Truck accidents are very serious situations. Because of their size and weight, trucks can cause massive damage. Truck accident injuries are often severe, and fatalities are common. The number of trucks on the road is consistently rising as consumer demand increases. California is a large state with an extensive freeway system, and truck accidents are not uncommon. This is a guide to general information about truck accidents in California.
Types of Truck Accidents
Commercial truck accidents involve a wide variety of vehicles other than 18-wheelers, or “semis.” Types of commercial vehicles include:
- Flatbed trailers;
- Passenger buses;
- Construction vehicles like dump trucks, forklifts, or cement trucks;
- Refrigerated trailers;
- Fire trucks;
- Garbage trucks; and
- Box trucks.
Even smaller vehicles like ambulances and box trucks count as commercial vehicles.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck accidents have increased steadily over the years. Most recently, FMCSA reported that in 2019, there were 127,000 crashes involving large commercial vehicles, up from 109,000 in 1999. In that same year, 182,000 people were injured and 5,244 people died in truck accidents. Out of those fatalities, 927 were drivers or passengers of commercial vehicles. That means over 80% of commercial truck crash fatalities in 2019 were occupants of other vehicles or pedestrians.
Commercial drivers are under pressure to complete their routes as quickly as possible. This can lead to truck drivers taking risks that they should avoid, such as driving while fatigued or speeding. According to an FMCSA causation study, truck driver error accounts for almost 9 out of every 10 crashes caused by commercial vehicles. The most common driver errors reported were:
- Reckless driving, e.g., aggressive driving, speeding, and tailgating (38%);
- Distracted driving (28%);
- The driver was physically impaired and could not drive properly, e.g., they fell asleep or had a heart attack or seizure (12%); and
- Improper reactions, e.g., the driver froze or overcompensated (9%).
The FMCSA reported that equipment failure caused 10% of the crashes, while only 2% were due to environmental factors.
Truck Accident Common Injuries and Damages
The list of truck accident injuries is almost infinite. Any sort of injury can happen in a traffic accident. What makes truck accident injuries different is that they are generally much more severe on average than in car accidents simply because trucks are so much bigger and heavier than cars. These accidents also typically happen on highways or interstates where the minimum speeds are much higher than on local roads. Truck accident victims can face enormous medical bills and may be unable to go back to work indefinitely. Depending on how catastrophic their injuries are, their entire lives could change.
Available damages in truck accidents include economic expenses such as medical bills, lost wages, loss of future wages, costs to modify one’s home or car for accessibility, travel expenses to and from medical appointments, etc. Being involved in a crash can also be a traumatizing experience for many people. Severe injuries can lead people to develop psychological issues such as depression and anxiety, especially if they have to drastically alter their lives as a result. You can recover compensation for these noneconomic damages.
Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident?
Typically, truck accident cases involve multiple defendants. Because the truck drivers usually don’t own the trucks they’re driving, your attorney must investigate who else might be responsible. Depending on the circumstances, responsible parties could include the trucking company, the shipper that owns the freight, a broker, a trailer owner, a truck maintenance company, etc. It is very important to identify all of the possible liable parties to have a fair chance of full financial recovery.
Silva Injury Law, Inc. Are Experienced Commercial Trucking Accident Attorneys
Silva Injury Law, Inc. can help give you the best chance at full financial recovery for your accident injuries. We are California trucking accident lawyers with years of experience representing people hurt in accidents with commercial vehicles. We will treat you like family, and we never take on cases that we are not prepared to take to trial if necessary. Contact us to find out how our lawyers can help you with your legal claim.