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Accidents With Commercial Trucks

 Posted on May 09,2016 in Truck Accidents

commercial trucks, big rigs, San Jose truck crash lawyerThere is an epidemic going on in the United States that to this day remains a serious problem. Everyday, on average 11 accidents involving commercial trucks result in fatalities. Additionally, over 100,000 people are injured in the same type of accidents per year. If you apply the same numbers to a different industry, it would be like a commuter jet crashing every week. With the potential for these accidents being so high, the need for legal counsel is also rising. What should you expect from truck accidents with regards to legal action?

Reasons for Concern 

Commercial trucks are seen on almost every road and every highway, and, every day, truck driving schools have a new graduating class full of fresh, newly-trained drivers that will be on the road shortly. Commercial trucks are responsible for transporting a large portion the goods that we purchase, from gas and oil all the way to moving homes. These vehicles have deadlines and agendas that they have to follow, as well as regulations that mandate everything they do. In most cases, they are highly-trained and skilled professionals, but accidents are not planned and can happen to anyone. There are number of factors that contribute to these accidents being so much more devastating and potentially dangerous, including:

  • Trucks weigh 20-30 times more than the average passenger vehicle;
  • They have a higher ground clearance;
  • Stopping a full trailer takes 20 - 40 times more distance;
  • Improper loading and tie downs;
  • Equipment failure;
  • Weather conditions combined with the higher weight and stoppage; and
  • Operator fatigue as drivers can drive up to 77 hours per week.

What to Do at the Scene

If you have been involved in an accident with a big rig or other commercial vehicle, adrenaline may distort your reasoning and ability to function. However, it is extremely important to follow the proper steps to ensure the best possible outcome for your accident.

  • Stop: Stop your vehicle, either at the scene of the accident or pull off to the side of the road if it is just a minor fender bender. Be sure to turn your vehicle completely off;
  • Assess: Check yourself and your passengers for injuries, as well as the other driver(s) and their passengers. If there are any injuries, call 9-1-1 immediately. If there are no injuries, notify local police of the incident and place road flares or emergency reflective cones behind the accident to warn other drivers of the incident. You should consider visiting the hospital either way, because often adrenaline can mask injuries;
  • Gather Information: Be sure to gather information from everyone involved, including any witnesses that may be able to verify what happened. Take pictures of all damages and everyone involved. Next, collect information and double check as much of the supporting documentation as you can. Necessary information includes:
    • Name;
    • Address;
    • Phone Number;
    • Driver’s License Number;
    • License Plate Number; and
    • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN);
  • Documentation: Document everything, from the position of the vehicles to the current weather and driving conditions. If a camera or cell phone is not available, then write it all down;
  • Report: Report your incident to your insurance company. Call them immediately, but not while driving. If the damages are more than $750 or if there are injuries, it is also your responsibility to call the California Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days; and
  • Do Not Sign: Do not sign anything that admits your own fault, or releases someone from their liability responsibility. Let the police, insurance companies, and attorneys work out those details.

If you have been involved in a large vehicle accident, you may have sustained severe injuries, or perhaps there was a fatality. Many commercial carriers have large insurance companies, and it is virtually guaranteed that they have a lawyer, or a team of lawyers, working for them. It is imperative that you have someone on your side fighting for your rights. Your medical bills may be temporary or they could endure for years and even decades. If a commercial truck driver or the carrier was at fault, they should be held accountable to pay for the damages that they caused. Attorney John J. Garvey, III has over 45 years of experience in personal injury litigation and wants to put his knowledge to work for you. If you are interested in speaking with a San Jose, CA personal injury lawyer, call today at 408-293-7777 for your free initial consultation.



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