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Wilshire Law Firm » Practice Areas » Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyers

Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyers

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If you or a loved one were the victims of a crash involving a big rig, call the truck accident lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm now!

Wilshire Law Firm’s truck accident legal experts are standing by to take your call at 1-800-522-7274. All consultations are FREE, so don’t wait to call. We’re available for you 24/7, 365 days a year.

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Your Expert Truck Accident Lawyers

The commercial trucking industry is bigger than ever. Big rigs can be found traveling across California and beyond 24 hours a day. While there are rules about how long truckers can drive without resting, many drivers still push the limits, often with catastrophic consequences.

At Wilshire Law Firm, our expert big rig accident lawyers can help you understand your rights if you were the victim of an accident involving a big rig commercial truck. It’s important to know what your options are and how you can make the most of your claim in court.

We’ve put together a comprehensive review of trucking accidents including statistics, risk factors associated with these type of accidents, and a to-do list to help you if you have been hit by a commercial truck.

Big Rigs Means Big Accidents

It’s no secret that big rig trucks are common sights throughout the U.S. Many industries still rely heavily on ground transportation to move their goods from one location to another. And many of those same oversized commercial trucks are trying to race against delivery deadlines.

If you’ve ever had one of these big rigs barreling towards you on a narrow road or even a freeway, you know how intimidating they can be. Unfortunately, when cars and smaller trucks collide with an eighteen-wheeler, the results can be catastrophic. Because of the massive size difference between ordinary cars and trucks and big rig vehicles, these accidents can result in severe or lasting injury and even death.

It’s common for these accidents to involve multiple vehicles. That’s because big rig trucks can’t come to a full stop quickly. When one does hit another vehicle, it can cause a chain reaction, multi-car pile-up.

Commercial Trucks Have a Number of Risk Factors

Truck driver training has greatly improved over the last few decades. There is an increased awareness of what long-haul trucking can do to drivers. That, coupled with a greater focus on work/life balance have all contributed to improving truck driver safety. However, certain risk factors continue to be prevalent:

Trucks have bigger blind spots than ordinary cars.
In a big rig, a driver’s ability to see to the end of the vehicle is limited. Unlike regular cars and trucks, which also have blind spots, commercial truck drivers have to contend with much larger blind spots which means that many times, they cannot see traffic approaching from behind or the sides.

Big rigs take longer to speed up and slow down.
If you’ve ever been behind a commercial truck as it pulled away at a green light, you know how long it can take for them to accelerate. Braking is the same: big rigs take a long time to slow down. If the driver is distracted or tired, that can easily lead to the vehicle in front of them being rear-ended. Normally, an accident like that would qualify as a fender bender, but because we’re talking about a commercial truck, it can easily turn into a major accident.

The load they carry may be a hazard.
In addition to the risks due to the sheer size of these vehicles, many of the loads being carried by truckers contain hazardous materials. These can include petroleum products, liquid gas, or biohazardous materials. Additional risk comes into play when trucks are carrying livestock or heavy loads of lumber that might not be secured properly. The longer the truck is on the road between inspections and maintenance checks, the greater the probability of an accident.

Long haul rides contribute to driver fatigue.
Recent studies have shown that being overly tired can limit a person’s response time to levels similar to someone who has been drinking. This means that when you drive while tired, you are putting yourself and others at risk. Regular drivers know how difficult it is to pay attention when their eyes feel heavy, so just imagine how difficult it is for a driver of a large commercial truck carrying thousands of pounds of cargo or livestock.

There are rules in place to allow for rest stops, but sometimes, the pressure to reach a destination takes priority. In particular, poorly managed trucking companies or contracted drivers may not take those rules into consideration.

Loads may not be secured properly.
Whether rushing to meet a delivery date or not securing cargo properly due to fatigue, unsecured loads can increase the possibility of accident or injury on the road. In almost all instances, poorly secured loads are the fault of the trucking company. Sometimes, the trucks aren’t properly maintained.

Unpredictable weather and road conditions can cause accidents.
Weather conditions often contribute to an uptick in large commercial truck accidents. Even here in California, the weather can change suddenly. For example, a big rig traveling from Lake Tahoe to San Diego may encounter snow, rain ice and extreme heat on that route. And that’s without taking into account poor road conditions and construction zones as well.

Staggering Statistics on Trucking Accidents

Without the thousands of commercial truck drivers transporting cargo across North America, our economy wouldn’t be what it is today. We need truckers to move goods in a safe and timely fashion from one location to another. Unfortunately, so many trucks on the road lead to more accidents

In North America, nearly 10 million people are employed in the trucking industry. Nearly half are drivers. It’s estimated that there are about 15 million trucks on the road with over 2 million of them classified as big rigs. The rest include oversize trucks like tractors, garbage trucks, dump trucks, and other large trucks. They may not haul goods across the country, but they all present the same safety issues.

In 2015 alone, there were over 80,000 accidents involving oversized trucks in North America. These statistics also include nearly 4,000 deaths. Because these accidents have become so commonplace, they are not widely publicized. But the number of deaths related to trucking accidents is concerning.

Leading Causes of Trucking Accidents

This list is in no way meant to point fingers at the hard-working truck drivers in the U.S. However, it is important to understand the risks associated with sharing the road with big rig vehicles. Here is a short list of some of the leading causes of accidents related to big rigs.

  • Speed
  • Weather
  • Tailgating
  • Old brakes
  • Faulty brakes
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of control
  • Poorly secured load

The Complexities of Being Involved in a Trucking Accident

Trucking accidents are very different from ordinary car accidents. For starters, truck drivers often belong to large trucking companies, unions, or are independent contractors. It’s common for claims to involve several parties. These can include the truck driver, the trucking company, the crew that loaded the truck, the manufacturer of security ties, the city or town in which the accident occurred, the trucking manufacturer, the truck owner if different from the truck driver, and more.

While all of this might sound overwhelming and complicated, the good news is that these many potential defendants allow a victim to pursue multiple channels of compensation. At Wilshire Law Firm, we understand the complexities of a truck accident claim because we handle them all the time. If you’ve been the victim of a truck accident, let us help you get the justice you deserve.

Damages and Claim Options

The last thing you might be thinking about in the aftermath of a devastating trucking accident is how much money you’re entitled to as a result of the accident. Yet survivors and family members of those who have been lost or severely injured in trucking accidents have many options when it comes to pursuing damages related to the accident.

In traditional accidents, one party and perhaps their insurance company is liable, but in the trucking industry, so many parties are potentially liable that payments can come from multiple sources.

A trucking accident claim is extremely difficult to navigate on your own, but when you work with the experienced truck accident team at Wilshire Law Firm, you can rest easy knowing that we have your best interests at heart. We know how difficult the situation is for you and your family. We’ll lay everything out for you clearly and with full transparency. We want to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation possible for your trucking accident in California.

What to Do if You’ve Been in a Trucking Accident in the Los Angeles Area

It’s normal to be in a state of shock in the immediate aftermath of an accident. The sheer size of a big rig accident can make it difficult to process what has happened and think straight. There are a number of things you should and shouldn’t do. We’ve outlined them here for your consideration and to help you navigate the first few days following an accident involving a big rig.

  • Safety is always the first priority. Ensure that everyone involved is okay. Call 911 and try to get out of the way of oncoming traffic. If the driver of the truck has left the scene, try and get an accurate description of the truck and seek out witnesses – hit and runs do happen!
  • Gather insurance information, but don’t call the insurance company until you’ve spoken to one of our lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm.
  • Don’t apologize. Apologizing may feel like the right thing to do, but doing so could be interpreted as an admission of guilt and jeopardize your case.
  • Preserve as much evidence as possible from the scene of the accident. Take photos of license plates, traffic signals and anything else you feel is important. No detail is too small when it comes to trying your case in court, and we can help you determine the most important aspects of the accident.
  • Seek medical attention. Even if you think you’re just shaken up, you should still see a doctor. Being hit by a commercial truck is no fender bender. It’s best to see a doctor, plus it adds strength to your claim. If you wait, the insurance company and defense attorneys may challenge your claim.
  • Do talk to the police. Make sure you give the police the facts about the accident. Again, do not tell them that you were at fault, even if you feel you may have been. Don’t berate the other parties involved either. Note the officer’s name, badge number and accident report number so you can request it later.

Commercial trucking companies have teams of lawyers on their side looking to pay accident victims the least amount possible. Don’t take them on by yourself. The experts at Wilshire Law Firm can help you successfully navigate the complexities of a trucking accident claim.

Call Wilshire Law Firm at 1-800-522-7274 today. Our consultations are always FREE.

For more information on big rig accidents, visit these resources:
APITLA
Truck Safety Coalition
Picking Up Pieces
Trauma Survivors Network

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