Truck Accident Attorney Serving Los Angeles County, Orange County, and Southern California
Truck accidents thankfully don’t happen very often, because when they do, they often cause serious, catastrophic injury or wrongful death to the people in the car they hit. Although less frequent than car accidents, truck accidents are nevertheless responsible for hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries in California annually, with the great majority of them occurring in Los Angeles. If you or a loved one were involved in a serious or fatal truck accident in Los Angeles, Orange County, or Southern California, the injury law firm Machtinger Law can help. Our attorneys have handled truck accident cases resulting in millions of dollars in much-needed compensation to help accident victims and their families move forward when a devastating truck accident turned their lives upside down.
Causes of Truck Accidents in Southern California
Like other motor vehicle accidents, truck accidents typically don’t happen unless somebody did something wrong. Negligence on the part of the truck driver, the trucking company, or other parties contracted by the trucking company could all cause or contribute to a trucking accident. Although truck drivers are at risk of catastrophic injury or death in a serious truck accident, in most crashes – more than 70% – the occupants of the smaller vehicle suffer the most serious or deadly injuries. Below are some of the leading negligent behaviors that cause these crashes:
Hours of Service Violations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) puts limits on how long a truck driver can be on duty in one stretch and how many hours of their workday can be devoted to driving. Although originally designed for the safety of truck drivers and the public at large, the powerful trucking industry lobby has had a hand in drafting these regulations, so that truckers can legally work seven or eight days in a row – putting in 60 or 70 hours – before they have to go off duty for just 32 hours before starting up all over again. On a given day, a truck driver can spend 11 hours on duty with eight hours behind the wheel, and these limits can be extended if the truckers run into slowdowns that put them behind schedule.
As punishing as a trucker’s schedule already is, many truck drivers habitually break the law and drive even longer than the FMCSA rules allow. Driving this long, with or without the aid of stimulants, puts truck drivers at risk of falling asleep at the wheel. Even while awake, drowsy driving decreases attention, slows reflexes and reaction time, and impairs judgment. Fatigued drivers make mistakes, mistakes they can’t afford to make when in control of a 70-foot-long, 80,000-pound machine barreling down the freeway. Whether violating the hours of service rules on their own initiative or due to pressure from employers, these rule violations are evidence of negligence that can lead to liability.
Negligent Cargo Securement
Loading a truck or trailer must be done responsibly, with the cargo properly secured and balanced. Unsecured or imbalanced loads can make a driver lose control and cause a tractor-trailer to jackknife. Overloaded trucks can cause a deadly rollover accident. Truck accidents like these can end in disastrous multiple vehicle accidents. Truck accidents caused by negligently secured cargo are complex and can involve multiple parties, including the truck driver, trucking company, and third parties who loaded the truck or trailer. Attorney John Machtinger is experienced in complex matters and has recovered significant compensation on behalf of injury victims.
Negligent Truck Maintenance
It makes sense to think that truck owners and operators would take the time and effort to maintain their vehicles and fleets in good working order, but they seem more interested in keeping their trucks constantly in service rather than experience any downtime to perform routine maintenance. Annual roadside inspections that pull over only a fraction of the 18-wheelers operating in North America find that over 20% need to be immediately pulled from service due to emergency safety violations including bad tires, worn-out brakes and missing brake components, and malfunctioning signal lights or linkages between tractor and trailer. Catastrophic injury is likely to result when a big rig fails at a critical moment on the highway.
Many truck drivers drive carefully and safely, with due respect for their safety and others. Many others, however, engage in negligent driving and make tragic mistakes even when they think they are in full control of their vehicle. Speeding, distracted driving, drinking and driving, failing to signal, and following too close are dangerous decisions for any driver, but the stakes are higher when the driver is in charge of a massive 18-wheeler outweighing other vehicles on the road by 20 times or more.
Get the Help You Need After a Serious Truck Accident in Los Angeles, Orange County, and Southern California
Truck accidents are complex events that can be difficult to sort out. When the consequences are a catastrophic injury or fatality in one of the vehicles hit, trucking companies and their insurance carriers often fight hard to avoid liability for the costly consequences of their actions. Machtinger Law can help you hold the responsible parties accountable to you. Our firm is committed to obtaining justice and compensation for victims of catastrophic accidents in Southern California. If you or a family member were seriously injured in a truck accident in Los Angeles, Orange County, and elsewhere in Southern California, or if you lost a loved one in a truck accident, call Machtinger Law at 310-943-9300 to speak with one of our attorneys.