If you have been injured in a truck accident due to the negligence of someone else, you have the right to seek compensation. Contact Madison Law Group for a free consultation to see how we can help.
At some point in your life, you have likely seen a major tractor-trailer accident on a highway. The wreckage that gets left behind is usually devastating and frightening. Still, many people do not know just how horrific a truck accident is until they are involved in one.
The aftermath of a truck accident can be a challenging time in your life. You will likely sustain extensive property damage to your vehicle, and even worse, you may get injured severely and have to undergo months or even years of medical treatment and rehabilitation. All of this can be extremely costly even when you have health insurance. To make matters worse, many people have to take a long time off work to recover, which could lead to a financial disaster.
If you’re like most people, you were just trying to get from point A to point B on the day you were involved in a truck accident, so you probably don’t have much familiarity with truck accident laws. You should always seek help from a skilled legal advocate who has specialized experience in handling these kinds of claims. Speaking with an experienced truck accident attorney at Madison Law Group can help you finally see a path forward through this trying time in your life.
Statistics Regarding Truck Accidents in California
One of the main reasons why tractor-trailer accidents on California roads are so devastating is the fact that these vehicles are some of the largest on our roads. Many tractor-trailers are longer than 70 feet and can weigh over 80,000 pounds, which is tens of thousands more than your typical passenger vehicle. California sees a high number of truck accidents each year, as trucks are used in the booming agriculture business and also to transport goods from one area to another.
Over the years, the number of big rig accidents that occur in California have been tracked by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Data has shown that truck accidents are on the rise throughout California, many of which lead to traumatic results such as serious injuries or fatalities. In 2016, for instance, a total of 375 people were killed in fatal truck accidents. By 2020, it was reported that 398 people were killed in fatal truck accidents in all of California. The National Safety Council (NSC) actually stated that California was second in statewide fatalities caused by large truck accidents in 2020.
Because truck accidents are becoming more frequent on Los Angeles roads and everywhere else in California, drivers are urged to take special precautions at all times. However, it is important that you also know how to protect your rights after a truck accident has already happened to you.
Common Reasons That Negligence Causes Angeles Truck Accidents
There are a number of reasons why truck accidents occur in the state of California, and specifically in major cities like Los Angeles. Here are some of the most common reasons for these life-altering collisions, which can also help us better understand how truck accidents can be prevented.
Fatigued Driving: It is no secret that truck drivers work long hours on our roads. This is usually because a lot of pressure is put on the drivers to get from one destination to the next as quickly as possible. The law states that drivers are supposed to take breaks from the road so that they do not become fatigued, but because truck drivers are often paid by the load or by the mile, rather than for their time, they are incentivized to keep going even when they are exhausted. Severe accidents happen each year when a truck driver falls asleep at the wheel.
Driver Distraction: Driver distractions happen all the time, especially for truck drivers who spend long hours on the road and become bored by the monotony of the job. Even if a truck driver takes their attention off the road for just a second or two, they are traveling the length of a football field in a massive vehicle without their eyes on the road around them. This can lead to terrible consequences, and it is why truck drivers should never engage in distracted driving such as texting behind the wheel, eating while driving, fiddling with the radio, or becoming distracted by other passengers.
Intoxicated Driving: Truck drivers are prohibited from driving while intoxicated by either drugs or alcohol. However, intoxication-related accidents involving large trucks still happen every year in Los Angeles and the rest of California. Not only is drunk driving a serious felony that could cost a truck driver their license to drive trucks, but it could also cost victims of truck accidents their lives.
Reckless Driving: Truck accidents also result from reckless driving each year. When a truck driver is maneuvering their truck in a reckless manner or speeding on our major highways, a serious collision could happen in the blink of an eye.
Lack of Vehicle Maintenance: A trucking company, as well as the truck driver, are supposed to make sure that a truck is properly maintained before it hits the road. If a truck has any problems, they should be fixed before a driver hits the road again.
Poorly Loaded Cargo: A truck could also be loaded improperly, causing it to tip over while driving when the load shifts, or lose its cargo in the middle of the road. When a trucking company hires cargo loaders, they should be looking for the safest in the business so that truck accidents do not occur related to poorly loaded cargo.
Lack of Proper Training: When a truck drivers has not been properly trained for the job, they are likely to make major mistakes that could lead to a serious accident. This is why trucking companies are supposed to train their drivers in many ways to ensure that safety comes first.
As you can see, there are many ways in which truck accidents can occur just from driver negligence alone. If you have been hurt in a serious truck accident, and you believe it was due to negligence on the part of the truck driver, it is crucial that you speak with a dedicated and experienced truck accident attorney at Madison Law Group as soon as possible to find out the next steps you should take.
Most Common Types of Large Truck Accidents
Some tractor-trailer collisions are more damaging than others. Now that we have seen the different causes of truck accidents, it is important to take a closer look at the most common types of accidents involving large trucks.
Rollovers: Because trucks are such large vehicles, this also means that they have a higher standard of gravity than your average passenger vehicle. It also means that they are more likely to become involved in catastrophic rollover accidents. In some cases, these accidents happen due to negligent behavior by the truck driver, such as speeding.
Rear-End Collisions: When a tractor-trailer strikes a much smaller vehicle from behind, it can lead to devastating consequences. Many small vehicles are crushed upon impact in these accidents.
Head-on Collisions: Sometimes, drivers become distracted or engage in other reckless acts that cause them to drift out of their lane and into another. A truck driver could also end up in the other lane when they fail to abide by the right-of-way at an intersection. However they happen, head-on collisions are likely to lead to severe trauma and even deadly results.
Jackknifing: Jackknife accidents are prevalent in cases involving trucks because a truck’s trailer could swing to the side in a collision, creating the shape of a folding jackknife in its wake. A skidding trailer could slam into several vehicles at high speeds, causing a chain-reaction that leads to deadly results.
T-Bone Collisions: T-bone accidents involving large trucks are most prevalent at intersections. When truck drivers disobey the rules of the road, they could slam into the side of another vehicle at high speeds, causing extensive damage and injuries.
Steps to Take After Being Injured in a Truck Accident
After you have been hurt in a life-altering truck accident, there are some things that you should always remember to do. These steps are not only to protect your health and well-being, but also your rights down the road as you navigate the legal system. All of the following steps are important to take immediately following a large truck accident:
- Call emergency personnel immediately following your accident. It is important to be evaluated by medical responders as soon as possible. EMTs will assist those with injuries and police will take statements from all involved.
- You may think that you are fine in the hours or days following a truck accident, but injuries could be rearing their head without your knowledge. This is why it is crucial that you seek medical treatment after an accident without delay.
- Retrieve any information at the scene that can be used as evidence in your claim. Get all contact information from involved parties and take photographs and videos of any damage caused by the collision.
- Never speak with an insurance company after an accident until you have sought help from a skilled personal injury attorney. Our Los Angeles personal injury attorneysat Madison Law Group will help you every step of the way as you navigate the legal system after a truck crash.
Injuries Resulting from Truck Accidents
There are many different types of injuries that are prevalent in truck accidents throughout Los Angeles and beyond. However, some of these injuries tend to happen more frequently than others. Some of the most common injuries in truck accident cases include the following:
Back and Neck Injuries: Though some back and neck injuries are relatively minor, such as whiplash, others are incredibly severe, like dislocated discs in the neck. These injuries can be long-lasting and painful, affecting many aspects of your life as you undergo treatment.
Spinal Cord Injuries: Spinal cord injuries are incredibly severe because they can affect your overall mobility. On top of this, a spinal cord injury could cause paralysis from the site of the injury down, which is unfortunately life-altering.
Burns: It’s possible that an explosion could occur in the event of a truck accident, which can cause severe burns of varying degrees to anybody involved in the accident.
Internal Organ Damage: When a truck accident occurs, you could receive blunt force trauma that causes serious injury to any of your internal organs. Some of the most commonly-affected organs in a truck accident include the lungs, spleen, bladder, liver, and pancreas.
Broken Bones: With so many bones in the human body, it is no surprise that a truck accident can cause bone fractures and breaks. These injuries can require a long healing time, leaving you unable to work or function normally.
The injuries that stem from truck accidents are often long-lasting and painful. You could have a long road to recovery before you that you are not prepared to face, as well as medical bills that you cannot handle entirely on your own. This is why you should contact a skilled and knowledgeable Los Angeles personal injury lawyer at Madison Law Group immediately after your accident so that you can focus on your recovery while we handle the legal matter of ensuring you receive compensation.
Regulations in the Trucking Industry
Because the safety of all drivers who share our roads is incredibly important, the federal government heavily regulates the trucking industry. One of the biggest ways that they do this is through Hours of Service regulations, which dictate how long a driver is able to operate on our roads before they must take a break. Currently, they operate within a 14-hour driving window, which means that a truck driver can only drive up to 11 hours during a 14-hour window, provided that they had a break for at least 10 hours before driving. By operating on these schedules, the trucking industry aims to prevent fatigued driving incidents. Logbooks are used to track this type of data.
On top of time working regulations, the trucking industry also uses drug and alcohol testing as a way to ensure that drivers are abiding by the rules of the road at all times. Under FMCSA rules, trucking companies have to test their drivers for drug and alcohol use regularly. This means that drivers are not only tested randomly, but they are also tested when accidents occur on our roadways.
How Long Do I Have To File a Personal Injury Claim In Los Angeles?
Every state has certain rules that you must comply with when you are looking to file a personal injury claim. There are time limitations for filing a claim known as the statute of limitations. Under California law, you have two years from the time of your injury to successfully file a claim before you are barred from doing so. If your injury was not discovered immediately following your accident, then you have one year from the time that your injury was discovered to file your claim. After a truck accident, you should always act quickly to protect your rights.
Why You Should Move Quickly When Filing a Truck Accident Claim
Getting started on your claim in a timely manner is the best way that you can ensure that you are treated as fairly as possible after an accident. After a truck accident, evidence can quickly start to degrade, which means that you may not have it later on down the road when you are in the midst of your claim. Forensic evidence may start to disappear and black box data could become overwritten.
In a truck accident claim, black box data refers to a truck’s data recorder, which keeps information such as the following:
- The force of impact in the accident
- The speed that a truck driver was traveling at the time
- The time and date of the accident
After three to four weeks, black box data can start to disappear from a truck. On top of this, trucking companies have been known to delete information from black boxes so that they can avoid liability for an accident. By speaking with an attorney as soon as possible, you can make sure that evidence is preserved and that you are protected under California law. Speaking with our attorneys at Madison Law Group can help you get started on your claim in a timely manner.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident?
When you think of a truck accident, the first individual who may come to mind is the truck driver. However, there could be many other parties liable for a truck accident as well. These include the following:
- The trucking company
- Maintenance providers of trucks
- Manufacturers of truck parts
- Cargo loaders
- A municipality
Because so many parties could be involved in a truck accident, this can make a claim incredibly complicated. Bringing a claim means that you may have to identify multiple parties instead of just one. Though this complicates the matter, it can also mean you will be able to secure more compensation since you can make a claim against more than one defendant.
Choose a Firm That Specializes in Truck Crashes
There is a lot at risk in a truck accident claim. You will find that you are up against many parties and their powerful legal teams just to receive the compensation that you deserve. Trucking companies are known for having their own investigators, insurance companies, experts, and attorneys who will do anything to protect their profit margins in the event of an accident. This means that they will probably offer you much less than you deserve in compensation or deny your claim altogether after an accident, especially if you do not have legal representation.
On top of that, it can be difficult to understand the many laws that are at play in truck accident claims. This is why you need an attorney who has experience handling truck accident claims and can help you obtain the best results when it comes to your case.
Compensation for Truck Accident Victims in California
Many individuals wonder what their tractor-trailer collision is worth and what damages they can receive following an accident. There are many factors that come into play when determining how much your claim could be worth, from the severity of your injuries to the impact these injuries could have on your ability to work your job in the long run. Some of the most common types of damages that are received in truck accident claims in California include the following:
Medical Expenses: You will likely receive several types of medical care following a truck accident. These include hospitalizations, surgeries, medication costs, physical therapy, and any ongoing care in the future. If you have sustained medical expenses, you should be able to receive damages to cover those you have experienced in the past and medical expenses for future related care.
Lost Wages: It is not uncommon to receive serious injuries that keep you out of work if you have been involved in a truck accident. If you are prevented from returning to work for some time due to your injuries, you may be able to receive compensation for lost wages.
Property Damage: Even at low speeds, the damages that stem from a truck accident can be catastrophic. You can receive compensation to cover the damages to your vehicle and any other damaged property.
Pain and Suffering: Injuries stemming from a truck accident can be painful and leave you in a difficult position emotionally and mentally. Pain and suffering damages can help you get back on your feet if a truck accident has affected your life in these ways.
Punitive Damages: In some cases, you may even be eligible for punitive damages. These damages are meant to punish a wrongdoer for their reckless actions and keep them from committing gross negligence in the future.
No matter the circumstances of your truck accident, it is important to know where you can turn after an accident. You may find that you are eligible for many types of compensation after one of these serious and traumatic accidents. Speaking with a Los Angeles catastrophic injury attorney after a life-altering truck accident can help you move forward from this challenging time in your life. Our attorneys at Madison Law Group are waiting to take your call after an accident.
How to Recover Lost Wages if You Are Unable to Return to Work After an Accident
A major fear that many victims face after a tractor-trailer accident is not being able to return to work in a timely fashion. This is a huge concern because you may be facing a variety of bills related to medical treatment and therapy, not to mention your day to day bills like rent, mortgage, electricity and food. You may be wondering how you can afford to pay these bills when you are not able to work. If you want to recover lost wages damages, you will have to prove these two main factors:
- You missed work due to injuries that you suffered in a truck accident
- How much money you would have made if you hadn’t been injured.
Having documentation proving the income that you made before your accident, as well as the reduction of income that followed your accident, will be helpful in showing that you have sustained lost wages due to your accident. You may find that you are eligible for reimbursement for the following:
- Lost wages from missed days at work
- Missed opportunities for earning and overtime
- Vacation and sick days that you had to take
- Any non-monetary perks that you missed at your job due to missed time at work
If you are unable to return to work for the foreseeable future, you also have the right to claim those future lost wages as well. A skilled attorney knows how to properly calculate all of these figures to ensure you get the maximum possible settlement or verdict for your truck accident claim.
Should I Accept the Trucking Company’s Settlement Offer?
It is normal to feel stressed out when you are facing medical bills and missed time at work. Because of this, you may wonder if you should just go ahead and accept the trucking company’s settlement offer so you can get paid immediately to relieve some of the financial pressure you are experiencing. However, you should proceed with caution during these times – as well as speak with an attorney immediately to make sure that your rights are protected.
Most of the time, the offer that is being extended to you by the trucking company is not enough to cover your existing medical bills, let alone those that you could sustain in the future. You want to make sure that you are walking away with enough money to cover all of the expenses that you have sustained in your accident. You need to think beyond your current expenses and consider how much work you could be missing in the future, as well as what medical bills could pile onto those that you have already received due to your accident.
Of course, speaking with a skilled Los Angeles dangerous truck accident lawyer is the best way to make sure that your rights are being protected after an accident. You should never have to face the aftermath of a truck accident claim on your own, especially knowing that these claims are incredibly complex. Our attorneys at Madison Law Group are here to help.
When a Truck Accident Leads to a Wrongful Death
A truck accident is devastating on its own when it causes serious injuries. What if one of these accidents leads to the death of a loved one? Because of the sheer size and weight of a truck when it is up against a passenger vehicle, it is no surprise that these accidents sometimes lead to fatalities on California roads.
Wrongful death suits are necessary for many families to make a financial recovery after losing their family’s main income earner or contributor. There are only certain family members or representatives who are able to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one whose life was taken prematurely in a truck accident. These include the following parties:
- Parents of the deceased
- Children of the deceased
- Spouse of the deceased
- A personal representative of the estate
The death of a family member is a devastating event. You may be feeling incredible grief following one of these events, and you may be wondering how you will also manage the many bills that pile up against you. The prospect of picking up the pieces of a fatal accident on your own can feel impossible, which is why you should have legal help on your side. With the help of an attorney, you may find that you are eligible for some of the following damages to help lessen the burden of this horrific event:
- Medical expenses your loved one sustained before their passing
- Wages lost by the decedent before and after their passing
- Funeral and burial costs
- Pain and suffering a loved one sustained before their death
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Pain and suffering to parents who have lost a child
Nobody ever wants to face the reality that a loved one has been taken from them in an accident. However, this is a reality for many families each year in Los Angeles and beyond. If you have lost somebody you love in a truck accident, you should be prepared to speak with a Los Angeles wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
What a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Do for You
There is a lot that goes into the work that a truck accident attorney does behind the scenes when you have been injured in a truck collision or lost a loved one to such a catastrophe. From start to finish, an attorney will stand by your side and help you reach settlement or take your claim to trial. Here are some of the following aspects that a truck accident attorney can handle for you:
- Investigate every detail of your claim and examine whether or not you have a successful and strong case
- Gather the evidence that is necessary in your claim
- Send out demand letters to the other party’s insurance company
- Negotiate with the insurance companies
- Provide you with the strongest representation if your claim goes to trial
Speak With a Los Angeles Semi-Truck Accident Attorney Today
A truck accident claim can be a confusing and traumatic ordeal, especially if you have been left with a long road to recovery due to serious injuries, or lost someone in your family that you depended on. You should never have to deal with the stressful aftermath of a truck accident claim entirely on your own.