Sacramento Truck Accident Lawyer
Highway safety is a concern to all Americans. My firm focuses on trucking litigation cases and has successfully handled hundreds of numerous cases. Trucking litigation involves claims against negligent truck drivers and the companies who hire them.Truck Accidents
Collisions caused by the truckers' negligence often leads to devastating and catastrophic injuries on the road, such as brain injury or even death. In 2017, there were a total of 4,102 deaths in accidents caused by large trucks. While 17 percent of these deaths were truck drivers, 68 percent were occupants of passenger vehicles. Pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists accounted for 14 percent of the fatalities.
My law firm is committed to making highways safer making the negligent truckers and their employers to take responsibility for their actions. With the number of semis on the highways exploding, so are the number of cases involving injuries and damages caused by negligent truck drivers.Our Approach to Truck Accident Cases
We approach these cases with thoroughness as well as compassion. I understand the complex issues and the Department of Transportation regulations that govern complex trucking companies.
We prepare your case as though it will go to trial, even if most do not. We have state-of-the-art resources available to assist our team of legal professionals. This helps us make a fast and accurate assessment of the issues you face and determine the best way to recover the compensation you deserve.
A high percentage of traffic crashes and deaths involve large trucks. A large truck is any truck whose vehicle weight is over 10,000 pounds. Because of their size, crashes involving large trucks are more likely to result in serious personal injury and death than are auto accidents.
Approximately 10% of all those injured in a large truck crash will die. Large trucks are more likely to be involved in multiple-vehicle crashes than are passenger cars.
Both federal and state regulations govern trucking and cover areas such as safety of equipment and hours of the drivers. Trucking companies are required to keep records of such information and it will be necessary to find and research such records. Poor equipment and driver fatigue can be causes of such crashes.
A careful study of the trucking company records may be needed to determine if negligence has occurred.Types of Trucking Accidents
There are many types of truck accidents, including:
- Head on collisions
- Rear end collisions
- Broadside collisions
- Right-hand squeeze collisions (when a driver attempts to pass a truck on the right
- hand side, not realizing the truck is making a wide right turn)
- Centerline crossover or bump collisions
- Lane change collisions
- Stopped or slow-moving trucks causing rear-end collisions
- Jack-knifed trucks
- Vehicles sliding under trailers
- Loss of control of a vehicle, caused by large trucks
- Loss of control by the truck driver
- Hit and Run
Because big rigs, 18 wheelers, and tractor-trailers can weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds, a trucking collision can have deadly consequences.
There are unique laws and regulations that are designed specifically to protect motorists from the negligent actions of truck drivers and trucking companies. Federal and state regulations require truckers to have adequate rest to prevent driver fatigue on the highway.
There are also other specific rules for trucks including proper loading of the materials the truck is carrying and safety rules on traveling speeds - and safety when passing other vehicles. Many modern trucks have devices that allow for the reconstruction of trucker's actions just before an impact and all truckers are required to keep logs of their time.What To Do If You're Involved In A Tractor Trailer Collision
If you are involved in a collision of any kind, the first and most important thing to do is call emergency response to request both medical and police assistance. Never leave the scene and it is best if you do not move your vehicle.
If there are any disputes over the way the collision occurred, placement of the vehicles will often time assist the police and others in reconstructing the accident to determine exactly what happened.
If you have a camera in your car, or a cell phone camera, take pictures of the damage to the vehicles, and the position of the vehicles.
If you can, attempt to locate people who may have witnessed the collision. Get their name, address, and telephone number. Additionally, exchange information with the other driver, such as insurance information and driver's license information.
Be sure you know which police department investigates the collision (i.e. City Police, County Sheriff or State Patrol) so you know from whom to request the police report.
In almost every collision, there will have been some trauma to your body. If an ambulance is offered, it is always best to go to the emergency room to be examined to ensure there are not any hidden or internal injuries. Many times, adrenaline or shock will mask symptoms that later appear and injuries can be lessened in severity if they are treated right away. The emergency room doctors will also give you advice regarding follow up care.
Watch the video below for more information on what to do after being involved in a trucking accident.Importance of Preserving Evidence Quickly
As soon as a truck crash lawyer is retained, the first thing to do is to preserve any evidence. Insurance companies for truckers have rapid deployment teams that are sent to the scene of the crash immediately in an attempt to defeat or minimize responsibility. The trucking accident attorney for the injured party must also respond quickly.
1. Preservation of Evidence Letters should be sent immediately.
These are letters who should be sent to every defendant or even non-parties if they might have evidence. Federal law requires certain types of evidence to be retained for a minimum of six months. Although this is a start, the lawyer will usually want to preserve other evidence. The letter should instruct the trucking company or other party or witness that they may have crucial evidence regarding the matter and that they have a legal duty to preserve it for trial.
2. Find out where the Truck is and Preserve it.
No matter how quickly the lawyer for the victim acts, the trucking companies insurance will have been there first. It’s important not to delay. There may be items on the truck that are defective or that were not maintained properly. There may have been a “black box” on board.
It’s important to find out where the truck is and make sure it is not changed or repaired until our expert has also had a chance to examine it.
3. Preserve the Vehicle of the Injured Party (Plaintiff)
There may also be a “black box” in this vehicle. The expert will also want to inspect this vehicle to make sure everything was working correctly.Finding an Experienced Trucking Accident Attorney
When deciding on a truck crash lawyer, the yellow pages are not the way to go. Instead of relying on the size of an advertisement, it is best to research the credentials of both the attorney and the firm.
You will want to find an attorney who focuses on the area of law for which you are retaining them. For example, you wouldn't want your family law attorney trying to litigate a complex personal injury case.
At our law office, we have a highly trained staff who do nothing except personal injury law. And I am an experienced Sacramento Semi-Accident Attorney who has litigated numerous trucking accident cases. I will aggressively pursue negligent truckers and those who employ them.
We are committed to providing all the resources necessary to obtain fair settlements or trial verdicts for our clients. The success of any serious large truck accident case requires the immediate retention of excellent truck accident lawyers.Truck Accident FAQs
Q: I was in an accident in my car where I was struck by a commercial truck. Although I had no insurance on my car at the time, I don’t believe I was at fault and have had very serious injuries and big-time lost wages. Am I SOL?
A: No, if responsibility was, as you say, with the trucker, you still have a possibly good case. The lack of insurance on your car (if you were the driver) will prevent you from recovering for pain and suffering in California, but you can still recover for past wage loss, future loss of earning capacity, past medical bills, and future probable medical expenses. If you are married, additionally, your wife has a loss of consortium claim. An experienced Sacramento Truck Accident Lawyer will hire an accident reconstructionist, vocational expert, economist, and life care planner to help prove your damages.
Q: Is there a limit in the law about how many hours truck drivers are allowed to drive at one time?
A: Yes, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations state that truck drivers can work a maximum of 70 hours per week. They can then resume driving if they rest for 34 consecutive hours including 2 nights. There is also a maximum daily driving limit of 11 hours, and a maximum of total hours worked (including loading and unloading) of 14 hours daily.
Q: I often hear the term “commercial truck”. What does that mean?
A: When people refer to commercial trucking they usually mean a truck that carries commercial goods for profit. These may also be called “big rigs”. There are many examples of commercial trucks such as FedEx trucks, large freight trucks, eighteen wheelers, delivery trucks, cement trucks, and flatbed trucks. Most commercial trucks require a commercial license to drive. There are also very specific rules that govern the maintenance and driving of these commercial trucks. These rules are put out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and are listed in the Code of Federal Regulations. These regulations are very detailed and cover things like hours of work, driver licensing, transportation of hazardous materials, inspection and maintenance of such trucks, standards for commercial licenses and the amount of insurance that must be purchased.Sacramento Truck Accident Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento truck accident attorney and I handle serious trucking accidents all over the state. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a truck, call me anytime for free, friendly advice at 916.921.6400 or 800.404.5400.
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Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 7.15.19]