If you or someone you love was involved in an accident with a large truck or commercial vehicle, turn to the team at Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard. From our office in San Francisco, our truck accident attorneys represent clients throughout the Bay Area, providing personalized counsel and representation every step of the way.
We understand the complex nature of these cases, as well as the challenges you are facing, and our team is here to help. Having an experienced lawyer by your side after experiencing a truck accident is important for ensuring that you have all of the support and guidance that you need during this time. Without an attorney, you may be risking your future and the compensation amount that you rightfully deserve. Let our truck accident attorneys in San Francisco represent you, and maximize the compensation that you are eligible for.
When you have been injured, you don't just need an attorney. You need an advocate.
How Common Are Truck Accidents?
Every year, thousands of people are seriously injured or killed in large truck accidents throughout the United States. Unfortunately, California is one of the deadliest states for truck accidents—both for truck drivers and others involved in these collisions.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 385 large trucks were involved in fatal traffic accidents in California in 2019 (the latest year for which data are available), accounting for nearly 8 percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes. These collisions resulted in more than 100 total deaths—more than 50 of whom were not truck drivers or truck occupants. California was one of just four states to have 50 or more non-truck occupants killed in large truck accidents in 2019.
How Do Most Truck Accidents Happen?
Like the majority of car accidents, most large truck accidents are the result of negligence. Sometimes, it is the truck driver who acts carelessly or recklessly; in other instances, the negligence of third parties leads to a crash.
Some of the most common causes of large truck accidents include:
- Truck Driver Error and Negligence: Truck drivers are like any other motorist on the road, meaning they are susceptible to making mistakes and acting carelessly behind the wheel. Some examples of truck driver error and negligence include driving while distracted, using a cellphone or GPS device, eating or drinking while driving, speeding, driving too fast for current conditions, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and traffic law violations.
- Hours-of-Service Violations: Truck drivers are required to obey hours-of-service rules, which regulate the number of hours they can operate their vehicles, as well as the number and frequency of rest breaks. When truck drivers violate these regulations, they are at risk of driving fatigued, which can be as dangerous as driving drunk. Fatigued truck drivers have slower reaction times and are more prone to causing serious accidents, and they are unfortunately extremely common on San Francisco roads. It's estimated that approximately 13% of all truck drivers are fatigued at the time of a crash. In order to be safe on the road, it is vital that truckers get adequate sleep.
- Improper Truck Maintenance or Repairs: Large trucks must be routinely inspected and serviced to ensure that they are in good working order. When truck drivers and other entities fail to conduct proper truck inspections, broken parts and other issues go undetected. Additionally, improper or incomplete truck repairs can result in serious accidents when these issues lead to engine failure, brake failure, and other serious problems out on the road.
- Improperly Loaded Cargo: Most large trucks haul enormous amounts of cargo and materials across the state and the nation. It is important that this cargo is properly loaded to avoid shifting during transit. Uneven or unsecured loads can cause truck drivers to lose control of their vehicles, which can result in serious accidents. Additionally, trucks are subject to maximum weight limits; exceeding these limits can have significant consequences.
- Trucking Company Negligence: In some cases, trucking companies are negligent in their hiring, training, or supervising practices. For example, a trucking company may fail to conduct background checks on new drivers or may ignore truck driver violations, such as DUIs and traffic citations. Sometimes, trucking companies may even expressly or implicitly encourage drivers to violate hours-of-service rules in order to meet delivery deadlines and cut-offs.
- Defective Trucks, Truck Parts, and Roadways: If a truck has a defective design or contains a flawed component, the driver may be unable to prevent a crash. The same is true if the roadway on which the truck is traveling is defective. Some examples of common defects include faulty braking systems and accelerators, missing reflective strips, defective tractor-trailer connections, missing components, and more.
- Third-Party Negligence: Lastly, some truck accidents result from the negligence of others on the road. Another motorist may drive carelessly or recklessly, causing a multi-vehicle accident with a large commercial truck. In such cases, the rule of pure comparative negligence often comes into play. Under this rule, the injured party can recover compensation from anyone who is found to have been negligent, but their total recovery will be reduced by their own percentage of fault.
At Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard, our San Francisco truck accident attorneys work with accident reconstructionists, expert witnesses, and other experienced professionals who help us evaluate exactly how the accident occurred—and who is responsible.
Who Is Liable for a Commercial Truck Accident?
Determining who is legally responsible for a commercial truck accident is typically much more complex than identifying the liable party in a standard car accident claim. Often, the trucking company is liable, meaning they are the ones responsible for paying injured victims’ damages. This is because respondeat superior rules hold that employers are generally responsible for the conduct of their employees while those employees are carrying out activities related to their employment.
So, if the truck driver was the one who caused the collision, you would likely have a claim against the trucking company and/or its insurance carrier. However, in some cases, third-party liability could affect how and against whom you file your claim. For example, if the truck driver lost control of the vehicle due to a defective accelerating system, you may have a claim against the manufacturer. If contributing factors, such as improperly repaired truck brake lights, partly caused the crash, you could have multiple claims against multiple parties.
At Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard, we are prepared to identify the liable party and bring immediate action against them. Our attorneys are aggressive in their pursuit of maximum compensation for our clients, and we leave no stone unturned when seeking the justice our clients deserve.
Why Hire A Truck Accident Attorney in San Francisco?
There are many reasons to consider hiring a personal injury lawyer after any motor vehicle accident, but this is especially important in cases involving large commercial vehicles. These cases are far more complex than standard car accident claims and present a number of unique challenges.
Your truck accident attorney will be able to help you in the following ways:
Your Truck Accident Attorney Will Effectively Represent You
First, the trucking company (or another liable party) will likely do everything possible to dispute or deny your claim. This is because they want to not only preserve their reputation but also wish to avoid paying out claims. Truck accidents tend to result in severe injuries and extensive damages, meaning most truck accident claims are relatively high in value. As a result, the trucking company and its insurance provider are heavily invested in not paying you the full value of your claim. Your truck accident attorney will have the skills and experience necessary to effectively negotiate on your behalf.
Your Truck Accident Attorney Will Maximize Compensation
However, when you work with an attorney, you put yourself in the best possible position of maximizing your recovery. Our San Francisco truck accident lawyers know how to build powerful, evidence-based claims and develop innovative legal strategies aimed at securing the full, fair compensation you are owed. We are even prepared to litigate your case and represent you at trial if necessary.
Your Truck Accident Attorney Will Handle The Paperwork
After a large commercial vehicle accident, you are likely dealing with devastating injuries and losses. Right now, you should be focused on one thing: your physical recovery. You shouldn’t have to worry about paying your medical bills, communicating with the insurance company, or working to recover a fair settlement. Instead, let our team handle the legal details of your case so that you can focus on healing and moving forward with your life. Your truck accident attorney will be able to effectively handle all of the paperwork involved with your case, saving you both time and money.
Your Truck Accident Attorney Will Support And Guide You
Having an experienced attorney by your side is critical for ensuring that you have all of the support and guidance that you need during this time. Your attorney will have worked with many other individuals facing a similar struggle to you and will be able to offer you the emotional reassurance that you need. Your lawyer will also be able to answer any questions that you may have related to the legal matters of your case. Having objective legal advice is important for making sure that you know all of your legal options.
Get Started with a Free Consultation
If you were injured or if your loved one was killed in an accident with a semi-truck, big rig, tractor-trailer, delivery truck, or any other large commercial vehicle, reach out to Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard today. We can answer your questions and provide personalized legal counsel during a free, in-person, or phone consultation. When you work with our firm, you do not pay any legal fees unless we recover a settlement or verdict for you.