Truck accidents can be devastating. Getting rear-ended by a tractor-trailer or big rig can have medical consequences that are significantly worse than being rear-ended by a passenger car. Commercial drivers are required to follow detailed regulations, including hours of service requirements and rules related to the maintenance and upkeep of the vehicle. A truck with poor braking ability or a driver who is exhausted may have an inadequate stopping distance and may not be able to stop in time to avoid hitting a car. The Los Angeles truck accident lawyers at Sharifi Firm, APC can help people in Southern California seek compensation if they have been hurt in a crash involving a big rig.Holding a Negligent Truck Driver or Company Liable for Damages
If you are hurt due to a truck driver's negligence in Southern California, you can potentially recover compensation from that individual as well as the trucking company that employs him or her. Your attorney would need to prove by a preponderance of the evidence the following elements: the driver's duty, a breach of duty, causation, and damages.
In California, truckers and other drivers owe a duty to everyone on the road to operate their vehicles safely. Moreover, every commercial driver must perform a daily pre-trip inspection to look at the condition of the tractor and trailer, including checking for loose brake components and checking for air leaks. Failure to take a truck to be repaired when its brakes are not working, maintaining too short a stopping distance from the vehicle in front of the truck, or failing to react in a timely fashion to another vehicle braking are all likely to be breaches of the duty of care. A truck driver can also breach the duty by overloading the vehicle. The brakes will not work as they are supposed to work if a load is evenly distributed or too large for the truck’s braking ability.
At times, a driver or trucking company's negligent acts or omissions result in a brake failure. For example, if an owner-operator depowers the front brakes in order to minimize the expense of tire and brake wear, this leaves only the trailer brakes and downshifting as ways to stop the vehicle. This is insufficient braking power and can result in an accident when a truck is following another vehicle closely or driving on a downslope. Similarly, federal regulations require trucking companies to keep clear maintenance records, showing a driver has performed the appropriate maintenance according to schedule.
Trucking companies must make sure their drivers are properly trained to respond to emergencies and to keep adequate maintenance records, including checking their brakes before getting on the road. A truck company's failure to properly train or supervise a driver can give rise to the truck company's liability in the event the driver causes an accident. A truck company can be sued on grounds of negligent hire, negligent supervision, negligent training, or negligent entrustment.
Sometimes a truck driver has done nothing wrong. Brake failures may be the result of the brake manufacturer. There are strict federal regulations that cover tractor-trailer braking systems. Trucks are required to have a certain braking force based on their weight, meet automatic brake adjustment system requirements, and decelerate to a stop from 20 mph at a rate commensurate with the truck's size. If the brakes fail to meet these standards, due to a manufacturing or design defect, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the brake manufacturer.Consult a Los Angeles Lawyer when Pursuing an Injury Claim
When you have been involved in a truck accident caused by inadequate stopping distance, it is crucial to bring a lawsuit against all the appropriate parties. Representation by a skillful injury attorney can make a difference to Los Angeles residents who need a substantial amount of compensation to help them regroup physically, emotionally, and financially. We represent injured individuals throughout Southern California, including in San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, and Temecula. Contact us at (866) 422-7222 or via our online form for a free, no-obligation consultation.