TRUCK & TRUCKING ACCIDENTS LAWYERS & ATTORNEYS IN REDDING CALIFORNIA
Commercial trucking is a substantial industry in Northern California. Hundreds, if not thousands, of commercial big rigs travel each hour through Redding on I-5, from Seattle to Los Angeles. Other big rigs are constantly operating on the rural and mountainous highways of Northern California transporting logs, lumber, heavy equipment and agricultural goods.
About one out of every eight motor vehicle accidents involve a large truck. That equates to a little over 12 percent of all vehicle accidents. However, tractor-trailers only account for about 4 percent of all registered motor vehicles. At Reiner, Slaughter, McCartney & Frankel, LLP in Redding, our big rig truck accident lawyers fight for the rights of the injured. Our trucking accident attorneys represent truck drivers hurt in accidents as well as other vehicle drivers harmed in collisions with big rigs.
Sample Truck Accident Verdicts and Settlements
$9 Million – Post-Collision Fire in Freightliner Truck
The jury returned a verdict of $9 million against Freightliner in federal court in Riverside, California. Reiner, Slaughter, McCartney & Frankel attorney Terry McCartney represented a young tractor-trailer driver with a wife and two daughters. The trucker regularly drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class integrated sleeper tractor between Arizona and California. His truck was not equipped with an emergency exit door.
On a night run home the client’s rig drifted off the road, hit a bridge abutment and rolled onto its left side in a dry wash. The crash ruptured the fuel tanks. Sparks from the truck accident ignited spilled fuel, and flames fully engulfed the front of the rig. With the truck on its side and the front on fire, the only way for the driver to escape was through the skylight, which was intentionally designed to be “non-opening.”
Another trucker had stopped when the accident occurred, and he successfully broke the skylight window. Despite heroic efforts, our client could not fit through the small skylight opening. He died while trapped half in and half out of his burning truck.
Had the truck been equipped with an emergency exit, the driver could have escaped the overturned truck in less than 25 seconds, according to Freightliner’s own surrogate tests. Partner Terry McCartney sued Freightliner for producing a defective truck since the emergency exits were not standard equipment. Instead, Freightliner sold emergency exits as “options,” and said it was up to their customers to decide if they wanted them. Unfortunately for Freightliner, their own expert’s statistics from a survey he conducted showed that 89% of other truck manufacturers they surveyed sold their trucks with emergency exits as standard equipment.
After a multi-week trial, the jury found the Freightliner truck to be defective and returned a plaintiff’s verdict for $9 million. Although the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals later reduced that award, that court did not overturn the favorable verdict.
$750,000 – Speeding Semi-Tractor Truck Crashes into Ford Super Duty Fire Truck
Our client, a 24-year-old firefighter with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, accepted a settlement of $750,000 for injuries resulting from a truck accident. Attorneys at Reiner, Slaughter, McCartney & Frankel successfully sued the truck driver and trucking company for past and future medical expenses, past and future loss of income, past and future damages for traumatic brain injury, pain and suffering, loss of activities and life impact.
The driver of the semi-truck with a fully loaded end dump trailer sped around a curve, crossed the double yellow lines, and lost control of his truck. Our client crashed into the overturned trailer blocking the road. The truck tractor then struck our client’s Ford Super Duty Fire Truck. The truck accident ended our client’s career as a firefighter.
The truck driver testified in deposition that he had not attended any safety meetings and his employer had not provided any safety materials or training to him. The experienced trucking accident attorneys at Reiner, Slaughter, McCartney & Frankel understand the role of driver training and safety education in truck accident prevention. Their knowledge of the trucking industry has helped them obtain successful awards and settlements for many truck accident clients.
Big Rig Truck Accident Information
Trucking accidents can cause serious injuries, including incidents of traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and burn injury. Studies have shown that about 75 percent of those injured in big rig accidents were occupants of other vehicles. Truck drivers accounted for 22 percent of those injured. The remaining 3 percent of people injured in large truck accidents were not occupants of any vehicle (pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.). Our truck accident lawyers can help victims hold trucking companies, their drivers, and vehicle manufacturers responsible for their negligence.
Unfortunately, injuries are not the only cause for concern in large truck accidents.
Tractor-trailer accidents are more likely to be fatal than passenger vehicle accidents. Most people killed in truck accidents are occupants of vehicles other than tractor-trailers. Only 15 percent of the large truck fatalities involve the big rig’s driver; about 78 percent of those killed were in other vehicles. Our Redding CA lawyers for truck accident have pursued wrongful death lawsuits for the families of those victims.
Common Causes of Big Rig Truck Accidents
As professional drivers, the operators of 18-wheelers must have professional training, be properly licensed and operate their rigs within the requirements of Federal and State regulations. These regulations are designed to protect the motoring public from the catastrophic injuries and death that can occur when an 80,000-pound big rig collides with a passenger vehicle, a motorcycle, a pedestrian, a bicyclist or another truck. Safety must be a pre-eminent concern for the professional big rig driver.
While most professional drivers of big rigs are responsible and drive their rigs safely, many accidents still occur. The most common causes of big rig truck accidents include:
- Driver fatigue – Truck drivers are limited by law to a certain number of hours of work. Some companies allow truck drivers to extend these hours to meet a deadline, causing drivers to become overtired, which leads to big rig truck accidents.
- Distracted drivers – In addition to fatigue, cell phones, food, boredom, stress, and other factors cause big rig truck drivers to lose focus on the road. Since big rig trucks need more time to stop, any distraction can lead to a big rig truck accident.
- Blind spots – Even with several mirrors, big rig trucks have larger blind spots. At times, drivers of passenger cars do not realize that they cannot be seen by the truck’s operator.
- Excessive Speed/Insufficient Following Distance – Because of weight and size of their loads, big rig trucks require more time to stop and more space to maneuver around potential hazards. If big rig trucks do not maintain a speed and following distance that properly accounts for weather, roadway and traffic conditions, this could lead to a big rig truck accident.
- Excessive truck cargo – Truck weigh stations are in place for a reason. Trucks that are overloaded will have more difficulty slowing and stopping when necessary. This can cause a big rig truck accident.
- Mechanical defects – Mechanical failure and defective equipment can cause trucks to fail to work properly. If truck inspections miss defects or potential failures, the components can fail on the road and cause a big rig truck accident.
Whatever the reason for the trucking accident, if the big rig driver did not operate his truck safely, he is responsible for the injuries that he caused.
Our trucking accident attorneys are well versed in the regulations and laws that govern the operation of 18-wheelers throughout California and the nation. We have extensive experience in dealing with corporate trucking firms, their attorneys, and insurance companies. Our trucking accident attorneys have successfully represented clients in numerous serious injury and death cases involving catastrophic big rig truck accidents.
Contact our Big Rig Truck Accident Lawyers for a Case Review
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a big rig crash, our trucking accident lawyers want to meet with you. We understand that each truck accident is unique. By taking advantage of our free consultation and contingency fee program, you can have an expert attorney on your side. To learn more, contact our personal injury lawyers in Redding, California today to discuss your case with a qualified truck accident lawyer.