You Need the Right Truck Accident Lawyer
An experienced attorney will stand up for you
Most motorists encounter semi-trucks and other big commercial vehicles every day, and most don’t give them a second thought. If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident, though, you know firsthand just how dangerous they can be. Because of the sheer size of tractor-trailers, they can cause life-altering injuries to people in smaller vehicles. The insurance companies fight hard to deny compensation to victims of these accidents. Our San Jose truck accident lawyers fight back.
The Swanson Law Group has the experience and resources to get big results for victims of truck accidents, including an $8,870,000 verdict for two women who were rear-ended by a tractor-trailer. We know how to investigate, negotiate, and litigate in pursuit of a better future for people harmed by the trucking companies. If you’ve been injured, schedule your free consultation with a proven truck accident attorney today.
We know the legal standards that trucking companies must meet
Any motor vehicle can be dangerous, of course, but an 18-wheeler has the potential to be much more dangerous than a car, SUV, pickup truck, or minivan. In part, that’s because of sheer size. A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and even smaller commercial vehicles like box trucks and dump trucks are still several times heavier than the average sedan. When they crash into smaller vehicles, the force of impact can cause devastating injuries. Commercial vehicles also have higher centers of gravity, take longer to stop, and make wider turns, so it’s quite easy for an inexperienced or negligent operator to lose control and cause a crash.
That’s why truck drivers are required to hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL), which holds them to higher standards than other motorists. Truckers need to pass written and skills test in order to get a CDL and keep it current. They are held to more stringent standards of impaired driving: a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.04 is the legal limit for truckers, compared to 0.08 for other motorists over 21. They are also required to abide by hours of service (HOS) guidelines that mandate breaks and limit the number of hours they can spend on the road in a week.
Trucking companies, too, are held to high legal standards. They need to conduct background checks on their drivers, keep their vehicles maintained, and ensure they are properly and safely loaded. Unfortunately, it’s far too common for the trucking company to put profits ahead of safety. They may pressure drivers to drive at unsafe speeds and skip rest breaks to meet unrealistic delivery schedules or cut corners on background checks and training to get more drivers on the road faster. When that happens, people get badly hurt. Our truck accident attorneys know how to make them pay.
Our legal team gets to the bottom of truck accidents
We have the experience and resources to thoroughly investigate all types of truck accidents. Depending on the circumstances of your crash, we know where to look for evidence that will help us hold the responsible party accountable.
- Rear-End Truck Accidents: Because of their size, trucks take longer to stop than smaller vehicles, so they need to maintain a safe following distance. The truck’s brakes also need to be properly maintained and inspected to ensure the truck can stop in an emergency. When a smaller vehicle must slow down or stop in front of a truck, a rear-end crash can cause life-altering damage.
- Underride Accidents: One of the most dangerous events on the road is when a smaller vehicle slides underneath the trailer of a semi-truck. Parts of the trailer can enter the cab of the smaller vehicle, causing disfiguring or fatal injuries. Most trucks are equipped with underride guards to prevent this, but they can fail, especially if they are not properly maintained or if they are hit from an angle. Our investigation will include both the trucking company and the manufacturer.
- Jackknife Accidents: A jackknifing truck is a danger to both its driver and everyone else on the road, often causing pileups and secondary collisions when entire lanes of traffic are blocked. Jackknifing can be caused by an unbalanced load, taking turns too quickly, improper brake maintenance, or driving too fast in dangerous conditions. Experienced and attentive truckers should know how to avoid a jackknife or steer out of one safely when it occurs, but inexperienced, inattentive, or impaired operators can be incredibly dangerous.
- Truck Rollover Accidents: When a truck rolls over, it’s often because it was moving at an unsafe speed around a curve or in slippery conditions. Overloading and improperly balanced loads can also destabilize a truck. Sometimes, rollovers happen when a truck must swerve to avoid a hazard. Either way, a rollover is a massive hazard to everyone else on the road, and truckers have a legal responsibility to pay attention and operate their vehicles safely.
- Lost Load: The cargo on a heavy truck can be just as dangerous as the truck itself. Truckers and trucking companies are responsible for making sure their trucks are properly loaded, especially flatbed vehicles where cargo can easily spill off the back if not secured.
One of the reasons to hire a truck accident attorney is that we can launch a detailed investigation of your crash. In order to understand why your truck accident happened – and who is responsible for it – we will preserve and review all the available evidence. Like any other motor vehicle accident, this starts with the accident report, witness accounts, and physical evidence from the scene. We’re also looking for:
- Hours of Service (HOS) log: this log documents the trucker’s working hours and any mandatory rest breaks to confirm that they were following federal HOS regulations. This log is the trucking company’s property, and they are only generally required to keep it for six months, so we need to intervene quickly to stop the trucking company from destroying the log and the valuable information it contains.
- “Black box” navigation data: the black box records the truck’s speed, location and direction of travel. This may provide evidence that the truck was traveling at an unsafe speed at the time of the crash. It may also indicate that the log was falsified, if the truck was in motion at a time when the trucker was ostensibly taking a break.
- Hiring and supervision records: we will confirm whether the trucking company performed a background check as required by law. If they failed to do so and missed red flags in the trucker’s background, we may have a claim for negligent hiring. Likewise, if they failed to properly train and supervise the trucker, or kept a trucker employed despite a history of dangerous or impaired driving, we can take legal action against the trucking company on that basis.
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, the responsible party might be the truck driver, the trucking company, a manufacturer or the driver of another vehicle. Of course, each of those parties will have their own insurance policy and an insurance company trying to minimize their liability. That’s why it’s so critical to have a determined and experienced truck accident lawyer on your side.
We will push through the legal issues and fight for your future
A truck accident can alter someone’s life forever. A serious injury changes everything: your home life, your career, your hobbies, your future. To rebuild, you need full and fair compensation for your medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other costs. That’s justice, plain and simple. It’s also accountability for the trucking company that failed to put safety first.
To an insurance company, though, a truck accident is nothing more than exposure to their bottom line. Trucking companies carry high-limit policies, so they’re looking at a potentially large claim, and they’ll put their best adjusters and attorneys on the case to minimize your recovery. In addition, there will be multiple insurance companies involved: at least one for each vehicle, and if your crash involved a tractor-trailer, the cab and the trailer will usually have separate insurance policies. When the insurance companies point the finger at each other, the injured person gets caught in the middle. We know how to sort out this situation, find the evidence needed to hold them accountable, and compel them to come to the table.
We prepare every case for trial, and that approach is especially important in high-stakes trucking litigation. When the insurance company sees they’re up against a truck accident attorney with a strong reputation and track record of results, they have every incentive to offer a fair settlement instead of facing us in court. If they’re willing to pay up, we can resolve the case via negotiation. If not, we will take them to trial and argue your case before a judge and jury.
You need a truck accident lawyer to level the playing field
The trucking companies have deep pockets and huge legal budgets to build their defense. As an injured person, you can’t match that – but you don’t have to. We handle truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t have to pay us a penny out of pocket. From the initial consultation through negotiation and litigation, we put our own time and resources into preparing your case. If we win, our fee is a percentage of the money we recover for you. If we don’t win, there is no fee at all. It’s that simple.
The accident changed your life, but you don’t have to face what’s next alone. Level the playing field with an attorney who knows how to take on the trucking companies and help you build a better future. Contact us today to discuss your legal options with an experienced truck accident lawyer.