It’s unusual for anyone in a passenger vehicle to be involved in a collision with an eighteen-wheeler and not be injured. Tractor-trailers are a common sight along California’s highways, and the numbers are increasing. In 2018, there were more than half a million commercial vehicles registered in the state. That isn’t too surprising since this is the way most goods are transported. However, accidents involving tractor-trailers are common, and most result in horrific injuries or fatalities.
If you need immediate legal assistance in the aftermath of an accident involving a tractor-trailer or large commercial vehicle, please reach out day or night to Los Angeles truck accident attorney David Azizi by calling 800-991-5292. We are here to help you find justice and a path forward during this difficult time.
For 25 years, Los Angeles-area tractor trailer and semi-truck accident victims have relied on lawyer David Azizi to represent their unique and important interests in truck crash cases. The truck crash law firm David leads has a 98 percent success rate in winning for his clients financial compensation from the parties responsible for their injuries.
Accidents Involving a Tractor Trailer
There are significant differences between a tractor-trailer and a motor vehicle that increase the risk of injuries in an accident. It also makes it more dangerous for motor vehicles that are traveling too close to a tractor-trailer. Some of these reasons include:
- Size and weight: Tractor-trailers can weigh 80,000 pounds when they are fully loaded. This is around 16 times higher than the size of the average passenger vehicle. The average length of a tractor-trailer is about 53 feet. They can be much longer if it is a tandem trailer.
- Poorer maneuverability: Because of their weight and length, tractor-trailers need a lot more room to maneuver. In fact, when turning, the driver may have to extend the truck into the next lane to go around a corner.
- Dangerous cargo: Tractor-trailers transport everything from food products to electronics or furniture. They also carry hazardous cargo such as explosives and flammable materials. Being involved in an accident with one of these trucks increases the risk of severe injuries or fatalities.
- Their braking system is more complex: Motor vehicles use a hydraulic braking system. Tractor-trailers use a system of compressed air and air brakes. This is because the tractor and trailer must be connected and work together, something that would not be possible with a hydraulic braking system. With an air brake system, there is a delay in the amount of time a driver presses the brake pedal and the vehicle begins to stop. The size and weight affects a truck’s ability to stop too. It takes a big rig a distance of about 40 percent more to stop than a passenger car.
- Tractor-trailers have large blind spots: These big rigs have large blind spots on all sides where they cannot see passenger vehicles, motorcycle riders, cyclists or pedestrians. These blind spots are called no-zones. The driver cannot see 20 feet in front of the tractor or a distance of 30 feet behind the trailer. They also have a big blind spot on the left side of the vehicle from the driver’s door to about halfway past the trailer. On the right-hand side, the driver does not have a view of the two right lanes. In some cases, a vehicle may be riding in one of those lanes, and the driver can forget they are there, causing an accident when changing lanes.
Types of Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Because they are hauling long trailers behind them, accidents can be caused in ways that don’t occur with motor vehicles. They can result from the following.
These types of collisions occur if a vehicle in front of the big rig stops suddenly. Because a tractor-trailer requires a much longer stopping distance, it can travel over the top of another vehicle. This can result in a crushed roof, traumatic head injuries and a high incidence of fatalities. Accidents of this type can occur because:
- Visibility problems caused by fog, rain, sleet or snow can make it hard to see a vehicle up ahead. A trucker who is traveling too fast for weather conditions can cause an override accident.
- A truck driver who follows too closely behind a passenger vehicle can end up causing an override if that vehicle slows down or has to stop quickly in an emergency.
- The semi driver is speeding and unable to stop in time to prevent an accident.
- The truck driver experiences a mechanical problem such as a leak in the brake lines and can’t stop.
- The semi blows a tire, the brakes fail or there is a problem with the steering, which leads to an override accident.
- The semi driver fails to yield to other traffic, which has the right of way.
If a motorist is traveling too closely behind a tractor-trailer and it stops suddenly, the vehicle can pass underneath the semi from the rear. Fatalities are common in these accidents. Negligence by a truck driver that can result in an underride accident includes:
- The tail or brake lights are out on the truck, which could prevent a motorist from noticing that it is slowing or stopping.
- The truck isn’t equipped with underride protection.
- Reflective tape is dirty or missing, which prevents the motorist from seeing the truck.
- The trucker is parked along the road’s shoulder without lights, so the motorist doesn’t see the truck.
- The trucker attempts to change lanes and doesn’t use his signal.
A motorist can be driving down the highway minding their own business and suddenly, the trailer of a tractor-trailer near you starts swinging around into your lane of traffic. The motorist has nowhere to go and realizes that a collision is imminent. This is what it is like when a tractor-trailer jackknifes. Jackknifing occurs when the tractor pulling a trailer is going at a slower speed than the trailer behind it. It causes the trailer to swing around in a jackknife shape and can cause serious injuries when it collides with other motorists. Jackknifing can occur because:
- The driver improperly applied the brakes.
- The driver was inexperienced and did not know how to avoid jackknifing.
- The trailer started to slide because the driver was going too fast for weather conditions.
What Is A Tractor Trailer?
A tractor trailer is simply another name for a semi-truck or 18-wheeler, large powerful trucks used in transporting freight that consist of two parts:
- tractor – where the driver operates the vehicle in the cab and where the engine is located. This is the front unit that pulls the cargo.
- trailer – the trailing unit often with a container that gets attached behind the tractor to pull and carry all of the cargo.
California tractor trailer accidents can be horrendous and the road to recovery can cost victims not only severe injuries, but extensive loss of work, and a long battle with pain and suffering. In some cases, these accidents result in loss of life and a wrongful death lawsuit is pursued.
We understand some people do not feel inclined to file a lawsuit or fight for a settlement, but when you are a victim and your life has been dramatically altered and harmed in a tractor trailer accident, you deserve to be made whole in the eyes of the law through justice and financial compensation known as damages in the court system.
Paying For Medical Expenses After a Tractor Trailer Crash
The settlements and verdicts we win for our injured clients cover the massive costs that victims of truck driver negligence often face, like:
- Transportation via ambulance to the emergency room
- Inpatient hospital stay until safe to return home
- As many surgeries as required to repair crushed bones or to save limbs from amputation
- Outpatient treatment from doctors who specialize in severe injury treatment
- Physical therapy as needed
- All needed medical equipment, including medical walkers or wheelchairs to restore your health
Winning Compensation After Loss of Vehicle
David and the tractor trailer crash team recognize that accidents with large trucks and commercial vehicles often leave a vehicle undrivable, requiring extensive repairs, and in many cases, a total loss of the car. Your vehicle may need to be replaced. In some cases, personal property in the vehicle gets destroyed as well.
The money damages we demand from truckers and their companies always include the important and valuable resource of a personal vehicle. We will assist in determining the market value of your vehicle when replacement becomes necessary. If that becomes the case, of course you will require a rental vehicle until a new vehicle can be acquired. That’s an added expense that escalates with each day, and our firm fights for these expenses to be included in the final amount we demand for you.
Recover Lost Income With a Tractor Trailer Crash Law Firm
If you’ve had to miss work as a result of your injuries after an accident with a tractor trailer or semi truck, we know a positive path forward. The truck accident claim we pursue for you includes wages you’ve lost. Even when you are self-employed, California state law allows the recovery of income lost when someone has acted negligently and harmed you.
The Offices of David Azizi regularly partner with a forensic expert to determine the nature and extent of your injuries and to project future lost work. We can then be in a very strong position to pursue recovery of compensation for:
- Promotion and raises you might have qualified for but missed out on
- Bonus payments lost because you were unable to work
- Contributions to your retirement funds reduced or missed due to the accident
- Earning capacity that has changed when your injuries may require a career shift
L.A. Tractor Trailer Accident Lawsuits Can Involve Millions of Dollars
In this recent case discussed in the video below, an SUV driven by one of David’s clients was struck from behind by a tractor trailer. The accident was even more serious because the force of the truck pushed the SUV into another tractor trailer in front of it, crushing the vehicle between the two semi trucks.
It’s important to note that settlement amounts vary based on the unique circumstances of each case. The tractor trailer injury calculator can give you a basic estimate of what compensation for your claim might include. To discuss the specific details of your very unique accident claim with David, reach out 24/7 by calling 800-991-5292. We will quickly connect you directly to David for a free case review.
Your Next Steps After a Crash With a Tractor Trailer
Knowing the next steps to take after an accident with a tractor trailer is essential. In this podcast episode, David discusses your next steps to legally and physically protect yourself and your loved ones after the crash. Play the episode below.
Having handled these cases since 1998, David understands the ins and outs of the laws and regulations that govern semi trucks and tractor trailers. Knowing what to look for when investigating these incidents is what his team does best.
The Many Causes For Tractor Trailer Accidents
The Law Offices of David Azizi are highly familiar with the causes of tractor trailer crashes. Very often the truck is the reason for the accident. In these circumstances, investigators trace back to truck driver errors an alarming 89 percent of the time. Common errors behind the wheel we see from truckers include:
- Exhaustion, fatigue and/or Falling asleep at the wheel or ( 7 percent of truck wrecks)
- Medical emergencies while driving the tractor trailer
- Distracted drivers — including texting or eating — or failure to notice surrounding conditions (blamed 24 percent of the time)
- Excessive speeding, driving aggressively, tailgating and poor driving decisions (38 percent of the time)
Tractor trailer vehicle issues, such as balding tires or brakes needing replacement, account for approximately 10 percent of these incidents. Inadequate signage, poor road design and California weather conditions cause relatively few crashes.
David’s extensive experience as a truck accident attorney means he also knows the importance of gathering solid evidence from trucking companies. He not only requires tractor trailer companies to produce the log sheets that can demonstrate driver fatigue, but he also subpoenas the data from EOBRs (Electronic On-board Recorders), made by Qualcomm and other companies. Similar to airplane “black boxes,” these record a number of readings related to vehicle and driver performance.
Hiring an Experienced L.A. Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer For Your Case
In the video below, David discusses his experience and the advantages of working with a lawyer who is familiar not only with car accident lawsuits, but also with the more specialized field of tractor trailer, semi truck and big rig litigation:
Who Is At Fault After a Collision With A Tractor Trailer?
Establishing responsibility after a crash with a large truck or bus is a key step in restoring justice when you have been harmed. In many of the cases we handle, the trucker and/or trucking company holds full responsibility for the accident and your injuries. In an accident that’s not your fault, we will determine the trucker’s liability and determine the amount of damages owed to you.
Even in cases where you might have contributed to the cause of the accident leading to your injuries, we still have a strong path forward. California follows the practice of “Pure Comparative Negligence.” This means that if a judge or jury determines that hold some portion of fault, you can still pursue a legal recovery and lawsuit, and your final compensation award would be reduced by the percentage you were at fault.
If you were hit by a tractor trailer and the total damages awarded to you equal $100,000,000 but you were also 10 percent at fault, you’d receive $900,000 (the full financial award minus 10 percent for your partial fault).
Bottom line, even if you think you played a major role in a crash with a tractor trailer or semi truck, these cases that involve millions of dollars can still bring a sizeable recovery for your injuries and losses.
Filing a Lawsuit With a Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer
We encourage all of our clients to put health and safety first. After a tractor trailer accident,
your medical attention becomes your top priority. Our truck accident law team can assist with hospital paperwork and records and we will encourage you to attend every doctor visit. Skipping doctor visits could invite the defense to suggest that your injuries are not really that significant.
Important steps we will pursue for you after a tractor trailer crash include:
- Sending a letter of representation – We will send this on your behalf to the trucker and trucking company to explain that you now have acquired a lawyer to pursue this legal matter
- Filing an official “complaint” with the court system – This document that we file with the court clerk is the very first step to open your case. The complaint we submit will include evidence gathered, the extent of your injuries, a claim of trucker liability showing how the trucker is responsible for the crash and injuries, and specific demand for justice in the form of financial compensation.
- Receiving an “answer” from the trucking company or insurers – Once this complaint is submitted, we will receive their answer, in which they will admit their liability and move forward toward a settlement offer.
- Filing a lawsuit – We take every route needed for our clients. Since it’s very common in these large cases for truckers to deny responsibility or refuse to meet your financial demands, our truck crash law firm will file a lawsuit on your behalf. This means we are headed toward a trial where we will argue your case with all the evidence we’ve gathered about your tractor trailer collision before a judge or jury who will make a decision. In some cases, once they see we have filed a lawsuit, the trucking company will decide to offer a settlement rather than fight in court.
Only when a settlement offer is fair and restores justice and compensation does our fight conclude. Our goal is to get you the best possible financial recovery for the accident in the shortest amount of time. That’s exactly what our tractor trailer accident law firm set out to do in this settlement of $1,339,737.
David Azizi and the Los Angeles truck crash legal team win 98-percent of these cases. On the very rare occasions he does not win, the clients do not get charged. The law firm fronts the costs for you, and you only pay us according if we win you a settlement or verdict.
Tractor Trailer Accident on Train Tracks – Settlement of $1,339,737
A Tractor Trailer Accident Law Firm WIth a Solid Record
Legal services giant Avvo rated the Law Offices of David Azizi as “Superb,” and Expertise.com lists him as one of their Top 20 Personal Injury Lawyers in Los Angeles. Super Lawyers recently recognized him as a top L.A.-area attorney for the sixth time.
Our offices know and understand how trucking insurance companies work. David himself has roots in the insurance industry – the “dark side,” as he calls it – and has studied the many strategies these companies use to reduce the settlements they pay to injury victims. That became a real conflict for him and so he switched sides and now helps accident victims and their families maximize the amount they can recover after a truck crash.
Begin Your Truck Crash Case With Our Team
We need to hear your important and unique story and details about the crash you have endured with a tractor trailer or large commercial vehicle.
A free case review gets us on the same page with our injured clients. We’ll take a close look at your unique case details and determine your strongest legal road forward. All truck crash case in California have a statute of limitations, also known as a deadline, to take legal action. Time is of the essence and witness memories as well as evidence disappears quickly. We urge you to call 800-991-5292 to set up your free case evaluation directly with David.
As a married father of three young children, David approaches all legal matters with compassion. He makes himself accessible to clients by providing his cell phone number for the that questions he knows will come up.
Since 1998, the Law Offices of David Azizi have been an advocate for Californians after truck accidents and injuries. When you are ready to begin this important road toward justice and financial recovery, we are here to serve you and fight for your case.