Truck Accidents

Fresno Truck Accident Attorneys

Fighting for the Compensation You Are Owed

Truck drivers carry a higher level of responsibility than other drivers due to the size and weight of the vehicles they operate. Large commercial trucks cause devastating accidents every year in the United States. Weighing as much as 80,000 pounds, these massive vehicles can cause serious havoc. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident involving a semi-truck, we encourage you to contact the Fresno truck accident lawyers at our firm as soon as possible.

Why Choose Our Truck Accident Attorneys?

At Fowler | Helsel | Vogt, our truck accident attorneys are ready to give you the help and legal protection you need if you've suffered injury or lost a loved one in a truck accident. We put our clients first because we understand the vital need to get the best possible compensation available to them. Here are just some reasons why we should be considered for your legal counsel partner:

Contact us by calling (559) 900-1280 today to schedule a consultation with our legal team. 

What Causes Truck Accidents?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is designed to regulate truck drivers and their employers in order to protect others on the road. For example, under FMCSA regulations, truck drivers may not operate their vehicles for longer than 11 hours or 14 hours in total including work that does not involve driving. By ignoring the hours of service regulations, truck drivers put others in serious jeopardy of accidents caused by exhausted driving.

Common causes of trucking accidents include, but are not limited to:

  • Jackknifing - Jackknifing occurs when a truck folds in on itself due to the front of the vehicle rapidly slowing and the trailer behind it still moving at a faster speed. This can be caused by equipment failure, slick weather conditions, and driver error. A jackknifing truck is out of the driver's control and can easily cause a multi-car collision.
  • Tire blowouts - Truck tire blowouts are a common cause of semi-truck accidents, and typically, they are preventable.
  • Drunk Drivers - The BAC for a DUI is much lower for a truck driver. Whereas for non-commercial vehicles the percentage is 0.8%, for semi drivers, it is 0.04%. For drivers under 21, that percentage is just 0.01%.
  • Making unsafe lane changes - It is very important that a semi driver makes slow, predictable lane changes. Truck drivers need to keep an eye out for vehicles passing through their blind spot.
  • Fatigued drivers - Fatigued driving is a very common factor in semi truck accidents.
  • Driving aggressively - A driver who is a bully is a much bigger threat behind the wheel of a large vehicle.
  • Failure to follow rules of the road - Truck drivers are obligated to follow special rules. Truck drivers in CA must use truck lanes when available. There are also speed limit restrictions as well as restrictions on when the driver can drive outside of the far right lane.
  • Improperly secured cargo - Even if someone else has loaded it, the truck driver is responsible for making sure it is correctly secured.
  • Inexperienced drivers - Many trucking companies in CA hire drivers with little to no experience.
  • Texting or talking on the phone while driving - Texting or talking with a phone in hand while driving is not permitted in any vehicle in CA, and it is a very serious traffic violation for a commercial vehicle.
badly damaged car after truck accident

Any of these causes can lead to a devastating highway accident. 

What Impacts Liability In Trucking Accidents?

Negligent actors involved in trucking accidents can include the semi-truck operators, the transportation companies, and even the contracting manufacturers who are responsible for preparing transit loads. Experienced truck accident attorneys always investigate the accident diligently looking for all negligent parties who can be pursued for damages.

All truck accidents are investigated by the California DOT or the local jurisdiction police departments where the accident occurs. Many times, there are multiple agencies that step into action as soon as possible following the fact. While the information found by the government agencies can establish solid facts in the case, many times a trained accident attorney can investigate the accident for evidence that may have been missed by the oversight agencies or evidence that could help show direct negligence and injuries, as a result.

Violation of Federal Trucking Regulations

There are federal regulations set in place to ensure truck drivers, as well as other motorists on the road, stay safe. The main regulations for trucks and truck drivers include:

  • Weight restrictions: There are weight restrictions for trucking companies when it comes to the amount of cargo any given truck can carry. The actual weight will vary depending on the size and weight of the truck and cargo. Many times, trucking companies will overload trucks with extra cargo for convenience.
  • Hours of service: Truck drivers are limited by FMCSA regulations to the number of hours/days they can consecutively drive and the number and length of breaks they are required to take. Fatigue driving, especially within the trucking industry, is one of the most common causes of these accidents when these regulations are not followed.
  • Maintenance checks: There is a certain number of maintenance and inspection checks that trucking companies must adhere to with their vehicles. Unfortunately, these checks are sometimes disregarded by transportation companies for convenience

In most instances, trucking companies are held liable for accidents that involve breaking federal regulations. However, in some instances, the truck driver could be held liable. For example, this would be the case if a driver logged a break that he didn’t take in order to get to his destination quicker. In other cases, the company may insist that the driver skip a break or drive past regulated hours.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation Today!

Handling a truck accident claim can be complicated! Don't try to go it alone. Work with our truck accident attorneys in Fresno who are experienced in these cases if you or a loved one suffered injuries caused by a truck accident due to the negligence of the driver. By working with a committed and knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in Fresno from our team, you can be sure that your case is in good hands.

Call us today at (559) 900-1280 to schedule your complimentary consultation with a member of our dedicated and compassionate legal team.

 

Who is Liable for My Truck Accident?

The individual or company that caused your injuries should be held responsible for the damages you have suffered. In terms of a truck accident, however, this is not as easy to pinpoint as a regular car accident for instance. The sole at-fault party is not necessarily the truck driver. The other parties that can be found at fault include:

The Trucking Company

The company responsible for the maintenance of the truck and the responsibilities of the driver should also be evaluated. The truck driver’s employer is responsible for the negligent acts of the employee while they are on duty, such as ensuring they have enough opportunity for adequate sleep and that they avoid alcohol and drug use. Maintenance of the truck will also be taken into consideration.

Prior to 1956, a trucking company would attempt to protect themselves against liability by classifying many of their drivers as independent contractors. After this time, Congress amended the law so trucking companies weren't able to hide behind this tactic so easily. The law now states a trucking company that leases a truck must have exclusive control, use, and possession of the truck until the lease is completed.

The Manufacturer

Two parties of manufacturers could incur liability. Both the truck manufacturer and the parts manufacturer could be held liable if faulty equipment influenced the accident. If a manufacturing defect in the original parts or engineering of the vehicle contributed to the accident, the truck maker may carry the liability. If a defective aftermarket or replacement part contributed to or caused the accident, the parts manufacturer may be held liable.

Shipping/Loading Liability

The shipping or loading company that loaded the truck also could incur liability if they did not package the materials properly, overloaded or mis-loaded the truck, improperly tied on the load, etc. Proving this requires photos or videos of the load securement or data from the smart sensors located on most modern trucks and fitted to many loads.

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    40+ Years of Combined Experience Working for You

    Our team of legal professionals is ready to hear your side of the story and educate you on your rights and legal options at this time. We consult forensic experts with knowledge and experience in the field in order to recreate the collision effectively, helping to possibly prove the other driver's negligence and protecting your rights. We are thoroughly familiar with California insurance and liability laws, as well as FMCSA regulations.

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