Santa Barbara Truck Accident Lawyers
Compensation After a Truck Accident
Big rigs are the biggest and heaviest motor vehicles on the nation's roads and are regulars on major U.S. highways. They travel through big metropolitan cities like Los Angeles, smaller resort cities like Santa Barbara, and even smaller towns in between. One of the most commonly used highways for commercial truck travel is U.S. Route 101, and the 101 is a major thoroughfare of Santa Barbara. Unfortunately, these trucks don't just take up space; due to reckless driving by truck operators and negligent operations management by trucking companies, these vehicles are a danger to every motorist on the road.
At NordstrandBlack PC, our knowledgeable Santa Barbara auto accident attorneys have seen firsthand the devastating injuries a commercial truck crash can cause and are committed to helping each and every client get medical treatment and financial support. To learn more about how we can help, call us at (805) 962-2022 for a free consultation.
Truck Accident Case Results
- $690,000 Settlement ($370,000 for man and $320,000 for woman.) - Big Rig Accident
∗ Selected cases listed. Every case is different. Past case results are not a guarantee, and similar results may not be obtained in your case. View more case results here.
When You Have a Legitimate Claim
If you were injured in a truck crash because of the negligent actions of a truck driver or company, you may be entitled to pursue the at-fault party for the damages you've suffered. Because commercial trucks are governed by strict regulations under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), it may not be as difficult to prove negligence in a truck accident as it is in a car crash.
Common examples of negligence that may cause a trucking accident include, but are not limited to:
- Overloading the Trailer: Trailers on trucks have strict limits with regard to the amount of weight that can be loaded onto them. When drivers or trucking companies ignore these limits and overload the trailer with too much weight, the trailer can become difficult to control and cause an accident. Jackknifing, for example, occurs when a truck's cab slows down but the trailer speeds up or continues moving at the same speed, causing the trailer to rotate outward and end up next to rather than behind the cab.
- Fatigued Driving: Truck drivers are no more immune to becoming tired or fatigued while driving than anyone else. While professional truckers might spend more hours on the road than other drivers, and therefore have more experience behind the wheel, they still need to take regular breaks to remain focused. As fatigue sets in, truck drivers become drowsy and their reaction times increase, making a serious accident more likely. Trucking companies must ensure their drivers act responsibly behind the wheel, including taking regular breaks and not driving while overly tired.
- Violating Hours-of-Service (HOS) Rules: Drivers are allowed to operate their trucks for a limited number of hours per day and week, with additional restrictions on how many days they can drive each week without a break. These limits are purposefully designed to make sure truck drivers remain fresh and alert behind the wheel. When a driver ignores these limits, that driver is more likely to make mistakes while driving. Trucking companies that encourage these violations to increase profits are negligent, and falsifying logbook hours is a serious offense.
- Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs: Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is just as illegal for truck drivers as it is for any other motorist. In fact, in California, drivers with a commercial driver's license have an even lower limit for the amount of alcohol they can have in their systems. Violations are taken very seriously and not only typically result in the suspension of a license, but termination of a truck driver's employment. Trucking companies are expected to oversee their drivers and make sure no one with a history of DUI is behind the wheel of their trucks.
- Poor Maintenance: Large trucks require a lot of maintenance, which trucking companies are expected to perform. Regulations are in place for how often trucks must be checked and the kinds of maintenance necessary. Any company that fails to perform this work is negligent and likely to be liable for damages or injuries that occur due to a vehicle malfunction.
- Speeding: Commercial trucks are large and take much longer than smaller vehicles to get moving and to slow down. Speeding makes it impossible for a commercial truck to stop within a reasonable space, which can cause accidents that inflict serious injuries to those involved. Truck drivers are expected to drive at safe speeds, and the companies that employ them must make realistic schedules that can be met while operating trucks safely.
- Unsafe Lane Changes: Large trucks have large blind spots, which can make it very dangerous for a truck to change lanes. Truck drivers must be aware of these blind spots and watch for drivers at all times, especially prior to a lane change. Changing lanes too quickly or at a sharp angle can also create the danger of the trailer swaying too much, which can result in a jackknife accident or a rollover.
- Improper Braking: Trucks take a long time to stop, so truck drivers learn how to control their vehicles at different speeds. This includes knowing how and when to apply the brakes in a responsible way, especially when driving downhill. Truck drivers who fail to brake properly can cause serious accidents and injure or kill unsuspecting drivers around them. This includes truck drivers who tailgate vehicles in front of them, not leaving enough time to react to sudden stops.
If there is evidence to prove that negligence caused the truck accident, then the injured victim has the right to hold the at-fault truck driver, trucking company, or even truck manufacturer accountable for the losses he or she has suffered.
What Is Covered by a Personal Injury Claim?
Any injury-related damages or losses may be covered under a legitimate personal injury claim: medical treatment, loss of wages due to time missed from work, loss of future earning capacity, rehabilitative care, medical accommodations, and other medical care; as well as non-economic damages of humiliation, disfigurement, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, physical impairment, inconvenience, grief, anxiety, and emotional distress. To get the money you deserve, however, you need legal representation that is prepared to fight for your rights.
Getting the Money You Need to Recover
Truck crashes, including jackknife and underride accidents, usually result in very serious injuries, such as multiple broken bones, spinal cord injury, and brain injury. Such injuries require extensive and potentially invasive medical treatment after which the victim may be left with permanent disability or impairment. It is unfair that another's negligence should have such a drastic impact on a person's life. Renée Nordstrand and the legal team at NordstrandBlack PC are dedicated to helping injured victims in Santa Barbara get the compensation they need so that they can focus on physical and emotional healing. For a free consultation of your legal rights and options, call us at (805) 962-2022 today.
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