Trucking Accident FAQs

Whether you got involved in a serious injury accident with a tractor-trailer on a Northern California freeway; or a runaway truck slammed into your vehicle when you were (fortunately) away from it, you likely have dozens of urgent questions about California truck accident law. This essay boils down some of the basics and provides you with a key resource to get more specific answers to your legal questions.

What are common causes of truck accidents?

Myriad factors contribute to or cause truck accidents. Studies suggest that accidents occur most often when multiple factors are present. These include:

  • Trucker tailgating you
  • Trucker fatigued from long work shifts or from drug/alcohol use
  • Truck not being up to grade (e.g. carrying too heavy of a load or having unsecured load)
  • Interference from a third driver or other party, such as a pedestrian
  • Driver distraction (such as a trucker talking on a cell phone or text messaging)
  • Poor road signage
  • Bad weather
  • Debris in lanes

To understand the "synergy" of any of the above factors (and others), you need to do a detailed investigation of the truck accident scene.

What regulations govern the behavior of truckers?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires truckers to log their hours of service and upkeep their equipment. Federal and state regulations impose other burdens on truckers and trucking companies, including insurance requirements, restrictions on kinds of materials that can be carried, license requirements, and so forth.

If you or someone you love got hurt or killed in a truck accident question, how long do you have to file for legal action?

The statute of limitations in California is two years. This means that, if you do not sue within two years of the crash, you will lose your right to do so.

What are some truck accident statistics?

The United States National Transportation Safety Board estimates that truckers are fatigued in approximately 20% to 40% of all accidents. An analysis from the National Transportation Safety Board found that two-thirds of fatally injured truck drivers had controlled substances in their blood; one-third of the drivers killed had high blood alcohol concentration or had psychoactive drugs in their system. Approximately 4,500 fatal truck accidents involving big commercial trucks occur annually in the United States.

Why are truck accidents so dangerous?

In short, the laws of physics work against drivers of motorcycles, autos, and other smaller vehicles. Elementary physics teaches that force equals mass times acceleration. What this means is that, when a large object changes its velocity from something high (like 60 miles per hour) to a standstill, it imparts a much greater force than does a smaller object that changes its velocity from 60 miles per hour to zero miles per hour within the same time.

In other words, a big truck that drives 60 miles per hour into a brick wall will impart a far greater force than will a passenger car driving 60 miles per hour into that brick wall. The greater force of the truck accident translates to greater force on the victim's automobile and ultimately on the people trapped inside the auto.

Where can I go to get help with my truck accident legal questions?

For a free and confidential case evaluation, connect with the trusted big rig accident lawyers at Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP. Our Northern California personal injury team has been helping claimants like you deal with complicated and emotionally difficult cases for years, and we have the resources and track record to deliver best services. Call to schedule your consultation at (800) 900-0863.

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