Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyer

Commercial trucks play a vitally important role in the national economy. While they are necessary to move goods and supplies, they can pose an extreme hazard to other motorists and pedestrians on the roadway.

Why? Because large commercial trucks can easily exceed 30,000 pounds. When traveling at a high rate of speed, the force created upon impact with a large commercial truck can be devastating – even deadly. The injuries are often catastrophic, causing lifelong physical and mental issues and severe financial difficulties.

According to federal data, more than 4,100 people were killed in commercial truck accidents in 2018 alone. More than two-thirds of these victims were drivers or passengers of other cars on the roadway.

If a commercial truck driver has injured you, or harmed someone you love, then it’s imperative that you contact an experienced attorney immediately who will help protect your, or your loved ones, legal rights.

The Complex Nature of Truck Accident Liability

Commercial trucking accidents are often more complex to litigate than typical auto accidents. This is because multiple parties may be involved in leasing, owning or maintaining the commercial truck(s) in question. The truck driver, the trucking company, the companies that handle the truck’s loading and maintenance, or even truck’s manufacturer, may all have some liability for the accident. Because of this, it’s essential to work with an experienced attorney, as early as possible, who specializes in commercial truck litigation.

Common Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents

Now that we’ve taken a closer look at commercial truck accident liability, let’s examine the most common causes of such collisions:

  • Fatigue — federal regulators have imposed limits on how long truck drivers are legally allowed to work without rest. However, enforcement of these rules within the industry is not always sufficient, and truckers are financially incentivized to complete their runs as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this means fatigue and tiredness play a major role in collisions.
  • Distracted driving — Texting, reading, watching video content — all of it can lead to a devastating collision when you are behind the wheel of a massive rig.
  • Subpar driver training — Getting behind the wheel of a large truck requires a special set of abilities and skills. Truck drivers who are insufficiently trained are far more likely to make poor decisions and jeopardize other motorists.
  • Lack of routine maintenance — failing to keep a truck in good working order can have serious consequences. If a braking system is not properly maintained, for example, a trucker may not be able to stop his rig in sufficient time, creating a rear-end collision and/or a massive pile-up.

Common Injuries from Commercial Truck Accidents

If you’re unfortunate enough to be involved in a commercial truck accident, some of the injuries you’re more likely to suffer include:

  • Head and neck trauma — because of the size of a truck, such collisions often occur with extreme force, creating a devastating whiplash effect.
  • Back and spine injuries — the force from an accident can lead to dislocated or ruptured discs, vertebrae or even paralysis.
  • Chest and rib injuries — seat belts and steering wheels can cause serious injuries to the chest/sternum and/or ribs.
  • Internal injuries — often resulting in internal bleeding, these injuries can be particularly deadly, as they are not always visibly apparent right away.
  • Broken bones and lacerations — these may be caused by violent force or debris like twisted metal and/or broken glass.

How to React After an Accident

If you’re involved in a commercial truck accident, we encourage you to follow some safety protocols:

  • Contact law enforcement and medical personnel without delay;
  • Ensure you are not located in a dangerous position in, or near, the roadway;
  • Seek treatment for any injuries immediately. For more severe crashes, visit a hospital even if you do not have any visible injuries because injuries may be internal. Further, because of the shock, sometimes the pain does not set in for a day after the accident;
  • Talk to witnesses and collect statements and/or their contact information;
  • Take photos and videos of anything relevant: vehicle damage, road conditions, the scene, the position of the involved vehicles, any visible physical injuries, etc.
  • Keep track of your medical bills, travel expenses and lost wages!

How the Process Works: Understanding Responsibility, Compensation and Negligence

After a serious truck accident, you may have many questions. These may include how responsibility is determined, how negligence is defined and how compensation works.

To help you better understand these issues, let’s walk through how a typical case unfolds.

First, your legal team will gather all relevant documents, including any bills you’ve incurred, insurance records and your medical records related to the incident. Collecting this information helps establish a range for compensation.

Next, your legal team will begin investigating the truck accident. This may include speaking to witnesses, reviewing video or photos of the crash or scene and analyzing police reports and other documents.

This phase is key in terms of establishing responsibility for the crash. If the supporting evidence and/or witness statements support a charge of negligence against the other party, you may be in a strong legal position. Negligence against the other driver may be present if he or she drove under the influence, disobeyed traffic safety laws or broke regulations concerning how many consecutive hours can be driven without a break.

It’s important to understand that responsibility may extend beyond the driver of a truck. The trucking company owner, the shipper that ordered the goods, or the manufacturer of the truck or the trailer may all be responsible, depending on the nature of the accident. For example, if a shipper placed undue pressure for a load to be delivered early — or a truck builder failed to fix a design flaw — responsibility may fall on them.

It’s also important to understand that commercial truck operators are subject to a number of important laws and regulations. They are required to document the number of hours they drive, their rest breaks, drive no more than a certain number of hours per day and secure all cargo properly. Any departure from these rules may leave them open to a legal finding of negligence.

That leads into the next phase: Negotiation. If it appears the other party is responsible or acted with negligence, that party or the insurer may wish to settle out of court. If not, your attorney will be prepared to pursue a trial — and seek the maximum amount of compensation to which you may be owed.

This compensation will typically be based on factors such as medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, loss of consortium, future medical bills and many other factors.

Finding the Right Truck Accident Attorney

Have you been injured in a commercial truck accident? Then you may be entitled to fair compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. It’s important to speak to a qualified and experienced attorney to assess the viability of your case.

At Mansell Mansell Ayala + Villaneda, we are zealous advocates for our clients — and we will fight to help ensure you are fairly treated under the law!

Contact us today for a fast, and free, consultation.

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