Experienced Truck Accident Lawyers
Truck accident cases can be complicated and challenging to handle. The reputed California truck accident attorneys of Bisnar | Chase have a long and successful track record of representing injured victims and their families obtain fair compensation for their losses.
We know how trucking companies' insurers work and have been able to help victims secure compensation out of many challenging semi and truck accident cases. More than anything else, we are all about the passionate pursuit of justice for our clients. If you or a loved one has been injured in a California truck wreck involving a semi, tractor trailer or big rig, please contact us at 1-800-561-4887 to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.
Truck accident lawyers John Bisnar and Brian Chase discuss the dangers of congested California highways filled with negligent or tired truck drivers and how to defend your rights in a truck accident case.
Truck & Semi Accidents
Even careful and vigilant driving may not be sufficient to prevent a catastrophic truck accident. Very often, it is the occupants of the smaller passenger vehicle who end up suffering major injuries in a semi truck accident or other large commerical truck. These types of collisions could also result in fatalities. Those who are injured in large truck wrecks take weeks, months or even several years to recover from their injuries. Some of them may never recover due to the nature and extent of their injuries. It is important that truck accident victims and families of deceased crash victims understand their legal rights and options.
California Truck Accident Statistics
The California Highway Patrol reports that there were 214 fatal and 5,065 injury accidents in California in the year 2010 that involved large trucks. That is fewer than the 236 fatal truck accidents but more than the 4,874 injury accidents that occurred in the year 2009. According to the CHP report, 158 fatal truck accidents involved a truck that was moving straight forward, 12 fatal crashes involved stopped trucks, 10 fatal collisions occurred as the truck was turning left and seven occurred as a truck was slowing down or stopping.
Causes of California Truck Crashes
There are many potential causes of California truck accidents. Some of the most common contributing factors include:
- Driver fatigue: Truck drivers are often required to work long hours. Truckers who fail to obey federal regulations regarding the number of hours they can work without rest are more likely to drive while drowsy. Under federal law, truck drivers are required to maintain logs detailing the number of hours they drove and the number of hours they rested.
- Excessive speed: Large tractor-trailers are hard to stop on flat roadways at reasonable speeds. Truck drivers who go too fast downhill or who exceed the speed limit run the risk of rear-ending vehicles in front of them or losing control on a turn.
- Poor vehicle maintenance: Truck owners must properly maintain their vehicles and drivers must inspect the truck before each long trip. Tire and brake failure are some of the most common causes of devastating truck accidents that can have an impact on other vehicles as well.
- Improper loading: The way a trailer is loaded can have a significant impact on how the truck handles. If a trailer is loaded too much to the front, back or side, it may cause the vehicle to veer out of control. Jackknifing accidents are usually caused by an overloaded or improperly loaded big rig.
Determining Liability for a Truck Accident
One of the reasons why truck accident claims are more complicated than other claims is because of the many potential liable parties. The truck driver can be held accountable for his or her negligence. The trucking company is a potentially liable party in cases where negligent hiring or poor vehicle maintenance was involved. The truck's owner can also be held responsible for failing to properly maintain the vehicle. Even the truck's manufacturer can be held accountable if a defective truck part contributed to the crash.
Preserving the Evidence
It will be necessary to thoroughly inspect the crash site, review the police report, the damaged vehicles and the driver's log. Unfortunately, unless the trucking company is contacted soon after the crash to preserve logs and records, much of it may be lost, destroyed or misplaced. For example, driver's logs, vehicle maintenance records and cell phone records can be valuable evidence when it comes to determining fault and liability for semi truck and other truck accident cases.
That is why it is crucial for injured victims and their families to move quickly when it comes to protecting their rights. Trucking companies usually have insurance companies and defense attorneys at the scene working tirelessly to collect evidence and to look out for their best interests. Injured victims and their families also need a committed advocate on their side who will fight for their rights and protect their best interests.
The Value of Your Claim
It is important to understand the potential value of your claim because it is common for insurance companies to offer inadequate settlements. By accepting your first offer you are forfeiting your right to pursue additional compensation. In other words, if your settlement covers your immediate medical bills but doesn't compensate you for future treatment procedures, those financial burdens will fall onto your shoulders. You may have to pay for your own future expenses such as the cost of rehabilitation services or lost future wages.
There are a number of ways to calculate the amount of damages you have suffered. A medical professional can give you an estimate of your medical bills, hospitalization fees and future treatment costs. You may be able to calculate on your own how much you have lost in terms of wages. Remember to consider lost future income, loss of earning potential and loss of livelihood, if your injuries prevent you from returning to work. You may need help, however, in determining the financial value of non-economic damages such as emotional losses such as pain and suffering. One way to do that is to compare your case to recent claims similar to yours.
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