Truck accidents are exceptionally dangerous and all too common. There were more than 320,000 truck accidents in the U.S. in 2013, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries as a result of a negligent truck driver, you may be entitled to compensation and should discuss your case with an experienced Temecula truck accident lawyer. To learn more or begin the steps to filing your injury claim, consult with an experienced injury attorney today.
Truck Accident Facts
Truck Accident Fatalities
California is a dangerous place for drivers. According to the FMCSA, in 2013, California had the second highest amount of fatal truck accidents (227).
Weight Differential between Trucks and Cars
Tractor-trailers are a significant safety concern for motorists traveling on California’s roads, especially with the high volume of commercial traffic on the state’s freeways. Most passenger cars weigh only about 4,000 pounds, while big rigs can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. This difference in size and mass often leads to catastrophic injuries or death for the driver of the passenger vehicle when the two collide making it important that a Temecula truck accident attorney is consulted.
Car Drivers are the ones at Risk, not Truck Drivers
In fact, in 2013, 71 percent of the nearly 4,000 people killed in truck accidents in the U.S. were occupants in other vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Only 17 percent of the fatalities were truck drivers. The rest were non-occupants like pedestrians.
Truck Accident Standards
Truck drivers must meet strict testing standards to earn their commercial license and must adhere to stiffer national, state, and municipal laws than most drivers. One major part of these requirements is the hours of service regulations. These laws outline how frequently and for how long commercial drivers must rest.
Still, fatigue plays a role in many truck accidents. This is because many companies set tight deadlines or pressure drivers to work longer hours than legally allowed. A restless, sleepy driver is an impaired driver, with slowed reaction time and poor decision-making abilities.
Failure to follow the hours of service or other regulations could be an indication of negligence on the trucker’s part. If the negligence caused an accident, then the truck driver could be liable, though other parties could hold liability as well, making it important to consult with a Temecula truck accident lawyer.
Just as in an accident caused by a driver of another passenger vehicle, a truck driver can be legally responsible for the injuries that occur when he is at fault in an accident. In addition, the employers of professional drivers may also be vicariously liable.
Trucking companies can be liable for an accident caused by one of their drivers in two ways:
- Direct liability
- Vicarious liability
Examples of direct liability include when a trucking company fails to properly vet potential employees and hires a driver with a history of distracted, drunk, or negligent driving. A company can also be directly liable when it continues to employ a driver who engages in these behaviors.
The principle of vicarious liability states that companies can be liable for any irresponsible behavior committed by their employees when the behavior occurs on the job and causes a wreck.
Benefits of a Temecula Truck Accident Lawyer
California has complicated laws surrounding the allocation of fault after an accident. The truck driver and trucking company may be at-fault, but other parties could also be liable. This includes other motorists involved in the accident, as well as you. The allocation of liability can affect how much compensation you receive, so these cases require a personal injury attorney who will advocate for you.
Our Temecula truck accident lawyers extensively investigate every case in order to prove that the driver and trucking company are responsible for the accident. Trucking companies are required to keep records for a certain amount of time, after which they can destroy the documents. This means that they can destroy an employee’s driving hours logs that could help prove negligence. We can draft and send a letter of spoliation, which stops the company from destroying potential evidence. We can also help identify and quantify the compensation you deserve for your damages.