Truck accidents are terrible experiences. Learn about the different causes of truck accidents in California, who you can sue, and the types of damages.
Trucking accidents are a normal phenomenon on American roads. With the frequency of truck crashes, one would think they can’t be prevented. However, truck drivers and other parties can reduce the number of truck accidents. Since the responsible parties in a truck crash often breach their duty of care to other road users, accident injury victims can sue them under personal injury law. However, to get any financial compensation, it’ll be wise to hire the best truck accident attorneys from McDonald Worley Injury Law Firm.
Why Are Trucking Accidents a Serious Issue?
Trucking accidents are always significant. If you tell someone that you survived one, they’re more likely to freak out than if it was a motorcycle or car accident. If you’ve ever been in a catastrophic truck accident, you’d have noticed that truck accidents often record more severe injuries than crashes involving commercial vehicles and passenger cars. The property loss from truck collisions is also more severe. So, why is this so?
Most Types of Trucks Are Larger Than Other Passenger and Commercial Vehicles
Trucks are larger than other cars. With the extra size comes more weight. A typical 18-wheeler legally weighs about 80,000LBS. However, passenger cars weigh only about 5,000LBS. Furthermore, the trucks are often as long as 70-80FT, far longer than normal cars. Therefore, in truck accidents, the impact of a truck on the passenger vehicle is more.
The implication is that occupants of the vehicle may sustain catastrophic injuries. The truck can also easily crush the smaller car. A minor fender-bender in small cars wouldn’t be so minor if it involved a truck.
Commercial Trucks Are Harder To Control
Truck drivers find it harder to control their trucks than passenger vehicle drivers. A truck needs about 40% greater time to stop than other cars. The time is affected by the load weight, bobtailing, and road conditions. Overweight vehicles would be harder to control. Bobtailing refers to whether the truck is driving without the trailer attached. This is even more dangerous, especially in wet weather.
How Many People Die in Trucking Accidents?
To answer this concisely, more people than necessary die from truck accidents yearly. However, statistically, there were about 4,119 truck accident deaths in 2019. This represents a 31% increase from truck deaths a decade ago. Here’s the breakdown of the fatal accidents’ statistics by car type.
- 67% were occupants of non-truck vehicles – 2,757 people
- 15% were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists – 633 people
It’s noteworthy that only about 16% of the deaths were the occupants of the trucks. This is about 679 truck occupant deaths for only 2019. Furthermore, the data shows that 97% of vehicle occupants that died in two-vehicle collisions involving a car and a truck were occupants of the other cars.
From the data, it’s clear that truck drivers and other occupants are safer in fatal truck crashes than those in other vehicles. Interestingly, 64% of the occupants of heavy trucks that died in multiple vehicle collisions involved another truck. Some truck types saw more accidents than others.
74% of fatal crashes involving trucks were with tractor-trailers, while 28% of the deaths involved single-unit trucks. Finally, most of these trucking deaths happened on major roads. There were fewer deaths on interstates and freeways. There were even fewer truck accident fatalities on minor roads, at a paltry 15%. It’s also essential to note that the majority of these deaths (48%) occurred in the daytime from 6 am to 3 pm.
What Are the Main Causes of Truck Accidents?
Many factors are responsible for the high number of truck accidents, drivers, and attendant deaths. They include:
Vehicle owners should always maintain their vehicles. However, because of how dangerous trucks are, they deserve more care. So, if a trucking company or negligent truck driver neglects their trucks, they’ll be endangering themselves and other road users. Such neglect can play out like a faulty brake issue while driving. The solution is regular maintenance of trucks and their parts.
A distracted driver further weaponizes an already dangerous truck. A significant distraction for drivers is their phones, and there are many ways a mobile device can cause a crash. For instance, if a driver looks away from the road to their screen, they may not see an oncoming vehicle. Furthermore, if drivers occupy their hands with their devices, they may not have absolute control of their steering wheels. This can become a problem in case of an emergency.
Poor Road Conditions
Sometimes, the causes of truck accidents are beyond the truck drivers and passenger car drivers.. A catastrophic truck crash can be the fault of bad roads. No matter how careful a driver is, they may be unable to manage bad road conditions. When combined with bad weather, the possibility of an accident rises. Furthermore, if the driver isn’t well acquainted with the road, they won’t also know how to avoid the bad spots.
What To Do After a Truck Accident
One should expect injuries after a truck collision. Trucking accident wounds aren’t any different from common accident injuries. Although, these same injuries may be more severe because large trucks are involved. So, after a truck accident, you should look out for:
- Neck injuries
- Bone fractures
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Lacerations and burns
In the worst case, a party may die from a truck accident. It’s essential to know what to do after a truck crash. Making wrong moves could jeopardize any injury claims or even the victim’s health. Below are the eight best things to do after a truck collision.
- Stop at the crash scene. Depending on your role in the accident, if you leave, you may face a hit-and-run charge.
- Call emergency services and seek medical care.
- Take pictures and videos of the crash site.
- Speak to witnesses and get their story and contact info.
- Exchange contact details with the other parties to the truck accident
- Report to the police, if necessary.
- Speak to your insurance company.
- Hire a personal injury attorney.
Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident?
After getting treatment for truck accident injuries, the next step should be suing the fault party for damages. Numerous parties could be liable for damages following a truck accident.. In some crash types, one or more of the parties below can be liable. A layperson may not know the right party to proceed after. However, if you have an excellent truck accident lawyer, you wouldn’t have to bother about this.
- The Trucking Company: Trucking companies should ensure that their drivers take the mandatory hours of training before driving any trucks. They should also maintain their trucks regularly. Furthermore, the company ought to continuously train and monitor its drivers. Where they default in any of these duties, they may be liable for any resulting accident.
- Loaders: Loaders must also not load a truck beyond its capacity. They should also pack the loads properly to prevent spill-over accidents. Therefore, if an accident occurs because of poor cargo loading, the loaders/shippers may be liable.
- The Driver: The driver has a significant responsibility too. Drivers owe a duty of care to other road users to drive carefully. So, if a crash occurs because of the negligence of the driver, they’ll be responsible for damages.
- Manufacturer: The maker of the trucks will most likely be liable where their trucks or a part of them were defective. If they knew and did nothing about it, this compounds their liability.
How Much Money Can You Get From a Truck Accident Claim?
Common truck accidents often result in large truck accident settlements or judgments following a truck accident lawsuit. This can be typical with the trucking industry because of the advanced effects of a truck accident injury. A trucking company will usually have insurance, so you may have to deal with their insurance company. Furthermore, to get the maximum compensation, it’ll be best to engage truck accident attorneys.
So, how much can you get from an 18 wheeler or semi-truck accident?? There is no fixed amount you can get from truck accidents. Instead, two factors affect your compensatory damages, including:
- The severity of the truck accident victims’ injury
- How much the negligent party was at fault
The general rule is the more severe your injuries, the higher your settlement. If you suffer a major injury, your medical condition will be more severe, thus requiring higher medical bills. In a successful claim, you can recover all the costs of medical treatment.
Furthermore, fatal truck accidents that result in wrongful death can give you more in a claim for damages. The settlement or judgment will have to cover extra costs like the funeral and burial costs. The implication is that you’ll get more money. Finally, the extent of property damage can also affect the settlement amount.
The extent of the fault from the party responsible can also increase your money. This is especially so if you have sufficient evidence of negligence. The higher the fault, the more the liable party pays. Depending on the party’s responsibility too, the court may also impose punitive damages.
Get the Most Experienced Truck Accident Lawyers on Your Side
Have you survived a truck accident and you don’t know what to do? Are you bothered about dealing with insurance carriers alone? If yes, you need a truck accident lawyer to help you.. An accident victim in any traffic accident can sue the fault driver for economic and non-economic damages.
The legal process for getting compensation from truck accidents is the same as in any personal injury lawsuit. Therefore, you’ll need the best California personal injury attorneys. McDonald Worley law firm has a great track record of proving liability for accidents and recovering compensation from the fault party in many truck accident claims.