Fair Oaks Truck Accident Lawyer
Over 3,800 people were killed in collisions with big rigs in 2015 and nearly 70 percent of the victims who lost their lives were the occupants of the vehicles hit by the big rig. Another 15 percent of injured parties were pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. If that was not bad enough, the trend is an increase in the number of deadly collisions. For example, the number of fatal accidents involving big rigs in 2015 was 22 percent higher than in 2009.
Why Occupants of Smaller Vehicles Are Most at Risk
A commercial big rig colliding with a sedan or an SUV is akin to a hammer colliding with a nail. Large commercial big rigs often weigh 20-30 times more than your average commuter car. They are also taller with greater ground clearance. Another issue involves the difficulty for a large commercial truck to break in time when approaching congestion on a busy road or highway. It takes an average commercial 18-wheeler between 20 and 40 percent farther to come to a complete stop when compared to smaller commuter vehicles.
How a Commercial Tractor-Trailer is Distinct from Your Average Pickup Truck or SUV
Obviously, the big difference is that big rigs are used for commercial purposes. That means they are mainly utilized to transport commercial goods across state lines. Another difference, as mentioned, is the incredible disparity in size when compared to most other vehicles on Fair Oaks roads and highways. There might also be multiple insurance policies covering a single commercial big rig. Those policies could include coverage for the freight, the equipment, the driver, etc.
How Wrecks Between Commercial Big Rigs and Smaller Vehicles are Distinct from Accidents Only Involving Commuter Vehicles
Accidents involving a tractor-trailer are generally more serious in scale and result in significant damage to the occupants of the smaller vehicle hit by the large truck. Injuries that are often reported in these types of collisions include:
- Traumatic Brain Injury — An injury to your head and/or brain can have life-altering effects. Head injuries can range from a concussion to a severe traumatic brain injury that may leave you incapacitated requiring full-time nursing care.
- Broken Bones — Collisions with commercial trucks can result in shattered bones that take months to fully heal, if ever.
- Spinal Cord Injury — The impact of a collision can result in partial or complete paralysis of your body.
- Neck and Back Trauma — This is the most common type of injury reported in vehicle collisions. A serious neck injury or back injury can result in debilitating pain that may require surgery to correct.
Causes of Accidents Involving Commercial Big Rigs and Smaller Vehicles
In many instances, the operator of the commercial tractor-trailer was negligent and that negligence proximately caused the collision. Examples of big rig operator negligence include:
- Poor training that leads to poor operation of the truck
- Reckless driving like speeding or talking on a cell phone
- Use of drugs or alcohol
- Driver fatigue
Commercial Big Rig Operators Must Adhere to Hours of Service
As mentioned above, driver fatigue is a big issue when it comes to the risk of a collision between an 18-wheeler and a smaller vehicle. That is why there are federal regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration stating that all commercial truck operators can only drive for a maximum of 11 hours straight. If they stay on the road beyond that point, the operator is violating federal law. In addition, if an operator is on the road for 11 hours, that must be followed by 10 uninterrupted hours of rest.
Operators of Tractor-Trailers Require Special Licensure
To legally operate a commercial tractor-trailer that is hauling freight across state lines, the driver must obtain and maintain a commercial driver’s license (often referred to as a CDL). This requires an operator to pass multiple tests that show the driver’s skills and understanding of how to effectively operate a large semi truck.
If it turns out that the truck operator who hit you did not have a CDL or their CDL was expired, then that can serve as a basis for claiming the driver was negligent in causing the collision.
Harms and Losses You Can Recover Through a Fair Oak Truck Accident Injury Claim
Monetary damages you can recover through a personal injury claim can include reimbursement for your medical expenses, including future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.Fair Oaks Truck Accident Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Fair Oaks Truck Accident Lawyer. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in an accident involving a commercial truck, I can help. Please call me today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for compassionate, friendly, and free advice with no obligation. I am also available online here.
I have been serving the Fair Oaks and Northern California community for over thirty years as an injury lawyer. Take a moment to review some of my past Verdicts and Settlements.
I am also a member of the Million Dollar Forum. This group is reserved for injury lawyers who have achieved million-dollar case verdicts and settlements for their clients.
For additional information on truck accident cases and a variety of personal injury claims visit my website, AutoAccident.com.
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