More commercial trucks are on the roads in California than in any other state. The cargo carried by the big rigs is vital to the economy and it doesn’t pay for the trucking companies or the drivers to waste time in delivering their loads. A loaded semi-truck barreling down the highway can weigh 26 times or more than the average passenger vehicle. Those are not good odds in your favor if you are in the passenger vehicle that crashes with a commercial truck.
The Los Angeles commercial truck accident attorney at the Law Offices of Howard Kornberg knows the dangers presented by commercial trucks on the road and how to help clients get compensated for injuries sustained in commercial truck accidents.
Commercial Truck Accident Statistics
Commercial truck accidents in the US have been rising steadily since 2010. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports over 5,000 ‘large’ (over 10,000 lbs) trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2019. Another 118,000 large trucks were involved in injury crashes. And almost 71% of the fatalities were occupants of other vehicles. In addition, most large truck crashes occur
- In rural areas – 57%
- Off the interstate – 75%
- During the day – 64%
- In September and October
California is one of three states that operate the majority of the 140 million semi-trucks on the nation’s roads. About 15 million semi-trucks call the Golden State home. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), California had the following large truck accident statistics for 2019.
- 385 large trucks involved in fatal accidents
- 408 deaths from large truck accidents – 2nd most in the US behind Texas
- Los Angeles County had more fatal crashes involving a large truck than any other county
Why Commercial Truck Accidents are So Serious?
The main reason that commercial truck accidents can cause tremendous injuries and property damage is that the trucks are big and heavy. Combining their size and weight with speed creates a lethal force that anything in their path doesn’t stand much of a chance against.
The California Department of Transportation regulates the size and weight of semi-trucks. The maximum legal limits for length and weight without requiring a special permit are 65 feet long and 80,000 lbs. A ‘routinely issued’ oversize/overweight permit allows a commercial truck to be 135 feet long and haul up to 250,000 lbs. And a ‘superload’ is anything over 135 feet and heavier than 250,000 lbs.
The average passenger vehicle is 15 or 16 feet long and weighs a bit over 4,000 lbs. So it’s quite easy to understand why commercial trucks can be so deadly in crashes.
Who is Liable for Commercial Truck Accidents?
Depending on how the accident happened, the ownership of the truck, and how it was being operated when the crash occurred, there can be a number of different parties that are responsible for the damage and injuries caused in a commercial truck accident.
- Truck driver: If the accident was due to driver error or poor judgment.
- Trucking company: If the at-fault truck driver was employed by a company or a company error contributed to the accident.
- Truck owner: Truck owners sometimes lease their trucks for others to use and have responsibility for the truck maintenance and upkeep.
- Cargo handlers: The loading of a truck is a regulated activity and errors that lead to accidents result in liability.
- The truck servicing company or manufacturer: if faulty maintenance or an equipment failure caused the accident.
- Government entities: If roadway design or maintenance contributed to the accident.
With so many possible parties sharing responsibility for the damages caused by a commercial truck accident, it is vital to be able to discover all of the circumstances that contributed to causing the crash and make sure all responsible parties are held accountable. There will be a number of insurance companies involved and often a lot of finger-pointing as everyone tries to say it was someone else.
An experienced Los Angeles commercial truck accident lawyer knows how to get through all he said, she said, and uncover the information necessary to establish liability and make sure you or a family member are fully compensated for all your damages. The Law Offices of Howard Kornberg has been successful in securing compensation for truck accident victims in Los Angeles for over 35 years. Click here and schedule a free consultation to find out how we can help or call our office at 310-997-0904.