While tractor-trailer rigs or “big rigs” serve a valuable purpose in our society, they can also be very dangerous. Every driver in northern California has to share the roads and highways with these large vehicles. While most truck drivers are experienced and careful, occasionally, a big rig driver fails to exercise sufficient care and causes an accident. In these truck accidents, the victims often suffer serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment. After a truck accident in Stockton, CA, many questions arise concerning an accident victim’s rights.
If you have been injured in a truck accident, the Stockton truck accident lawyer at Brown & Gessell has the answers to your questions and concerns, as well as the expertise to make sure you are treated fairly after a truck accident. Our personal injury attorneys have handled hundreds of accident cases, many of which involved big rigs.
You can be certain that the truck driver who caused the accident will have an attorney representing their interests. It is important that you have someone on your side who is looking out for you. Call us now at (209) 430-5480 to set up an initial consultation and talk about your case.
How much insurance do big rig drivers have to carry?
In California, truck drivers must carry a minimum of $750,000 in insurance coverage to pay for injuries caused by their negligence. This does not mean that you will receive this amount if you are the victim of a truck accident. The value of a personal injury case depends on many factors, including the injuries you sustained, the amount of your medical bills, the time you have missed from work, and the amount of insurance or assets available.
However, in serious injury cases, the truck accident victim may be entitled to much more than $750,000. Whether they receive that amount will depend on the insurance available, whether a larger company employed the negligent driver and how much the employer has in assets.
Special Laws Apply to Truck Drivers
Lawmakers in California have established an intricate set of laws that apply specifically to truck drivers and cover areas such as:
- The maximum speed allowed for truck drivers;
- The places on the road where truck drivers may and may not drive;
- The amount of rest truck drivers are required to have each day;
- The records and logs big rig drivers must keep of their travels; and
- The type and frequency of the inspections big rig drivers must conduct.
These and other areas of law may determine whether a victim of a truck accident in Stockton, CA, will be awarded compensation. The attorneys at Brown & Gessell are very familiar with these special laws and their application to the real-life accidents on our highways. If you are dealing with a personal injury due to a truck accident, give our lawyer a call today and let us start fighting on your behalf.
Leading Causes of Truck Accidents
Among the most common causes for truck accidents, you can find:
Although many trucking companies use speed trackers or speed limiters on their large vehicles, not all trucks use this technology. Since they are so much larger and heavier than a regular vehicle, when truck drivers are involved in an accident due to speeding, the consequences can be catastrophic, resulting in more extensive injuries and even death.
Like car drivers, truck drivers tend to get distracted while behind the wheel by texting while driving, taking their eyes off the road to eat or drink, driving while tired or drowsy, and other actions. When a truck driver gets distracted even for a few seconds, thousands of dollars in property damage and thousands of dollars in injuries are the result.
Although it is not unusual to find car drivers driving aggressively, truck drivers must drive for hours and long distances while feeling the pressure of getting their loads to the destination on time, making them much more prone to this type of behavior. The constant stress makes it easier for them to experience road rage, cut off other drivers, and engage in reckless driving.
Driving a truck can become even more challenging when the roads are covered with rain, ice, or snow or when there is fog. This also makes it harder for truck drivers to control their vehicles, no matter how careful they want to be. Extreme weather has been to blame for countless multi-vehicle crashes and extensive injuries or loss of life.
Many times, trucks are overloaded to move more of it from one location to its final destination. This may cause tires to blow up or trucks to overturn. Flying debris off the back of the truck or parts of the load slipping, represent a danger for any driver around.
Determining Liability in Truck Accidents
As opposed to car accidents where liability likely lies either with the other driver or with you, in truck accidents, the number of possible liable parties expands to include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The owner of the truck
- The company that is leasing the truck
- The shipper who ordered the load transported
- The truck or parts manufacturer
Your Brown & Gessell attorney can help you build a strong case and determine liability. You want compensation for your losses and injuries, and your lawyer will help you fight for your rights.
Filing a Lawsuit After a Truck Accident
Your attorney will help you file a lawsuit due to the truck driver’s negligence. Some indications that there was negligence present include:
- The trucker did not have the required driving experience.
- The truck overturned because it was overloaded.
- The route had the truck driver going through narrow roads.
- Blind spots.
- Not obeying traffic laws.
- Too many hours behind the wheel without taking a break; driving tired or drowsy.
- Driving a truck that is not safe to drive and has not received proper maintenance.
For the personal injury lawsuit to prevail, your lawyer will help you prove that the truck driver had a duty of care to those with whom they shared the road, that the driver breached this duty either by acting or failing to act, thus causing your injuries. Finally, that as a result of the truck accident, there are damages.
Wrongful Death Claims After an Accident
In cases where someone lost their life due to a truck accident, it is their family who can file a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of their loved one with the aim to recover compensation for their losses. For a wrongful death claim to move forward, the family must prove the same facts had the individual survived. Working with a truck accident attorney will help family members recover both economic and non-economic damages. In certain cases, punitive damages might also be awarded. Talk to your Brown & Gessell attorney to learn more about your legal options if a loved one lost their life in an accident.