Were you in a truck accident with a passenger vehicle or run over as a pedestrian? Ehline Law, a personal injury law firm in Los Angeles, California, is totally committed to assisting commercial vehicle and truck accident victims statewide. Our truck accident attorneys recognize the critical importance of tackling truck accidents and the even wider gamut of commercial vehicles. Such accidents can have far-reaching and devastating repercussions, encompassing grave personal injuries and significant property destruction.
After all, these vehicles are regularly implicated in commercial truck accidents and car accident claims against truck drivers. Their prevalence within the state’s road networks and the disconcerting statistics pertaining to commercial vehicle accidents within the state of California and its poor road conditions generally. This informative blog article aims to provide comprehensive insights into the diverse categories of commercial vehicles, including tractor-trailers, Uber, Lyft, and most truck accidents.
An experienced truck accident lawyer, Michael Ehline, Esq, brought this information to help you avoid future delivery vehicles and large truck crashes caused by negligent truck drivers and others. If you can’t settle with the insurance company for injuries sustained in these common accidents, you have file a civil negligence lawsuit against the at-fault party to prove that your injuries were caused by the defendant’s careless inability to exercise their duty of reasonable care to you safely.
The Spectrum of Commercial Vehicles in Truck Accidents
1. Delivery Trucks
Deliver people usually work long hours. Delivery trucks, from small vans to large box trucks, are common on California’s roads due to the growth of online shopping. They provide convenience by delivering goods to consumers’ homes but also pose safety concerns, especially those equipped with driverless technology. Frequent deliveries can surprise other drivers, causing rear-end collisions or risky maneuvers to avoid accidents.
Cargo not loaded correctly can affect the truck’s stability, leading to accidents during turns or braking. The demanding delivery schedules can tire drivers, affecting their judgment and reaction times. The need to meet delivery deadlines may lead to reckless driving, like speeding or aggressive behavior, raising the risk of accidents, especially with newbie drivers.
2. Semi-Truck Accidents (Wheel Truck Accident)
Semi-trucks, also known as 18-wheelers or tractor-trailers, are vital to long-distance freight transportation. However, the substantial size and weight of semi-trucks can lead to catastrophic damage and severe injuries from collisions with smaller vehicles. With their more limited maneuverability, semi-trucks also have a harder time navigating traffic, changing lanes, or negotiating turns, increasing accident risks. Long hours of driving cause driver fatigue, impair concentration and reaction times and elevate the risk of accidents.
Incorrect cargo loading can destabilize the truck, leading to accidents during sharp turns or sudden stops. Semi-trucks can jackknife, where the trailer swings out of alignment with the cab, often due to hard braking or skidding. The high center of gravity of semi-trucks makes them susceptible to rollovers, especially during fast curves or ramps. Semi-trucks require substantial braking distance due to their weight, increasing the risk of rear-end collisions.
City buses, and even tour buses serving as essential modes of public transportation, carry numerous passengers daily, encompassing school buses, public transit buses, and private charter buses. Buses are generally considered safe, but suffering whiplash is the least of your concerns if they do crash. These collisions can lead to mass casualties when they crash as they operate.
Due to the potential for a significant number of passengers on board, bus accidents can have severe implications. Because of this, like truck drivers, bus drivers are subject to stringent regulations and the expertise of professional drivers, and accidents can still transpire due to various factors.
However, bus operators have to prioritize buses with proper training classes, regular bus maintenance, and strict adherence to regulations to prevent accidents and protect passengers and others on the road. Filing a lawsuit is not always easy either, as buses may be run by a municipal agency, requiring a government claim before your case can be brought in state courts or federal courts of competent jurisdiction.
4. Construction Vehicles
Construction vehicles, including bulldozers, cranes, excavators, and others, are indispensable for various construction and infrastructure projects. However, their operation within work zones and construction sites presents unique challenges and risks for any truck driver. Work vehicles can skid out and roll down a steep berm or a cliff in wet conditions, resulting in serious injuries for construction workers, bystanders, and their families. This is why construction superintendents must prioritize job site safety on job sites.
5. Ride-Sharing Vehicles, Limos and Taxi Cabs
Taxis and vehicles used by ride-sharing platforms, like Uber and Lyft, are vital to urban transportation systems and are also in many accidents. Hence, rideshare vehicle passenger safety is paramount, along with that of other road users. As common carriers, they have a heightened duty to get people places safely. Last, understanding the prevalence of different commercial vehicles in accidents is crucial to helping officials and experts identify potential risks and implement targeted safety measures.
10 most common types of truck accidents?
1. Rear-End Collision Accidents
When a passenger vehicle collides with a truck, the car can be crushed like tin foil, doing very little damage to the truck from the collision. According to FMCSA research, rear-end truck accidents are the most common type of truck accident. They can occur while a car changes lanes in front of a truck, so truckers must pay extra attention to passenger cars. Trucking companies are required to hire drivers with a commercial driver’s license. And the same goes for delivery vehicles and taxis. But they all have varying levels of experience. Many types of truck accidents are unavoidable, as will be discussed, even if there was no negligent truck driver at fault.
2. Driver Fatigue
Driver fatigue is indeed a significant contributing factor to many truck accidents and accidents involving delivery vehicles. Worse, commercial truck drivers face demanding schedules and must drive long hours, leading to fatigue and impaired driving. Jackknife accidents and rollover accidents often lead to fatal crashes while fatigued. In this state, making a wide turn, using your rearview mirror, or negotiating a simple right-hand turn with less focus is far more dangerous than many people realize. A tried driver falls asleep driving along the roadway, so often, these crashes are among the most common truck accident cases.
3. Improperly Loaded Cargo
Improper loading of goods can cause various issues, such as shifting and distributing the load onto part of an axle or tire, leading to tire blowouts. This problem can cause accidents and be more dangerous than expected; it can cause cargo to spill into traffic, causing a greater risk to another car. It can take time to determine if a vehicle was improperly loaded the vehicle recklessly if it can be discovered at all. But if another party had loaded the truck’s trailer without proper oversight, this could be an additional, even a third party, defendant to think about suing over catastrophic injuries or wrongful death.
4. Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Large trucks, including tractor-trailers and delivery trucks, can severely harm passenger vehicles because of their sheer weight and size. The roads have to be safe for oncoming and following traffic. It also requires the truck to have the proper maintenance on hand. Trucks need regular maintenance. Drivers are advised to correct any vehicle problems before their return. Crashes with commercial trucks and ridesharing vehicles can occur because machinery is damaged or a part fails.
For example, letting tires wear out can lead to a tire blowout. A tractor-trailer is large and heavy and can easily kill, especially when driven over the speed limit. If you are the victim of a delivery vehicle or truck driver’s negligence, our best trucking accident attorney is ready to talk to you 24/7 about getting some money. We also offer a free consultation to learn about pursuing the liable party for most truck and ride-sharing accidents.
5. Driving Under the Influence
According to FMCSA, many crashes involving commercial truck drivers and others in this country have been strongly linked with alcohol use. When an intoxicated truck driver’s judgment is impaired or their response time is compromised, it results in head-on collisions, a T-bone, and even jackknife accidents. No trucking company can force a driver not to drink, so paying attention is up to you, especially when walking near traffic lanes, sitting in a passenger car, or riding a motorcycle, is up to you.
6. Inclement Weather Conditions
Adverse weather conditions like ice, snow, rain, and fog can reduce tire grip and compromise vehicle stability and that of nearby vehicles. Trucks risk veering into guardrails or off the road in such conditions, potentially causing multiple accidents. Due to their size, tractor-trailers can roll over or drift into oncoming traffic, leading to dangerous situations on the California interstates.
Reduced visibility caused by smoke or fog can also result in truck accidents involving road infrastructure, signs, or other vehicles. It is super important to avoid speeding, especially in rural areas subject to flash flooding. To enhance safety, truck companies and drivers should prioritize cautious driving practices and effective communication, especially in challenging weather conditions and dealing with the body and mental fatigue of hours of driving. Truckers and other commercial vehicle drivers must identify and avoid these threats, especially while fatigued.
7. Truck Driver Failure to Obey Traffic Laws
Time-beholden truck drivers and cabbies may drive through stop signs, avoiding them or disregarding traffic signals in an effort to make their delivery on time. These actions can pose road hazards and raise the risk of accidents that can kill or lead to severe internal injuries or other unexpected injuries. The insurance company could even cancel a driver permanently, depending on the violation. An intersection accident can lead to a side impact t-bone collision death, so operating a large vehicle in violation of traffic laws is no joke. For example, a big rig truck must slow down more than cars if road construction occurs.
When you call our legal team, we can also explain everything to the wounded trucker or their surviving family member. We stand with all victims, even truckers who were following orders, leading to a major wreck. We are ready to hold all accountable parties liable for reimbursing your medical care, property damage, or other harm. With our experienced representation, you and your loved ones can feel confident the liable parties will pay you the full and fair compensation you deserve.
8. Poor Cargo Loading
Truck accidents often happen in adverse driving conditions, especially with too much weight, when a load shifts during an abrupt lane change or a swerve through an intersection during an accident avoidance maneuver. When truckloads are light, cargo might shift, leading to truck rollovers at high speeds. In some cases, drivers may need to handle the shipment themselves, emphasizing the importance of cargo inspection by truckers. A lost load or shifted load can cause an unexpected injury or kill you.
9. Inexperienced Truck Drivers
Inexperienced drivers, especially in commercial vehicles, are more prone to accidents. They are notorious for failing to check blind spots and running red lights. The trucking industry has seen an influx of less experienced drivers as older, more qualified ones retire. This has increased the risk on the roads. According to the Institute of Safer Trucks, drivers under 18 are three times more likely to have distracted driving accidents, suffer injuries, or even death. Inexperienced drivers may lack the knowledge to handle unusual situations despite federal regulations.
10. Underride Accidents
An underride accident occurs when a smaller vehicle becomes trapped underneath the rear of a commercial truck that was following too closely or after making an improper turn in front of the truck. These accidents can have severe and often fatal consequences for the smaller vehicle’s occupants due to the significant height difference between heavy-duty and light-duty vehicles. More truck accidents are covered here.
Shocking Statistics Covering CA Commercial Vehicle Accidents
The alarming statistics on commercial vehicle accidents in California underscore the following:
- High Number of Injuries and Fatalities: The most recent number shows commercial vehicle accidents in California caused over 13,000 injuries and nearly 300 fatalities, highlighting the substantial human toll.
- Significant Role of Large Trucks: Large trucks were involved in approximately 12% of all fatal accidents and 5% of all injury accidents in the state. The substantial presence of large trucks in accidents emphasizes the need for targeted safety measures in this category.
- Rise in Delivery Truck Accidents: Delivery trucks, driven by the surge in online deliveries, have seen a significant increase in accidents. The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) data points to this trend, underscoring the importance of heightened caution around these vehicles and potential measures to enhance their safety.
Given California’s economic activity and extensive road networks, it’s imperative for regulatory agencies, law enforcement, transportation companies, and drivers to collaborate in addressing the factors contributing to commercial vehicle accidents.
Some Tips for Commercial Vehicle Drivers to Avoid Crashes?
- No Sudden Stops: Frequent stops to pick up or drop off passengers can catch other motorists off guard, potentially leading to rear-end collisions or erratic maneuvers to avoid accidents.
- Avoid Distracted Driving: Drivers may become distracted by managing ride-sharing apps, navigating unfamiliar routes, or communicating with passengers, which can divert their attention from the road and increase accident risks.
- Avoid Driver Fatigue: The fast-paced nature of the job and long hours spent on the road can result in driver fatigue, impairing reaction times and overall driving performance.
- Passenger Safety: Ensuring the safety of passengers is paramount. Inadequate vehicle maintenance or neglecting to use seat belts can put passengers at risk in the event of an accident.
- City Traffic: Urban environments, with their congestion, complex road systems, and frequent stops, pose unique challenges for taxi and ride-sharing drivers, requiring heightened situational awareness and driving skills.
To mitigate the risks associated with taxis and ride-sharing vehicles, several measures can be employed:
- Driver Training: Drivers should undergo comprehensive training that includes safety protocols and defensive driving techniques.
- Fatigue Management: Companies should implement policies to manage driver fatigue, including adequate rest periods and limits on driving hours.
- Regular Vehicle Maintenance: Routine maintenance and inspections of vehicles are essential to ensure they are in safe working condition.
- App-Based Safety Features: Ride-sharing platforms can incorporate safety features into their apps, such as driver monitoring or real-time feedback, to encourage safe driving behavior.
- Public Awareness: Public education campaigns can raise awareness among passengers about the importance of wearing seat belts and behaving responsibly during rides. More tips here.
If you got hurt through a court verdict or negotiations with an adjuster, you might be able to increase the compensation in your claim if you hire a good lawyer to help you restore your well-being.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyers
Many insurers will try to compensate you for less than they should, and it is normal for them to try to gloss things over or deny your claim to avoid paying your claim. This is why you must have guidance from a spectacular personal injury lawyer to force the insurance company to abide by California insurance law until you are fully compensated.
Ehline Law handles personal injury cases for injured clients, including commercial vehicle accidents, every day, and we are ready to represent your interests. After we sign you up, we will gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and advocate for your compensation rights. We will stay in touch and keep you fully informed till we win your case! For personalized legal advice and assistance specific to your situation, new clients are urged to contact us and consult with a qualified local personal injury attorney by dialing (213) 596-9642.