In the State of California, about a quarter of the vehicles on the road are trucks or 18-wheelers. Accidents involving trucks are frightening due to the momentum of these large vehicles: a fully loaded tractor trailer weighs 30 times more than a standard automobile.
Unfortunately, it is common for those driving these vehicles to have their attention compromised by factors such as fatigue, stress, and drug and alcohol use. If you have been injured in an accident involving a truck and you believe the other driver was at fault, you are entitled to the maximum compensation recoverable under California law and should speak to an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible.
Professional truck drivers are under a great deal of pressure by their employers to deliver freight as rapidly as they can. This means that they may neglect their own health or postpone routine vehicle maintenance, contributing to the likelihood of an accident. For example, they may fail to rotate or change tires as required or have their brakes checked regularly. Tire blowout, separation of treads, and poor brakes can lead to severe accidents that critically injure other drivers. Amphetamine use can create a false sense of alertness for fatigued truckers, which can prove to be lethal to other drivers as well. Additionally, trucking companies are often complicit in ignoring falsified driver logs, which is a violation of California law. Your experienced truck accident attorney can investigate the causes of the accident to find out if the driver or their employer acted with negligence or misconduct concerning trucking regulations, and if so, can help you get the settlement you deserve from the other driver’s insurance company.
Although most 18-wheeler accidents are settled out of court, your attorney should be prepared to take the driver’s insurance company to court if necessary to recover your damages. Your lawyer may also go after your own insurance company under the underinsured motorist clause if your medical bills, lost wages, and price of pain and suffering exceed the amount for which the truck driver’s insurance can be liable. Finally, your personal injury lawyer can help you sue the driver for negligence directly if there is evidence to support such litigation.