Our Truck Accident Experience

Why Baum Hedlund is the Right Choice for Your Truck Accident Case

Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, PC is a nationally recognized personal injury law firm known for its dedication to clients, sincerity, and success in complex cases. Our practice focuses on representing clients in personal injury and wrongful death litigation, particularly in cases involving commercial trucking accidents and other transportation accidents across the nation. We have seen the devastation that is caused by accidents involving large commercial vehicles. We have helped dozens of families deal with the aftermath of such tragedies. Recognizing the grief, anxiety and frustration that threaten to engulf our clients, we offer sincere support and guidance while we pursue answers, compensation, and justice.

One of the major causes of truck accidents is driver fatigue.

Truck accident attorney, Katherine Harvey-Lee handles truck accident cases across the nation.

Our Firm Exposes Negligence and Pursues Accountability

We are accustomed to the complex issues that arise in truck accident litigation — from demonstrating truck driver negligence, such as distracted driving, to exposing negligence of the commercial trucking company which resulted in a truck accident. There are usually a number of causes that lead to an injury or death in a truck crash, including issues with negligent truck drivers, supervision, maintenance, flawed design, failed parts, faulty reporting, and more. One of our goals is to stop these types of incidents from occurring again. Therefore, along with asking for truck safety improvements, we also go above and beyond to expose the identities and bad practices of those responsible for the truck crash.

Baum Hedlund Has Investigated and Represented Families in More Than 200 Large Truck Crash Cases Across the Nation

Our truck accident attorneys have helped countless victims and their families in lawsuits arising from a serious or fatal truck crash. We have successfully handled thousands of cases and secured over $1.5 billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients in all of our areas of practice, including truck accidents. With decades of experience handling personal injury and wrongful death cases, we have gone up against virtually all of the major insurance carriers throughout the nation; we know their defense tactics and how to effectively prepare a solid claim on our client’s behalf.

It can be difficult to know what the next steps are following a major truck accident that results in serious injury or death. Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, PC was established to help accident victims and their families. Our truck accident attorneys help clients overcome the grief following a serious truck crash, pursue answers being kept from them and obtain compensation they will need in the future. While our clients may never be capable of returning to life as it was before the truck accident, our ability to get results has enabled many clients to obtain peace of mind about a loved one’s death and has enabled other clients to live life to the fullest extent possible after a debilitating injury.

Although our law firm is headquartered in California, we have represented clients in all 50 states, and we are proud of our commitment to provide personalized support and attorney accessibility to clients anywhere in the United States. We keep clients abreast of the status of their case and keep in regular contact with them so that they are confident that we are working diligently on their behalf. We promptly address concerns and answer questions as they arise. Whether our client is in California or New York, we instill confidence that we are here to provide the individualized attention our clients need.

At Baum Hedlund, We Have the Resources, Knowledge and Proficiency to Take on Complex Truck Accident Litigation

Truck accident victims and their families have the right to seek personal injury and wrongful death damages against errant truck drivers and their parent companies. The parties responsible for the truck crash may be located in different states, while the harm may have occurred in yet another state. As such, any truck accident lawsuit may well involve more than one state’s laws or courts, and many complex choices and decisions may have to be made to receive the largest recovery or streamline procedures.

Ron Goldman inspects wreckage from a major truck accident.

Attorney Ron Goldman inspects wreckage from a major truck crash.

Lawsuits involving a commercial truck accident require a higher level of skill and understanding of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s rules and regulations for trucking companies. Baum Hedlund’s truck crash lawyers keep up-to-date on the latest federal regulations and truck safety issues affecting all states. Our attorneys have a comprehensive understanding of the personal injury and wrongful death laws as well as the trucking regulations that may affect our client’s case. In addition, we have immediate access to the necessary resources to build our client’s case, such as the latest changes in the law, nuances in technology available to the trucking industry, leading experts across the country, product safety information and anything else necessary to provide diligent representation.

The Truth About Truck Accidents

Every day we share the road with large trucks, often referred to as big rigs, semis, tractor trailers or 18-wheelers. It is estimated that there are over two million trucks operating on highways around the country on any given day, accounting for roughly four percent of all registered vehicles in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one person is killed or injured in a truck crash every 16 minutes. About 5,000 people per year are killed in the United States by a large truck accident and crashes involving trucks are among the most dangerous and most deadly in the nation. The simple truth is these vehicles are big and heavy and carry lethal force into any collision.

As you might imagine, a truck crash is far more dangerous for us than for a trucker. Weighing as much as 80,000 pounds and in some instances reaching 75 feet in length, these vehicles pose a threat to motorists even under optimal circumstances. But if there is a slight mechanical flaw with the truck, or if the operator loses focus for just one second, the results can be catastrophic.

Truck Crash Facts:

  • Large truck crashes increased by two percent in 2011, and injury crashes involving large trucks rose 10 percent, according to saferoads.org.
  • The amount of people killed annually in a truck accident amounts to a major airline crash every other week.
  • In fatal crashes involving a large truck and a passenger vehicle, 98 percent of those killed are occupants of the passenger vehicle.
  • The societal cost associated with commercial truck crashes amounts to over $83 billion per year.
  • A big rig moving at 60 miles-per-hour takes roughly the length of a football field to come to a complete stop.
  • In 2012, six out of the top ten most common commercial truck out-of-service violations related to tires or brakes.
  • One out of every five trucks inspected is placed out-of-service due to various vehicle deficiencies.
  • Nearly 70 percent of truck crashes reported in the U.S. occur in rural areas.
  • Large trucks account for 17 percent of the U.S.’s transportation energy use.

In the heat maps, you will see just how prevalent and widespread truck crashes are. Each map shows truck crash data associated with a given state. States have their own departments of transportation, zoned into various districts, and each district is charged with oversight for the roads under their jurisdiction. Within each district, you will see pins that show the location (either exact or approximate) of a truck crash. These pins are interactive, and can be clicked on to learn more about a particular accident.

Looking at all these pins on our truck crash heat maps, patterns begin to emerge. In California, for example, there is a stretch of Interstate 5 that is obviously a dangerous corridor for truck crashes (it is actually the most dangerous section of highway for a truck accident in the state). In Pennsylvania, we see that many truck accidents are clustered in and around the Philadelphia area, making it one of the more dangerous parts of the state in which to drive. However, the larger story displayed by the heat map, is that a majority of truck crashes in Pennsylvania occur in rural areas, mirroring national statistics (nearly 70 percent of truck crashes in the nation occur in rural areas).

There are many things to be gleaned from looking at these heat maps, the largest of which is that truck accidents happen far too often and affect far too many people. Clearly, a lot of work needs to be done if we are to reduce the number of truck crashes.

Paul Hedlund examines the tractor-trailer from a truck accident case.

Truck accident attorney, Paul J. Hedlund, examines the tractor trailer from one of his cases.

Our Attorneys Can Assist With the Following Truck Accident Cases:

Jackknife Truck Accident

18-wheelers are prone to “jackknife” during sudden braking or turning. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, anti-jackknifing devices are no substitute for truck antilocks; they won’t prevent wheels from locking up or provide equivalent handling stability. Defensive driving helps prevent jackknifing big-rigs.

Truck Accident Involving Pedestrians

Trucks are often involved in loading, reversing, or low-speed accidents which cause severe or catastrophic injuries to pedestrians. Many of these accidents occur when a truck is backing into a loading facility or where a driver strikes an unseen pedestrian. Usually when a pedestrian truck accident occurs, the size and weight of the truck causes catastrophic or fatal injuries to the victims.

Rear-End Truck Accident

Tractor-trailers and other commercial trucks can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. It takes time to bring this much weight to a full stop. When truck operators are negligent, this weight becomes a battering ram, pummeling the vehicles ahead—and often resulting in tragic fatalities that could have been prevented.

Too often, a catastrophic and fatal rear-end truck crash is caused by the negligence of the truck operator, evidenced by:

  • Inattentiveness to construction zone signs or changes in traffic
  • Driver distractions
  • Following too closely
  • Speeding
  • Other human errors (fatigue, drunk driving, etc.)

Turn and U-Turn Truck Accident

Commercial vehicles are long and difficult to turn. A big rig operator often must use two lanes of traffic to make a right turn to avoid running the rear wheels into parked vehicles or over a sidewalk. If a large truck turns too sharply the truck can lock up or jackknife. U-turns in large trucks are especially dangerous and are often banned by trucking companies because of their increased risk to other motorists. Truck U-turns are usually done slowly across many, if not all lanes, which leaves the truck blocking traffic for long periods of time, and greatly increases the chances of another car hitting the side of the truck.

Mountain Driving and Runaway Truck Accident

Truck operators must utilize brake-check points at summits of grades. Brake failure and inexperience often result in a runaway-truck accident.

Truck drivers should use escape ramps when out of control on a downgrade. Although risking bodily injury or damage to their vehicle and goods, the alternative is unacceptable.

Long trucks driving in the mountains obstruct traffic and cause many fatal collisions when crossing both lanes to maneuver sharp curves.

Construction Zone Truck Accident

Truck operators must prepare to slow down or stop in highway work zones. Our truck accident law firm has handled many fatal injury cases involving truck drivers unable to stop their truck in time after bending down to pick up a cell phone or other object.

Construction zone trucking accidents can be particularly deadly as the size, weight, and speeds of the truck can cause severe damage to other vehicles or the infrastructure. Whether the injured party is a construction worker or a passenger in a vehicle, we will work to ensure the trucking company will be held accountable for injuries caused by speeding or driving recklessly over the speed limit in a work zone.

Truck operators are held to a clear standard of accountability as a result of the danger they pose to others on the road. Truck operators are trained in the “Smith system” which makes the driver responsible for speed, distance between cars, and generally being aware of all potential obstructions or dangers. It is the duty of the truck driver to have enough distance to slow down and brake safely to prevent an accident.

All vehicles must respond to construction zone warning signs, but trucks must be particularly wary of the dangers they pose in a construction zone. Drivers who are unaware of speed limits or who disregard warnings will be held accountable for any damages or injuries that they cause. Our truck accident law firm is experienced in investigating construction zone accidents and will aggressively pursue damages on behalf of any victim or their family in a construction zone trucking accident case.

Latest Truck Accident News

Overloaded Truck Accident

Overloading can strain brakes and tires. Towing a trailer with a weight heavier than the towing vehicle can cause loss of control, especially down hills.

Studies on accidents involving trucks with multiple trailers indicate that many truck drivers begin driving trucks with multiple trailers (doubles and triples) with little or no training. Even without being overloaded this lack of training poses a serious danger.

As noted by the DOT, drivers must have adequate classroom and road training to control and maneuver multiple trailer configurations and semi-trailer combinations.

Unsecured Cargo Truck Accident

It is a frightening thought — loose freight or other hazardous loads tumbling down the highway. For some people, unfortunately, this frightening thought has become an even more frightening reality. Negligence in securing truck loads has resulted in catastrophic injuries and fatalities across the country.

To avoid these devastating highway accidents, there are specific procedures and safety measures truckers are supposed to follow when loading and securing their truck load:

  • Loading cargo
    In accordance with safety regulations, truckers must avoid stacking loads too high or with uneven or improper weight distribution. Failure to follow guidelines can result in an uneven load or load shifting, which can cause the truck to roll over, leading to accidents.
  • Securing cargo
    Due to the devastation that can be caused by unsecured truck loads, there are stringent regulations in place regarding cargo securement. For example, there are specific charts and formulas that should be used to determine the thickness of chains that must be used to secure cargo.
  • Inspecting truck load
    Semi trucks and other commercial trucks can spend days on the road with the same truck load. Sometimes over 80,000 pounds, these loads can shift, loosening the tie-downs. Therefore, truckers are responsible for inspecting the security of the load frequently: before leaving, 50 miles after leaving, every three hours or 150 miles, after every stop, after changes in shifts, etc.

Failure to follow important safety regulations can result in improperly restrained loads, oversized loads and loose loads. These loads can become ammunition against other vehicles on the road.

Weather-Related Truck Accident

Even though it may appear that the driver had no control over the weather conditions, and therefore the truck crash, it is an established regulation in the trucking industry, that drivers must be particularly careful and restrictive in driving in severe weather conditions. Our truck crash attorneys are familiar with weather-related truck accidents and have successfully pursued claims against drivers or trucking companies that disregard these dangerous conditions.

Truckers and trucking companies are aware that they must be extremely cautious when driving in dangerous weather conditions such as ice, fog, snow, or rain. Federal and state statutes regulate how a driver should proceed or even discontinue driving under these conditions. There are a number of steps a company must take to determine if the weather conditions are safe for driving a commercial vehicle. There are also preventative steps to avoid accidents including emptying the trailer, or simply driving more cautiously.

Driver-Caused Truck Accident

When any type of truck crash occurs there is almost always a connection to the conduct of the truck operator. Truck drivers must be particularly wary of misconduct, such as driver fatigue, speeding, distracted driving, or the use of alcohol or drugs. However, because truckers must get their shipments in as scheduled, using a timetable that may not be feasible and a route they have not necessarily driven before, many are willing to speed, work past their allotted hours, talk on their phones or eat while driving, or even use stimulating drugs in order to bring in their cargo on time. These habitual risks add up and unfortunate motorists are left to pay the consequences of resulting truck accidents.

At Baum Hedlund, we believe there is no excuse for acting negligently and causing harm to others. Our attorneys have heard nearly every excuse from big rig drivers. “I was reaching for my cigarettes.” “I sneezed.” “I thought I was in the right lane.” Our experience lends us to believe that these excuses are nothing more than that — excuses. These claims do not stand with our firm and should not stand with the jury. It is the responsibility of the trucking company to ensure their employees are properly trained and complying with trucking regulations at all times.