According to data from the California Highway Patrol (CHP), there are nearly 3,500 fatal crashes reported in the state each year. Many tens of thousands more collisions result in devastating injuries. Large commercial trucks are responsible for greater than their proportional share of catastrophic highway accidents. Unsafe lane changes on highways is one of the many reasons.
Were you struck by a semi-truck when it merged into your lane? It is crucial that you know your rights and your options. Within this blog post, our Stockton commercial truck accident lawyer provides a comprehensive overview of the key things to know about bringing a claim if you were hit by a tractor trailer that made an unsafe lane change in California.
Truckers Have a Legal Duty to Make Safe Lane Changes (Blind Spot Risk)
How big are tractor trailers? When fully loaded, they can weigh as much as 40 tons. The average length of a semi-truck in California is 72 feet long—not that much shorter than a full-length professional basketball court. Given the size of large trucks, it is imperative that truckers operate in the safest possible manner—especially when making lane changes. Every truck driver on the road has the responsibility to operate their vehicle in a manner that prioritizes safety. Within semi-trucks, there are naturally larger blind spots—or “no zones.” These are the areas where the trucker may not see another vehicle. Cars, motorcycles, and even pedestrians can get caught in these areas, making lane changing a high-risk activity if not performed with the utmost care.
California Law: At-Fault Party Legally Liable for a Semi-Truck Accident
Who is legally culpable for a semi-truck accident in California? It is an at-fault party. These cases fall under California Jury Civil Instructions CACI No. 400. Negligence. Indeed, the concept of “negligence” is the main determining factor for liability in a truck accident. If a truck driver’s negligent action—including an unsafe merge or an unsafe lane change—results in an accident, they (and their employer) may be legally liable for the resulting damages. California law places the onus on the at-fault party (negligent party) to bear the costs associated with a crash.
Every Serious Truck Accident in Stockton, CA Should Be Thoroughly Investigated
The aftermath of a commercial truck accident can be incredibly complex. It is not always clear who bears legal fault for a crash. Indeed, you cannot necessarily rely on a truck driver or trucking company to admit to their wrongdoing and accept that the crash was caused by an unsafe lane change. When accidents involving semi-trucks occur in Stockton, CA, a comprehensive investigation should be initiated immediately. Your crash should be investigated by a lawyer. Among other things, the post-crash truck accident investigation process typically involves things like:
- Documenting the scene with photographs and videos;
- Finding and interviewing witnesses;
- Gathering truck logbooks and maintenance records;
- Reviewing the driver’s history and qualifications; and
- Analyzing any available camera footage, including dashcam recordings.
An investigation not only determines the cause and fault of the accident but also ensures that any negligent behaviors or oversights by the trucking company or driver are identified and addressed. A proactive investigation is an absolute must. You should speak to a Stockton, CA truck accident lawyer right away after a collision caused by an unsafe lane change. Trucking companies and their insurers are not on your side—and they will waste little time building their legal defense. Your Stockton, CA truck accident lawyer can help you ensure your rights and interests are protected.
Two-Year Statute of Limitations for Truck Accidents (But Do Not Wait to Get Started)
You do not have an unlimited amount of time to bring a truck accident injury claim for an unsafe lane change crash. The statute of limitations is strictly applied in our state. California law stipulates a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims—including for truck accidents. Broadly speaking, this means that injured victims have a two-year window from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. While this may seem like ample time, the process of gathering evidence, consulting with experts, and building a robust case can be lengthy. Do not wait to get started: Speak to a Stockton, CA truck accident attorney right away after a crash. By promptly starting the legal process, you will be in the best position to ensure that evidence is preserved.
We Help Injured Truck Accident Victims Secure the Maximum Financial Settlement or Verdict
For victims of semi-truck accidents, navigating the aftermath can be overwhelming. From dealing with injuries, insurance companies, and legal complexities, the process can be daunting. This is where the personal injury legal team at Redkey Gordon Law Corp can make the difference. We are committed to fighting for the rights of truck accident victims. In California, injured truck accident victims can seek compensation for economic and non-economic losses. The big truck companies and their insurers fight hard to settle claims for less. We do not let them get away with it. In an unsafe merge or unsafe lane change crash claim in Stockton, you will be able to receive financial relief for:
- Auto repairs or auto replacement;
- Emergency room treatment;
- Hospital bills;
- Other health care costs;
- Loss of wages;
- Diminishment of earning;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Long-term disability;
- Physical disfigurement; and
- Wrongful death of a family member.
Set Up Your Free Case Review With a Stockton Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer for Help
At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockon semi-truck accident attorneys go above and beyond to help injured victims and their families get justice. If you or someone close to you was involved in a serious crash with a commercial trucker who made an unsafe merge into your lane, we are here to help. Call us now or connect with us online to set up your no cost, no obligation initial appointment. With a law office in Stockton, we represent truck accident victims throughout Central California.