Like all motorists, truck drivers must obey the rules of the road and take care to avoid accidents. Nevertheless, serious truck accidents are unfortunately common and often deadly. In just one recent year, nearly 10,000 people were injured, and 367 people were killed in truck accidents in California alone.
If you were hurt in an Elk Grove truck accident, you should not have to face the aftermath alone.
At The Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC, our attorneys have more than 30 years of combined legal experience and a reputation for working hard on behalf of our clients. We understand the toll a truck accident can take on your health and well-being, and we want to help alleviate this toll by demanding the compensation you need for your injuries and other losses.
Contact our offices for a case review with an Elk Grove truck accident lawyer. Initial consultations are free, and we won’t charge a fee unless we get you compensation for your losses.
Why You Need Our Elk Grove Truck Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured in a truck accident, you are likely facing mounting medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress. Let our Elk Grove, California, truck accident attorneys take on your case so that you can focus on healing from your injuries.
Our experienced lawyers can support you after a truck accident by:
- Quickly and thoroughly investigating the accident to determine who is at fault
- Gathering helpful evidence and consulting with accident reconstruction experts to build a solid case in your favor
- Identifying all liable parties and possible sources of compensation, such as insurance policies
- Calculating the value of your present and future losses to seek the full compensation you deserve
- Filing necessary paperwork and keeping track of crucial deadlines
- Negotiating with insurance companies and other parties on your behalf
- Filing a lawsuit to seek maximum compensation should settlement negotiations fail
Types of Truck Driver Negligence and Resulting Crashes
A truck driver who behaves in a negligent, reckless or potentially harmful way while behind the wheel is at risk of causing a severe crash.
Some of the most dangerous behaviors include:
- Driving while impaired – A truck driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol is more likely to lose control of their vehicle due to slow reaction time and impaired judgment. That can lead to head-on collisions, rear-end collisions, sideswipe collisions, T-Bone collisions, and other serious accidents.
- Distracted driving – Truckers who are texting, programming a GPS, or otherwise distracted behind the wheel are more likely to cause crashes because they are not focused on the road ahead or the traffic around them. Distracted driving can cause rear-end accidents, failure-to-yield accidents, sideswipe accidents, and other collisions.
- Speeding – Due to their size and weight, commercial trucks require a longer distance than passenger vehicles to come to a complete stop. That is true under any circumstances, particularly so when they’re traveling above the speed limit. A truck driver speeding or driving too fast for road or weather conditions is much more likely to cause a crash, and the faster they’re going at impact, the more severe the damage.
- Following too closely – Even if a truck driver is sticking to the speed limit, they must stay a safe distance behind vehicles in front of them to avoid a collision if traffic slows or stops.
- Drowsy driving – Truck drivers must be well-rested because they often drive for long periods at a stretch. Fatigued truck drivers might drift out of their lanes, move into the path of oncoming traffic, or blow through intersections without realizing that they’ve done so until it is too late.
- Not checking blind spots – Semi-trucks have large blind spots all around the vehicle. Truck drivers who do not check these blind spots before merging, passing, or changing lanes are likely to sideswipe another driver.
Federal Regulations for Truckers
Truck drivers and carriers must follow an array of regulations at both the federal and state levels. Two are particularly important.
The first establishes the rules concerning how long truckers can work without a break and how long they can work without rest. These rules are known as Hours of Service regulations. Among other rules, truck drivers can drive no more than 11 hours within a 14-hour driving day that resets after 10 consecutive hours off-duty.
The second establishes maintenance requirements for commercial trucks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets truck maintenance rules. These rules include a pre-trip and post-trip inspection daily, along with one check each day while the truck is en route to its destination. Truck drivers must also keep detailed logs showing they meet these maintenance requirements.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Crash?
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, some of the parties who could be liable for your injuries in a truck crash include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company that employs the driver
- The truck’s owner, if different from the driver or trucking company
- The truck’s manufacturer
- The manufacturer of the truck’s parts
- Truck maintenance crews
- Cargo loaders, if the crash was caused by unbalanced or unsecured cargo
Potential Compensation for Injuries in a Big Rig Crash
A truck accident can be catastrophic and lead to severe injuries and other losses. You may be entitled to seek compensation from the at-fault party for these losses, which can include:
- Medical costs associated with treating your injuries
- Lost wages if you cannot work because of your injuries
- Loss of future earning potential if your injuries lead to a permanent disability
- Pain, suffering, and emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
- Costs to repair or replace damaged property
When to Reach Out to an Attorney
In California, the statute of limitations gives you two years from the date of an accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault parties. Although two years might sound like a long time, building a solid case can take months. You should contact an attorney as soon as possible after a truck crash. If you miss the two-year deadline, your lawsuit will likely be dismissed, and you will lose your chance to seek compensation in civil court.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney in Elk Grove Today
If you have been injured in a truck crash in Elk Grove, the truck accident attorneys at The Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC, want to help. Contact us for a free initial case review to learn more about your legal options.