Did you know that combination trucks (semi-trucks and tractor-trailers) drive a collective average of 185 billion miles every year? The average U.S. commercial truck driver drives about 45,000 every year, but some long-haul truckers will do 130,000 miles or more each year while hauling up to 80,000 pounds of cargo. Due to the significant dangers that these massive vehicles pose, commercial truck drivers are held to much stricter licensing requirements and are subject to rigorous statutes limiting things like blood alcohol content, hours driven in a given period of time, type of cargo they can haul, and more. All of these measures are intended to create a safe working environment for truck drivers and everyone else on the road, but the reality is that there is no combination of rules that will guarantee a driver will not cause a truck accident.
These massive “combination trucks,” more commonly known as semi-trucks or tractor-trailers, pose a risk of serious injuries to people in passenger vehicles due to the significant difference in sizes between the two. Even low-speed truck accidents that would be considered a fender bender between two like-sized vehicles can lead to catastrophic, if not fatal, injuries. Additionally, commercial truck accident victims often find that their claims involve dealing with the trucking company’s insurer.
All of these complexities can lead to a confusing and overwhelming Fresno truck accident claims process, one designed to pay out as little as possible to the victim. Luckily, there is a team of dedicated and proven Fresno truck accident attorneys ready to take your case today.
Request a Free Consultation With a Fresno Truck Accident Attorney Today
Grossman Law Offices offers a free consultation to any victim of a Fresno personal injury in order to discuss the specifics of their situation and provide them with legal advice about how to best move forward with their case. Many people believe that there is no reason to contact a law office during the initial claims process, but the reality is that the sooner you are connected with a Fresno truck accident attorney, the better. In fact, when an attorney is the one to file your claim, the insurance company knows from the start that you will not accept a settlement for less compensation than you deserve and that you are willing to fight for it.
Read more below about the legal aftermath of a Fresno truck accident, and schedule your consultation as soon as possible to get started on your case today.
The Importance Of Working With Truck Accident Lawyers
Insurance companies approach each claim their adjusters handle with the goal of settling for as little as possible while still resolving all possible legal issues. In fact, a significant portion of the insurance business model relies on collecting more money in premiums than the money paid out in settlements, which means the business’ bottom line is the top priority for the adjuster handling your case. As a result, it’s not uncommon for an accident injury victim to settle for an insufficient amount, which is why you should contact a Fresno personal injury lawyer who handles truck and car accident claims.
Don’t Fall Prey To the Insurance Companies’ Tactics
Insurance agencies have decades of cumulative knowledge and strategies that go into the claims process, all focused on reaching a cheap settlement as quickly as possible. The fact that many claimants are the victims of serious, life-changing injuries while they are going through the claims process only helps improve their chances of achieving this goal, since an inexperienced and overwhelmed victim doesn’t understand their rights or the long-term impacts of accepting the low initial offer. People may mistakenly believe that they don’t deserve compensation beyond the obvious issues of their medical expenses and lost wages, but this could not be further from the truth.
Fight Back With Experience
When all communications with the insurance adjuster is handled by truck accident attorneys, the chances of the adjuster relying on technicalities and innocent mistakes to drive down your settlement amount decreases significantly. The accident lawyers at Grossman Law Offices understand the complexities of a commercial insurance claim and will go through the process with the singular goal of getting our clients the most money possible after a trucking accident. Insurers often overwhelm victims with seemingly endless legal documents full of confusing language that may drive them to accept a settlement out of fear, but your truck accident lawyer will not fall prey to these scare tactics.
Calculate Accurate Damages
Working with a personal injury attorney gives you access to a highly experienced professional who can help identify and calculate ALL of the damages you have suffered in a Fresno truck accident. Personal injury law allows for economic and non-economic damages in a case, and the accident lawyers at Grossman Law Offices work diligently to calculate (and negotiate for) fair compensation on behalf of our clients. Without a clear understanding of personal injury law (and how to calculate a dollar value for something as abstract as an emotional injury), victims may ultimately settle for far less than what they deserve.
Focus On Your Recovery
While your attorney is taking on the insurance claim, you can focus on recovering from your injuries and getting your life back on track without the added stress. In fact, increased stress can have a negative impact on your recovery process, meaning that your attorney may be helping your injuries heal in addition to helping you get the compensation you deserve. You will not need to worry about interpreting dense and confusing legal documents and will simply be able to contact our law office to get answers to your important questions. The injury attorneys at Grossman Law Offices want to be sure that our clients get the support they deserve in order to focus on their medical care without taking on any unnecessary anxiety or stress.
The Difference Between a Fresno Truck Accident and Car Accident
The following are just a few of the most important differences you will need to understand about trucking accidents. Some differences relate to the danger of the accident itself and others to the legal complexities in the aftermath of these truck accidents. Your situation is unique, and the following information is only meant to give you a general sense of what you can expect.
Commercial Insurance Is More Complicated
Commercial insurance policies for a semi-truck and Fresno, CA truck driver typically have higher policy limits due to the increased risk of serious or fatal injuries in a truck accident, in addition to the value of the goods being transported. While a higher policy limit means that there is more money available for victims, it does not mean that the insurer will simply issue a check for every damage the victim has suffered without a fight. Just as with private coverage, insurers will work towards a low settlement, and will leverage the additional complexity of a commercial policy in order to obfuscate a claimant’s actual options.
In California alone, $2.6 trillion dollars of freight flowed through the state, weighing 1.5 billion tons.
Truck Drivers Have Different Requirements
Truck drivers are required to maintain meticulous logs accounting for a wide range of things like hours and miles driven, weight of the cargo in tow, maintenance logs, and much more. Each of these logs is in accordance with federal and state laws, as well as internal policies and specific requirements depending on the type of cargo being transported and the type of vehicle driven. These logs can provide clear insight into a number of the factors that may have led to the Fresno truck accident but can be very complicated to interpret without the support of an experienced truck accident lawyer.
Drivers, Trucking Companies, Shipping Partners, Or Others May Be Liable
Some drivers may own their semi-truck and operate their own trucking company as a sole proprietor, but many others work for a trucking company that manages all of the logistics. In addition, many drivers are not responsible for loading the cargo they haul, which is often done by experienced shipping teams that may assume liability for issues related to accidents caused by improperly-loaded cargo. Depending on the many possible legal arrangements with trucks and drivers, the cause of the accident, and more, truck accident lawyers will need to investigate to determine where to even file the initial claim for your truck accident injuries.
Truck Accidents Can Cause Significant Injuries
Any type of accident, whether a car, truck, motorcycle, or pedestrian, can be fatal depending on things like the speed of the vehicles, the type of collision, and much more, but the fact remains that a semi-truck is a massive vehicle that poses a significant risk of life-threatening injuries to all other drivers and passengers on the road. As such, lawyers will need to ensure that the extensive medical and emotional injuries their clients suffer are documented throughout the claim and are fairly compensated at the resolution of the case.
Common Causes Truck Accidents in Fresno, CA
The following are just a few of the many possible causes of semi-truck accidents. Whether or not you see your own situation listed below, contact us as soon as possible to connect with a team of experienced lawyers. By working with experienced lawyers, Fresno truck accidents can be examined and a cause can be determined if not immediately clear. We can discuss this during your free initial consultation.
When we hear about distracted driving, we commonly think of texting behind the wheel. While this is an alarmingly common distraction, there are many other behaviors that distract drivers from staying safe on the road. Some other common distractions include eating, changing radio stations, adjusting a GPS, or even simply letting your mind wander.
The trucking industry often pays based on deliveries, meaning that a driver is encouraged to operate their vehicle for as long as possible in order to make as many deliveries as possible. Fatigue, in some cases, can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, and so the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration imposes strict Hours of Operation that limit how long a driver can operate their vehicle in specified time ranges. However, we have all been tired at work due to our personal lives, meaning that these restrictions do not guarantee that fatigue will not be an issue.
Speed limits are set on roadways in order to account for numerous safety factors such as upcoming obstacles, road design, and more. Exceeding these limits — especially while hauling heavy cargo — can result in a loss of control or an inability to come to a stop in an emergency. In addition to the increased risk of an accident, higher speeds can lead to worse accidents and an increased risk of a serious or fatal injury.
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Office of Spatial Analysis and Visualization, National Performance Management Research Data
Improperly Loaded Cargo
When cargo is loaded into a trailer, it must be properly loaded and secured in order to keep a low center of gravity and eliminate or reduce the chance of shifting cargo, causing a driver to lose control. Depending on who loaded the cargo, there is any number of parties that may be liable for an accident caused by issues relating to cargo and packing issues.
Maintenance Issues and Equipment Failure
A semi-truck is a complex vehicle with many important parts, and due to their nature, typically have more wear and tear to these components than when compared to a passenger vehicle. Drivers and trucking companies must adhere to strict maintenance schedules in order to avoid accidents caused by equipment failures or malfunctions that can lead to significant, avoidable accidents and injury.