California Truck Accident
Semi truck and big rig accidents are an unfortunate reality if you live in California. Driving on the 92, 5, or 57 Freeway in Anaheim, you are likely to see many large trucks day and night. As a vehicle driver, it can be daunting traveling alongside a truck. If a truck driver or the trucking company is negligent, they may cause severe injuries or fatal injuries.
If you or a loved one was injured in a California truck accident, the truck accident lawyers at Katella Injury Attorneys can help you obtain justice and maximize compensation. Call our Anaheim law office today at (714) 860-7797.
California Truck Accident Statistics
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), California had the second highest rate of fatal large truck crashes in the U.S., behind Texas. Out of the 437 fatalities, over half were passenger vehicle occupants. A large truck is defined as any truck, excluding buses and motor homes, exceeding 10,000 pounds. They include both commercial and non-commercial vehicles.
Nationwide statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that approximately 73% of fatal large truck accidents happen on non-interstate roads, while 55% occur in rural areas. Accidents happen more on a weekday and in the daytime.
Causes of Truck Accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a recent study that revealed the main reason for commercial truck accidents: driver error. This factor is more likely to cause a crash than any other factor by 10 times. Driver error includes irresponsible and negligent behaviors such as:
Under California Vehicle Code, commercial trucks with three or more axles may not drive more than 55 mph on a California highway. Trucks require significantly more time to stop and slow down than regular passenger vehicles. The faster the truck is going, the more time it takes to stop. Truck drivers who exceed the speed limit or engage in reckless driving risk causing serious injury. A truck driver following too closely may rear end the vehicle in front of them or misjudge the speed of other vehicles.
Driver inattention is one of the most common causes of car accidents involving large trucks. Even a few seconds of looking away from the road can lead to a car accident. Drivers of commercial motor vehicles can be distracted by something inside the vehicle, such as a cell phone, radio, or navigation system.
Commercial truck drivers in California may drive up to 12 hours in a single day. These long hours on the road undoubtedly lead to fatigue and exhaustion. Falling asleep at the wheel is the most dangerous scenario, as is tiredness which can result in a slower reaction time and impaired judgment. Trucking companies must follow state and federal law regarding hours of service, which dictate the maximum amount of time drivers are permitted to be on the job.
Driving Under the Influence
Alcohol and prescription drug use are unfortunately major causes of truck accidents. California sets strict rules for truck drivers when it comes to alcohol. While the blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher for regular vehicle drivers, it is 0.04% or higher if you drive a vehicle that requires a commercial driver’s license.
Aside from driver error, there are other causes of truck accidents that are outside of the driver’s control. This includes poor road conditions and mechanical failures. Trucking companies and drivers must be extremely diligent in checking a truck’s brakes, tires, lights, and transmission before a long haul drive.
What to Do Immediately After a Truck Accident
Truck accidents can lead to serious and life-threatening injuries. If you sustained injuries from a negligent truck driver, you have the right to pursue compensation for your hospital bills, lost wages, property damage, and other losses. Before you can do this, you need to take important steps to protect yourself immediately after the accident. Here is what to do:
- Call 911: In California, you are required by law to call 911 after any accident resulting in an injury. Once you or the other party calls, wait for the officer to arrive. He or she will create an official accident report that will include details of the accident, possible cause, and at-fault parties.
- Move out of harm’s way: If you are able to do so, move your vehicle away from oncoming traffic and onto the side of the road.
- Document the scene: Take photos or videos of your car and the other vehicle, any nearby traffic signs, and your injuries. This evidence can help you later on when you file a truck accident claim.
- Exchange information: Obtain the contact information and insurance information from the truck driver and any other other parties involved in the accident. Be careful not to discuss details or apologize for the accident. If there are witnesses, ask for their contact information as well.
- Seek immediate medical treatment: It is crucial to seek immediate medical treatment, even if you think you are unharmed. Certain injuries, like whiplash, can lead to chronic pain if not treated properly. Medical records will also be necessary when filing a personal injury claim.
- Consult with a personal injury lawyer: Finally, consider reaching out to an Anaheim truck accident lawyer. A lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal process of filing a personal injury lawsuit and ensure you are properly compensated.
Speak to a Truck Accident Lawyer in Anaheim
A truck accident can have a major impact on your life. It can cause you physical and mental pain, lead to steep medical bills, missed time from work, and put a strain on your personal and professional life. If a negligent truck driver or trucking company caused the accident, you deserve financial compensation from them.
At Katella Injury Attorneys, our legal team of personal injury warriors can help you file a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party. We consistently go above and beyond for our clients to ensure they receive the best possible care and attention. Our ultimate goal is to help you get back on your feet. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (714) 860-7797 or fill out this online contact form.