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Santa Barbara Truck Accident Lawyer

Truck Accidents

You are traveling on U.S. Route 101 headed to Santa Barbara for a visit to the Santa Ynez Mountains when a large tractor-trailer slams into your vehicle. The damage to your vehicle is so extensive that it’s effectively a total loss. Even worse, you suffer life-threatening injuries, including broken bones, facial lacerations, spinal cord damage, and a head wound.

The scenario described above is, unfortunately, quite common. In 2015, there were approximately 415,000 police-reported accidents involving commercial big rigs and tractor-trailers, and 3,598 resulted in deaths, while 83,000 wrecks resulted in serious injuries, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. That is, 86,598 lives are affected by serious trucking accidents.

Causes of Trucking Accidents

There are many reasons why commercial trucks collide with sedans, SUVs, pickup trucks, and so forth. Below is a brief summation of some of the most common causes of tractor-trailer wrecks:

  • Fatigue – big rig operators are typically on roads and highways for long periods. If they fail to take breaks between shifts, they are taxing their bodies to the point where they could fall asleep behind the wheel, causing a drowsy driving wreck.
  • Careless or reckless operators – given the size of tractor-trailers, there is little room for error. That is why commercial truck operators must take and pass rigorous driving tests and qualify for a commercial driver’s license. Despite all of this, there are instances where big-rig operators throw caution to the wind and engage in speeding, aggressive driving, ignoring blind spots, tailgating, and changing lanes improperly.
  • Intoxicated operators – Some commercial truck operators drink alcohol or take drugs while driving, which slows their reaction time and other vital motor skills.
  • Distracted big rig operators – texting and driving has become a nationwide safety epidemic for all drivers. When a commercial truck operator is on their cell phone texting and driving, the risk of causing a major wreck increases exponentially.
  • Inadequate training – Driving a commercial truck requires skill and experience. Operators are supposed to gain experience through the training offered by their employers. If a truck driver is not trained properly, they may not know how to react to inclement weather, busy roadways, or equipment issues.
  • Defective equipment – Commercial trucks must be regularly inspected and maintained to operate effectively. When these trucks are neglected, they can develop faulty brakes and worn tires, resulting in major collisions.
Why Trucking Accidents Can Cause Major Injuries and Death

A large commercial tractor-trailer can weigh over 80,000 pounds and be over 60 feet long. Due to their tremendous size and weight, they are challenging to maneuver, take longer to stop, have large blind spots, and require an extensive turning radius. These factors increase the potential of a big rig colliding with a smaller vehicle. When that happens, the size differential means that the smaller vehicle bears the brunt of the damage (including the smaller vehicle).

The video below explains the types of injuries that can occur in a trucking accident.

Pursuing Financial Restitution for Your Harms and Losses

If you or a loved one was involved in an accident where a commercial truck collided with your vehicle and you got hurt, speak to an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. When it comes to trucking accidents in Santa Barbara, several parties may be liable for your harm and losses. There may be a viable claim against:

  • The tractor-trailer operator;
  • The operator’s employer;
  • The trucking company;
  • The truck manufacturer and/or
  • The loader of the cargo is placed on the big rig.
Do I Really Need a Lawyer for My Trucking Accident Claim?

Yes. Trucking accidents are often quite complex, involving multiple parties, insurance carriers, and usually a team of aggressive insurance defense lawyers. A corporation (e.g., Wal-Mart, Target, etc.) or a trucking company owns every commercial tractor-trailer. These companies retain a team of experienced investigators, claims adjusters, and lawyers who have a single mission: work to reduce or deny a personal injury claim after an accident occurs involving one of their big rigs. Many trucking company defense lawyers consciously work to drag out cases, hoping the injured party will give up and settle for a minimal amount. They contest basic discovery requests and demand multi-hour depositions. You must level the playing field and retain an experienced and skilled Santa Barbara truck accident attorney.

Large Truck Accident Jury Verdicts and Settlements

Filing a lawsuit against a big corporation or trucking company can be intimidating and overwhelming. But be assured, you are not alone. In fact, there are plenty of examples of everyday people standing up and pursuing financial restitution against a corporation with success. For example, since 2011, there have been at least six trucking accident cases in which a settlement or verdict led to a $20 million or greater award for the plaintiff, according to the National Law Review.

A jury in Georgia awarded the widow of a man killed in a commercial trucking accident over $40 million. The victim was hit and killed by a commercial truck driver who ran a stop sign and hit the victim’s pickup truck. The jury’s award was actually increased to over $55 million.

In another example, a jury in Texas awarded $281 million to the family of a man who was hit and killed by a commercial truck driver’s drive shaft that detached and smashed through his vehicle’s windshield. The jury found that the commercial truck was not maintained properly.

Another example is a case involving the deaths of five Georgia Southern University classmates. A commercial truck reportedly ran over the top of a Toyota Corolla carrying the classmates. According to CVN, multiple wrongful death lawsuits were filed on behalf of the victims, and the trucking company reportedly settled for nearly $80 million in total. According to reports, Brittany McDaniel, the only nursing student to survive the crash, received a $5 million settlement.

Contact a Santa Barbara Truck Accident Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one was seriously injured in an accident involving a commercial truck or lost a loved one in this type of collision, contact our law firm today to schedule a consultation for free, friendly advice. We can be reached at (805) 372-0200 for free, friendly advice. We have decades of trial experience handling truck accident injury or death cases. See our past cases on our Verdicts and Settlements page.

Editor’s Note: updated [cha 10.11.23] Image by Schwoaze from Pixabay sb bw [CS 1085]