A truck accident that occurred right here in the East Bay recently makes for a grim reminder of just how catastrophically harmful accidents involving semi-trucks can be. It also makes for a potent reminder of how important it is to get the right legal representation if you’ve been hurt in a big rig accident. The right Oakland injury attorney can help you make sure you’re getting everything you should from your injury lawsuit.
In that nearby accident, a Chevrolet Tahoe was traveling westbound on Interstate 580 near Airway Boulevard in Livermore when it and a “truck-tractor combination” collided, according to a Mercury News report. The collision caused the SUV to careen out of control and overturn, which ejected two children, a 12-year-old and an 8-year-old. The 12-year-old boy died, and the 8-year-old child suffered major injuries, the report stated.
Unfortunately, these kinds of accidents are not uncommon here in California. This state logged nearly 28,000 truck accidents that triggered almost 9,700 injuries and more than 350 deaths. This number represents a distinct upward trend, as there were only 296 deaths in 2015 and 259 in 2013.
While the Mercury News report did not indicate a cause for the fatal Livermore crash, there are potentially many ways that a negligent truck driver could cause an accident where your vehicle is the one to strike the truck, such as a trucker making an improper lane change.
Truck drivers may commit acts of negligence for many different reasons. Some may be driving when distracted, others may be driving while intoxicated. One common cause for truck driver negligence is drivers driving while fatigued. Truck drivers are often under intense pressure to meet stringent deadlines. This may lead them to remain behind the wheel, even after becoming ill or becoming exhausted… sometimes even when that means they have exceeded the maximum number of hours allowed behind the wheel (as dictated by federal regulators.)
If you’re hurt due to a commercial trucker’s negligence, there may be several legal options available to you. You may be able, in addition to suing the driver, to sue his/her employer, as well. Many times, a driver’s employer may be what the law calls “vicariously” liable for the acts of negligence committed by an employee.
Even if the trucker is an independent contractor, you may have options. You may be able to include the client entity in the lawsuit. If, for example, the trucker was driving more hours that the federal rules allowed and the client not only knew and condoned it but demanded it, then that evidence might provide a viable claim against the client in addition to the driver in a case where the driver caused a crash by falling asleep at the wheel.
The kinds of damages which you may be entitled to recover
When it comes to damages, the facts of your case may allow for both compensatory damages and punitive damages. Say, for example, you have proof that a trucker had a documented history of driving while under the influence of illegal drugs, included having been “busted” for this twice while working for the employer. The employer nevertheless continued to employ and use that trucker. If you’re hurt in a crash caused by that trucker’s driving while under the influence of drugs, then you could have a winning case for both compensatory and punitive damages against the employer.
If you’ve been hurt, or a loved one has been killed, as a result of a truck crash, make sure you have the right legal representation to get the results you need. Count on the Law Office of Stephen M. Fuerch. Attorney Fuerch is a knowledgeable Oakland injury attorney with extensive experience taking on trucking companies and insurance companies to get clients what they deserve. To learn more, contact us through our website or call our office at (925) 463-2575 to schedule your confidential initial consultation today.