CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: What We Are Doing to Protect Our Clients

Sacramento Truck Accident Lawyer

truck crash

Big rigs are an essential element of our nation’s economy and a common presence on California roadways. However, the overwhelming size and weight of tractor-trailers can pose a serious risk of catastrophic injury or wrongful death to Sacramento residents. If you have suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a semi-truck wreck, you may be entitled to compensatory damages from the insurance company representing the negligent truck driver and the trucking firm.

At AutoAccident.com, our truck accident lawyers strongly believe that careless truck drivers and the trucking company should be held responsible for their actions. Since 1982, our experienced legal team has protected the rights of those hurt in big rig crashes from being taken advantage of by difficult insurance companies and trucking firms. For a free consultation from our Sacramento truck accident lawyers, call us today at (916) 921-6400.

Trucking companies are required by law to carry high bodily injury liability coverage limits. However, getting a fair settlement is not easy. Insurers and trucking corporations use defense tactics to pay as little as possible on bodily injury claims. Do not let this happen to you and your family. Seek the legal assistance of the best truck accident lawyer in Sacramento today.

National Statistics on Truck Accidents

According to a 2019 report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there were a total of 4,119 deaths in motor vehicle accidents involving large trucks. While 16 percent of these deaths were truck drivers, 67 percent were occupants of passenger vehicles. Pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists accounted for 15 percent of the traffic fatalities.

Our Sacramento truck accident lawyers are committed to making highways safer by holding negligent truckers and their employers responsible for their wrongdoing at our law firm. With the number of semi-trucks on the highways increasing, so are the number of car accidents caused by negligent truck drivers.

Our Approach to Truck Accident Cases

Our personal injury attorneys approach big rig crash cases with thoroughness and compassion. We understand the challenging issues and the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations that govern complex trucking companies.

Our law firm will 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 our Sacramento truck accident attorneys 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 semi-trucks are more likely to result in personal injury and wrongful death than motor vehicle collisions.

Approximately 10% of all those injured in an 18-wheeler 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 the safety of equipment and hours of the drivers. Trucking companies must 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 Crashes

There are many types of a truck vs. car accidents, including:

  • Broadside collisions
  • Centerline crossover or bump collisions
  • Hand side (not realizing the truck is making a wide right turn)
  • Head-on collisions
  • Hit and Run
  • Jack-knifed trucks
  • Lane change collisions
  • Loss of control by the truck driver
  • Rear-end collisions
  • Right-hand squeeze collisions (when a driver attempts to pass a truck on the right)
  • Stopped or slow-moving trucks causing rear-end collisions
  • Vehicles sliding under trailers

Because 18 wheelers, tractor-trailers, and big rigs can weigh about 80,000 pounds, an accident involving a large truck can be deadly.

Some unique laws and regulations are designed specifically to protect motorists from the negligent actions of truck drivers and trucking companies. State and federal regulations mandate truck drivers to have enough sleep to prevent fatigue on the road.

There are 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 an accident of any kind, the first and most important thing to do is call emergency response to request medical and police assistance. Never leave the scene, and it is best if you do not move your vehicle.
  • If there are any issues with how the semi-truck accident occurred, placement of the vehicles will help the police and others reconstruct the crash to determine exactly what happened.
  • 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 commercial vehicle accident, 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. 

Often, 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 an 18-wheeler accident in California and when you should contact a Sacramento truck accident lawyer.

Importance of Preserving Evidence Quickly After a Trucking Accident

As soon as a Sacramento truck crash lawyer is retained, the first thing to do is preserve any evidence. Insurance companies for truckers have rapid deployment teams 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.

  • Preservation of evidence letters should be sent immediately: These are letters that 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 Sacramento truck accident attorney 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 have a legal duty to preserve it for trial.
  • Find out where the truck is and preserve it: No matter how quickly the injury lawyer for the claimant acts, the trucking company's 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.
  • Preserve the vehicle of the injured party: 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.

How to Find the Best Attorney for Your Big Rig Crash Case

When deciding on the best truck accident lawyer in Sacramento to handle your case, 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 personal injury law 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. Our experienced and best-rated trucking accident attorneys in Sacramento, CA, have litigated many commercial truck crash cases. We will aggressively pursue negligent truckers and those who employ them.

Our legal team is 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 skilled commercial truck accident lawyers.

Sacramento Truck Accident FAQ

What happens if you are involved in a big rig crash without insurance?

If responsibility was 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 from pain and suffering in California. However, you can still recover 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.
 
A top-rated Sacramento truck accident attorney will hire an accident reconstructionist, vocational expert, economist, and life care planner for your case. Working with these expert witnesses can help prove your personal injury damages.

Is there a limit in the law about how many hours truck drivers are allowed to drive at one time?

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.

What is considered a commercial truck?

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 commercial trucks such as FedEx trucks, large freight trucks, eighteen-wheelers, delivery trucks, cement trucks, and flatbed trucks. Most large trucks require a commercial license to operate. 
 
Particular rules 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 bodily injury liability insurance that must be purchased.

Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 5.13.21]

Image by RENE RAUSCHENBERGER from Pixabay 

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