Truck Accident FAQ

San Diego Truck Accident Attorneys — (619) 236-9696

At Simpson Law Group, we believe that a strong truck accident claim starts with understanding some of the basics and details about truck accidents in general. Our San Diego personal injury lawyers have compiled and answered a helpful list of frequently asked questions regarding truck accidents. Be sure to give it a review if you have recently been in a truck accident and do not know what to do next or where to turn for help.

If you know that you require our legal assistance right away, we encourage you to contact us at any time. Our number – (619) 236-9696 – can be called 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We also offer free case evaluations to all inquiring parties.

Frequently asked questions about truck accidents include:

Why is a speeding commercial truck so much more dangerous than a speeding motorist?

It all comes down to physics and the truck’s braking ability, or lack thereof. The average sedan weighs maybe 4,000 pounds at max, but a commercial truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. When something that heavy travels at highway speeds, it takes a massive amount of force to bring it to a gradual stop. Failing to stop throws a huge amount of energy into whatever is in its way.

What exactly is a commercial truck anyway?

When speaking of a truck accident, the term “commercial truck” is often used to describe the vehicle, but it can be synonymous with “big rig,” “18-wheeler,” and “tractor trailer.” Think of one of the large trucks you have seen plenty of times rolling down the highway with a giant rectangular trailer behind it. That is a commercial truck, and it requires a special “commercial license” to legally operate.

How long do truck drivers stay on the road on an average day?

After actor-comedian Tracy Morgan was seriously injured in an accident with a Wal-Mart tractor trailer, it was determined that truck driver exhaustion was to blame. Trucking companies are allowed to schedule truckers 14 hours a day with 11 hours behind the wheel; each week, a trucker can be scheduled for up to 70 or 80 hours. If the truck driver never has to travel far – more than 100 air-miles – they can be expected to work even more. With this in mind, it is not a surprise that truck driver exhaustion is a real threat to motorists.

Who can be held liable for a truck accident?

Many people who need to file a truck accident claim run into an immediate obstacle: who is actually to blame for what happened? In many cases, the trucker is not the only party liable for damages, as their shift supervisor, maintenance crews who work on the truck, the parent company, and load crews can all be partially liable. Before filing a claim, it is highly advised that you consult with a personal injury lawyer first.

What does it mean when a commercial truck “jackknifes”?

Although a commercial truck may look like one enormous vehicle, like a bus, it is actually comprised of a tractor – the cab the driver sits in – that pulls a trailer – the rectangular container filled with freight. If the cargo within the trailer is not balanced, or if the trucker takes too sharp of a turn, the commercial truck can fold at the hinge that connects the tractor to the trailer, also known as jackknifing. When a truck jackknifes, the trailer can swing out of control into all adjacent lanes and completely block traffic.

Are trucking companies responsible for the handling of hazardous material cargo?

Possibly. The details of how the truck accident occurred will largely determine who is liable for damage caused by spilled hazardous or toxic materials. In general, the shipper or manufacturer of the hazardous cargo must inform the trucking company of all the possible dangers and acceptable shipping and storage standards. If they do not, liability may be less on the truck and more on the chemical manufacturer.

If I was struck by a commercial truck while driving in that truck’s blind spot, am I liable?

Every commercial truck as a series of “no-zones” that are dangerous to remain in, as these are blind spots that a trucker virtually cannot see no matter what. No-zones include 20 feet in front of the cab, 30 feet behind the trailer, one lane to the left and slightly behind, and two lanes to the right and extending outward in a large cone. While it is common knowledge to stay out of blind spots, that doesn’t automatically put liability on a driver who is struck while driving there, especially since it is often necessary to stay in a no-zone, such as when passing or during heavy traffic.

Are truck drivers allowed to drink behind the wheel?

It is illegal for anyone who operates a vehicle that requires a commercial license, such as any commercial truck or big rig, to do so with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.04% or more. This federal law, established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), essentially makes it a criminal act for a truck driver to have a single drink before getting behind the wheel, as most people will reach 0.04% at least after only one beer or hard liquor shot. If it is determined that a truck driver was intoxicated at the time of a truck accident, the entirety of the liability could be placed on them.

Truck Accident Statistics

The U.S. Department of Transportation Reports That:

  • About 500,000 trucking collisions occur yearly.

  • 5,000 of these accidents are fatal.

  • 87,000+ of these truck accidents result in injury.

  • Nearly 90% of all truck crashes are caused by human error.

  • 3 in every 4 crashes are caused by another passenger car—not the truck driver.

  • Only 1% of truck accidents are caused by truck driver intoxication.

  • Fatigue accounts for 30% of truck driver caused accidents.