Bennett Johnson, LLP

Truck Accident Lawyer

Because of the sheer size and weight of trucks, truck accidents caused by negligent drivers can result in serious injuries or even death.

If you were hurt due to a negligent truck driver or other preventable factor, a truck accident lawyer at Bennett Johnson, LLP, can help you.

What should you do if you are involved in an accident with a truck? 

Overturned semi

What to Do  Immediately following a Truck Accident 

Call the Police 

Even if there are no immediate, serious injuries, call the police so that you can obtain a report of the accident. 

Stay on the Scene 

Following a crash, do not leave the scene of the accident. Wait for the police to arrive. 

Get Medical Attention 

Your health and safety come first. Do not refuse any medical care, as this could make it more difficult to prove your injuries later on. 

Gather Witnesses

Take down the names and contact information of any bystanders who may have witnessed the truck accident. 

Exchange Information

Exchange license, insurance, and contact information with other drivers involved in the accident. 

Document Everything 

Take pictures at the scene of the accident. This includes pictures of your injuries, damage to your vehicle, and any street signs. Also, keep track of any medical records.

Say Very Little 

At the scene and when dealing with insurance companies later on, try to say as little as possible. Do not admit fault or apologize, as these statements can be seen as an admission of fault in the future. 

Contact a Lawyer 

If you were injured by a negligent driver, contacting a lawyer is essential. Our team can guide you through the next steps. 

Take several steps to start building your case...

Truck Accidents Are More Common Than You Think

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's 2016 report, there were about 475,000 accidents involving large trucks in a single year.

 

Of those crashes, almost 4,000 resulted in fatalities and more than 100,000 resulted in injuries. 

Why should you trust our firm with your case?

Proven Results 

Through our attentive, aggressive, and dedicated approach to every single case, we have helped our clients recover over $500 million in compensation. Bennett Johnson, LLP

Truck Accident Damages Can Be Awarded When a Severe Injury Has Occurred

The victims of a trucking accident or their loved ones may be owed damages for a variety of reasons, such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of income, or even wrongful death. Special regulations for trucking exist at both the state and federal level. These regulations are in place specifically for this industry, because the type of damage caused by a large truck is quite different from the damage seen in an automobile accident. The personal injury attorneys at Bennett Johnson, LLP have maintained a reputation in the Oakland, CA, area since 1981 for helping clients recover truck accident damages. They know how the state and federal regulations come into play when seeking a specific damage amount. 

Type of Damages Related to a Truck Accident

Despite the fact that a car accident and a trucking accident both involve moving vehicles, the damages are not quite the same. The size and weight of a commercial truck such as an 18 wheeler is such that the damages related to a truck accident are unique:

  • Property damage is usually a total loss because in a collision with a truck, a mid-size car or even an SUV is at a size disadvantage.
  • Bodily injuries are usually more catastrophic in a truck accident, and can include multiple broken bones, severe head trauma, burns, and significant damage to internal organs.
  • Pain and suffering for a truck accident victim is typically long-lasting and can have devastating effects. It is not easy to recover from a catastrophic bodily injury, and the struggle to do so can result in severe depression or even suicidal thoughts. In many cases, the victim may be unable to achieve a full recovery or return to work, and this can add to depression and anxiety. It is necessary to treat this pain and suffering with ongoing therapy and rehabilitation. In some instances, the victim may even need to re-learn certain basic life skills, such as use of utensils or walking.

Damages for a trucking accident can be similar to damages for a car accident, but usually contain unique components of injury. 

Medical Expenses Associated With a Trucking Accident

Any accident that results in bodily injury will require medical attention. These expenses are part of the damages in a trucking accident, and common medical expenses associated with a trucking accident are:

  • Surgery and extensive hospital stay costs.
  • Prescription medication needs.
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation.
  • Ambulance and emergency on-scene care expenses.
  • Recurring doctor visits and check ups.

truck accident
Truck accidents can cause lifelong injury and many different parties can share responsibility. If you have been injured in a truck accident, you need an attorney on your side.

More Information  About Truck Accidents

FMCSA Trucking Regulations

The catastrophic nature of truck accidents led the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to create regulations for truckers and trucking companies throughout the country. Trucking companies and truck drivers who fail to follow these regulations can be held accountable for their actions, especially if they result in serious or catastrophic injuries.

According to FMCSA regulations, truck drivers are required to:

  • Take regular, mandatory rest breaks
  • Keep their vehicles in proper working condition
  • Strictly adhere to a “zero drugs and alcohol” policy
  • Ensure that the vehicle is not overloaded with cargo
  • Keep miles driven within a specific period of time beneath a certain point

There are hundreds of rules and regulations, both at the federal and state level, which truck drivers and trucking companies must comply with. Following a truck accident, you need an attorney who has in-depth knowledge of all these regulations and can determine if the driver or company were not in compliance.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Despite the countless regulations that are in place, truck accidents still occur. Jackknifingrollovers, and other types of crashes are all too common. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:

  • Driver inattention
  • Speeding
  • Following too closely
  • Mechanical difficulties
  • Intoxicated driving
  • Driver fatigue

These causes are all preventable. While most truck accidents are due to driver negligence or recklessness, some may result from defective parts, poor maintenance work by a mechanic, or tight deadlines put in place by a trucking company. This makes truck accidents more complex than other types of motor vehicle accidents. For this reason, you need a skilled team of attorneys to assist you with the investigation and filing of your claim.

Injuries Caused by Truck Accidents

Semis and other large commercial trucks are far greater in size and weight than smaller vehicles like sedans or even SUVs. This large disparity can lead to severe, permanently debilitating, and life-threatening injuries when an accident occurs. Injuries sustained in truck accidents may include:

These injuries can cause lasting damage that requires extensive, and sometimes lifelong, medical treatment and care. Victims may never return to work, and those that do may struggle to obtain employment at their previous pay scale. Family members may also have to cut back on the hours they work to provide care for their loved one. This places an extreme financial burden on the victim as well as his or her family.

Why You Need an Attorney After a Truck Accident

Truck accidents are far more complicated than motor vehicle accidents, as there are potentially multiple at-fault parties involved—not just the driver. At Bennett Johnson, LLP, our attorneys can use their resources to investigate the accident and your claim. Our firm has extensive knowledge of the federal and state trucking regulations and can use this information to determine if the trucker or trucking company failed to comply with any of those regulations.

We will personally investigate your claim, gathering evidence and building a strong case that will return a settlement in your favor.

When there are multiple at-fault parties involved, the insurance companies may avoid your claim altogether, giving you the run-around and saying the other party is responsible and therefore, they will not pay. Without an attorney to negotiate on your behalf, it could take years to get any sort of settlement. Victims without legal representation are at an even greater risk of getting much smaller settlements than they rightly deserve because they do not know the true worth of their claim.

At Bennett Johnson, LLP, our attorneys will negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf. We are also prepared to take your claim to court if necessary. With help from a team of experts, we can accurately determine the amount of compensation you deserve for your injuries and suffering. We will aggressively pursue compensatory damages to restore your sense of financial security. Damages sought may include compensation for:

  • Any medical expenses related to your injury, including surgeries, physical therapy, medications, and equipment, such as a wheelchair
  • Your loss of income and earning capacity
  • The physical and emotional pain and suffering you have endured
  • Your reduced quality of life as a result of your injury
  • Loss of companionship for loved ones (if applicable)

Entrust Your Case to a Truck Accident Lawyer at Our Firm

Our personal injury lawyers are highly rated, having accomplished numerous achievements such as membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum® and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum®, which is reserved for attorneys who have achieved multi-million-dollar settlements and/or verdicts.

We are also members of the prestigious American College of Trial Attorneys with an AV® Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubble®. As a result of our commitment to our clients, we have successfully recovered more than half a billion dollars in verdicts, arbitrations, and settlements. We will strive to do the same for you and your claim, fighting for the maximum compensation you deserve.

Injured in an Accident? Turn to Bennett Johnson, LLP

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a truck crash in California, the first step is to hire a personal injury firm you can trust. Since opening our doors in 1981, Bennett Johnson, LLP has proudly served the East Bay community. Our clients have come to trust us, turning to us for fearless, yet strategic advocacy after suffering serious injuries. We meet with each of our clients personally to provide them with the strong legal representation needed to successfully win their case. Contact our office today for the supportive truck accident attorneys you need.

Truck Accident Damages Can Be Awarded When a Severe Injury Has Occurred

The victims of a trucking accident or their loved ones may be owed damages for a variety of reasons, such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of income, or even wrongful death. Special regulations for trucking exist at both the state and federal level. These regulations are in place specifically for this industry, because the type of damage caused by a large truck is quite different from the damage seen in an automobile accident. The personal injury attorneys at Bennett Johnson, LLP have maintained a reputation in the Oakland, CA, area since 1981 for helping clients recover truck accident damages. They know how the state and federal regulations come into play when seeking a specific damage amount. 

Type of Damages Related to a Truck Accident

Despite the fact that a car accident and a trucking accident both involve moving vehicles, the damages are not quite the same. The size and weight of a commercial truck such as an 18 wheeler is such that the damages related to a truck accident are unique:

  • Property damage is usually a total loss because in a collision with a truck, a mid-size car or even an SUV is at a size disadvantage.
  • Bodily injuries are usually more catastrophic in a truck accident, and can include multiple broken bones, severe head trauma, burns, and significant damage to internal organs.
  • Pain and suffering for a truck accident victim is typically long-lasting and can have devastating effects. It is not easy to recover from a catastrophic bodily injury, and the struggle to do so can result in severe depression or even suicidal thoughts. In many cases, the victim may be unable to achieve a full recovery or return to work, and this can add to depression and anxiety. It is necessary to treat this pain and suffering with ongoing therapy and rehabilitation. In some instances, the victim may even need to re-learn certain basic life skills, such as use of utensils or walking.

Damages for a trucking accident can be similar to damages for a car accident, but usually contain unique components of injury. 

Medical Expenses Associated With a Trucking Accident

Any accident that results in bodily injury will require medical attention. These expenses are part of the damages in a trucking accident, and common medical expenses associated with a trucking accident are:

  • Surgery and extensive hospital stay costs.
  • Prescription medication needs.
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation.
  • Ambulance and emergency on-scene care expenses.
  • Recurring doctor visits and check ups.

Symbols of damages incurred in a trucking accident
A number of considerations must be made when determining truck accident damages, including ongoing care. 

What to do About Loss of Income From a Trucking Accident

When victims of truck accidents are hurt and are unable to return to work, they will not receive a paycheck. The loss of income associated with an accident is the responsibility of the culpable party and should be repaid to the victim. In a trucking accident, this means:

  • When a trucking company is found liable for an accident, it becomes responsible for all damages suffered. Part of these damages can be the loss of income from not being able to go to work while injured. It is important to calculate this figure and make a demand for the lost wages for time missed from work.
  • It is likewise important to make a demand for future lost income when a trucking company is found responsible for an accident. Not all victims are able to return to work at their full capacity or salary, and the loss of future wages should be included in the lost wages calculation.

We Represent Various Types of Truck Accidents

There are several types of dangerous truck accidents including jackknifingrollovers, exceeded weight capacity, and drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Semi-truck accidents can have serious consequences. These consequences can be severe, so it is imperative to determine the cause of the accident and define the type of accident. These two factors help to make up the basis for a demand for compensation. Hiring an experienced semi truck accident attorney at Bennett Johnson, LLP in Oakland, CA, is key to making sure you are fully compensated for your injuries. 

Types of Truck Accidents

Because the trucking industry is governed by detailed regulations at the state and federal level, the approach taken when seeking compensation for injuries depends on the type of accident. For instance, if the accident were the result of failing to log hours driven, the strategy would involve examination of the electronic data, as well as driver behavior and company policies. But if the accident was caused by a rollover, the strategy would shift focus to driver behavior and pattern, rather than examining hours logged. To be clear, nearly every case will involve a mixture of focusing attention on every variable, but the intensity of that focus changes with the type of accident involved.

Determining the cause and type of semi truck accident is key to determining the amount of damages the victim is owed.

An Explanation of Different Types of Trucking Accidents

Knowing what type of trucking accident occurred helps to paint a clear picture of the case. Some basics about the different types of trucking accidents include:

  • Jackknifing: Jackknifing occurs when the driver slams on his brakes. The cab of the truck may stay straight, but the back end can swerve to the right or left, knocking out any object in the skid path. The truck will eventually come to rest with the trailer of the semi at a 90-degree angle to the cab.
  • Semi-Truck Rollover: When the driver loses control of his or her semi, the truck will roll onto its side and may even slide in this position for some length. When that happens, vehicles and other objects in the path of the slide will be damaged.
  • Failure to Follow Weight Capacity Guides: Loading cargo that exceeds the weight capacity can give a semi more momentum and make it harder to stop. An accident that results from an overweight semi can result in bodily injury for which the victim is entitled to compensation. However, there is also an element of regulatory noncompliance to address. Drivers can potentially lose their license when transporting cargo that is more than the weight limit regulation, and the company that employs the driver can also be held responsible for the failure to abide by this safety regulation. 
  • Traffic Laws: Just like semi-truck drivers have to follow state and federal trucking industry regulations, they also have to abide by the rules of the road for all motorists. When a driver exceeds the speed limit and causes an accident, the injured party should include the traffic violation as part of their complaint for damages. This is true for any type of traffic violation such as, speeding, reckless driving, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  In the case of a DUI, the driver will likely face arrest, and the information from that case should be looked at and presented as part of the evidence for damages.
  • Manufacturer and Equipment: In some cases, an accident happens through no fault of the driver, but is due to malfunctioning parts or equipment. The parent trucking company has a duty to put drivers in a safe truck and can bear some liability when an accident happens as a result of poorly maintained trucks. In some cases, the manufacturer may also be held accountable, if the parts that malfunctioned were not made properly. In those types of semi accident cases, it is crucial to explore every avenue of liability, and hold each responsible party accountable for the damage done.

Contact Our Office for More Information About Types of Trucking Accidents 

When a trucking accident happens, we know the damages are significant and devastating. Our attorneys have over 40 years of experience in helping people who have been in an accident involving the commercial trucking industry and will work hard to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact our office online today to schedule your consultation. You can also call our office at (530) 413-0245.

We Help Families of Loved Ones Killed in Trucking Accidents Recover Just Compensation

Large trucks weigh approximately 20 to 30 times as much as smaller passenger vehicles, meaning they can cause devastating damages, catastrophic injuries, and even the death of a loved one when they are involved in collisions. Because truck accident liability can fall on several parties, you need a personal injury lawyer on your side who can defend your family's best interests.‚Äč 

Richard C. BennettWilliam Johnson, and the team at Bennett Johnson, LLP, know that no amount of compensation can heal the wounds left behind by the wrongful death of a loved one. However, we are committed to helping your family recover the compensation you deserve. To find out how we can help after a fatal truck accident, schedule a free consultation at one of our three locations in Napa, Santa Maria, or Oakland, CA, by calling or contacting us online

a close up of two hands holding another
While compensation cannot erase your pain, it can help you deal with the aftermath of a truck accident.

What You Need to Know About Fatal Truck Accidents

The most severe injury one can suffer from a trucking accident is loss of life. The surviving family members of a victim of a trucking accident should explore making a claim for wrongful death. This type of claim is a complex one to make, but considering the increase in fatalities from trucking accidents, it is essential to take steps to hold the industry accountable. Since 2010, the number of fatalities from trucking accidents has increased, leaving many families with the option to make a claim for wrongful death.

Understanding Fatal Truck Accidents 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Highway Loss Data Institute has compiled several statistics that reflect why fatalities are so widespread in truck accidents

  • It takes 20 to 40 percent longer for trucks to brake compared to other vehicles
  • Truck drivers are sometimes allowed to drive up to 11 hours at a time, making driver fatigue a major crash risk in truck accidents. Many drivers also exceed the amount of time they are allowed to drive, and studies have shown that fatigued drivers are more dangerous on the road than drunk drivers
  • In 2016, 3,986 victims died in large truck accidents. 
  • Seventeen percent of deaths were truck occupants, while 66 percent of deaths were occupants of other vehicles involved in the crash.  

Accidents which include jackknifingrollovers, or similar scenarios can be especially serious. Unfortunately, the number of fatalities in truck accidents continues to increase.

In the state of California, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is two years. Therefore, time is of the essence.

Damages Your Family Could Receive

In the case of a wrongful death, your family may be entitled to compensation for: 

  • Funeral expenses 
  • Medical bills for any hospitalization prior to the death 
  • Future loss of income
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Loss of consortium 

In the state of California, only certain parties can recover compensation for these damages. They include the surviving: 

  • Spouse
  • Domestic partner 
  • Child
  • Beneficiary of the property left behind, which can include parents or siblings
  • Stepchildren or parents who was financially dependent on the deceased person 

A putative spouse, or an individual who was generally considered as the partner of the deceased, and their children may also be able to collect compensation. Our firm can compassionately work with your family to investigate the complexities of your case and determine whether you can recover compensation.

Why Hire an Attorney If a Loved One Is Killed 

While medical and rehabilitation bills are easier to prove, the damages incurred as a result of a wrongful death are difficult to collect compensation for without the help of a lawyer. Our lawyers work with life care experts who can determine how the death will financially and emotionally affect your family for the rest of your lives. 

In the state of California, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is two years. Therefore, time is of the essence. 

Bennett Johnson, LLP 

Bennett Johnston team

The Bennett Johnson, LLP, attorneys have successfully represented injury victims since 1981. Our firm is affiliated with various trusted organizations, including the: 

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum 
  • Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum 
  • American Board of Trial Advocates 
  • The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers 

To schedule your free consultation, request an appointment online or call (510) 444-5020.

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Oakland Office

1901 Harrison St
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Oakland, CA 94612

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