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Who Is Liable After A Truck Accident In California?

Updated: Dec 15, 2022

Find out Who is Responsible for a Truck Accident and Learn About Truck Accident Claims In California

Truck accidents can lead to severe and catastrophic injuries and the death of a family member. Due to their size, the consequences tend to be more devastating. If you've been injured or someone you care about died due to a truck accident, you have grounds to file for a Personal Injury Claim in California.


When you are the victim of a car accident, you may sustain serious injuries that might have long-term or permanent effects on your health.


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Understanding Commercial Vehicle Accident Liability


Trucks, taxis, limos, and other commercial vehicles are unique because several parties are engaged in their maintenance and operation. This is in contrast to traditional car accidents, which only have one accountable party—the car's owner.


Because several parties are engaged in the maintenance and operation of commercial vehicles, any crash involving a commercial vehicle is likely to include multiple parties. You can identify any and all culpable parties for a truck accident with the help of a Truck Accident Attorney in Los Angeles and get the greatest potential compensation from them.


In general, the following parties may be held accountable for a truck accident:


1. The Driver


When most people think of who is to blame for a truck accident, the first person that comes to mind is the truck driver. However, while truck drivers may share some responsibility for a collision if they drove recklessly or negligently outside of their employer's control, they are rarely held totally responsible.

However, if a truck driver was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they might be held criminally accountable and charged with a DUI after the accident.


2. Trucking Company


In most cases, the truck driver's employer will be held substantially accountable for a collision involving one of its trucks. This is due to the legal notion of "respondeat superior," or vicarious liability, which holds an employer legally liable for an employee's improper acts if they occur while the employee is on the job.

A trucking business may also be held accountable for a truck accident if it is discovered that it pushed its drivers to unsafe limits in violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's federal hours-of-service requirements (FMCSA). In addition, trucking businesses can offer financial incentives or threaten termination to their drivers if they fail to achieve unrealistic delivery deadlines.

Finally, a trucking business may be held accountable for a truck accident if it is discovered that its fleet was not adequately maintained. Trucks must be regularly inspected and maintained to ensure they are safe to drive over various terrain. Trucking businesses may owe the plaintiff hefty compensation if they fail to check or maintain their fleet (or falsify records claiming they did so when they didn't).

3. Manufacturer of the Truck

Occasionally, a truck is built with flaws that are present from the start. Product liability law may hold the truck's manufacturer accountable for damages if an error occurs during the truck's design, construction, or marketing process.


Manufacturers have a legal responsibility under product liability legislation to develop and manufacture functional equipment, as well as to recall any equipment that is proven to be defective as quickly as possible.

Manufacturers must also appropriately promote their products so that consumers know any potential hazards that may occur due to their use and how to recognize and minimize those threats. Failure to respect this legal responsibility could result in the manufacturer being held accountable for any accidents caused by using a vehicle they created.


4. The Loaders of Cargo


A truck's cargo must be loaded safely and evenly to avoid cargo shift. If the freight is not correctly loaded onto a truck, and a subsequent cargo transfer causes the vehicle to lose control and crash, the cargo loaders may be liable for damages. However, because this could come under the legal notion of "respondeat superior" or vicarious culpability, it's crucial to speak with an expert truck accident lawyer about your case.


Common Reasons Why Truck Accidents Happen

In most cases, due to the size and weight disparity between a car and a truck, this type of accident might be horrifying if you're in a car. Even if you are a careful driver who follows all traffic laws, you can still be involved in a truck accident. So, what are the most common causes of truck accidents?


There are four typical reasons for truck accidents, as most often observed by our Top Personal Injury Attorneys in Los Angeles:

  • Maintenance and training. These factors combine to determine a truck driver's ability to drive safely. To begin with, if they are not adequately taught, they will be unable to safely operate a commercial vehicle on public roadways alongside other vehicles. Because driving these vehicles is inherently dangerous, they must spend a specific amount of time learning to drive safely. There are also regulations on how a truck should be maintained before a driver takes to the road. Even with a well-trained driver, a poorly maintained truck might cause accidents.

  • Fatigue. One of the most common causes of truck accidents is driver exhaustion. Many truck drivers are overworked and must work long shifts at all hours of the day and night. As a result, the driver may make only a few stops to reach their destination in time. As a result, the driver may fall asleep at the wheel unintentionally. Furthermore, a truck driver will have a longer reaction time if something goes wrong on the road.

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  • Distracted driving. Truck drivers, like most drivers, grow bored on the road. They could wish to listen to the radio, read an audiobook, text, or call someone. When this occurs, the driver's reaction time is slowed, and they may fail to see other vehicles on the road. Taking their gaze away from the road for even a few seconds can result in a fatal collision.

  • Speeding. Truck drivers are usually on a tight schedule and must reach their destination within a specific time frame. This is not always simple for the truck driver, and they may feel compelled to rush to their location to meet their deadline.

  • Overloading. Truck accidents happen for various causes in California and across the country, including truck driver mistakes, weariness, and malfunctioning truck equipment. However, oversized loads are one of the most dangerous causes of truck accidents. Overloaded vehicles, as any truck accident lawyer knows, put everyone on the road, especially other commuters, in danger of being harmed in a crash. According to national statistics, occupants of other vehicles account for more than 70% of people killed in heavy truck accidents.

    • Commercial trucks are tough to navigate, but putting an overloaded truck on the road considerably increases the chance of the truck driver having problems controlling the vehicle.

  • Weight Restrictions. As previously stated, when a truck's cargo exceeds the authorized weight limit established by federal laws, the risk of the vehicle rolling over increases, particularly while merging into another lane or turning. In addition, because the recommended weight limit for the tires is also exceeded, having too much weight on the truck can result in a tire blowout.

  • Not considering stopping distance. Large trucks require more space than smaller vehicles to slow down or come to a complete stop. To come to a complete stop, a truck going at 65 mph could need to travel the length of two football fields, for example. A fully loaded truck will take even longer.

  • Jackknifing. When a truck comes to a complete stop, but the trailer continues to move, the truck's cab and the trailer fold and make an acute angle. When a truck jackknifes, the truck driver almost always loses control of the vehicle. A jackknifing risk is significantly increased when a truck is overloaded.

  • Wrong height clearance. When an open-bed truck is overloaded, it can collide with overpasses or bridges, causing cargo to fly off and crash with other cars. In addition, the cargo may completely detach or become caught beneath the bridge, causing significant mishaps.

Contact the best Best Personal Injury Attorney in Los Angeles to help you get compensation or pay damages for your injuries.

The Consequences of a Truck Accident

A trucking accident can happen in various ways, and as a result, victims may suffer significant and even life-threatening injuries. As a result, it may be acceptable for an accident victim or their family to consider filing a lawsuit. This is one of the most important reasons to call a Truck Accident Attorney in Los Angeles as soon as possible so that victims can give themselves the best chance of recovering compensation for their losses.

Large trucks may be seen from coast to coast, and they play an essential role in the distribution of commodities across the country. However, despite the importance of heavy trucks to the country's economy, truck drivers and firms are under a lot of pressure to perform. As a result, trucking businesses and their drivers may engage in irresponsible activity in order to move products as rapidly as feasible.

As a result, some heavy vehicles can endanger other drivers on the road. Many people experience anxiety when driving near a truck. However, a truck driver's carelessness can have life-altering consequences at any time. A transportation accident can happen in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Truck drivers who aren't well-trained

  • Trucks that aren't adequately maintained

  • Blind spots on the road

  • Weather conditions that aren't ideal

  • Jackknifing

  • Rollovers in trucks

  • Wide and sudden turns

Managing trucking accidents can be a difficult task. Not only will you have to prove carelessness, but you'll also have to figure out who can be held accountable. The best Truck Accident Attorney in Los Angeles can aid you in determining whether numerous parties are at fault and taking action.


Injuries Suffered From Truck Accidents In California

A trucking accident can be disastrous; even at low speeds, the sheer bulk of a large 18-wheeler can have a significant impact if an accident occurs. Trucking accidents frequently result in injuries that are significantly more serious than those caused by a car accident. Our trucking accident attorney has represented individuals who have suffered various serious injuries. The following are examples of common injuries:

  • Injury to the neck

  • Injuries to the back

  • Injuries to the head

  • Broken bones

  • Lacerations

  • Internal Wounds

  • Paralysis

  • Fatalities

Working with a California Personal Injury Attorney can help accident victims and their families value their claim and represent them in negotiations with insurance companies and attorneys to get the best possible result.

If you were the truck driver or a passenger in a car and were engaged in a truck accident, you must hire a Truck Accident Attorney in Los Angeles. This is why:

  • Having to Deal With Insurance Companies. Hiring a lawyer to deal with the at-fault party's insurance company is an excellent option if you are not at fault. You don't have to speak with or explain yourself to the at-fault party's insurance company. If they approach, they intend to reach a rapid, low-cost settlement. Refer the representative to your truck accident attorney instead.

  • Identifying Who Is to Blame. It's not always easy to figure out what's wrong. It may also be necessary to have an additional run of investigation and research to discover what caused the disaster, who is accountable, and why. Regardless of your feelings or if you believe you are not at fault, the accident should (and will) be investigated to find out what happened. In general, if you intend to seek compensation, you should hire a Truck Accident Attorney in Los Angeles to look into the case and develop a defense for you.

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  • Taking Legal Action Against the At-Fault Party. If you have filed a claim or plan to do so, you need the best Personal Injury Attorney in Los Angeles to assist you with the legal process. Your lawyer can assist you in determining the best course of action to take so that the entire procedure isn't as stressful as it may be. In addition, your attorney can assist you through pursuing reimbursement from someone, including determining damages to seek.

  • Having Legal Recommendations. Whatever the scenario, knowing that you have unbiased legal advice to support you along the journey can give you peace of mind. Your truck accident attorney can ensure that all of the details in your case are recognized, addressed, and presented (when applicable). It is possible to comprehensively analyze your present and potential losses to recover the highest amount of damages. You could lose the money you need and deserve if you don't seek legal advice.

What If A Loved One Passed Away in a Truck Accident?

The loss of a loved one is often devastating. When a family member dies due to someone else's actions, your grief may be exacerbated because their life was cut short. In addition, financial difficulties due to their passing may make this period even more difficult.

Wrongful death actions allow families to bring a lawsuit against the individual who caused their loved one's death. A wrongful death action could help aggrieved families hold another person accountable and provide you with the financial recompense you need to move forward with your life if your parent, spouse, or child died due to another person's negligence or recklessness.

A knowledgeable California Wrongful Death Attorney can look into the matter, figure out what happened, and fight for justice on your behalf. While a lawsuit will not make your family whole again, it can help you get your family back on track after a sad loss.


What Comprises A Wrongful Death Suit?

Wrongful death in California is defined as one caused by another person's unlawful act. This could include careless, overly careless, reckless, or even malicious activities. In addition, a person who willfully causes injury to another person may face criminal charges due to their acts.

For example, if a married mother of three dies in her car after a drunk driver crashes into it, her death would very indeed be deemed unjust under California law. Her surviving spouse, children, and parents may be able to sue the drunk driver for their conduct (driving while intoxicated) that resulted in her death. In addition to being charged with drunk driving, the drunk driver may face criminal penalties.

In California, a wrongful death can result in a different sort of legal action called a survival action. The victim's estate brings this sort of legal action to recoup the losses they suffered before passing away (as opposed to the family's damages).

So, for example, if the mother was severely injured and spent months in the hospital before dying, her estate may be able to recover damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical fees, and burial costs.

Filing a Claim for Wrongful Death

Personal injury claims in California must be submitted within a particular time frame, known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations for wrongful death is two years from the date of the incident or death.


The action may be barred entirely if the case is not filed by that date.


While no amount of money can really compensate for the loss of a loved one, pursuing a wrongful death claim can assist you in holding the party responsible for their death. Simultaneously, it can help to alleviate the financial strain that often comes with wrongful death. Considering a Wrongful Death Attorney in California with experience would be the greatest option for you to get this done correctly.

In a wrongful death action, there are two types of damages available, both of which are meant to recompense survivors for the losses they have suffered. First, economic and non-economic damages are used jointly to compensate survivors for the financial and emotional support they would have gotten if their loved one had lived.

The following are examples of economic damages:

  • The amount of money that the decedent would have given to the family during their lifetime;

  • The loss of any presents or other benefits that the decedent's survivors could have expected;

  • Expenses for funerals and burials; and

  • The fair market worth of home services provided by the deceased (that is now lost due to their passing).

While state laws vary, California law stipulates that survivors of the victim have precisely two years from the tragedy date to file a wrongful death lawsuit in court.


That is why it is critical for the decedent's survivors to contact a reputed law firm as soon as possible after the tragedy and file a wrongful death lawsuit.


1000Attorneys.com is a California Bar Association-Certified Lawyer Referral Service that can refer you to a prescreened truck accident lawyer best fit to handle your claims. Contact us on our 24/7 lawyer referral hotline at 1-661-310-7999 or complete our inquiry submission form for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.

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