Massive commercial vehicles like big rigs (also known as semi-trucks), often weighing in at over 100,000 pounds, are commonly seen on roadways in the greater Murrieta area on a daily basis. Despite the obvious difference in size from a standard passenger vehicle, most motorists don’t think about the grave danger negligent operation of these vehicles poses to everyone else on the road. The disparity in size between big rigs and vehicles like cars and motorcycles, combined with the fact most big rig accidents occur on freeways (with higher speed limits and greater crash force), means that any accidents between the two often result in catastrophic injury and often death for individuals not traveling in the big rig.
The high-risk nature of big rig operation means all parties involved should make safety and responsible actions paramount – unfortunately this is not always the case and other motorists pay the price. If you were injured by a big rig, contact an experienced Murrieta Big Rig Truck Accident Attorney to learn if you may be entitled to compensation.
Big Rig Accident Risk Factors in MurrietaIn a town like Murrieta it may seem like the possibility of being injured by a big rig is remote at best. However, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has registered 5.6 million commercial trucks that travel over 24.8 billion miles per year on its roads. The majority of these miles are logged in Southern California around the Murrieta area on the busy 15 and 215 freeways. Riverside County, where Murrieta is located, is the third-busiest county for commercial trucking activity in the entire state with an average of 2.1 million miles logged there each day.
The large number of commercial trucks around Murrieta, combined with the heavy commuter population traveling the freeways from Murrieta to Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego counties each day means motorists in the area are at a great risk to encounter and collide with big rigs. In June 2019, a big rig collided with a car near the 15 and 215 freeway split in Murrieta, injuring one victim and shutting down lanes on the freeway for hours.
How Do I Win My Big Rig Truck Accident Case?Victims may be able to recover damages from someone who negligently caused their injuries; this includes not only the driver of a big rig but trucking companies, repair shops, and manufacturers as well. If you prove a party breached their duty of care to you and caused your injuries, they’ll be liable unless they have a valid defense. Another way to show negligence is by establishing the wrongdoer caused your harm in the course of breaking a law, rule, or regulation – including traffic violations like speeding and running red lights. This creates the presumption of negligence, called negligence per se.
Negligence per se can greatly benefit injury victims, because trucking companies and big rig drivers have a number of additional rules to follow due to the nature of their business. The federal government as well as California have recognized operating big rigs poses great risks to others on the road, so they have passed rules that govern:
- Commercial truck driver licensing,
- Maintenance and safety inspections,
- Hazardous material transportation,
- Impaired driving, and
· Mandatory hour limits and rest breaks for big rig drivers.
At the state level, California has also imposed further in-state regulations, such as the requirement big rigs and other commercial trucks operate at speed even lower than the posted speed limits for normal vehicles on its highways.
How Much Can I Recover?Big rig truck accidents often cause catastrophic injuries or death, so astronomical medical bills, lifelong medical expenses, and permanent disability are common in these cases. The federal government understood the gravity of the situation for victims, so to ensure truckers and trucking companies are financially solvent to pay large damage awards they require every commercial truck, including big rigs, carry a minimum of $750,000 in liability insurance coverage. Also, any truck that ever transport hazardous materials must always carry a minimum of $5 million liability coverage.
Though it won’t ever take away the experience of their accident or the resulting injuries, victims hurt by a defendant’s negligence may be awarded compensatory damages to try and make them whole. Not only will courts award compensation for concrete, verifiable injuries; they may also give damages for emotional and psychological issues stemming from the accident. It’s common to see victims compensated for:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost Wages,
- Property Damage,
- Funeral costs,
- Pain and Suffering,
- Scarring, Disability, and/or Disfigurement, and
- Loss of consortium.
In some cases, circumstances merit an award of additional damages to punish a defendant’s particularly vile or reprehensible conduct. However, punitive damages are difficult to prove and entirely up to the discretion of the judge or jury – both whether there will be an award and in what amount. Navigating the tricky legal landscape of establishing a wrongdoer’s intent is best handled with the help of a seasoned Murrieta Big Rig Truck Accident Lawyer to avoid potentially costly mistakes in your case.
Speak to an Attorney TodayAnyone involved in a big rig truck accident understands the catastrophic injuries and life-changing physical, emotional, and financial consequences that such a big vehicle can deliver in a split second. If you or a loved one were needlessly injured in a collision, contact the experienced Murrieta Big Rig Truck Accident Attorneys at Walton Law, APC today to fight for the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys have spent years providing tailored, aggressive representation for victims like you and recovered millions on their behalf. Contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (866) 338-7079 or through our online Contact Page to schedule a risk free, no obligation case evaluation today. The initial consultation is free and you pay nothing until we win your case. Let our skilled attorneys use our knowledge and resources to secure the best possible outcome for you from an unfortunate, avoidable situation today.