Accidents involving large trucks, semi trucks, and other commercial vehicles are a regular problem on the roads, freeways, and highways of California. Californians face numerous risks on the road every day. Whether as motorists, cyclists, passengers, or pedestrians, many Californians are killed or heavily injured due to truck accidents every year. Accidents involving tractor trailers and other types of large commercial vehicles are continuing to plague the residents of the state.
Truck Accident Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which tracks motor vehicle accidents and fatalities, say that the number of deaths in accidents involving trucks in the recent years is very alarming. As per their records,
- There were about 282 truck accident fatalities in 2011.
- In 2012, the number was 261, and it was 259 in 2013.
- In 2014, the number jumped to 301, while 296 people were killed in large truck accidents in 2015.
In the five-year period from 2011 to 2015, there were 430 truck accident fatalities in Los Angeles alone, while the neighboring counties, Orange County and San Diego, experienced 39 and 70 trucks accident deaths respectively.
Causes of Truck Accidents in California
In simple terms, critical events are the things that can lead to a crash or may set up the chance for an accident to occur. Critical reasons are things that can happen immediately before an accident and contribute directly to the accident. As per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there are three categories, which are identified as critical reasons for truck accidents in California: vehicle factors, environmental factors, and driver responsibility.
Vehicle factors include brake faults and other mechanical issues, while environmental factors include road conditions and weather. Critical reasons for truck accidents involving the driver can include many things though, such as situations where the driver suffered a medical condition or fell asleep behind the wheel.
Then there is also the performance factor of the driver, which includes exercising an overcompensating maneuver or not controlling the truck properly. Similarly, the driver responsibility also includes recognition factor and decision factor, which stand respectively for driver distraction and tailgating, speeding, as well as other actions that are directly related to the choice or behavior of the driver.
Compensation in Truck Accidents
It is clear that the actions of the truck driver can contribute to safety or lack of safety on the road. Help is required when truck drivers make choices that cause injury to innocent people or even lead to fatalities. Therefore, it is important to talk to a truck accident attorney after a crash, so that you can get the right compensation that you deserve.
When you are injured in a truck accident, protecting your interests should be of prime importance after serving the medical needs. Whether you were a passenger in a vehicle or the driver of the truck that caused the accident, you will find that the California truck accident laws are really complex. After the involvement of the trucking companies, insurance agencies, and all other parties, justice can be elusive for the people who do not have proper legal representation.
Things to Do after Truck Accidents
The actions that you take after a truck accident are really important for the legal proceedings. These actions are consistent for everyone involved in the accident. It does not matter whether you were driving a car, a tractor trailer, or a motorcycle, you should do the following things after the accident.
- Call 911:If anyone is injured in the accident, you will have to call 911. Else, you can call the local law enforcement personnel, and do not leave the scene before the arrival of the law enforcement personnel. If a large truck is involved in the accident, it is important to let the law enforcement know so that they can document the accident. Oftentimes, the employer of the driver and other parties might share the responsibility of the accident with the driver. The detailed police reports can help to establish this connection. In addition, you will also have to contact your insurance agency after the accident.
- Collect Information:You need to exchange information with the other people who are involved in the accident. These details include license number, contact details, name, insurance details, and vehicle registration number. While collecting the details from the truck driver, make sure that the driver provides you with the commercial driver’s license (CDL) details also.
- Witnesses and Evidence: You can also collect the contact details of any witnesses to the accident. You might as well take photos of the street scenes and the vehicles involved. If there are any physical factors contributing to the accident, you can document that also. For example, a stop sign that is obscured by tree branches. This type of evidences might be unknowingly or deliberately removed. Therefore, make sure to photograph these things.
- DMV Report: As per the Californian law, all parties involved in an accident should submit a report within ten days of the accident, under some circumstances. This include if a death or an injury occurred in the accident and the physical damages exceed thousand dollars. You need to send the report to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Your vehicle accident lawyer or insurance agent can also submit the report on your behalf.