Sacramento Truck Accident Attorneys
Truck accidents cause some of the most serious injuries on the roads. Too often, they are even fatal for those involved. When a truck and a passenger vehicle collide on the road, it is always those in the smaller car that will suffer the most. The effects of a crash involving a large truck will remain with victims for years to come and sometimes, even the rest of their life. If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, or carelessness, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below, our Sacramento truck accident attorney explains the most important things to know when filing a claim.
Statistics on Truck Accidents in California
Every year, California has some of the highest numbers of fatal truck accidents. In fact, Texas is the only state in the country that has more fatal collisions involving large trucks. Some of the most alarming truck accidents are as follows:
- On average, there are 113 fatal truck accidents every year in California.
- Almost 3,000 truck crashes in the state end in serious injuries.
- Every year, approximately 200 to 300 motorists lose their lives due to truck accidents.
- The majority of truck crashes occur on highways such as the I-5, the I-10, and the I-715.
Types of Truck Accidents Seen in Sacramento
There are many different types of accidents trucks are involved in. These crashes have a number of different causes but one thing remains true for all of them. They are all very serious. The most common types of truck accidents that result in serious injuries are as follows:
- Rollovers: Trucks have a very high center of gravity, which makes them more prone to rolling over. A truck rollover can also happen when truckers drive too quickly for the road conditions, or when they take a turn too sharply. A truck rollover will have catastrophic effects on anyone in the vicinity including other motorists and pedestrians.
- Rear-end collisions: When two passenger vehicles are involved in a rear-end collision, the crash is often quite minor and may not even result in injuries. The same is not true when a truck rear-ends a smaller vehicle. Due to the sheer size and weight of a commercial truck, a rear-end collision can completely crush the vehicle in front of them, killing or seriously injuring the passengers within.
- Head-on collisions: Head-on collisions occur when the front of two vehicles crashes into each other, often at high speeds. A head-on collision always has the potential to be fatal but when a commercial truck is involved, it is unlikely that those in the passenger vehicle will survive the crash.
- Jackknife accidents: Jackknife accidents occur when the trailer of a transport truck swings to the side so it is perpendicular to the tractor or cab, where the truck driver sits. As the trailer moves, it will directly impact any vehicles in the nearby area.
- T-bone accidents: Also known as broadside or side-impact crashes, a T-bone accident occurs when one vehicle slams into the side of another. T-bone accidents most commonly occur at intersections and they always cause very serious injuries. When a truck is involved, a T-bone accident can easily result in fatalities.
- Sideswipe accidents: Similar to T-bone accidents, a sideswipe accident occurs when two vehicles are traveling side by side. Sideswipe truck accidents often occur because truckers fail to check their many blind spots but tire blowouts, high wind, and road obstacles can also result in a sideswipe accident.
- Wide turn accidents: Right turns are much more difficult for truckers to make than left turns. To compensate for this, truckers often swing wide to the left in order to have more space to turn. Unfortunately, when they do this, they often crash into nearby vehicles.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
The injuries caused by truck accidents are typically catastrophic and sometimes, they can permanently diminish a person’s quality of life. Some of the most common injuries caused by truck accidents are as follows:
- Amputation injuries: Amputation is one of the most serious injuries a person could suffer during a truck accident. An amputation can occur at the scene, which is known as an accidental amputation. In other cases, an injury is so severe that a limb cannot be saved and so, surgical amputation is necessary.
- Head and brain injuries: Some of the most common head and brain injuries include concussions, hematomas, hemorrhages, and contusions. There is no such thing as a minor head or brain injury. A brain injury can cause neurological problems and seizures, which will require a lifetime of care for those who suffer from them.
- Broken bones: The human body is made up of 206 bones, and any of them can become broken due to the forceful impact of a truck accident. Broken bones often require surgery to correct and when many bones have been broken, multiple surgeries may be required, which are not only painful to recover from, but also very expensive.
- Burn injuries: During a truck accident, a gas tank may leak or explode, causing accident victims to sustain serious burns. Burns are some of the most painful injuries anyone could sustain during a crash. They can also result in permanent scarring and disfigurement, which cause accident victims a lifetime of embarrassment and shame.
- Spinal cord injuries: Herniated and ruptured discs, pulled or strained muscles, and even paralysis are just a few of the most common spinal cord injuries sustained during car accidents.
- Whiplash: Whiplash occurs when the neck moves back and forth in rapid succession, damaging the delicate tissues of the neck. Due to the forceful impact of truck accidents, there is little chance that you will walk away from the crash without some degree of whiplash. People often think whiplash is a minor injury, but that is not always the case. Whiplash is extremely painful and it can take months to make a full recovery from it.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Truck Accidents?
Of all the different aspects of filing a truck accident claim, determining who is liable for paying compensation is one of the most complexes. When two smaller vehicles are involved in an accident, one of the drivers is almost always at fault. The same is not true after a truck accident. There are many potentially liable parties at fault for a truck accident and they include:
- The truck driver: Truckers are liable for a crash any time they are negligent. Some of the most common negligent actions truckers take include distracted driving, fatigued driving, and speeding.
- Trucking companies: Trucking companies have a number of responsibilities and when they do not fulfill them, people become seriously hurt. Trucking companies must adequately train their drivers, and make sure they only hire capable and experienced drivers. Trucking companies must also make sure they and their drivers are following the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, such as the hours of service rule.
- Cargo loaders: Sometimes, truckers load cargo onto their truck but other times, a third-party company is hired to perform this task. Cargo must be securely loaded onto trucks. If it is not, it may shift during transport and throw the entire truck off balance. When improperly secured cargo causes a truck accident, the person or entity who loaded it can be held liable for a crash.
- Truck manufacturers: Brake failures, tire blowouts, and steering problems are just a few examples of defective truck equipment that causes a crash. Truck manufacturers have a legal duty to make sure the products they create are not defective so no one becomes hurt. When manufacturers do not meet this legal obligation, they can be held liable for paying damages to cover their losses.
Do You Have a Truck Accident Case?
After a truck accident, it is natural to wonder if you have a valid claim to recover damages for your losses. To file a claim, you must prove certain elements of your case. If you can prove these facts, you do have a valid claim and can recover compensation for your losses. The four elements you must establish include:
- Duty of care: All motorists on the road owe others a duty of care to keep them safe. Other parties, such as truck manufacturers and trucking companies also have a duty of care to keep other people safe. Proving duty of care is fairly easy.
- Breach of duty: Proving a breach of duty is a bit more difficult than proving duty of care because this requires proving the act of negligence that caused the accident. A Sacramento truck accident lawyer will conduct an investigation to determine what the breach of duty was, and collect evidence to prove it.
- Causation: A negligent act on its own is not enough to file a claim. You must show that the negligent act caused the crash.
- Damages: The entire point of filing a claim is to recover compensation, known as damages, for your losses such as your medical expenses. If you did not sustain any losses, there is nothing to compensate for and so, you cannot file a claim.
Compensation Available in Truck Accident Cases
You can recover compensation for any expense or other loss caused by the truck accident. The most common types of compensation available in truck accident cases are as follows:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity due to long-term disability or injury
- Decreased quality of life
- Medical or physical assistance
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages, in rare cases that involve gross negligence
The above are just a few of the most common types of compensation available after a crash. A Sacramento truck accident attorney can advise on your case and the full amount of damages you are entitled to.
The Statute of Limitations on Truck Accident Claims
Like all personal injury cases, those involving truck accidents are governed by a statute of limitations, or a time limit. In Sacramento, as throughout the rest of California, the statute of limitations on truck accident claims is two years from the date of the accident. If you do not file your claim within this time, you will likely lose your legal right to claim any compensation at all. There are some exceptions to the statute of limitations, but they are limited, so it is important to file your claim as soon as possible.
Our Truck Accident Attorneys in Sacramento Can Advise On Your Case
If you or someone you love has been injured in a crash, our Sacramento truck accident attorney at El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers can provide the sound legal representation you need. Call us now at (213) 985-1120 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys.
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