Hurt in a truck accident? Talk to our aggressive California big-rig accident attorneys at (888) 488-1391. The term big rigs refers to the massive trucks that swarm our roadways and that also go by the name of 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, dump trucks, and semis. These giant vehicles fuel our economy by carrying consumer goods from private companies to their ultimate destinations. As consumer demand continues to rise, so too does the number of big rigs on our highways and byways.
Because of the immense difference in their size and weight – relative to our own vehicles, which are many, many times smaller – accidents involving big rigs are especially dangerous.
‘Big-rig’ is the term used for the tractor-trailers and semis with which we share the road. These names are used interchangeably for huge cargo-carrying trucks. Big rigs are comprised of two distinct parts that include the tractor (which is made up of the driver’s cab, the truck’s engine, and the hitch) and the trailer (which is the cargo-carrying container that is pulled behind the tractor).
While the average car weighs in at about 4,000 pounds, a big rig can top out at 80,000 pounds. This immense size discrepancy can lead to serious, often deadly accidents. Further, the hitch that connects the big rig’s tractor and trailer allow the vehicles to hinge. While this enables semis to make turns and to move freely through traffic, it can also contribute to dangerous jackknife accidents. Such an accident happens when a big rig’s cab and trailer fold in upon themselves (not unlike the motion of a jackknife closing).
These accidents can leave massive big rigs splayed across roads – endangering everyone traveling upon them.
Big rigs are involved in some of the deadliest accidents on our roadways. If a big rig accident leaves you or a loved one injured – or worse – you need the skilled professional services of a California big rig accident attorney.
Big rig accidents happen more than you probably realize. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shares several important statistics (related to big rigs and buses) that highlight how frequently these dangerous accidents occur:
Big rigs travel about 9.6 of the total miles traveled on our road systems, but they are involved in 12 percent of our fatal vehicular accidents. In other words, big rigs are overrepresented in vehicular fatalities.
The California Department of Transportation shares that the major mode of freight transportation in California is big rigs. In fact, more than 78 percent of the communities in the State of California rely exclusively on big rigs to move their cargo. Further, NHTSA forwards that the number of traffic fatalities that involved a big rig steadily rose from 2013 to 2017. This means that, as the trucking industry continues to grow in California, so too does the number of California fatalities caused by big rigs.
Most big rig accidents, according to FMCSA, are caused by errors made by the truck driver. The trucking industry is under tremendous pressure to keep up with consumer demands, which translates to increased demands on trucking companies and on the truckers themselves. Truck drivers, however, are professional drivers who are subject to very strict driving standards for one very important reason – to help make our highways safer for everyone who travels on them.
The kinds of driving errors that are most likely to lead to dangerous accidents are divided into several primary categories:
When truck drivers fail to perform their driving duties appropriately and safely, it is called nonperformance, and it can lead to dangerous accidents. This nonperformance can be a matter of neglect, but it can also be caused by physical factors, including falling asleep behind the wheel, being affected by a physical ailment, or experiencing a health event like a seizure or heart attack.
When it comes to driving, recognition of what’s going around you is critical. Recognizing and responding to driving conditions, which include traffic, posted signs and signals, and the road’s condition (including the adverse effects of inclement weather) is elemental to driving safely. When a trucker fails to adequately factor in the driving conditions in any given situation, he or she can make egregious recognition errors that lead to serious accidents. Such failures can be caused by distractions and/or by generally poor driving habits.
Driving safely involves making a series of informed decisions based on what’s going on around us. When a trucker fails to factor in all the necessary considerations when making decisions related to driving, it can lead to dangerous errors in decisions that jeopardize everyone’s safety. Such errors can include exceeding the speed limit or driving faster than is safe given the road’s condition, not leaving enough space between the truck and the vehicle in front of it, and more.
Problems with performance can also come in the form of performing incorrectly (as opposed to nonperformance). When a trucker gets behind the wheel, he or she is required to perform many feats of skilled driving. When a truck driver panics behind the wheel and attempts to overcompensate for a driving error or maintains subpar control over his or her big rig, it is a performance error that is often extremely dangerous.
Paz v. Airfax Logistics (settled on 5/26/2020) – settlement in a case involving a client who was involved in a trucking accident and sustained a traumatic brain injury and other trauma.– Tina Eshghieh
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that, when it comes to accidents involving big rigs, the vast majority of fatalities are occupants of passenger vehicles. IIHS shares several contributing factors:
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also forwards statistics based on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS):
The statistics related to big rig accidents tell a compelling story – that they are on the rise, that they are often deadly, and that the occupants of the other vehicles involved are much more likely to be killed in the accidents.
The fact is that truckers are professional drivers who are held to strict regulations and guidelines. As such, big rig drivers are often found to be at fault when they are involved in accidents. In such instances, you – the injured party – can seek damages against the at-fault trucker.
Sometimes, however, an injured party in a big rig accident shares some of the responsibility – or fault – for the accident in question. For example, if you were speeding when the accident occurred, it may have contributed to the accident and the damages you incurred. It is not the case, however, that shouldering a portion of the blame in such an accident should stop you from pursuing a valid legal claim.
The State of California employs Pure Comparative Negligence laws. Even if you were partially responsible for the accident that caused you to be injured, it does not affect your ability to obtain a final award of compensation. Instead, your award will be adjusted in accordance with the percentage of fault you are found to share. For example, if you are found to be 15 percent at fault, your award of compensation will be reduced by 15 percent.
The important point to remember is that – even though you may share a portion of the blame – your case and your legal rights matter. Your most complete recovery likely hinges upon your ability to obtain the compensation to which you are entitled. Call our California big-rig accident lawyers for a consultation at (888) 488-1391
Auto vs Delivery Truck $1,150,000
A top rated and large delivery truck company rear-ended our client on the freeway. Our client was a middle-aged woman who suffered neck and back injuries. The defense tried to blame it on her weight and pre-existing conditions. Eventually, we were able to resolve the matter at mediation, before going to trial.
Car vs Tow-Truck $1,000,000
Our client was pulled over to the side of the i-10 freeway with his signal lights turned on. While our client was looking through his rearview mirror, he saw a tow truck swerving on the road. Shortly after, the tow truck collided on to our client’s parked car, causing the truck to flip. Our client suffered from serious injuries to his head and other body parts. However, we have been able to recover $1,000,000 from the accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a big rig accident, you need the professional legal counsel of an experienced big rig accident lawyer. Arash Law’s dedicated California legal team led by Arash Khorsandi, Esq. has the experience, knowledge, and commitment to guide your claim toward its most beneficial outcome skillfully. We’re standing by to help – 24 hours a day and 7 days a week – so please give us a call at (888) 488-1391 today. Our offices are located in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, Riverside, Woodland Hills, Orange County and are more than happy to travel to your home, office, or place of recovery.