Catastrophic truck collisions injure thousands of people every year. In fact, crashes involving big trucks cause several thousand fatalities annually in the United States. What are the causes of these accidents? If you’re injured in a truck collision in California, what are your rights?
Can you receive compensation for injuries? Keep reading, and you’ll learn what every driver in Southern California needs to know about truck accidents and injuries.
For decades, researchers have shown that fatigue on the part of a truck driver is the number one reason behind truck accidents, but another cause of these terrifying collisions – improperly-secured cargo – is seldom discussed. Improperly-secured cargo makes a truck unsafe and endangers anyone in the truck’s vicinity. Shifting or falling cargo is the reason for approximately seven percent of all serious truck crashes.
Truck accidents caused by improperly-secured cargo are preventable. Every traffic accident, of course, is potentially tragic, but trucks are the most dangerous vehicles on the road.
A large truck fully loaded with cargo can weigh in excess of forty tons; the typical auto or small pickup, in contrast, weighs around 3,000 to 4,000 pounds. A truck’s size and weight make braking a truck more difficult than braking a car, and turning a truck is no easy task, either.
WHO REGULATES THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY?
The trucking industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency of the Department of Transportation. The FMCSA establishes and enforces strict rules for securing cargo. The regulations require that “Cargo must be firmly immobilized or secured on or within a vehicle.”
The truck driver and the trucking company are responsible for ensuring that cargo is secured properly and that a truck will be safe on the highway. If the cargo on a truck is unbalanced or otherwise loaded improperly, a truck can literally tip over when the driver is negotiating a sharp turn.
A truck’s high center of gravity also increases the chance of a rollover, especially on ramps and curved highways. Additionally, on some trucks, if the cargo isn’t properly secured, it will fall right onto the roadway. Improperly-secured cargo makes a truck unstable, and when a truck rolls over, no one wants to be in the vicinity.
When a large truck slams into – or rolls over on – an automobile, it’s usually the driver and passengers in the auto who sustain the most serious injuries. When truck drivers and owners disregard the law, and when those who load a truck disregard the regulations, it’s negligence, and it puts you and your loved ones at risk.
HOW CAN TRUCK ACCIDENT INJURY VICTIMS BE COMPENSATED?
In California, the injured victims of negligence are entitled to compensation for all of their past, present, and future accident-related medical expenses, lost wages, and all other related damages.
Entitlement, however, doesn’t make a victim’s compensation automatic or assured. If you’re injured by someone else’s negligence, you’ll have to prove it to be compensated, and you’ll need an attorney’s help.
If you are injured in any accident with a truck in southern California, consult immediately with an experienced Pasadena personal injury lawyer who can explain your legal rights and options as a victim of negligence.
If you qualify to file a personal injury claim, your attorney will negotiate for an acceptable settlement on your behalf, and if no acceptable settlement is forthcoming, your attorney will fight for your compensation in court.
HOW CAN YOU AVOID AN ACCIDENT WITH A TRUCK?
How can you avoid a traffic collision with a truck – especially a truck that’s already dangerous because of improperly-loaded cargo? For starters, never, ever tailgate a truck.
When you do, the truck’s driver cannot see you. When you pass a large truck, don’t cut immediately back in front of it. First, put some distance between your vehicle and the truck.
Listed here are some of the other mistakes you must avoid when you’re driving near a large commercial truck:
Never cut off a truck to reach a turn or exit. Cutting in front of a truck is never a good idea. Where two lanes merge into one, do not race the truck to the single lane. Instead, reduce your speed and fall in behind the truck.
Do not linger when you pass a truck, and don’t drive alongside one. That puts you in the way if the truck’s driver has to move into your lane. Always pass a big truck on the left and never on the right.
Never underestimate a truck’s speed or size. Big trucks are often larger, and are often moving faster, than they first appear.
The highways in Southern California are some of the world’s busiest, and they’re usually crowded with large commercial trucks. Accidents involving large trucks can be disastrous for anyone who’s involved, and the personal injury cases that arise from accidents involving trucks can often be far more complicated than the cases arising from automobile-only collisions.
Catastrophic injury, permanent disability, and wrongful death are far too frequently the tragic consequences of truck accidents. The injuries frequently sustained in truck collisions include spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, soft tissue injuries, crushed and broken bones, and burn injuries.
Truck accident injury victims often face multiple surgeries, extended recuperations, and for some, a lifetime of disability and medical care. If you require amputation, suffer spinal cord damage, or sustain a traumatic brain injury in a collision with a truck, you’ll need substantial compensation to pay for long-term care and treatment.
HOW CAN A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY HELP?
If you are injured in a trucking accident, consult at once with a personal injury lawyer about your rights and options, which may include a personal injury lawsuit. A skilled Southern California personal injury attorney can review the facts about your accident and injury and then fight aggressively for your compensation – and for your rights.
Truck accidents are frightening, and the severity of some of the injuries suffered in these accidents is hard to imagine. In truck accidents with serious injuries, the truck’s driver is almost never the only party with liability. Multiple defendants are often involved in personal injury cases arising from truck crashes.
Leasing companies, contractors, and subcontractors are all part of the trucking business. When cargo isn’t loaded properly, several defendants may have partial liability for their negligence and their role in causing a collision and injuries.
A personal injury attorney will carefully scrutinize all of the parties involved to ensure that the victims of trucking accidents receive the full compensation they need as well as the full justice they deserve.