Have you or someone you love been injured in a Long Beach truck accident due to truck driver negligence? These accidents are occurring too frequently across the state, particularly in a city that is as congested as Long Beach. Nonetheless, truck drivers know that the size of their trucks and the difficulties they have in seeing other motorists and maneuvering their large rigs mean they need to take extra precautions. If the truck driver was at fault for your accident, you may be entitled to compensation.

When a truck driver is careless or negligent, it’s almost always the drivers and passengers in smaller vehicles who suffer the most. That high risk is why commercial truck drivers need to get a special commercial driver’s license, or CDL. Part of this driver training includes learning how to follow Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. Long Beach truck drivers and the companies that employ them have an obligation to use the utmost care to safeguard others on our Long Beach streets and freeways.

The best way to know if you can receive compensation for your injuries and property loss is to contact the Long Beach personal injury lawyers of OnderLaw as soon as possible. You can set up a free, no-obligation consultation through our website.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer? Why Choose OnderLaw?

Commercial truck companies must comply with FMCSA insurance requirements based on weight, type of truck, and what type of cargo their trucks carry. For example, a truck carrying household goods won’t need as much insurance coverage as an oil tanker.

Many trucking companies will “self-insure,” at least wholly or partly, to save money. This means that they pay more out of pocket in an accident, as they are their own insurance company. It also means that instead of negotiating with a separate insurance company for a settlement, you could be negotiating with the trucking company, the ones who hurt you. Since they are paying money out of their own pockets, they will try to pay you as little as possible.

It’s absolutely critical that you are on as even a playing field as possible with these trucking companies. They will have their own investigators. At OnderLaw, we have decades of experience in collecting evidence. We can engage experts to recreate accident scenes and know what police reports to request. We also know how to find safety records on the company and the driver.

Sometimes a Long Beach truck accident may not be the driver’s fault but happened because of a faulty part or poorly installed piece of equipment on the truck. In these cases, the manufacturer or repair shop could be partly or wholly responsible. Our experienced Long Beach truck accident attorneys would conduct a thorough investigation into manufacturer complaints and defects and access repair records to help build a case against them.

If you speak to the trucking company’s representative or their insurance adjuster, they may try to get you to say that you were partly at fault. For example, they may ask you how long you were sitting in the truck driver’s blind spot, implying that you should have moved away more quickly. This is important because, in California, at-fault drivers are responsible for paying for the losses or damages of injured parties. If there is evidence that you were even partly at fault, the amount of compensation you could potentially receive will be reduced in proportion to your fault.

Once these trucking and insurance companies know that you have hired an experienced Long Beach truck accident attorney, they are often much more willing to settle. At OnderLaw, we make it clear that if we can’t come to a just and fair amount of compensation for your injuries and property damage, we will file a personal injury lawsuit and are willing to take our case to the courts.

If we do file a lawsuit on your behalf, time is of the essence, as the statute of limitations in California for filing personal injury lawsuits is typically two years from the date of the accident.

Causes of Truck Accidents

According to the California Highway Patrol, even though California saw slightly fewer deaths in 2017 compared to 2016 from truck driver negligence, injuries from such crashes increased over that same 12-month period, numbering 2,967 in 2017.

Truck drivers are guilty of many of the same careless driving behaviors as irresponsible passenger vehicle drivers:

  • Reckless driving – speeding, failure to heed a traffic sign or light, changing lanes without checking blind spots, driving too fast or carelessly in bad weather
  • Driver fatigue
  • Driving under the influence – drugs, alcohol, prescription medication, sleeping pills
  • Distracted driving
  • Fast braking – not allowing enough braking time and distance can cause the truck to rear-end the vehicle in front and cause the vehicle behind to run under the truck. These underride accidents are typically severe and commonly fatal.

Additionally, trucks need far more room when turning a corner than a typical motor vehicle. If the truck driver doesn’t give adequate notice of his intent to turn with a turn signal, or if there is not a warning placard on the truck, other drivers may not be able to stop in time to give the truck driver the room they need and can get hit or knocked off the road.

Mechanical failures, improperly loading and securing cargo, and defects and improper maintenance and inspections can also cause serious accidents. These are potential causes:

  • Brake failures
  • Steering malfunctions
  • Worn or improperly inflated tires, causing blowouts
  • Too-heavy or uneven cargo loads

Common Injuries Suffered in Long Beach Truck Accidents

It can take truck accident victims months, even years, to recover from their injuries, and some suffer from permanent disabilities or disfigurement.

Common injuries include:

  • Broken bones
  • Whiplash
  • Head injuries, from mild concussions to serious traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Internal injuries, such as internal bleeding or organ damage
  • Muscle strains, sprains, or bruising
  • Burns
  • Spinal and neck injuries, some causing temporary or permanent paralysis
  • Crush injuries

Some limbs may be so severely hurt, such as in a crush injury, that they need to be amputated.

For many Long Beach families, even taking a brief period of unpaid leave for medical recovery can be financially stressful. Paying for injuries that weren’t your fault is unfair, and you deserve to be compensated for your losses and your suffering caused by a truck driver’s negligence.

Who Is Responsible?

One reason to get your free consultation with OnderLaw is that it isn’t always the Long Beach truck driver who is negligent. It could be another party entirely or a combination of parties. Only a fair and thorough investigation will find all of those responsible.

The trucking company employing the driver could be responsible for inadequate or improper driver training or not properly maintaining the truck. The companies also have a legal responsibility to hire competent and qualified drivers. If we can prove they are negligent in their hiring practices, we can hold them accountable for your Long Beach truck accident.

In addition to improper truck maintenance, some examples of trucking company negligence include:

  • Hiring an inexperienced driver, or one without the proper CDL for that cargo
  • Not conducting a background check or hiring a driver despite a poor driving record
  • Forcing or encouraging their truck drivers to exceed the federally mandated Hours of Service (HOS) they are allowed to drive each day or not letting drivers take mandatory breaks
  • Not having the required FMCSA electronic logbooks in their trucks

Other possibilities include:

  • Truck manufacturer, if the truck had a defective part
  • Repair shop, if the truck was recently serviced in an incompetent manner

Cargo handlers or loaders of the truck involved in your accident may also be held liable if the cargo was improperly loaded or secured. Cargo personnel must load each truck and trailer in accordance with FMCSA rules governing cargo weight and balance. Failure to follow these rules can result in tires blowing out or increase stopping distances. If they don’t properly secure the cargo, shifting cargo weight can fall in the roadway, or cause the truck driver to lose control.

Compensation for a Long Beach Truck Accident Claim

You could receive compensation to reimburse you for your past, current, and future medical expenses. An experienced Long Beach truck accident attorney may also pursue compensation for lost wages. If you are permanently unable to work, or can no longer work at your previous level, you may receive compensation for lost future earning potential.

You should also receive compensation for your vehicle repairs or loss and any items of value in it that were damaged in the crash. Depending on the facts of your case, we may also pursue compensation for emotional or mental health issues, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and spousal companionship.

California and Long Beach Truck Accident Statistics

It’s no secret that I-405 is one of the busiest and most-traveled freeways in California. Traffic congestion means truck drivers need to be constantly alert for slowing or stopped traffic. Long Beach Freeway, or I-710, is also a prime spot for truck accidents since it’s the principal route to the port.

According to California Highway Patrol 2017 statistics, most injury accidents in the state that involved large trucks occurred when the truck was simply moving straight. The second most frequent cause was when the truck was stopped. The other top activities right before accidents included:

  • Making a left turn
  • Changing lanes
  • Slowing or stopping
  • Making a right turn

With thousands upon thousands of vehicles on Long Beach’s busiest streets each day, especially Lakewood Boulevard, 2nd Street, Bellflower Boulevard, Cherry Avenue, and Anaheim Street, it puts Long Beach drivers at risk if the truck drivers are not exercising extreme caution.

Don’t Wait – Call Today

At OnderLaw, you never pay a dime until you get compensation. You have nothing to lose by setting up your free consultation through our website or by calling us so we can review your case. Focus on your recovery, and let us do the rest.