Stockton Truck Accident Lawyer (209) 227-1931
Advocates for Big-Rig Accident Victims—Stockton Trucking Accident Attorney
I’m Ed Smith, a Stockton Trucking Accident Lawyer. Because it is impossible to live in Stockton without spending a fair amount of time on I-5, local residents see a fair number of tractor-trailer crashes and backups caused by collisions involving large trucks. Whether the truck is transporting produce for processing or pallets of merchandise destined for a Stockton Walmart or Weberstown Mall, these massive motor vehicles present unprecedented risks to other vehicle occupants traveling the streets and highways of San Joaquin County. As a Stockton truck accident lawyer, I have been representing those seriously injured by negligent truck drivers and commercial carriers since 1982. This experience is invaluable when taking on large trucking companies and their national insurance carriers.
A Stockton truck accident attorney must have extensive knowledge of the special issues involved in trucking litigation. Trucking accidents often constitute the most deadly of all motor vehicle collisions because of the size and weight disparity between a massive commercial truck and a passenger car. A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 26 times more than a typical economy car.
There are other factors that make trucking accident lawsuits unique, including the need to possess comprehensive knowledge of the extensive matrix of state and federal regulations that govern the trucking industry. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the primary regulatory agency for commercial carriers and truck drivers engaged in interstate trucking (i.e. trucking across state lines). For trucking companies that operate exclusively within California (intrastate), the California Department of Transportation is the primary regulatory agency. Trucking accident lawsuits also are complicated by the widespread trucking industry practice of distorting or hiding critical evidence.
Semi-Truck Crash Litigation Poses Special Challenges for Injury Victims
When selecting a Stockton truck accident lawyer to handle a tractor-trailer accident, it is important that you work with a law firm that has extensive experience in handling trucking litigation. My law firm routinely works with trucking experts. I’ve had extensive experience dealing with commercial carriers that attempt to avoid liability by hastily repairing commercial trucks, doctoring driver logbooks, and “losing” data stored in the truck’s “black box” data recorder. This evidence can be essential to proving issues, such as safety violations by the driver or trucking company, as well as the role of driver or trucking company negligence in causing your injuries.
Preserving Critical Evidence
I recognize the importance of moving promptly to make sure that the commercial truck involved in your accident is not put back into service so that critical evidence disappears. If damage to the truck is repaired, these changes to the condition of the vehicle can impair the efforts of accident reconstruction experts. Further, the on-board data recorder that functions like the “black box” in a commercial flight might record over previously stored data when the truck is placed back in service.
Common Forms of Negligence Committed by Commercial Carriers and Truck Drivers
While most truck drivers are conscientious, unrealistic shipping schedules that result from economic pressure or carriers trying to increase profits can result in drivers making critical driving errors. An experienced Stockton trucking accident lawyer knows that the majority of big-rig accidents are caused by avoidable mistakes that include:
- Speeding to deliver a load more rapidly
- Exceeding maximum time behind the wheel without adequate rest
- Failure to check blind spots
- Lack of maintenance of tires, brakes, and other safety features
- Lack of screening of driving records when hiring
- Use of drugs and alcohol
- Poor route selection, including those with steep grades
- Failing to conduct vehicle inspections
- Inadequate supervision and training of truck drivers
Aggressive Steps to Gather and Preserve Critical Evidence in Trucking Litigation
Because I have extensive experience representing trucking accident victims, I recognize the importance of proactive steps to preserve and gather evidence in trucking litigation. While truck drivers are required to keep logbooks that track hours of service (HOS) to reduce the risk of fatigue-related tractor-trailer crashes, drivers often manipulate the entries or keep two sets of books. I analyze fuel receipts, “black box” data, lodging records, GPS data, and other information to expose falsified logbooks.
I also routinely send a “spoliation” notice to the trucking company advising that the big-rig and “black box” data are the subject of litigation. This notice warns the commercial carrier that alteration or destruction of the indicated evidence will expose the carrier to the risk of sanctions. These sanctions can amount to an attorney fee award or the court entering rulings that impair the defense’s position on specific issues or with regard to certain evidence. In some cases, I will even seek temporary restraining orders from a judge to prevent the loss or alteration of valuable evidence.
Trucking Accidents Can Often Cause Debilitating Injuries & Massive Damages
A collision between a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle often results in horrific injuries or wrongful death. Because of the substantial difference in mass between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles, it is almost always the case that the passenger vehicle occupants are the ones who suffer devastating injuries. A trucking accident can result in the inability to provide for one’s family or enjoy simple life experiences free of pain. Some of the serious injuries that may be suffered in a large truck collision include the following:
- Spinal cord injuries (paraplegia, quadriplegia)
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Injury to Internal Organs
- Loss of Extremities
- Bone Crush Injuries
- Extensive Burns
- Wrongful Death
I understand the life-altering impact of debilitating injuries suffered in a tractor-trailer collision. I’m committed to representing clients with the zealousness, empathy, and dedication that my clients need and deserve. I might be able to seek compensation for lost income, medical and hospital expenses, pain and suffering, loss of services and companionship of your spouse, and other out of pocket expenses, depending on the specifics of your case. If the life of someone you love is tragically taken from you in a collision involving an 18-wheeler, you may also seek burial and funeral expenses in a wrongful death lawsuit. When a truck driver or trucking company engages in particularly reprehensible conduct, such as driving while under the influence of drugs, you might also have a right to seek punitive damages.
Contact a Stockton Truck Accident Lawyer for Help
I’m Ed Smith, a Stockton Truck Accident Lawyer. If you or a member of your family have been seriously injured or tragically lost their life in a trucking collision, please call me today at (209) 227-1931 for free, friendly advice.
Learn more about us.
I am a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Trial lawyers in this forum have won multiple cases worth over a million dollars.
I have been practicing personal injury law exclusively since 1982.
Take a look at my Past Verdicts and Settlements page.
Our Stockton address is:
Law Offices of Edward A. Smith
235 N. San Joaquin St
Stockton, CA 95202
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Image Attribution: By PRA (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons