Del Paso Heights Truck Accident Lawyer
Del Paso Heights is located along Interstate 80 and is surrounded by freeways, so seeing big rigs transporting their merchandise is common every day of the week. However, it can be intimidating to a motorist to share the roadways with these large trucks since accidents with them are also common in California. When you or a loved one is harmed by an accident caused by a big rig, it is crucial to have legal representation to protect your right to fair compensation.Statistics on Big Rig Accidents
A big rig weighs up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, which is considerably larger than the average weight of a motor vehicle at about 4,000 pounds. They are much longer also. The average tractor-trailer runs around 53 feet in length. Because of this enormous difference in size and weight, a crash with one can be devastating for those inside the smaller vehicle.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports the following statistics on accidents with big rigs from 2017, the last year this information was compiled:
- 4,761 individuals died in 5,094 accidents that involved big rigs, an increase of 9 percent over the previous year.
- 7.3 percent of nationwide fatalities in crashes involving big rigs happened in California.
- 72 percent of those fatalities were those in smaller vehicles.
- 18 percent were drivers or passengers in big rigs.
- 10 percent of the deaths were to others such as motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
Rules and regulations for operating big rigs on California roads are designed to protect others sharing the roadways and the drivers themselves. This includes a weight and size limit, inspections, and regular maintenance. Under California law, truckers were required to take a half-hour meal break after driving for five hours and a rest break for 10 minutes every four hours. However, this was overruled by the Department of Transportation early in 2019. Under federal law, truckers may be considered on duty for 14 hours, with no more than 11 hours spent driving. A mandatory 30-minute break must be taken before they have driven eight hours straight. This new mandate may increase the risk of a traffic collision.Reasons Why Truck Accidents Happen
Most accidents caused by big trucks have the same causes as those by other motorists. They are caused by driver negligence or other problems. Some common reasons for truck accidents include:
- Driver fatigue
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Drug use
- Lack of experience
- Weather conditions
- Reckless driving
- Lack of maintenance
- Overweight or badly loaded cargo
- Unrealistic scheduling
Severe injuries and fatalities can occur when a large truck is involved in an accident. Many times, those who are injured face a lengthy recovery period and resultant expenses. A personal injury lawyer who is experienced in handling truck accident cases may be able to help you recover the losses caused by medical expenses, lost wages, and others. Some injuries commonly suffered in a truck collision include:
- Head and brain injuries
- Back or spinal cord damage
- Amputation injuries
- Broken bones
- Abdominal injuries
- Facial trauma
- Chest injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Wrongful death
The following video explains more about the types of injuries that a truck accident can cause.Truck Accident FAQs
Q: If I’m in an accident with a big truck, what do I do?
A: Remain calm and stay in your vehicle if it’s safe. Call 911 and turn on the hazard lights to warn other drivers. Take down the insurance information, names, addresses, and phone numbers of the other driver. Photograph the damage and get contact info from witnesses. Get checked out at the emergency room or your doctor’s office as soon as possible, and call a lawyer with experience in truck accidents. The lawyer will immediately send investigators to document the crash and collect additional evidence.
Q: What can I do to protect my rights following a truck accident?
A: If your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the legal right to compensation. However, the other parties involved will have legal representation, so you should too in order to get a fair settlement. An experienced lawyer will be at your side every step of the way to see that this happens.
Q: Is visiting a doctor right away important?
Yes, it is. Some injuries do not present right away and seeing a doctor documents your accident and any possible trauma. Following an accident, you should keep a record of doctor visits and expenses, including out-of-pocket costs such as transportation. Write down your symptoms or pain in a journal, and keep an account of days missed at work. Getting a damage estimate for your vehicle is essential too, as well as a copy of the police report.
Q: What do I do if I get a call from the other person’s insurance company?
A: Keep any discussions about your accident between you and your insurance company and the police. Do not admit guilt. You do not have to give the other person’s insurance company a recorded statement. If the other person’s insurance company sends you paperwork, don’t sign it. You should refer the insurance company to your lawyer for any information.
Q: How much will a truck accident attorney cost me?
A: Personal injury lawyers usually work on a contingency basis. This means you pay nothing until your case has been won. A small percentage of your settlement as a fee is typically pre-determined at the beginning of the case.
Q: Is there a time limit for filing a claim?
A: The statute of limitations for a personal injury case involving a truck accident is two years. However, it is important to consult with a lawyer quickly because evidence can disappear or be tampered with. In addition, an insurance company will make a low-ball offer for your losses and will try to dispute your claim. A lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. If that is unsuccessful, the lawyer can take the case to civil court to get the compensation you deserve.
To learn more about types of truck accidents, please visit:
I’m Ed Smith, a Del Paso Heights truck accident lawyer. When you or your dear one is injured in a truck accident, you may be able to place a claim for fair compensation for your injuries. Please call me at (916) 921-6400 locally or (800) 404-5400 toll-free for my free and friendly advice. I also offer a convenient online contact form.
Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 11.8.19]