Commercial Vehicle Accidents and Deaths in Elk Grove
I’m Ed Smith, an Elk Grove personal injury lawyer. In nine out of 10 accidents between passenger and commercial vehicles, occupants are killed in smaller cars and SUVs. The same statistical framework holds true for pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists where the incidence of injuries are even higher. Since commercial vehicles are found on both city streets and highways in Northern California, no one is immune from this danger. Let’s take a look at where commercial vehicle crashes occur, why they happen, the types of vehicles that are involved and who is liable for the damages.
Incidence of Deaths and Injuries in Commercial Vehicle Crashes
Each year, approximately 415,000 commercial vehicle accidents occur. The number of deaths reported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is set at slightly more than 3,800 individuals. In the past decade, the number of crashes has increased, resulting in a higher number of injuries and deaths nationwide. In Elk Grove alone, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety, the total number of people killed and injured was 857. The most common issue involved in the accidents was speeding.
Types of Commercial Vehicles
There are different types of commercial vehicles that are present every day. Some of the most common types include:
- Semi trucks
- Tow trucks
- Delivery trucks
- Tanker trucks
- Shuttles/group transport
- Garbage trucks
Where Do Commercial Accidents Happen
More than 50 percent of all commercial accidents happen in rural areas. However, this figure is largely limited to big rig crashes. Since urban areas rely on bus transportation, intercity deliveries, and garbage pickup, it is common to see accidents with these vehicles happening. In addition, since highways connect most parts of California and act as gateways for taking cargo to ports and other states, freeways see their fair share of commercial accidents.
Reasons Why Commercial Accidents Happen
Some of the leading reasons commercial vehicle accidents happen are as follows:
- Lack of familiarity with the area
- Driver distraction
- Shifting cargo
- Tire failure
- Roadway factors
- Intoxicated driver
- Scheduling problems
- Drugs, including those that are prescription, illegal and OTC
- Brake failure
- Turning illegally
How to Prove Fault in a Commercial Vehicle Accident
Some of the ways fault is proven in commercial accidents are similar to those used in other crashes. This includes the use of photos taken at the scene to show the damage that occurred, the position of the vehicles after the crash and roadway marks that can be used to determine liability. In addition, commercial vehicle drivers maintain logs that cite maintenance, vehicle inspections, cargo placement and driver hours. This is helpful in showing if driver fatigue or the lack of maintenance as well as cargo securement were factors in the crash.
Federal and State Laws
Commercial vehicles are obligated to adhere to both federal and state regulations. One example is the weight a truck can haul. Another is the amount of time a driver must rest. If there is a deviation from these and other rules, an experienced personal injury lawyer can argue that the trucker or bus driver failed to meet these requirements, causing an accident.
Liability Owners Share
When an accident occurs with a commercial entity, the owner of the truck or other type of vehicle is also liable. This is called the doctrine of vicarious liability. If for example, a delivery truck driver has an accident while he was performing his or her duties, the owner of the company shares in the liability. Independent contractors, however, are the owner and driver of a vehicle and are usually wholly responsible.
Elk Grove Personal Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, an Elk Grove personal injury lawyer. If you or a member of your family was injured or killed in an accident with a commercial vehicle, you need the help of an experienced lawyer. Call me at 916-694-0002 in Elk Grove or (800) 404-5400 outside of the area for friendly and free advice.
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I am a member of the Million Dollar Advocates. We are a forum of lawyers who have won trial verdicts and negotiated settlements for a client in excess of $1 million.
Photo Attribution: https://pixabay.com/en/mail-truck-mail-clerk-mailman-3248139/
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