California is a hub for commercial trucking traffic and activity, so passenger vehicles routinely share the road with huge tractor-trailers and 18-wheelers. When a collision occurs, especially at a dangerous speed, it can create a life-altering outcome for those in the smaller vehicle. For motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians, who have little to no impact protection, catastrophic injury or death is the usual result.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, you may be able to pursue compensation. However, getting the money you deserve can be difficult, as trucking company insurers are reluctant to offer full and fair settlements. Don’t face them alone: let an Oakland personal injury lawyer help you secure the financial recovery you need after a big rig accident.
Why Hire the Kuvara Law Firm?
A truck accident case is generally far more challenging and complex than a car accident case. There are numerous federal and state regulations and industry standards that govern the trucking industry. Additionally, local governments have a variety of traffic ordinances, rules, and regulations that affect large trucks and their drivers.
This complicated system of standards and laws requires your case to be handled by a truck accident lawyer who has the skill and experience needed to build a strong claim. Many personal injury attorneys have never handled a case involving a large commercial vehicle, but the Kuvara Law Firm has recovered millions in compensation for clients and knows how to help truck accident victims get the justice they deserve.
If you’ve been injured, contact us for a free consultation and case review. If we believe that you have a claim, we will pursue all legal options to maximize your recovery. There are no upfront fees for our services, and you only pay if we recover compensation for you.
California Truck Accident Statistics
According to the California Highway Patrol, 392 people were killed and 9,888 injured in truck accidents across the state in 2019. Fourteen of these fatalities and 410 injury cases occurred in Alameda County.
- 52% of truck accidents occurred on main roads, followed by 32% on highways and interstates. Only 15% took place on smaller thoroughfares.
- 48% of crashes occurred during the 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m time frame.
Common Causes of Oakland Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can be caused by a wide range of reasons that include:
- Speeding: Speeding is always dangerous, but it’s even more so for truck drivers. Due to their large size, big rigs and other commercial trucks react more slowly to sudden changes in direction or speed, and the driver has less control.
- Distracted Driving: When truck drivers text, adjust their GPS, or take their eyes off the road for any other reason, they can cause multiple fatalities and extensive property damage.
- Driving Under the Influence: Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol impairs judgment and can make it impossible to avoid a collision. According to the FMCSA, the blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold for commercial drivers is .04%, which is half the .08% threshold for other motorists.
- Aggressive Driving: Due to the long hours they spend on the road and the pressure to make deliveries on time, truck drivers are more prone to road rage. Those who fail to yield the right of way, tailgate, drive too closely behind another driver, or cut off another driver may seriously injure themselves or others.
- Fatigued Driving: Commercial drivers cannot drive for more than 11 hours at a time, and must take a 10-hour break in between; they also cannot drive more than 60 hours in a week or 70 hours in eight days. However, these mandates are not always followed due to company scheduling practices or culture.
- Component Failure: Brake failure is one of the most common causes of truck accidents. If the vehicle was not maintained properly or had a defective part, the truck company or manufacturer may be liable.
- Improper Cargo Loading: Excessive loads can lead to tire blowouts or cause the truck to tip during a turn or lane change. If the load is not balanced or secured properly, it can impact weight distribution and, in the case of external loads, cause items to fall onto the road.
No matter what caused the truck accident, it can leave you with devastating injuries. You could even lose someone you love. If that happens, an Oakland car accident lawyer can help you hold them accountable.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Accidents involving large trucks can be devastating to those in smaller vehicles or on foot. Common truck accident injuries include:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Head and neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Burn injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Wrongful death
For more information on how to protect your rights after an Oakland truck accident, consult an experienced truck accident lawyer.
Truck Accident Prevention Tips
Most truck accidents are preventable. The following tips can help you stay safer when driving near tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicles.
- Allow more space between you and the truck when you’re following or passing it. The extra distance gives you more time to stop or swerve to avoid a collision.
- Stay out of a truck’s blind spot and pass only on the driver’s side whenever possible, as their blind spot is much wider on the passenger side.
- Slow down if you see a truck ahead of you turning, as larger vehicles need more clearance and the driver has less visibility.
- Use your signals whenever you change lanes or turn so that the truck driver can see what you intend to do.
What Damages Are Available in a California Truck Accident Case?
California truck accident victims may be able to seek economic and non-economic damages from the party or parties responsible for the collision.
Economic damages are compensation for verifiable monetary losses. Examples include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost income and future earning capacity
- Property damage
Non-economic damages refer to compensation for non-monetary, subjective losses. For example:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Physical impairment
If the accident was caused by recklessness or intentional disregard for safety, you may also receive punitive damages. As the award is intended as punishment for the individual or company who caused you harm, it can be significant.
In California, you generally have up to two years to file a personal injury claim. If you have a potential claim against a government, the statute of limitations is typically six months from the date of the accident, so the sooner you contact a truck accident attorney, the better.
What if I Was Partly Responsible for the Truck Accident?
If you were partly at fault for your truck accident, you can still file a claim for compensation. However, California observes a pure comparative negligence standard that will reduce your damages accordingly. For example, if your losses are valued at $50,000, but you were found 50% to blame because you ran a red light, your total financial recovery would be $25,000 instead.
Unfortunately, many trucking companies and their insurers try to downplay their liability (and the amount they have to pay out) by making injured victims seem more responsible for the accident than they actually are. An Oakland truck accident lawyer will protect your rights and seek to deter any attempt to unfairly reduce your compensation.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
When insurance companies are involved, they have attorneys who are solely responsible for ensuring their employers pay you as little compensation as possible. Your case deserves the representation of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who will fight for every dollar of compensation you deserve.
Your truck accident lawyer can:
- Identify all liable parties, such as the driver, their insurer, the trucking company, and even road maintenance authorities.
- Investigate the accident by getting statements from witnesses, reviewing records, and even visiting the accident scene if necessary.
- Negotiate on your behalf for the types of damages you are entitled to.
- Take your case to trial if necessary and present it in a way that a judge and/or jury may find compelling.
Talk to an Oakland Truck Accident Lawyer Today
When you’re facing years of pain and rehabilitation or the loss of a loved one, you deserve an aggressive advocate who won’t settle for less than what you deserve. The attorneys at the Kuvara Law Firm have obtained settlements and judgments on behalf of victims involved in a wide range of truck accidents. From your first phone call to the moment your case is concluded we are here for you, so to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, contact us.