Truck accidents happen across the country every day. San Francisco is a wonderful place to live in. The city has beautiful and captivating scenery to offer its residents, but sadly, roadway accidents are a common part of the reality of the San Francisco bay area. Data from California’s Office of Traffic Safety shows that San Francisco leads other locations in the state in roadway accidents involving injuries and fatalities.
Because other road users have to share the roadways with massive truck drivers, there is a significant increase in the risk as many of these truck drivers have reportedly failed to live up to their safety responsibility, knowing they drive the “monsters’ of the roadways.
If you or your loved one are involved in a road accident with a truck, San Francisco injury lawyers are best suited to handle such cases. Here’s all you need to know about trucking accidents in San Francisco, California. If you are a trucker, you should probably get in here too.
Trucks and the Risk They Pose
If you have ever witnessed a huge truck speed past you on the highway, we can understand if you got nervous or even afraid for those few seconds. Considering that that mass of steel tips the scales to more than 80,000 pounds, we’d say your fears are totally valid. Therefore, you can imagine the damage they are capable of when they lose control, perhaps due to reckless driving, overload, excessive speed, or machinery fault.
Crashes involving these road monsters can sometimes be on the catastrophic side. Even the smaller semi-trucks, otherwise called the tractor-trailers, that are less heavier and carry a relatively smaller load, are reported to be responsible for thousands of accidents resulting in many injuries and fatalities yearly.
According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, large trucks were involved in over 80,000 accidents, causing injuries within a year alone. Furthermore, trucking accidents were reported to have increased by 62% in six years’ review.
Why Do Trucking Accidents Happen?
Apart from the usual drunk driving, accommodating distractions, and so on, many trucking accidents happen because some truckers violate the list of regulations for truckers. Some of them include driving for excessively long hours without rest, exceeding cargo weight limits, not maintaining the vehicle as at when due, using under-qualified drivers, etc.
It is not uncommon to find truckers violating these laws, especially in the area of using less skilled drivers. Many times, logistics companies utilize drivers who may be used to smaller commercial trucks to handle tractor-trailers, 18 wheelers, or even industrial trucks.
Liability In Trucking Accidents
When road accidents happen that involve trucks, determining liability can be complex. That’s because different parties are usually involved in loading operations, transporting, maintaining, and even hiring. Meaning, parties other than the driver, such as the trucking company/truck owner, cargo loaders, maintenance, etc., may have to share liability.
Truck owner’s liability
By California law, truck owners are subject to laws that prevent them from exempting themselves from liability when they choose to use independent contractors as a driver. In fact, federal laws state that independent contractors hired to haul freight are seen as employees of the company that hired them.
Trucking company liability
Trucking companies are meant to do background checks of their drivers, maintain trucks, etc. While California law mandates trucking companies to perform regular maintenance, trucking companies can also outsource maintenance. Meaning if the truck causes an accident due to mechanical issues as a result of not properly maintaining the vehicle, the maintenance company may also be liable.
Liability of the Cargo Loader
It is the cargo loader’s responsibility to prevent accidents such as truck jackknife due to improper loading of cargo. Cargo loaders are usually held liable in a trucking accident if the cargo was not loaded properly.
What To Do If You’ve Been In A Truck Accident
Being in a truck accident is stressful. It’s important to take the right actions so you can safeguard your health and get the compensation you deserve.
Stay Out of harm’s way and call the police
Like all road accidents, you should dial 911 if you are conscious. Move to safety by clearing off the scene of the accident to a nearby spot, especially when the original spot of the accident is blocking traffic. It’s not uncommon for a single crash to escalate into multiple crashes when other vehicles unknowingly crash into the initial spot of the accident.
Exchange information with the truck driver.
From, name, to company they work for, including phone number, you should ask the driver for relevant info and make sure they have a commercial license if you can. Take a quick photo of the license, plate number, truck owner’s info if not the driver, and trucking company. You also want to take pictures of the scene of the accident before it becomes contaminated.
Contact an injury lawyer and your insurance company.
It’s not uncommon for an insurance company to look for ways not to avoid paying you a fair settlement, so let your injury lawyer do the talking. You don’t have to speak with your insurance company if you don’t want to, Sometimes they can be your adversary when you need them.
Let Us Assist You With Your Claim
Even with all the regulations put in place to ensure safety on the highway, truckers have reportedly violated them, causing accidents on the roadways. If you are involved in an accident with a truck, trust me, you need all the help you can get. It’s best to let experienced San Francisco injury lawyers handle your claims. You will not only get personalized service if you need them to come to your home but also the best outcome for your claims.