We share the road with semi-trucks each day. They are an efficient and cost-effective form of transporting goods throughout California and the United States. But, unfortunately, semi-trucks can be extremely dangerous when they are involved in car accidents, partly because they weigh much more than a passenger vehicle.
How Much Do Semi-Trucks Weigh?
Semi-trucks are also known as tractor-trailers, big rigs, tanker trucks, flat-bed trailers, large trucks, and 18-wheelers. Regardless of what they are called, commercial motor vehicles are regulated by federal law.
Commercial trucks haul almost any product, including but not limited to:
- Raw materials
- Building supplies
- Consumer products
- Animals and livestock
- Hazardous substances and materials
- Construction equipment
- Passenger vehicles
- Lumber and timber
The maximum weight of a semi-truck, according to federal regulations, is 80,000 pounds. The weight restriction for a single axle is no more than 20,000 pounds. California imposes similar weight restrictions for semi-trucks, with a maximum vehicle combination weight of 80,000 or roughly 40 tons.
The law allows cities and counties to issue local overweight permits. However, the permits only apply to highways under their jurisdiction. The local overweight permits do not apply to state highways.
Likewise, counties can reduce the weight of commercial vehicles on county bridges and unimproved county highways. Typically, the county posts signs indicating maximum vehicle weights for specific bridges and roads. However, truck drivers should check local ordinances to ensure safety and compliance.
What Are the Common Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents in Los Angeles?
Semi-truck accidents can sometimes be blamed on the size and weight of the truck.
The height of a large truck makes it more prone to rollover accidents. Likewise, their heavy weight means there is a much longer stopping distance. A semi truck’s length means it has extremely wide and long blind spots.
Most semi-truck accidents are caused by human error and negligence. In some cases, intentional wrongdoing can result in a truck accident.
Causes of semi-truck accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Impaired driving, including drugged driving and drunk driving
- Reckless driving
- Distracted driving
- Fatigued and drowsy driving
- Malfunctioning or defective truck parts and systems
- Inexperienced truck drivers
- Negligent hiring practices by the trucking company
- Failing to maintain the tractor and/or trailer
- Failing to adjust speed and driving for changing road and weather conditions
- Semi-truck tire blowouts
- Pedestrians, cyclists, and other motorists
The accident victims have the burden of proving causation and fault for the truck accident. If you cannot prove another party was responsible for causing the truck accident, you cannot recover compensation for your injuries and damages.
Why Do Truck Accidents Cause Catastrophic Injuries?
A semi-truck weighs up to 80,000 when fully loaded. However, the average weight of a passenger vehicle is 4,000 to 5,000 pounds. Therefore, the size of a commercial truck is significantly out of proportion to a passenger vehicle.
A passenger vehicle cannot withstand a collision with a semi-truck. The truck can easily crush the passenger vehicle and the passengers inside.
Therefore, commercial truck accidents often result in catastrophic injury and death for occupants of other vehicles. Common injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Chest injuries
- Internal organ damage and/or failure
- Broken bones and fractures
- Loss of limbs and amputations
- Severe burns and disfigurement
- Crushing injury
- Paralysis and spinal cord injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Soft tissue injuries and nerve damage
It is crucial to seek immediate medical treatment after a truck accident. You could have internal injuries that are not immediately apparent. Delays in medical care could jeopardize your recovery and hurt your personal injury claim.
What Damages Can I Receive if I File a Semi-Truck Accident Claim in Los Angeles?
Accident victims can recover compensation for their financial losses, pain, and suffering.
Monetary losses are referred to as economic damages. These damages include:
- Personal care
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Medical bills
- Nursing care
- Lost wages and benefits
- Physical therapy
- Diminished earning capacity
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Diminished quality of life
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Disabilities and permanent impairments
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
In some cases, the injured party might receive punitive damages. However, they would need to file a lawsuit and prove that the at-fault party’s conduct rose to the level of malice, oppression, or fraud. Punitive damages are only awarded in a small number of cases.
A Los Angeles Truck Accident Attorney Can Help After a Crash
Insurance companies and trucking companies fight injury claims for semi-truck accidents. They try to undervalue damages and avoid liability whenever possible. That is because these claims tend to have a high value.
Many victims do not know that their claim is worth much more than the settlement offer from the insurance company or trucking company. Seeking legal advice from an experienced Los Angeles truck accident lawyer can ensure you are not being cheated out of the money you deserve.
Contact Our Truck Accident Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA
If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles truck accident lawyers at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.