You can barely step outside your front door in Los Angeles without seeing a tractor-trailer blazing down the highway. Commercial semi-trucks are the lifeblood of Southern California’s economy. But they also pose a significant safety hazard when not properly operated and maintained.
The Complexity of Truck Accidents
Unlike a typical two-car accident involving only passenger vehicles, when an 18-wheeler overturns or hits another vehicle, the result is often a chain reaction of crashes that can quickly take out dozens of vehicles and injure—or kill—multiple individuals. Sorting out legal responsibility for such crashes is almost always a complex undertaking. That is why it is important to work with an experienced Los Angeles truck accident lawyer. The team at Oaks Law Firm can investigate your truck accident and help you determine if a lawsuit is the best option for obtaining compensation for your injuries.
Understanding the Frequency of Commercial Trucking Accidents
According to a recent Forbes Advisor report, there were approximately 510,000 crashes reported to police across the United States in 2019 that involved large trucks. These crashes yielded over 114,000 injuries and 4,479 fatalities. Notably, 82 percent of the victims were someone other than the occupants of the semi-truck.
The reasons for this disparity are not a mystery. The average commercial truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded with cargo—about 13 times the weight of the heaviest passenger vehicle. And most truck accidents are the result of the truck driver’s negligence, which effectively turns their vehicles into deadly weapons.
Negligence and Truck Accidents
Some of the more common examples of driver negligence leading to a truck accident include operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving while fatigued, and failing to properly inspect a truck leading to a mechanical failure on the road. Although there are strict federal regulations in place governing all of these subjects, far too many drivers—and their trucking companies—simply ignore or attempt to skirt these critical safety rules.
Taking Legal Action: Your Rights as an Injured Party
Any person who has been injured in an accident involving a semi-truck has the right to file a civil lawsuit under California law to seek compensation for their damages. Such damages commonly include the following:
- Past, present, and estimated future medical bills.
- Lost wages and diminished future earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering.
- Punitive damages.
- Compensation for the loss of a family member’s companionship and income.
Compensation following a truck accident is not automatic. Even when it seems clear that a truck driver or trucking company was at fault, victims must still prove a defendant’s negligence based on a preponderance of the evidence. Negligence can mean something as simple as violating a traffic law or as complex as failing to properly secure a truck’s cargo or repair a defective part.
Seek Professional Help for Your Truck Accident Case
Due to the multitude of factors that can contribute to a truck accident, it is crucial to work with a personal injury lawyer who knows how to conduct a thorough investigation into these crashes. If you need to speak with a qualified attorney, call Oaks Law Firm today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced team is ready to fight for your rights and help you pursue the compensation you deserve.