Santa Barbara Truck Accident Lawyer

Truck AccidentsYou 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 are affected by serious trucking accidents.

Causes of Trucking Accidents

There are many reasons why commercial trucks collide with sedans, SUVs, 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 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 equipment issues.
  • 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, resulting in major collisions.
Why Trucking Accidents Can Cause Major Injuries and Death

A large commercial tractor-trailer can weigh more than 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 smaller vehicle).

The video below explains the types of injuries that can occur in a trucking accident.

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, several parties may be 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 is placed on the big rig.
Do I Really Need a Lawyer for My 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.

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 of 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. According to CVN, multiple wrongful death lawsuits were filed on behalf of the victims, and the trucking company reportedly settled for nearly $80 million in total. According to reports, Brittany McDaniel, the only other nursing student to survive the crash, received a $5 million settlement.

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. I have decades of trial experience with handling truck accident injury or death cases.

We are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

See our client reviews on Avvo, Google, and Yelp, and our past cases on our Verdicts and Settlements page.

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!" 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
"Ed and Robert have been taking great care of my husband and I for the past 5+ years. They are always there when you have a problem and a quick resolution! Even when the issues have nothing to do with them. They are willing to help ease the pain off your shoulders. They are as good as it gets! Thank you again for everything." Annie T.
"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.