In California there are many thousands of miles of roadway throughout the state. Many of these roads are interstates such as the I-5, the I-405 and the I-10. Other major roadways throughout the state are those such as Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and neighborhood surface streets. All of these roads have the capability to become congested due to heavy traffic. They also all have the power to cause serious injury and sometimes death if a commercial vehicle or trucking accident is involved. The trucking accident attorneys at The Cifarelli Law Firm are experienced in handling all types of automobile accidents, including tractor trailer truck accidents. The Cifarelli Law Firm has many years of experience handling tractor trailer accidents in California and has the skill, knowledge and resources in order to obtain fair and just compensation you are entitled to based on the severity of your injuries.
If you, a family member or loved one have been hurt, injured or killed in a trucking accident it is wise for you to call The Cifarelli Law Firm located in Los Angeles, California. Call (949) 502-8600. Free consultations are offered to truck accident victims and their families.
Serious Trucking Accidents
Personal Injury Attorney Thomas A. Cifarelli and his staff serve those injured throughout Orange County and all the state of California. This includes Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Diego County, Riverside County and San Bernadino County. The Cifarelli Law Firm is devoted entirely to auto accident, commercial vehicle and personal injury litigation. They are very knowledgeable in the details and subtleties surrounding large truck accidents, types of trucking accidents and injuries obtained from a tractor trailer accident. Additionally, they are exceedingly aware of the physical, emotional and financial devastation a California trucking accident may possibly cause.
The Accident Lawyers at The Cifarelli Law Firm, located in Irvine, competently handle all types of tractor trailer accidents including:
Blind Spots Accidents: On roads, highways and interstates in California a car or passenger vehicle can easily spot a commercial vehicle, delivery vehicle or tractor trailer. On the other hand, tractor trailer drivers and truck drivers often fail to see cars, smaller trucks and motorcycles while driving on the road. Large commercial trucks such as semi-trucks and 18-wheelers have deep, extensive blind spots on all sides which make it easy to forget about or fail to spot cars and motorcycles that share the same roads. Frequently during a lane shift an accident can occur because the trucker did not see the vehicle in his blind spot. Trucking accidents caused by blind spots can often inflict disastrous or fatal injuries to the driver and passengers inside the car that was hit.
It’s vital to remember when driving and sharing the road with truckers, if you cannot see the truck drivers face in their side mirror they cannot see you. Additionally, the driver of a tractor trailer or 18-wheeler has 3 blind spots to contend with when operating their vehicle:
- Side Blind Spots – A right side blind spot on the tractor trailer runs the length of the trailer and extends out three lanes. Overall, the larger the truck, the larger the blind spot. Because of this, it’s essential for motorists to pass trucks on the left side. The blind spot on the left side extends from directly behind the cab the span of the trailer. Truckers expect cars to pass on the left side. The driver of a car may think a trucker sees him until the truck tries to merge into the lane where the car is located and it’s too late. The occupants of passenger vehicles are more than 15 times more likely to be killed than truck occupants in crashes involving cars and large trucks.
- Front Blind Spots – The truck driver is seated much higher in tractor trailers because they have elevated cabs unlike other vehicles. Many drivers of automobiles assume the truck driver has a better view of the road because they sit much higher. This is incorrect information. Blind spots are created in front of the truck because of this. A car situated too close to the front of a truck can be overlooked by the tractor trailer driver as the truck’s hood may block the view of the car.
- Rear Blind Spots – Truck drivers are prevented from seeing directly behind the truck because the trailer of a tractor trailer blocks the rearview mirror. The truck driver cannot see the motor vehicle if a motorist is following behind a truck too closely because it’s in a blind spot of the truck. It’s imperative to keep a good distance far enough back so the truck driver can see your vehicle in their side-view mirrors.
Tanker Truck Accidents: Tractor trailers or semi-truck involved accidents are nearly always devastating due to their size and weight. Tanker trucks that carry fuel, oil and other flammable liquids have the ability to catch fire and explode on impact. Tanker truck involved accidents with flammable liquids pose additional threats. They can burn at excessive temperatures. They can melt, destroy or compromise the structural integrity of roadway structures, bridges and overpasses. Another issue involving a tanker truck is if the truck is not filled a certain amount, there is a risk of it overturning or jack-knifing because of the weight shifting around upon the trucks movement. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a California tanker truck accident, it is wise to contact a Tanker Truck Accident Attorney regarding your case.
Liquid Cargo Causing an Accident
Because the liquid cargo cannot be secured or tied down like other types of cargo can be, there are a variety of risks that may contribute to an accident. The liquid is splashing around inside if the tanker is under-filled and makes for a constant weight shift of the large vehicle. An accident can happen because the vehicle is unstable while being driven. This has come to be known as “the slosh factor” based on the studies conducted regarding these types of accidents.
Unsecured Cargo Accidents: A tractor trailer with unsecured cargo or overloaded with goods can often cause a trucking accident. If the trucks cargo load is not balanced correctly, the load may shift during transport and the truck driver could lose control of the large vehicle. Also, debris could fall onto the roadway causing an accident of many different levels. Serious trucking accidents may also be caused by improper loading of a truck or trailer. Wood, trash, rocks or any other cargo falling from the truck is typically the result of poor loading procedures. Debris falling off into traffic lanes is most often the result of incorrect loading of cargo and can cause major risks on the roads and freeways. Tie-downs used the wrong way are a common cause of unsecured cargo accidents. An accident can also be caused by unsecured objects, cargo or equipment left in the bed of a truck as it can fall out onto the road. For a truck driver to safely haul its cargo and avoid any type of accident or accidents, proper load weight and balance distribution of freight are crucial.
Override Accidents: Override accidents happen when a vehicle is one way or another forced underneath the trailer of an 18-wheeler. The truck literally rides over the car in front of it. Without the front end of the car to absorb any impact from collision these accidents are often disastrous for the occupants of the vehicle. A tractor trailer override accident in California can be caused by several factors. A number of contributors for accidents of these types can be bad weather, slippery or hazardous roads. Inattentive drivers, driving recklessly or poorly maintained vehicles are other possible causes. Those also at risk for causing an override truck accident are drivers who drive longer than they are supposed to in an effort to log additional hours or reach their destination on time.
Underride Accidents: Underride accidents occur when a passenger vehicle crashes into and penetrates below or “underrides” the rear or side of a large truck or trailer and the top of the car is crushed or ripped off. The occupants may undergo severe head trauma or may even be decapitated. There is an extremely high fatality rate with these types of accidents, even at relatively low speeds. Even if the driver and passengers survive this type of crash, permanent and life altering injuries can result. Underride accidents in California can be caused by many things, however most can be avoided. Paying attention to the road while driving and not following too close behind a truck are ways to avoid these devastating accidents. It is very important to allow for a considerable brake distance as well as having a properly maintained vehicle. Inattentive driving, improper speeds or driving an unsafe distance from the vehicle in front of drivers causes the vast majority of rear-end accidents. Also, the driver in front may cause an accident by making an unsafe lane change.
Jack-Knife Accidents: The many thousands of miles of roadways in California allow travelers and vehicles access all over the entire state. Many of these vehicles are tractor trailers (semi-trucks), big rigs and 18-wheelers. Because of their size, an extraordinary amount of damage and destruction can be caused if they are involved in an accident. A ‘jack-knife’ accident is one type of trucking accident. This kind of accident occurs when a tractor trailer has folded at some stage during a skid. The name implies it resembles a folding pocketknife. A jack-knife accident is a direct outcome of the cab part of the vehicle skidding while towing a trailer. This causes the trailer to push from behind and forces it to spin around and face backwards.
Intoxicated Truck Driver Accidents: California has several other states bordering it to the east and to the north. There is a lot of traffic on its roads, highways and interstates. Many out of state tractor trailers go through southern California on a daily basis because the I-5 interstate, the I-405 interstate and other major roads run through Orange County, Los Angeles County and San Diego County. Some truck drivers are under extreme pressure to meet deadlines and have their cargo arrive on time to their final destinations. To meet deadlines and deal with this pressure some drivers sometimes rely on drugs and or alcohol. It is extremely dangerous and illegal to operate a vehicle while drunk or under other substances. It is more dangerous and possibly deadly if an 18-wheeler or commercial vehicle is being operated by a driver that is intoxicated, buzzed or drunk in comparison to a car being driven by a drunk driver, although both can be disastrous.
If a driver was intoxicated and caused a trucking accident, it’s possible there were a variety of different drugs they may have taken. They could have been drunk due to alcohol consumption. If a driver consumed prescription pills such as painkillers, opiates or anti-anxiety medications it’s possible this could be the cause for intoxication. Sadly, it is common drivers buy these narcotics from illegal sources and do not have a legal prescription for them. If they do have a prescription it’s important to determine if the drug was taken at or above the prescribed dosage. It is common today that truck drivers use street drugs. Marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine and crack cocaine are typical street drugs involved in tractor trailer or commercial vehicle accidents. Because of the pressure the driver is sometimes under to arrive at his or her final destination at a specific time, the use of speed, methamphetamines and some over the counter stimulants are also commonly involved in trucking accidents.
Driver Fatigue Related Truck Accidents: It is common that accidents occur each year because there are so many miles of roadways in the state of California. Some reasons that may cause Tractor Trailer Accidents are drivers experiencing stress, lack of sleep and pure exhaustion. Extreme pressure to meet deadlines for delivering cargo to their destinations on time can be very stressful for drivers. Some drivers may rely on drugs or alcohol to help them cope and maintain under the pressures to meet required deadlines. Drivers experiencing this pressure may drive faster, but may also be fatigued in the meantime. That is a deadly combination. To drive a vehicle while intoxicated is illegal and extremely dangerous. It is more dangerous and deadly to drive an 18-wheeler or commercial vehicle while intoxicated, buzzed or drunk.
Several fatal trucking accidents occur each year because of driver fatigue. Driver fatigue is defined as the driver feeling exhausted and or sleepy while driving a vehicle. Most commercial vehicle drivers have deadlines to meet and work extremely long hours along with having to adhere to very rushed schedules. This helps to explain why driver fatigue heavily contributes to trucking and commercial vehicle accidents so often. Judgment and reaction time of a truck driver can also be weakened because of driver fatigue. This can advance the dangers of driving while fatigued.
Driver fatigue has common symptoms that may include yawning, an inability to concentrate, swerving on the road, tired eyes, decreased reaction time, drowsiness and restlessness. Also, having the feeling of irritability, speeding and feeling the need to take stimulants to stay awake are other possibilities.
Poorly Maintained Vehicle Accidents: Accidents of this kind can be caused by tire blowouts, brake failure and broken speedometers. Serious injury or death can occur in the event of an accident if a commercial vehicle such as a large tractor trailer is not properly maintained.
An accident can be the result when a tire blows out while the vehicle is driving down the road. A manufacturing defect is sometimes the reason for the tire to blow out on the road. Another reason could be the driver failing to properly maintain their vehicle and its tires. Determining the cause allows for benefits and compensation to be obtained for those injured and who are entitled.
Running over objects or debris in the road, driving on balding tires, having a poorly maintained truck, manufacturer design flaws, defective and hazardous roadways are possible causes of a tire blowout accident in California.
Injuries of various levels can be caused by a tire blow out accident. These injuries can be emotional, physical as well as devastating. The car with the exploding tire can easily lose control and crash into another vehicle or vehicles. Other vehicles on the road may also react quickly and swerve or abruptly change lanes in order to avoid contact with any other vehicle. A tire blowout is common to cause multiple car accidents.
The Importance of an Investigation Following a Truck Accident
If ever involved in an Orange County truck accident it is very important a thorough and complete investigation be conducted immediately following the accident. Regardless of who or what caused the accident it is absolutely necessary an investigation be conducted from a legal standpoint in order to uncover any and all liable parties. This will help ensure that you get any and all medical benefits and compensation to which you are entitled to per California personal injury law, as your case progresses.
Trucking companies as well as their insurance carriers typically send investigation teams out to the accident site immediately following the accident. It is their sole purpose to locate and secure evidence on behalf of the trucking company. They will need to support the truck driver’s side of the story regarding the accident details and how it occurred so this is done almost immediately after the accident. Each version of the story may differ greatly. Your attorney should hire an investigator to go out and find evidence that supports your version of the story in regards to the accident and how it happened.
Following the accident, make sure you do not offer or give any oral or written statements regarding your accident to anyone representing the trucking company. The outcome of your trucking accident lawsuit claim may be compromised in doing so. The benefits and compensation you could potentially receive may be impacted if your claim is jeopardized in any way. Do not speak with anyone you are approached by that represents the trucking company, their interests or their insurance company, under any circumstances.
Experience Matters in Trucking Accident Claims
Mr. Cifarelli and his staff work closely with subject matter experts when handling a California truck accident case as well as the accident investigation. They prioritize and will do everything in their power to determine who is at fault and make sure that person or corporate entity is liable in the courtroom. Once retained Mr. Cifarelli will recreate the accident scene if necessary. He will determine not only who caused the accident but what may have caused the accident such as the driver being intoxicated or debris flying from the truck. In an effort to determine the full amount of your claim and get you the compensation and benefits you are entitled to, all these steps will be done.
Contact a California Trucking Accident Lawyer