Merced Truck Accident Lawyer
Getting hit by a large commercial truck like a big rig or 18-wheeler is one of the worst collisions on a Merced road or highway. The vehicle's occupants hit by the big rig routinely suffer catastrophic bodily harm, including spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injury, broken bones, torn ligaments and tendons, nerve damage, etc. The medical expenses and lost wages for a truck accident victim can be hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. That is why hiring an experienced Merced truck accident lawyer makes sense to pursue financial restitution from the truck operator and their employer.How Truck Wrecks Happen
Operating a large commercial truck is difficult, so it requires specialized training and testing before someone can legally operate a big rig. If completed correctly, this training results in the truck operator receiving a commercial driver's license (CDL). Despite the extensive training that most truck operators go through (or should at least be required to go through), serious accidents happen caused by the truck operator's negligence.Truck Driver Fatigue
A reason commonly cited for a collision between a big rig and a smaller vehicle is driver fatigue. Truck operators routinely have to meet strict delivery deadlines, incentivizing the operators to push themselves to stay on the road as long as possible. As a result, the operator can get fatigued and fall asleep behind the wheel. A prime example was the truck accident that made national headlines involving comedian Tracy Morgan. His party limo bus was hit by a Wal-Mart 18-wheeler. The collision caused multiple deaths and severe injuries. For example, Tracy Morgan suffered a brain injury and multiple broken bones. An investigation into the accident revealed that the truck operator had been on the road for more than 24 hours without ever taking a break.
Another cause of serious truck accidents is speeding. Commercial big rigs are much larger than your average sedan or SUV. This means they take much longer to slow down when a big rig approaches a congested highway, a traffic jam, a light change, etc. If the big rig operator is speeding and applying their brakes too late, it can cause a deadly collision.Distracted Driving
In addition to fatigue and speeding, distracted driving is a common cause of truck collisions. Like many motorists operating sedans and SUVs, big rig operators check their phones and text while behind the wheel, even though the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has banned using all hand-held communication devices while a big rig operator is on the road. This federal prohibition includes texting, sending emails, visiting web pages, etc. Nevertheless, accidents still occur when a big rig operator is texting and driving or looking down at their phone when a collision occurs.Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and/or Alcohol
Along with distracted driving, drug and alcohol use cause serious accidents between big rigs and other vehicles. In the trucking industry, abuse of prescription drugs and stimulants is quite common. Many truck operators abuse amphetamines and speed to stay awake and remain on the road for longer.
In other circumstances, the truck operator may not have been negligent. Instead, the wreck was caused by negligent maintenance. Truck companies may neglect to maintain the big rig's brakes, tires, and other equipment. When this happens, it creates the risk that the big rig will suddenly malfunction on a road or highway, causing the truck to veer into oncoming traffic or jackknife, causing a significant wreck.How Accidents Involving Large Commercial Trucks Are Unique
An accident involving a commercial truck is quite different from other traffic accidents for several reasons. First, there may be multiple parties who could be held liable for your harm and losses. When two cars collide, the other driver is typically the only party who could be held liable. In a big rig accident, multiple parties, including the operator, the truck company, and/or the manufacturer of the big rig, could be liable for your injuries.Employers Can Be Held Liable for Their Drivers
An employer can be held liable for the negligence of an employee under a respondeat superior. This legal doctrine means that when an employee acts negligently while within the scope of their employment, the employer is liable for any harm caused by the employee's negligence. As a result of this doctrine, some commercial trucking companies are now designating truck operators as independent contractors to limit their liability. Fortunately, courts are not beholden to a truck operator's employment status. When assessing liability, they consider many factors when analyzing whether an employment relationship exists.Benefits of Having an Attorney Handle a Big Rig Crash Case
Having an experienced Merced truck accident attorney on your side will be beneficial when fleshing out which parties may be liable in your accident. If you try to handle a claim independently, there is a risk that a liable party may be missed.
When multiple parties may be liable for your injuries, multiple claims will need to be filed, which means multiple adjusters you will need to negotiate and coordinate with during the litigation process. Negotiating with one insurance adjuster is frustrating enough. Negotiating with three or four adjusters can be a nightmare for someone who is also trying to juggle recovering from their injuries, trying to pay bills, etc. Again, this is why having an attorney on your side is so beneficial. They take that burden off your shoulders so you can focus on your recovery.Limited Amount of Time to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit
If you or a family member was seriously injured in a truck accident, you have only a brief period to file a lawsuit in a Merced court. Make sure to speak to an attorney to file your claim within the statute of limitations.Merced Commercial Truck Accident FAQ
I was in an accident with a tractor-trailer. Who can I sue?
If you have been injured in a truck-related accident, the truck driver or trucking company can be liable for your damages. In some cases, the company responsible for loading the truck can be held liable, too. Since each case is unique, it is best to consult with an experienced truck accident lawyer to learn about your legal options.
Why do I need a truck accident lawyer?
If you have been in an accident involving a large truck and suffered injuries, you must consult a personal injury lawyer immediately to see your options. When truck accidents occur, the trucking companies involved usually send their representatives to the accident scene to try to limit their company's liability. These representatives know that the best time to confront the injured victims is right after the accident. Often, victims struggle through the after-effects of a truck accident alone. An experienced truck accident lawyer can ensure that your rights are protected.
What are the most common types of truck accident claims?
Tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, fuel trucks, and delivery vans are among the most common vehicles in a truck accident lawsuit. Injured victims usually file a claim alleging that the truck driver or company negligently caused the accident.
Watch the following video to learn the types of damages that could be claimed in a trucking accident lawsuit.Contact a Commercial Truck Accident Attorney in Merced, CA
If you or someone you love was hurt in a truck accident, we could help. Please contact our injury lawyers at (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice with no obligation. See our case history of verdicts and settlements.
Editor's Note: updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 8.24.23] sid rey [cs 1275] Photo by Pixabay