Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco truck accident attorney’
Avoiding Tractor-Trailer No Zones: An Effective Strategy for Reducing Your Risk of Being Involved in San Francisco Trucking Accidents
Anyone who drives a car understands the notion of a blind spot, which involves areas where a driver cannot use a mirror to see that are adjacent to one’s vehicle. Tractor-trailers like smaller passenger vehicles also have blind spots, but these areas are massive in comparison of passenger vehicles. When a motorist is driving in the vicinity of a tractor-trailer, a driver should be aware of the location of these blind spots and avoid driving in these unsafe locations around a big-rig. These blind spots are the locations around a tractor-trailer that are most likely to be involved in a collision with another vehicle.
Tractor-trailers have large blind spots located on either side of the rig that extend from behind the cab to 20-40 feet back on the trailer. Tractor-trailers also have these blind spots, which are commonly called “no zones”, immediately behind a tractor-trailer. No zones in the rear of a tractor-trailer that may extend up to two hundred feet behind the vehicle. Trucks may also have a no zone immediately in front of the cab of the tractor-trailer.
These large no zones mean that motorists must be extra vigilant when driving in close proximity to a tractor-trailer. Drivers of passenger vehicles should try to completely avoid no zones by avoiding the following driving practices:
- Tailgating a tractor-trailer
- Driving in the adjacent lane of traffic next to the trailer for an extended distance
- Avoid passing a tractor-trailer and then immediately cutting over in front of the big-rig
- Drivers should be extremely careful about no zones on the right side of rigs which are larger
Driver fatigue and carelessness can be more dangerous when they impact a commercial driver in a tractor-trailer because visibility if so limited. While there are sensor systems that now exist which can warn drivers of tractor-trailers of pending collisions with vehicles in their no zones, many tractor-trailers do not yet have this technology installed on their vehicle.
This lack of visibility associated with tractor-trailers is even more problematic because of the relative lack of maneuverability associated with commercial trucks. While the average passenger vehicle traveling at 55 mph may take 265 feet to stop, a tractor-trailer may take 313 feet. If you are traveling in the no zone immediately in front of a commercial truck, the driver must be able to see you and have time to respond if you must come to an abrupt stop. This is why it is advisable to allow for larger distances between a passenger vehicle and commercial truck and avoid traveling in tractor-trailer blind spots.
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If you are involved in a San Francisco truck accident you may suffer serious injury, particularly if your seatbelt fails or some other product defect contributes to your collision. If you or someone you love has been injured or a loved one has died in a San Francisco car accident, you should contact us and speak with an experienced San Francisco truck accident attorney as soon as possible because critical deadlines apply. Our San Francisco trucking accident attorneys invite you to contact The Law Office of Ian Zimmerman for your free initial consultation. We are open 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., speak Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese, and are available for weekend, evening, home and hospital meetings and visits. We also offer free initial consultations and work exclusively on a contingency fee basis so that you pay nothing if we don’t win your case.
Tractor-trailers are monstrous in size and mass when compared to a typical passenger vehicle. This basic difference in size and mass means that truck accident victims will often suffer devastating injuries. The magnitude of injuries that characterize a tractor-trailer collision make it imperative that trucking accident victims seek the full measure of damages they are entitled to receive. In other words, accident victims need to effectively navigate the potential roadblocks and obstacles that may be presented by the at-fault commercial carriers’ insurance company.
Although someone from the insurance company may contact you after the collision in the course of investigating the claim, the trucking company may not be trying to determine “the truth” about the collision. It is important to understand that the insurance adjuster for the trucking company is an employee of the insurance company. While the adjuster may seem reasonable and even friendly, the focus of the adjuster’s efforts and any communications with you are intended to avoid liability for your injuries, property damage, or loss of a loved one. Even if liability is absolutely clear, which is uncommon, the adjuster may contact you to obtain information about pre-existing injuries that could reduce the value of your personal injury claim.
The best practice in situations such as these is to simply decline speaking with the insurance adjuster. This is especially if you are being asked to make a recorded statement. The law imposes no obligation on you to speak to the insurance adjuster for the trucking company. Sometimes San Francisco trucking accident victims are convinced that the fault of the truck driver is beyond dispute so that making a recorded statement will facilitate payment of the victim’s claim. The victims of negligent truck drivers and trucking companies should keep in mind that the only reason that the adjuster wants a statement is to develop factual evidence that will support valid legal defenses to your claim.
Another common ruse used by insurance companies in trucking accidents is to encourage you to sign documents that will compromise your trucking accident claim. The most common document that you may be asked to sign is a Waiver of Confidentiality. The insurance adjuster may be looking for medical information or employment information that may create possible defenses for the insurance company or otherwise undermine the value of your claim.
The other document that you may be asked to sign is a General Release of Liability. The document may even be accompanied by a check. Depending on the precise terms of the agreement, execution of this document may result in a complete waiver of all rights and remedies, which even includes those that involve injuries that have not yet become apparent. This can be a devastating result if you have permanent injuries that are only diagnosed later. The bottom line is never sign anything without consulting an experienced San Francisco truck accident attorney.
If you or someone you love has been injured or a loved one has died in a San Francisco tractor-trailer accident, our San Francisco truck accident attorneys have the familiarity and experience to protect you from unfair tactics by the trucking company’s insurance company. We invite you to contact The Law Office of Ian Zimmerman for your free initial consultation. We are open 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., speak Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese, and are available for weekend, evening, home and hospital meetings and visits. We also offer free initial consultations and work exclusively on a contingency fee basis so that you pay nothing if we don’t win your case.
While all motor vehicle accidents pose a significant risk of causing severe injury, tractor-trailers (e.g. commercial trucks, big-rigs, semi-trucks, 18-wheelers) pose a unique risk due to their mammoth size. A fully loaded tractor-trailer truck may weigh as much as forty tons, which is more than 25 times the weight of many passenger vehicles. The bulk and mass of tractor-trailer trucks make them more difficult to drive and less responsive in emergency situations. These massive vehicles present a higher risk of being involved in a collision and are prone to cause catastrophic injuries and fatalities when a collision occurs.
The trucking industry can essentially be divided into two types of trucking categories: (1) intrastate trucking refers to trucks that operate exclusive within the boundaries of a single state (e.g. California), and (2) interstate trucking refers to tractor-trailers that operate in multiple states. While both intrastate trucking and interstate trucking companies and drivers are subject to extensive regulations, these regulations vary depending on the state in which the trucking company operates and other factors. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a federal agency that provides extensive regulation of the trucking industry at the federal level.
These extensive state and federal regulatory systems make litigating a trucking accident case far more complex than a typical motor vehicle accident case. When you are considering the right trucking accident law firm to represent your family, you should retain a legal team with extensive knowledge in the regulations that apply to the trucking industry. Violations of these regulations are often the basis for liability in trucking accident cases.
Some regulatory violations that frequently form a basis for liability in a trucking accident case include:
- Hours of service (HOS) rules, which regulate maximum driving shifts and on-duty times on a daily basis or a quasi-weekly basis and impose mandatory rest periods.
- Mandatory pre-trip and post-trip inspection rules
- Random drug testing
- Rules regarding maximum loads and proper securing of loads
- Medical fitness requirements
- Prescreening of drivers prior to hiring
- Limitations on weight and length
When tractor-trailer companies violate regulations aimed at reducing the risk of accidents caused by commercial big-rigs, the result can be horrific collisions resulting in severe permanent injuries. In virtually all trucking accidents where serious injury occurs, it is usually the occupant of the other vehicle whose life is changed forever by catastrophic injury.
Trucking accident cases also require a thorough understanding of the common trucking industry practices used to avert liability for potentially fatal trucking collisions. Many trucking companies will dispatch an investigation team to the location of a serious tractor-trailer collision within minutes of the accident. In some cases, these teams have had a history of tampering with accident scene evidence by removing debris from the vehicles, removing and altering the truck driver’s log book, or erasing data on the big-rig’s data recorder. Our experienced Bay Area trucking accident lawyers are well aware of these practices and will take aggressive steps to preserve key evidence in our client’s truck accident case.
If you were injured in a truck accident in California and if you need a San Francisco truck accident attorney, contact The Law Office of Ian Zimmerman for your free initial consultation. We are open 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., speak Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese, and are available for weekend, evening, home and hospital meetings and visits. We offer free initial consultations and work exclusively on a contingency fee basis, so that you pay nothing if we don’t win your case.
Call 1-800-8-INJURY to speak with an experienced California truck accident attorney about your case today.