Due to their sheer size and weight, the impact of a semi-truck collision can be devastating, leaving you with severe injuries as well as emotional and financial hardship. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration places the average weight of truck between 3,000 and 5,000 pounds, much heavier than an average passenger vehicle. To make matters worse, many accident victims who try to file a claim or take legal action against the offending trucker and trucking company, face an uphill battle, requiring help from a legal professional.
A Los Angeles truck accident lawyer from Ben Crump Law, PLLC, can guide you through the claims process and help you determine fair compensation for your injuries. Call 800-630-9229 to discuss your legal concerns.
Truck Accidents Claims Can Get Complicated
While the process of filing most car accident claims may seem straight-forward, truck accident claims can be a lot more complicated. For one, truck accidents usually affect multiple people in several vehicles, which can initiate a group accident—the more people involved, the trickier it is to determine how much compensation each person qualifies for.
Moreover, if a defective part on the truck caused the accident, the fine print in the trucker’s insurance policy might pass the responsibility on to the parts manufacturer or other entity. Hiring a Los Angeles truck accident lawyer can help in compiling your evidence and processing your case.
For a free legal consultation with a truck accidents lawyer serving Los Angeles, call 800-630-9229
How Truck Accidents Happen
Truckers are often distracted by texting or eating behind the wheel, and they are notorious for traveling long distances without getting enough sleep. According to Reuters, some truckers are responsible drivers, while some do drink alcohol or use psychoactive drugs to stay awake while driving—all of which could impair their judgment on the road, resulting in accidents.
Trucks also have specific load restrictions, depending on their size. If the load is too big or too heavy, it could tip the truck over during transport.
Another cause of accidents comes when the trucking company or driver fails to spot of fix broken or malfunctioning parts before hitting the road. Faulty air brakes and tires are frequent issues. When the truck does not brake in time, it can crush smaller vehicles and cause fatalities.
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Truckers Have Regulations To Follow
Federal and state laws hold trucking companies and drivers to higher standards because they can pose deadlier risks on the road. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has implemented trucking regulations to help ensure safer roads for everyone. These include:
California Vehicle Code §§35550 only allows trucks to have a maximum gross weight of 20,000 pounds. Trucking companies that need to transport more than the specified limit have to secure a special permit from the California Department of Transportation.
Drug & Alcohol Testing
As mentioned previously, drinking and drug use can result in reckless driving. As such, drivers must not take drugs or drink alcohol before or while on their shift. Trucking companies are also responsible for conducting drug and alcohol tests on their drivers.
Trucking companies must perform inspections, maintenance, and repairs on their trucks to ensure that drivers can operate them safely. They should also record these and keep them for a year. The logs can serve as proof that the trucks are in good condition.
Time limits help avoid the risk of drivers getting too tired and falling asleep while driving. California drivers are generally allowed to drive for up to 11 hours after resting for ten. They must also take 10-minute breaks after four-hour drives, and a 30-minute meal rest after five-hour trips.
The FMCSA also passed a new law in California that no longer required trucking companies to offer paid rests to drivers. The new rule could make other drivers skip the break and continue driving instead, which could result in more accidents; however, they are still required to take the breaks, paid or not.
A Los Angeles truck accident lawyer can help you find out if the other party made any violations.
Establishing Who Is at Fault
When starting the truck accident lawsuit, you first need to determine who to sue. The accident is not always automatically the driver’s fault. On some occasions, it might be the trucking company themselves, or a completely different party.
For instance, if the driver caused the accident because they were deliberately speeding, then the fault lies with them. You may also sue the trucking company if they violated regulations such as overloading, unsecured cargo loads, or not maintaining their vehicles. Any violations will be considered acts of negligence by California law.
But if the accident was caused by, for example, a lack of road construction warning signs, then the fault goes to the construction company for their negligence.
If you need assistance determining who is liable, you can consider a Los Angeles truck accident lawyer with Ben Crump Law, PLLC by calling us at 800-630-9229.
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Potential Recovery for Losses
You may qualify for recovery for:
- Medical, therapy, and rehab costs
- Lost past and future income
- Vehicles or other property repairs
- Alternative transportation expenses (while your car is in repair)
Aside from the settlements or court-awarded offers, truck drivers must also pay penalties for their FMCSA violations.
The Time Limit for Filing Your Claim
California Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1 states that you must file your personal injury cases within two years. If your truck accident involved injuries, then you must present your case at the time mentioned. If you wait to file and the two years pass, you may lose your right to take legal action against a negligent party.
Our Attorneys Are Here To Help
Truck accidents can both be costly and deadly for you or a loved one. Our Los Angeles truck accident lawyers here at Ben Crump Law, PLLC, are ready to provide legal counsel and court representation for you.
You can contact us for a free case evaluation by dialing 800-630-9229.