Truck Accident FAQ

Truck accidents tend to be more complicated than other kinds of crashes for a variety of reasons, including the fact that the trucking industry is subject to many federal regulations that do not apply to the operation of smaller passenger vehicles.

If you were injured in a trucking accident, it is important that you have skilled legal representation to ensure that all of your rights and interests are protected during the legal process.

The personal injury lawyers of Sweeney, Sweeney & Sweeney, APC, have 50 years of combined experience helping accident victims in California obtain full and fair compensation for injuries. Following are answers to questions our clients often have regarding truck accidents.

Why are truck accident investigations so complicated?

Truck accidents are especially complicated because of the sheer number of factors to consider when determining liability for the crash. For example, an experienced personal injury lawyer will investigate all of these matters:

  • Was the truck speeding?
  • Was the truck loaded properly?
  • What were the road conditions at the time of the crash?
  • Was the driver in compliance with hours-of-service regulations?
  • Was the truck driver fatigued or otherwise impaired?
  • Is the truck driver properly licensed?
  • Did the company that hired the truck driver do a proper background check?
  • Was any part of the truck defective?

Additionally, depending on the circumstances, multiple parties — not just the truck driver — may be liable for a truck accident. For all of these reasons, it is important to have an experienced lawyer on your side when seeking compensation for truck accident injuries.

Who can be held liable for injuries suffered in a crash with a large commercial vehicle?

Numerous parties are potentially liable for a truck accident. Depending on the facts of the case, the truck driver, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, the party responsible for loading the truck and the party responsible for maintaining the truck may be held liable for the crash.

In the personal injury claims process, it is important that all potentially liable parties are notified. An attorney with experience in investigating truck accidents can handle these matters while you focus on healing after the accident.

What are the rules for truck drivers' hours of service?

In recent years, the problem of truck driver fatigue has received heightened attention — and for good reason. Truck drivers are in control of massive, heavy vehicles traveling at high rates of speed, and a single moment of dozing off can have catastrophic consequences.

That is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established rules to regulate truck drivers' hours of service — and to prevent truck driver fatigue.

Currently, truck operators may drive a maximum of 11 hours at time, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Additionally, because not all of a truck driver's duties are done behind the wheel, truck operators are not allowed to drive after the 14th consecutive hour on duty.

To help prevent violations, federal regulations also require truck drivers to log their hours of service. In truck accident investigations, it is often necessary to obtain those records as evidence.

An insurance company has contacted me and offered me a settlement. Should I take it?

As we mention in our Car Accident FAQ, insurance companies are in business to make money — not necessarily to pay you the full and fair compensation you deserve. Generally, the insurance company's initial offer after a truck accident is not sufficient to meet all of the victim's needs — now or in the future.

Before accepting a settlement offer, speak with a personal injury attorney. There may be options that you haven't considered for maximizing your compensation for lost income, current medical costs and any future medical needs you may have because of the crash.

For a free consultation regarding your case, contact Sweeney, Sweeney & Sweeney, APC. We are a family-owned law firm with offices in Temecula and Hemet, California. You can trust our family to help yours.