According to a report from CBS News Sacramento, a major crash involving a commercial truck shut down a local highway for several hours. All southbound lanes of California 99 (State Route 99) were temporarily shut down in Stockton. The crash happened just south of Fremont Street. The immediate cause of the accident was not known and the incident is still a more comprehensive investigation by the California Highway Patrol (CHP). Truck accidents remain a major hazard. Here, our Stockton semi-truck accident attorney highlights the key things to know about tractor trailer crashes in California, including the risks, the common causes, and your legal rights after a collision.
Tractor Trailers are Disproportionately Likely to Be Involved in Devastating Crashes
Not only are semi-truck accidents more likely to disrupt traffic flow—as was seen in the recent crash on State Route 99 in Stockton—they often cause major injuries. A commercial truck that is carrying a full load can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Large trucks dwarf the size of passenger cars. When a crash occurs, the consequences can be downright catastrophic. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that commercial trucks are involved in nearly ten percent of fatal traffic collisions in the U.S.—this despite making up less than five percent of registered motor vehicles.
An Overview of the Most Common Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents in California
Semi-truck accidents can happen for many different reasons. Indeed, given the unique nature of these cases, it is imperative that all truck accidents are thoroughly investigated by an experienced attorney. Some of the most common causes of semi-truck accidents in California include:
- Speeding: Speeding remains a leading cause of semi-truck accidents. Trucks require more time and distance to stop due to their size and weight. When a trucker exceeds the speed limit, they have less time to react to changes in traffic flow or other issues.
- Distracted Driving: Distracted driving is a growing issue. Truck drivers could become distracted by cell phones devices, navigation systems, or other issues. Distracted driving is dangerous driving and negligent truckers must be held accountable.
- Undertrained Truckers: Training matters. You cannot safely drive a large commercial truck without adequate training. Companies need to ensure that their drivers are well-trained. Inadequately trained truckers may lack the necessary skills to operate a truck in a safe
- Intoxicated Driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious problem among truck drivers. Intoxication impairs judgment, reaction time, and driving ability more broadly. It is also against the law in California.
- Inadequate Maintenance: Regular maintenance of semi-trucks is essential for safe operation. Neglecting maintenance can lead to critical failures in systems such as brakes, tires, lights, or other key safety features.
- Mechanical Defects: In some cases, semi-truck accidents are caused by mechanical defects in the truck itself. These may include issues with the braking system, steering components, or engine failures. A manufacturer may be liable for a crash caused by a mechanical defect.
- Poorly Loaded Trailers: The way a trailer is loaded will affect the stability and the handling of the semi-truck. Improperly secured or unevenly distributed cargo can cause the truck to become unbalanced. It could contribute to a serious accident.
Understanding Your Rights After a Commercial Truck Accident in Stockton
Were you involved in a commercial truck accident in Stockton, San Joaquin Valley, or elsewhere in Central California? It is imperative that you understand your rights and that you know what to do to put yourself in the best position to get justice. Here are some of the essential things you should know about semi-truck accident claims in California:
- You Have the Right to Bring a Personal Injury Claim: If you are injured in a truck accident, you have the right to file a personal injury claim. A personal injury claim is a civil cause of action—and it is crucial for obtaining compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Notably, California law allows injured parties to seek financial recovery for the losses they have suffered due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions. In truck accident cases, determining liability can be complex. It may involve the truck driver, the trucking company, or even third-party maintenance providers.
- You Have the Right to Hold an At-Fault Trucker/Truck Company Liability: In many truck accident cases, either the truck driver or the trucking company (or both) can be held liable. If the accident was caused by the trucker’s negligence—either because of speeding, distracted driving, or driving under the influence—they can be held responsible. Beyond that, the trucking company can be held liable under the legal principle of ‘vicarious liability,’ which holds employers responsible for their employees’ actions within the scope of their employment. Every serious commercial truck accident in the region should be carefully investigated by an experienced Stockton tractor trailer accident attorney.
- You Have the Right to Seek Professional Legal Representation: For the most part, truck accident claims are defended by insurance companies. You do not have to take on a large insurance carrier alone. Navigating a truck accident claim can be complex. Not only are the federal and state laws that regulate the trucking industry complicated, but multiple different parties may bear liability for the collision. It is a best practice to seek representation from a top-tier Stockton, CA truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after a major wreck. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights, gather necessary evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and take action to help you secure the maximum financial compensation.
Contact Our Stockton, CA Semi-Truck Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation
At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockton big rig accident lawyers are local attorneys who know how to deliver results for injured victims. If you or your family member was hurt in a tractor trailer collision, we are more than ready to take on your case. Contact us today to arrange a no cost, no obligation initial case evaluation. From our law office in Stockton, our firm is well-situated to take on semi-truck accident claims throughout the entire San Joaquin Valley region.