How Truck Accidents Are Different From Car Accidents?
Car Accident and Truck Accident Statistics
Overall, motor vehicle crashes claimed 37,133 lives in 2017. In that year, large truck crashes were responsible for 4,761 deaths. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, occupants of the passenger vehicles accounted for 3,450 of the 4,761 fatalities, or 72 percent. That equates to roughly 13 percent of motor vehicle fatalities from crashes involving large trucks. In 2017, 148,000 suffered injuries from large truck crashes.
These numbers illustrate the significant risks that large trucks pose to others on our highways and rural roads. Truck accidents can inflict very costly and serious personal injuries on victims. Cases of negligence by truck drivers or those who use their services call for an experienced truck accident law firm Los Angeles to handle the many unique issues that arise in a truck accident.
More Liability Issues
A Los Angeles personal injury lawyer’s goal is to obtain maximum compensation for clients by pursuing claims that the driver failed to exercise reasonable care. As with cases involving only passenger vehicles, truck accident cases arises from acts of negligence such as following too closely, distracted driving, impaired driving, speeding, unsafe turns or lane-switches and driving too fast for conditions.
The weight of commercial trucks can amplify these acts of unsafe driving. On average, passenger vehicles weigh 5,000 pounds, versus commercial trucks that can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. At speeds of 65 miles per hour, a passenger vehicle typically stops about 316 feet after the driver becomes aware of the need to stop. For a semi-truck, such a stopping distance is about 525 feet at 65 miles per hour.
Truck accident cases raise additional and sometimes complex regulatory issues. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets limits on driving times and establishes standards for the loading and securing of cargo and the safe condition of trucks. The experience of a truck accident lawyer Los Angeles proves very valuable in helping juries and judges understand these regulations and how the facts and evidence apply to them. For instance, photographs may show that the driver failed to use adequately strong chains or other restraints, while a driver log might help prove that the driver operated under the influence of fatigue.
As a truck accident firm Los Angeles, we often rely on accident reconstructionists. These experts testify in passenger car-only cases, but their expertise becomes more important with explaining truck accidents. Reconstructionists offer opinions on speeds, braking distances, how the trucks were struck and what caused the crash–especially when the trucking companies and their drivers dispute what happened.
In lawsuits against trucking companies, truck accident attorneys los angeles will send requests for documents and answers to questions. These discovery requests seek information from the truck’s data recording system, which may show the truck’s speed prior to and at impact and the braking distance to impact, among other things. With production of photographs of the trucks, a reconstructionist may conclude where one truck hit a vehicle or another truck.
More Insurance Available
The amount of insurance available to pay claims becomes important to truck accident attorneys Los Angeles in determining how much compensation an injured person can obtain and should pursue.
Due to California automobile and insurance laws, owners of commercial vehicles offer more insurance coverage in case of truck crashes. In California, owners of private passenger vehicles must carry at least $15,000 in coverage for injury or death to one person; $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person; and $5,000 for property damage. The minimum coverage amounts for commercial vehicles that transport cargo are $300,000 for those under 10,000 pounds and $750,000 (single limit) for trucks weighing at least 10,000 pounds.
The Roster of Potential Defendants
Truck accident cases feature more parties against whom a truck accident lawyer Los Angeles may hold liable for your injuries. Beyond the driver and trucking company, other parties may have contributed to the crash and injuries. Depending on the facts of the case, these may include the person and company that loaded the cargo from a warehouse, performed a faulty inspection or manufactured a defective restraint or truck. The company that leased the truck or cargo trailer may have responsibility for your damages. These potential defendants may also have commercial liability insurance that can help pay your damages.
Truck accident cases present the prospect of greater injuries, risks of death and complexity of issues beyond crashes that involve only passenger vehicles. When you need a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer to recover your losses from truck or other motor vehicle’s negligence, contact our truck accident law firm Los Angeles so we can help.