Since most truck accidents occur in rural areas, it makes sense that California is one of the top states for truck accidents every year. An accident involving a semi-truck has the potential to cause much more damage than in collisions with everyday sedans. Impacts by trucks are extremely forceful and its design is very different from that of cars, resulting in different parts colliding. For example, when two cars collide, that often means that bumpers and fenders are connecting. In the case of a collision between a car and a truck, the truck’s fender may be in line with the car’s windows, leading to more severe and dangerous damage and likely personal injury. If you have been involved in a car accident with a large semi-truck, speak with a truck accident lawyer in Sacramento to investigate what the cause was.
Danger of Truck Accidents
Several elements increase the danger of a collision with a truck, such as the following:
- Increased force of impact due to the size and weight of the semi-truck
- Increased force of associated parts, such as when a tire blows out
- The presence of cargo increases potential obstacles if the cargo is not secure
- Cargo that is potentially dangerous in and of itself that can lead to
- Chemical spills
- Gas leaks
- Radiation exposure
- Larger blind spots for truck drivers
- More difficult maintenance due to the many parts of the truck and the wear and tear a truck experiences
- Tired or agitated truck drivers. Drivers often have very strict deadlines and long hours. This can lead to drivers asleep at the wheel or stressed driving.
Poor Truck Maintenance Leads to Accidents
Improper truck maintenance is one of the leading causes of truck accidents, resulting in hundreds of incidents every year. Poor maintenance may lead to:
- Tire blowouts or shredding
- Brake failure
- Insufficient reflective material
- Broken taillights
- Decreased blind spot visibility
- Detachment of cargo hold from the truck
- Spilling or expulsion of cargo onto the road
- Loss of control due to steering equipment malfunction
Determining Poor Truck Maintenance
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has very strict guidelines on truck maintenance. If a commercial truck is involved in an incident and is found to be in violation of any of the provisions covered by the FMCSA regulations (part 396), the trucking company could be held liable for financial damages to injured parties. The FMCSA requires regular inspections, maintenance, and repair each individual truck in the fleet. Each driver must inspect the commercial vehicle they drive before leaving the base. Drivers and trucking companies are also required to maintain records of inspections and maintenance of each truck for 30 consecutive days at the location maintenance is performed. If a company transfers, sells or retires a vehicle, the company must keep inspection and maintenance records at the location of maintenance for at least 1½ years.
In the case of a collision with a commercial semi-truck, it is important to determine if poor truck maintenance resulted in the crash. Truck drivers themselves may be held liable for a collision if it is due to their personal negligence, for example, if they were texting and driving. Even if the driver was individually at fault, the company for which he or she works may be held partially responsible, as employers are indirectly liable for the actions of their employees.
However, if a trucking company violated any of the FMCSA safety regulations for maintenance, the company may be held directly liable for damage and injury resulting from an incident. If a violation can be proved as the cause of the accident, the trucking company is considered negligent and the plaintiff doesn’t need to prove the negligence. The defendant can still try to prove that it was not negligent, but it is their burden of proof, not that of the plaintiff. Cases involving big-rig trucks can get complicated, speak with a truck accident lawyer in Sacramento pertaining to your specific case.
Have You Experienced a Car Collision Involving a Semi-Truck?
Trucking companies often move very quickly following an incident so as to eliminate as much of the blame and associated cost as possible. For this reason, it is very important to contact a knowledgeable and motivated Sacramento law office who can help you get the compensation you deserve from a potential national and well-defended trucking company. It is also very important that you do not make a statement to the trucking company or their insurance provider. Doing so could severely limit your compensation.
Consult with a Truck Accident Lawyer in Sacramento for Your Legal Needs
Getting hit by a large truck can result in serious injuries and property damage. The Weinberger Law Firm has the knowledge and dedication that you need to deal with truck drivers, companies and insurance providers. Speak with our truck accident lawyer in Sacramento at (916) 357-6767.