Accidents involving large trucks tend to be some of the most damaging traffic collisions in California. Unfortunately, trucking accidents are more common than most drivers realize, and all drivers must understand how these devastating incidents can happen. Anyone injured in a commercial trucking accident should know how to identify the party or parties responsible for causing their damages. The first step is knowing the most common causes of large truck accidents.
Driving at excessive speeds is incredibly dangerous for any driver, and speeding can cause commercial trucking accidents when truck drivers or other drivers nearby do not heed posted speed limits. If a commercial truck driver causes an accident due to speeding, liability for the incident will likely fall solely on the truck driver, as their employer will expect them to operate their vehicle legally and safely at all times.
Truck Driver Errors
Some truck drivers make mistakes that lead to devastating accidents. Determining liability for this type of accident can be challenging, as sometimes fault rests entirely on the driver while other situations might implicate the driver’s employer. For example, if the truck driver did not have the necessary licenses or the requisite experience to handle their job duties, their employer should not have allowed them to drive. This is an example of how vicarious liability can come into play after a trucking accident and implicate a trucking company for its drivers’ actions.
Most tractor-trailers carry heavy loads, and the trailer is usually much heavier than the rig pulling it. If the driver loses control over the truck due to poor road conditions, speeding, or another issue, the rig’s rear axle can lock and cause the trailer to swing out at an angle. A jack-knife commercial truck can cause a very serious accident that impacts multiple other vehicles.
Commercial trucks spend more time on the road than most other vehicles and feature much larger and more complex internal mechanics. This means the average tractor-trailer requires much more thorough maintenance than most other vehicles. The party responsible for this maintenance must be as careful as possible to ensure a truck is road safe. In the event a party responsible for maintenance fails to uphold this responsibility and allows a mechanical issue to remain unchecked, that party could absorb liability for an accident caused by mechanical failure.
Improper Cargo Loading
All types of commercial trucks are vulnerable to tip-overs and balance problems if they have improperly stowed cargo. Since the average tractor-trailer sits higher off the ground than most other vehicles, the higher center of gravity poses an extreme risk if the trailer is not loaded correctly. Flatbed trucks carrying timber or construction materials can also cause serious accidents if their payloads have not been properly secured, potentially spilling large pieces of their cargo into the road.
Blind Spot Crashes
Big trucks have much larger blind spots than smaller vehicles. This means that if another driver in a smaller passenger vehicle lingers too long inside a nearby truck’s blind spot, a lane change could quickly turn into a very serious accident. All drivers should use extra caution when passing tractor-trailers and strive to spend as little time as possible inside their blind spots.
Drivers of large commercial trucks must use extreme caution when traveling downhill. Truck drivers complete specialized training to ensure they know how to maintain control over their large vehicles in these situations because their trucks’ weight makes stopping more difficult. If a large truck loses control going downhill, the driver may not be able to avoid a serious crash.
Large commercial trucks have much wider turning radii than smaller vehicles, meaning their trailers often swing out as they make their turns. Unfortunately, this can cause other nearby drivers to misjudge their turning arcs, and if a truck driver fails to complete a turn safely, they may also cause a serious accident.
Determine Liability for Your Recent Truck Accident
If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries and other damages due to a commercial truck accident, the first step toward recovering your losses is determining the cause of the accident and the party or parties liable for your damages. One of the best available resources in this situation is an experienced attorney. If you are ready to learn more about your legal options after a truck accident in California, contact the Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC, today and schedule a consultation with our team. We can help you identify the party or parties responsible for your damages and help you collect the compensation you need for the fullest recovery possible.