Truck Accidents in California – An Overview

Driving on a highway in the State of California usually means sharing the road with large 18-wheel commercial vehicles. For any commuter, driving alongside a large commercial truck can be nerve-wracking, and this feeling isn’t unfounded. Large truck accidents occur regularly, and when they occur, they tend to cause serious fatal and non-fatal injuries. In 2018, the NHTSA reported 4,951 truck accident fatalities, a .9 percent increase from the figures reported in 2017.

Truck accidents happen for many reasons, but when they occur because the truck driver or truck company is found negligent in causing the accident, they can be held responsible for the victim’s damages. When a person perishes as a consequence of a truck accident, his or her family can seek monetary restitution through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Reasons Truck Accidents Occur

As a result of their immense size and weight, large commercial trucks can be very difficult to maneuver, which can place other drivers on the road at risk of an accident. Fortunately, however, there are strict state and federal regulations that are designed to protect the general public, as well as downsize the risk of large truck accidents.

Regrettably, accidents can still occur as a result of a violation of these regulations, such as:

  • Overloading the truck,
  • Un-securing the truck’s cargo,
  • A lack of proper maintenance,
  • Driving while under the influence,
  • Ignoring traffic signs and traffic laws,
  • Driving too fast for adverse weather conditions, and
  • Ignoring hourly driving limits and driving while fatigued.

Injuries Commonly Caused in Truck Accidents

Truck accidents occur for many different reasons, but because these vehicles are so large and much heavier than regular passenger vehicles, they tend to cause severe accidents. When a smaller vehicle collides with a large commercial vehicle, being injured may be unavoidable. Some of the most catastrophic injuries a person could sustain in truck accident include the following:

  • Head or brain trauma,
  • Spinal cord injury,
  • Facial injuries,
  • Broken or dislocated bones, and
  • Scarring and disfigurement

Possible Damages in a Case

After a truck accident, making a recovery may be a prolonged process for many. For others, making a full recovery may be unattainable. Fortunately, the State of California recognizes the dangers associated with large trucking accidents As a result, the state allows truck accident victims the opportunity to seek compensation from the at-fault party when the accident was caused as a result of negligence.

Although every case will be different, the following are common damages that can be recovered in a truck accident case:

  • Hospital and emergency care bills,
  • Long-term medical care costs,
  • Prescription and therapeutic costs,
  • Home modifications following a catastrophic injury,
  • Pain and suffering,
  • Trauma and emotional distress,
  • Loss of income,
  • Loss of earning capacity, and
  • Loss of quality of life

Wrongful Death in a Truck Accident

As a result of the immense size and weight of large commercial trucks, it is not uncommon for a collision to result in fatal injuries. According to crash statistics provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 457 people lost their lives in truck accidents that occured in 2019. Between January and May of this year, 146 people have lost their lives thus far.

When a large truck accident results in the untimely death of a person, the surviving family members of the decedent can seek monetary compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party. Wrongful death cases are generally handled the same as personal injury cases, and will require the plaintiff to demonstrate the at-fault party’s responsibility. To do so, the victim’s family members will need to prove the following:

  1. The victim passed away;
  2. The victim’s death was caused by the defendant’s negligence or intentional harm;
  3. Monetary losses were the resulting factor of the victim’s death for the plaintiff; and
  4. A representative has been assigned for the victim’s estate.

Wrongful death cases, as well as other personal injury claims, require only a preponderance of evidence to establish liability. This means that the standard of establishing liability is not as high as it is required for a guilty verdict in a criminal case. Moreover, along with other personal injury cases, wrongful death cases are subject to a strict deadline, where plaintiffs generally have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a case.

How a Proficient Attorney Can Help

Truck accident cases are notorious for being some of the most challenging of all personal injury cases. This can come as no surprise as these cases involve state and federal regulations, where a violation in a violation can be difficult to prove. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you should know that a successful case will involve a rigorous investigation. Speak to a proficient attorney who will assist you in the investigation process, help you establish liability, and aggressively advocate for your right to full compensation. After a serious truck accident, consider contacting the support of a proficient attorney.