Roadway accidents always pose a significant safety risk. Accidents involving large commercial trucks such as tractor-trailers, eighteen-wheelers, and big rigs are an even greater risk. Over 400 Californians died in 2021 due to truck accidents. Worse, the number of truck accidents has increased by nearly 50% over the last decade.

These large trucks can weigh up to twenty times the amount of a typical passenger car. Therefore, when these trucks are involved in an accident with a passenger car, it is almost a guarantee that they will crush the smaller vehicles.

There are significant safety regulations in place to prevent accidents caused by large trucks. However, it is not uncommon for truckers or truck companies to ignore them. This increasing the risk of injury and death for those involved in accidents.

If you have suffered as a result of an accident with a large truck, you may be able to recover compensation. A truck accident lawyer can help you recover lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and property damage. Reach out online or call (209) 600-4389 today for a free consultation with a qualified attorney at Silva Injury Law who can ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents in California

Much like a car accident, truck accidents can happen at any time and in a variety of different ways.

Driver Fatigue

Truck drivers often work long hours to meet tight delivery deadlines, leading to fatigue behind the wheel. Fatigue can impair judgment, slow reaction times, and increase the likelihood of accidents. Federal law mandates specific rest periods for commercial drivers to prevent fatigue-related accidents.

Distracted Driving

With the rise of smartphones and other electronics, distracted driving has become a significant concern for truck drivers. Checking messages, using GPS, or even eating while driving can divert attention from the road. Even looking away from the road for a few seconds increases the risk of collisions. California prohibits texting and handheld cellphone use while driving, including for commercial drivers.

Improper Loading or Cargo Securement

Cargo can shift during transit if it’s not secure, causing the truck to become unstable or lose control. Inadequate loading practices can lead to spills, debris on the roadway, or cargo falling onto other vehicles. California has guidance on the proper loading and securement of cargo to prevent accidents and ensure roadway safety.

Mechanical Failures

Truck accidents can occur due to a range of mechanical failures. Common issues include brake malfunctions, tire blowouts, or steering system issues. Maintenance and inspections are crucial for identifying and addressing these problems. California requires commercial vehicles to undergo routine inspections to ensure they are safe. However, many truckers and their employers fail to spot issues before they cause accidents. 


Excessive speed is a common factor in many truck accidents. It reduces a driver’s ability to react to hazards and increases the severity of collisions. Despite speed limits and regulations, some truck drivers may exceed safe speeds to meet delivery deadlines. Their disregard for the safety of others leads to some of the worst accidents.

Poor Weather Conditions

Heavy rain, fog, or strong winds are some of the most common causes of truck accidents. Reduced visibility, slippery roads, and gusty winds increase the risk of accidents. The problem is even worse for large commercial vehicles. Truck drivers in California must exercise caution and slow down during bad weather conditions. Unfortunately, many drivers ignore these conditions and put others at risk.

Poor Training

California requires commercial drivers to undergo training and obtain the necessary endorsements to operate specific types of commercial vehicles safely. But this isn’t enough to keep the roads safe. Many truck accidents happen due to inexperienced or untrained trained drivers. They lack the skills to safely operate large commercial vehicles. Proper training programs and ongoing checks are essential to ensure drivers operate safely. This can include taking safety classes and learning defensive driving techniques. 

Aggressive Driving Behavior

Truck accidents in California can also stem from aggressive driving. Behaviors like tailgating, sudden lane changes, or speeding can lead to dangerous collisions. On top of this, California’s roadways can be particularly congested. Traffic conditions can exacerbate frustrations and increase the likelihood of aggressive driving incidents. Truck drivers must maintain composure and avoid accidents due to their aggressive behavior.

Poor Road Conditions

Inadequate road maintenance or construction zones can contribute to truck accidents in California. Potholes, uneven surfaces, and debris on the road can cause trucks to lose control, especially at high speeds. Additionally, poorly designed intersections or improper lighting can increase the risk of collisions. Truckers must pay careful attention when facing these conditions to keep everyone safe.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Despite strict laws and enforcement efforts, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs remains a significant factor in truck accidents in California. Impaired judgment, slowed reaction times, and diminished cognitive abilities can impair a driver’s ability to operate a large commercial vehicle safely. California has stringent penalties for DUI offenses, including for commercial drivers. However, these aren’t enough to stop many drivers from getting behind the wheel.

Who Is Liable Following a Truck Crash?

Several parties may be liable when a truck accident takes place. 

Most often the truck driver will be a defendant in a claim. If the facts show that the driver was acting negligently while operating the vehicle, they can be held responsible for the losses and damages a victim suffered.

In addition to the driver, you can also sue the trucking company. If the driver was an employee of a trucking company, they can be included in the lawsuit. If the company failed to maintain the truck properly, they may be held liable for potential damages. Similarly, a truck company might fail to supervise its employees or be negligent in the way it trains its drivers. If so, they may be responsible at least in part for the accident.

Lastly, you can take legal action against the truck manufacturer or mechanics. These companies have a duty to ensure the truck is in working condition. They can be liable for injuries that are due to a defect during construction or repairs.

What Damages Can I Recover After a Truck Crash?

You may be entitled to various types of compensation after an accident. These damages can help you recover from your injuries and losses.

Common damages can include:

  • Medical expenses—compensation for past, current, and future medical expenses related to injuries sustained in the truck accident; 
  • Lost income—reimbursement for wages lost due to time taken off work to recover from injuries sustained in the truck accident;
  • Pain and suffering—compensation for the physical pain and emotional suffering endured as a result of the truck accident and subsequent injuries;
  • Property damage—reimbursement for the repair or replacement of your vehicle or other personal property damaged in the truck accident;
  • Loss of consortium—compensation for the loss of companionship, care, assistance, and support suffered by a spouse or family member as a result of your injuries sustained in the truck accident; and
  • Punitive damages—awarded to punish the at-fault party for egregious conduct and deter similar behavior in the future. 

Meeting with a truck accident attorney can help you determine the full extent of your damages and pursue fair compensation for your losses. 

What to Do If You Have Been Involved in a Truck Crash

Accidents with trucks are a common and tragic occurrence.

Here’s what you should do if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation:

  • Ensure safety. Your safety and the safety of others involved should be your top priority. If possible, move to a safe location away from oncoming traffic and hazards. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers of the accident scene.
  • Check for injuries. Check yourself and others involved in the accident for any injuries. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately to request medical assistance. Even if injuries seem minor at first, it’s essential to seek medical attention as some injuries may not be immediately apparent.
  • Call law enforcement. Contact the police to report the accident, especially if there are injuries or significant property damage. A police report will document the details of the accident, which can be crucial for insurance claims and legal proceedings later on.
  • Gather information. Exchange information with the truck driver and other parties involved in the accident. This includes names, contact information, driver’s license numbers, vehicle registration, and insurance information. 
  • Document the scene. Take photographs of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, road conditions, traffic signs, and any visible injuries. These photos can serve as valuable evidence during insurance claims or legal proceedings.
  • Follow up on medical care. Even if you don’t initially feel injured, it’s essential to follow up with medical professionals for a thorough evaluation. Some injuries may manifest days or weeks after the accident, and prompt medical attention can help ensure proper treatment and documentation for your claim.
  • Seek legal advice. Meet with a qualified truck accident attorney. They can help protect your rights and pursue compensation for your injuries and damages. 

By taking these steps, you can maximize the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

Find Out How We Can Help

At Silva Injury Law we promote healing through compassionate advocacy. Thanks to our understanding of the causes of truck accidents, we have recovered millions for our clients. With each case tailored to the individual, we look our for your best interests by evaluating your unique circumstances.

Contact us online or call (209) 600-4389 today for a FREE in-person or remote consultation.