Who Is At Fault in a Truck Accident? Truck Accident Lawsuit FAQ
Driving down the 15 freeway or through the treacherous Cajon Pass requires focus and skill. This is especially true for truck drivers who haul 80,000 pound vehicles across state lines. While most truck drivers follow regulations and are generally safe, accidents can and still happen. A semi truck accident typically leads to more serious injuries and death for other vehicle occupants. If you or a loved one was involved in a truck crash, contact our Victorville truck accident lawyer. Our team of experienced attorneys can help you prove liability and file a truck accident lawsuit. Call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation at (760) 628-0818.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), California has one of the highest rates of fatalities from large truck crashes in 2021. Most of those killed were other vehicle occupants.
Semi truck accidents almost always lead to catastrophic injuries and death because of their weight and size. These are some of the most common causes of truck accidents in Victorville:
Truck drivers must follow strict guidelines under Hours of Service, which dictates how many hours they can drive and work in a day and a week, and how many breaks and rest periods they must take.
Despite federal and state specific regulations, truckers still can drive 12 to 14 hours in one day. Therefore, fatigue is one of the most common causes of truck accidents. Falling asleep at the wheel can lead to fatal rear-end, head-on, and T-bone accidents.
According to a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) study, 71% of truck accidents occurred because of a distracted driver.
Distractions can come from both inside and outside of the truck – talking, texting, using dispatching devices, eating, looking out the window, and more. Anything that takes a driver’s attention and eyes away from the road is considered a distraction.
Under California’s DUI laws, a truck driver is considered under the influence if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.04% or higher. This is lower than the standard 0.08% for other vehicle drivers. While truck companies have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drunk driving, violations still occur.
In addition to alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter medicine can also lead to a DUI truck accident.
On all California highways, the speed limit for trucks is 55 mph. However, it is not uncommon to see a truck driver driving 10 to 15 miles over the speed limit. Even speeding slightly over the limit can result in deadly collisions involving multiple vehicles.
Speed is one of the most common factors in all car accidents and accounts for 1 in 3 roadway deaths, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
There are cases of truck collisions caused by equipment failure or defective parts. While the FMCSA sets the standards for commercial vehicles to follow, the trucking companies and their employees are responsible for maintaining and inspecting trucks before they get on the road. Additionally, truck manufacturers are responsible for following safety standards.
Worn tires, faulty brakes, or steering issues may lead to a semi truck accident.
Poor Cargo Loading
Semi trucks can carry cargo that weighs tens of thousands of pounds. If loaded improperly, the cargo may come crashing down on the road or cause the truck to tip over, leading to a dangerous rollover accident. Commercial truck drivers must properly secure their cargo so that it does not cause the trailer to tip over or spill out onto the path of oncoming traffic.
Who Is At Fault: The Truck Driver or the Trucking Company?
A truck accident is much more complex than the average car accident. This is because truck accidents can involve multiple liable parties – the truck driver, the trucking company, and a third-party driver. Like any motor vehicle accident, you must be able to prove one or more parties acted negligently and caused the accident and your injury.
The following parties could be held liable after a California truck accident:
The truck driver
If a driver was speeding, driving under the influence, texting and driving, or behaving in another reckless manner, they would be deemed primarily at fault for the accident.
The trucking company
FedEx, UPS, and Knight-Swift Transportation are just a few of the biggest commercial trucking companies in the U.S. responsible for transporting goods from city to city. If they fail to inspect the truck or properly screen a driver, they could be held liable for resulting injuries and damages.
A driver of another vehicle
There are instances where another driver on the road speeds and collides with a truck, causing a chain reaction and a potential multi-vehicle collision. In these cases, the driver who acted negligently would be responsible for the accident.
A government agency
Local city and government agencies are responsible for maintaining roads, especially in bad weather conditions. If a trucker loses control of their vehicle due to potholes, ice, or snow, they may be able to file a claim against the government.
How to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit
If you have suffered injuries in a truck accident, you may be wondering how you can recover compensation from the at-fault party. While filing a personal injury lawsuit on your own is possible, it will prove very challenging.
Insurance adjusters are trained at offering lowball settlements that do not reflect the full value of injured victims’ damages. If you hire a truck accident lawyer, you will have a much better chance at winning a settlement that will cover your medical bills, lost wages, and more.
Here are more benefits to hiring a truck accident law firm:
- Gather evidence to prove negligence and identify the at-fault party
- Investigate the truck accident and determine the cause
- Send a demand letter to the insurance company
- Negotiate with the insurance to secure maximum compensation
- File a truck accident lawsuit in court if a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations
Seek Legal Help at Rockview Accident Lawyers
Do not let a truck accident ruin your life. At Rockview Accident Lawyers, our experienced legal team knows exactly how to fight for fair compensation and win. When you hire a truck accident lawyer, you will be putting your best interests in mind. Leave the paperwork, communications with the insurance company, and personal injury claims to us.
Our Victorville personal injury law firm has helped injured truck accident victims across Victor Valley and San Bernardino County. Since we work on a contingency fee, you pay no upfront legal fees. Learn more about your case and next steps by calling us for a free consultation at (760) 628-0818 or by filling out an easy online contact form.