If you were injured in a commercial vehicle accident, a lawyer can fight for your rights. A commercial vehicle accident is often more complicated than a typical passenger vehicle accident, as multiple parties may be liable for your injuries. Commercial vehicle accidents also typically cause greater damage.
A personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles can properly investigate the accident and identify all the individuals or entities responsible for your damages. The personal injury attorneys at our firm can handle all types of commercial vehicle accidents, determine the proper course of action, and maximize your recovery.
What Is a Commercial Vehicle?
According to the state of California’s Vehicle Code, a “commercial vehicle” is a vehicle used to transport persons for hire, property transportation, or profit.
When most people think of commercial vehicles, they tend to envision a lumbering 18-wheeler truck. While large tractor-trailers are undoubtedly commercial vehicles, there is a wide range of commercial vehicles on the road — even your family car could be considered a commercial vehicle under certain circumstances.
Generally, any vehicle being used in the course of business is considered a commercial vehicle, including:
- Delivery trucks and vans
- Cab trucks
- Dump trucks
- Buses and shuttles
- Taxis and limousines
- Garbage trucks and sanitation vehicles
- Ambulances and emergency response vehicles
- Construction equipment, such as bulldozers
- Farming equipment, such as tractors
- Utility company vehicles
- Bicycles used to deliver food or packages
- Motorhomes, campers, and other recreational vehicles
Accidents involving these vehicles are often more complex than other accidents and require a thorough investigation. You might not even realize that you were in an accident with a commercial vehicle until a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles takes your case.
Statistics on Commercial Vehicle Accidents
According to National Safety Council Injury Facts, nearly 5,000 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2020 — a 33% increase over the last decade.
Also, 12% of all passenger vehicle occupant deaths in multiple-vehicle crashes in 2019 involved large trucks. Approximately 74% percent of commercial vehicle accident deaths involved tractor-trailers, while some crashes involved both a tractor-trailer and a single-unit truck.
Head-in collisions cause more deaths than other types of accidents — 29% percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes involved head-on collisions, 24% of deaths resulted from side-by-side collisions, and 24% involved passenger vehicle rear-end collisions.
Commercial Vehicle Accidents in Los Angeles
The statistics above paint a grim picture for drivers on the busy highways of Los Angeles. It’s clear that commercial vehicle accidents are far too common — and when they do happen, they can harm numerous vehicle occupants and even pedestrians, often resulting in serious injury or death.
All drivers and pedestrians should be aware of their surroundings on Los Angeles roads and follow state and federal traffic guidelines.
Common Examples of Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Some of the most common examples of commercial vehicle accidents are:
There are many rules and regulations that govern how trucks operate on the road. Large trucks especially must follow strict federal and state regulations. They must also be maintained consistently to ensure that they are safe to drive.
If a commercial truck driver was speeding, distracted by their cell phone, or driving under the influence, you may have a claim against the driver. You may also have a claim against the trucking company that employs them.
A rear-end collision occurs when a vehicle hits another in the back — usually because the driver failed to pay attention or allow enough space between vehicles. Rear-end collisions can be especially dangerous when a large truck causes the accident, due to the potential for crushing damage to smaller vehicles.
Trucks pulling one or more trailers can be very heavy, so drivers must take extra care when operating these vehicles. A poorly-secured trailer could fall off and cause serious harm to other drivers on the road or even start a chain reaction accident involving multiple vehicles.
Buses are large and do not always have the same visibility as smaller passenger vehicles. Therefore, it requires special training and licensing to operate a bus safely. Bus drivers should always pay attention and be aware of their surroundings to avoid crashes.
For taxi drivers, their livelihood depends on having a good reputation for safe and timely service. However, sometimes taxi drivers are involved in accidents due to negligence, violation of traffic laws, and other reasons.
Ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft have become very popular in Los Angeles. Most ridesharing companies carry insurance designed to protect both passengers and other drivers in the event of an accident.
If you are involved in an accident while using a ridesharing service, it is important to understand each driver’s liability.
Delivery Van Accidents
Delivery vehicles can be dangerous when they are operated unsafely or insufficiently maintained by their owners. Large delivery vans often have big blind spots that can make it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians, cyclists, or other vehicles on the road.
Potential Causes of Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Understanding why an accident occurred is vital to determining liability for injuries. In some cases, multiple parties may be liable for your losses, including the driver, the owner of the vehicle, a parts manufacturer, or the company that leased or hired the driver.
Here are some of the most common causes of commercial vehicle accidents in Los Angeles:
Drivers of commercial vehicles often work long hours and sometimes drive when they are tired, causing them to make mistakes behind the wheel that can lead to accidents.
Unsafe Driving Practices
Some drivers do not follow safe driving practices and violate traffic laws — for example, by speeding, tailgating other vehicles, or ignoring traffic signals. This type of behavior can increase their chances of getting into an accident.
The size and weight of commercial vehicles can cause mechanical failures if they are not properly maintained. Potential problems include:
- Defective brakes
- Tires that are not replaced when needed
- Steering wheel or alignment issues
When a driver loses control of a commercial vehicle due to mechanical failures, it can cause serious accidents, especially if there is more than one vehicle involved.
Past Results for Commercial Vehicle Accident Victims
The commercial vehicle accident attorneys at our firm have successfully represented accident victims throughout Los Angeles. Here are just a few examples of the case results we have achieved in this area:
- A semi-truck driver needed multiple surgeries after being hit by another semi-truck. Our attorneys helped the injured driver recover $3,000,000 in damages.
- We also recovered $2,800,000 in a case where our client sustained injuries in a rear-end collision with a garbage truck. Through arbitration, the driver and sanitation company were found liable for the accident.
- We recovered $750,000 for pain and suffering for one Uber driver who was involved in an accident and required surgery, and $875,000 for another Uber driver in a similar situation.
Potential Liability in Commercial Vehicle Accidents
When a commercial vehicle is involved in an accident in Los Angeles, many different parties could potentially be held liable for the resulting damages. These include:
If the commercial vehicle driver was negligent in any way when operating the vehicle, they could be held liable for any resulting damages.
Many times, the owner of a commercial vehicle will hire an independent contractor to operate the vehicle. When this occurs, both the owner and the driver may be held liable. In some cases, only one party may be responsible for paying compensation to victims.
If it can be proven that a vehicle defect contributed to your accident or injury in any way, you have grounds to sue the company responsible for manufacturing or maintaining the vehicle.
Your Next Steps After a Commercial Vehicle Accident in Los Angeles
First, seek medical attention immediately, even if you feel fine or your injuries seem minor. You may feel fine now but have internal injuries that could cause severe damage if left untreated. Seeking medical attention quickly can also provide early proof that your injuries were caused by the accident.
Second, contact a Los Angeles commercial vehicle accident attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer needs to begin collecting evidence for your case and can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. Our attorneys have vast experience in complicated accident cases involving commercial vehicles, as well as many other practice areas. Whatever your situation may be, we will fight for the compensation you deserve.
Contact a Los Angeles Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer Today
If you were injured in a collision with a commercial vehicle, the Los Angeles commercial vehicle accident lawyers at KJT Law Group are ready to manage your case and ensure that your right to compensation is protected.
Call us now at (818) 507-8525 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your legal options.