People in Palo Alto and the surrounding area frequently are forced to share the roads with large trucks. While semi-truck accidents do not happen as frequently as motor vehicle accidents, people who are involved in them have a much greater likelihood of being seriously injured or killed. Truck accidents cause thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries in the U.S. each year. When people are injured or killed in these types of accidents, it is a good idea to consult with a truck accident lawyer Palo Alto at the San Jose Personal Injury Attorneys. Our lawyers are experienced in handling large truck accident claims, and we are dedicated to helping the injured victims and the families of people who are killed to recover compensation for their losses.
Why truck accidents occur in Palo Alto
Commercial trucks can weigh up to 30 times more than passenger vehicles. When they are involved in collisions with smaller vehicles, the weight and size disparities can have devastating consequences. The passenger vehicle occupants often suffer catastrophic injuries in accidents involving large trucks. Semi-trucks are difficult to maneuver, drive, and stop. This means that truck drivers must always exercise reasonable care to prevent accidents while they are driving.
Because of the dangers, the trucking industry is heavily regulated. The rules are designed to help lessen the accident risk and to protect members of the public. Under federal and state laws, trucks must follow a regular inspection and maintenance schedule. California also has regulations that relate to the freight that is transported and the weight and sizes of trucks traveling on the roads. Truck drivers are expected to comply with multiple regulations, including requirements for special licenses, hours of service rules, mandatory rest periods, and others.
Insurance company tactics following truck accident
Despite the state and federal regulations, large trucks continue to be involved in accidents. Some of the most common causes of semi-truck accidents include the following:
- Negligent hiring, retention, and supervision of the driver
- Inadequate training
- Improper maintenance
- Truck driver errors
- Fatigued driving
- Distracted driving
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Failing to abide by traffic laws
- Inadequate surveillance
- Following too closely
- Poor road and weather conditions
- Overweight trailers
- Improperly loading and securing cargo
- Transportation of hazardous materials
Truck drivers are under significant pressure to deliver their cargo under tight time schedules. This can result in them speeding, driving more than the allowed hours of service, failing to take mandated breaks, and trying to skirt the rules in other ways. This can result in drivers becoming fatigued and distracted, which can cause serious accidents. Truck companies frequently fail to properly maintain their fleets. This can result in problems such as brake failures and tire blowouts, which can place others traveling around the trucks at risk.
Some people who are injured in truck accidents that were caused by truck drivers think that their claims process will be straightforward. However, this is rarely the case. Truck accident claims are often the most complex types of claims because of the extensive investigation that is required and the tactics that are commonly taken by the insurance companies.
Large trucks are required to carry liability insurance with high policy limits of up to $1 million or more. Since truck accident victims often suffer extensive injuries, the cost of claims can approach the policy limits. Insurance companies aggressively defend against truck accident injury and fatality claims to try to reduce or avoid the amounts that they might have to pay and employ several tactics to facilitate this.
Insurance companies commonly send investigators to the accident scenes as soon as they are alerted. Their adjusters might contact the injured victims and try to get recorded statements so that they can use what they say against them in their claims. They might also extend early settlement offers that are unreasonably low in the hope that the victims will accept them. Finally, insurance companies might ask victims to sign medical authorizations that they will then use to try to find a different incident on which to blame the victims’ injuries.
People who are injured in truck accidents should never agree to give recorded statements, accept early settlement offers, or sign any documents from the insurance companies. Instead, they should politely refuse and tell the insurance company representatives that they want to talk to an experienced truck accident lawyer Palo Alto before they will give statements or sign anything.
Why you should get help from an experienced attorney
The attorneys at the San Jose Personal Injury Attorneys understand the tactics that insurance and trucking companies use to try to avoid or reduce liability. They can thoroughly investigate the accidents to build strong cases that clearly show the liability of the defendants. The lawyers also understand how to identify all of the potential defendants that should be named in the lawsuit so that their clients’ ability to recover maximum damages will be protected.
Contact the experienced lawyers at the San Jose Personal Injury Attorneys
Being seriously injured or losing a loved one in a truck accident can be devastating. The lawyers at the San Jose Personal injury Attorneys can analyze your claim and offer an assessment of its merits. Contact us today to schedule a consultation by calling us at 408.217.1778.