Making deliveries and hauling cargo, big rig trucks are a common daily sight on roadways around Menifee. These massive vehicles weigh over 100,000 pounds and dwarf regular cars, SUVs, trucks, and motorcycles on the road. These big rigs, along with other commercial trucks like semi-trucks and 18-wheelers, pose serious risks to everyone they encounter on the road. Any collision between vehicles of such difference sizes can cause catastrophic injuries or fatalities and so are cause for grave concern. The accidents that occur at higher speeds on highways, however, make up the majority of big rig accident locations – causing much greater damage to human life and property. These risks mean truckers and everyone in their industry need to take extra precautions when operating these vehicles; however, this is unfortunately not always the case. If you were injured by a big rig, contact an experienced Menifee Big Rig Truck Accident Attorney to learn if you may be entitled to compensation.
Risk Factors for Big Rig Truck Accidents in Menifee
The risk of being involved in a big rig truck accident in a suburban town of 93,000 like Menifee may seem remote. However, thinking you’re not at risk would be a mistake. Menifee is a heavy commuter town with many residents traveling the busy 15 and 215 freeways to the Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego metro areas. Even non-commuters find themselves using these roads and city streets daily. Major highways around Menifee pose a greater risk to motorists due to the higher speed limits; studies show even a 5 mile per hour speed limit increase corresponds to an 8 percent fatality increase when accidents do occur.
Additionally, Menifee is also located in bustling Riverside County, making it the third-busiest commercial trucking County in California. The Department of Motor Vehicles has over 5,600,000 registered commercial trucks in California on record that log over 24.8 billion miles annually, and big rigs in Riverside County average over 2,100,000 daily miles annually on its interstates. This means that even though California has a law that big rigs observe a lower speed limit than other motor vehicles on the highways, there is still a very large accident risk for motorists in and around Menifee.
Proving Liability in Big Rig Truck Accidents
To recover for their injuries, big rig truck accident victims often file lawsuits arguing their injuries were caused by a driver, trucking company, or manufacturer’s negligence. Usually to prove negligence, victims argue someone owed them a legal duty of care, breached it through an act or omission, and that breach caused their harm. However, negligence per se is another way for victims to show a defendant acted negligently. If someone broke a law or regulation meant to protect people and caused the victim’s harm – including a traffic law like speeding – they’re presumed negligent. It can be helpful to examine traffic cameras, police and eyewitness reports, and evidence like skid marks at the scene to determine if a traffic law was broken.
Federal and state laws were put in place to regulate the behavior of big rig drivers and trucking companies to mitigate the risks they pose to other motorists and their passengers. The federal government regulates truck maintenance, safety inspections, commercial truck driver licensing, hazardous material transportation, sets hour limits that big rig truckers may operate, and mandates rest break periods for drivers during their shifts. California has gone one step further and put additional restrictions on truck drivers, such as requiring they must operate their vehicles under a speed limit that is even lower than the limit for regular motor vehicles.
How Much Can I Recover?
Damages are a major issue in big rig truck accidents anywhere. The nature of these collisions and size difference in vehicles means fatalities are common and those lucky enough to live must often deal with catastrophic medical expenses, a need for lifelong care or treatment, or permanent disability. Because of this, the federal government took steps to make sure negligent defendants will be financially solvent to pay large damage awards. Every commercial truck must currently carry at minimum $750,000 liability insurance coverage. That coverage amount skyrockets to $5 million per vehicle for every commercial truck that ever transports hazardous materials.
Once negligence is established, a wrongdoer is liable for their victim’s proven injuries. You may recover damages for concrete injuries that can be established through evidence like receipts and bills. The court may also award compensatory damages to make you whole for physical, emotional, and psychological trauma suffered due to the accident. It’s common to see courts award compensation for injuries like:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral expenses or burial costs
Sometimes, a defendant’s particularly vile or reprehensible behavior can result in the court awarding a victim additional damages to punish the behavior and deter its repetition. Punitive damage awards can be large, but they are difficult to receive. Victims must satisfy a high burden of proof, and both whether damages are awarded as well as the amount are entirely up to the judge or jury’s discretion. The potential for costly legal missteps makes it advisable to work with an experienced Menifee Big Rig Truck Accident Lawyer.
Speak to an Attorney Today
Big rig truck accidents are traumatic, life-changing experiences that wreak havoc nobody expects or deserves. If you or a loved one has been injured in one of these terrifying collisions, contact the experienced Menifee Big Rig Truck Accident Attorneys at Walton Law, APC today to protect your legal rights and get the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys have spent years delivering tailored, dedicated representation for victims like you in and around Menifee and producing results – we’ve secured millions in recovery to help our clients come back from their injuries. Contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (866)-338-7079 or through our online Contact Page to schedule a no risk, no obligation initial consultation today. The evaluation is free, and you do not pay until we win your case. Let our highly skilled attorneys fight to get you the compensation you deserve so you can focus on getting your life back on track.