When a tractor-trailer and a passenger vehicle are involved in an accident the outcome is never good. The driver and passengers in the smaller vehicle may suffer severe injuries or even loss of life. In many accidents in California involving large commercial vehicles, negligence on the part of the driver or owner of the big rig was a contributing factor in the crash. It is imperative that anyone who was injured or lost someone in a crash, involving a commercial vehicle receives the aid of an experienced California truck accident attorney.
When an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer loses control on the highway the results are often catastrophic. The aftermath may reveal several vehicles involved and multiple injuries. While high-speed crashes create the most calamitous, serious accident may occur at lower speeds as well. Trucks are often forced to maneuver in limited space, pulling to the left to make a tight right hand turn, striking a vehicle that was passing to its left. They may jump the curb to the right, endangering pedestrians.
Primary Causes of California Truck Accidents
Tractor-trailer drivers have two distinct disadvantages that elevate the chances of a crash:
First, an 18-wheeler carrying a full load requires a stopping distance the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour. Fortunately the drivers raised vantage point allows him to see a great distance if he is not drafting directly behind another rig. However, seeing far ahead is of no help if a vehicle suddenly cuts in front of the truck, which is a primary cause of truck crashes.
Second, the driver cannot see direct behind the trailer and has limited vision to his right flank. Passing a truck on the right is never smart, for that reason. Serious accidents can happen when the driver changes lanes, not seeing the smaller vehicle next to his trailer, and overrides it. Side guards are being installed on trailers recently to prevent these serious underride accidents.
The Most Frequent Types of Truck Accidents
- Rollovers – A serious but relatively common type of truck crash is a rollover. The high center of gravity on a loaded trailer coupled with a sudden swerve can cause the trailer to tip. This scene is often caused by the truck driver trying to avoid a smaller vehicle that suddenly pulled in front of the rig. The toppling truck and trailer can crush another vehicle or dump cargo onto the road creating a hazard.
- Jackknife Accidents – These accidents occur when the trailer slides on a slick road surface putting the cab perpendicular to the trailer. The direction of the truck becomes unpredictable and serious pileups can result.
- The Trailer Sandwich – Driving between two tractor-trailers is extremely dangerous. The truck on either side may change lanes not realizing a smaller vehicle was in the lane leaving the car nowhere to go.
- Tire Loss and Tread Separation – A truck tire weighing hundreds of pounds can come loose, often unknown to the driver. Runaway tires have caused serious injuries and property damage in the past. Tire treads can separate and crash though windshields. Anyone who travels the highways has seen theses potentially deadly rubber missiles lying on the shoulder.
- Collision – When a 40-ton tractor-trailer strikes a 4,000-pound passenger vehicle from behind the results are grimly predictable. In the reverse situation a tractor-trailer is three times more likely to be struck from behind than any other vehicle. When the rear-ending vehicle is a passenger car, the truck receives minimal damage due to the steel reinforced rear end protection while the smaller vehicle incurs major damage.
Help Sorting Out the Facts in a California Truck Accident
Being in a truck accident is a traumatic experience. Any person who has been injured or has a lost or injured loved one needs to find the representation of a skilled California truck accident attorney as soon as possible. The attorney will have the investigative experience to get to the root cause of the accident. Driver fatigue is often the cause, as over-the-road drivers are often over extended or pushed beyond the limits of the law regarding hours of service by tight schedules imposed on them. Their hours are recorded and can be used as evidence of negligence. Trucks are often maintained improperly to reduce operating costs. In some cases the driver owns the tractor, but a second party has leased the trailer from a third party. Who is responsible if the trailer is poorly maintained or over weight? Drivers may also claim another vehicle passed on the right when the truck actually passed on the left and cut in too quickly. Without the skills of an experienced California truck accident attorney the facts would be virtually impossible to determine and the negligent party would be held accountable
Vititoe Law Group has the experienced California truck accident attorneys and the resources to hire professional accident reconstruction and medical experts to prove your case and recover the maximum award. For a free consultation with an experienced truck accident attorney call today at 818-991-8900 or contact us online. No recovery – No fee