Tractor-trailers are responsible for carrying goods back and forth on both short and long-haul journeys, which explains why you see them just about everywhere you go in densely populated Southern California.
It can be disarming to share the road with trucks, especially considering their size is significantly larger than most passenger cars. Unfortunately, there’s little you can do to avoid riding alongside them since there are very few areas that prohibit tractor-trailers from driving through them.
Truck accidents resulting in serious injuries or wrongful death often result from trucks and cars having to ride alongside one another. When crashes like these occur, trucking companies will do everything they can to avoid liability, as we’ll discuss below. That’s why it’s critical to have a skilled Inglewood truck accident lawyer from Frost Law Firm, PC, on your side.
Trucking Accident Statistics Show an Increasing Trend
It’s unfortunate, but large truck accidents are on the rise. According to the National Safety Council, there were approximately 4,800 trucks in fatal crashes in 2020. While that data shows a decrease from 2019, it’s still a 33% higher trend since 2011.
In addition, because of the nature of the business, trucking companies are tasked with carrying heavy and oversized freight. These loads often contain valuable and time-sensitive commodities. As a result, truckers must go wherever the goods are bound, which leads to accidents occurring on many of the nation’s roadways. In 2020, approximately 47% of deaths in large truck accidents occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways, per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Over a third of accidents still occur on interstates and freeways.
Because trucking companies send their drivers with unrealistic schedules, they are often forced to break traffic laws. For example, they may exceed the posted speed limit or drive for too many hours at a time. The result is pressure on truck drivers to work long hours with little rest, leading to drowsy driving and poor decision-making. IIHS data shows that in 2020, approximately 48% of all deaths in large trucking accidents occurred from 6 AM to 3 PM.
What Kinds of Trucking Accidents Can Happen?
Unfortunately, there are many reasons that trucking accidents occur, which makes it difficult to prevent all of them. Perhaps if everyone were more educated on the nature of trucking accidents, we could help to avoid them. Here are some of the most common types of trucking accidents:
- Truck Accidents Caused by Tire Blowouts: When a tire fails, it’s because of a cut or tiny puncture that causes the tire to lose air over time. Various factors can cause a tire blowout, such as low or high pressure, lack of maintenance, dangerous road conditions, overloaded trucks, or even manufacturing defects. A trucker is responsible for checking the tires for faults, bulges, excessive vibrations, etc.
- Unsecured Load Accidents: If a load shifts or falls off a truck, it can cause serious accidents. Sometimes, the loads are not adequately secured to the truck, and other times, they’re too heavy or unbalanced to handle. If you see a tractor-trailer with an unsecured load, you should report it to the police in hopes that they can be pulled over and taken off the road.
- Rear-End Collisions: These accidents often occur when a truck follows another vehicle too closely. If the lead vehicle brakes suddenly, the truck may not have enough time to stop and rear-end the car. Poor road conditions, distraction, or drowsy driving can also lead to rear-end collisions, although rear-end crashes are not limited to truck drivers.
Common Causes of Trucking Accidents in Inglewood
Many of the same factors that contribute to car crashes also cause trucking accidents. While truckers aren’t the only reason accidents happen, they have more responsibility regarding safety on the road. Here are some of the most common causes of trucking accidents:
- Speeding: While speeding is a factor in many accidents, it’s hazardous when large trucks are involved. The faster a truck goes, the longer it will take to stop. Additionally, speeding makes it more challenging to maneuver the truck, leading to accidents if the driver must swerve around something.
- Poor Road Conditions: Poor road conditions are often out of the trucker’s control, but they can still lead to accidents. Potholes, debris, animals, and stormy weather can all cause problems for truckers. For example, if a trucker hits a pothole, it can cause a tire blowout.
- Trucker Inexperience: As an increasing number of truckers retire and demands for their labor persist, there’s been an influx of new, inexperienced truckers filling our roads. Inexperienced truckers may not be fully aware of crash avoidance strategies that veteran tractor-trailer operators have learned through trial and error, thus putting the rest of us motorists at risk of becoming entangled in an accident.
Tactics That Trucking Companies Use To Avoid Liability
No one wants to pay for someone else’s mistakes, especially if that mistake caused an accident. Therefore, the trucking company may try to avoid liability even if the truck driver is at fault. Here are some tactics that trucking companies use to avoid liability for Inglewood accidents:
- Denying the Driver’s Employment: Employers are required to accept liability. Companies often claim the driver is an independent contractor, not an employee. If the trucking company can prove the driver wasn’t working for them at the time of the accident, they aren’t liable. This tactic can’t work just because an accident occurred; it does not absolve the company or driver of fault.
- Claiming the Accident Wasn’t Bad or Didn’t Cause Injuries: Companies will also try to downplay the severity of an accident or the injuries that resulted. For example, they may claim that the other driver was at fault or that they didn’t have a “duty of care” regarding you or other drivers. The trucking company may accept “duty of care”; however, they will most likely claim your injuries were already present and you’re trying to get compensation for them nonetheless.
If it seems like events are taking a turn for the worst, it’s best to hire an Inglewood truck accident lawyer at Frost Law Firm, PC. Your attorney can help you hold the trucking company accountable for its actions. Trucking accidents can cause severe injuries and even death; you need to know how to proceed if you’re involved in one.
Steps To Take After You’re Involved in a Trucking Accident
It’s critical to know what to do following a truck accident in Inglewood, and you should gather as much evidence at the scene as feasible to strengthen the claim. Trucking accidents are more serious due to the vehicles and the truck involved, but you should still follow the same steps for any car accident.
First, check yourself and your passengers for injuries and call 911 if anyone is hurt. Next, turn on your hazard lights and move your vehicle to the side of the road if possible. If you can’t drive your car, stay in it with your seat belt fastened and wait for help.
Once the police arrive, get the officer’s name and badge number, and ask for a copy of the California accident report. Seek medical attention if offered an ambulance ride; move vehicles to clear the roadway and allow traffic to pass, if possible.
If you have a camera, take pictures of the damage to both vehicles and any injuries sustained. Next, get the contact information of any witnesses and exchange insurance information with the other drivers. Don’t forget to get the trucking company’s information.
Lastly, call your Frost Law Firm, PC truck accident lawyer in Inglewood to discuss your case and the next steps you should take in it. An experienced trucking accident lawyer from our firm can help you navigate the legal system, deal with insurance companies, speak to all parties involved, and calculate the compensation you deserve.
Contact Your Local Inglewood Trucking Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one have been involved in a truck accident in Inglewood, know that a two or three-year statute of limitations applies, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. Your Inglewood truck accident lawyer from Frost Law Firm, PC and our team of experienced professionals will know what statute of limitations applies to your case and fight for you to get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.