Accidents involving semi-trucks are much likelier to result in deaths and catastrophic injuries because of the sizes and weights of these vehicles. If you are injured in an accident with a truck driver, you may benefit by talking to an experienced semi-truck accident lawyer in San Jose. These accidents often cause extremely serious injuries and involve insurance policies with high liability limits. Because of the high stakes that trucking companies and insurance companies have in these accidents, they often mount aggressive defense cases in lawsuits. When you have the help of an experienced lawyer, you may be likelier to succeed with your claim.
How common are semi-truck accidents?
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, there were 275 fatal accidents involving large trucks and large trucks with trailers in the state in 2014. Out of those accidents, the large truck drivers were at fault in 70 of them, which is 25.4 percent of the fatal accidents. Another 5,558 semi trucks were involved in injury accidents during 2014 in the state, and 2,465 of the truck drivers were deemed to be at fault for causing the collisions. This means that the semi-truck drivers were responsible for causing 44.3 percent of the injury accidents that happened in California in 2014.
Across the nation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that there were 415,000 crashes involving large trucks in 2015. Of those, 3,598 of the crashes resulted in fatalities and 83,000 resulted in injuries.
When the semi-truck drivers are at fault
There are multiple parties who may be at fault in commercial truck accidents. The drivers may be at fault when the accidents happen because of their negligence. When the drivers caused the accidents, the plaintiffs may name both them and the employers for whom they were working as defendants in subsequent lawsuits.
Truck companies may be named as defendants in lawsuits alleging truck driver negligence because of a legal doctrine that is known as respondeat superior. Under this rule, employers may be held to be liable to pay damages to injured victims when the accidents are caused by the negligence of their employees during the scope and course of their employment.
When third parties are at fault
Multiple other parties can also be at fault in truck accidents, including the following:
• Manufacturers of the trucks
• Parts manufacturers
• Loaders and shippers
• Companies that are responsible for maintaining and repairing the trucks
It is important to name all of the parties that should be named as defendants in the lawsuits. If a party that should have been named is not, the percentage of fault that is attributed to that party will remain unpaid. Truck accidents often require substantial investigation in order to determine all of the contributing factors that led to the accidents and injuries. Since the stakes are very high for the companies, they often aggressively defend against truck accident claims. Third party liability may be based on products liability claims, negligent maintenance and repair, improper loading and securement and others. Your experienced semi truck accident lawyer in San Jose will work to make certain that all of the correct parties are named so that you might be able to receive the maximum compensation to pay for your losses.
Causes of semi-truck accidents
There are many different potential causes of semi-truck accidents, including driver-related factors and truck-related factors. Some of the most common causes include the following:
• Driver distraction
• Drowsy driving
• Inattentive driving
• Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
• Improper lane changes
• Aggressive driving
• Failing to obey traffic control devices
• Failing to use turn signals
• Poorly maintained brakes and other equipment
• Improperly loaded or secured loads
• Driving too fast for conditions
• Poorly maintained roads
• Defective parts or defective trucks
How fault is determined
In order to prove fault, you will have to prove that the driver or other parties were negligent and that you were harmed as a result. Your San Jose semi truck accident lawyer will present evidence that shows the following elements:
Your attorney may need to conduct a thorough investigation of all of the circumstances of your accident, which might necessitate the help of experts and investigators. He or she may need copies of the logbooks, maintenance and repair records, component part manufacturing details and more. During the discovery phase of your lawsuit, the defendants will need to disclose all of the evidence that they have in their possession to you, and your lawyer may request information that is relevant to your case.
When and how to contact a semi-truck accident attorney
It is important for you to contact an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after an accident that resulted in an injury to you or a fatality to your loved one. California has a statute of limitations of two years for truck accident injury or fatality claims. If you wait longer than this deadline, you will be unable to recover damages for your losses. Contacting a lawyer as soon as possible may make it easier for him or her to find witnesses and to gather the important evidence before they are lost over time. Contact an experienced semi-truck accident attorney in San Jose today to schedule your consultation.
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