In California, the average large truck, commonly referred to as an 18-wheeler, can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, according to California Vehicle Code. The difference between size, weight, speed, driver visibility, and maneuverability between a normal passenger vehicle and a 75 foot-long truck can create major traffic problems on congested roads. In California, large trucks account for 4.3 percent of vehicles according to California Department of Transportation. As such, accidents between these commercial vehicles and personal automobiles are common. If you have been injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, you may be able to collect damages to help pay for your medical bills and property damage.
Injuries Involving Large Commercial Trucks Can Be Severe
Due to the immense mass of 18-wheelers and other large delivery vehicles, the outcomes for the passengers of smaller vehicles, in the event of a crash, are often dire. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that more than ten fatalities a day occur in large truck crashes. Some common and deadly ways these crashes happen are from rollovers due to improper loading or speeding, and head on collisions due to drivers falling asleep at the wheel.
Liability Can Be Complicated in Commercial Vehicle Accidents
In most auto accidents, one or both of the parties are held liable. This is also true in commercial vehicle accidents. In fact, there may be multiple parties at fault. Crashes may be due to driver error, which includes speeding, improper use of signals, swerving, falling asleep, and distracted driving. If the driver was employed by a trucking company, liability will likely be placed on the driver’s company under the laws of respondeat superior, which holds employers liable for the actions of their employees. If the driver was an independent contractor, they themselves would be held liable. Improper loading is another cause of major traffic pileups. Poor loading can cause rollovers, dangerous spillage, and cause the driver to lose control of their vehicle. Loose cargo could be the fault of the driver, the trucking company, the party that loaded the cargo, or the company that shipped it. Finally, if the crash was caused by faulty engineering or manufacturing, negligence will fall on the shoulders of the designer or manufacturer of the commercial vehicle.
Negligence in Commercial Vehicle Accidents
As members of society, we all owe each other a duty of care. This duty requires that we drive, create products, and behave in ways that do not put others at risk. We violate this duty by speeding, swerving, and driving while impaired. Companies violate this duty by designing, selling, or producing unsafe devices such as faulty truck brakes or tires. If you have been injured in a commercial vehicle accident in Temecula, San Diego, Oceanside, or Victorville, contact us today and our attorneys will help find the negligent party. You may be able to collect compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, property damage, and lost wages. At The Sargent Firm Injury Lawyers, our Southern California auto accident injury attorneys have extensive experience with commercial vehicle accidents and personal injury cases.