Irvine Truck Accident Lawyer Protecting the Rights of Crash Victims
In 2020, there were over 147,000 truck crashes resulting in injuries, primarily to occupants in other vehicles. Truck accidents also result in thousands of fatalities yearly. Unfortunately, victims of truck accidents often find it difficult to recover fair compensation because of the complexity of the cases, which can involve multiple at-fault entities. The trucking company’s insurers also fight claims more strenuously because of the large settlements involved. You deserve to have an ally in your fight. Hejazi Law Group is committed to getting you the fair compensation you need to recover physically, emotionally, and financially.
Why Do Truck Accidents Occur?
Like any type of motor vehicle accident, there can be many causes for a truck crash. However, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the top ten factors contributing to trucking accidents include:
- Brake problems: A vehicle with the mass of a commercial truck requires properly functioning brakes to stop. If brakes are poorly maintained or defective, it can seriously hinder a truck’s ability to stop in time to avoid an accident.
- Interruptions in traffic flow: Stop-and-go traffic, congestion, and road accidents lead to unexpected braking, which causes many truck accidents.
- Driving under the influence: While drug and alcohol use is relatively uncommon due to rigorous testing for truck drivers, many prescription drugs can cause side effects that impact their ability to drive safely.
- Failing to account for weather conditions: Driving too fast in heavy rain, fog, or other weather events can increase the likelihood of a semi-truck accident.
- Distracted driving: Similar to other drivers, truck operators can be distracted by cell phones, eating, and other stimuli, leading to dangerous crashes.
- Driving on unfamiliar roads: The FMCSA estimates that up to 22% of truck accidents involve drivers who are on a new route that they are not familiar with.
- Poorly maintained roadways: Commercial trucks can be susceptible to losing control when there are road hazards such as potholes, uneven lanes, and improperly marked work zones.
- Driving while fatigued: Driving while tired or neglecting to take proper rest breaks can affect a driver’s ability to remain alert and safe.
- Not having enough time or space to stop: A passenger vehicle has a stopping distance of about 316 feet, while semi-trucks need about 525 feet to brake fully. If there is not a proper distance between vehicles, a truck driver may not be able to stop in time to avoid an accident.
- Over-the-counter drug use: Even over-the-counter medications, such as cold medicines, can potentially impair a driver’s reaction time.
What Injuries Can a Truck Accident Cause?
The injuries commonly seen in truck accidents can be utterly devastating and life-altering. A large commercial truck has a gross weight rating above 10,000 pounds, while an average passenger car weighs between 3000 and 4000 pounds. This difference in mass can lead to catastrophic damage as the heavy truck transfers its energy to the much smaller vehicle. Unsurprisingly, truck crashes have a high rate of fatalities for car occupants. Some of the most frequent consequences of truck accidents include the following:
- Broken and fractured bones
- Back and neck injuries
- Crush injuries
- Lacerations and contusions
- Severed limbs
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Wrongful death
Regardless of the perceived severity of your accident, you should always seek a prompt medical evaluation. The adrenaline your body produces during a crash can mask symptoms of significant injuries, some of which may be life-threatening.
Who May Be Held Responsible for a Truck Accident?
To recover full compensation for your truck accident claim, it is crucial to correctly identify the at-fault parties involved in the crash. These cases can be complex, and faults may be shared among several individuals and entities. To determine who was responsible for your injuries, experienced truck accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate the crash, including studying the police report and crash scene photos,
interviewing eyewitnesses, and consulting with reconstruction experts when necessary. The following are some of the potentially liable parties:
- Truck driver: Vehicle operators owe a duty of care to other drivers on the road. If the truck driver breached this duty through negligent actions, they could be held responsible.
- Vehicle manufacturer: If the accident was caused or made worse by manufacturing defects in parts or equipment failures, the truck’s manufacturer may be liable.
- Trucking company: A trucking company must perform proper vehicle maintenance and inspection, ensure its drivers are operating under safe working conditions, hire qualified drivers, and provide adequate training. If they fail to do any of these things, they may be found at fault for the crash.
- Owner-operator: An independent contractor who owns a commercial vehicle is known as an owner-operator. They are responsible for maintaining their own vehicles and can be named as a defendant in a truck accident claim.
- Cargo loader: The cargo-loading company or team may be liable for damages if they did not adequately secure a load, which led to or exacerbated an accident.
- Truck mechanic: If a mechanic equips a truck with inadequate or unsafe parts or causes damage while they work, they can be held responsible.
- Third parties: Sometimes, truck collisions can be caused by other parties on the road, such as pedestrians, bicyclists, other motorists, or motorcyclists.
- Government agencies: If a government agency was responsible for maintaining the road and a truck collision occurred because of poor conditions, the agency may be held accountable.
How Do Truck Accident Cases Differ From Car Accidents?
The larger size and heavier weight of semi trucks make them much more challenging to maneuver and stop, especially in emergency situations. In circumstances where a smaller vehicle may be able to avoid a collision, it is often impossible for a truck to brake or change direction in time. The mass of a truck makes serious injuries and deaths more common in truck crashes than in accidents that only involve cars. Victims of truck crashes often spend a lot more time in hospitals and out of work. The medical expenses resulting from their injuries are often enormous and may bankrupt those without adequate insurance coverage.
After a truck crash, truck companies and their insurers also immediately begin aggressively investigating the accident. Their experts are often on the scene right after the incident, searching for evidence to excuse their clients from fault in the crash. This stacks the deck against the truck accident victim, who is frequently still in the hospital getting treatment for their severe injuries while the investigation is happening.
If you or a loved one is a truck accident victim, you should strongly consider contacting an attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights. The advantage of promptly enlisting the services of an attorney is that they will have access to evidence they can preserve and safeguard before it can be lost or destroyed. Truck accident lawyers can help level the playing field for victims because they have the resources necessary to fight back against the money and power of the truck company.
What Damages Are Truck Accident Victims Eligible to Recover?
Survivors of truck crashes often face a long, difficult road to recovery. Truck accident claims seek to recover compensation for the victim’s losses. Three categories of damages can be awarded in a truck accident case. Economic damages are financial losses experienced by the victim, which may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property replacement or repair
- Medical supply costs
- Modifications to your home and vehicle to make them accessible
Non-economic damages compensate for the negative physical, mental, and emotional effects of the crash, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If the case goes to trial, punitive damages may be awarded in certain circumstances if the defendant was found to have acted with deliberate disregard for the safety of others. Unlike the other damages, which compensate the victim for their injuries, the court awards punitive damages to punish the defendant for their actions and deter others from acting similarly.
What Can a Truck Accident Attorney Do for Injured Victims?
Without the assistance of a law firm, truck crash victims can find themselves at a considerable disadvantage when dealing with the trucking company’s insurance. Following an accident, the trucking company and its insurers begin taking steps to minimize their liabilities. They scour the accident site for evidence and start crafting their defense. Often this all occurs while victims are still in the hospital fighting for their lives.
You deserve fair compensation for your damages, and the negligent parties should be held responsible for the impacts the accident has had on your life. Hejazi Law Group will work tirelessly to secure a settlement that recovers the maximum compensation for your medical costs, pain and suffering, lost earnings, and other current and future losses caused by your injuries. From poring over police reports to inspecting the accident scene and conducting interviews, a skilled truck accident lawyer will gather the evidence needed to bolster your claim. Contact Hejazi Law Group today to schedule your free consultation with a truck accident lawyer who cares: (949) 749-7402.