Semi Truck accidents often result in more serious injuries or fatalities than a car accident involving standard size vehicles. When compared to a typical car accidents, semi trucks result in catastrophic injury and death due the fact the truck has a greater weight and mass compared to a standard size car. Additionally, semi-trucks or tractor trailers are inherently more dangerous because the truck requires more time to stop, accelerates slowly in to traffic, has multiple axles and has limited visibility when backing or turning and need greater space to maneuver. All of these factors created a greater risk of accident.
Unfortunately there are numerous accidents in San Diego involving semi trucks. For example, a tractor-trailer accidents can occur when the trailer jack-knifes and a regular size vehicles can run in to and become lodged underneath the trailer. Recently in San Diego, a motorcycle collided with a car and was trapped under the rear axle of a big rig causing severe injuries. Another incident occurred just two weeks ago in which a semi-truck hit a pedestrian.
In order to attempt to reduce injury relating to semi truck accidents, the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the trucking industry. These agencies establish minimum standards that trucking companies and their drivers must abide by. For example, federal regulation require trucking companies to conduct routine inspections and maintenance. Tragically, when the driver or truck company fails to follow such regulations it can result in catastrophic injury or even death.
These regulations often determine who is responsible for a trucking accident. There are typically multiple individuals or companies who bear responsibility for a semi-truck accident victim’s injury or wrongful death. Potential responsible parties include: driver of the truck, owner of the tractor-trailer, manufacturer of the semi-truck or trailer or parts that may have contributed to the accident, the shipper or loader of the truck’s cargo if the truck was loaded improperly.
Federal law mandates any company possessing a trucking permit is responsible for all accidents involving a truck that has its placard or name displayed on the vehicle. It is extremely important to evaluate how the driver operated the truck, the driver’s credentials, and number of hours on the road. Drivers of semi trucks and tractor trailers are held to stricter licensing standards and are limited to a maximum number of consecutive hours driven. Additionally, it is important to obtain maintenance and inspection records relating to the vehicle. It is crucial to obtain an experienced attorney to represent you or your family in accidents involving commercial vehicles such as tractor trailers or semi trucks.
If you have been injured in a semi-truck accident in Southern California (San Diego or Riverside) contact the attorneys at Martinez & Schill LLP.