It’s always appropriate to worry when motor vehicles collide. However, the level of worry should grow exponentially when a big rig, semi-truck, or 18-wheeler is involved- and for good reason. Commercial trucks, often weighing over 100,000 pounds, present great risk to motorists in and around Riverside in a collision because of the massive weight and size difference when compared to normal motor vehicles. These crashes also often take place on roads like highways that have higher speeds than city streets, meaning higher crash and impact velocity and greater damage. The risks associated with trucking mean responsible behavior by motorists, truck drivers, trucking companies, and manufacturers should be paramount; unfortunately, this is often not the case and accidents result. If you or a loved one were hurt during a collision involving a commercial truck, contact an experienced Riverside Truck Accident Attorney to learn if you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Truck Accidents in Riverside
Riverside, a growing town of over 326,000 residents, is sandwiched between the massive 15, the 91, and 215 freeways. The city is also the largest town in the third-busiest commercial trucking county in California, which reports an average of 2.1 million miles are logged by large commercial trucks in the county each day. Many of their routes pass by and through Riverside, so trucks are a constant presence and local motorists and passengers are exposed to the risk of collision every time they travel the roads.
More than 4,200 people were killed in commercial truck accidents nationwide in 2017. 2,119 people were killed or injured in traffic collisions in Riverside in 2017 alone; many as a result of commercial truck accidents. This puts motorists and their passengers at serious risk for injury or death every time they get on the road in the area. Just last year, a man was killed when his pickup truck collided with a semi-truck on Buena Vista Avenue in Riverside.
Do Commercial Truck Drivers and Trucking Companies Owe Me a Duty of Care?
Commercial trucks like big rigs pose a risk to all other motorists in standard vehicles due to their large size disparity. To help mitigate the risk to others, the government passed laws regulating the conduct of both commercial truck drivers and trucking companies. These rules govern driver behavior, outline truck safety procedures, and regulate hazardous material transportation and insurance coverage. Rules deal with issues such as:
- Driving under the influence
- Commercial driver licensing procedures
- Truck maintenance and safety inspections
- Limiting driver hours on the road and mandating rest break periods.
In addition to federal regulations, California has enacted additional regulations at state level that further restrict truck driver behavior and regulate safe operating procedures. For example, a state law requires commercial truck drivers to operate their vehicles on highways at a speed limit lower than the posted speed limit for non-commercial vehicles.
Can I Win My Truck Accident Case?
In California, personal injury victims usually seek compensation by filing a lawsuit for damages and arguing they were hurt by someone’s negligence. To prove negligence, you must usually show that:
- A defendant owed you a duty of care,
- Breached it through an act or omission, and
- The breach caused you injury.
If you can demonstrate this, a defendant is usually liable for your injuries. Another way to establish liability in California is through negligence per se – proving someone injured you while violating a rule, law, or regulation to promote public safety creates a presumption they acted negligently. This can include traffic laws such as speeding or distracted driving.
How Much is My Truck Injury Case Worth?
It’s natural to wonder how much you can recover for injuries from a tragic, avoidable big rig truck accident. If you can show someone’s negligence caused your harm, you may be entitled to damages as compensation. The nature of commercial truck accidents, usual occurrence on highways at high speeds, and vehicle size disparity often results in life-changing, catastrophic harm to victims lucky enough to survive. You may face monumental medical bills, a need for long-term or lifetime care, and even a temporary or permanent inability to return to work.
The government understands this potential impact on victims and has created insurance requirements to make sure trucking companies can pay large damage awards. Currently, every commercial truck must carry liability insurance coverage of least $750,000, and if it ever carries hazardous material the minimum coverage skyrockets to $5 million.
If you have been able to prove you were hurt by someone’s negligence in a big rig accident, you may be entitled to an damage award to make you whole for physical, emotional, mental, psychological, and even financial harms you can prove resulted from the incident. You may be able to recover for injuries including:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Lost future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of consortium
Sometimes you may be entitled to an additional damage award from the court to punish a defendant’s particularly egregious behavior and discourage repetition of the conduct by them or others. Because punitive damages are discretionary and awards may be large, you must satisfy a high threshold of proof before you’re eligible to receive them. The difficulty of satisfying the burden of proof as well as proving a defendant’s state of mind are best handled by a skilled Riverside truck accident lawyer.
Contact an Attorney
If you or a loved one were hurt in a crash involving any type of commercial truck, you know firsthand how devastating they can be to many areas of your life. Don’t do without the compensation you deserve that can help your physical, emotional, and financial recovery; contact the skilled Riverside truck accident attorneys at Walton Law, APC to put your best foot forward in your case today. Our attorneys have spent years delivering comprehensive, aggressive representation for victims like you and secured millions in damages for their injuries. Contact us 24/7 at (866)-338-7079 or through our online contact page to schedule a risk free, no obligation initial consultation today. The confidential evaluation is free, and you pay nothing until we win your case. Let our highly skilled attorneys review the unique facts of your situation and fight for the best possible outcome on your behalf.