Los Angeles drivers are accustomed to seeing large commercial and heavy trucks sharing the same highways as they and other passenger cars use. While heavy commercial trucks are an essential part of the American economy, ensuring goods are shipped to all parts of the country quickly and efficiently, this does not negate the fact that crashes involving heavy commercial trucks tend to cause catastrophic injuries to the occupants of passenger cars.
Although drivers of commercial vehicles must possess a special license and follow additional regulations that regular motorists do not have to follow, commercial drivers can still act carelessly by:
- Driving while drowsy or driving too long in one day;
- Driving while distracted by a cellphone, other passenger, or some other object or person;
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs;
- Driving too fast for prevailing road conditions;
- Driving an overloaded tractor-trailer;
- Disobeying traffic laws and traffic control signs and signals;
- Driving a commercial vehicle that is in a state of disrepair; and/or
- Other negligent acts.
Truck accidents can result in serious injuries to the occupants of any passenger cars, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Serious burns;
- Amputations/loss of limbs;
- Spine and neck injuries;
- Broken bones;
- Cuts and lacerations; and/or
- Other severe injuries.
Because of the complex nature of truck accident lawsuits, and the amount of compensation truck accident victims will likely need, it is highly recommended that motorists injured by a negligent commercial driver retain experienced legal representation as soon as possible.
What Makes Truck Accidents So Complex?
Many of the same legal principles applicable in car accident lawsuits are applicable in truck accident cases as well. But truck accident cases are also unique in that they involve issues and evidence not always present in the typical motor vehicle accident. For example:
- Truck accident cases involve evidence about the driver. Commercial drivers are limited in the amount of hours they can drive each day and how long they are permitted to drive before they must take a break. They must accurately record their hours on the road and resting and keep this information with them in a logbook. The commercial driver’s logbook can provide crucial information for the truck accident lawyer, but it must be requested quickly.
- Truck accident cases involve evidence about the truck. Most commercial trucks have a “black box” computer on board that captures important information about the truck in the moments before a crash. This computer provide information about the speed of the truck before the crash and whether any brakes were applied before the crash: both crucial pieces of information in attempting to reconstruct the crash. Like the driver’s logbook, the information contained in a truck’s black box can be irretrievably lost if it is not requested quickly and preserved.
- Truck accident cases involve evidence about the trucking company. If the at-fault commercial driver worked for a commercial trucking company, then the trucking company may be at fault for contributing to the accident. Some trucking companies provide incentives to their drivers if the drivers are able to make their deliveries ahead of schedule. This kind of company policy (which encourages truck drivers to ignore rules regarding mandatory rest and off-duty time) can contribute to driver fatigue and, ultimately, truck accidents.
It is important that you speak with an accident attorney who has experience handling truck accident cases. An attorney who does not handle many truck accident cases may fail to look for or request this important evidence, which in turn can negatively impact your lawsuit’s chance for success.