If you or someone you know has suffered a personal injury from a commercial vehicle accident, a Southern California commercial vehicle accident attorney can help you to recover damages. Due to the severity of such accidents, it can be easy to sustain life-changing injuries that can threaten your income, and health which could even turn fatal.
By recruiting our Southern California truck accident lawyers, you’ll be getting services that could include investigating the party at fault, offering legal representation and advice, and plotting the correct course of action to get you the maximum compensation that you deserve.
What Is a Commercial Vehicle?
California Vehicle Code – VEH defines a commercial vehicle as a vehicle hired to transport properties or people for profit and should be registered under the California Vehicle Code. The law clearly states that passenger vehicles and house cars don’t qualify as such since they’re not used for profit.
Here are a few examples of commercial vehicles:
- Buses and shuttles
- Sanitation and garbage trucks
- Delivery vans and trucks
- Bulldozers and other construction equipment
- Emergency response vehicles, such as ambulances
- Shuttles and buses
- Heavy-duty vehicles like tractor-trailers and semi-trailers
Commercial vehicle accidents are very severe due to these vehicles’ sheer size and weight. As such, you shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss any injuries sustained. It’s always best to talk to a personal injury lawyer in Southern California to assess the extent of damages.
Statistics on Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Did you know that around 9% of fatal crashes involve trucks and other commercial vehicles? According to the National Safety Council Injury Facts, over 300 truck drivers die every year in Southern California. Around 107,000 road accidents involving commercial vehicles resulted in mild and medium injuries, with over 4,900 deaths.
Although commercial vehicle accidents are fewer, they rank higher in fatalities, with over 35,000 deaths registered every year. The death rate is higher in passenger vehicle occupants, putting you at more risk.
Commercial Vehicle Accidents in Southern California
The statistics above reflect the road accidents within Southern California. Of all the cities in Southern California, Los Angeles has the highest road accident rate, with commercial vehicle accidents amounting to 10% of the total crashes.
Santa Maria follows closely, with the city reporting at least one death in 40 hours. Due to the growing population and busy highways, the city is experiencing more serious commercial vehicle accidents. Although not all accidents result in fatalities, most of them account for serious bodily and psychological injuries that might affect anyone.
Common Examples of Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Commercial vehicle accidents can be catastrophic, resulting in life-altering and life-threatening injuries. Here are the common examples of commercial vehicle accidents:
Tractor-Trailers and Semi-Trailer Accidents
Trailers and semi-trailers haul heavy loads. Their weight, size, and width can make them unstable on roads, increasing accident risks. A trailer driver needs to stay alert all the time to steady the vehicle and minimize the risks involved.
Delivery Vehicle Accidents
With the growth and expansion of many businesses within Southern California, the number of delivery vehicles has doubled. More delivery vans are now on the highways and roads than a decade ago. Heavy loads and crowded highways make it more likely for them to be involved in accidents. The rush to beat delivery deadlines also contributes to these accidents.
Public transportation is common in Southern California, particularly in cities like Los Angeles, due to the booming population. In 2019 alone, Los Angeles registered 277 bus-related accident deaths. The fatalities range from head-on collisions to hitting pedestrians.
Not all commercial vehicle accidents are caused by vehicle collisions, as some result from poorly-fastened loads. Such trucks can cause serious accidents, especially if the load falls off on a highway where there are many vehicles around. The extent of the accident can then extend to other lanes, caused by scattering loads and other vehicles trying to escape the impact.
Potential Causes of Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Many contributing factors lead to commercial vehicle accidents and pinpointing the root cause could help accelerate the settlement process. Identifying the true culprit will help the Southern California commercial vehicle accident lawyer know who to sue for damages.
Here are the potential causes of commercial vehicles accidents in Southern California:
Every driver is under the obligation to observe care and caution for the sake of everyone else using the roads. Reckless driving goes against all these obligations when someone starts acting selfishly without considering others on the road. It involves switching lanes without indicating, honking aimlessly at other motorists, speeding, and overtaking dangerously.
Physical and Mental Exhaustion
Commercial vehicle drivers work under extreme conditions and pressure, which can take a toll on their physical and mental well-being. If they don’t get the required rest period, it’s easy for them to make mistakes and poor judgment calls, which can result in road accidents.
Sometimes it’s not a driver’s fault when an accident occurs, but faulty vehicle parts, like failing brakes. Commercial vehicles are heavy and massive in size, and they should undergo regular maintenance to keep these parts working as they should. Tires are also other components that need frequent replacing to help with grip and handling.
Failure to observe the traffic rules or give the right of way to other motorists can lead to commercial vehicle accidents. It’s also the leading cause of fatal road accidents in Southern California. Using a mobile phone while driving is also negligent and could contribute to road accidents.
Past Successful Results
Our Southern California commercial vehicle accident attorneys have succeeded in helping clients claim damages from injuries sustained from such accidents. Here is an example of cases we have won for our clients:
$3,000,000 compensation: Our personal injury attorneys helped a client who suffered injuries that required multiple surgeries, to get millions for damages after another semi-truck hit his semi-truck. Our lawyers proved the fault lay with the other party, resulting in the accident.
Our personal injury attorneys also proved the accident resulted in the loss of income, adding to the already accumulating medical bills. Additionally, we have helped countless clients recover tens of millions in damages from commercial vehicle accidents in Southern California.
Potential Liabilities in Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Many possible scenarios could result in a commercial vehicle accident in Southern California which include:
Drivers are in charge of operating a commercial vehicle, and they’re required to do so with care. They become liable if it’s proven that their negligent behavior, such as reckless driving, led to the accident.
Vehicle owners have a duty to take their vehicles for regular maintenance. They’re also required to clear vehicles for operation only when they have passed safety standards. They become liable when it’s proven the fault lies in their carelessness or failure to produce roadworthy vehicles.
Vehicles coming from an assembly line are expected to perform optimally without experiencing any mechanical failure. A manufacturer is liable if the commercial vehicle in question experienced mechanical failure through no fault of the driver or owner.
Next Steps After a Commercial Vehicle Accident
If you or someone you know has been involved in a commercial vehicle accident, the first step is seeking medical attention. Although it might seem like you have escaped physical injuries, you may have internal bleeding or severe injuries like a concussion that can affect you later.
Next, consider contacting a commercial vehicle accident attorney while the details of the accidents are still fresh and the scene of the crime is still intact. Besides collecting evidence that will be crucial to your case, our personal injury attorneys will also act as intermediaries between you and your insurance company.
They can also interview the doctors to understand the extent of your injuries. The information will help them determine the compensation you should get. Here are a few things they consider during this process:
- The nature of injuries to estimate how long you’ll be out of work;
- Impact from injuries and whether you’ll manage to get back to work to determine loss of income;
- Medical bills during your hospital visits, and whether you’ll require follow-up visits. They also account for outpatient care if you need any;
- Psychological trauma from the accident and whether it’ll have long-term effects.
Contact a Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorney Today
If you have suffered injuries resulting from a commercial vehicle accident in Southern California, the attorneys at KJT Law Group are always ready to help. We believe in putting your needs first and will exhaust our resources to protect your right to claim fair compensation for damages.
Contact our offices today for a free consultation with our legal experts, who will inform you of your legal options. Call us at (818) 507-8525 and let us review your personal injury claim.