Sacramento Truck Accident Attorneys

The size of a commercial truck and its cargo make it difficult to maneuver, resulting in truck accidents that are often more catastrophic than other motor vehicle accidents.

Truck accident cases are unique because your claim can potentially name multiple defendants (e.g., the driver, a truck company, or other third parties),  potentially liable for your injuries and sharing in the responsibility for your resulting damages. A truck accident attorney can help determine who you can recover from in a personal injury case to get you the compensation you deserve.

If you or a loved one incurred injuries in a commercial vehicle accident, reach out to an experienced Sacramento truck accident lawyer to learn about your legal rights and the possibility of monetary recovery.

Common Causes of Sacramento Truck Accidents

Most commercial and large truck accidents in Sacramento involve the following causes or contributing factors:

  • Driver fatigue: Driver fatigue happens when drivers are not following the meal and rest break rules outlined by their employers and state and federal trucking regulations.
  • Substance abuse: The law mandates and employers require that truck drivers undergo routine alcohol and drug tests, but substance abuse may still be present and impair their ability to operate or maintain control of their truck properly.
  • Unsafe driving habits: Unsafe or reckless driving habits can include speeding, improper lane changes, improper turning, following too closely, and driving aggressively.
  • Distracted driving: Distracted driving includes texting or talking on a cell phone, eating or drinking, and changing radio stations.
  • Improper training and maintenance: If a driver doesn’t conduct daily inspections or maintain their safety equipment, this neglect can lead to complications on the road.
  • Driving conditions: Bad weather, icy roads, traffic congestion, and poor road conditions can all contribute to trucking accidents.

The truck accident causes mentioned above can lead to catastrophic injuries. If you or a family member experienced severe injuries or died in a truck accident, a Sacramento truck accident attorney can help you pursue a wrongful death lawsuit or compensation for your financial and emotional losses.

Infographic - Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Why are Truck Accidents More Dangerous Than Regular Vehicle Accidents?

Semi-trucks weigh about 80,000 pounds and often measure up to 70 feet long. Because of their size, commercial vehicles are usually difficult to maneuver. Inclement weather, icy or damaged roads, sharp turns, and sudden stops are hazardous for truck drivers and those around them. Simply because of their massive size and tricky maneuverability, trucks pose a much more significant threat of risks and damages than traditional automobiles.

Dangerous Roads in Sacramento

Trucking accidents can happen anywhere, but there are certain roadways and intersections in and around Sacramento where truck crashes are more likely to occur, including:

  • State Route 99
  • Interstate 5
  • Interstate 80
  • Interstate 505
  • The intersection of Arena Boulevard and Truxel Road
  • The intersection of Marysville Boulevard and Los Robles Boulevard
  • The intersection of Power Inn Road and Elder Creek Road

Several recent truck accidents on the highways through Northern California illustrate the extreme dangers present in some areas:

  • September 8, 2020: A semi-truck rear-ended a station wagon on I-5, causing an 11-vehicle collision that killed one person and hospitalized three others.
  • March 24, 2021: A big rig hit a vehicle while on-ramping to State Route 99 and tipped over, resulting in minor injuries.
  • April 17, 2021: A cement truck driver lost control on I-50 near Rosemont and rolled. He was partially ejected and did not survive.
Interstate 5 North sign for Sacramento

Common Types of Truck Accidents

There are many types of truck accidents, including:

  • Backing Accidents: Backing accidents occur when a truck backs into another vehicle or a person. These accidents often result in serious crush injuries.
  • Jackknife Accidents: A jackknife accident happens when a truck driver brakes suddenly or the rig’s brakes lock up, and the trailer ends up at a right angle to the cab. A jackknifed truck can easily roll or overturn.
  • Wide-Turn Collisions: These collisions result from a truck driver swinging to make a turn. Negligent truck drivers often fail to consider the length of the truck when turning, and cars or pedestrians can get trapped and injured during the turn.
  • Rollovers: Rollovers are common when the truck driver loses control of the vehicle and the rig rolls on one side. Speeding, steep inclines, and wet or icy roads often cause drivers to lose control and roll.
  • T-Bone Accidents: This type of crash occurs when the front of one vehicle hits the side of another. The most severe t-bone accidents involve a big rig hitting the side of a smaller vehicle, usually if a truck driver runs a red light.
  • Tire Blowouts: Tire blowouts are especially common with large trucks and can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicle, resulting in crashes with other smaller vehicles or pedestrians.

Types of Injuries from Truck Accidents

Injuries from truck accidents can range from minor to severe based on the seriousness of the accident. Common injuries include:

  • Lacerations
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries, including pinched nerves or paralysis
  • Rib and torso injuries, including seat belt-related injuries
  • Broken bones or fractures
  • Knee and leg injuries

What Rules Do Truck Drivers Have to Follow in Sacramento?

Depending on the type of truck they’re operating and the cargo they’re carrying, truck drivers must adhere to the following state and federal rules:

Passenger-carrying trucks

Passenger-carrying trucks must:

  • Obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL)
  • Follow state traffic laws
  • Undergo routine alcohol and drug testing
  • Follow meal and rest break regulations
  • Inspect and maintain safety equipment onboard the vehicle
  • Follow truck lane restrictions, such as using only the right lane or the “trucks only” lane

Property-carrying trucks

Property-carrying trucks must:

  • Obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL)
  • Follow state traffic laws
  • Secure cargo safely and adequately
  • Fill out daily service logs
  • Inspect vehicles daily and maintain safety equipment onboard
  • Follow meal and rest break regulations
  • Pass fitness exams
  • Undergo routine alcohol and drug testing
  • Follow truck lane restrictions, such as using only the right lane or the “trucks only” lane

Federal trucking industry regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enforces federal regulations through:

  • Roadside inspections
  • Compliance reviews for carriers and drivers
  • Complaint investigations

Whether the circumstances include a tractor-trailer, passenger car, large semi-trucks, or any other type of vehicle, a serious truck accident will likely require legal action.

Who is Liable in a Truck Accident?

Even though some truck drivers might own their truck and be self-employed, more than one party may be liable for trucking accidents. Cases involving more than one person named as a defendant can be incredibly complicated, requiring a truck accident attorney with knowledge of relevant laws and experience handling similar claims or lawsuits.

Liable parties can include:

  • The truck driver
  • The driver’s employer/the trucking company
  • The truck manufacturer
  • Other drivers

How Can You Prove Fault/Negligence in a Truck Accident in California?

To prove a negligence claim in California, you have to establish five elements:

  • The defendant had a duty to act a certain way.
  • They breached that duty.
  • Their breach was the cause of your injury.
  • They should have foreseen that their breach could harm someone.
  • You suffered actual damages.

Your attorney will likely use medical records, medical bills, incurred medical expenses, police reports, and witness statements as evidence for your negligence claim. Your actual damages can include medical costs, temporary or permanent loss of wages, and property damage.

California also adheres to comparative negligence principles. This legal premise can find you partially at fault for your damages from a truck accident, but you can still seek compensation proportionate to the other driver’s majority share of negligence.

How Much Compensation Can You Receive After a Truck Accident?

Compensation varies significantly on a case-by-case basis and usually depends on several factors, including:

  • Your medical bills related to the accident
  • The amount of any lost wages or employment benefits if you’re unable to work temporarily or permanently
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of activities you actively pursued and participated in before the accident
  • Costs related to vehicle damage and repairs

What Evidence Do You Need to Support Your Claim?

It’s difficult to determine the minimum or maximum compensation one can receive after a truck accident, but your Sacramento personal injury attorney can use the following types of evidence to support your claim:

  • Medical records: Medical records are the most crucial piece of evidence to prove your injuries and resulting damages from the accident. These records show that your injuries were a direct result of the crash and not due to an underlying condition. Medical professionals will detail the treatments you receive, medications prescribed to you, a prognosis for future medical concerns, and long-term recovery or rehabilitation plans.
  • Police reports: Police reports are important since, generally, the responding officer completes them as close to the time of the accident as possible. These reports include information about individuals or vehicles involved in the crash, details about road conditions or other contributing factors, injuries sustained by drivers and passengers, and names or statements of possible witnesses.
  • Witness statements: Depending on when and where the accident happened, there may be one or more witnesses who were not involved in the crash that can provide another perspective on what happened.
  • Photographs or video: These visual pieces of evidence include pictures of your injuries following the accident, photos of your vehicle or the truck involved in the accident at the accident scene, pictures or video of the accident location with weather and road conditions apparent, and additional photos of the site of the accident before or after it occurred.

Truck accident victims can receive both compensatory and punitive damages or damages applied to punish the defendant for grossly negligent or intentionally reckless behavior and deter future similar wrongdoing.

Dealing with Insurance Companies

Insurance companies often try to avoid paying damages claims, if possible. To do this, they might attempt to use your statement about the accident to argue that you were a contributing cause to the accident, thereby limiting your recovery amount they must pay eventually. They might also try to convince you to take a lower settlement offer than what you deserve to avoid paying more or risking getting an attorney involved.

A truck accident lawyer at a personal injury law firm will communicate with insurance companies regarding damages claims, subrogation claims, or issues regarding fault and protect you from tactics the insurance company might use to avoid paying fair compensation.

Is there a Time Limit for When You Can File a Claim?

Victims of truck accidents generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. Courts can sometimes extend the deadline if the victim was a minor at the time of the accident, in which case the statute of limitations would start to run once the victim turns 18. An extension might also apply if you discover an injury later that you were not aware of at the time of the accident.

What Can a Sacramento Truck Accident Lawyer Do for You?

A Sacramento truck accident attorney handles essential aspects of your case that can be difficult to manage on your own, including:

  • Determining which parties are likely to be liable
  • Communicating and negotiating with parties or insurance companies
  • Gathering evidence to support your claims
  • Developing a strong legal strategy to help you get compensation for your damages
  • Making sure to consider all applicable laws
  • Providing you with legal advice regarding your claims and possible settlement

It’s always a good idea to contact a Sacramento County, California attorney after a serious truck accident in the area that injures you. You may be entitled to compensation, and you shouldn’t have to deal with the insurance companies alone.

When Should You Contact a Sacramento Truck Accident Lawyer?

A Sacramento truck accident lawyer can review the facts of your case and assess your damages. They will handle gathering evidence, including police reports and medical records, and communicate with your insurance company regarding your claims. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries.

If you or someone you love fell victim to a truck accident in Sacramento, contact Cutter Law for a free case evaluation.

Sacramento Office

Cutter Law P.C.
401 Watt Avenue Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95864
916-290-9400
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