Have you been injured or lost a loved one in a commercial vehicle accident involving a semi truck, limousine, taxi or tow truck? California laws afford victims of negligence the opportunity to seek legal compensation for related hospital bills, medical treatments, property damage, lost wages and emotional suffering. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help protect your rights to fair compensation for your physical, emotional and economic losses, ensuring at-fault drivers or companies are held accountable for their reckless actions or inactions.
The Salamati Law Firm, headquartered in Los Angeles, offers more than 12 years of experience successfully handling personal injury and wrongful death claims arising from commercial vehicle accidents. We are dedicated to achieving justice for our clients and enlist the resources of California’s most respected accident investigators and reconstructionists, whose research can determine causative factors such as driver fatigue, mechanical failure, human error, road hazards, or improperly loaded cargo.
Given the immense volume of tractor trailers, utility trucks, buses and 18-wheelers on California’s congested freeways, it’s no surprise that the state leads the nation in commercial vehicle crash rates. California has the country’s second highest death rate in large truck accidents, which claimed the lives of more than 280 residents in 2011.
Commercial vehicles play a vital role in the economy, transporting goods and cargo across state lines. However, when companies cut corners to save money, or drivers act irresponsibly behind the wheel, the results are often catastrophic. Recent studies by the Department of Transportation show that semi-trucks were involved in more than a third of all traffic accidents along California’s 710 Interstate. When a 40-ton big rig collides with a passenger vehicle, occupants stand a much greater chance of suffering life-threatening harm, including traumatic brain injury, paralysis, loss of limbs, and spinal cord damage.
What is a commercial vehicle?
The California Department of Motor Vehicles defines commercial vehicles as those with a certain gross weight that are designed and used for the transportation of cargo or hazardous materials and/or are used for the transportation of fare-paying passengers.
Types of commercial vehicles include:
- For hire passenger vehicles including taxis and limos
- Motor trucks
- Tractor trailers
- 18 wheelers
- Tow trucks
- Water well drilling rigs
- Business station wagons
- Pick-up trucks with campers attached
Types of commercial vehicle crashes
Nearly 100,000 people were seriously injured in collisions involving large trucks and commercial vehicles in 2013, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Another 3,965 were killed in tractor trailer or semi-truck accidents that same year.
According to data from the California Highway Patrol, crashes may involve:
- Tire blowouts or mechanical failure causing loss of control
- Jackknife incidents
- Rollovers caused by cargo shifts
- Trailer separation when driver fails to negotiate a curve
- Abrupt stops causing collision or rollover
- Unsafe lane changes leading to accidents with other vehicles
- Improper driver overcorrection
Common causes of commercial vehicle accidents
Approximately 1 out of every ten traffic deaths in the United States involves a collision with a commercial vehicle. Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has outlined the most common causes for commercial vehicle accidents:
- Speeding – 65% of large trucks were “traveling too fast for conditions”
- Driver Fatigue
- Cargo shift events
- Improper turning
- Over-the-counter drug use
- Overloaded cargo
- Inadequate surveillance
- Vehicle factors – tire or brake failure
- Illegal maneuvers
- Unfamiliarity with the highway
- Road hazards
- Poor road conditions
Commercial vehicle accident liability issues
Whether an accident involved a tour bus, a limo or a dump truck, establishing liability is key to a successful insurance claim or lawsuit.
As a highly skilled commercial vehicle accident attorney, Sean Salamati will explore every detail of your case to uncover the truth. If it is found that the driver or commercial vehicle company violated state or federal statutes by hiring staff without sufficient training, skipping regular vehicle maintenance, or failing to enforce mandated rest breaks, victims may be entitled to recover significant monetary damages. It is not uncommon for settlements and jury verdicts to reach seven and eight figure sums, especially when plaintiffs incur incapacitating injuries.
Potential liable parties may include:
- Driver of the commercial vehicle
- The driver’s employer
- Government entities
- Vehicle part manufacturers
- Leasing company owner
Do not attempt to file an accident claim without the benefit of qualified legal representation. In doing so, you may forfeit your right to the settlement payout you deserve. The Salamati Law Firm has a long track record of handling complex injury cases involving commercial vehicles and has the case results to prove it.
California commercial vehicle accident lawyer
The Salamati Law Firm protects the financial future of clients, one case at a time. Our longstanding relationship with industry experts and medical professionals allows our team to accurately demonstrate at-fault parties and optimize the value of your claim.
All case evaluations are free of charge, and we only collect a fee if we win or settle your case. Call today to set up a consultation with a Los Angeles commercial vehicle accident attorney.
Additional California commercial vehicle accident resources:
- California Highway Patrol, Crash Data Collection for Commercial Vehicles https://www.chp.ca.gov/programs-services/programs/commercial-vehicle-section/crash-data-collection-for-commercial-vehicles
- S. Department of Transportation, Definition of a Commercial Motor Vehicle https://ntl.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/164/~/definition-of-a-commercial-motor-vehicle