Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyer
Every day, truck accidents forever alter and even claim the lives of innocent victims on the roads of southern California. For over 20 years, we at Ellis Law have been doing our part to bring some measure of justice to the victims and their families. Our team of Los Angeles truck accident attorneys works hand-in-hand with top investigators, engineers, and medical experts to build a case intended to secure the greatest compensation available. Call us today for a complimentary evaluation of your potential claim against any and all liable parties.
California truck accident statistics
The large size of commercial motor vehicles means more momentum and force in a crash. More force means more serious injuries. More serious injuries mean greater resistance from liable parties who will be more willing to put up a strong legal defense. The Los Angeles truck accident lawyers at Ellis Injury Law have the skill and experience that it takes to overcome even the strongest defense strategy and win these cases in court. In 2011, semi trucks and tractor trailers moved an estimated 67 percent of all domestic freight tonnage in the United States. Approximately 9.2 billion tons of freight move throughout the country over the course of a single year. During this same year, 245 people in the state of California lost their lives in crashes involving large trucks and another 5,115 Californians were hurt in truck collisions. Ellis Law knows there is more to your experience than mere statistics, and we believe that every case is entitled to treatment as individual as each client.
Causes of truck accidents
Los Angeles truck drivers are required to have a commercial license (CDL) to drive large vehicles. Despite licensing requirements and mandates on trucker training, a “Large Truck Crash Causation Study” conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration demonstrated that around 31 percent of truck collisions can be attributed to driver-related factors.
The main driver-related factors the study identified as the cause of truck crashes included:
- Driver nonperformance: The driver was disabled by a medical problem or fell asleep.
- Recognition: The driver was distracted or did not accurately observe road conditions to avoid a crash.
- Poor decisions: The driver traveled too quickly for road conditions or followed too closely behind another vehicle.
- Driver performance: The driver exercised poor direction control, panicked or overcompensated for a problem.
Driver errors such as these can lead to the following adverse consequences:
- Lane departures: Veering off road or into another lane.
- Loss of control: The loss could be caused by speeding; a shift of the cargo in the vehicle; bad road conditions, or other failures of vehicle systems.
- Rear-end accidents
Other potential causes of truck accidents include:
- Driving while impaired
- Fatigued driving
- Mechanical problems such as air brake failure
Who is responsible for truck accidents?
Trucking accidents can be very complicated and not all truck accident lawyers in Los Angeles are prepared to deal with the myriad complexities that may arise during litigation. In the wake of a truck accident, the driver can be held legally responsible if his or her behavior was the catalyst that led to the collision. This means a driver, or the driver’s insurer, can be made to pay for the accident victim’s medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional distress or wrongful death damages.
A trucker can be held responsible for a crash if:
- His or her behavior was negligent or in violation of a driver safety law and
- His or her actions were the direct cause of a motor vehicle accident, and
- The accident victims experienced harm for which they can be compensated.
In addition to the truck driver, other parties who may be potentially held liable in a California truck accident lawsuit include the trucking company that employs the driver; the maintenance company that performs work on the vehicle; the truck manufacturer, and even the shipper of goods being transported. These defendants can be held liable on the basis of their careless or improper actions, such as poor hiring practices or releasing defective auto parts. Trucking companies can be held liable not just based on the company’s own malfeasance, but based on any act of negligence that an employee commits while on the job. A negligent driver represents the company when on the job, and his negligence is the company’s negligence. The experienced team of trucking accident attorneys and car accident attorneys with Ellis Injury Law can advise you as to which parties may be held liable for your injuries, based upon the detailed circumstances of your accident.
Proving a truck accident claim
Truck drivers — including the drivers of semi-trucks and tractor trailers — are subject to a variety of federal laws under The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) that do not apply to drivers of normal passenger vehicles.
The FMCSA sets forth rules on almost all aspects of truck operation including:
- Maximum drive time and on-duty time.
- Inspection and maintenance requirements.
- Requirements for weight allocation.
- Loading/unloading requirements.
If any FMCSA rules, or any state or federal laws, are violated, this creates a presumption that the driver responsible for the violations is negligent. Because the defendant is presumed negligent in these situations, the plaintiff’s case may be easier to prove.
Choosing a Los Angeles truck accident lawyer
Don’t be fooled by attorneys who have no experience with truck accidents. The legal team of Ellis Injury Law has obtained more than $100 million in verdicts and settlements in favor of our clients and our elite network of legal and medical experts are ready to begin work your case right away. Call today for a free legal evaluation. Find more information on Ellis Injury Law’s team of Los Angeles car accident attorneys.
[Andy Ellis]: “Truck accidents can occur in many different forms, whether it would be on the the freeway, side streets or maybe even an improperly parked truck that is sticking out on the roadway that causes the accident.
It is more important to investigate a truck accident quickly than even a car accident. The reason being is that in a truck accident you’re going to get protection from the union, the truck driver’s going to try and seek protections from the union. They are going to try and avoid liability as much as they can because it affects their career. My job is to get out there as quickly as we can, preserve the truck evidence, get the black boxes, review those, obtain a location of the municipality where they were parked or what they were doing. Many times truck drivers park their vehicle illegally which is the result cause of an accident and that’s important as well.
Truck accidents carry Department of Transportation rules, the amount of time a driver can drive without breaks. These logs are required to be kept, it’s very important that we obtain this information. They are complicated cases, not all lawyers can handle it. Here at Ellis Law 1-800-INJURED we are equipped to have handled hundreds of these, even thousands to fantastic results for the clients.”
- The Large Truck Crash Causation Study http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/facts-research/research-technology/analysis/fmcsa-rra-07-017.htm
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Traffic Safety Facts, Large Trucks, http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811158.pdf
- California Highway Patrol, Fatal and Injury Truck Collisions by Month, http://www.chp.ca.gov/switrs/pdf/2011-sec6.pdf
- Select USA, The Logistics and Transportation Industry in the United States, http://selectusa.commerce.gov/industry-snapshots/logistics-and-transportation-industry-united-states