documents with them to show enforcement personnel when requested:
• Driver’s license documents and any related certificates.
• Registration documents such as cab cards, permits, etc.
• Proof of insurance.
• Special permits for oversize and overweight loads, if it applies to you.
• Hazardous materials shipping papers, if required.
• Fuel tax permits.
• Hours of service records.
• Bills/Invoices etc. showing content and origin of agricultural products, if required.
• Proof of sales tax payment if it applies to you.
• What are some other requirements commercial truck drivers in CA must follow?
Some other requirements truck drivers must meet include:
• Following state and federal hours-of-service rules.
• Following the cargo limits that are set for the type of vehicle that is being operated.
• Truckers who suffer from certain types of medical conditions must receive clearance before they are allowed to operate a truck and may even be required to carry certain documents.
• To learn more about what other requirements a large truck driver must meet, consider contacting either of the above-mentioned agencies for this information.
It is important that truck drivers, no matter what size vehicle they are driving, comply with all the rules the state of California has set to ensure they are qualified and capable of operating a vehicle that is responsible for transporting heavy loads for short or even long periods of time. One of the main reasons why these rules exist is to ensure those driving these vehicles have undergone the necessary training and are capable of maneuvering the vehicle in a safe manner.
Important Information About Truck Accidents
Did you know that one out of every eight automotive accident fatalities involve large trucks such as big rigs, tractor trailers and other commercial vehicles? Did you also know that four percent of all injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes are caused by large trucks? When a commercial truck is involved in an accident, 86 percent of fatalities and 77 percent of those injured are the drivers of the smaller vehicles involved in the crash.
Since 1992, accidents have increased by 10 percent. Although the number of accidents involving commercial trucks continues to rise, not much is being done to improve driving safety regulations. Given the large size of the trucks, the lengthy hours that drivers are on the road and the failure of some drivers to abide by speed limits in order to meet deadlines, it is no wonder that statistics show that every 16 minutes, a crash or collision occurs.
In the aftermath of an accident, victims can be left confused, scared and traumatized. If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident involving a semi, 18-wheeler or any other commercial vehicle, you have rights and help is immediately available to you. You need an acclaimed and aggressive truck accident lawyers to represent your interests following the accident and we are here to help you find one.
With our help, you will be on your way to working with a lawyer in no time. Give one of our legal professionals a call today and schedule an initial consultation. Contact the offices of a leading accident lawyers right away to discuss your options and file a claim. San Diego Injury Law Center (619) 338-8230.