Posts tagged truck accident

Who Is to Blame for a Wide Turn Truck Accident?

March 26, 2018 Truck Accidents

When truck accidents occur, they are often very severe and even catastrophic. Semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and 18-wheelers are huge both in

Yellow truck in the rush hour on the highway at duskWhen truck accidents occur, they are often very severe and even catastrophic. Semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and 18-wheelers are huge both in size and weight. They can extend for over 60 feet. Semi-truck weights can exceed 60,000 pounds. An 18-wheeler’s weight and size can crush a car.

Needless to say, the effect of truck accidents can cause injuries and, unfortunately, even death to people in southern California. Truck accidents can affect drivers, truck and other vehicle occupants, and pedestrians with fractured bones, damage to spinal cords, cuts, severed limbs, extensive burns, and traumatic brain injury.

Wide Turn Truck Accidents Are Dangerous

One of the most dangerous types of truck accidents are caused by wide turns. They are sometimes referred to as “squeeze play accidents.”

Turns can always be somewhat challenging for trucks because the drivers need to allow adequate space to prevent the truck’s rolling over. But a right turn presents a particular concern. In right turns, large commercial trucks must first turn the cat slightly left before turning right. The slight left initial turn provides a swing that provides adequate space for the truck to clear the turn.

Doing so is a standard operating procedure for truck drivers. Drivers of other vehicles, however, may not be aware of the procedure. When they see the cab make its slight leftward movement, they may assume the truck is turning left or changing lanes.

As a result, they try to pass the truck on the right. They can then be caught in a squeeze play, because the truck or trailer body swings to the right, sometimes abruptly. The vehicle passing on the right can be squeezed between the truck and a road barrier, such as a wall or guardrail.

How Is Fault Assigned in Squeeze Play Accidents?

Who’s to blame for squeeze play accidents? Quite frankly, either driver can be at fault, or the fault may be shared.

All too often, truck drivers fail to signal. A signal alerts other motorists of your intentions, and should always be used when turning.

But the other driver in a squeeze play is not driving defensively. Passing a truck in the absence of a turn signal is never a good idea, because you don’t know which way it is turning. Assuming you know which direction a vehicle is going is risky when the direction might be changing.

While drivers are not expected to know how to drive a truck, and thus cannot be expected to know the procedure of turning slightly left, they should know that vehicles must always be operated safely, including around a truck. Drivers should always give trucks a wide berth.

Preventing Squeeze Play Accidents

Because of the potential danger to life and limb, always drive defensively. Specifically, drive to prevent squeeze play accidents on Los Angeles area roads. That includes the following steps:

  • Never pass a tractor trailer or big rig on the right side
  • Drive a minimum of 4 to 5 car lengths behind your vehicle and a large commercial truck
  • Never drive in a trucker’s blind spot, on either side
  • Be aware that truckers will turn their cabs slightly left before turning right

Speak with an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in Southern California

Trucking accidents are complicated. The parties at fault may be truckers, other motorists, the company that owns the truck, the maintenance people, or the crew that loaded a commercial truck’s cargo. At times, getting justice in a truck accident involves investigation and litigation.

If you need an experienced truck accident attorney in Los Angeles, call The Salamati Law Firm today at 888-259-4060. We always offer a complimentary consultation at your convenience.

Additional “Truck Wide Turn Accidents” Resources:

  1. Edmunds.com, How to Share the Road with Truckers.  https://www.edmunds.com/driving-tips/how-to-share-the-road-with-truckers.html?articleid=43811
  2. OverdriveOnline.com. Video: Trucker gets squeezed into crash in downtown delivery: Preventable or not? August 15, 2016. http://www.overdriveonline.com/trucker-gets-squeezed-into-crash-in-downtown-delivery-preventable-or-not/
, , Read More

How Can I Get a Truck Driver’s License in California?

March 20, 2018 Truck Accidents

Great pay, benefits, job security — these are just some of the advantages of a career as a truck driver.

man driving with his hand on the wheel a truckGreat pay, benefits, job security — these are just some of the advantages of a career as a truck driver. For those who have a longing for the open road and a constant change of scenery, this occupation is highly attractive. But before you can get behind the wheel of a big rig, you need a truck driver’s license. So how do you get a truck driver’s license in California?

You Need a Commercial Driver’s License

Anyone who drives a truck for a company in California needs a commercial driver’s license (CDL). These are different than the standard driver’s license that allows you to drive a personal car, van, or pick-up truck.

CDL licenses come in several different classes (A, B, and C), which depend on the weight and size of the truck and the materials carried in it.

While a CDL and a personal driver’s license are two different things, many of the steps you take to obtain a CDL are analogous to getting a driver’s license. Briefly, you need to pass a written test, obtain a permit, practice on the same type of vehicle you are going to drive, pass a driving test, and obtain several certifications.

CDL license-holders must be 18 years old, at a minimum.

Written Test and Permit

For the first step, you’ll have to go to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and apply for a CDL permit. You’ll need to obtain the California Commercial Driver Handbook and study it in order to pass the written test.

When you are familiar with the Handbook, it’s time to complete an application and take the test. Visit a DMV office. You will need to fill out an application. You’ll need proof of your name, age, and Social Security number. Check the DMV website to make sure you have an updated list of acceptable forms of ID, as they may change.

You will need to submit a medical examiner’s certificate saying you are healthy enough to drive as well. A doctor needs to sign the form. A doctor of osteopathy (D.O.), licensed physician assistant (P.A.), chiropractor, or advance practice registered nurse are also legally allowed to sign off on these forms.

If you pass the test, you can move on to the next step.

The Driving Test

Learning to drive a truck is like learning to drive a car. You need to practice driving under the supervision of someone who already knows how.

Once you have a permit, you will need to practice driving the type of truck you will get a license for, under a currently licensed CDL holder. There are many schools that offer driving certification. Your employer may offer it if you work for a trucking company.

Need a Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyer?

Getting a truck driver’s license in southern California can be time-consuming and requires a lot of work and dedication.

But what if, after all this work and dedication, you have an accident in the truck? Or what if you or a loved one has been injured in a Los Angeles-area truck accident?

Truck accidents can be especially serious due to the size of the vehicles and the weight of the load. If you need an experienced Los Angeles truck accident lawyer for any reason, contact The Salamati Law Firm at 213-372-0218. We will provide a consultation at no charge.

Additional California Truck Driver’s License Resources:

  1. DMV.com. Apply for a California Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). https://www.dmv.com/ca/california/cdl-commercial-drivers-license-application
  2. State of California Department of Motor Vehicles. Commercial Driver License Information. https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/commercial/commercial
, , Read More

4 Busiest Truck Routes in California

February 9, 2018 Truck Accidents

Trucking is the principal mode of freight and cargo transportation in California. An essential mode for regional, intrastate and long-distance

traffic jam southern California with trucksTrucking is the principal mode of freight and cargo transportation in California. An essential mode for regional, intrastate and long-distance commerce, 18-wheelers haul everything from machinery and industrial supplies and manufactured goods, to extracted resources and food products. On any given day, tractor trailers and large commercial trucks move more than 5 million tons of freight through California, with San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles Counties seeing the heaviest amount of traffic.

Given the amount of freight transport, it comes as no surprise that California’s highways have some of the highest concentrations of truck crashes per mile traveled.

Truck Accident Hotspots in Southern California

The Southern California Association of Governments has been researching truck accidents in the state, identifying “hotspots” with the worst rates of truck accidents. According to their data, the 710 Freeway at the 60 in the East L.A. Interchange rates among the most dangerous for crashes involving tractor trailers. With more than 42,000 daily truck trips, the 701 Freeway is among the busiest, followed by the 60, which handles some 27,000 rigs every day.

Transportation officials recognize that driver error is the leading cause of commercial truck accidents, but are quick to point out that heavy congestion also plays a role. On some of California’s busiest trucking highways, the constant interface between passenger vehicles and 18-wheelers, combined with merging lanes, is another contributing factor.

Researchers at the Texas Transportation Institute recently ranked the country’s most congested highway corridors, analyzing urban freeway truck delays at different times throughout the day. According to their report, California is home to many of the nation’s worst corridors for truck congestion.

California’s Most Congested Trucking Routes

Although several routes in Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh and Austin ranked high for tractor trailer congestion, the analysis showed that L.A.’s Harbor Freeway between I-10 and Stadium Way had the highest rate of truck delay per mile.

Some of California’s busiest trucking routes include:

  • Interstate 405 – also known as the San Diego Freeway, is one of the busiest in the country
  • 1-10 – running from Santa Monica through downtown Los Angeles to the AZ border
  • Interstate 5 – spanning from Mexico to the border of Oregon
  • Interstate 15 – covers more than 1,450 miles from San Diego to the Canadian border.

The top corridors for truck congestion in California are:

  • LA Harbor Freeway/CA-110 from I-10/Santa Monica Fwy to Stadium Way/Exit 24C
  • LA Harbor Freeway/I-110 from 111th Pl. to I-110/I-10/Santa Monica Fwy
  • LA San Gabriel River Freeway/I-605 from Beverly Blvd to Florence Avenue
  • LA San Diego Freeway/I-405 from I-105/Imperial Hwy to Getty Center Dr.

If you or someone you love were injured in a truck accident in southern California, legal compensation may be available. Crashes involving commercial vehicles are best handled by a skilled L.A. truck accident lawyer who has an established record of successfully navigating complex injury cases against trucking companies, drivers and other liable entities.

Call The Salamati Law Firm in Los Angeles to explore your options for legal recourse. Our attorneys have the investigative skills and resources to prove negligence and secure money damages for your losses.

Additional Resources on CA Truck Routes:

  1. CAHighways.org, Busiest California Highways, based on Average Daily Traffic http://www.cahighways.org/stats3.html#Busiest
  2. CA.gov, California Truck Network Map http://www.dot.ca.gov/trafficops/trucks/truck-network-map.html
  3. LA Times, 4 stretches of freeways tally most big rig crashes per mile annually http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-california-commute-20150602-story.html
  4. FleetOwner.com, Ranking the nation’s most congested highway corridors http://www.fleetowner.com/management/news/ranking-most-congested-highway-corridors-1121
, Read More

Drug Testing Laws for Truck Drivers After Accidents

January 22, 2018 Truck Accidents

Commercial truck drivers have one of the toughest jobs, usually characterized by grueling schedules, low pay and monotonous hours behind

Truck Driver Sitting In CabCommercial truck drivers have one of the toughest jobs, usually characterized by grueling schedules, low pay and monotonous hours behind the wheel. Most drivers are expected to work 11 consecutive hours each day – a tiring schedule that invites the use of stimulants and other medications simply to make it through a shift. The physical and mental exhaustion of being a big rig driver is responsible for not only high burnout rates in the industry, but increasing numbers of serious injury-causing accidents in California and across the nation.

Anecdotal evidence has shown that drugs (such as marijuana, cocaine and amphetamines) –as well as fatigue—plays a significant role in hundreds of interstate accidents involving 18-wheelers and tractor trailers. Drivers may take illicit substances in an attempt to ease their boredom, or to keep themselves alert on long, cross-country hauls. Unfortunately, both prescribed and illegal medications can adversely affect their reactions times, motor skills and ability to drive safely. While amphetamines can keep a driver from nodding off, they have been shown to cause everything from hallucinations and vertigo to extreme agitation.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has special regulations in place for drivers of all commercial vehicles. In addition to pre-employment drug screening and random tests, there are also post-accident drug test requirements for truck drivers in certain scenarios.

Post-accident drug testing for commercial truck drivers

According to federal law, employers are required to test truck drivers for controlled substances as soon as possible following a crash.

This regulation applies to commercial truck accidents that meet the following requirements:

  • If the truck accident resulted in any fatalities
  • After a truck accident that results in serious bodily injury requiring immediate medical treatment AND the truck driver is cited by police
  • If any vehicle is disabled and towed from the accident scene

Within 32 hours of the accident, drivers are tested for the presence of amphetamines, methamphetamines, marijuana, Phencyclidine (PCP), cocaine, and opiates (painkillers like Oxycontin, codeine and methadone). These urine-based drug tests, whether conducted by state, local or federal officials, must comply with all FMCSA requirements.

Various studies conducted over the past decade on drug use among truckers have shown that addiction is a major problem. Drivers resort to cocaine, alcohol, amphetamines and cannabis to combat fatigue, loneliness and boredom. According to one study, more than 90 percent of the drivers admitted to drinking on the job, while 82 percent reported use of amphetamines.

In cases where a driver tests positive for alcohol or illicit substances that leads to an accident, litigation is not uncommon. The commercial truck driver and/or his or her employer may face liability for the personal injury or wrongful death of any victims.

Consult a truck accident attorney in Los Angeles

If you were involved in an accident with a commercial rig and believe the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, The Salamati Law Firm can help you determine if you have a claim for damages. Get insight from legal experts who understand drug testing laws and will safeguard your rights.

Call our office to schedule a free, no-obligation with a qualified Los Angeles truck accident lawyer today.

More Resources on Drug Testing for Truck Drivers:

  1. AllTrucking.com, Drug Testing at Trucking Companies: What You Need to Know http://www.alltrucking.com/faq/drug-testing-trucking-companies-what-you-need-know/
  2. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, What tests are required and when does testing occur? https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/drug-alcohol-testing/what-tests-are-required-and-when-does-testing-occur
  3. American Addiction Center, Truck Drivers https://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/truck-drivers/
, Read More

Top 4 Causes of Truck Accidents in California

August 25, 2017 Truck Accidents

California truck accident lawyers deal with some of the most devastating crash injuries possible. The sheer size and weight of

California truck accident lawyers deal with some of the most devastating crash injuries possible. The sheer size and weight of large trucks puts others they share the road with in harm’s way if they are not driving carefully and responsibly. Truck drivers are four times more likely to survive and three times more likely to walk away from an accident unharmed compared to motor vehicle drivers. About a third of passenger vehicle occupants suffer severe, disabling injuries after colliding with a large truck.

Why Large Trucks Crash

According to the “Large Truck Crash Causation Study,” where the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration assessed 120,000 crashes involving large trucks, top causes of truck accidents include:

1. Speeding

Speeding does not always mean “traveling above the posted speed limit.” Sometimes it simply means “traveling too fast for conditions” – be it weather, time of day, curves in the road, or traveling with hefty cargo. Among single-vehicle crashes with vehicle loss of control, “traveling too fast for conditions” accounted for 67 percent of single vehicle crashes and 57 percent of multiple vehicle crashes involving large trucks.

2. Driver Decision Factors

Driver decision factors, which caused 12,621 crashes, included:

  • Negotiating a curve or turn too fast
  • Following too closely to allow for reaction time
  • Illegal maneuvers
  • Misjudging others’ speed
  • Aggressive driving

3. Driver Recognition Factors

More than 6,000 crashes were related to “driver recognition factors,” such as:

  • Daydreaming and general inattentiveness
  • Inadequate surveillance (failure to look or looking but failing to see)
  • An internal distraction inside the cab
  • External distractions

4. Cargo Shifts

Proper cargo loading is a critical responsibility for large trucks and the trucking firm’s contractors. Cargo shifts caused roughly 11 percent of large truck accidents – particularly the ones where the trucks jack-knifed or tipped over on their sides. Large trucks are subject to laws mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that clearly indicate how cargo should be safely stowed, maximum weight limits, and when loads must be inspected. In these cases, more than one party can be held liable for failing to follow proper protocol. Truck drivers, trucking firms, shipping companies, trailer owners, faulty restraint manufacturers, and insurers can all be partly to blame for your injuries.

California Truck Accident Attorneys

As you can see, these large truck crashes are not merely “accidental.” Negligence on the part of large truck drivers often contributes to injuries among passenger vehicle occupants. We have access to a wide range of resources to help build a substantial case on your behalf. Company record logs, drug and alcohol screening results, delivery records, in-truck cameras and data recorders, eyewitness testimonies, crash investigators, reconstruction experts, and professional testimonies are all at our disposal. Serving Southern California since 2015, the Salamati Firm has earned a reputation for tough litigation with a long list of multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts, particularly in the car accident arena. Contact a truck accident lawyer from The Salamati Firm in Los Angeles, California for a free case evaluation and to discuss your full range of legal options.

Additional “Causes of Truck Accidents” Resources:

  1. NHTSA – Large Truck Causation Study, https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/810646
  2. FMCSA, Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts, https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts
, , Read More

Proving Fault in a California Truck Accident Case

August 25, 2017 Truck Accidents

There are hundreds of fatalities and thousands of injuries attributed to California truck accidents each year. Driver error was a

There are hundreds of fatalities and thousands of injuries attributed to California truck accidents each year. Driver error was a factor in more than a third of the cases that went before a judge or jury. Fatigue, impairment, inattention, distraction, lapsed judgement, aggressive driving habits, and speeding all contribute to the deadly nature of collisions between trucks and other vehicles or pedestrians who share the road. Sometimes truckers share the blame with other defendants. To recover maximum compensation for your truck accident injuries, it is important to hire a Los Angeles truck accident attorney with experience investigating, gathering evidence, and proving fault.

Determine who is likely at fault

Determining whom to sue is the starting point for a truck accident lawsuit. The truck driver seems the most logical choice, but there are other possible avenues for compensation. Liable parties may include:

  • The owner of the truck – A truck’s owner is charged with vehicle inspection and maintenance.
  • The employer of the truck – A trucking company has a responsibility to screen, hire, train, and manage drivers in a manner conforming to the law and upholding necessary safety standards.
  • The truck manufacturer – Truck manufacturers and parts suppliers are responsible for inspecting, testing, and creating safe brakes, gears, tires, electronics, and other components.
  • Freight companies – Contractors and companies are often tasked with the proper loading of a truck to ensure cargo does not dangerously shift or spill during transit.

Collect evidence to build the case

There are many potential sources of evidence in a truck accident case:

  • Logbooks and delivery records – Truck drivers are expected to log all hours on the road and resting, and all truck inspections, to ensure they do not violate Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration law.
  • Drug and alcohol screening results – The FMCSA also requires truck drivers to submit to drug and alcohol screening after an accident that results in severe harm, death, or bodily injury.
  • NTSB accident reports – In addition to police reports, attorneys can gather impartial investigative reports conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board.
  • Data recorders – Technology sheds light on speed and brake patterns prior to a crash, which can reveal whether the truck driver was violating any traffic laws.
  • Truck cameras – Not all trucks are equipped with cameras, but some have caught drivers drinking, texting, talking on radios, or driving aggressively prior to accidents.
  • Eyewitness accounts – Witnesses can corroborate your detailed account of the incident to compel the judge and jury to view you as a sympathetic victim that is telling the truth.
  • Expert testimony – Medical professionals can attest to the cause, severity, and cost of your injuries. Accident reconstructionists can offer evidence-based analysis as to what likely caused the crash.

Contact an experienced Los Angeles truck accident attorney

Contact The Salamati Law Firm for an LA truck accident lawyer who can provide you with a free case evaluation. We’ve presided over a number of victories for truck accident victims since 2005, including $450,000 for a neck fracture, $906,000 for a pedestrian injury, and nearly $2 million for a motorcyclist with Traumatic Brain Injury. Our aggressive tactics and deep local ties with the best area experts and investigators will help prove fault in your California truck accident. Let us help you get the compensation you need to take the next step toward healing.

More on “truck accident evidence”:

  1. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/large-trucks/fatalityfacts/large-trucks
  2. FMCSA, Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts, https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts
, , Read More

Sovereign Immunity and Fire Truck Accidents

August 8, 2017 Truck Accidents

Government-owned fire trucks and police cruisers are common sights at accident scenes, but what happens when these vehicles – which

A fire engine races to the scene of an emergency.Government-owned fire trucks and police cruisers are common sights at accident scenes, but what happens when these vehicles – which frequently travel at high speeds – crash, causing serious personal injury and property damage? If you are in an accident with a fire truck, does California law offer remedies to seek financial restitution for your medical bills, lost wages and other losses?

Pursuing a legal claim in a fire truck accident is essentially suing the government—either the city, municipality or county. Prevailing in such a claim can be challenging without the aid of an experienced attorney who is well-versed in the protections afforded by sovereign immunity, also known as governmental immunity.

Sovereign immunity is based on an ancient doctrine designed to protect the government and its agencies from being sued without its consent. In other words, the California government must grant the victim permission to file a lawsuit against the driver of the vehicle.

Doctrine of Sovereign Immunity

The doctrine of sovereign immunity has been in practice in the United States for hundreds of years. Under this principle, governmental entities, agencies and their employees are protected from tortious liability, allowing them to continue their duties without fear or threat of draining litigation.

Over the years, California lawmakers have put limits on the state’s reliance on sovereign immunity to avoid paying damages in civil claims arising from accidents where the state was responsible.

The California Legislature adopted the California Claims Act (CCA) in 1963, which oversees lawsuits brought against a state or federal public entity. The act was intended to offer the government with enough information to investigate claims, facilitate settlements of merit-worthy suits, and avoid similar liability in the future.

There are different rules that apply and steps that must be taken depending upon the governmental entity that is being sued. If the fire truck was owned and operated by the municipality, there are certain measures that must be taken to provide proper notice. In most cases, personal injury claims made against public entities in California must be filed within 6 months after the accident. The claims must be submitted in the proper format and contain requisite information to be processed.

The public entity then has up to 45 days to provide written notice of its intended action. The entity may accept the claim, reject it entirely or offer a compromise. If no written notice is provided to the plaintiff, they then have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.

A successful claim may seek compensation for a variety of losses including hospital and medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of income, and benefits for wrongful death if the accident was fatal.

Los Angeles truck accident attorney

Governmental immunity cases in California are difficult but not impossible to pursue with the aid of experienced legal counsel. If you or a loved one were injured in an accident caused by an emergency first-responder, LA truck accident lawyer Sean Salamati can help you understand your rights to winning personal injury compensation. Call our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

Additional “Fire Truck Sovereign Immunity” Resources:

  1. Legal Dictionary, Sovereign Immunity http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Sovereign+Immunity
  2. California Law Revision Commission, Sovereign Immunity http://www.clrc.ca.gov/pub/Printed-Reports/Pub050.pdf
Read More

Have You Been in a Truck Accident? Be Aware of These Crucial Legal Issues

April 14, 2017 Truck Accidents

Truck accidents are those involving commercial semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers or other large commercial vehicles. The accidents themselves may cause personal

Big rig semi truck blue wolf of roadsTruck accidents are those involving commercial semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers or other large commercial vehicles. The accidents themselves may cause personal injury or death to other motorists, bicyclists or pedestrians. They may also cause property damage.

Truck accidents are responsible for 5,000 deaths per year. They also cause more than 60,000 injuries.

While truck accidents are vehicle accidents, they are very different from collisions that involve cars and other smaller vehicles. Truck accidents present a number of unique issues.

Size, weight and scope of the truck

The first unique issue is the size of trucks. Semis and 18-wheelers are very large and can be composed of multiple units. If they jackknife or roll over, they can spread damage over entire freeway lanes. The damage, of course, can consist of hitting vehicles and drivers. But it can also be caused by debris from the truck or other damaged vehicles. Multiple accidents as vehicles hit other vehicles because a truck blocked lanes is also possible.

Trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Cars, on the other hand, weigh about 3,000 pounds on average. So not only may a truck accident be bigger in scope than a car accident, it can do even more damage because of the weight of the truck.

Accidents can also cause a truck’s fuel to catch on fire, posing even more potential danger to surroundings, people, and property.

Other unique issues stem from the brakes used. All large trucks use air brakes, which can overheat if a truck has to stop quickly. If a truck slams on the brakes while going 60 mph, the temperature of the brake drum can rise to roughly 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures this high may cause malfunctions.

Who’s responsible for a truck accident?

Perhaps the most unique feature of truck accidents is the potential multiple layers of responsibility. When a car crash occurs, the driver could be at fault through failure to follow the law, error in operating the vehicle (did he or she stop in time?), or factors such as alcohol intoxication.

In a truck accident, all these factors can be causal. However, driver error is not always at issue in a truck accident. Other causes of the accident need to be explored as well.

Responsibility and liability for the accident might rest with the driver, or with the company that owned the truck, or with a contractor who was charged with inspecting, maintaining, or loading the truck. Contractors may also have been used to check driver backgrounds and conduct training sessions. Subcontractors are widely used as well.

Did the company maintain the truck properly? Accidents can occur because of poor maintenance to the vehicle. Did they contract out maintenance to another firm that didn’t do it properly or was not adequately experienced? Was the truck loaded properly? Accidents can occur because the load was not properly balanced. Was the driver under pressure to deliver, causing lack of sleep or use of stimulants?

Was the driver’s background adequately screened? Was the driver properly trained? That responsibility may rest with the company or a contractor.

An experienced California truck accident lawyer will know to ask all these questions. Trucks now carry an electronic onboard recorder (EOBR) that can answer many of these questions. Records can be requested to answer many more. Time is of the essence, since trucking firms move to defend themselves aggressively in many cases.

If you need a truck accident lawyer in Southern California

Truck accidents in Southern California cause death, injuries, and damage to property every year.

If you or a loved one was the victim of a truck accident, call us today. The Salamati Law Firm is experienced in truck injury cases. We will review your situation at no charge to you. Payment to us will only come from a final jury award or settlement amount.

Additional “truck accident legal issues” resources:

  1. Highway Loss Data Institute, Large trucks, http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/large-trucks/topicoverview
  2. NHTSA, Large Truck Crash Causation Study, https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/18esv-000252.pdf
Read More

U.S. DOT Proposes Speed Limiting Devices for Commercial Trucks

February 3, 2017 Truck Accidents

In response to a staggering increase in truck accident fatalities over the past five years, officials at the Department of

Blue and white truck in motion blur on the highway at sunset

In response to a staggering increase in truck accident fatalities over the past five years, officials at the Department of Transportation (DOT) have proposed that all big rigs and heavy trucks have speed limiting devices installed. Federal authorities hope that by implementing speed governors on commercial vehicles (weighing more than 26,000 pounds), highway safety will improve substantially.

The speed limiting technology would cap large truck speeds at 60, 65 or 68 mph miles per hour. According to research conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), tractor trailers and trucks not using speed limiters were in twice as many high-speed crashes compared to those using them. A separate study found that more than 40 percent of all commercial vehicles crashes in 2014 involved trucks traveling at 60 mph or greater.

The DOT estimates that limiting large trucks to 65 mph would save between 63 to 214 lives annually.  “Even small increases in speed have large effects on the force of impact. Setting the speed limit on heavy vehicles makes sense for safety and the environment,” offered Mark Rosekind of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Speed limiters for heavy commercial vehicles

If the Department’s initiative is passed, the regulations would affect all newly manufactured commercial vehicles, including buses, trucks and multipurpose passenger vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of more than 26,000 pounds.

Requiring speed capping devices on large trucks would not only save thousands of lives each year, regulators say it will also provide $1 billion per year in fuel cost savings. The proposed regulation has garnered support from the American Trucking Association (ATA). A spokesperson for the ATA offered that truckers who already use speed limiting devices have found numerous benefits, including increased safety, better fuel efficiency and equipment longevity.

The proposed rule has also drawn criticism for its narrow approach. Steve Owings, founder of RoadSafeAmerica, supports speed-limiting technology in commercial carriers but says that such devices should not be restricted to only new trucks, as it blunts the safety benefits to all motorists. Owings suggests that this life-saving technology should be utilized in all big rigs and heavy vehicles, not just newly manufactured ones.

Truck injuries, crashes on the rise

Statistics from the NHTSA underscore the increasing dangers facing motorists, who share the highways with thousands of heavy commercial vehicles:

  • Collisions involving big rigs and other commercial carriers jumped 44% between 2009 – 2014
  • Truck accident fatalities increased 20% from 2009 to 2015.
  • Injuries arising from commercial vehicle crashes spiked 50% between 2009 – 2014

The average tractor trailer tips the scales at 80,000 pounds, putting smaller, lighter passenger vehicles at a distinct disadvantage in a collision. Given the speed and weight of the vehicles involved, many of these accidents result in catastrophic injury and loss of life.

Injured in a commercial vehicle accident?

DOT’s proposal for speed limiting technology is a positive step for improving road safety. Until these regulations are fully implemented, motorists are still at risk for suffering serious harm in the event of a collision.

In the wake of an accident involving an 18-wheelers or heavy truck, there are many liability issues that need to be examined to ensure that victims are properly compensated for their losses. Los Angeles commercial vehicle accident lawyer Sean Salamati has a thorough understanding of negligence laws, and can help outline your options for legal recourse. You can schedule a free consultation by calling 888-259-4060.

Additional Commercial Vehicle Speed Limiter Resources

  1. FMCSA, U.S. DOT Proposes Speed Limiters For Large Commercial Vehicles https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/newsroom/us-dot-proposes-speed-limiters-large-commercial-vehicles
  2. com, US DOT Wants Electronic Devices to Stop Trucks From Speeding https://www.trucks.com/2016/08/26/transportation-department-speed-limiter-rule/
  3. RoadSafeAmerica, RULE FOR HEAVY VEHICLE SPEED LIMITERS SHOULD APPLY TO EXISTING LARGE TRUCKS http://roadsafeamerica.org/proposed-rule-for-heavy-vehicle-speed-limiters-should-apply-to-existing-large-trucks/
Read More

Importance of Taking Photos after a Truck Accident

December 30, 2016 Truck Accidents

When faced with a serious – often catastrophic – event like a truck accident, things tend to move at lightning

Truck Driver Sitting In CabWhen faced with a serious – often catastrophic – event like a truck accident, things tend to move at lightning speed. From emergency responders giving medical care to law enforcement working to clear the scene and get traffic flowing again, there are a lot of moving parts and most are concerned with something other than a victim’s legal rights.

Especially in the fast-paced Los Angeles and surrounding Southern California area, it is not always possible to take the time to have an expert truck accident attorney review the scene in person. Photos taken at the time of the accident offer irreplaceable insight into the scene that assist lawyers, expert witnesses, and jurors to determine what happened, why, and what the damages or injuries were. They also can capture information that does not appear in the police report and capture details that witnesses forgot in the heat of the moment or that the victim missed when overwhelmed by the terrifying experience.

The value of taking photos at the scene of an 18-wheeler accident

Photographs orient people and things in time and place. After the scene has been cleared, photos that were taken at the time of the crash will later help determine who and what were in a given place at a given time. One thing to keep in mind, then, is to use a time-stamp function to assist in building a timeline with the images.

Truck accident lawyers see the same types of factual questions come into play in lawsuit after lawsuit and these questions impact legal liability. To help answer these questions, some of the photographs you should try to capture include:

  • People – Anyone present at the scene – including parties and witnesses, police, fire, and other first-responders – should be included. Especially important is any injury, even if it does not seem very serious at the moment.
  • Places – Be sure to capture evidence of where the accident occurred and how the vehicles were positioned. It is easy to over-focus on the smallest details after a serious accident but obtaining bigger picture photos that include objects like street signs and other location identifiers help others, after-the-fact, visualize where the details existed at the time of the crash.
  • Things – Objects on and around the vehicles give clues about the physics involved in the crash and the injuries and damages that resulted. Try to capture images of any objects that were damaged in the collision, including parts vehicles, guardrails, and even skid marks on the road.

When this information is captured by the camera, it can be a major factor in establishing who breached a traffic duty, what mechanism may have failed, how immediately the injuries were apparent, or any number of other elements that may arise in the course of a case.

Los Angeles truck accident attorney

The Salamati Law Firm serves personal injury victims in the Los Angeles area and throughout California. We fight for the rights of victims of trucking accidents and other auto crashes throughout the state. We pride ourselves on diligent representation with integrity and compassion. If you or a loved one have been involved in an 18-wheeler accident, call us for a free consultation.

Additional truck accident resources

  1. California Highway Patrol, SWITRS 2013 Report, https://www.chp.ca.gov/programs-services/services-information/switrs-internet-statewide-integrated-traffic-records-system/switrs-2013-report
  2. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, Large trucks, http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/large-trucks/fatalityfacts/large-trucks

 

Read More