California Highway Patrol reports that Central California witnesses 72 fatal truck crashes and 976 injury-related crashes a year. Highway 99 connects Bakersfield with the rest of California and was actually declared the deadliest road in the entire country in 2016. Commercial trucking is a necessary part of our economy, but large trucks are often deadly when safety standards aren’t maintained or if truck drivers don’t drive safely.
If you have suffered injuries after a truck accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim against the party responsible for your losses. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our Bakersfield truck accident attorneys have over 60 years of collective legal experience in handling personal injury cases. We are confident that we will deliver a good outcome to your settlement.
Please don’t hesitate to contact our 24/7 legal team by calling (661) 299-7554 or emailing [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our Bakersfield personal injury law firm.
There are multiple factors that can contribute to the cause of a truck accident. This includes the following:
Inadequate Training and Poor Truck Maintenance: Commercial truck drivers are required to meet a minimum amount of training and other safety requirements before being allowed to drive a truck on public roads. However, many commercial trucking companies and truck drivers do not meet their required safety guidelines. Commercial trucking companies or truck drivers who fail to meet safety guidelines can be found liable for an accident.
Trucking companies must also maintain their trucks in good condition before they are allowed on the road. However, commercial trucking companies are largely profit-driven and may not always invest the necessary time and money it takes to maintain their trucks in the best condition.
Drug and Alcohol Use: Unfortunately, it is common for truck drivers to use drugs and alcohol. Truck drivers sometimes use drugs or alcohol to relieve stress or just to keep driving for long hours. Driving under the influence as a truck driver is especially dangerous. All truck drivers, due to the sheer size of the vehicles they are driving, have an added duty of care while behind the wheel.
Speeding: Commercial trucking companies often pressure their drivers to perform under strict, sometimes unrealistic deadlines. There are many factors that can cause delays, such as traffic accidents, poor weather, and other emergencies. Due to the pressure that many truck drivers are under, it is not uncommon for them to speed to reach their destinations more quickly. Speeding is unsafe and a classic example of negligent behavior that can subject a truck driver to liability.
Fatigue: Many truck drivers are severely fatigued after driving many hours over long stretches of road. Many drivers typically work with little to no rest, which is against safety regulations. The lack of sleep and accumulated fatigue can easily cause a truck driver to fall asleep at the wheel or become distracted, which can cause a serious truck accident.
Distracted Driving: A truck driver who has been driving for too many hours can become bored or lose focus. A truck driver may choose to browse the internet or check their text message instead of watching the road. While seemingly harmless, even taking their eyes off the road for a few seconds to respond to a text is long enough to cause an accident and can subject a truck driver to responsibility for an accident.
This is the most important consideration following a truck accident. Determining whether or not the party who caused your injuries was responsible will also determine if you are entitled to compensation for your losses. However, this process is a logistical nightmare, because truck accidents often involve more significant injuries and losses than normal car accidents. Truck accidents are more complex from a legal standpoint, especially because multiple parties can all be held liable.
Depending on the circumstances, either the truck driver, the trucking company, or even the truck manufacturer can all be held liable for an accident. However, negligence must have played the primary role in causing your injuries. For example, if a truck driver was driving while under the influence and caused an accident, that truck driver would almost certainly be held liable. If a poorly trained truck driver caused your accident, the company that hired them would likely be held responsible for not adequately training that driver. Finally, if an exploding truck tire caused you to suffer injuries, the tire manufacturer, and/or distributor could be held responsible for your losses.
Please note that you can also share a degree of responsibility for causing a truck accident, even if you were injured. If you are found partly responsible for causing a truck accident, you may still be able to recover some damages. California is a comparative negligence state. This means that an at-fault driver may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit for damages, even if they were partially at-fault for causing a truck accident.
Damages are intended to compensate an injured driver for his or her losses after a truck accident. In general, you must prove that you were injured in order to be entitled to damages. If you did not sustain any injuries, you will typically not qualify for compensation.
Compensatory damages can be divided into either of the two following categories, economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages include compensation for tangible losses, such as property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and lifelong medical treatment. Non-economic damages include financial compensation for subjective losses, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and physical disfigurement.
If you were injured in a truck accident that was caused by someone’s negligence or a defective product, you have the right to hold the guilty party responsible for your losses. A Bakersfield truck accident attorney at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you recover compensation for the losses you have suffered.