Because so many international goods land at its busy ports, California’s trucking industry is booming. That said, truckers must possess a Commercial Driver’s License and follow special safety rules to keep their rigs safe. When sharing the highway with these drivers, you are generally safe. However, at 80,000 pounds, commercial trucks can cause significant damage.
Unfortunately, you will likely suffer catastrophic injuries when a semi 20 times heavier than your car hits you. Furthermore, when the truck operator is responsible for the collision, you may have a claim for negligence against the driver and their employer for vicarious liability. Similarly, when a tractor-trailer malfunction causes your wreck, a hardworking injury attorney will help you file a claim against the manufacturer. Call a Palm Desert truck accident lawyer to begin building your case.
What Evidence Can an Attorney Collect Following a Truck Crash?
An attorney filing a truck crash claim must move quickly to preserve evidence of negligence. Many tractor-trailer cabs have black boxes that record the semi’s functionality, a safety measure that identifies problems designed to prevent devastating accidents. Truckers must also keep logs of their hours and mileage. In some cases, tractor-trailers might also have dashboard cameras that begin filming when certain motions occur, like sudden stops.
Although these tools promote safe driving, trucking companies are often more concerned with profit. Truckers neglecting the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules could have discrepancies in their mileage logs, leading to fatigued driving and increasing the chances of a crash; however, a knowledgeable Palm Desert attorney can spot these inconsistencies. Likewise, the black box and onboard cameras might show the driver was speeding, swerving in and out of traffic, or locked the brakes before a crash.
California Commercial Driver’s License
California issues applicants a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) after they pass written, vision, medical, and on-the-road tests as long as they are at least 18 years old, although they cannot drive interstate routes until they are 21. Additionally, semi operators must have a high school diploma or GED, regular driver’s license, a clean driving record, and must be a U.S. citizen residing in California. California recognizes three classes of CDLs depending on the tractor-trailer’s weight and type. In addition to evidence left at a crash scene, a Palm Desert lawyer will check the CDL status of a trucker accused of causing an accident and look for breaches of the FMCSA rules.
Proving Liability for a Tractor-Trailer Accident
Another way a seasoned Palm Desert lawyer can prove negligence against a trucker and trucking company in the aftermath of a crash is to determine if the trucker violated FMCSA safety rules. A legal representative will consider the following during their investigation:
- Driving logs that show the driver drove more than 11 hours in one day, failed to take a 30-minute break after driving 8 hours, or drove after working 70 hours in eight days
- Maintenance logs that detail systems inspections
- Whether the trucker reduced speed by one-third of the speed limit if the accident occurred in bad weather
- Whether the driver was drinking or taking drugs
Truck accidents often involve multiple injuries that are usually severe and require expensive medical treatment. When the trucker, trucking company, or parts manufacturer is responsible for these injuries, they should be accountable for paying the victim’s damages.
Commercial Trucks Must Carry Minimum Liability Insurance
The US Code of Federal Regulations § 387.9 requires interstate commercial trucking companies to carry at least $750,000 in liability insurance and up to $5 million for those carrying hazardous materials. That said, a diligent lawyer in Palm Desert can negotiate with insurers for the most significant settlements possible following a tractor-trailer collision. However, when the payment does not cover the injured party’s physical, emotional, and property losses, the lawyer will bring a claim in court to demand appropriate compensation.
A Truck Accident Attorney in Palm Desert is Your Advocate
Federal and California laws governing the trucking industry are stringent. Truckers on the road are typically conscientious when sharing the road with other drivers. But when they cause an accident, they should compensate the victims whole through insurance settlements or damages awards.
Our legal team can advocate for you when you are injured in a catastrophic semi crash. You should not have to worry about how to pay your bills when someone else causes you to suffer. Contact a Palm Desert truck accident lawyer, and let us start building your case.