Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco trucking accidents’
Rollover accidents pose a particularly serious threat to vehicle occupants. The typical San Francisco rollover accident poses many dangers, including the potential for vehicle ejections, roof crush injuries road departures and other hazards that can result in severe pain and disability. When the vehicle involved in the collision is a commercial truck of 80,000 pounds of steel, the risk of fatality from crushing injuries is much greater for a passenger vehicle occupant, motorcyclist, bicyclist or pedestrian. Rollover accidents involving commercial trucks often cause catastrophic injuries, such as spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, amputation of limbs, paralysis and even wrongful death.
A fatal commercial truck rollover accident on Interstate 680 in San Jose last week serves as a grim reminder of the potential fatal consequences of a Bay Area trucking accident. The fatal accident occurred when the driver of a big-rig loaded with broccoli attempted to navigate a curve at too high a rate of speed. According to reports from the California Highway Patrol, the San Francisco commercial truck rolled over onto a Toyota Camry crushing the vehicle and resulting in fatal injury to the Camry passenger.
There are strict trucking regulations that govern commercial trucks when they are transporting loads. These regulations apply to such factors as the maximum weight of the load and how the load is secured. When a vehicle is not loaded properly or the load exceeds the maximum allowable weight, the risk of a deadly Bay Area rollover trucking accident increases substantially. Both truck drivers and commercial carriers sometimes disregard regulations governing appropriate commercial trucking loads to increase profits by reducing the number of loads required to transport cargo to its destination.
Most commercial truck accidents are avoidable if the truck driver and commercial carrier take reasonable care, including proper loading and driving of a tractor-trailer. A heavy fully loaded commercial truck is prone to tip when negotiating curves at excessive speeds because the vehicles are top heavy. It is never appropriate for truck drivers to operate their commercial truck above posted speed limits for big-rigs especially when navigating curves.
If your are injured in a San Francisco commercial trucking collision, our experienced San Francisco trucking accident lawyers at Zimmerman Law may be able to help. If you or someone you love has been injured or a loved one has died in a San Francisco big-rig crash, you should contact us as soon as possible because critical deadlines apply. 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.
It is scarcely possible to exaggerate the impact of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) on the quality of someone’s life. When this type of devastating and life-altering injury is caused by a fatigued truck driver, trucking company that fails to conduct mandatory drug testing, or inadequate maintenance of a big-rig, the emotional toll of such a debilitating and preventable injury is even more tragic. A traumatic brain injury can negatively impact every area of your life and rob you of your ability to communicate with others, earn a living, or perform even the most basic functions of daily life. The complex physiology of brain injuries combined with the staggering medical cost of care for this type of catastrophic injury makes it essential that you work with a San Francisco trucking accident law firm that handles traumatic brain injury cases. The law firm you choose to handle you TBI can have a substantial impact on the outcome of your TBI trucking accident claim. Because these types of injuries tend to be so debilitating and often involve enormous medical costs, insurance companies will fight aggressively to avoid paying these claims.
Many People’s Lives Are Dramatically Altered by Traumatic Brain Injuries
Our experienced San Francisco trucking accident attorneys work closely with medical experts to explain to a judge or jury how a trucking accident caused a TBI as well as to provide a clear explanation as to how our client’s brain injury will impact their future. Our knowledgeable Bay Area TBI accident lawyers recognize that a traumatic brain injury may devastate our clients’ lives so we provide caring, but tenacious legal representation to help our clients obtain the financial compensation they need to rebuild their lives and move past their injuries. We are well aware that no sum of money can return your ability to tell someone close to you that you love them, give you back your ability to walk, or return your reasoning skills and decision-making capacity. What we can do is help you ensure that you have the financial resources you need to maintain the highest quality of life for both you and your family.
Understanding Traumatic Brain Injuries
Many presume that traumatic brain injuries are rare events and that it is highly unlikely that they will actually experience one during their lifetime. In reality, traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of death for those under the age of 45. It has been estimated that there are approximately five million people that are currently living with traumatic brain injuries and that a new traumatic brain injury occurs about every 15 seconds. Approximately 400,000 people visit emergency rooms annually who have suffered head injuries. Almost 75 percent of those injuries are considered moderate to severe head injuries. This means that the effects of the injury persist and can result in long-term problems. The leading causes of brain injuries are motor vehicle accidents. Because of the massive size and weight of a tractor-trailer, they generate more force of impact increasing the risk of a serious head injury.
A traumatic brain injury may be focal, meaning that it affects a small portion of the brain, or it can be diffuse, meaning that a large portion of the brain is affected. Certain types of brain injuries called “closed brain injuries” occur when an outside force results in impact to the head causing the brain to be forcibly jolted against the hard bony structure of the inside of the skull. Serious traumatic brain injuries can also occur when a foreign object penetrates through the skull into the brain during a San Francisco trucking accident.
If you suffer any sort of traumatic brain injury, it is important to keep in mind that you may not feel significant symptoms immediately after the trucking accident that caused your head injury. Many times people who suffer very serious closed head injuries feel perfectly normal or have only minor symptoms immediately after the accident. Even if you experience only minor symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention because you may have bleeding into the space between the skull and brain that will continue to increase the pressure on your brain and may cause severe long-term injury or even death. If you obtain medical attention, they will sometimes drill holes in the skull to relieve the pressure on the brain.
The impact of a traumatic brain injury on the quality of someone’s life can be substantial. A serious traumatic brain injury may result in the following effects:
- Loss of motor skills and mobility
- Impaired memory and reasoning skills
- Difficulty with communication and speech
- Loss of bodily functions, control and sensation
- Damage to one’s ability to care for one’s own needs and one’s family
We know that a personal injury lawsuit cannot give you back what you have lost when you suffer a TBI in a San Francisco trucking accident or anywhere throughout the Bay Area. However, it has been estimated that the cost to treat a serious TBI over one’s lifetime ranges between a low estimate of about $500,000 and a high estimate of almost $3 million. This type of catastrophic injury can lead to astronomical medical expenses, which can cripple a family financially and also rob a family of its breadwinner. We have represented other serious trucking accident victims in throughout the Bay Area recover compensation that has enabled them to maintain the highest quality of life possible after suffering a TBI and provide for the future financial needs of their family.
If your are injured in a San Francisco tractor-trailer collision, our experienced San Francisco trucking accident lawyers at Zimmerman Law may be able to help. If you or someone you love has been injured or a loved one has died in a San Francisco tractor-trailer accident, you should contact us as soon as possible because critical deadlines apply. 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 most trucking accidents in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area are caused by driver error, some trucking accidents occur because of mechanical issues. One of the most common and dangerous types of mechanical problems that cause tractor-trailer accidents in San Francisco involve brake failure or malfunction. One recent study conducted under the auspices of the Department of Transportation (DOT) found that nearly thirty percent of commercial trucking accidents are caused at least in part by brake related issues.
When brake failure causes a San Francisco trucking accident, there are a number factors involved in the brake failure or malfunction:
- Defective Brakes: The brake system or component parts are defective.
- Lack of Inspection: Drivers may fail to conduct mandatory pre-trip inspections.
- Improper Load: The driver, commercial carrier or shipper may overload the truck causing the brakes to fail.
While brake failure can be frightening in any type of motor vehicle, the danger increases exponentially when the vehicle barreling down the 101 Freeway is a tractor-trailer loaded to its maximum allowable weight of forty tons. The issue of brake safety is significant enough that many roads with steep grades have runaway truck ramps as a safety precaution. Federal regulations promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) set forth certain safety standards for tractor-trailer brakes including the following:
- The brake system must meet the automatic brake adjustment system requirements.
- The brakes must be able to generate a certain braking force proportional to the tractor-trailer’s weight.
- The brake system must permit the truck to come to a complete stop from a speed of twenty mph at a certain rate, which is proportional to the size of the tractor-trailer.
When the braking system that a tractor-trailer is equipped with does not meet these standards, those injured in a brake failure related trucking accident might have the right to pursue a product liability claim against the vehicle manufacturer. The basis for the product liability claim may be that the tractor-trailer brake system was negligently designed or that there were irregularities or issues in the fabrication process so that the brakes did not comply with their own design specifications. Sometimes the brake system or its components may be subject to a recall. In this situation, the truck driver or trucking company may be liable along with the manufacturer if a notice of recall was received and no remedial action was taken.
Brake failure related trucking accidents are sometimes caused by issues unrelated to defects in the design or manufacturing of the brakes. Some drivers with the tacit endorsement of the trucking company will actually disable the front brakes of a tractor-trailer to reduce the cost of tire and brake wear. Commercial truck drivers also are supposed to conduct pre-trip inspections and keep records regarding such inspections in driver logbooks. When these inspections are not conducted, the results can be fatal brake failure related trucking accidents.
Contact Us For Your Free Truck Accident Consultation
If you are involved in a San Francisco tractor-trailer accident, you may suffer catastrophic life-changing injuries. If you or someone you love has been injured or a loved one has died in a San Francisco tractor-trailer accident, you should contact us as soon as possible because critical deadlines apply. San Francisco truck 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.
Trucking litigation is extremely complex and requires special knowledge and expertise that may not be required in a run of the mill car accident case. These cases require an extensive knowledge of the evidence and regulations particular to trucking accident cases. One of the most critical evidentiary tools in many San Francisco trucking accident cases is the driver logbook. Truck drivers are required to maintain logbooks of their driving and on-duty time as well as pre-trip and post-trip inspections of their tractor-trailer. The function of this logbook is to preserve evidence of compliance with hours of service rules and inspections of the rig to ensure that it is safe. Our experienced San Francisco tractor-trailer accident attorneys frequently use these logbooks in a variety of ways in trucking accident cases.
One of most prominent causes of San Francisco trucking accidents is a truck driver that is fatigued or over-tired. Many truck drivers are subjected to unrealistic schedules by trucking companies intent on increasing profits even if it must be done by violating hours of service (HOS) rules that dictate how long drivers may be on the road or on-duty as well as the time and duration of mandatory rest periods. While logbooks are intended to document such violations, these records are manipulated and distorted so routinely that they are referred to as “lie books” in the trucking industry. Our experienced San Francisco trucking accident lawyers are able to expose such fabrications by reviewing fuel receipts, lodging records and other records and comparing them to the logbook entries.
Hours of service rules are important because they are not only intended to prevent a driver from falling asleep when driving a tractor-trailer but they also help reduce the risk of tired drivers on the road with impaired concentration and slower reaction times. Truck drivers can face enormous pressure to violate these rules because truck drivers often are compensated based on the number of miles driven. Commercial carriers may not only turn a blind eye to the practice of altering logbooks but also promote such conduct by creating schedules that cannot be met by a driver complying with HOS rules.
The current HOS rules are as follows:
- Maximum of 14 hours of work time (including driving time) after starting a shift
- No more than 60 hours in a 7 day period or 70 hours in an 8 day period
- May not exceed 11 hours of driving following a minimum of 10 consecutive hours off-duty
While the logbook may be used to show violations of these hours of service limits in fatigue based trucking accidents, the logbooks may also be used for other purposes in a trucking accident case. A truck driver actually is breaking the law when distorting the information in a logbook. Based on Federal Motor Carrier Safety Rule 395.8, a truck driver must sign the logbook and attest to all the information being true and correct. If the record is false the driver commits a criminal offense and the misrepresentation or lie may be used to impeach his credibility on other issues beyond the misrepresentation. Our experienced team of San Francisco truck accident lawyers often communicates to juries that lying in the driver’s logbook is similar to lying in front of the jury.
Contact Us For Your Free Consultation
If you or someone you love has been injured or a loved one has died in a San Francisco trucking accident, our dedicated trucking accident litigation team has the knowledge and experience to expose logbook distortions and other efforts to hide critical evidence in San Francisco truck accidents. Our San Francisco truck 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.