Determining fault in truck collisions

Accidents involving 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, and large commercial trucks are all too common in Southern California. Determining fault in these catastrophic collisions is a complicated endeavor best handled by an established Los Angeles truck accident lawyer. Given the life-altering injuries and legal consequences of semi-truck crashes, victims need advocates who have a proven record of prevailing in these complex claims. In some instances, there are multiple negligent parties– each of which could be held liable for personal injuries, vehicle damage, and related losses.

Large commercial trucks are governed not only by California state laws but also by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. These regulations outline vehicle maintenance requirements, hours of service, alcohol and drug testing of drivers, and weight limitations. Your lawyer’s job is to investigate the truck accident and gather solid evidence that demonstrates the cause of the crash and where liability lies. At Hobbs Law Group, we know that many types of evidence can be used to prove which party or parties could be held responsible– but time is of the essence.

Collecting evidence to prove liability

Prompt discovery of important evidence is crucial to the success of any personal injury claim. That is why it’s imperative to get legal representation as soon as possible. Within hours of a big rig accident, the trucking company’s insurance claims investigators will be on the scene, conducting their own investigations to minimize liability.

Your truck accident attorney will likely send a legal document to the defendant company that prevents them from concealing or tampering with important accident evidence. This might include black box information, vehicle inspection reports, maintenance records, driver’s logs on hours of service, and dashcam footage.

Trucking companies have been known to falsify or destroy evidence that could be incriminating. Commercial trucks carry massive insurance policies and claims adjusters will look for ways to shift blame and minimize payouts. That is why independent, thorough investigations by your legal counsel are necessary.

Additional evidence that may be used in a truck accident claim:

  • Police accident report
  • Driver logbooks indicating driving time and rest periods
  • Truck cargo weigh-in reports
  • Physical evidence at the accident scene
  • Cell phone data from the truck driver
  • Vehicle maintenance logs
  • Testimony from eyewitnesses
  • Expert opinion from crash reconstruction specialists

Identifying responsible parties

Your attorney will also investigate whether mechanical or equipment malfunction played a role in the accident. In California, victims can sue based on strict liability if it can be proven that the semi had faulty parts or components that caused or factored into the crash. Defective brakes, cargo straps, tires, hydraulics, transmission parts, and accelerators may give rise to a product liability suit against the part’s manufacturer.

The sooner your attorney begins investigating, the better the odds of preserving evidence that bolsters your truck accident claim. At-fault parties could include the trucking company or owner of the truck, the truck driver, the loading company, the company responsible for vehicle maintenance, the manufacturer of a defective part, and other negligent motorists who contributed to the accident.

Trucking company and driver negligence

In California, some of the most common causes of large truck crashes include:

  • Driver fatigue – failing to comply with legal limits on hours of service
  • Negligent hiring and training practices
  • Lack of routine maintenance
  • Speeding and traffic violations
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence
  • Overweight cargo

Proving fault in a semi-truck accident is a complicated process, with many moving parts and challenges. Truck accident cases are usually resolved through skilled negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company. The goal is– recovering maximum compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, rehabilitation, and other damages.

Contact Hobbs Law Group for a free consultation

If you were involved in a truck accident and need aggressive, client-driven representation, contact Hobbs Law Group for a free, no-obligation consultation. A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer will review your case and explain your best options moving forward. We are proud to offer high-caliber legal services on a contingency-fee-basis– which means you pay nothing unless we collect compensation on your behalf.