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Pittsburg Truck Accident Lawyer

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Large commercial trucks are a common sight in Pittsburg and throughout 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 suffered an injury in a big rig crash caused by a negligent trucker or trucking company, call our experienced Pittsburg 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 serious injury or lost a close relative in a tractor-trailer wreck, it is essential to 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 the best way to proceed in your case by protecting your legal rights and recovering the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Top Causes of Big Rig Crashes

The unfortunate reality is that 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 delivery deadlines every day, 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 are performed to meet federal standards. When truck firms fail to do so, it may cause a wide array of issues, from trailers detaching from the truck to brake failure and tire blowouts.
  • Improperly Secured Cargo: When cargo is not properly 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 properly secured or handled, it may result in an explosion or fire in the event of a collision.
  • Insufficient Truck Driver Training: Truckers are expected to 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.
What Type of Compensation Can Be Recovered in a Trucking Crash Claim?

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 as well as 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 may 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
Can Punitive Damages Be Recovered in a Big Rig Crash Case?

The jury may award punitive damages based upon the facts of a tractor-trailer accident. This type of damage is solely intended to punish the wrongdoer for egregious conduct and to deter similar situations from occurring in the future 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) at the time of the incident.

Types of Wrongful Death Damages for a Fatal Truck Accident

If a loved one was lost in a big rig crash, a Pittsburg truck accident attorney may seek damages through a wrongful death claim on behalf of surviving family members. Spouses, domestic partners, and children of the decedent are allowed to 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, and 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 from 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 their life 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. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a big rig crash, do not wait to seek assistance. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation to learn how we can help you and your family through this difficult situation.

Photograph Source: By "nockewell1" via Pixabay

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