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Truck Accident Attorneys Serving Lakeport & Woodland Hills, California 

In 2020, 398 people lost their lives on California’s roadways due to crashes involving semi-trucks, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This means that families across the state now have to deal with the devastating reality of losing a loved one. If you or someone you love has recently been in an 18-wheeler accident and was hurt or lost their life, reach out to us at G. Aldrich Law to speak with a personal injury attorney. We have office locations in Lakeport and Woodland Hills, California, that let us serve clients in Lake County, Los Angeles County, Colusa County, Riverside County, and the surrounding Northern and Southern California counties. 

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Laws Affecting Truck Accidents  

There are both state and federal laws that set rules and regulations on commercial trucking. These regulations are in place to ensure drivers are well-rested and not overly fatigued when operating a semi-truck. Being alert and awake will make a driver more attentive and can reduce the risk of a trucking accident.   

At the federal level, the FMCSA sets national standards that say how and when drivers can operate trucks. For example, a commercial driver carrying passengers (such as a tour bus), is limited to driving 10 hours after having an eight-hour period off work. Additionally, there are also rules on how often in a work week they can drive. For instance, the same driver is not allowed to drive after 60 hours on duty in 7 consecutive days.  

California also has its own regulations to limit the amount of time drivers can be on the road. In the state, drivers cannot operate a truck for more than 12 hours after an off-duty period of 10 hours. For interstate routes, drivers must take a break of at least 30 minutes if it’s been at least eight hours since their last break and they’re only permitted to be behind the wheel for 11 hours of a 14-hour work period. 

Assessing Liability  

In any commercial truck accident, you’ll need to determine liability to see who’s responsible for paying damages for property damage, personal injury, or even wrongful death. The first place the insurance adjuster will look to will be the driver themselves, as they are most often the ones responsible. However, the trucking company can also be held fully or partially responsible for the accident if certain conditions are met. In other cases, liability in a truck accident can fall with the truck manufacturer (or the company that manufactured the parts of the truck), the person who loaded the cargo, or even the maintenance personnel who was responsible for ensuring the truck was in good operating condition.   

Factors in Determining Liability  

Because fault in a semi-truck accident often lies with the driver, this will be the first place your attorney will investigate. If it’s found that the driver was overly fatigued and wasn’t following the applicable state and federal laws, they can be found liable. Another way the driver could be responsible is if they had inadequate training to operate the truck and were therefore unable to prevent the accident from happening. In this case, both the driver and the trucking company could be held responsible if the employer knowingly allowed the driver to work even though they lacked training.   

In others cases, the fault may lie with the driver of the passenger vehicle. If the driver didn’t provide adequate passing room for a semi-truck or attempted to cut the truck off without giving them enough time to brake or slow down, they can be found liable. Lastly, there are some accidents that aren’t anybody’s fault and can instead be blamed on road conditions. Perhaps there was severe winter weather that limited visibility for both drivers or ice and snow on the road caused one car to slide and crash into the other. 

Filing a Personal Injury Claim  

The first thing you should do if you’ve been hurt in a crash like this is to hire an experienced truck accident attorney to represent your interests. Your lawyer will be familiar with all pertinent laws and will be able to thoroughly investigate the accident, to figure out who was responsible. If you were the victim of the crash, you’ll first want to file a claim with the truck driver’s insurance company. If the damages were fairly minor, you may be able to negotiate a settlement that will cover your expenses. However, you may need to file a personal injury claim, and you have two years from the date of the incident to do this.  

If you're representing a loved one who was incapacitated or lost their life in an accident, you’ll need to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf, and you also have two years to do this.

Truck Accident Attorneys Serving Lakeport & Woodland Hills, California  

If you’re in the Lakeport and Woodland Hills, California, area and want to know more about your options to receive compensation after a semi-truck accident, call us at G. Aldrich Law to schedule a consultation. Our team has the knowledge, resources, and comprehensive skills to assist you toward a brighter future.