Los Angeles is known as one of the most traffic-congested cities in the world. But did you know that L.A. County sees more truck accidents than anywhere else in Southern California?
According to truck crash statistics from the California Highway Patrol (CHP), Los Angeles County sees on average 2,200 injury truck crashes and 50 fatal truck crashes on an annual basis, by far more than any other California county.*
Otherwise known as tractor trailers, big rigs, 18-wheelers or semis, trucks possess tremendous size and power, which makes them particularly dangerous in an accident. A typical big rig weighs as much as 80,000 pounds, far more than the average passenger vehicle. This discrepancy in size and weight means that in a crash between a passenger vehicle and a truck, the occupants of a passenger vehicle are far more likely to be killed or injured than the occupants of the truck.
If you or a loved one were harmed in a truck accident, you may be entitled to recover compensation for any injuries or wrongful death by bringing a lawsuit against the responsible parties.
If you would like to learn more about filing a truck accident claim, contact a Los Angeles truck crash lawyer at the law firm of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman today. At Baum Hedlund, our personal injury attorneys have decades of experience handling complex truck accident litigation and are dedicated to helping our clients pursue justice and obtain maximum compensation.
Call us today for a free case evaluation at 800-827-0087
* Stat calculated using most recent CHP statistics over a five-year period
What Causes a Truck Accident?
While it is true that a big rig crash can be caused by any number of reasons, there are certain causal factors that are more common than others. These factors include:
- Driver Error: This is the most common cause of truck crashes. Driver error includes driving with too much speed, reckless and/or aggressive driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, overloading cargo, distracted driving, fatigued driving, and failure to abide by posted road signs, among many other dangerous actions.
- Maintenance Negligence: When a trucking company or driver fails to adequately maintain equipment and perform routine inspections, that equipment can easily fail and cause dangerous situations on the highway.
- Poor Driver Training / Inexperienced Drivers: When trucking companies cut corners with poor driver training and hiring, it puts people in danger. Truckers need to be exposed to real-world scenarios during training in order to avoid the poor decision making that can result in sudden lane changes, wide turns and dangerous encounters with bridges and unfamiliar roads.
- Defective or Damaged Equipment: When equipment on a truck fails, it can cause the driver to lose control of the rig. Common examples include tire blowouts or defective brakes.
- Weather or Other External Conditions: Because semis are so large, they are at special risk for wreaking havoc on roads in dangerous external conditions. Heavy snowfall, ice on the road, narrow bridges, and reduced visibility due to rain, sleet or fog can lead to an accident. Truckers and their employers must exercise caution and stay off the roads when conditions are not safe for driving.
Common Types of Los Angeles Big Rig Accidents
Who is Responsible for a Truck Crash?
Big rigs and their drivers are required to comply with a number of federal trucking regulations and state laws that are meant to prevent tractor trailer accidents. In many truck accidents involving serious injury or death, we have found that at least one of these laws was violated, which means the responsible party (or parties) can be held accountable in a truck accident lawsuit.
As mentioned above, driver error is the most common cause of truck crashes. In many cases, however, the driver is not the only party responsible for the crash.
For example, if a big rig driver causes a collision after making an illegal U-turn, it may not just be the driver who is liable for the crash—if the trucking company did a poor job providing driver training for its employee, the trucking company may also be liable in a lawsuit.
Likewise, if a trucker causes a crash due to driving under the influence, the trucking company may also be liable for the collision in failing to perform due diligence by screening the applicant before he or she was hired.
Third parties that manufacture parts, lease trucks or perform maintenance, can also be held liable if their negligence or malfeasance contributed to an accident in any way. Even government entities may be liable, in some instances, for failing to properly maintain roads or failing to ensure that roadway safety signs are visible for drivers.
An experienced truck accident attorney can investigate crashes, find culpable parties and bring them to justice.
Why You Need an Experienced Los Angeles Truck Accident Attorney
A truck accident lawsuit against a trucking company, its driver(s) and its insurers can be an incredible undertaking. While car accident cases can have their own complexities, truck accident cases are often far more challenging and require a lawyer with experience handling these types of cases.
Below are some of the unique complexities of litigating a truck accident case:
- Unlike car accidents, truck accidents often involve many parties, including the truck driver, the trucking company he or she works for, the cargo loading company, or the manufacturer of the truck, trailer, brakes, tires or other parts. Even the city, county or state may be held liable if the roadway or signage where the accident occurred is in disrepair.
- Tractor trailers are required to undergo routine maintenance and inspections to make sure they are roadworthy.
- Because trucks often carry heavy cargo, the injuries sustained in truck accidents are usually far more severe than car accidents.
Trucking companies and their insurers have risk management departments dedicated to minimizing liability in accidents like yours. In order to build a successful claim and ensure that you are compensated fairly for your damages, you must retain experienced legal representation familiar with insurance claims, trucking regulations, law enforcement reports, and accident investigation and reconstruction, among many other areas.
Our team of local and national truck accident lawyers have decades of experience and have litigated against some of the largest trucking companies in the world. We are also truck safety advocates committed to raising awareness and influencing public policy on important decisions concerning trucking rules and regulations.
If you or someone you know has been harmed by a Los Angeles big rig accident, please get in touch with our firm to discuss your claim. We can answer any questions you may have about the accident and help you decide on the best course of action for yourself and your family.
Our Los Angeles Truck Accident Cases
Our firm has represented hundreds of truck accident victims from California and across the U.S. Below are a few examples of the truck crash cases we have handled in the Los Angeles area:
- We filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court for our clients, whose family members were victims of the FedEx truck crash in Orland, California. The accident killed 10 people and injured many more. The bus was transporting Los Angeles high school students to visit a college campus in Northern California when a FedEx truck inexplicably crossed over the median and plowed into the bus head-on.
- A large tank weighing several tons fell from a truck after hitting an overpass and crushed a car. Our firm filed suit against Caltrans for negligently measuring, inspecting, and approving an oversized load to pass under too short of an overpass.
California Truck Accident Lawyers Serving Clients in Los Angeles and Nationwide
When dealing with powerful corporations and interstate trucking companies, any lawsuit can easily stretch beyond the City of Los Angeles and often beyond the State of California. While our Los Angeles office is considered our home base, we are a national firm with offices and attorneys in several different states who are able to pursue cases from coast to coast.
A Los Angeles truck accident lawyer at Baum, Hedlund, Aristei and Goldman will work hard to find the best jurisdiction for any truck accident case. If you have been harmed in a truck accident, we will fight to ensure that you receive the best possible care and compensation for your injuries.