Truck accidents have increased by 20% over the past two decades. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that in 2012, a total of 3,802 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes, a five-percent increase from 2011. The number of large trucks involved in crashes where someone was injured also increased by 22 percent, from 63,000 to 77,000. Even though large trucks are only responsible for 3% of injury-causing motor vehicle accidents, trucking accidents typically cause more significant harm than ordinary traffic accidents due to the large size and heavy weight of most trucks.
As more communities struggle to deal with the increasing number of trucks on the road, catastrophic trucking accidents remain a serious concern. The sheer weight of a large truck makes an accident particularly dangerous to smaller passenger cars and trucks, and the resulting injuries can be life-changing. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that most deaths in large truck crashes are occupants of the passenger vehicles involved in the crashes. In 2014, out of 3,660 deaths, 16 percent were truck occupants—68 percent were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, and 15 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists.
Federal laws and regulations govern the trucking industry, which establish certain standards that trucking companies, owners, and drivers must meet, and often determine who is responsible for a trucking accident. The bulk of federal regulations dealing with the trucking industry can be found in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations or through agencies that regulate truck driving including the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). By example, a vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds must follow certain laws set forth by the U. S. Department of Transportation. Regulators have placed a limit on driving time, allowing a period of 14 consecutive hours in which to drive up to 11 hours after being off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours. Once the driver reaches the 14-hour limit, they are not supposed to drive again until they have been off duty for 10 consecutive hours.
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When it comes to truck accidents, there is a host of responsible parties for a victim’s injuries, including, but not limited to, the truck driver; the owner of the truck or trailer; the person or company that leased the truck or trailer from the owner; the product manufacturer of the vehicle, tires, or other parts that may have contributed to the cause or severity of the accident, and the shipper, loader or logistics broker of the truck’s cargo. The FMCSA recently noted that of all truck accidents caused by driver error, 44 percent involved truckers taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, and 23 percent involved drivers who were speeding. Other types of driver negligence may include: distraction on electronic devices, drugs and alcohol, inexperience, and aggressive driving.
Many trucking companies try to avoid liability for trucking accidents by creating distance between themselves and the driver, the vehicle, and the equipment. Simply stated, the trucking company will argue the driver was not an employee, or the trucking company did not own, operate, and/or control the shipment. Luckily, federal laws, regulations and California case authority has quashed these end arounds holding any trucking company owner responsible for all accidents involving a truck that has its placard or name displayed on the vehicle as a non-delegable duty.
When a trucking accident occurs in California, a lawyer who knows the rules and regulations under the laws of California is needed. Damages caused by a truck accident can be severe including death, brain injury, broken bones, disfigurement, burns, spinal code injury, paralysis, and amputation. Victims of these severe injuries often endure multiple surgeries and therapies, and require long-term medical care costs significant money.
Many firms represent they are trucking accident attorneys yet their record is void of any results. If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury or even death because of a large truck accident, contact KBK, one of the leading truck accident attorneys in Los Angeles without delay*. We have the experienced truck accident attorney team in Los Angeles necessary to fight for your recovery**.
* = There are often time limits (statutes of limitations) that could prevent you from seeking any legal remedies if you delay too long.
** = Results/recovery are not guaranteed. Every case is unique and is evaluated on its own merits.