Los Angeles Truck Accident Attorney
Accidents involving large trucks are almost always serious, with extensive property damage and severe injuries. If the truck driver was at fault for the accident, you may be able to secure compensation by pursuing a truck accident claim.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury due to a truck accident, please contact The Ryan Law Group today. Our experienced truck accident attorneys are committed to providing exceptional representation to pursue the maximum possible compensation for your needs. We have helped many wrongfully injured individuals in Los Angeles, El Segundo, and all of Southern California.
Los Angeles Truck Accident Resources
- Truck Accidents vs. Car Accidents
- Determining Liability in a Truck Accident
- Truck Crash Injuries and Compensation
- Time Limits in a Truck Accident Case
Truck Accident Statistics
With hundreds of thousands of large trucks on the road, truck accidents are relatively common. Although truck companies and truck drivers have the ability to prevent collisions, accidents still occur when one or more parties are negligent. Unfortunately, this happens more often than most trucking companies are willing to admit. According to the FMCSA, in 2018 alone:
- 4,862 fatal auto accidents involved large trucks
- 112,000 large trucks involved in injury crashes (5% more than 2017)
- 414,000 large trucks involved in property-damage only crashes (14% more than 2017)
- There were 1% more fatal truck accidents than in 2017
An analysis of fatal truck accidents in the US found:
- 83% occurred on weekdays
- 73% involved collisions with other vehicles as the first harmful event
- 57% occurred in rural areas, 26% on interstate highways and 13% in both categories
- 36% occurred at night (from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.)
At The Ryan Law Group, we keep up with truck accident facts and statistics to better understand how and why these collisions occur. We use our knowledge and experience within truck accident law to better serve our clients in holding trucking companies and other entities liable. At our law firm, you will never be treated as a statistic. We see the person behind the personal injury claim.
Potential Causes of Truck Accidents in Southern California
In any workplace, there is often added pressure to perform to the expectations of the company. The trucking industry is no different. Sometimes, however, trucking companies take shortcuts or don’t take the necessary steps to ensure that their drivers are operating with the utmost safety.
For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandates hours-of-service rules—specific guidelines undertaken to ensure truck drivers receive the proper rest during long-haul deliveries. However, sometimes truck drivers are pressured to stay on schedule and may skip these rest periods to ensure all deliveries are on time, resulting in drowsy driving and an increased risk of accidents.
Additionally, although truck drivers may receive the necessary training, some may nonetheless engage in unsafe driving practices in order to ensure on-time delivery. This can include:
- Distracted driving
- Not following recommended driver safety laws
- Eating while driving
- Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
It is also important to consider that there may be additional issues that have contributed to an accident:
- An 18-wheel semi-truck trailer is a complicated vehicle that requires proper maintenance and regular checking to make sure that all the parts are safe to drive on. Any potentially defective or otherwise malfunctioning equipment can easily cause accidents.
- Improper loading of a trailer can make driving a truck significantly more difficult due to uneven weight distribution. In extreme cases, unbalanced loading can even cause trucks to lose control, rollover, or even jack-knife.
- A semi-truck trailer is also at the mercy of the environment around them. An accident could also be caused by an outside force, such as weather conditions or animals.
All of these things will need to be investigated by an attorney to make sure that all liable parties are accounted for and a clear picture of what caused the accident is determined.
What’s the Difference Between a Truck Accident and a Car Accident?
Truck accidents, unfortunately, result in more serious injuries than accidents strictly involving cars—and often, these increased risks are overwhelmingly against those in passenger cars.
In 2018, 4,136 people died in large truck crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Of those fatalities, 82 percent were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.
The evidence confirms the high rate of death for other vehicle drivers is due to the size and weight of commercial trucks. Reports and statistics verify the likelihood of significant long-term life-threatening conditions and serious damage to property.
Beyond the significantly increased risk of serious injury, accidents that involve a semi-trailer truck are unique because of the parties usually involved. In a car accident between two private parties the matter is often handled between themselves and their personal liability insurers. But with a semi-trailer truck accident, the driver of the semi-trailer is almost always driving under the employment of a trucking company. The truck is the driver’s place of work and the insurance obligation and liability are the responsibility of his employer.
There are usually much higher insurance policies for a company with a fleet of large trucks capable of incredible damage.
Someone injured by a semi-trailer truck looking for proper compensation is immediately going up against a large company and a professional insurance company incentivized to protect their drivers, to protect their company’s reputation, and to pay out as little as they possibly can.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
One of the main ways truck accidents are different from car accidents is the severity of most victims’ injuries. The average 18-wheeler can weigh or exceed 80,000 pounds. By comparison, the average passenger vehicle ways between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds. The immense size and weight disparity between a truck and a car make for extreme damage to the latter in most collisions.
The occupants of the smaller vehicle can suffer devastating, catastrophic and life-threatening injuries in a truck accident. Some of the most common injuries are:
- Bone fractures
- Muscle strains
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Severe burns
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Catastrophic injuries
- Losses of limb
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
Injuries from a commercial truck accident in Los Angeles could impact a victim for life. The victim may never be able to return to work or normal life due to long-term disability or disfigurement. If a victim did not survive the truck accident, his or her family members may suffer emotional, mental and financial ramifications for many years. If you or someone you love was injured in a truck accident, it is critical to seek help from a lawyer when going up against the at-fault party. A lawyer can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Determining Liability in a Los Angeles Truck Accident
Although much of the liability in a truck accident may fall on the driver, it is important to note that the trucking companies and their personnel may also share liability—especially if they contributed to the causes of the truck accident. In some cases, the trucking companies are responsible for regularly inspecting all their fleet vehicles, ensuring that they are operating normally and do not have any significant issues. If it is found that they were careless in their evaluations of the conditions of these vehicles, they may be held liable.
The personnel may also be held liable if they did not properly load the trailer to ensure equal weight distribution. If it was found that improper loading contributed to the accident, they may also share liability in the accident.
Investigating the Cause of a Truck Accident
Evidence will be used during the process of assigning liability and figuring out what caused the accident. This evidence can include any physical evidence from the scene of the accident, photographs taken of the accident or the injuries to the people involved, or eye witness accounts of the accident.
Both sides of an accident will have the opportunity to gather and present evidence. Depending on what picture that evidence paints can determine if a party wants to settle or take a case to court.
When trying to determine who is at fault a truck accident includes unique avenues to look down. Was the driver driving in a safe manner and obeying all traffic laws? Was the driver in good physical condition or had they been driving too much and beyond what they could handle? Had the driver been properly trained and did the driver have the experience necessary to perform the route he was assigned? Was the driver of clear mind or were they under the influence of drugs or alcohol? These are all questions a personal injury attorney will seek to answer when investigating a case.
Injuries and Compensation
In accidents involving trucks, the injuries can vary from minor to loss of life. In the situations where an injured party is taken to the hospital, the resulting medical bills can pile up quickly. When thinking of accident liability, the most obvious consideration is to the medical care related to physical injuries. However, in addition to physical injuries, a participant in the accident can sustain lasting emotional injuries such as PTSD, fear of driving, or depression.
There are also costs associated with the lost potential for an injured party. This can include lost wages and loss of future earning capacity.
These types of compensation are complicated and require a professional to truly discover the overall costs that result from a truck accident. If there is any injury sustained during an accident with a semi-trailer truck, it is a good idea to get in touch with a Los Angeles accident attorney to ensure you are calculating the full compensation you require.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer for an LA Truck Accident?
If injuries have been sustained or income lost because of a truck accident in Los Angeles County, it is best to hire a personal injury lawyer.
A personal injury law firm like The Ryan Law Group is a group of professionals with experience in semi-trailer truck accident cases. They know how to find all parties with potential responsibility. They know how to communicate with insurance companies to get the largest settlement possible. Their reputation is often a key factor in getting a settlement as opposed to the long process of taking a case to trial.
A personal injury lawyer is also well versed in ensuring injured parties receive the medical care they need. A person who was injured in an accident shouldn’t have to worry about navigating the complicated world of hospital bills and insurance companies. A law firm deals with these issues daily and will be able to take care of everything.
Additionally, California is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that any party can pursue damages, even if they are found partially at fault. Additionally, it also means that anybody can pursue damages from any liable parties for the percentage that they are liable. This is especially useful in truck accidents because drivers are able to pursue compensation from all at-fault parties for any partial fault they may have. So, for example, if it is found that both the truck driver and the trucking company are found partially liable for a truck accident, the plaintiff may be able to pursue each party for their percentage of the blame.
The owner of the truck, the driver, the insurance company, and the regulatory agencies all play a role as responsible parties in establishing the settlements. Realistically, contacting all of these liable parties and resolving settlements can be a complicated affair for those not specializing in personal injury law. Therefore, consulting a truck accident attorney is arguably the most convenient way to secure the compensation you are entitled to.
Time Limits in a Truck Accident Case
If you wish to pursue justice and financial compensation after a truck accident in Los Angeles, be aware that you are operating under a time limit. Like all states, California has a statute of limitations on personal injury claims, including car and truck accident cases. With only a few uncommon exceptions, if you miss the statute of limitations, the courts in your county will refuse to hear your case.
The time limit in a truck accident case in California is two years from the date of the collision. If you are seeking compensation for wrongful death, you will have two years from the date of your loved one’s death if this date differs from that of the collision. The courts may also toll, or extend, the deadline if you do not discover your injuries from the truck accident until later. In this case, the clock will not start ticking until the date of injury discovery. Act quickly to consult with an attorney if you’ve been injured in a truck accident in LA.
Contact a Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a truck accident, please contact The Ryan Law Group today. Schedule a no-cost consultation with one of our experienced truck accident attorneys and see how we can help you.
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