The trucking industry is a necessary part of everyday life, providing essential public services for citizens or delivering industrial materials to manufacturers. But, truck accidents pose some of the greatest threats for people who travel through California. An accident involving a truck is almost always more hazardous than an accident between two passenger vehicles. Whether it’s a rear-end, rollover, or jackknife accident, truck accidents often lead to serious injuries or severely damaged vehicles.
Below, the attorneys at Frederick Law Firm describe some of the most common causes of truck accidents in California. If you’ve been in a truck accident, contact our office for more information about your accident claim.
California Truck Accident Causes
The cause of a truck accident directly impacts liability. Ultimately, whichever party is at fault for the accident will be financially responsible for the damages incurred in an accident. For example, a truck driver found violating California’s safety regulations and causing an accident may be held liable to an injured driver for their losses.
According to a 33-month-long study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the three leading truck accident causes in California are the following:
- A truck veering off the road or out of its travel lane;
- The driver loses control of the vehicle; and
- A truck fails to stop and causes a rear-end collision.
Understanding common causes of truck accidents in California may help those involved in all levels of the transportation of goods take a more active role in protecting the safety of everyone on the road.
One of the most common causes of truck accidents is negligent driving. When truckers or other motorists are distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they are far more likely to drift into oncoming traffic and cause head-on crashes. The negligent actions of other motorists can also force truckers to slam on the brakes or swerve uncontrollably, increasing the risk of jackknife accidents.
One of the common causes of truck accidents in California includes driver error. This can include things like failing to check blind spots, misjudging distances, and making sudden changes in direction.
Fatigued driving is also a common cause of truck accidents. Truck drivers often work long hours, which can lead to fatigue. Fatigued driving leads to more driving errors or even falling asleep at the wheel.
Bad Road Conditions
Lack of center dividers, missing night lighting, and covered or damaged traffic signage can contribute to poor roadway conditions. This, in turn, can cause truck accidents. Potholes, icy roads, and construction zones can also lead to truck accidents. Additionally, heavy rain or snow can impede visibility and, in doing so, increase the risk of head-on truck accidents.
Deficient Driver Training
Truck drivers must fulfill a certain amount of training hours before they are allowed to carry a commercial load. An appropriate training program should teach them how to operate and manage the truck. It will also instruct the driver on navigating through severe weather conditions, poor roads, and other external hazards they might encounter.
Stopping a large, heavy vehicle is more difficult than stopping a passenger vehicle. This is especially true when the truck is loaded with uneven or sloshing cargo. Most large trucks have air brakes, unlike the hydraulic brakes found in most passenger vehicles. It takes both knowledge and experience to operate air brakes properly.
Proper instruction of truck drivers is essential to the safety of others on the road.
A truck driver who doesn’t know how to brake in an emergency properly can cause grave injury to other road users nearby.
Poorly Secured Load
Truck drivers and cargo loading teams must meet weight, size, length, width, and height requirements and not exceed the limitations of each. They must also secure the cargo properly. Negligence during the loading of cargo has led to catastrophic collisions. Additionally, overloading can cause objects to fly off truck beds and into traffic behind the truck. If there is an uneven weight distribution in the trailer, the driver can quickly lose control of the vehicle.
Bad Truck Maintenance
Trucks travel thousands of miles every day. As a result, they require frequent and extensive maintenance. Equipment failure is inevitable when they don’t receive maintenance as often as needed or don’t receive quality maintenance. Equipment may also fail if manufacturers produce defective or hazardous parts.
Several parties may be liable for equipment failure truck accidents depending on the cause. At-fault parties may include:
- The manufacturer,
- The company that is supposed to maintain the truck, and
- The mechanic responsible for the repairs.
Determining who is responsible for an equipment failure can be difficult. Speak with an attorney to help you investigate the parties involved in your truck accident case. If you are on the central coast of California, you can call our office for help.
Compensation Available for a Truck Accident Claim
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to pursue compensation for damages against a negligent trucking company, truck driver, or other responsible parties. You may be entitled to compensation for the following:
- Medical bills,
- Property damage,
- Lost wages, and
- Emotional distress.
In California, the monetary damages you can recover will be impacted by your percentage of fault in the accident. This means that if your compensation totals $50,000 and you are 10% at fault, your compensation will be reduced by 10% or $45,000. In most cases, the other party’s insurance company will attempt to prove that you were partially or wholly at fault in the accident to diminish or reduce your compensation. Because liability is so complicated, you should find a truck accident lawyer whose skill, experience, and reputation you trust.
Truck Accident Lawyer in California
The personal injury attorneys at Frederick Law Firm bring over 40 years of experience fighting for the rights of injury victims. We will investigate your truck accident, identify all liable parties and help you hold each accountable for their actions. We help clients throughout California’s central coast with truck accident claims. Let us fight to get you justice and financial compensation. Contact us for a free consultation.