A recent study conducted by USA Today found that a shocking number of truck drivers are driving on Los Angeles roads while fatigued. This places Los Angeles drivers, passengers, and pedestrians in danger. Truck drivers who are overly fatigued are more likely to cause serious and life-threatening accidents. If you have been injured in a Los Angeles truck accident you may be entitled to compensation. Call the Los Angeles truck accident attorneys at the Citywide Law Group to learn more about filing a personal injury claim.
Los Angeles Truck Accident Statistics
Trucks are taking to Los Angeles roads in unprecedented numbers. Unfortunately, more trucks on the roads also leads to an increase in the number of accidents involving these large vehicles. Between 2013 and 2016, there were 1,187 fatal truck accidents in California. Thousands of other truck-related accidents were not fatal, but resulted in serious and life-changing injuries.
How many of these fatal accidents involved a fatigued truck driver? USA Today investigators reviewed California accident statistics between 2013 and 2016 and corresponding truck driver logs. They discovered that truck drivers serving Los Angeles and Long Beach ports operated “without the required break 470 times a day.” According to the study, 189 of these fatigued drivers were involved in truck accidents.
Fatigued Drivers are Dangerous Drivers
Why is fatigued driving a problem? One reason is that drivers who are extremely tired have a much more difficult time paying attention to their surroundings on the road. These tired drivers are less likely to react to unexpected road and weather conditions and notice changes in traffic signals. Fatigued drivers will have a more difficult time seeing pedestrians on the road or noticing other drivers around them. This will increase the likelihood of a dangerous truck accident.
Fatigued drivers are also more likely to fall asleep at the wheel. When a driver begins to drift off they will lose control of the steering wheel, begin to slow down, and drift into other lanes of traffic. In some cases, drivers who fall asleep at the wheel may run through stop signs, red lights, or fail to yield to oncoming traffic.
Truck Accidents Cause Serious Damage
Tractor-trailer trucks are extremely large vehicles, often weighing up to 80,000 pounds. This is in stark contrast to ordinary passenger vehicles, which may only weigh approximately 3,000 pounds. The sheer size and weight of a truck make them incredibly difficult to navigate. Trucks cannot stop on a dime and may require 20-40 percent more roadway than other vehicles to come to a complete stop.
When trucks collide with passenger vehicles the occupants of those cars are more likely to suffer serious and life-threatening injuries. Commonly reported truck accident injuries include:
- Spinal cord injury
- Quadriplegia, and
- Traumatic brain injury.
Liability for Truck Accidents Caused by Fatigued Drivers
If you are injured because of a fatigued truck driver you may be entitled to compensation. You may think that the truck driver is the only person who can be held financially responsible for your damages. However, California law allows you to pursue compensation from any party who is responsible for causing the crash.
Truck Drivers: Truck drivers have an obligation to drive safely. When they operate these heavy trucks while fatigued, they breach the duty of care they owe to others on the road. Federal regulations require truck drivers to stop and rest every 14 hours. In most cases, these drivers will be required to stay off of the road for at least 10 hours. Failure to adhere to these regulations is a blatant violation of a driver’s duty of care.
Truck Driver Employer: Federal regulations prohibit employers from dispatching drivers who are fatigued. Specifically, employers must ensure that drivers adhere to federal regulations and take breaks at regular intervals. If an employer dispatches a driver in violation of these laws, the employer can be held financially responsible for your injuries.
What to Do After a Los Angeles Truck Accident
Even though filing a personal injury claim may not be your first thought after an accident, it is important to keep the following suggestions in mind. Committing to these steps will increase your chances of maximizing the compensation you recover following your accident.
See a Doctor: Seek medical attention immediately. You may have suffered serious internal injuries that could be life-threatening if they are not treated. The medical report that is generated will help to prove your injuries were caused by the truck accident.
Call the Police: A police report will be invaluable if you decide to file a claim for damages. Even though the report itself is inadmissible as evidence, your truck accident attorney will be able to discover key details about your crash.
Refuse Early Offers: Insurance companies may try to get you to take a settlement offer shortly after your accident. While this money may be tempting, avoid the temptation to accept it. This will likely be a lowball offer that will not cover the full extent of your damages. Remember, insurance companies are not on your side and will not act with your best interest at heart.
Call an Attorney: Hiring an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney will increase the chances of maximizing the compensation you receive. At the Citywide Law Group, we have more than 17 years of combined legal experience. During this time, we have helped thousands of traffic accident victims recover millions in compensation. Our aggressive approach allows us to hold at-fault drivers responsible for their conduct and make sure that our clients are fairly compensated for their injuries. Call our Los Angeles truck accident attorneys today to schedule a free consultation and learn more.