During the pandemic, we became even more dependent on daily deliveries from Amazon, UPS, FedEx, etc. The overwhelming number of deliveries created a logistics crisis across the county. The unfulfilled demand for truck drivers strained our entire supply chain, and there were significant, and sometimes crippling, delays in the delivery of goods. As a result, some trucking companies began cutting corners in complying with existing rules. This resulted in a noticeable increase in commercial truck accidents, many resulting in tragic and devastating consequences.
A typical fully-loaded commercial truck can weigh as much as twenty-five (25) times more than a personal vehicle. Because of the sheer mass of commercial vehicles, a trucking accident can impact a small car with the force of a military-grade explosive device.
If you are involved in a commercial truck accident, depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to compensation from the truck driver and/or the trucking company that employs the driver.
To ensure you are getting the fairest treatment after you have sought out medical attention, it is important to contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible to preserve evidence, and in the process, your rights. Trucking accidents are often complex, involving factors that do not apply to garden variety accidents, such as “fender benders.”
Litigating trucking accidents requires a keen understanding of trucking industry practices, regulations, specialized and often arcane insurance rules, how to deploy accident reconstructions, technological evidence such as GPS mapping, “black boxes,” dispatch and scheduling records, supervision protocols, and street-facing video evidence, among other things. Litigating a fatal trucking accident claim process requires an experienced, skilled personal injury lawyer. This is what we do, every day.
The Law Office of Scott Herndon is a boutique law firm that focuses on truck accident cases with serious consequences. Our attorneys humanize the legal process by giving you and your family members the space you need to heal and the resources and commitment you need to prevail in negotiations or in court, when necessary.
California commercial truck accidents can have life-changing consequences
Anyone involved in a truck accident can file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for the following costs and damages that resulted from the accident:
- Medical bills, including hospital/facility costs, ambulance, surgery and treatments, medical devices and supplies, drugs, professional services
- Rehabilitation, therapy, and prosthetic devices
- Lost income and lost future earnings
- Death, disability, or disfigurement
- Pain and suffering, emotional distress, PTSD
- Court costs
- Additional (punitive) damages
To file a claim, of course, evidence of who is at fault needs to be established. This evidence needs to show that the truck driver or trucking company was negligent in some way.
Who is at fault matters in California vehicle accidents?
California is an at-fault (comparative liability) state for motor vehicle accidents. This means that the driver, or company, that is at fault for causing the accident is responsible in some measure for paying the costs of injuries and property damage sustained by the other party. Commercial vehicle accidents must be analyzed differently than ordinary automotive claims, with several layers of potential responsibility to be discovered and untangled.
The circumstances of a commercial accident are often complex and can require sophisticated legal analysis in under to determine how fault should be properly assigned. If you were driving a vehicle owned by your employer, or your personal car was involved in an accident with a vehicle owned by the other driver’s employer, it is important to call an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
In California, depending on the circumstances, an at-fault driver of the vehicle may be entitled to claim damage for injuries. If a commercial vehicle driver is determined to be negligent, then the driver can be held at fault for the accident. However, when it comes to commercial trucking, the federal government, state legislature, and the trucking industry each play a vital part in regulating the rules of the road, which are different in significant ways from the rules of the road for ordinary commuters, doctors driving across town for lunch, or soccer moms taking their team down the freeway for a game across the state. You need a qualified lawyer to help analyze, and explain, these critical differences as they apply to your case. You need a law firm that has the resources to marshal strong evidence, forensic experts, and accident recreation specialists to establish your claim. The Law Office of Scott Herndon takes pride in doing just work every day.
Gathering evidence to support a truck accident claim in San Francisco
Proving negligence is rarely simple. To determine who is responsible and prove negligence requires gathering strong evidence. An experienced lawyer, like Scott Herndon, will engage expert witnesses, accident recreation specialists, and other resources needed to establish your claim.
Unless you are in the trucking industry, you may not be aware that commercial trucks are required to have an event data recorder (EDR) onboard. This is much like the “black box” recorder that is retrieved in plane crashes. A truck’s EDR contains the following information about the operation of the truck:
- Date and time of the accident
- Vehicle and engine speed
- Brake and clutch status
- Throttle position and cruise control status
- Cruise-control status
- Steering angle
- Forward collision and lane-departure warnings
- Last stop
- Incident event report
- Diagnostic trouble code data and GPS data
An experienced law firm will also gather driver logs that record how truck drivers have managed their time. Time behind the wheel is strictly regulated. Regulations have established how long drivers may be behind the wheel and how long they must rest or sleep before driving again.
Truck drivers may be at fault if they did not adhere to regulations or performed illegal acts such as:
- Not abiding by safety regulations
- Driving while distracted
- Speeding, ignoring traffic signs or signals
- Unsafe lane changes or not yielding the right of way
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Generally, commercial truck drivers have many hours of training and try to abide by regulations. So, in most cases, the trucking company will accept liability for its driver’s actions.
Litigating trucking accidents requires keen attention to detail. Many companies are reluctant to admit fault or concede to vicarious liability. On rare occasions when a company manipulates or destroys evidence, or actively encourages and rewards its drivers for repeatedly violating regulations for sleep and rest, or intentionally exceeds limits on truck size, weight, routes, or other parameters, punitive damages may be appropriate.
Even when a commercial accident appears simple, a qualified attorney is necessary to discover and analyze the entire set of facts that formed its basis. We take pride in doing this work with exceptional diligence and care.
We treat our Bay Area work-related accident clients like they are family
Based in Berkeley, California, The Law Office of Scott R. Herndon is a nationally-recognized, specialty law firm. We represent clients across California, from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Central Valley and Southern California, who have suffered serious personal injuries like those sustained in a truck or commercial vehicle accident. Scott R. Herndon’s experience as a philosopher, professor, athlete, and author, makes him different from other personal injury lawyers. He is devoted to paying extraordinary attention to each client. He listens carefully, does his research, and advocates with the mind of a professor, the attention to detail of an artist, and the focused determination of an athlete.
If you or a family member has sustained a severe injury in commercial truck accidents with work or commercial vehicle, call 415.360.5477 or contact us online for a free consultation.