Santa Barbara Truck Accident Lawyer (805) 372-0200

Edward A. Smith

You are traveling on U.S. Route 101 headed to Santa Barbara for a visit to the Santa Ynez Mountains when a large tractor-trailer slams into your vehicle. The damage to your vehicle is so extensive that it’s effectively a total loss. Even worse, you suffer life-threatening injuries, including broken bones, facial lacerations, spinal cord damage, and a head wound.

The scenario described above is, unfortunately, quite common. In 2015, there were approximately 415,000 police-reported accidents involving commercial big rigs and tractor-trailers and 3,598 resulted in deaths while 83,000 wrecks resulted in serious injuries, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. That is 86,598 lives affected by serious trucking accidents.

Causes of Trucking Accidents

There are many reasons why commercial trucks collide with sedans, SUV, pickup trucks, and so forth. Below is a brief summation of some of the most common causes of tractor-trailer wrecks:

  • Fatigue – big rig operators are typically on roads and highways for long periods of time. If they fail to take breaks between shifts, they are taxing their bodies to the point where they could fall asleep behind the wheel causing a drowsy driving wreck.
  • Careless or reckless operators – given the size of tractor-trailers, there is little room for error. That is why commercial truck operators must take and pass rigorous driving tests and qualify for a commercial driver’s license. Despite all of this, there are instances where big rig operators throw caution to the wind and engage in speeding, aggressive driving, ignoring blind spots, tailgating and changing lanes improperly.
  • Intoxicated operators – Some commercial truck operators drink alcohol or take drugs while they are driving which slows their reaction time and other vital motor skills.
  • Distracted big rig operators – texting and driving has become a safety epidemic nationwide for basically all drivers. When a commercial truck operator is on their cell phone texting and driving, the risk of causing a major wreck increases exponentially.
  • Inadequate training - Driving a commercial truck requires skill and experience. Operators are supposed to gain experience through the training offered by their employer. If a truck driver is not trained properly, they may not know how to react to inclement weather, busy roadways or an equipment issue.
  • Defective equipment - Commercial trucks must be regularly inspected and maintained to operate effectively. When these trucks are neglected, they can develop faulty brakes and worn tires that can result in major collisions.
Why Trucking Accidents Can Cause Significant Personal Injuries and Death

A large commercial tractor-trailer can weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds and be over 60 feet in length. Due to their tremendous size and weight, they are difficult to maneuver, take longer to stop, have large blind spots and require an extensive turning radius. These factors increase the potential of a big rig colliding with a smaller vehicle. When that happens, the size differential means that the smaller vehicle bears the brunt of the damage (including the occupants of the smaller vehicle).

Pursuing Financial Restitution for Your Harms and Losses

If you or a loved one was involved in an accident where a commercial truck collided with your vehicle and you got hurt, speak to an experienced personal injury attorney right away. When it comes to trucking accidents in Santa Barbara, there may be several parties that are liable for your harms and losses. There may be a viable claim against:

  • The tractor-trailer operator;
  • The operator’s employer;
  • The trucking company;
  • The truck manufacturer; and/or
  • The loader of the cargo placed on the big rig.
Do I Really Need a Personal Injury Lawyer for My Santa Barbara Trucking Accident Claim?

Yes. Trucking accidents are often quite complex involving multiple parties, insurance carriers, and usually a team of aggressive insurance defense lawyers. Basically every commercial tractor-trailer is owned by a corporation (e.g., Wal-Mart, Target, etc.) or a trucking company. These companies retain a team of experienced investigators, claims adjusters, and lawyers who have a single mission: work to reduce or deny a personal injury claim after an accident occurs involving one of their big rigs. Many trucking company defense lawyers consciously work to drag out cases hoping the injured party will give up and settle for a minimal amount. They contest basic discovery requests and demand multi-hour depositions. This is why you need to level the proverbial playing field and retain an experienced and skilled Santa Barbara truck accident attorney.

How a Lawyer Can Help – Large Truck Accident Jury Verdicts and Settlements

The prospect of filing a lawsuit against a big corporation or trucking company can be quite intimidating and even overwhelming. But be assured, you are not alone. In fact, there are plenty examples of everyday people standing up and pursuing financial restitution against a corporation with success. For example, since 2011, there have been at least six trucking accident cases in which a settlement or verdict led to a $20 million or greater award for the plaintiff, according to the National Law Review.

A jury in Georgia awarded the widow of a man killed in a commercial trucking accident over $40 million. The victim was hit and killed by a commercial truck driver who ran a stop sign and hit the victim’s pickup truck. The jury’s award was actually increased to over $55 million.

In another example, a jury in Texas awarded $281 million to the family of a man who was hit and killed by a commercial truck driver’s drive shaft that detached and smashed through his vehicle’s windshield. The jury found that the commercial truck was not maintained properly.

Another example is a case involving the deaths of five Georgia Southern University classmates. A commercial truck reportedly ran over the top of a Toyota Corolla carrying the classmates. Multiple wrongful death lawsuits were filed on behalf of the victims and the trucking company reportedly settled for nearly $80 million total, according to CVN. Brittany McDaniel, the only other nursing student to survive the crash, received a $5 million settlement, according to reports.

Contact a Santa Barbara Truck Accident Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one was seriously injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, or you lost a loved one in this type of collision, contact my law firm today to schedule a free, confidential consultation. I’m Ed Smith, an experienced Santa Barbara truck accident lawyer. I can be reached at (805) 372-0200 for free, friendly advice. You can also call me free of charge at (800) 404-5400. I have decades of trial experience and know how to handle trucking accident injury or death cases.

Follow these links to YelpGoogle Plus and Avvo to read client reviews of my office.

Some of my Past Verdicts and Settlements may be inspected here.

I am proud to be among members of the Million Dollar Forum. This group accepts attorneys with high verdicts and/or settlements of a million dollars or greater.

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Client Reviews
  • Me and my wife; had a car accident. We were amazed how easy, professional, friendly attorney Ed Smith is along with his staff. Everybody is amazing. Thank you so much, we are very impressed!
    Sincerely, Alex & Dinah M. ★★★★★
  • Ed Smith and his office team took on a difficult personal injury case on my behalf and for the passenger in my car. Ed is a top- notch attorney. His staff couldn't have been more helpful and kind. No need to look elsewhere. I give Ed Smith my highest recommendation. Beverly ★★★★★
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  • Very professional. Great team, staff and service all around. Mr Smith was very honest, straight forward with his advice. He gives the word "attorney" an honest reputation. I will seek his council anytime, and would recommend him at the drop of a dime. Jeremy M. ★★★★★
  • I would highly recommend Ed Smith to any friends or family in need of a personal injury attorney. Ed, and his staff, are very caring on top of being very experienced in this field. The staff always keeps you informed of the status of your case and they are always easy to reach by phone. Shannon D. ★★★★★
  • Edward Smith law offices provide competent, thorough, and personable help for victims of personal injury. When you first meet the staff you know you contacted the right office. This law office treats clients like people. I recommend this office to anyone seeking representation regarding personal injury. David M. ★★★★★