Category Archives: Truck Accidents

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

Truck Driver Fatigue is a Leading Cause of Crashes

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Some of the most devastating vehicle crashes are those that involve large commercial trucks. And one of the main causes of such crashes is driver fatigue. When those behind the wheel of a semi-truck, big rig, or other large commercial truck are fatigued or drowsy, they substantially increase the risk of causing a major accident. Many of those accidents are fatal.

In 2018, the most recent year for data, 4,951 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks in California. Of that number, 71 percent were occupants of other vehicles. 

Any person who drives while feeling fatigued increases their risk of causing an accident. Because of their size (the average semi-truck weighs 80,000 pounds and is 70 to 80 feet long), large commercial trucks can cause devastating damage to both property and lives if they are involved in a crash. Given that, truckers who drive while fatigued or exhausted take an inherently risky situation and make it even more dangerous. 

There are a few common causes of truck driver fatigue:

Driving for too long. Truck drivers in the U.S. are required by law to follow Hours of Service regulations. These stipulate how long they are allowed to drive and when they must take breaks.

Drivers carrying property (e.g., supplies, furniture, etc.) are legally allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They may do so after having 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time.

Although driving hours are supposed to be monitored and enforced by electronic logs, drivers often go beyond these limits in order to meet a deadline. Trucking companies may not necessarily enforce the rules set down by Hours of Service regulations. Finally, even when a trucker follows the 11-hour maximum, they are still driving for an extremely long stretch of time and are at risk of extreme fatigue. 

Irregular driving schedules and inadequate sleep. Truckers don’t have schedules that follow a pattern of regular days and hours. Instead, they might work long stretches at a time that are then followed by lengthy periods off duty. Because of this, their sleeping patterns may be inconsistent, degrading the level of rest they actually get. For some, these irregular hours also make sleep more difficult, which can lead to fatigue over time. Over-the-counter sleep aids can increase this problem since they cause drowsiness that may not immediately wear off upon waking. 

Substance use. Substance use and abuse among truck drivers is a serious problem, with many drivers turning to “uppers” like amphetamines to stay awake during their long shifts. Unfortunately, one of the side-effects of such drugs is that they can cause extreme fatigue once they wear off, putting both the truck driver and others on the road at risk.

Unrealistic expectations. Some truck drivers feel enormous pressure from their trucking company or subcontractor to meet very tight deadlines. These deadlines do not always factor in traffic delays, weather problems, and other incidences on the road. Because of that, delivery deadlines can become unrealistic and force truckers to work longer hours than normal without breaks.  

Any of these things can lead to poor decision-making, delayed reactions, shorter attention spans, and even more aggressive behavior on the part of the truck driver or their trucking company. 

If you are involved in a truck accident, proving driver fatigue and negligence will be easier with the help of an experienced truck accident attorney. Rodriguez & Associates can assist you in navigating this complex area of litigation as you seek compensation for damages. 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 9:06 pm

Critical Evidence After a Truck Accident

Monday, June 28, 2021

Truck accidents are physically and emotionally devastating events for those involved. Because of their size, commercial trucking vehicles tend to cause more destruction than a regular car would, so the risk of serious injury or even death goes up in a truck accident. In 2018, the most recent year for data, 5,096 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes according to the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration

Even when truck accidents do not cause fatalities, they can cause serious injuries with life-long consequences, not to mention damage to private property and mental pain and suffering.

If you are injured in a truck accident and plan on making a claim for damages, you will need to be able to prove the truck driver or another third party, such as the trucking company, was negligent. From there, you will have to show that this negligence directly caused the accident and your injury.

The best way to do that is to have ample evidence. Here are some pieces you need to be sure of collecting in the aftermath of an accident with a truck. 

Accident reports. Police create an official report of the accident when they arrive on the scene. Get and keep a copy of this report for your own records. The trucking company will usually send a certified truck inspector who will examine the vehicle before it gets removed from the scene. This person will check for things like a manufacturing defect, low tread on the tires, or other potential factors in the accident related to the truck itself. Obtain a copy of their report as well.

Electronic logs. Federal law requires all truck drivers to follow Hours of Service regulations. These rules stipulate how long they are allowed to drive and when they must take breaks. Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) automatically record this information and transmit it to the carrier. The point of these logs is to precisely record whether a trucker is keeping to their Hours of Service regulations or not. If they are not and cause an accident, these logs will be essential to your case.

Photos and witness statements. Take pictures at the scene of the accident: your vehicle, the truck, close-ups of the damage, tire or skid marks on the road, and any other visuals that could be relevant. It is also important to document cuts, burns, and other injuries. At the same time, have nearby witnesses give statements via video or written testimonials.

Evidence requested in a spoliation letter. Your attorney may send a spoliation letter. This document requests that all evidence related to the accident be preserved. That includes truck inspection reports, the truck driver’s qualifications and driving records, dispatch instructions, weigh station and loading dock reports, and the aforementioned driving logs. 

Any of this evidence will be easier to get with the help of an experienced truck accident attorney. At Rodriguez & Associates, our Bakersfield personal injury lawyers can assist you in navigating this complex area of personal injury litigation as you seek compensation for damages. 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 5:13 pm