Sacramento Truck Accident Trial Lawyers
Fewer things are in life are more frightening than watching helplessly as a commercial tractor or bus skid across the asphalt as it bears down on you. These vehicles, often piloted by exhausted, inexperienced or reckless drivers, have increased potential to cause extreme damage because of their size. Commercial trucks often weigh more than 10,000 pounds and haul several times that amount.
Those who find themselves injured after a Sacramento truck accident have lots of things to consider. Some may have medical bills, hospital stays and physical therapy to deal with, on top of car repair or replacement. Add to this list questions about who was at fault in the accident, and whose insurance company is responsible for paying the damages, and a stressful life event becomes a nightmare.
If you’ve been in an accident involving a truck or some other vehicle, and were injured, consider contacting the offices of Lawrance Bohm. With the help of a good trial lawyer, accident victims can seek the compensation they deserve, and get their lives back on track.
Continue reading this page for more information on truck accident laws and decide for yourself if you should contact a personal injury attorney.
Truck Accident Statistics
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration compiles traffic statistics involving large trucks and buses. The administration’s most current statistics date to 2015. Here are some highlights:
- There were 11.2 fatal large truck crashes per million people in the US in 2015, a six percent increase over 2010.
- There were roughly 415,000 police-reported crashed involving large trucks. Twenty percent of these resulted in injuries. One percent involved fatalities.
- The vast majority of fatal and nonfatal crashes involving large trucks occurred on weekdays.
- Twenty percent of all injury crashes involving large trucks occurred at night between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
The statistics tell us that truck accidents in America are all too common. But when you’re the victim of a truck accident, statistics don’t provide comfort, or help you obtain compensation. For that, you’ll need the help of an excellent personal injury attorney.
What Should You Do if You’re Involved in a Collision With a Truck?
The first priority of any driver involved in a collision with a large truck should be personal safety, the safety of the other occupants in your vehicle, as well as the safety of anyone else injured. California Vehicle Code §§20001- 20004 requires the driver of a vehicle involving injury or death to stop at the scene. It might be necessary to call 911, or to render first aid. The driver of a vehicle is also required to produce a driver’s license and registration to law enforcement on the scene. In addition, you’ll want to do the following:
- Get the name and insurance information of any other drivers involved.
- Get the names and contact information of any potential witnesses.
- Take photos of the scene. If you’re injured, have a witness photograph. Trucking companies frequently have accident response teams, which will often clean up the scene as quickly as possible. Be sure to get your own photographs of the evidence before it’s too late.
- Report your accident to the California Highway Patrol (CHP). California Vehicle Code §20008 requires the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in death or injuries to notify the CHP within 24 hours.
- Contact a truck accident attorney as soon as possible. This could result in monetary compensation for your pain and suffering. Because each truck accident is different, it’s important to get the details of your accident to an attorney as quickly as possible, so that the best course of action can be charted.
What Not to Do After a Truck Accident
- It’s important that you admit fault to no one. In fact, the less said the better. It’s possible for a motorist to legitimately believe he or she is at fault, but after a thorough review of the circumstances, it becomes clear the trucker was at fault. Wait to talk to your attorney.
- Don’t talk to the truck drivers’ insurance company without speaking with your attorney first. The insurance company’s job is to minimize the compensation paid to you.
- Don’t sign anything prior to discussing the situation with a truck accident attorney. The only exception to this rule is a ticket issued by a law enforcement officer promising to show up in court. However, any documents handed to you by the trucking or insurance companies should not be signed under duress and without the advice of a good truck accident attorney.
- Do not discuss the case with anyone besides your personal physician(s) or truck accident attorney. The statements you make have the potential to hurt your case before it has a chance to go to trial.
How Truck Accidents Differ Legally From Auto Accidents
When auto drivers who have been injured in truck accidents consult with an attorney, they will often want to know if California law views these types of accidents differently than auto-on- auto collisions. The answer is yes. Because of the size of large trucks, and the dangers they pose to the public, there are special laws in place governing the use of these vehicles on the highway. Much of the laws focus on the rest breaks a driver of a large truck or bus is required to take between shifts. Consider the following:
- California Vehicle Code §34501.2 (b)(1) states that the maximum driving time for a commercial truck driver during a work period is 12 hours. If the driver of the truck or truck tractor is transporting flammable liquid, the work shift must be no longer than 10 hours.
- California Vehicle Code §34501.2(b)(2) states that a driver who’s been on duty for 80 hours in a period of eight consecutive days shall not be permitted to drive.
If a truck driver violates these and other rules of the road, or a company forces a driver to work longer hours, an injured motorist could potentially be eligible for monetary damages.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
When it comes to determining who is at fault in a truck or vehicle accident, there are a number of factors that must be considered. An accident involving two cars can be complicated enough. When a commercial truck or bus is involved, the stakes are higher, and the variables more. A good attorney will consider all the aspects at play, from traffic equipment and road conditions, to the truck driver’s rest breaks, and even the company’s employment history.
A good attorney is also indispensable when it comes to dealing with the court system, law enforcement, insurance and trucking companies. A motorist who wins a lawsuit after being injured in a truck accident could be entitled to:
- Pain and Suffering Damages
- Lost Wages
- Attorney’s Fees
- Punitive Damages
While the prospect of taking a case into the court room is never a fun proposition, a good lawyer will help you get through the process. Ideally, your lawyer will be able to obtain a settlement that is fair to you before a lengthy civil trial becomes necessary.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, don’t suffer in silence. Contact the attorneys at Lawrance Bohm’s office to see how they can help.