Truck Accident Facts and Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines a large truck as “any medium or heavy truck, excluding buses and motor homes, with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 10,000 pounds.” Of this class of vehicles, 86 percent involved in fatal accidents were heavier than 26,000 pounds during 2015. Nationwide, 4,067 people lost their lives, approximately 116,000 were injured and police reported a total of 433,000 accidents.
Of the more than 4,000 fatalities, concerning 2015 statistics include:
- Large truck accident deaths increased by 4 percent
- 74 percent were drivers or passengers in other vehicles
- 16 percent were truck occupants
- 10 percent were
- 10 percent increase in truck accident injuries over last 10 years
- Approximately 36 trucks per 100,000 were involved in a crash
The legal issues involving truck accidents can be very different from car crashes. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced truck accident attorney if you have been injured or suffered other losses due to a truck accident.
Possible Causes of Truck Accidents
It’s only common sense that the potential destructive force of a large truck outweighs that of a smaller vehicle. Crashes involving semis, 18-wheelers and other oversized vehicles can have catastrophic effects. Professional drivers are also sometimes challenged by long hours and other factors to operate safely. These are some of the contributing factors to truck-driver negligence.
- Fatigue: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has rules in place to regulate the number of drivable hours per day a person can operate a commercial vehicle. The primary concern is fatigued driving and operators are required to be alert and attentive at all times.
- Speeding: Large trucks require greater distances to break in an emergency due to capacity and force. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), speeding was the No. 1 driver-related factor in crashes.
- Distraction/Inattention: According to the FMCSA, this was the second greatest driver issue in crashes in 2015.
- Improper Load: Experienced industry personnel understand that a truck’s load must be properly dispersed and under the vehicle’s limit. Excessive or uneven loads can make the truck difficult to handle and stop.
- Substance Issues: Alcohol and substance abuse continue to rank high in driver-related crash factors, according to FMCSA, despite drug testing and monitoring requirements.
- Inspection and Maintenance: Vehicles that are not consistently inspected or properly serviced by trucking companies pose an increased risk of catastrophic accident.
Independent Truck Driver; How to Find a Good Truck Accident Lawyer
Unlike working for a large company, working as an independent business owner, in particular as an independent contract driver, there are a lot of things you need know. Independent Contractors are not covered under any means by the company they are contracted with. That means if an independent truck driver gets into an accident, it is all on their head to cover costs, including insurance fees and lawyer fees if they need to hire one. Finding a good trucking accident lawyer in California is just as important as having good insurance coverage.
Why Would You Need A Good California Truck Accident Lawyer?
Most people do not realize, or can discern, the different between a contracted worker and a regular employee. At times both may be performing work for the same company, which can further add to confusion when lawsuits are filed. When people are hurt in an accident, lost wages and sufferings are two of the most common grounds for lawsuits. Mistaking you for a direct employee of a larger company, with much better funding, can mean you may be the target of a quite heftier lawsuit. A good California truck accident lawyer can help confront and resolve these sorts of claims, which could otherwise end up in the favor of the plaintiff. The laws and regulations regarding big trucks is a lot different than regular vehicles. There are also special stipulations regarding insurance for big trucks as well. All of these contribute to why you would need an truck accident attorney that is able to handle your serious 18 wheeler accident and big rig accident injuries.
Things to Look for When Hiring a Lawyer
To begin with, some confusion should be cleared regarding the different between a lawyer and an attorney. Both are often times interchanged in regards to how people reference them. In a lot of ways you would want a California truck accident attorney to represent you in the case if you were seeking action against someone in a vehicular case, but for defending you a lawyer is likely a better candidate because they can see a broader picture in regards to how to build a defense. Attorneys tend to have an acute focus on a field of law and are most commonly the ones making arguments in the court room. Lawyers tend to more generalized in practice but can take special interest and study regarding certain aspects, such as laws regarding personal injury and accidents.
Look for Reputation, Costs and Credentials
The former are the three basic aspects of a truck accident lawyer you should look for will help you choose the best candidate your case. Ask around among peers and search online for reviews and ratings regarding a particular firm you are considering. Aside from the firm itself, you should also look up the individual members of the firm’s team. Sometimes you will find lawyers and attorneys working together in the same firm that can be powerful teams, mainly because they are able to provide input from different levels of specialization.
Beyond the team’s composition, you will want to examine their track record and pricing. A group that has high ratings, but little experience would not have a standing to charge as much as the top rated firms of their field. The point of hiring a lawyer is to save money, if they have exorbitant fees, even for a lawyer’s office, you should definitely get a second opinion.
A final, very important note, to consider when hiring a good trucking accident attorney, is to evaluate the reason you are hiring one. While they can be invaluable assets to have on your side, sometimes going straight to them can be jumping the gun. Instances where you are in dispute with the company that contracted you are times where having one on your side can be critical. Whereas, minor, clear fault issues, such as minor fender benders where you are not at fault, should be able to be handled easily without one. Though, when unsure, it never hurts to have a consultation.
Contact the Ledger Law Firm?
The Ledger Law Firm is a truck accident law firm in California comes to for injury accidents. We are small enough to give you the personal attention you deserve, but large enough to have the resources you need.
Don’t delay. If you have been involved in an injury accident the time to act is now. Contact The Ledger Law Firm today by phone, email, or through our convenient “Chat Now” feature on our website.
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