The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that in Kern County crashes remain a primary public safety issue and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) reports there have been many fatal traffic truck crashes recorded in Bakersfield alone, not to mention other parts of Kern county. When a crash involves a commercial truck, the chances are even greater that it will cause catastrophic injuries or a fatality. Like in any other type of collision, victims can hold negligent parties liable for paying damages after a truck accident. Unfortunately, determining liability in these cases is just one of the complex aspects of these claims. If you or someone you love has been injured in a crash, our Bakersfield truck accident attorney can help you recover the maximum damages you are entitled to without you having to pay anything out of your pocket. We get paid when we collect for you, otherwise, we do not charge you a dime.
Common Causes Of Truck Accidents
Truck drivers and the companies they work for are responsible for complying with a number of different state and federal laws and regulations. These laws dictate every aspect of a truck driver’s job, including how long they can be on the road, when they must take breaks, and even minor details such as the type of mud flaps a commercial truck must have if it is going to cross state lines. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and US Department of Transportation (DOT) have strict guidelines that truckers and their companies must abide by to be able to commute and transport within the 50 states and throughout the country. However, not all truck drivers and companies adhere to these rules and in doing so increase the chances of crashes and injuries that can be avoided. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Impaired driving-Drug/Alcohol use
- Driver Fatigue
- Distracted driving
- Inexperienced truck drivers
- Failure to comply with traffic signs and signals
- Traffic Flow interruption (congestion…)
- Roadway problems
- Worn out TIRES and BRAKES…
Although the above often cause accidents even between smaller passenger vehicles, when a truck accident occurs, the consequences are even more dire. Due to the size and weight of commercial trucks, even the smallest careless act can result in catastrophic injuries and/or wrongful death.
Who Is Liable For A Truck Accident?
Before filing a truck accident claim for compensation, you must determine which party was liable for the crash. This aspect of truck accident claims is much more difficult than in car accident claims. A number of parties may be liable for your accident, and they are as follows:
- Truck drivers: Truckers typically account for at least one of the liable parties in truck accident claims, as they are required to safely operate their vehicle at all times.
- Trucking companies: Trucking companies may engage in improper hiring or training practices, encourage drivers to stay on the road longer than they should, or take other shortcuts that prioritize their own profits over the safety of others.
- Third parties: Third parties such as loading companies, inspection and maintenance companies, and manufacturers can be held liable if they did not act with reasonable care to ensure others were kept safe.
- Tractor and Trailer: These two parts of a larger truck may be owned by different companies, have different protocols to follow and may have different insurance coverages.
It is not uncommon for truck accident claims to name multiple liable parties but determining who is at fault for a crash is never easy. It is critical to identify all liable parties so you claim full damages, against all responsible parties in order to recover for the damages and injuries sustained.
Proving A Truck Accident Claim
Most Truck accidents, like other traffic accidents, rest on the legal theory of negligence (although there are other reasons and causes of action to seek). Anyone that fails to exercise a reasonable level of care and causes an accident that results in serious injury are considered, at the very least, negligent. You must prove the liable party was negligent, which involves establishing several elements of your claim. These elements are as follows:
- Duty of care: You must prove the liable party owed you a duty of care, which is a legal obligation or responsibility owed to a fellow motorist.
- Breach of duty: Proving breach of duty requires you to show the negligent act that caused the crash, and this is sometimes more difficult. For example, if the police report shows the truck driver was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, that can prove the negligent act of drunk driving and possibly Gross Negligence, as well. However, negligence may not always be easy to identify.
- Causation: You must show which negligent act caused the accident. This refers to the relationship of cause and effect and the action of causing harm. Meaning, it is not enough to show that the responsible party was negligent. Negligence must be what caused your injuries…
- Damages: The losses you sustained as a result of the accident are known as damages. You must prove your total damages, which can include presenting evidence such as medical bills, pay stubs, and more.
Proving all four elements of negligence is often one of the most difficult aspects of any truck accident claim. A Bakersfield car accident attorney will know how to prove the negligent act so you recover the full damages you deserve.
Our Truck Accident Attorney in Bakersfield Can Provide The Sound Legal Advice You Need
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a collision with a commercial truck, our Bakersfield truck accident attorney at Oaks Law Firm can help ensure you recover the full compensation you deserve. Call us today at 877-539-5366 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation so we can get started on your case.