There were 476,000 nonfatal and 3,838 fatal truck accidents in 2015, the latest year for which full statistics are currently available. That year, 11.9% of all nonfatal motor vehicle accidents and 7.6% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents involved at least one large truck or bus.
While not as common as crashes involving passenger vehicles alone, truck accidents are significantly more dangerous to those driving smaller vehicles. The IIHS reports that, in 2016, 66% of the fatalities suffered in truck accidents were suffered by the occupants of passenger vehicles. 16% of those killed in truck accidents that same year were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists. Truck drivers sustained fatal injury in 17% of these accidents.
Semi-trucks can be as much as 30x heavier than the passenger vehicles that surround them. Add to this a higher ground clearance that allows smaller vehicles to slide underneath, a slower stopping pace, and a higher risk of losing control, and you have the perfect recipe for disaster. Tragically, for those involved in accidents with trucks, the accident itself may only be the beginning of the nightmare.
Truck Accident Liability
Some of the leading causes of truck accidents are:
- Driver distraction
- Speeding and erratic maneuvering
- Driver fatigue
- Drug and alcohol use
- Vehicle load or design
- Vehicle maintenance
These causes, identified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration during their Large Truck Crash Causation Study, sometimes point to decisions made by the truck driver, making him or her liable for damages following collision. However, in many cases, multiple parties will have played a role in the conditions that led to an accident – and each of these parties will need to be held liable for their role when seeking compensation.
Liability in a truck accident may fall to the driver of the semi. Additional parties may include:
- The company the driver works for
- The company that loaded or secured cargo
- Parts manufactures
- Government entities
In order to identify all potentially liable parties, an investigation will need to be conducted into your accident. This is where having a truck accident attorney on your side becomes important.
At Kirtland & Packard, our lawyers conduct thorough investigations into truck accidents, enabling us to identify causes that may have otherwise gone overlooked. Through identifying these causes, we are better able to also identify potentially liable parties and to hold them to account for their actions. This improves your chances of securing compensation that is in line with your damages.
What’s more, having a truck accident attorney on your side will help protect you against the methods employed by insurance companies and defense attorneys to minimize or completely deny the compensation you may be entitled to.
There is, of course, no way to guarantee a large settlement or verdict following a truck accident. However, your chances of securing fair compensation are increased when you have an experienced and dedicated legal team working on your behalf.
If you live in Redondo Beach, South Bay, Torrance, or surrounding areas of California and are in need of a truck accident lawyer, please call Kirtland & Packard at (310) 536-1000 to schedule a free consultation today.