Skip to Main Content
877.539.5366 No Fee Guarantee Unless We Win!
about banner
Why Us? Because We Listen

Truck Accident Attorneys

Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyers

According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), The volume of commercial vehicles transporting goods within California and on the highways presents a huge problem for other motorists who share the roads with semi-trucks and/or 18-wheelers.

Passengers in cars traveling on the same roads as these massive trucks are especially vulnerable to catastrophic injuries in truck accidents in California. Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showed that passenger vehicle occupants were far more likely to die in accidents with large trucks than the occupants of those trucks.

California’s Approach To Trucking

Sunset Trucker - Oaks Law Firm

Due to California’s heavy trade and a large number of commercial trucks moving large cargo within the highways, California is home to a huge number of the nation’s fatal commercial tractor-trailer accidents. Unfortunately, a large number of these accidents are due to many California truck companies prioritizing profits over safety.

As such, although you must be aware of and be extremely careful driving next to these “big rigs”, however, regardless of how careful you are, you may not be able to avoid a collision with one of these 18-wheelers or semi-trucks. Some of these truck drivers have been driving for long hours, are tired, are not fully trained drivers, or are driving trucks without proper overall maintenance. This is where California truck companies are held liable for injuries and fatalities caused by their drivers.

In recent years, California has been the second most dangerous state to drive in, with approximately an average of 3000 fatal traffic accidents in a given year alone. California is home to a very large market for freight movement, which consists of large commercial big rigs traveling the roads and highways, to transport goods.

What Causes California Commercial Truck Accidents?

Large trucks pose many hazards as they travel on the roads and highways. Due to the weight and size of a large truck, it will take significantly longer to stop than a passenger vehicle. This has led to many catastrophic rear-end California truck accidents and crashes, especially if the commercial truck is speeding, not paying attention to the road (texting or on the phone), or “tailgating.”

Large trucks also have substantial blind spots called “no-zones” located to the rear, sides, and front of the truck, where the driver is unaware of a car traveling next to it. Some of the common causes of Truck Accidents in Los Angeles and throughout California:

  • Department of Transporation (DOT) clearance issues
  • Unrealistic schedules
  • Improper training
  • Negligent Supervision
  • Unlicensed Driver
  • Reckless Driving and Speeding (combined with heavy cargo)
  • Improper Turning movements
  • Disobeying safety procedures
  • Driving while impaired or intoxicated (DWI)
  • Parking on the shoulder
  • Motor Vehicle inspection failure
  • Maintenance failure
  • Repair failure
  • Violating other Commercial Vehicle Laws
  • Driving fatigue
  • Moving in reverse
  • Mechanical defect
  • Brake failure
  • Tire tread/tire blow up
  • Stopping at railroad-grade crossings
  • Transportation equipment with trailers
  • Overloading/improper loading of cargo (this can cause semis to roll over or jackknife)
  • Loads that shift weight

Another cause of fatal California Truck crashes is driver fatigue. Although there are legal limits related to the number of hours a commercial truck driver may drive without rest (i.e., no more than 60 hours in seven consecutive days), some drivers feel pressure from their employers to move cargo under deadlines.

Who Is Responsible For A California Truck Accident?

Truck accident on the street - Oaks Law Firm

For victims of Los Angeles truck accidents, the questions of who is responsible and who actually caused the accident are generally complicated, irrespective of what one believes to be at fault. There are many individuals and/or entities involved, from the driver to the owner of the truck and/or company that owns the truck, and getting information about what went wrong often requires some industry know-how.

Knowing the common reasons for trucking accidents, and the relationships among the persons and entities connected to the truck, the trailer, and the load, will help one determine whether you have a viable claim and how you will need to proceed with your claim/case.

Statistics show that over the past 20 years, truck accidents have increased by over 20%. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) (Federal Laws govern the trucking industry along with some State regulations), over 4,000 individuals have died and over 100,000 people have sustained injuries in crashes that involved a semi-truck, annually. Although these figures are different year by year, it goes to show you that the injuries and fatalities in truck accidents are real and alarming. Based on how heavy and large these trucks are, the injuries are usually catastrophic or fatal.

Who Can Be Held Responsible?

When it comes to truck accidents, there may be a lot of players who can be held responsible for one’s injuries, including but not limited to:

  • The truck’s driver him or herself.
  • The owner of the truck or trailer.
  • The person or company that leased the truck or trailer from the owner.
  • The manufacturer of the vehicle, tires, or other parts that may have contributed to the cause or severity of the accident.
  • The shipper or loader of the truck’s cargo (in cases involving improper loading).
  • The company and/or employer of the truck driver and on…

For example, the truck company might claim that the accident was caused by defective tires. In turn, the tire manufacturer might then point the finger at the leasing company or owner/operator, claiming that it failed to maintain the brakes in good working order.

Responsibility for a trucking accident is based on the legal principle of negligence. To prove a defendant was negligent, the plaintiff must show three things:

  1. The defendant owed the plaintiff some duty of care under the law.
  2. The defendant breached that duty of care through some action or omission.
  3. The defendant’s breach was a substantial factor in causing some form of injury to the plaintiff.

A truck driver’s duty of care includes a responsibility to obey all applicable traffic laws. Similarly, truck drivers and truck owners have a duty to follow all federal regulations governing motor carriers who transport goods across state lines. And manufacturers of commercial semi-trucks and their component parts have a duty of care to design and manufacture their products in a manner that is safe for their intended use.

Can Trucking Companies Avoid Liability?

Truck driver next to truck - Oaks Law Firm

They used to be able to but it’s much more difficult for them to escape liability nowadays. One will still need to know a lot about how to hold them responsible. Current federal laws and regulations have put an end to the games trucking companies tried to play in escaping responsibility by claiming the driver was an independent contractor or that they did not own or operate the truck, trailer, etc.

Under current federal law, any company owning a trucking permit is responsible for all accidents involving a truck that has its placard or name displayed on the vehicle. It doesn’t matter what the lease says with the owner/operator or whether the driver is an employee or an independent contractor.

Always pick up the phone and seek a free consultation from an experienced Los Angeles Truck Accident lawyer before giving any statements and/or signing any documents with the other party(s) or anyone for that matter.

Can I Be Blamed for a Trucking Accident?

A common legal tactic that truck drivers, truck companies, and other defendants in truck accident lawsuits will employ is to try to shift blame to the victim. For example, they may argue that the injured driver caused or contributed to the accident through their own violations of the traffic laws or otherwise acted in a reckless or unsafe manner. Such tactics are employed precisely because of California’s comparative fault rules governing personal injury claims.

Understanding Comparative Fault

Comparative fault simply refers to a legal rule that a court must divide up fault between all parties involved in a given accident. This includes the possible fault of the person filing the lawsuit. If a trucking accident lawsuit proceeds to a jury trial, it is generally left to the jury to decide how fault should be apportioned. Alternatively, if the parties elect to try the case without a jury, this decision will be left up to the judge instead.

The Burden of Proof

It’s important to keep in mind that if the defendant asserts comparative fault, then they have the burden of proving the plaintiff’s negligence and that the plaintiff’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the accident. Additionally, it is also possible to argue that a third party was partially at fault. For instance, a trucking company might argue that the manufacturer of a defective part should share some of the responsibility.

The Impact on Compensation

Ultimately, when a judge or jury apportions fault, the plaintiff’s ability to recover damages from the defendant may be reduced based on their share of the blame. For example, if a jury decides that a truck driver was 80 percent at fault for an accident and the plaintiff was 20 percent at fault, then the plaintiff’s total monetary damages for the accident would be reduced by 20 percent, meaning the truck driver would only pay 80 percent.

California’s Pure Comparative Fault System

California follows a “pure” form of comparative fault. This means that an accident victim can still recover some amount of damages from a negligent defendant regardless of their own share of the responsibility for a trucking accident. So in theory, you could be 99 percent at fault, but the negligent defendant would still have to pay for 1 percent of your damages.

Navigating comparative fault and defending against attempts to shift blame requires a skilled and experienced legal team. If you’ve been involved in a trucking accident, seeking the counsel of a qualified Los Angeles truck accident attorney at Oaks Law Firm can protect your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. We are here to fight for you and ensure that your rights are fully protected. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you build a strong case for your trucking accident claim.

CALL TODAY! (877) 539-5366

Recovering the Damages You Deserve

If someone else is to blame for your injuries, you have the right to seek compensation for the full amount of damages you've suffered. These damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, as well as pain and suffering. You must bring forth your claim within one year of the accident date. Not filing your case within one year will bar you from recovery.

Matt and his associates work very hard for me, both from a legal and a personal perspective. His staff makes me feel like my total wellness is their goal, and that I'm restored, physically and financially!
-Duane L.
Timely and professional manner. I am greatly appreciative they are representing me.
-Mike N.
Professional, courteous. They go beyond attempting to assist you in getting what you need to get done.
-Christopher F.
My experience here was fantastic they took care of everything. There were absolutely no problems when it came to the actual work and with the communication. I never once fell out of the loop and I knew where my case was at every step of the way. I will never go to anyone else.
-Ani K.
Working with Oaks Law Firm has been easy and informative. They do a great job of follow ups and keeping you informed of every step of your case. They are easily reachable and good at getting back to you when they are out of office. They are very detailed and fight until the end for you. I highly recommend Oaks Law Firm.
-Eric B.
I absolutely love this Law Firm, the staff there are wonderful and very caring. They are responsive to my needs and questions plus the lawyers are very professional and aggressive resulting in the best care and maximum penalty payout. I wouldn't chose another Law Firm.
-Johnny H.
Excellent Law Firm. Oak's Law Firm made the whole process simple and painless.
-Harout A.
It was a pleasure working with the attorneys and the staff here at this firm. I've read a lot about people complaining about lack of communication from attorneys, but not this one! I would definitely recommend Matthew and his staff for injury related cases.
-Danny P.
Easy to talk to, they always return calls & cater to clients. I'm glad I chose Oak's Law Firm to represent me.
-Omar B.
Love you guys so much, Helped me out so much and got me back way more than I thought. Also, I will refer you guys to friends & family and if needed in the future, I will definitely be a return client.
-Lisa G.


Tips For Driving In The Rain
Tips For Driving In The Rain

Driving in conditions that involve strong or heavy wind and rain may not seem like the most pressing safety concern… Continue reading Tips For Driving In The Rain

Read More