Category Archives: Truck Accidents

Determining Liability in Your Truck Accident Case

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Walking away from a truck accident as an uninjured driver or passenger of a standard-sized vehicle is rare simply due to the sheer size and force of a moving truck. The injuries that occur in a truck accident are generally severe, often including head trauma, internal bleeding, and back and neck injuries.  

Yet, seeking compensation for medical bills, ongoing treatment, wages, and even wrongful death in a truck accident is extremely challenging and tedious. Large trucking companies are prepared with legal teams and massive insurance policies that have the goal of protecting their company, their manufacturers, and their drivers from a large payout. 

Working with a truck accident attorney who has experience handling claims against trucking companies, drivers, and manufacturers, as well as aggressive insurance companies, is crucial to the success of your case and your peace of mind while you heal.

Crash Investigation

Attorneys can determine the cause of an accident through an extensive and in-depth investigation that will involve visits to the crash site, a review of the driver’s black box, driver log, and other factors including police reports, weather conditions, and eyewitness reports. Attorneys will address the potential for multiple parties involved by reviewing the trucking company’s history of accidents, manufacturing issues, or other logistical concerns. A detailed investigation can take months to review critical evidence in a truck accident. 

Multiple Parties

Layers of trucking laws, specific investigative procedures, and multiple involved parties can make a successful truck accident lawsuit seem out of reach. Unlike a typical car accident, truck accidents can possibly involve multiple negligent parties in addition to the driver. It is crucial for you and your attorney to understand the connection between various parties including the trucking company, manufacturer, and even cargo loaders. Determining which parties were negligent and should be held liable for injuries and damages is an essential part of your truck accident claim. 

Who Can be Held Liable in a Truck Accident?

The trucking industry has so many interconnected roles that negligence, as early in the process as manufacturing, can create potential harm for anyone on the road. Truck drivers, manufacturing companies, truck owners, and trucking companies, among others, can potentially hold responsibility for an accident.

Truck Drivers

The most common defendant in a trucking accident, the negligent behaviors of a truck driver can have tremendous consequences for others on the road. Common negligent actions among truck drivers include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Driving impaired
  • Failing to follow state or federal laws
  • Drowsy driving
  • Failing to maintain driver’s log

Truck Companies/Truck Owners

The truck’s owner, whether an individual, a company, or a leasing firm, is responsible for ensuring the truck is completely safe and roadworthy. If the truck’s owner fails to properly maintain the truck, and that lack of maintenance causes an accident, the owner can be held liable for any damages. In addition, companies are responsible for hiring fully licensed and experienced drivers and ensuring those drivers comply with trucking laws. Common negligence among truck companies and owners includes:

  • Poor truck maintenance
  • Hiring unqualified drivers
  • Insufficient training of employees
  • Encouraging their drivers to violate hour and sleep restrictions

Truck Manufacturer

Manufacturing errors are significant factors in truck accidents. Recorded data from 2021 showed that about 30% of all truck-related accidents are caused by tire defects. Even when warnings and recalls are in place, the truck manufacturer can still potentially be held liable for damages. 

Cargo Loaders

The companies that hire trucking companies to transport their materials and products can potentially be held liable if their materials are not securely fastened and come loose. Over-loading, improper balance or the use of unsafe straps, levers, or other securing devices are all common factors in trucking hazards.

How We Can Help

California remains among the top states with the highest fatal trucking accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Patrol’s 2019 statistics, 7.7% of California truck drivers were involved in fatal crashes during that year. 

Truck accidents are complex and require an experienced eye. Our Bakersfield trucking accident attorneys of Rodriguez & Associates have handled hundreds of truck accidents. Founder and senior attorney Daniel Rodriguez, along with attorneys Chantal Trujillo and Danay Gonzalez, obtained the highest personal injury verdict in Kern County history of over $70 million for a truck vs SUV case. Our firm is familiar with truck engineering, truckers’ fatigue, and other issues that lead to catastrophic accidents.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a truck accident, contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and possible legal options.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 8:54 pm

Most Common Damages in a California Truck Accident

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Accidents caused by large commercial trucks can be devastating due to the sheer force of a moving truck hitting a car. In these instances, semi-trucks can be 30-40 times the mass of a standard-sized car, reaching 40 tons when fully loaded. Statistically, in an accident involving a car and a semi-truck, the truck’s occupants are less likely to be physically harmed while the car’s driver and passengers sustain catastrophic and fatal injuries.

Injuries caused by truck accidents result in massive financial and emotional burdens. Pursuing damages for a truck accident can be challenging and complex considering the navigation of motor vehicle carrier rules, state and federal transportation laws, and statutes of limitations. Trucking companies and manufacturers retain aggressive attorneys and insurance companies with the sole objective of avoiding large payouts for at-fault accidents. Working with an experienced truck accident attorney is your best opportunity to receive the justice and compensation you deserve.

What Damages Can Be Recovered?

The state of California has a wide range of damages that can be compensated after a trucking accident. While all cases and compensation packages are unique, most damages can be defined as economic and non-economic.

Economic Damages:

Economic damages account for any costs or financial losses that can and will be incurred due to injury or death including:

Medical Expenses

Following an accident, your health and recovery are the top priority. Be sure to seek all the medical help that you need. Waiting to seek medical support leaves an opportunity for the trucking company’s insurance and legal teams to claim you are not as injured as you report. Medical damages can include:

  • Hospital bills
  • Physical therapy
  • Emergency medical support
  • Prescription medications
  • Current and future medical care

Property Damage

Due to the sheer size of trucks, harm to your vehicle is inevitable. After an accident, it is possible to collect compensation to repair or replace your vehicle. If your vehicle was your primary mode of transportation for attending doctor’s appointments and other necessary meetings, travel costs could be included as damages in your claim. Additionally, personal property such as jewelry, watches, and cellphones damaged in the accident can be compensated for.

Lost Wages

If physical, mental, or emotional injuries prevent you from working, you may be able to collect compensation for lost wages. This is critical because truck accident victims are often financially responsible for entire families, and lost wages and piling up medical bills could cause long-term financial devastation.

Furthermore, if the injuries prevent you from working at the same capacity as before the trucking accident, you may be able to claim “loss of earning capacity” compensation.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages or general damages, such as loss of enjoyment of life or mental anguish, are often difficult to calculate without the help of a highly experienced truck accident attorney. These stressors do not have a specific price tag but could harm your life even more than your medical bills. Examples of non-economic damages may include:

  • Fear, anxiety, and depression
  • Body scarring or disfigurements
  • Not being able to hold your baby due to physical injuries
  • Emotional suffering
  • Loss of identity due to not being able to work

Wrongful Death Damages

If a loved one tragically dies from a trucking accident, certain family members could collect wrongful death damages such as:

  • Immense pain and suffering
  • Medical costs
  • Loss of companionship and care
  • Funeral costs
  • Loss of benefits and wages

Punitive Damages

In rare situations, punitive damages may be available. Punitive damages are only available if the driver or the trucking company showed willful misconduct, fraud, or malice and are intended to punish the wrongdoer and prevent future misconduct. For example, if the truck driver was on drugs while driving, punitive damages may be part of the compensation package and may require compensation paid towards awareness campaigns or training.

Bakersfield, California Truck Accident Attorneys

In a small town like Bakersfield, finding a personal injury law firm with a truck accident representation success record, engineering expertise, extensive personal injury legal experience, and the ability to acquire trucking logs and records is a rare combination.

Rodriguez & Associates is a personal injury firm well known for all the above. Founder and lead attorney, Daniel Rodriguez, has a degree in engineering and 30+ years of esteemed personal injury experience with concentrated experience in truck accidents. He, along with attorneys Chantal Trujillo and Danay Gonzalez, obtained the highest personal injury verdict in Kern County history of $70,578,289 million against a trucking company.

Truck accidents are extremely complex as they generally include many more factors than a typical car accident. Hiring a highly awarded trucking accident law firm can help you get the maximum compensation you deserve.

For a free and confidential consultation about your case, please fill out this form or call/text: 661-323-1400. We speak Spanish and English.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 5:48 pm

How Long Will It Take to Resolve My Truck Accident Case?

Friday, July 1, 2022

An accident involving a massive truck can leave a wake of devastation for the victim and their family, not to mention mounting medical bills, the uncertainty of the future, as well as pain and suffering. While negligent parties can be held responsible financially, those payments are not issued until the case is resolved. Clients are often left wondering when their case will reach a resolution.

While it can be difficult to enter into a process with no specific defined outcome or end date, the truck accident attorneys at Rodriguez & Associates aim to make your lawsuit process as transparent and informative as possible while you heal.

Truck Accident Claims Process

Due to the nature of the trucking industry, a truck accident claim takes time. Each truck accident presents a unique set of challenges dependent on a multitude of variables including the extent of medical treatment needed by the victim, insurance company coverage, and the availability of evidence or witnesses. In many instances, trucking accidents can have more than one party held liable including the driver, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, or even the truck broker.

While your attorney may have control over some aspects of your case, there is a specific process that your legal team will follow in order to handle your case:

Collecting Evidence

A thorough truck accident attorney will review every piece of evidence that may indicate negligence. Attorneys will review the scene of the crash as well as inspect the following types of materials for evidence:

  • Surveillance footage
  • Documents
  • Photographs
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Police reports
  • Event data recorders
  • Truck log and maintenance records

Medical Treatment Information

Depending on the severity of the victim’s injuries, an accurate representation of damages may not be available immediately. Before deciding what may be a fair and reasonable claim, your attorney will need to receive complete medical documentation that outlines past, current, and future medical needs that resulted from the accident. That can mean waiting for extensive surgeries and therapies to be completed.

Injury Demand Letter

In order to move forward with your case, your legal team must submit a letter of demand to the defendant’s insurance company specifying how the claimant has been physically and emotionally affected by the accident and the damages required due to their negligence.

Settlement Negotiations

The negotiation process can be extensive as attorneys and the trucking company will go back and forth to assign fault and determine damages. Each party will scrutinize the evidence in order to reach a settlement. While most truck accident claims tend to be resolved in mediation, the lack of a settlement agreement, especially in a high-stakes case involving large, known organizations, means the case may go to trial.

Trial

Cases that proceed to trial can be drawn out by the process of the court. Cases can typically last a few days to several weeks depending on the amount of evidence to be reviewed, the number of witnesses testifying, and how long the jury takes to deliberate, among other factors.

How We Can Help

Truck accident cases involve a lot of moving parts that are necessary to proceed toward a resolution. It is challenging to identify a time frame in substantial cases, but starting as soon as possible is key. If you or a family member has been injured or killed in a truck accident, it is important to reach out to an experienced truck accident attorney immediately to assess and begin to build your case.

Rodriguez & Associates has decades of experience handling truck accident cases covering not only the engineering and legal issues but also the day-to-day details for truckers that can lead to accidents. Our Bakersfield personal injury attorneys are skilled at identifying and acquiring crucial pieces of evidence, including driver logs and trucking company records.

Please reach out to us today to discuss your case and receive support by filling out our online form or calling (661) 323-1400.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 7:18 pm

How Truck Driver Fatigue Contributes to Accidents

Thursday, April 28, 2022

At one point or another, we have all experienced extreme drowsiness from over-exhaustion, pulling an all-nighter, or just staying up too late, and know just how exhaustion can affect our cognitive and physical abilities. When your job function relies on alertness and reaction time to keep yourself and others safe, even slight drowsiness can create an unsafe environment for anyone in close proximity.

Driver fatigue is all too common among truck drivers who regularly drive long distances with minimal breaks. According to a study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), fatigue is among the top causes of all truck accidents, accounting for approximately 40 percent of all truck accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies the main causes of fatigue as:

  • Being awake for many consecutive hours
  • Not getting enough sleep over multiple days
  • Not following your body’s natural circadian rhythm
  • Monotonous tasks or long periods of inactivity
  • Health factors such as sleep disorders or medications that cause drowsiness

Drowsiness or sleepiness is not the only effect of fatigue, especially for drivers. The National Safety Council equates that driving while fatigued is the equivalent of driving with 0.08% blood alcohol content. The CDC points out that because of the stimulus of the roadway drivers can also experience:

  • Slowed reaction times
  • “Tunnel vision”
  • Forgetting the last few miles driven, or “blanking out”
  • Lane drifting
  • Poor decision making

Due to the sheer size of trucks, it is especially important for truck drivers to be mindful of their physical and mental capacity on the road. A fully laden semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds which can cause a serious amount of damage to smaller vehicles on impact. Large trucks take a longer amount of time to slow at highway speed, and driver correction can be more difficult to manage with a larger vehicle.

Federal Regulations

Federal entities and private organizations now require specific regulations to protect all drivers on the road because of the significant number of crashes due to driving while drowsy. The FMCSA holds truck drivers and their companies to strict regulations that limit the number of consecutive hours a driver can be on the road without a break as well as the number of hours a driver is allowed to drive within a week.

As of 2013 regulations include:

  • The average workweek for a truck driver may not exceed 70 hours.
  • Once a driver has reached the limit, he or she may not drive for 34 consecutive hours.
  • Truck drivers must take a 30-minute break within the first 8 hours of a shift.

Preventing Drowsy Driving

In addition to hourly restrictions and mandated breaks by the government, trucking companies are beginning to implement additional regulations including lane departure technology, driving time-tracking devices, and even wearable biometric sensors that will alert drivers to take a break or recognize sudden movements or changes in brain waves. Some of the best tips for staying awake include maintaining healthy habits such as avoiding greasy foods and cigarettes, staying hydrated and minimizing caffeine reliance.

Driving fatigue is a largely preventable cause of truck accidents as long as drivers and trucking companies act with responsibility for the massive vehicles they operate. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you should contact an attorney immediately. Our team of Bakersfield truck accident attorneys at Rodriguez & Associates can help assist you in the next steps for your case. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 4:42 pm

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Commercial trucks, semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and municipal trucks are only some of the massive vehicles on the road at any given time, all of which are nearly 30-40 times the mass of the traditional family car, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. When a large truck is involved in an accident with a car or an SUV, the results can be catastrophic, even deadly.

Truck accidents always involve a multitude of factors that can depend on the drivers, the rig, the manufacturer, or environmental elements. It is important that truck drivers abide by traffic laws, stay alert, and maintain safety precautions while operating their vehicles to minimize the chance of an accident.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates that about 450,000 truck accidents occur nationwide each year, resulting in over 4,000 deaths annually. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Patrol’s 2019 statistics 7.7% of California truck drivers were involved in fatal crashes during that year. Most of these accidents are preventable and happen at the fault of the truck driver.

Some of the common causes of truck accidents include:

  • Fatigue

One of the top causes of accidents involving trucks is a result of exhaustion or fatigue from long hours of driving. Many drivers will drive past the point of exhaustion to make more money. The FMCSA has set specific laws for commercial drivers including mandatory breaks. Commercial drivers may drive for up to eleven hours following a mandatory 10-hour rest. In California, all commercial drivers must rest for 10 minutes after every 4 hours of driving and take a thirty-minute break after every 5 hours.

  • Speeding

Since trucks are so much larger than cars, speeding is all that more dangerous. Due to their mass, it takes longer for a truck to slow its speed, change direction, and for the driver to maintain control. The state of California requires truck drivers to travel at 10 mph slower than the posted speed limit to help maintain safe roadways.

  • Unbalanced or Excessive Load

A truck that has an unbalanced or excessive load of any type of material can cause unnecessary movement on the road and limit the amount of control the driver has over the rig. Overloading a truck can put extra strain on the truck’s frame, which can impact the axel framing, tires, and suspension, causing failure.

  • Mechanical Failure

Poor brake maintenance is the number one cause of trucking accidents due to mechanical failure. Breaks on a commercial truck require a specific amount of air pressure, and when that air supply is not functioning properly, the truck’s brakes will not function properly as a result. Large trucks typically undergo more wear and tear than a standard vehicle and require frequent maintenance.

  • Weather Conditions

Rain, snow, ice, and fog are among the most common elements that contribute to truck accidents. All drivers experience these weather conditions but due to their size, trucks are much more susceptible to dangerous accidents and should take extra precautions during weather events.

The FMCSA has placed regulations on trucks and their drivers to work towards eliminating preventable accidents and placing more accountability on trucking companies and their drivers. Drivers are required to use electronic logging devices that automatically track the number of hours a driver has been operating their truck, collision warning systems, and automatic braking systems. More information regarding causes, statistics, and recovery of truck accidents can be found here.

If you or a family member have been involved in an accident with a truck do not hesitate to reach out to an attorney. Our team of Bakersfield Truck Accident Attorneys at Rodriguez and Associates are here to assist you every step of the way to help you reach recovery.

Our history of recoveries includes $16,100,000 in a case involving a big rig wheel flying off and crashing into a car and $5,250,000 in a case of a motorcycle vs. a big rig truck crash.

Contact us today online or by phone at (661) 323-1400 to schedule a free consultation.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 9:52 pm

Trucks vs. Cars: Are All Vehicle Crashes the Same?

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Every car crash has its own unique set of circumstances that individuals, law enforcement, and insurance companies must handle, but when a crash involves a commercial truck (also referred to as a semi-truck or tractor-trailer) additional layers of trucking law, regulations, insurance policies, and negligence come into play. Handling a lawsuit that involves a commercial trucking accident requires representation with knowledge and experience of these factors.

Determining Liability

Typically, in a car crash, there is one person who is determined to be at fault. Due to the nature of the trucking industry, multiple parties, including or excluding the driver of the truck, can be held responsible for damages. Depending on the specifics of an accident, the truck driver, the truck manufacturer, the trucking company, and even more players may hold some or all of the responsibility for the incident. Because of these layers of involvement, determining liability in a commercial truck accident can be a logistical nightmare that requires deep knowledge of trucking laws to sort out who is at fault.

More Serious Personal Injury

The weight of the average American car will range between 2,000 to 4,000 pounds, whereas a commercial truck can range from 10,000 to 80,000 pounds. Trucks also have significant physical dimensions that require longer stopping distances, wider turn radiuses, and larger blind spots.

In an accident involving any two vehicles, the physical size and proportions affect the force inflicted. A crash involving two cars will potentially cause far less damage than a car that is struck by a vehicle 20 times its size. It is for this reason that accidents involving commercial trucks typically cause greater physical injury, more fatalities, and more totaled cars. Read more about trucking accident statistics here.

Trucking Insurance Policies

A commercial truck accident case can be worth a huge amount in court because the trucking industry requires massive insurance policies. Trucking insurance providers will aggressively defend their clients to avoid liability. A rise in truck accidents has influenced increases in insurance policies for trucking companies with more at stake in a lawsuit. Bakersfield Truck Accident Attorneys of Rodriguez and Associates has the expertise to handle all situations that arise in court.

Investigating Truck Accidents

Due to the many complexities of a truck crash, investigations are extensive and can require many months of research in addition to knowledge of federal and state trucking regulations. Familiarity with different types of evidence required throughout an investigation is imperative. Examples of evidence include:

  • Accident reports
  • Electronic logs
  • Photos and witness statements
  • Evidence requested in a spoliation letter

Trucking accident attorneys of Rodriguez & Associates have handled hundreds of truck accidents. Founder and senior attorney Daniel Rodriguez, along with attorneys Chantal Trujillo and Danay Gonzalez, obtained the highest personal injury verdict in Kern County history of $70,578,289 for a truck vs SUV case. We are familiar with truck accidents’ engineering, truckers’ fatigue, and other issues that lead to catastrophic accidents.

If you – or someone you love – have been a victim of a truck accident, contact us today. Call us at (661) 323-1400 for a free consultation to discuss your case and legal options.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 4:41 pm

What Is a DOT-Recordable Accident?

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Accidents occur every day on California roads, from minor bumps between vehicles to extremely severe multi-vehicle collisions. These collisions can involve passenger vehicles, motorcycles, pedestrians, and commercial vehicles, such as semi-trucks and buses. 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the federal Department of Transportation (DOT), keeps track of collisions involving commercial vehicles. If an accident involving a commercial vehicle results in significant damage, it will need to be recorded by the DOT.

When Does an Accident Need to Be Reported to the DOT?

All motor carriers must keep track of accidents involving commercial motor vehicles. If a collision meets the following criteria, it must be recovered by the federal DOT.

  • At least one person died as a result of the collision.
  • At least one person suffered a bodily injury and had to receive emergency medical attention away from the scene of the accident.
  • One or more of the vehicles involved in the accident had to be towed away from the collision.

When reporting a DOT-recordable accident, the reporter must include the date, city, and state of the collision. Vital information such as the name of the commercial driver, the number of injuries, and the number of fatalities must also be reported. When submitting the report, the reporter must include copies of all accident reports involved in the case.

What Happens After an Accident Is Reported to the DOT?

California drivers are familiar with the concept of points, which are strikes levied against your driver’s license after a traffic violation. The points system is monitored by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Drivers who accumulate a certain number of points could face severe consequences, such as the permanent loss of driving privileges.

The FMCSA maintains a similar system involving DOT-recordable accidents. When a Bakersfield accident involving a commercial driver is reported, the FMCSA will record it and monitor violations committed by certain drivers. The FMCSA will also track violations that occur within individual trucking companies. 

If a trucking company incurs a certain number of DOT-recordable incidents, it could affect that carrier’s safety rating. The FMCSA will take the number of accidents associated with the carrier, multiply the number by one million, and divide it by the number of miles that the motor carrier has traveled over the past 12 months.

Collecting DOT-recordable accident data also helps the FMCSA identify potentially negligent commercial vehicle carriers. Trucking companies with unusually high numbers of incidents may not be training their drivers, hiring qualified personnel, or maintaining their vehicles regularly. A carrier may also encourage their drivers to break important trucking regulations, such as hours-of-service rules. 

If a carrier has a history of DOT-recordable accidents, the FMCSA can impose serious penalties, such as fines.

Speak to a California Truck Accident Lawyer

If you are involved in a commercial vehicle accident on California roads, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Through an insurance claim or lawsuit, you can recover compensatory damages to pay for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. However, you need a Bakersfield personal injury attorney on your side to represent your best interests.

A California truck accident lawyer can help you navigate the litigation process and secure the compensation you deserve. Contact an attorney as soon as possible following your accident to discuss your case and identify your optimal path to recovery.

Posted by highrank at 6:41 pm

Warning Signs of Truck Brake Problems

Friday, October 29, 2021

Truck drivers and their employers have a duty to make sure that their vehicles are in safe working condition. Commercial trucks are very large and heavy, and collisions involving these vehicles can be very dangerous. However, serious collisions involving trucks occur in California every year, often involving driver and trucking company negligence.

Mechanical defects are a common cause of truck accidents, and old, defective, or malfunctioning brakes are some of the most common vehicle components to cause an accident. Brake problems in commercial trucks are not always easy to spot, but there are a few key warning signs to watch for.

Common Signs of Malfunctioning Brakes

Brakes are critical components of a commercial truck. Without them, drivers cannot safely bring themselves to a stop and can easily lose control of their large vehicles, resulting in catastrophic injuries in Bakersfield. To prevent these accidents, truck drivers and their companies must maintain vehicles regularly and keep an eye out for signs of trouble.

There are several signs that could indicate truck brake problems.

  • Grinding or scraping noises when braking
  • High-pitched squealing sounds 
  • Vibrations that come from the brakes
  • A brake pedal that feels unusually loose
  • Veering to the side when hitting the brakes
  • Having to press down harder than normal to engage the brakes

Who Is Liable for an Accident Caused by Brake Problems?

If you are involved in a truck accident caused by brake problems, you may wonder what to do next. Truck accidents often result in severe financial, physical, and psychological hardship. Because California is a fault accident state, you have the right to pursue an insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party.

Multiple parties may be liable for a truck accident caused by malfunctioning brakes, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. Some of the most common defendants include the following:

  • The truck driver: If the driver’s negligence caused the brake problems and your accident, he or she would be liable for your damages. For example, if the driver owns and operates his or her own truck and fails to repair the brakes after hearing grinding or squealing, he or she would be liable for any accident caused by the malfunctioning brakes.
  • The trucking company: A trucking company has a duty to ensure that its fleet of vehicles are in good condition. If the company fails to maintain its vehicles regularly, notices brake issues and fails to repair them, or actively ignores requests for brake repairs, it would be liable for any truck accident that occurs due to malfunctioning brakes.
  • The brake manufacturer: If the accident was caused by defective brakes, you could hold the manufacturer liable for your injuries. In these cases, the brakes are either defective by design or developed a defect during the manufacturing process. You could also name the distributor, retailer, and other parties along the supply chain in your lawsuit.

If you are injured in a California truck accident, it is important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. Your Bakersfield personal injury attorney can investigate your accident, identify the at-fault party, and evaluate your legal options. 

During your case, your lawyer can guide you through each stage of the litigation process and advocate aggressively for your maximum compensation. After seeking medical attention for your injuries, contact a California truck accident attorney to identify your optimal path to recovery.

Posted by highrank at 8:22 pm

Who Is Liable in a Commercial Truck Accident?

Thursday, September 23, 2021

One of the major differences between commercial truck accidents and the average car crash is liability, or who’s at fault.

Liable parties in a regular car accident are usually just the drivers of the vehicles involved. Determining liability in a truck accident is a far more complex process that could include multiple third parties beyond the person actually driving the commercial vehicle. In other words, the accident may not have entirely been the driver’s fault, even if it appears that way at first. Proving liability in cases like these normally requires an experienced Bakersfield truck accident lawyer.

Manufacturing, managing, and loading a truck is a long process that requires input from many different parties. There’s room for error along any one of these points in the process of moving goods from one location to the next. Because of that, the following groups, companies, and individuals could potentially be held liable for negligence in a truck accident:

Manufacturers: Companies that manufacture truck parts and equipment — anything from tires to brake pads — could share in the blame if their parts helped cause an accident. Some common examples of malfunctioning equipment include tire blowouts, faulty brakes, and mechanical failures. A thorough investigation should reveal such things after an accident. If found to be at fault, manufacturers would be required to pay at least part of victims’ damages.

The Trucking Company: The company that hires the truck driver is a frequent third party held liable in accidents. The trucking company is responsible for maintaining and inspecting the vehicle before every trip, ensuring that all equipment is working properly. But too often, these companies cut corners on inspections, increasing the risk of an accident. They may also push a driver to work longer hours than is safe in the name of meeting a shipping deadline.

Cargo Loaders: Cargo loaders are supposed to ensure a shipment is secured and balanced properly in the truck before the vehicle ever departs. Improperly packed cargo could spill onto the road or throw the truck off balance and hinder a driver’s ability to control the vehicle. An underloaded or overloaded truck can also cause problems for the driver and potentially anyone else in the nearby vicinity.

Truck Drivers: Often, the person behind the wheel of the commercial vehicle shares some responsibility in an accident. Drivers that speed, make reckless lane changes, or break other traffic laws are a danger to everyone on the road. Many truck drivers also struggle with substance abuse, while others work past their designated Hours of Service regulations and wind up exhausted and overworked. All of these factors increase the risk of an accident happening.

Because of the number of potentially responsible parties involved, truck accident litigation can get extremely complex very quickly. If the accident is catastrophic — which is often the case with commercial vehicles — proving negligence will get even more nuanced. Trucking companies and others on the above list do not have your best interests in mind and will often try to get out of paying what they rightfully owe. These companies are armed with attorneys and resources and will usually do everything they can to avoid paying you compensation.

Your best course of action after a major truck accident is to find an experienced truck accident attorney. Rodriguez & Associates has decades of experience handling truck accident cases, and our expertise covers not just engineering and legal issues but also the day-to-day details for truckers that can lead to accidents. Our Bakersfield personal injury attorneys are skilled at identifying and acquiring crucial pieces of evidence, too, including driver logs and trucking company records.

Please reach out to us today to discuss your case and receive support by filling out our online form or calling (661) 323-1400.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 2:52 pm

What to Look for When Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

In truck accidents, it’s usually those inside the passenger vehicles that get the worst injuries. This is because commercial trucking vehicles like semi-trucks, which are on average 72 feet long and weigh 80,000 pounds, cause so much more destruction than your typical sedan. Drivers of smaller vehicles are therefore much more vulnerable.

Since multiple parties can be held responsible in a truck accident, including the driver, trucking company, or parts manufacturers, you may be able to claim compensation for your injuries if you are involved in a truck crash. To do that, it is best to find an experienced Bakersfield truck accident lawyer that has your best interests at heart.

As you search for the right attorney, you will ideally find a person with the following characteristics:

Experience With Truck Accident Cases

Your attorney should have at least some experience handling truck accident cases. This is a complex area of personal injury litigation, and your attorney needs to know how to properly investigate the case as well as the many state and federal laws that will be involved. Truck insurance companies almost always try to avoid paying what they owe to a victim, and a good truck accident attorney will be able to anticipate this and fight back with your best interests in mind.

Resources and Accessibility

Some firms take on so many cases they aren’t able to give each individual one the attention it deserves. That can potentially hurt your chances of claiming as much compensation as you deserve. The ideal attorney will have enough resources to be able to manage your case and provide additional staff to help respond to your calls and emails around the clock. It is never a good sign if you cannot get in touch with your attorney’s office or get a response to a question.

Positive Customer Feedback

No attorney wins every case, but you can get a sense of how competent this person is by paying attention to what others are saying. Look for online reviews about your prospective attorney to determine how easy they’ll be to work with. You want someone who is available, empathetic, detail-oriented, and can make you feel at ease during a stressful situation. If reviews suggest otherwise, you might want to look elsewhere for your attorney.

Awards and Honors

Top lawyers are usually on “Best of” lists. An attorney’s website and LinkedIn profile should list local and national recognition, along with that person’s participation in community organizations and pro-bono activities. An added bonus is if the attorney has won an award for multiple years in a row.

Though it might feel a little overwhelming to start your search for a truck accident attorney, remember that the more work you put into finding your ideal person, the better your case result is likely to be. Truck accidents are physically and emotionally traumatic events. You can improve your changes of compensation by working with the right person.

Rodriguez & Associates has decades of experience handling truck accident cases. Our knowledge covers not just engineering and legal issues, but also the day-to-day details for truckers that can lead to accidents. We are skilled at identifying and acquiring crucial pieces of evidence, too, including driver logs and trucking company records.

Please reach out to us today to discuss your case and receive support by filling out our online form or calling (661) 323-1400.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 2:17 pm