Types of Truck Accidents You May Experience
A crash with a semi-truck is a catastrophic event to live through. Trucks are big and heavy; they can cause severe damage, even when going at relatively low speeds. We at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie have worked with many truck accident victims and so have seen the aftermath of these accidents firsthand. Each is devastating in its own way.
Jackknifes: When a truck driver loses control of the trailer, it can cause the trailer to swing out wide, “folding up” at an angle with the cab, thus giving it the name of jackknife. This is a particularly dangerous kind of accident, as the trailer can swing over several lanes of traffic, hitting and crushing potentially dozens of cars.
Underrides: The space between the bottom of the big rig and the road is fairly tall – tall enough that the front of the average passenger vehicle could fit underneath, but not tall enough to accommodate the entire car. When the front of a car slides under a semi-truck, passengers inside the car slam against the edge of truck, suffering catastrophic injuries, and even decapitation.
Hitch failures: The hitch is what connects the trailer to the cab. If it fails, then the trailer can detach from the cab, rolling across the road and through traffic with no way to stop it.
Overloads: Federal and state governments have strict regulations on how much weight commercial trucks can carry. This is because an overloaded truck, or a truck carrying too much weight, is harder to control. One mistake by the trucker, such as not taking a turn slow enough, could cause the truck to jackknife or roll over, leading to a serious accident.
Rollovers: Semi-trucks have a high center of gravity, which allows them to tip over more easily than a sedan. If a truck driver takes a turn too quickly or slams on the brakes, the truck could fall on its side, potentially crushing other cars or pedestrians.
Cargo spills: A cargo spill may sound like a minor accident. However, if the cargo is particularly heavy, like logs, or something toxic, like cement or gasoline or a carcinogenic chemical, then the spill could result in serious injuries and illness to everyone nearby.
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Who Can You Sue?
That depends on your specific situation. There are a number of parties that may hold at least some of the responsibility for your accident. Determining who to file your claim against will require a thorough investigation led by expert truck accident attorneys. When you work with us, we will examine all the options, including:
The truck driver: The driver was in control of the vehicle. This means he or she was probably responsible for your accident and injuries. The driver may have been distracted, or fatigued, or even drunk. However the crash happened, chances are that the driver was at least partially to blame.
The trucking company: Some accidents are caused by companies violating federal regulations – for example, forcing their employees to drive in shifts longer than 11 hours. Trucking companies care far more about their profits than they do about making sure the people on the road with their trucks are safe. It is very possible the trucking company was also to blame for your accident, making the trucking company liable for your injuries.
The mechanic: Commercial trucks are on the road constantly, meaning they require constant upkeep. If a truck is brought to a mechanic, that mechanic must give the truck a thorough examination and repair all safety risks. When a mechanic neglects to do so and an accident is caused by their negligence, then the mechanic is responsible for your accident.
A third party: Many trucking companies work with hired contractors and vendors in order to get smaller jobs done. For example, many trucks are loaded by third parties – if your accident was due to an overloaded or improperly loaded trailer, then it may be that the third-party company that loaded the trailer is liable for your injuries.
Of course, multiple parties could be responsible for your injuries. For example, if the trucker drove too long without a break, he would be responsible if he fell asleep at the wheel. However, if the trucking company threatened to fire the trucker if he didn’t make the delivery at a certain time which left no room for a break, then the trucking company would also be liable. That being said, going up against a trucking company, even when you are within your rights to do so, is not an easy feat.
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Suing a Trucking Company
After a traumatic crash, when you file a claim against a trucking company, you may assume they will take responsibility for their actions and offer you a fair settlement. Sadly, that is rarely the case. Trucking companies operate to make a profit. Nothing is more important than their bottom line. Even if evidence clearly points to the trucking company being at fault by neglecting to have the truck repaired or allowing the truck to be overloaded, they will fight tooth and nail to avoid paying out compensation.
This fight can take many forms. The corporation may try to blame you for the accident or try to place responsibility solely on the truck driver. In some cases, they may even destroy evidence before you can get your hands on it. Trucking companies have been known to withhold black boxes until the data is automatically wiped, and even shred incriminating documents to ensure that you cannot see them. Even when the evidence is in your favor, it may still be impossible to get the compensation you deserve.
Ultimately, bringing a personal injury claim after a semi-truck crash in Orange County is often difficult, because there are multiple insurance companies involved, and none of them want to admit liability. That’s where we come in. Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie has been handling trucking claims since 1974. Commercial trucks have larger insurance policies than private vehicles; usually over $1 million in liability coverage. That money needs to go to victims, and we make sure it does.
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This OC Team Won’t Back Down
If you've been injured in a truck accident in Costa Mesa or Orange County as a result of someone else's negligence, we urge you to contact us immediately to protect your rights, preserve critical evidence, and obtain necessary medical treatment. We can subpoena logbooks and demand evidence that most people don’t know to look for. We can then compare the data and records with what the company is telling you. If anything doesn’t add up, we’ll dig deeper. Here are some recent victories for our team:
- Our client sustained fractures to both legs when he drove around a curve on the freeway and struck a disabled trailer left in the road. We were able to establish that the trailer had a defect, causing it to detach from its tractor on the freeway. We could have settled for $300,000 on the trucker’s policy limits, but due to our diligence, the total settlement was $1.5 million from the trailer company’s policy.
- Our client was a bicyclist who was hit from behind by a truck, causing him a spinal fracture and significant rehabilitation time. We settled for the defendant’s policy limits of $1.15 million.
- Our client sustained severe pelvic and internal injuries after she was struck by a truck while standing on the corner of an intersection. The driver alleged she stepped off the curb after he had almost completed his turn, but we prevailed and settled the case for $2.7 million.
If you have a strong sense of fairness, and are looking for a lawyer you can trust, call Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie. We serve Orange County, and outlying areas of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. We offer trust, comfort, and assurance. When you call us, your consultation is free, and we do not charge a fee until we get you the compensation you deserve. Dial (949) 752-7474 today.
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