8 Common Causes of Truck Accidents in the USA

Truck accidents can result in catastrophic injuries and enormous financial losses. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), over 500,000 truck accidents occur annually in the United States. Understanding what causes these crashes can help prevent them. This article explores the eight most common causes of truck accidents.

1. Driver Fatigue

One of the leading culprits in truck crashes is fatigue. Drowsy driving impairs judgment and reaction times. Unlike regular motorists, commercial drivers may spend weeks at a time on the road with tight delivery schedules and limited rest. FMCSA Hours of Service rules restrict driving shifts to 14 hours in a day, with only 11 of those hours spent driving. However, these regulations are frequently violated.

Drowsy truckers face immense pressure to meet delivery windows, forcing them to skirt regulations. Dispatchers at some trucking companies even encourage exceeding service hour rules. All drivers face biological needs for sleep, but the size and weight of large trucks compound the hazards resulting from fatigued driving. These rigs require advanced skill and awareness to operate safely – faculties that become severely impaired when a driver has not slept adequately.

2. Speeding

Excess speed diminishes a truck driver’s ability to avoid accidents. These huge rigs take significantly longer distances to brake than regular-sized passenger vehicles. At 65 mph, a fully loaded tractor-trailer needs 525 feet—over a football field length—to come to a complete stop. High speeds give truckers less response time to prevent crashes in traffic slowdowns or other unexpected situations. Nonetheless, truckers under pressure to meet delivery windows often exceed posted speed limits. Excess speeds also contribute to rollover risk with these high-center-of-gravity vehicles. A Nevada truck accident lawyer can help if you’ve been involved in a truck accident caused by speeding.

3. Distracted Driving

Truck drivers face as many potential distractions as other motorists – cell phones, GPS devices, the radio, food, passengers. However, the consequences can be tragic when an 80,000-pound big rig drifts across lanes or traffic slows unexpectedly. FMCSA bans commercial drivers from texting and limits the use of hand-held cell phones in recognition of the hazards posed. Still, distracted driving remains a factor in many truck collisions. While any driver faces hazards from distractions, a wandering semi-truck poses grave risks to all surrounding road users.

4. Impaired Driving

Drinking alcohol or using drugs severely impairs perception, coordination, and reaction times – skills critical to operating a truck. Unlike regular drivers, commercial truckers face a much lower legal limit – .04% blood alcohol concentration compared to .08%. Repeat offenders or impaired drivers may lose their commercial licenses, but substance use remains a recurring factor in truck accidents. Stimulant use to delay the need for rest also contributes to impaired driving behaviors.

Truck stops along major long-haul routes unfortunately attract drug traffickers and prostitution rings, putting truckers at higher risk for substance abuse issues. Party drugs, heroin, cocaine, and illegal pain pills flow along these illicit pipelines. Truckers sometimes take uppers to handle long miles without adequate rest, then drink or use depressants to relax afterward. These activities all too frequently lead to drugged or drunk driving episodes that end in horrific crashes.

5. Aggressive Driving

Sharing the road with massive trucks can trigger frustration, impatience, and aggression in motorists. They cut dangerously close in front of trucks or make unsafe lane changes. Conversely, truck drivers themselves sometimes drive aggressively by tailgating smaller vehicles, refusing to let cars merge into their lane, rolling through stop signs or traffic lights, or speeding. Aggressive behaviors like these markedly increase the risks of truck collisions.

While truck drivers have as much right to road access as other vehicles, special awareness of their size and stopping distances helps avoid aggressive driving behaviors. When commercial rigs drive pushily, motorists feel intimidated by the looming vehicle behind or beside them. Unfortunately, some passenger vehicle drivers attempt foolishly bold responses like cutting in too closely. These actions initiate escalating reactions that often end disastrously, requiring the assistance of a truck assistant injury lawyer.

6. Overloaded Trailers

Exceeding legal weight limits threatens truck stability and braking capacity. Moreover, improperly balanced, top-heavy, or shifting cargo loads increase the risks of rollovers or jackknifed trailers. Despite weight restrictions and required weigh station stops, uneven cargo loading remains a factor in many serious truck accidents.

Shippers and receivers press trucking companies for quick turnarounds that limit opportunities to check weight distribution. Drivers may insufficiently secure cargo inside trailers or improperly distribute it across axles underneath. Unbalanced loads make trucks more unsteady and challenging to control. Objects inside trailers that unexpectedly shift location further impede smooth transport. Taking the time to properly weigh and balance cargo may reduce a driver’s daily miles but helps avoid overloaded rigs that can turn deadly on the road.

7. Poor Truck Maintenance

Well-maintained vehicles minimize accident risks, but time pressures lead some trucking companies or independent big rig owners to cut corners on safety-related maintenance. Critical parts like tires, brakes, lighting, hitches, and mirrors may fail to receive adequate servicing or timely replacement. Connecting multiple trailers together compounds risks when a failure occurs. Enforcement efforts target high-risk carriers, but poor truck maintenance still contributes to crashes.

Independent truckers operate on tight margins and limited finances that incentivize deferring maintenance costs when money runs short. But worn tires, bad brakes, faulty lights, damaged hitches, or ineffective mirrors each pose threats to safe operation. The failure of any of these components dramatically increases the odds of a crash. Lack of regular maintenance also leads to breakdowns alongside high-speed roadways – locations that endanger both the truckers and passing motorists when problems occur. In accidents such as these, Nevada truck accident injury lawyers will often seek compensation from the operators.

8. Inexperienced Drivers

New commercial truckers lack the advanced skills to handle these massive vehicles safely. Truck driving schools provide basic operational training, but real road experience takes time. Rookie mistakes like improper lane changes, following too closely, poor space perception or inadequate mirror checking can have catastrophic outcomes. Some carriers hire inadequately prepared drivers or fail to provide sufficient supervised skill development. More truck accidents occur during a commercial driver’s first year behind the wheel than at any other time.

Adding semi-autonomous features like automatic braking and lane keeping can compensate somewhat for the lack of driver proficiency. However, over-trusting technology poses its own risks. Novice truckers often rely too much on systems meant to assist human operators rather than replace them. This leads to complacency and inattention instead of continuing hypervigilance about operating an 80,000-pound machine at high speeds. Recent graduates falsely assume their classroom and simulators sufficiently prepared them to handle a high-stress job. Carriers must recognize additional supervised driving enhances safety.

Truck accident injuries often result in devastating financial, physical, and emotional consequences for crash victims. Medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering damages can exceed millions. Holding negligent parties accountable takes experienced legal representation against wealthy insurance companies. Working with a Nevada truck accident attorney can help you receive the compensation you deserve following an accident. Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys have an established record of success in recovering maximum compensation for people harmed by commercial trucking crashes. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a truck collision, contact us today for a free case evaluation and learn your legal rights and options.

A Guide to Filing a California Truck Accident Claim

Truck accidents are serious business. If you are the victim of one, you will know how much they impact life in the days, weeks, months, and even years afterward. One of the most popular ways to heal and move forward is to ensure you are taking care of the administration. This can be done by filing a truck accident claim, and here’s what you need to know about the process.

You Will Need An Attorney

While there are no legal requirements for a plaintiff to have official legal representation through the form of attorney, it could not be recommended enough. It not only makes life so much easier while navigating the ins and outs of an accident claim but a truck accident lawyer is also experienced enough to get you the results you deserve. Your first job, therefore, is to get in touch and talk to us about anything you need. What kind of complications might you face?

Finding Out Who Is Liable For Your Injuries

It doesn’t matter what kind of injuries you are facing, someone has to be held accountable. However, when it comes to truck accidents, there are a few different options and a whole load of crossover to factor in. It could be the case that the driver is completely liable, which would be the most straightforward option. Or, it might be shared blame portioned out between the truck operator, the fleet manager, and the manufacturer too. So, you see, there are already complexities on the table.

Top-Tier Lawyers

Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys are never intimidated, talked out of doing what’s right, or shot down by a corporate law institution. However, if you were to go it alone, you might be. We don’t say this to be disparaging, it is just the truth of the matter. Experienced lawyers acting for the other side know what they are doing, how to play the system, and want nothing more than to make your claim fizzle into non-existence. So, you will need our help with the big legal talk and fast firing questions coming your way.

Truck Accident Specific Legal Factors

There are also a number of factors that make truck accidents complicated legally. As mentioned above, the opposing attorney team will understand exactly how these laws work in their favor but fortunately, so does our personal injury law firm.

Gathering The Right Kinds of Evidence

There are lots of things that could be classed as evidence for a truck accident claim. Things like photographic accounts of your injuries, medical records, and repair receipts are all relevant but sifting through and finding the golden ticket is something only a trained lawyer knows how to do. To file your claim, you will need different pieces of supporting documentation to show that what you are saying is true, and what they are claiming is false or misleading.

Figuring Out What You Need

This is one of the biggest questions you will face in any legal process. What do you need in terms of compensation? If you’re stuck, don’t worry, you are not alone there. There are a multitude of options in this area and every single path needs to be explored thoroughly. This is so we can determine exactly what compensation you are owed and secure the best settlement figure for you. What kind of things are relevant?

Pain and Suffering

This will be a hard conversation, but it is a necessary one to find the right way forward. Pain and suffering is never an easy thing to calculate. It takes into account things like how long you have been injured, the extent of the physical repercussions, and what your life has looked like since the accident took place. You can provide plenty of supporting evidence to show your story is true here like medical notes from a lead doctor and so on.

Bills, Bills, and More Bills

It is a good idea to get organized when it comes to your receipts. If you haven’t already, then now is the time to start. You can begin to gather essential bill records from your treatments, appointments, repair jobs at the car garage, and everything else in between. Every single financial record should be kept on file, copied, and submitted to our legal team for review. You never know what may or may not be relevant, so it is vital that all bases are covered sufficiently by our accident injury lawyers.

Respecting the Statute of Limitations

Did you know that truck accident claims in California must be made within two years from the date of the accident? There are only two exceptions to this rule where you may have longer, but these are rare indeed. For example, if you were a minor at the time of the crash, you could be granted an extension. You must file within the two year period, or you risk losing out on vital compensation and legal support.

Finding Support

These kinds of cases are mentally draining and emotionally challenging. We are here to provide legal support and make your life easier in this area, but it is also important to seek out additional help as well. You can factor this into your claim and even list it as an expense when it comes to your compensation figure. For instance, if you go to a block of therapy sessions because the accident has caused poor mental health, you will be able to show evidence and claim the money back. Therapy is an important channel for anyone who has suffered through a traumatic event and it is always a good idea to look after yourself mentally as well as physically.

Attend Appointments

That is also why you should continue to go to the hospital for any and all appointments for your injuries. All of this is vital evidence for your case and will help you to win the compensation you deserve down the line.

Truck accident claims are complex but easier to navigate with Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys by your side. We will help you find the right support, documentation, and input every step of the way.

How to Choose a Truck Accident Attorney in California

If you have suffered through a truck accident, you are going to be on the hunt for a reliable attorney. Picking a law firm doesn’t have to be mind boggling. The trick here is to know what to look for and why you are looking for it. This guide highlights everything you need to know on the topic so that you are never left in the lurch by your lawyer.

Experience

The most important thing you need from a truck accident lawyer is experience. In simple terms, this is because truck accidents are complex in comparison to car accidents. They often involve big name brands and high-powered law teams with an abundance of funding. You can see how a clear disadvantage is already at play, and that is where experience saves the day. Make sure any law firm you approach has a track record of helping clients in this particular niche. This will give you peace of mind and confidence in their approach.

Success Stories

Everyone loves to hear a success story, especially when putting their faith in a service. Success stories in this context involve attorneys who have won cases both in and out of court for their clients. If they can demonstrate a top rate of winning, they are a safe bet. It shows that your case is in good hands and that the lawyers on the job will work hard to get the best possible outcome in your favor wherever possible.

Client Reviews

Client reviews will show the good, the bad, and the ugly. They are vital pieces of information that any prospective person can use as they wish. It is always advisable to take both negative and positive reviews in the right context. Some people wear their hearts on their sleeve and others are fairly reserved. What matters here is the nuance, the frequency, and the language choices alongside obvious indicators like star ratings and verified statuses too. In 2023, there is nowhere to hide regardless of whether you are a law firm or a supermarket chain. People will tell the world about their experiences, and it is there for anyone to read.

Determination

Tenaciousness is an attractive quality in an attorney, but there is a line to draw. The determination to succeed should stay within the scope of what is moral, and what is legal. Check this out carefully and get a sense of how determined they are to win your case and at what cost. It is vital to find a law firm that practices ethically because you are at risk of losing both the case and money if something untoward is taking place.

Availability

Do they have time for you? This is a top-tier question that deserves a proper answer. You can determine this by looking at how quickly they respond to your initial inquiry, whether they follow up in good time, and how they talk to you when you are face to face or over the phone. If things feel rushed, and you get the sense you are at the bottom of a long list of higher priorities, move on. Great firms like Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys dedicate the correct level of care and service to every single client on their agenda.

Payment

Be transparent about any questions you have regarding the cost of service. This is where lots of people feel awkward, but there is no need. Asking upfront what the price will be is a good way to stay ahead of your personal finances and ensure there are no surprises down the line. Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys represent their clients on contingency and advance all costs.  You don’t have to pay a dime unless you win.

Personal Factors

It is in your best interests to get along well with your lawyer. This is the person who will stand by you in one of your most vulnerable times, so you have to establish a reasonable connection.

Communication

How well do they communicate? This is more about just picking up the phone or responding to an email. This is about how you are spoken to, and what vibe you get from the attorney assigned to your case. You deserve to feel like a person treated with respect during this vulnerable time. It is a part of their job to look after you as well as provide answers to questions, support with legal jargon, and stay on top of your claim at all times.

Where to Look

You don’t have to look any further than Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys. We have supported a high volume of clients with their truck accident insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits. There is help at hand, just pick up the phone and we will show you the way.

What to Expect After an Accident with a Commercial Vehicle or Truck in Austin, Texas

Being involved in any kind of vehicle accident can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. However, when the other vehicle involved is a large commercial truck or semi-truck, the situation becomes even more serious and complex. The size and weight differences between passenger cars and commercial trucks means that the occupants of the smaller vehicle are likely to suffer more severe injuries in a crash.

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in an accident with a commercial truck or vehicle in Austin, Texas, you probably have a lot of questions about what happens next. This article will provide an overview of what to expect after such an incident, your options for seeking compensation, and finding an experienced vehicle accident attorney to handle your truck injury claim.

Seeking Medical Attention

The priority after any accident is to get the medical attention you require. Because of the force in a semi-truck collision, injuries like broken bones, head trauma, spinal cord damage, and internal organ damage are common. You may be in shock initially and not realize the severity of your injuries until days or even weeks later. Some severe injuries can even turn fatal if they are not properly treated in time.

It’s crucial that you are thoroughly evaluated by emergency responders at the accident scene and then receive follow-up treatment from your healthcare providers. Describe all your symptoms and pains so that doctors can diagnose your injuries accurately and decide on the right treatment protocols. Follow all their recommendations closely even after you are discharged. Your medical records will serve as evidence when filing your claim later on.

Collecting Evidence from the Scene

In the aftermath of the collision, be sure to gather as much verifiable evidence about how the crash occurred. If possible, take photos of the position of the vehicles, the extent of property damage, any skid marks on the road, witness statements, and so on. All this can help establish factors like speeding or reckless driving by the truck driver.

Also, request copies of the official crash reports that will be prepared by police officers who respond to the scene. These reports contain key details about issues which may have caused the accident, like drunk driving, failure to stop, etc. Make sure all such evidence is preserved safely.

Exploring Your Legal Options

Crashes involving large commercial trucks often lead to extensive injuries and other losses for the victims. You have the right to hold the responsible parties liable for the damages. There are two ways you can pursue financial compensation – by filing an injury claim with your own auto insurance provider or the trucking company’s insurer, or by suing the driver and their employer through personal injury litigation.

Insurance Settlements

One of the easiest ways to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost income, vehicle repairs, etc., is through insurance claim settlements. The commercial truck should have higher policy limits than a private automobile. Find out what coverage is available so that you can claim adequate damages. Consult a truck accident lawyer to assess the value of your injury claim.

Personal Injury Lawsuits

Always speak to a personal injury attorney before dealing with an insurance company. Insurance providers try to minimize payouts whenever possible. So, you may be forced to file a personal injury lawsuit against the trucking company responsible for the crash. Through such litigation, your truck accident lawyer can help claim rightful compensation not limited to insurance limits – including pain and suffering damages.

It’s advisable to pursue settlement negotiations simultaneously and consider litigation only if an acceptable insurance settlement cannot be obtained. Going to court can be expensive, stress inducing, and time-consuming. An attorney experienced in trucking accident cases can guide you on the best legal course for maximum compensation through either settlement or litigation.

What Kinds of Compensation Can You Receive?

Some of the damages you can seek compensation for through insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits after an Austin truck collision include:

  • Medical expenses: All healthcare costs from ambulance fees to hospitalization charges to expenses of procedures, tests, medication, assistive devices, physical therapy, etc. If treatment will be required in future, like surgery, the projected costs can also be claimed.
  • Lost income: Any earnings lost due to missing work during recovery. Also, potential long-term loss of income if you’re disabled and cannot return to your profession.
  • Property damage: Repairs or replacement cost of your vehicle if it was totaled.
  • Pain and suffering: Monetary compensation for physical pain and mental trauma suffered such as emotional distress.
  • Wrongful death damages: Financial support, loss of companionship, burial costs if a loved one died in the crash.
  • Punitive damages: Additional penalties imposed to punish defendant’s egregious actions.

Why Choose Karns and Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys?

At Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys, we have the compassion, expertise and resources to help truck accident injury victims and families obtain maximum compensation for their damages. With several years of legal experience, including many commercial trucking cases, our attorneys know how to investigate such crashes thoroughly and build a rock-solid injury claim. We have recovered hundreds of millions for our satisfied clients across Texas. Our services include:

  • Free claim evaluation by an experienced Houston truck accident lawyer no matter where in Texas the crash occurred.
  • Scouring crash records for evidence establishing culpability.
  • Hiring expert witnesses to highlight safety violations.
  • Valuing all your damages accurately.
  • Relentlessly pursuing just compensation from all liable sources.
  • No recovery, no fees promise, so you pay legal costs only if we win compensation.

Crashes involving huge commercial vehicles like tractor-trailers often lead to critical injuries and massive property damage due to their sheer size and weight. As an innocent accident victim, you should not suffer financially because of a reckless trucker or company.

Consult with an experienced Austin truck accident lawyer to understand all your legal options and get personalized advice on pursuing your injury claim. With expert legal representation guiding your case, you can focus on healing, knowing your lawyer will fight to secure fair financial damages which can help facilitate your recovery. So don’t delay in seeking legal help – contact Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys today for a free case review.

California Truck Accidents: What Happens Next?

In California, 9% of crash fatalities are because of trucks. There is also an alarming number of people who are left with catastrophic injuries too. These figures cannot be brushed under the table. When you are involved in this kind of accident, what can you do? Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys are here to explain what happens next.

When An Accident Happens

If you ever become involved in an accident with a truck driver, there are specific steps you need to take in the immediate aftermath. The key here is to get to safety, seek medical attention, and gather as much information as you can before it’s too late.

Move to A Safe Spot

If it is possible, you should always leave your vehicle in a safe space and move to somewhere where you cannot be hurt again. Your top priority is your health and the safety of any passengers or fellow road users. Move to a suitable spot and make sure you stay out of harm’s way until you are either taken to hospital or treated by an ambulance crew. It is important to stay at the scene to answer any questions from police officers and provide a witness statement if appropriate.

Calling 911

As soon as you know you are safe, it is important to phone 911, asking for police and ambulance attendance at the scene. This will provide two big channels of support. Firstly, medical crews will be able to assess your injuries on the scene. There will be a report, and it should be followed up in a hospital. It is unlikely that you are coming away unharmed, therefore further intervention will always be recommended. Whether you think you are hurt or not, there could be a number of hidden injuries like internal bleeding, or even a traumatic brain injury to get checked out.

The Role of Law Enforcement

Secondly, an attending police officer will always create an accident report. This is a vital piece of evidence and will be an accurate, detailed assessment of the scene of the collision. It will have key bits of information like the truck driver’s plates, name, and company alongside anyone else who was a witness or involved in the events. This can be called upon further down the line when filing an insurance claim or pursuing a personal injury lawsuit with our personal injury law firm.

Pay Attention and Take Pictures

If you are capable of doing so, then it is important to take as many photographs as possible of the scene. You will naturally be overwhelmed and in shock, but these pictures will support your narrative when you get around to talking to a personal injury accident lawyer on our team. It will also help to jog your memory when revisiting the incident in the future. A brain in distress is never thinking completely clearly, and you are running the risk of misremembering or completely forgetting key details if you don’t have pictures to look back on.

Contact Our Team

The best thing about a great vehicle accident lawyer is that they can help you get the compensation you deserve. Whether you are facing life with steep medical bills because of the accident, losing out on wages as a result of a catastrophic injury, or even facing life without a loved one, we can help you to move forward and regain control. It will be difficult to fight the case without a trained attorney by your side, especially when dealing with a mainstream, powerful truck fleet company.

Why Do Truck Accidents Happen?

Much like other kinds of accidents, there are varying reasons why truck accidents could take place. Here are the biggest influential factors.

Speeding

Trucks are large vehicles, and they weigh a lot. They are also driven by people on tight deadlines with a heavy workload. They are bound by regulations and time pressures that other road users may not have, and that is why they are often found to be exceeding the legal speed limits for their cargo. Speeding, however, is incredibly dangerous in a vehicle of this nature. Not only does it make it harder to stop, but it is also all but impossible to maneuver or respond to any changes in the environment.

Tired Drivers

It is also the case that truck operators are prone to driving tired. They have long days and taking a break is a legal requirement, but not one that is strictly adhered to. Even the slightest bit of tiredness can significantly impact your ability to think, plan, and respond behind the wheel. If you are in charge of a major vehicle like a truck, this is a deadly mix. Exhausted drivers are more prone to making mistakes, missing judgment calls, and handling their vehicles poorly.

Faulty Trucks and Poor Maintenance

Despite the expected high maintenance standards, some trucks fail to deliver. This means, that if they are out on the road and driving about for a job, they might malfunction. DOT inspections are again, something every fleet must respect, but it isn’t always possible for trucks to be properly maintained. Something like a tire blowout is dangerous enough for a regular car, if it happens on a truck, it is catastrophic.

Inexperienced Drivers

Whether it is a lack of knowledge about a certain area, or a skill deficit in the person in charge of the truck, inexperienced drivers are a leading cause of this kind of accident. If there is insufficient training or a lack of confidence on a certain road, it is more likely that a crash will occur.

Californian truck accidents happen more often than you might think. The roads are a dangerous place for pedestrians and car drivers, and it is an unfortunate truth that truck drivers pose a major threat to your safety. If you have been involved in this kind of accident, don’t sit around and wait for resolution. Take action now.

Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys know that truck accidents are big, traumatic events. You can phone us or make an appointment to find out exactly why we are the best team to help you with this matter.

Why and How California Truck Accidents Can Lead to Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Truck accidents are an unfortunate risk on California’s busy highways and roads. When they happen, the sheer size and weight of a loaded semi mean truck crashes often turn deadly. Surviving family members are left grieving the loss of a loved one and struggling with practical concerns like lost income and large medical and funeral bills. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit in California may be an important step in seeking compensation to cover damages. Here is an overview of how these tragic accidents happen and why truck crash victims and their families should consider legal action.

Factors Leading to Deadly Truck Crashes

A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. When driving at highway speeds, that amount of weight and momentum takes a very long distance to stop—much longer than a car or SUV. Some common reasons these crashes turn so serious include.

  • Driver fatigue or sleep deprivation, often from unrealistic delivery schedules
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Distracted or inattentive driving behaviors such as texting, eating, talking on a cell phone or CB radio
  • Failure to adequately inspect and maintain the truck’s condition including brakes, tires, lighting or cargo restraints
  • Violations of hours of service rules that prohibit driving more than 11 hours per day or 60-70 hours per week
  • Failure to properly secure cargo which can shift and unbalance the truck
  • Speeding, aggressive driving, or tailgating when behind schedule
  • Improper training for new truck drivers or inadequate screening of new hires

Blame often lies with the driver, but trucking companies and commercial vehicle manufacturers can also be at fault through:

  • Inadequate driver screening, training, or supervision policies
  • Demanding delivery schedules that coerce unsafe driving behaviors
  • Poor equipment safety, vehicle defects like faulty brakes, or overloaded trucks
  • Failure to comply with proper vehicle weight limits, size restrictions, cargo regulations, maintenance schedules and more
  • Prior knowledge of or lack of response to driver violations

When one or more of these factors is present, deadly truck crashes are tragically common. Victims can suffer crushing injuries, amputations, severe burns, brain and spinal cord trauma, internal organ damage or simply the catastrophic effects of an 80,000 pound vehicle crushing a smaller passenger vehicle.

Why File a California Wrongful Death Lawsuit After a Fatal Truck Accident

When negligence or misconduct results in a fatal truck accident, injured accident victims or grieving family members must deal with emotional grief as well as medical bills, funeral expenses, lost current and future income, and other accident-related damages. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit allows certain specified family members or representatives of the deceased’s estate to take legal action and recover compensatory damages.

In California, state law permits the following people to have legal standing to bring a wrongful death case after a truck accident fatality:

  • Spouse or registered domestic partner
  • Children
  • Parents or Grandchildren, if no surviving children
  • Anyone who can verify financial support from the deceased
  • Minor children of the deceased born after their death

Damages available through a wrongful death lawsuit handled by a personal injury accident lawyer include:

  • Medical and funeral expenses
  • Loss of financial support and inheritance
  • Loss of love, companionship, guidance, training, advice, caretaking and more
  • Pre-death pain and suffering experienced by the deceased
  • Punitive damages in cases of gross negligence or intentional misconduct

For some families, these damages may be essential to cope with their loss financially as well as emotionally. Settlements and jury awards can total hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars depending on the economic and noneconomic damages in a case.

The Complex Legal Landscape After Fatal Truck Crashes

Several factors make truck accident cases more complex than other motor vehicle crash cases. Multiple corporate entities may share liability, like the driver, trucking company, shipping company, manufacturer or cargo loaders. Trucking companies frequently fight back aggressively against claims to avoid increased insurance premiums.

Rules like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations establish minimum standards for commercial trucks and drivers on items like training, maximum driving hours, cargo, maintenance and alcohol/drug testing. However, showing violations of these regulations still requires detailed investigation and evidence.

The trucking company may also argue the victim shared partial fault for the accident. Establishing total liability usually needs extensive evidence like black box data, driver communication logs, truck inspection records, and witness statements. An experienced California truck accident attorney has the resources and knowledge to navigate these legal hurdles.

Coping with the Aftermath of a Serious Truck Accident

Recovering from a serious accident can be extremely difficult both physically and emotionally. Focus first on allowing yourself time to heal without feeling rushed or pressured. Surround yourself with a strong support system of loved ones, friends, medical professionals, and consider joining a support group. Don’t isolate yourself. Expressing your feelings and anxieties can aid the coping process. Be patient with the pace of your recovery, seek counseling if you struggle with trauma or depression, and know that there are resources and people available to help if you feel overwhelmed in handling everything on your own after a major accident. Recognizing it’s okay to ask for assistance is important.

Losing a loved one suddenly in a truck accident tragedy can be completely devastating. In addition to grieving, shock, anger, and sorrow, you may struggle with handling daily responsibilities when overwhelmed with emotions. Be gentle with yourself as you cope and adapt to a world now missing someone cherished. Keep close connections to supportive family and friends who intimately understand your loss. Consider grief counseling or support groups specific to those mourning tragic accidental deaths. Finding compassion and gaining perspective from others on this profoundly difficult journey can aid healing your heartache a small step at a time. You need not walk this lonely road alone.

Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer About Your Legal Action After Losing a Loved One

The grief of losing a close family member unexpectedly only compounds the injustice when a wrongful death occurs in a preventable California truck accident. Reach out to an experienced wrongful death attorney from Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys to fully understand your right to legal action, prove liability and negligence in your case, determine all available damages, and negotiate assertively for maximum compensation through a settlement or jury award. With compassion and expertise guiding your claim, you gain help coping with grief while holding all responsible parties fully financially accountable for their misconduct.

6 Steps to Take after a Truck Accident Claim in California

Truckers are on the roads all over the state of California. Given the increase in fleets over the last decade, there has been a definite increase in road accidents. If you are a victim of a truck accident, it is important to follow the right procedures. If you don’t, you could compromise your insurance claim and any hope of a successful personal injury lawsuit. This post has some crucial information to help anyone in this situation.

At the Scene of the Crash: Act Fast and Stay Safe

As an experienced truck accident attorney team, we can confirm that at the scene of the crash, you must act fast and with safety in mind. Everything you do here will impact your insurance claim when the dust settles, so your actions matter. Even though you will be in shock, your first priority is to help everyone reach a safe space as soon as possible. It is actually a legal requirement to exercise your duty of care towards other people at the scene of the crash, so you could face charges if you don’t.

Find Your Phone

Your phone is one of the most useful tools you could have in a moment like this. Not only will it enable you to call for help, like an ambulance and law enforcement, but it will also be a convenient way to capture images of the scene. When you connect with top personal injury attorneys like us, we will always ask if you have any picture evidence to support your claim. Photographs or videos are the easiest way to prove the facts, and they can expose crucial details that might just make determining liability, a piece of cake.

Recording Information

Alongside media evidence, you will also need key bits of information like names, plates, and insurance information from the truck driver. You can keep this safe on your phone so there is no risk of losing it It will also make it accessible in the future when you come and meet your vehicle accident lawyer. Try to collect,

  • Truck driver name
  • Registration number
  • Company
  • Insurance information
  • Date and time of the accident.

Write Everything Down

When you get home or are waiting in the hospital, try to write down a detailed account of what happened. From your point of view, this will be helpful. It is easy to forget important pieces of the event in question as you settle down and the shock wears off.

Go to the Hospital

Without medical input, it will be impossible to tell if you are seriously hurt or not. It is always a good idea to rule out any grave injuries, and it will make you feel better that you have had everything checked out by a medical professional. Sometimes, people have hidden injuries that they don’t feel because of the adrenaline surging through their bodies at the time of the crash. It will also help when you are filing an insurance claim because medical reports and doctor’s notes are crucial bits of supporting evidence. It is a clear demonstration that you were worried about physical injuries and medical complications and will look better on paper for the opposing insurer.

Hire an Attorney

Once you have taken care of your medical needs, and collected evidence, it is time to make an appointment with Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys. The benefits of having a lawyer on your team are major.

Experience in Your Corner

One thing you don’t have that we do is legal experience. It doesn’t matter how much you studied the laws of the road, without the experience in negotiating and practicing to back it up, you will struggle to move forward. That is not a failure, but a strength because recognizing when you need input is a brave thing to do.

Legal Insight

We understand exactly how these claims work, and what needs to happen in order to be successful. Our team will be able to collate evidence and back it up with further input from the relevant external sources while also ensuring you are looked after at each step of the way. There will be a ton of legal language flying in your direction, things to sign, and administration to follow up on. We will make all of this easier and explain things in clear and digestible terms.

Truck Accident Claims Need to Knows

In California, there is no legal limit on how much compensation you can claim in either an insurance payout or for a personal injury lawsuit. This means, for you, that is great news. You can ask for a maximum amount of compensation, and it cannot be rejected within a reasonable limit. As long as you factor in everything fairly and ethically, it can be put forward as a settlement request. What kind of things will our team look at?

Loss of Wages

Truck accidents are major incidents that are well-known to cause serious consequences for the victims. You are likely to be facing significant changes in your personal life from things like physical injuries and a decline in your mental well-being. All of this is relevant and will lead to you not being able to attend work as you did before. Catastrophic injuries require lots of hospital stays and visits, which in turn make it impossible to go back to work full time. This means lost wages, which will put you in financial hardship.

Hospital Expenses

The average cost of healthcare is already soaring, without having to pay additional costs on top of it. Health insurance only covers so much, and often people who are facing life with major medical interventions are just not able to keep up. That is where truck accident claims come into play because they can and do provide a crucial line of financial support through a settlement agreement.

So, if you are the victim of a truck accident, follow the advice in the post above. Now you know what to do and how to look after yourself if the worst comes to pass. Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys are available for further support, advice, and input. Call us to make an appointment now.

Whose Fault Is It in a Commercial Truck Accident?

In 2022, there were over 4,000 deaths and 117,000 injuries caused by accidents involving large trucks. Considering trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and the car weighs around 4,000 pounds, it’s not hard to imagine the catastrophic wreckage and fallout left behind following a collision. Victims of truck accidents are entitled to file compensation, which involves analyzing evidence to determine liability. However, truck accident fault isn’t clear-cut because the majority are commercial, meaning there are more parties than just the truck driver to investigate.

 

The Truck Diver

The most obvious party is the truck driver because they were behind the wheel, and in most cases, they do hold some or all of the liability. Truck drivers spend a lot of time on the roads and face a lot of pressure to complete jobs on time, which is why driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of commercial truck accidents. Other common causes include:

  • Driving under the influence. Drugs (both illegal and prescription) and alcohol impact concentration and inhibitions, which can lead to devastating crashes.
  • Many truck drivers speed to make up for lost time, but it often ends in tragedy.
  • Distracted driving. Smartphones, dash instruments, talking to passengers, or simply daydreaming for a second can be enough to cause a crash.
  • Failing to yield right-of-way. When making turns or lane changes, truck drivers often fail to give right-of-way.

A truck accident lawyer from our personal injury law firm will investigate the collision by analyzing police reports, speaking to witnesses, and liaising with experts. They will determine whether the driver is at fault and to what extent, and then they’ll go on to look at other factors that may contribute to the crash.

 

The Trucking Company

Trucking companies are required by law to keep their employees and the general public safe, which involves hiring competent drivers, keeping trucks in a safe condition, and ensuring drivers follow all safety regulations.

If a trucking company fails to meet its responsibilities, it can be held liable for the truck accident. Some more specific examples of trucking company negligence include:

  • Pressuring drivers to go against safety regulations. Despite federal working time rules, some trucking companies pressure their drivers to work varying shift patterns, which can lead to serious collisions.
  • Negligent training or hiring. All truck drivers must be trained to a high standard, and continued training must be evident. If a subpar driver causes an accident, the trucking company is largely to blame.
  • Failure to maintain vehicles. Trucks must be inspected regularly and maintained to a high standard. Any issues found must be repaired swiftly and the truck taken off the road until it is fixed. If your truck accident injury lawyer finds evidence of negligent maintenance, the trucking company is liable to pay compensation.

Cargo Loaders

Trucks carry cargo of varying weight and size, and it has to be secured in the trailer with the weight distributed evenly. However, when cargo loaders fail to load the truck correctly, the truck driver can lose control and veer into adjacent lanes of traffic.

Some of the most common examples of cargo negligence include:

  • Failing to secure the load. If cargo topples over mid-journey, it can cause the driver to lose control.
  • Overloading the truck. A truck carrying too much weight makes it more difficult to maneuver.
  • Failing to inspect the cargo. Damaged cargo is more likely to break free of the truck and cause catastrophic accidents.
  • Using faulty containment equipment. Just like the rest of the truck, equipment used to secure cargo must be maintained.
  • Loading the truck unevenly. A truck with an unbalanced trailer is more likely to tip over during transit.

Manufacturer of Truck or Components

Truck or truck component manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure all products leaving their factories are made to the best standards, which involves rigorous testing and solid infrastructures. However, many manufacturers cut corners during assembly or testing, which means unsafe trucks make their way onto the road. Sometimes, manufacturers will recall parts, but it’s often too late by that point.

If a truck manufacturing company is found to be at fault, your personal injury accident lawyer will work hard to build a concrete case that can be used to achieve a settlement. Alternatively, they will take your case to court and do everything in their power to win.

 

Agencies Responsible for Road Safety and Maintenance Inspections

Government agencies spread across the state are responsible for making sure roads are kept safe and well-maintained. However, instances of negligence like those listed below can lead to truck accidents:

  • Issuing licenses to unqualified drivers.
  • Failing to repair defects, like potholes.
  • Failing to enforce local traffic laws.
  • Not properly inspecting government vehicles for defects.

Unfortunately, government agencies are usually immune to lawsuits and criminal charges relating to road accidents. However, this all changes if we can find solid evidence of gross negligence and a failure to act within the confines of specific statutes.

 

Challenges Faced by Victims of Commercial Truck Accidents in Pursuing Compensation

Victims have a right to claim compensation following a commercial truck accident, but the road to success isn’t always plain sailing. However, Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys have years of experience with navigating the truck accident legal system, and we’ll fight in your corner every step of the way.

Some of the challenges we may face include:

  • The insurance company acting on behalf of the trucking company may try to settle for unreasonably low compensation.
  • The trucking company will have experienced lawyers who may try everything to have the lawsuit quashed.
  • The commercial truck accident may involve multiple parties, which makes determining liability a little more difficult, but it’s nothing we can’t handle.
  • The trucking and insurance companies may attempt to delay the lawsuit and argue that the victim was partially at fault.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident caused by a commercial truck, contact our legal team for a free consultation.

How Can a Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyer Help Me?

How can a Los Angeles truck accident lawyer help me? That is an important question if you or a loved one has been affected by a truck accident in which you were the driver or victim. Compensation can help you cope with the aftermath, and this can be extensive. Without a vehicle accident lawyer experienced in handling truck accident claims managing your case, you are unlikely to be fully compensated. We look at how a truck accident injury lawyer can assist you with your case.

 

The Role of a Truck Accident Attorney

It is a serious accident when someone is hit by a truck because these vehicles weigh so much compared to a normal car. An incident can cause anything from mild to severe trauma and injuries, even leading to wrongful death. You will need the expertise and resources of the best wrongful death lawyers in California for such cases.

It is important that you collect detailed information and proof to use in your claim case. This must be supported by a legal team comprising a road accident lawyer with decades of experience in such matters. Your accident injury lawyers will undertake the following steps on your behalf:

  • Analyze how severe the case is
  • Work out how much you should be compensated for all aspects of the claim
  • Undertake negotiations with the other party
  • Defend your rights

Determining How Severe a Case is

Factors that road traffic accident lawyers use to determine how severe a case is include the following:

  • The party who is liable for the traffic accident
  • Any negligence on the part of the truck driver
  • Compliance with the safety standards that the truck driver’s company failed to uphold
  • Any other contributions to the cause of the accident

Where more than one party is responsible for the crash, this can push up the amounts that can be claimed, and your accident injury lawyers will be in the best position to determine this and carry out the calculations. You will need to have substantial proof of liability to make your claim against the guilty party/parties.

Under no circumstances should you accept a preliminary settlement from the insurers of the truck driver and the company they work for before the claim for restitution has been made. This may make you appear guilty, and your road accident lawyer will warn you against this. Always be guided by your road traffic accident lawyers in every aspect of the case. The same applies if a loved one was killed in the accident and you and your wrongful death lawyers are fighting this on behalf of the deceased person.

 

Calculating the Cost of Damages

A claim for damages after a truck accident includes economic items and non-economic damages like pain and suffering, which can be harder to calculate. In the case of a fatality, a wrongful death settlement lawyer is essential to getting the best possible settlement for the bereaved family or partner of the deceased. Either way, your road traffic accident lawyers will do the necessary calculations and file a claim for you.

The economic charges that result from a truck accident are:

  • Lost wages. If you have a permanent or temporary disability, you will need to recover future earnings as well.
  • Medical Expenses. This includes both past and future medical expense for potentially the rest of your life.
  • Property Damage. Your own vehicle and other property might have been damaged in the crash and needs to be paid for.
  • With the likelihood of your or a loved one having physical injuries, you will have to pay medical expenses for tests and treatment, such as by medical practitioners, specialists, physiotherapists etc., as well as an account for hospitalization and occupational therapy in a special clinic.

Non-economic damages include:

  • Mental suffering
  • Physical Pain
  • Loss of Enjoyment of life
  • Physical disfigurement
  • Anxiety
  • Grief

You are entitled to claim for all these damages. How they are calculated may differ from state to state. This is another reason that you need the expert help of a road accident lawyer California. They will also advise you on timeframes within which a claim must be lodged.

 

Negotiating the Full Value of Your Compensation Claim

You will be up against the legal team for the trucking company. It is essential that you refrain from making any statements or offering information if they contact you. Remember that they are experts in getting the opposition to implicate themselves or getting the claim amount reduced.

It is also necessary for your own legal team to negotiate your compensation and keep the focus on the facts and the claim amount they have calculated for you.

 

Fighting for Your Rights

Once your accident injury lawyers have accepted your case, they will fight for your rights. It is important that you listen to their legal advice and act accordingly. Remember that these are legal instructions provided by road traffic accident lawyers and not just ‘good advice’ offered by a friend.

Your vehicle accident lawyers must be experienced attorneys in truck accident cases and competent in every way to take on your case. They will know how the state operates and what the deadlines are for each stage. This will enable them to submit the necessary documents in time, and in doing so, this will prevent the case from being dismissed.

Armed with this information, you can obtain the best truck accident or wrongful death lawyers California if the victim perished due to the accident. Alternatively, if you are the victim, you need the best truck accident lawyers to ensure that deadlines in court and the legal process are complied with, that you get excellent advice, and that you achieve a settlement which is a fair and just compensation for your suffering and expenses. Most truck traffic accident lawyers will not charge you for the initial appointment and usually only once the settlement has been upheld in court so that you need not worry about legal fees while the case is being heard. This makes it vitally important that you choose an attorney with the willingness to fight your case on your behalf.

Here at Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys, we have the experience and expertise necessary to take on your truck accident claim. With the right backing, you can take comfort that you are receiving the best legal care.

What to Say to Your Insurance Company After a Car or Semi-Truck Accident

After being involved in a car accident, you might experience a whirlwind of emotions and it can be quite terrifying. Even if you are lucky enough to not be seriously hurt, the stress, worry and anxiety after a car accident feels awful, and could lead you to act or speak in a way that might compromise your best interests when it comes to your case.

In fact, your insurance company or that of the other driver might be waiting for you to say the wrong thing. For example, apologizing at the scene might feel natural to you if the other driver has been hurt or their car is wrecked. But while you might be saying sorry just to be nice, insurance companies might take this as an admission of fault and hold you liable for the accident, even if you weren’t at fault.

 

What to Say to the Insurance Company After an Accident

You will likely get a call from the claim adjuster from your insurance company around a few days after the accident, in which they will want to get more information on the details of what happened. It’s important to bear in mind that insurance companies are looking out for themselves rather than you. Because of this, you need to be prepared for them to be looking out for any reasons to reduce your payout as much as they can. The best way to avoid giving them anything to use to do this is to say nothing at all and hire an experience personal injury attorney.  If you find that you must provide a statement keep your conversation as short and to the point as possible. Some tips to keep in mind include:

Give General Information

When speaking to your insurance company, you are only obligated to provide general or basic details about the accident. This includes personal information about yourself such as your name, the type of car you were driving when the accident happened, the other cars involved, the names of other people involved in the accident, where the accident happened, when it happened, and information on the other driver’s insurance company.

 

Don’t Provide a Recorded Statement

You are not under any legal obligation to provide a recorded statement to your insurance company. It is important to avoid recording a final verbal statement, without consulting a good car accident or personal injury lawyer beforehand, who can help you do this in a way that is in the best interests of your case.

 

Don’t Be Too Specific

Even if you have got medical attention after being involved in the accident and are aware of the extent of your injuries, it is important to avoid giving a detailed description of them or providing a final statement regarding your injuries to the insurance company. This is because after a car crash, injuries may appear later down the line, especially if you have internal injuries that are not always obvious. Along with this, there is also the risk of your current injuries escalating into something more serious.

 

What You Should Never Say After a Car Accident

Whether you are talking to the insurance company, the other driver involved, or witnesses at the scene, it’s important to choose your words carefully after a car accident. The vocabulary that you use could lead to problems with your case after a car accident, even if you said them innocently or meaning well. Some things that you should always avoid saying after a car accident include:

Sorry

Even if you are simply the type of person who apologizes a lot and you feel bad for the other driver involved, apologizing to them is always a bad idea. Even if you think that you might be at fault for the accident, don’t say sorry to the other driver. This is because any witnesses to the interaction might see this as an admission of guilt or taking responsibility for the accident.

 

That You Don’t Have an Attorney

If you are contacted by your insurance company before you have had the chance to get in touch with us here at Karns & Karns Personal Injury & Accident Attorneys, the last thing you should do is admit to them that you don’t have a lawyer yet. If your insurance company knows that you do not have any legal representation, they might try to reduce your compensation. For example, they may offer a quick settlement, which will typically be significantly lower than the amount you could have received.

 

Let’s Handle It Ourselves

You should always tell your insurance company about any car accidents that you are involved in. It’s not uncommon if you have a minor crash that only causes a little bit of damage to your car, and has not led to any serious injuries, to consider simply not telling your insurance company about it, getting the cars fixed and getting on with your life. However, it’s important to resist the urge to avoid reporting a car accident, especially if it was only a fender bender. The truth is that you may be due compensation for any crash, and not reporting a car accident to your insurance company will only make it harder to receive the payout you are owed.

If you’ve been involved in a car crash, then it’s important to carefully choose the words you use at the scene and when talking to your insurance company. Get in touch with our experienced lawyers today if you need advice on what to say. Call us at 877-557-4221.