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History of the Worst Truck Accidents

4 of the Worst Truck Accident Cases, Explained by the Top Commercial Truck Accident Injury Attorneys

Commercial trucking accidents tend to be catastrophic. And it’s hardly surprising why. Due to the size mismatch between a multi-ton truck and a passenger vehicle, resulting injuries tend to be disastrous. Truck accident claims involving semis are also very complex.

Below, our experienced truck accident attorneys will discuss some of California’s worst trucking accidents. If you have suffered injuries as a result of a truck crash in California, the experienced truck accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers are always here to answer any questions you may have about truck accident claims and damages.

Coalinga, California

November 29, 1991 - Interstate 5

This was perhaps one of California’s worst trucking accidents ever recorded. The circumstances were unique, combining Thanksgiving traffic and a massive dust storm. 

Due to drought in the area, a layer of soil in this mostly rural, farming community was kicked up in the air by winds that were in excess of forty miles per hour. As a result of the poor visibility and the heavy traffic, 14 people were killed that day and over 100 more were hurt. 

Fresno, California

November 3, 2007 - Highway 99

This accident took place at 7:45 am on November 3, 2007 after heavy fog descended over Highway 99 in Fresno, causing a pile-up that killed a 5 year old boy and a 26 year old man. 36 more people were also treated for injuries. 

One driver who was involved in the pileup was cited for driving under the influence, but this was not a factor in causing the accident.

Los Angeles, California 

November 3, 2002 

The worst multi vehicle pileup wreck took place on November 3, 2002 on Interstate 10. 216 vehicles were involved and 41 were injured. Despite the number of persons involved, no deaths were reported. The crash occurred around 7AM when a semi crashed into the center concrete divider and set off a chain reaction that affected both sides of the freeway. The main cause of this pileup was dense fog which caused poor visibility.

Galesburg, Michigan

January 9, 2015 

This particular incident didn’t occur in California, but it’s worth mentioning due to the circumstances that caused it. 193 vehicles were involved, 23 people were hurt, and one person lost their life. The accident began on the eastbound lanes and soon spread to the other side of the freeway, as well. 

It was determined that a tractor trailer that caught on fire was transporting fireworks that then caused multiple explosions. And yet another semi in the vicinity that was carrying acid began to leak, which created even more hazards.

Available Damages

Accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out of pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries. 

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out of pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss  of Enjoyment of Life
  • Other Non-Economic Damanges

Punitive Damages

The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact are only incorporated in 5% of all verdicts.

Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.

Contact us to find out how we can help

If you have sustained injuries in the city of Los Angeles as a result of a trucking accident, an attorney at our firm can  help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call West Coast Trial Lawyers today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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