San Diego Truck Accident Lawyer
An accident involving an 18-wheeler or truck is not like a common car accident- it’s imperative those involved contact a San Diego truck accident attorney immediately. The damage a large semi truck can do in an accident is much greater than most highway accidents.
Semi-truck drivers owe a duty to fellow drivers to drive responsible; when this duty is broken, the drivers, their companies, or even manufacturers should be held accountable. Hire a San Diego personal injury attorney to ensure your family is not encumbered with medical bills.
A large truck traveling at a high speed among smaller vehicles is inherently dangerous, especially to a car’s driver and passengers. Truck accident cases often involve greater injuries and can pose legal problems and concerns not found in most car accident cases. Trucking accidents can leave victims with catastrophic injuries such as brain damage, paralysis or severe, disfiguring burns or even death.
Truck Accident Resources:
- Who is liable after a truck accident?
- What are the most Common types of truck accidents?
- Common Trucking Accident Injuries in San Diego County
- Driving Safely Around Large Trucks to Avoid Accidents
Do You Need A Local Attorney?
Truck accidents are almost never “minor” and typically complex cases. A knowledgable truck accident attorney should ask details question to pinpoint your unique circumstances and thoroughly explain your various options. In more severe accidents, they may seek the advice of local experts, such as accident reconstruction specialists, to ensure you receive the maximum and deserved compensation.
Why Choose Our San Diego Truck Accident Attorneys?
The lawyer you choose to represent you during a truck accident claim can be one of the biggest decisions you make during the legal process. The right lawyer can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. The Liljegren Law Group offers many things of value to injured accident victims in San Diego. For you to be completely confident in your choice of attorney, however, you must learn all the ways our law group can help. The following are five reasons San Diego truck accident victims choose our attorneys:
- Experience: Attorney Scott Liljegren has years of experience as a Naval Officer and Navy claims attorney, as well as an insurance defense attorney after reaching the rank of lieutenant. He has experience on both sides of the courtroom, putting him in a unique position to serve personal injury clients’ best interests.
- Services we offer. The Liljegren Law Group doesn’t just represent clients during personal injury claims. We provide for many different client needs throughout the entire legal process. We can help you find a great doctor, gather evidence and accident documentation, take over insurance claim settlements, and prevent others from taking advantage of you. Let us know everything you need for peace of mind during the legal process and we’ll do everything we can to deliver.
- Successful past cases. One of the reasons clients trust us with truck accident cases is our history of impressive case results. We’ve won numerous settlement and judgment awards for clients injured in truck accidents throughout Southern California. We achieve results based on individualized legal strategies tailored to clients’ unique case facts and objectives. Our aggressive negotiators will fight for fair and just financial compensation.
- Personal client attention: Since we’re a family-operated company, we pride ourselves on personal client attention. We accept a limited number of cases so we can dedicate the time and attention each client deserves. Your attorney will be available to speak to you, answer questions, and update you about your case around the clock. You’ll work with a compassionate attorney who truly cares about your case and your family.
- Recovery: Our number one goal is to maximize your recovery. We understand the importance of getting a settlement or verdict that covers your past and future accident-related expenses. Otherwise, you and your family won’t be able to move on. Our attorneys fight hard for justice against negligent truck drivers and companies, as well as for top recovery amounts from truck company insurers.
The Liljegren Law Group knows it’s the right firm for you. We can help you learn how much your case could be worth, explore all of your legal options, and go up against major insurance companies in California. We want to stand by your side through all phases of the legal process. Let our family help yours.
What to Do After a San Diego Truck Accident
Immediately after being involved in an accident with an 18 wheeler semi truck it is important to follow these steps:
- Obtain proper medical attention
- Save any evidence from the accident, including pictures of all parties vehicles involved, as well as the scene
- Contact an experienced San Diego truck accident attorney at the Liljegren Law Group
Who is Liable in a Truck Accident?
Determining liability in a truck accident requires an experienced legal hand. The laws surrounding semi accident liability are complex, and these crashes often involve an intricate web of players. When you’re involved in an accident with a semi-truck, you might assume that the driver is to blame for your injuries, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, in many cases, multiple parties share the liability for your injuries.
Here are some examples of who might be at fault for a semi-truck accident – and what you can do about it.
- According to a study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, most trucking accidents are attributable to driver error. Semi-truck operators, especially long-haul drivers, spend hours upon hours traversing our nation’s roadways. This can lead to fatigue and boredom, which sets the stage for distracted driving. A semi-truck driver might cause an accident by texting, talking on a cellphone, or simply by being lost in their thoughts. Additionally, truck drivers might use over-the-counter or prescription drugs to help them stay awake or even to pass the time.
- A truck driver might also be liable for an accident if they commit what’s called a “log book violation.” Owners and operators are required to follow a strict set of rules set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These rules include everything from mandated breaks, limits on duty hours, and even required maintenance checks. Failing to adhere to these rules or log appropriate hours provides the foundation for establishing liability.
The Driver’s Employer
- If a truck driver was operating impaired or committed a logbook violation, they’re likely partially liable for an accident. However, it’s also important to look at their motivation for doing so. For example, their employer might hold them to strict shipping deadlines and threaten their jobs or pay if they’re delayed. This could cause truck drivers to fudge their logbooks or spend longer hours on the road then they should.
- An employer might also be liable for an accident if they neglected to run a background check on a driver. For example, if a driver was operating under the influence at the time of the crash and had previous DUIs on his or her record, the employer might be liable for negligent hiring.
- The owner of a semi-truck might also be liable if they failed to properly maintain the truck. Tampering with the brakes or neglecting to maintain a truck’s tires can lead to serious accidents – for which the owner of the truck might be responsible.
The Manufacturer of the Truck
- At times, a truck malfunctions and causes an accident. The manufacturer of a truck or its parts might be liable for a semi crash if the crash resulted from a dangerous condition or defect.
- Examples of product defects include:
- Tires with uneven treads that make the truck more difficult to operate
- Brakes that malfunction or fail to engage
- Cab with oddly positioned mirrors that don’t provide an adequate view of a driver’s surroundings
- A dangerous or defective condition in the truck itself could give rise to a product liability claim.
The Shipping Company
- Last, a shipper or loader could be liable for accidents caused by improper loading. A truck’s cargo must have even distribution of weight so the driver can handle the truck with ease. Improper loading can lead to jackknifing and other dangerous practices that could cause an accident.
- As you can see, there could be many elements at play in a truck accident. If you sustained injury in a trucking wreck, contact a San Diego truck accident attorney who can conduct a thorough investigation on your behalf and determine the parties responsible.
Common Types of Truck Accidents on San Diego Freeways
Trucking accidents happen mainly due to driver negligence, poor vehicle maintenance, or another drivers’ failure to navigate around large trucks. Some of the most common types of trucking accident scenarios involve:
- Truck driver DUI: Truck drivers have demanding schedules and some take unsafe measures to cope with stress and meet their deadlines. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is extremely dangerous in any vehicle, but truck drivers are capable of inflicting more catastrophic damage than smaller passenger cars.
- Road construction: Construction sites on or near the highway may lead to lane closures or other detours. Truck drivers must carefully navigate these areas to avoid injury to other drivers or the people working on the road.
- Improper braking.: A truck driver cannot simply slam on the brakes to come to a halt. Truck drivers receive proper braking training and must exercise these techniques to stop their vehicles safely. A truck driver who fails to do so can lead to a runaway truck accident, potentially injuring many drivers in the lanes ahead of the truck.
- Brake failure: Tractor-trailers travel longer distances more frequently than other cars. As such, they require careful maintenance, and the braking system is one of the most critical components of a safe tractor-trailer. Brake failures can lead to multi-car crashes across several lanes.
- “Squeeze Play” for turns: Some truck drivers must make sharp turns or turn onto narrow streets. To do so, they must sometimes swing in the opposite direction first so the trailer has room to clear the turn. When turning out, the truck driver may “squeeze” other drivers into a dangerous situation.
- Rollovers: A rollover accident is one in which the trailer attached to the truck tips over on its side. Steep inclines, sharp turns, or driving too fast can all lead to rollover accidents. Truck drivers may also unintentionally cause rollovers by oversteering or attempting to correct a drifting trailer.
- Jackknifing: A “jackknife” describes a tractor-trailer whose truck cab turns to one side while the trailer continues forward, creating a 90-degree angle. The trailer cannot stop in this situation and the driver will have little to no control. Jackknifing often leads to rollover accidents.
- Rear-end collisions: Large trucks require much more stopping distance than smaller vehicles. If a car in front of a truck stops very suddenly, or the truck driver is traveling too close to the car in front without paying attention, the truck is likely to slam into the back of the car. At high speeds, a tractor-trailer can completely demolish a smaller car when striking it from behind, seriously injuring or likely killing the occupants of the smaller vehicle.
- “Underride” accidents: The gap between the bottom of a truck’s trailer and the road is often large enough for some cars to pass under, while others may not fit entirely. If a truck driver speeds through an intersection, a driver passing in the other direction may slam into the side of the trailer, pinning the car beneath it if the top of the car is about the same height as the bottom of the trailer.
Common Truck Accident Injuries in San Diego County
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s latest statistics reports an estimated 119,000 injury crashes involving large trucks and buses in 2016, as well as 4,440 fatal crashes. While the number of injury crashes has increased since 2015, the number of fatal crashes has decreased, though this value is still an increase over the past five years.
In terms of large trucks, there were roughly 475,000 police reported crashes during 2016. Roughly 104,000 of those crashes involved injuries, while 3,864 were fatal. While 62% of fatal crashes involving large trucks were those with two or more vehicles, there were still 22% of such crashes that resulted with the truck as the only vehicle. Most fatal truck accidents occur on interstate highways and in rural areas, and weekdays have the highest fatal crash rates. In 83% of fatal crashes, those who died were not occupants of the truck, but instead other parties.
Across fatal and non-fatal accidents with large trucks that involved hazardous materials, 16% of those incidents involved release of the hazardous materials from the truck. Flammable liquids, such as gasoline, were some of the most common released hazardous materials in these accidents.
Causes of Semi Truck Accidents:
- Driver fatigue
- Unsafe vehicle operations
- Large, unstable loads or defective equipment
- Driver error
- Failure to maintain current inspection standards
- Inadequate truck driver training
- Bad weather conditions
- Improper load weight
Driving Safely Around Large Trucks to Avoid Accidents
Sharing the road means just that- sharing. While driving behind a slow 18-wheeler can be annoying, speeding up and cutting them off can quickly turn into a dangerous scenario- if not deadly. With great size comes great limitations; large trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles have larger blind spots, limited mobility, and take longer to come to a complete stop than the average car. To avoid a truck accident, it’s imperative drivers always exercise caution when sharing the road with one (or many).
Here are a few basic but important safety tips all drivers should follow:
- Stay Out of “No Zones” (Blind Spots): The rule of thumb is if you can’t see the truck driver in the mirror, the driver can’t see you. Drivers should stay at least 30 feet behind and try to avoid driving alongside the truck’s carrier. For a closer look at “no zones”, visit the FMCSA.
- Don’t Cut Trucks Off: This is an all-around driving rule that is often ignored. Buses take 40 percent longer to stop, according to the FMCSA. When merging from either side, you’ll likely start in their blind spot making it impossible for them to know they need to slow down. And even if they do see you, cutting them off may not give them enough time to hit the brakes.
- Anticipate Wide, Right Turns: Truck drivers often use the middle turning lane as opposed to the right because they need at least a 55 foot turning radius. If their blinker is on, never wait in their blind spot, fit between them and the curb, or try to beat them to the turn. For more details on how trucks turn, click here.
Contact Our San Diego Truck Accident Attorneys Today
The Liljegren Law Group offers free, no-obligation case evaluations to truck accident victims and their families in San Diego. We want to take the opportunity to meet with you in person, discuss your unique needs, and come up with a legal strategy that can give you hope for the future. There is no fee for consultations, and only fees for our services if we win.
All of our initial legal consultations about truck accidents are complimentary and confidential, with no obligation to retain our firm after your meeting. We simply want you to know your rights and get answers to your questions during a difficult time. Liljegren Law Group attorneys know what to look for when conducting an investigation, and what is fair compensation for your injuries including lost wages, hospital bills, pain and suffering. If you or a loved one has been been injured in a trucking accident call our office today or by fill out our online contact form.