Pittsburg Truck Accident Lawyer
Large commercial trucks are common in Pittsburg and Contra Costa County, California. The trucking industry is governed by extensive regulations. However, the entities responsible for transporting loads only have one concern: their profit margin. Trucking firms often pressure the truck drivers they employ to cut corners to protect their bottom line. When this occurs, innocent people suffer injuries or lose their lives.
If you have been injured in a big rig crash caused by a negligent trucker or trucking company, call our experienced Pittsburg, CA, truck accident lawyers at (925) 428-5220 or (800) 404-5400 today. Our team of attorneys is available anytime to review your case and provide free, friendly advice.
A big rig crash often results in tragic consequences for those involved. Lives can be changed or lost forever. If you have sustained a severe injury or lost a close relative in a tractor-trailer wreck, you must seek the legal help you and your family need. At our law firm, we have handled cases like yours since 1982. Our Pittsburg truck accident attorneys will know how to proceed in your case by protecting your legal rights and recovering the compensation you deserve.Top Causes of Big Rig Crashes
Unfortunately, even the safest drivers cannot avoid a catastrophic accident when a trucker fails to exercise due care on the road. Our Pittsburg truck accident lawyers have seen all types of big rig crashes and have the experience necessary to determine what caused your collision. Some of the most common causes of tractor-trailer accidents include:
- Trucker Fatigue: With high demands to meet strict daily delivery deadlines, truck drivers are pressured by their employers to work extended hours with little to no rest. This failure to follow the Hours of Service (HOS) regulation can result in driver fatigue, causing truckers to become drowsy or even fall asleep while operating a big rig.
- Truck Driver Error: As a leading cause of all motor vehicle collisions, driver error may have life-changing results when a crash involves a large commercial truck. From failing to check blind spots to changing lanes without signaling, there is no room for driver error when there are high stakes like these.
- Equipment Failure: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires trucking companies to ensure routine inspections and maintenance meet federal standards. When truck firms fail to do so, it may cause many issues, from trailers detaching from the truck to brake failure and tire blowouts.
- Improperly Secured Cargo: When cargo is not adequately distributed throughout the trailer or not adequately secured, it may lead to a rollover accident, putting the lives of others on the road at risk. Conversely, if a tractor-trailer is transporting hazardous materials that were not adequately secured or handled, it may result in an explosion or fire in a collision.
- Insufficient Truck Driver Training: Truckers must undergo extensive training before operating a large commercial truck on the roadway. It takes experience and skills to safely operate a big rig, particularly in inclement weather conditions. When truckers get behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler without being fully prepared, they can be held liable for damages incurred.
After a truck accident, an injured party may require hospitalization, several surgeries, and even months or years of rehabilitation. Even with immediate intervention and medical treatment, injured parties may experience lifelong cognitive and physical deficits and the emotional burden of adjusting to a new life. If the big rig crash was caused by a negligent truck driver or trucking company, compensation might be sought for economic and non-economic damages, such as:
- Reasonable and necessary medical expenses for past and future treatment
- Lost wages for the time that is missed from work to recover from a tractor-trailer collision
- Loss of future earnings if the injuries compromise the claimant's ability to make a living
- Loss of consortium for damage to marital relations
- Pain and suffering for the emotional suffering and physical pain from a big rig crash
The jury may award punitive damages based on the facts of a tractor-trailer accident. This type of damage is solely intended to punish the wrongdoer for egregious conduct and deter similar situations from occurring to others. In a truck accident case, punitive damages may be awarded if the trucker was excessively speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI).Types of Wrongful Death Damages for a Fatal Truck Accident
A Pittsburg truck accident attorney might seek damages through a wrongful death claim for surviving family members if a loved one was lost in a big rig crash. The decedent's spouses, domestic partners, and children can bring a wrongful death lawsuit, as outlined in the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 377.60.
Survivors may seek compensation for funeral expenses, medical treatment costs, loss of future earnings, loss of care, companionship, protection, and more. Other surviving family members may seek wrongful death damages, such as the decedent's putative spouse, parents, stepchildren, and putative spouse's children. Watch the video below to learn more about who is eligible to seek wrongful death damages in California.Proving Liability in a Truck Accident Case
If you have suffered injuries in a collision with a commercial truck, you may feel frustrated at the thought of determining liability to receive the compensation you need for your damages. Negligence can fall upon a wide array of individuals or entities, including the following:
- The driver of the commercial truck
- The owner of the tractor-trailer
- The shipper or loader of the large truck's goods
- The manufacturer of the 18-wheeler and potentially defective parts or equipment that may have contributed to the traffic collision
According to 2018 trucking accident statistics by the National Safety Council (NSC), approximately 150,000 injuries were reported in large truck crashes. Most of the injuries in truck accidents were suffered by occupants of other vehicles with 72 percent, followed by big rig occupants with 26 percent and non-occupants with 2 percent.What is the Filing Deadline for a Truck Accident Claim in California?
There is a limited amount of time for which a lawsuit must be filed in California if a settlement is not accepted by the insurance company or trucking firm. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations:
- Personal Injury: A claimant has two years from the date of a big rig crash to file a personal injury lawsuit with a Pittsburg truck accident lawyer.
- Wrongful Death: If a loved one lost was killed in a fatal tractor-trailer accident or later succumbed to their injuries, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years of the incident.
If a claimant waits too long to file a lawsuit in civil court, they may lose the opportunity to recover financial compensation. Do not wait to seek assistance if you have been injured or lost a loved one in a big rig crash. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation to learn how we can help you and your family through this difficult situation.
Editor's Note: updated [cha 8.29.23] Photograph Source: By "nockewell1" via Pixabay ds [cs 1219] cha