Have you been injured in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault? It can be a confusing and painful experience. At The Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP, we understand what you’re going through. Your life has been disrupted by medical bills, lost work hours, and uncertainty about the future.
But you don’t need to navigate this difficult time alone. Our Bakersfield truck accident attorneys know Kern County’s law and are ready to fight for your justice. We are committed to helping you during your time of need.
You shouldn’t have to face the aftermath of a truck accident alone. Let us take care of the legal details while you focus on healing. If you’re a survivor of a truck accident, it’s time to take control. Contact the skilled lawyers at The Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP for a free consultation. Call 661.327.9661 or online.
What Is Considered a Truck in California?
The California Vehicle Code (CVC) defines what counts as a commercial truck within the state. This definition is complex and can vary depending on several factors, including the vehicle’s use, weight, design, and the number of passengers it can carry.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) says a commercial vehicle is any vehicle used or maintained to carry people or property for hire, compensation, or profit. This could include any of the following types of trucks:
- Big rig
- Commercial truck
- Flatbed trucks
- Box trucks
- Dump trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Refrigerated trucks
- Tanker trucks
- Tow trucks
- Utility trucks
- Food trucks
- Cement mixers
- Fire trucks
- Livestock trucks
- Logging trucks
- Auto transport trucks
- Delivery vans
- Boom trucks
- Cherry pickers
- Street sweepers
- Armored trucks
What Are Common Commercial Truck Accidents in California?
The causes of truck accidents range from driver error and improper vehicle maintenance to unsafe road conditions and the actions of other drivers. Understanding the following types of accidents can keep you safe on the road and help you identify who is at fault if a truck accident does occur.
These accidents happen when the trailer of a truck swings out too far to one side, closing in on the cab at an angle. This is especially dangerous because a jackknifed truck can sweep across multiple lanes and collide with several other vehicles at once.
Trucks are top-heavy and can roll over for a variety of reasons, including excessive speeds, sudden turns, uneven loads, or adverse road conditions. Rollovers are hazardous for truck drivers and other road users near them.
Due to how heavy big trucks are, they have much longer stopping distances compared to other vehicles. This increases the likelihood of rear-end collisions, particularly when truck drivers speed or follow too closely behind other vehicles.
Blind Spot Accidents
Trucks have large blind spots, often called “no-zones,” in which truck drivers cannot see other nearby vehicles. Many blind spot accidents occur when truck drivers change lanes or turn while other vehicles are in these no-zones.
This type of wreck happens when a smaller vehicle slides under the trailer of a truck during a collision. Underride accidents can be devastating for vehicle occupants due to the height difference between a truck and a passenger vehicle.
Cargo Spill Accidents
These accidents occur when a truck loses its load on the roadway. This can occur for several reasons, including improper loading, structural failures, collisions, or abrupt maneuvers that cause the cargo to shift and spill in transit. Spilled cargo can pose significant hazards to other motorists, especially if it includes hazardous materials or large objects.
Head-on truck accidents occur when the front end of a truck and the front end of another vehicle crash into each other. These accidents can be particularly devastating due to the considerable size difference between a truck and a typical passenger vehicle.
T-bone accidents, also known as side-impact or broadside collisions, occur when the front of a truck hits the side of another vehicle or vice versa. These wrecks often happen at intersections when one road user fails to yield the right of way.
What Injuries Can Someone Sustain in a Truck Accident?
Car occupants involved in truck accidents can suffer a range of injuries due to the large size and weight of commercial trucks. The severity can vary significantly, from minor to catastrophic or even fatal injuries. Here are some common examples of truck accident injuries:
- Neck and Shoulder Injuries – The powerful forces exerted in a collision with a large truck often leads to the rapid, violent movement of the head and neck, causing injuries such as whiplash.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) – During a truck accident, occupants of smaller vehicles can suffer blows to the head from impacts or flying debris, potentially causing traumatic brain injuries.
- Spinal Cord Injuries – The severity of a truck collision can cause considerable trauma to the spinal cord, potentially resulting in temporary or permanent paralysis below the injury site.
- Fractures – The impact of a truck accident can cause occupants of a car to experience extensive fractures, which can affect any part of the body, from the limbs to the ribs or skull.
- Internal Injuries – A forceful collision with a truck can damage internal body parts, causing potentially life-threatening conditions such as internal bleeding or organ rupture.
- Back and Spine Injuries – The physical stress of a truck accident can lead to severe back injuries, including damage to the spinal discs or vertebrae, which can cause pain and mobility issues.
- Cuts, Bruises, and Lacerations – Shattered glass, twisted metal, and rough surfaces can contribute to severe cuts, lacerations, bruises, and “road rash” for car occupants in a truck collision.
- Soft Tissue Injuries – A truck accident impact can cause soft tissue injuries, damaging muscles, ligaments, or tendons and leading to pain, swelling, and loss of function.
- Burns – In the event of an accident with a truck carrying flammable materials, a collision could result in a fire or explosion and lead to burn injuries for vehicle occupants.
- Eye Injuries and Vision Loss – Flying debris from a truck accident can lead to traumatic eye injuries, potentially resulting in partial or complete vision loss.
- Facial and Dental Injuries – Impacts with airbags, steering wheels, or flying debris can result in severe facial or dental injuries, such as broken jaws, lost teeth, or facial fractures.
- Crushing Injuries – In a truck accident, car occupants can easily get trapped or crushed under the wreckage, leading to crushing injuries that sometimes result in amputation or loss of limb.
- Psychological Injuries – The traumatic experience of a truck accident can lead to debilitating psychological injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression.
- Death – If a family member or loved one is a fatal truck accident victim, their family could file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Keep in mind that some injuries aren’t apparent immediately after an accident. Some, like certain types of brain trauma or internal injuries, might not show symptoms for hours or even days after a crash. Always seek immediate medical attention after a crash, no matter how you feel initially.
What Compensation Can I Expect to Recover in a Bakersfield Truck Accident Claim?
The amount of compensation you could get after a truck accident in California greatly depends on the specifics of your case. Key factors that could affect your case’s value include the severity and nature of your injuries, the extent of your medical expenses, whether you’ve lost income or earning potential due to your injuries, and the degree to which the other party was at fault.
You could also seek compensation for more subjective losses like your pain, suffering, and decreased quality of life. The circumstances of each accident are unique, so it’s important to consult an experienced Bakersfield truck accident lawyer who can guide you through the legal process.
With the right lawyer at your side, you could demand compensation for the following in your truck accident claim:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Incidental, out-of-pocket expenses
- Lost wages from missed work
- Lost future earning capacity
- Physical pain and emotional suffering
- Reduced quality or enjoyment of life
- Property repair or replacement costs
What If I Am Partly at Fault in a Truck Accident?
In California, you can still file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against another party, even if you are partially at fault for a truck accident. Under the state’s pure comparative negligence rule, you can recover money from a personal injury lawsuit even if you are partly to blame for the accident that injured you. However, the total amount of compensation available for your claim decreases based on your percentage of fault.
If another party accuses you of contributing to an accident, a skilled Bakersfield truck accident attorney can develop your claim accordingly and work to maximize your compensation.
How a Bakersfield Truck Accident Lawyer at The Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP Can Help
A Bakersfield lawyer at The Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP will investigate the accident, gather evidence, determine who is at fault, and assess the extent of your losses. We will handle all the necessary paperwork and negotiate with insurance companies for you. This is a significant relief while you focus on your recovery.
If your case goes to court, our lawyers know the Kern County court system and the laws so that you will be represented with the best interest. It’s important to have a trusted Bakersfield truck accident lawyer like The Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP by your side. They will tirelessly advocate for you, keep you informed throughout the process, and receive the compensation you deserve.