San Jose Truck Accident Attorneys

Truck Accident FAQs

Truck accidents are responsible for tens of thousands of injuries each year and can cause financial and psychological hardship to those involved. Whether your damages from a truck accident are strictly property damage or you lost a loved one in a wrongful death incident, you may have many questions following a serious truck accident. We encourage you to review our truck accident FAQs or contact us for more information.

What are some common large truck dangers?

1. Stopping problems

Big trucks are capable of moving at high speeds and can weigh up to 40 tons fully loaded. They consequently can obtain a lot of momentum and need more time to stop than standard passenger vehicles.

2. Blind spots

All drivers are familiar with the "blind spot" concept and the potential danger it poses but most of us haven’t considered the increased threat a blind spot or "no zone" creates for big rig drivers. Simply put, their blind side is significantly larger and can come into play frequently. Accidents stemming from blind spot issues can be fatal due to the fact a big rig driver may never see the other vehicle and thus will take no evasive action.

3. Turning/Maneuvering issues

Tractor-trailers have a tendency to swing out wide when pivoting, turning, or changing lanes. Other vehicles in directly adjacent lanes should take additional precautions when large trucks make their wide turns. A unique but common accident scenario with big rigs occurs when a big rig makes a wide right turn and leaves enough space for a smaller vehicle to come up alongside the truck’s right side. As the car comes up alongside the truck, the big rig completes the right turn, in the process infringing upon the open space and crunching the car.

4. Fatigued Truck Drivers

Truck drivers often must complete long trips and can often become overcome with fatigue. Even more dangerous, drivers sometimes choose to combat the fatigue with stimulants. This creates a temporary solution but also a drastic and dangerous come-down effect when the stimulant wears off.

5. Potential for severe damages

Because of trucks’ large size, weight, and accompanying momentum, they can wreak extreme property and bodily injury damage in accidents.

How many truck accident fatalities are there each year?

The numbers vary from year to year but on average, there are approximately 5,000 fatalities each year from truck accidents. California routinely has one of the highest truck fatality numbers in the country and had 318 in 2008.


Why do truck accidents occur?

As with other types of motor vehicle accidents, driver error is one of the most prevalent causes for truck accidents. Truck drivers, especially those on long hauls, are particularly prone to fatigue, distracted driving, and mistakes stemming from alcohol or drug abuse. Other causes seen frequently with truck accidents are improper maintenance and product/part malfunction. Factors like weather, poor road conditions and unmarked constructions zones also often play a role. Ultimately, no two accidents are the same and each big rig accident will have its own set of unique circumstances and issues. If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, it’s important not to assume anything when it comes to liability as so many different factors can be present. A detailed and specific investigation into your crash is the only way to isolate all potential causes and, consequently, all potential defendants.

What makes a truck or big rig so dangerous?

The answer has much to do with the physics of truck accidents. Big rigs are enormous machines, sometimes weighing up to 80,000 pounds fully loaded. They are also capable of traveling at high speeds and gaining devastating momentum. The force of a big rig traveling at even a relatively slow speed is often much greater than the force a smaller car can achieve at a high rate of speed. Trucks and big rigs are also built differently from smaller or commuter vehicles. With heavier chassis and construction aimed at deflecting force and protecting the truck, big rigs are incredibly sturdy and will not crumple upon impact. This has the effect of transferring more force to the other vehicle (and occupants) it collides with.

How long can I or should I wait before retaining an attorney for my truck accident case?

The longer you wait, the riskier it becomes that something detrimental will happen to your case. For starters, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is usually two years but can be as short as six months. In addition, if you deal with the insurance company or opposing counsel on your own, you could make a statement—explicitly or implicitly—that could be used against you for liability purposes or in calculating damages. Moreover, if the defendant in your case has hired an attorney, the best way to level the playing field will be for you to retain your own counsel as soon as possible. Finally, if you wait to retain counsel, you could miss collecting important evidence or forget important details not memorialized in writing with an attorney.

How can I get immediate assistance?

If you would like immediate assistance, please contact us today at (800) 900-0863. Our experienced and skilled trucking accident attorneys are ready to discuss your case and we offer free, no obligation consultations. We have an excellent track record of getting top-notch results for our clients.

Whether a tractor-trailer slammed into your motorcycle and gave you severe whiplash and destroyed your bike; or a big rig jackknifed while attempting an overly fast turn and smashed up your new SUV, you likely have many questions about your legal rights and responsibilities. This article aims to examine some of those.


What are some common large truck dangers?

1. Stopping problems

Big trucks carry lot of momentum, and they need more time to stop than do standard passenger vehicles because of that momentum. A big rig driver who fails to see a car or who fails to read road signage can cause a serious truck accident as a result of this "failure to stop in time."

2. Blind spots

Big rig drivers cannot see cars or other vehicles trapped in the "no zone" or "blind spot" to the side and back of the vehicle. Blind spot related accidents can often be fatal because the trucker will often maneuver quickly and decisively into a car's path.

3. Problems with turning and maneuvering

Tractor-trailers will often swing out wide to the side when pivoting or turning or changing lanes. A failure to deploy such a maneuver carefully can result in sudden high velocity tragedy.


Why do truck accidents occur?

Recent research suggests that truck driver error and distraction plays an enormous role in many crashes. A truck driver might be under the influence of alcohol or narcotics; fatigued from driving too much; or distracted by a cell phone or a mobile device. The truck itself might be damaged or unfit for the roadways. For instance, the cargo load might be too heavy or may not be secured correctly. Or the lights or brakes or tires might be defective. Truckers and others on the road might also cause or contribute to the accident by aggressive driving, careless driving, or tailgating. Bad road conditions, including unmarked construction zones, poor signage, and debris in lanes, can also cause or contribute to the conditions of an accident.

Remember that each big rig accident is different, so it's important not to assume anything about what caused or contributed to your crash. Only a detailed, specific, and probative investigation into your crash can truly isolate all potential causes - and thus all potential defendants.


Why are truck accidents so much more dangerous?

The answer has to do with the physics of these accidents. Trucks are obviously much bigger than commercial autos, motorcycles, mopeds, and other small vehicles. If an 80,000 pound truck goes from 60 to 0 in 2 seconds, this will create a force equal to an 8,000 pound SUV going from 600 miles per hour to zero miles per hour in 2 seconds.


How long should you wait before retaining an attorney to help you with your case?

Wait as little as possible! California imposes a two year statute of limitations on personal injury cases. This means that, if a truck smashed into your car on February 7, 2010, you have until February 7, 2012 to take action. But you don't want to wait until the very last minute, since the trucker, trucking company, and relevant insurance agencies will likely use that time to prepare a defense against your claims. Also, the longer you wait to investigate the crash, the more difficult it will be to compile evidence to build your case.


How can I get immediate assistance?

Call (800) 900-0863 to speak with the trucking accident attorneys at Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP. This top caliber personal injury law firm has a terrific track record of getting results for claimants.

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