Pasadena Head-On Collision Truck Accidents
Head-on truck accidents are some of the most catastrophic collisions on California roads. These types of accidents usually happen when one vehicle crosses over lanes of traffic and slams headfirst into another coming from the opposite direction. For this reason, head-on truck accidents are also called front-end crashes.
The force of impact in a collision between an 18-wheeler, tractor-trailer, or any commercial truck and a passenger car is violent. Head-on truck accidents can crush the occupants of the smaller car or ride over the top of the vehicle completely, causing an override accident that is almost always deadly.
Have you or a loved one been hurt in a Pasadena truck accident? You could have the right to compensation to cover the high costs of medical bills and other losses. Working with a trusted truck accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Pius Joseph is the best way to learn your legal options.
Call or contact us for a free consultation today.
Common Causes of Head-On Truck Collisions
Many truck accidents are caused by the careless actions of someone else. Some of the most common causes of head-on truck collisions include:
- Distracted driving: Truckers spend a lot of time alone on the roads. Boredom may cause them to look at their phone, despite regulations prohibiting them from doing so. Truckers also have many systems in their trucks that they must control. These include cell phone usage, GPS systems, CB radios, and more. It only takes a moment of distraction to miss important traffic warnings, such as one-way street signs.
- Fatigued driving: Interstate truck drivers are on monotonous stretches of road for hours at a time. It’s easy to become drowsy and fall asleep behind the wheel. Even though the federal government has implemented hours-of-service regulations to cut down on these risks, drivers do not always comply with these laws due to pressure from their employers to get cargo delivered on time.
- Impaired driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications always has the potential to become deadly. Even a slight impairment could lead to an accident, as big rigs are more difficult to control and maneuver.
- Improper passing: When truck drivers pass on a solid yellow line on a two-lane road, a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction could be in serious danger. Yellow lines are typically present on curved roads and hilly areas, where it is impossible to see if another vehicle is traveling in the other lane. Truck drivers that ignore solid yellow lines could be held liable if that violation causes a head-on collision. Faded or poorly painted lines could also cause a driver to pass illegally unknowingly. In those cases, the entity responsible for maintaining the road could be held accountable for negligence.
- Wide turns: Trucks require much more room to turn than smaller vehicles. When truckers make wide turns without first ensuring that another vehicle is not in their path, head-on collisions are possible.
Most truck accidents are preventable. If yours was caused by negligence, securing compensation can help ensure your financial stability, both now and in the future. It’s important to work with a trustworthy California truck accident attorney who will fight for the best possible results in your case.
Injuries Caused by Head-On Truck Accidents
Head-on truck accidents result in some of the most serious injuries. These include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI): Head-on truck accidents can cause an individual’s head to be smashed against the dashboard, windows, and steering wheel. When trucks ride on top of smaller cars, victims are at risk of crush injuries that cause severe brain trauma. TBIs can lead to lifelong disabilities.
- Spinal cord injuries: When the spinal cord is severed or damaged, victims can suffer from partial or total paralysis. Spinal cord injuries can affect all body systems, leaving victims at risk of serious and potentially fatal complications.
- Cuts: Broken glass and loose debris in the vehicle can cause severe lacerations that often results in permanent scarring. Accident victims may also undergo skin graft surgeries for these scars, which are very painful.
- Burns: Airbags, leaking gasoline, and other chemicals inside vehicles can result in severe burns during a head-on truck collision. These burns commonly result in permanent scarring and disfigurement.
- Amputation: A head-on truck accident can result in an accidental amputation at the crash site, or limbs may become so severely damaged that they cannot be saved and must be surgically removed later.
- Broken bones: Accident victims can suffer multiple broken bones in a front-end wreck. Treatment for severe breaks often requires surgery so the bones can be reset, and accident victims often have limited function in the affected body part for a period of time.
- Internal damage: Punctured lungs, lacerated spleens, crushed arteries and internal bleeding can be fatal for accident victims.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Head-on truck collisions have emotional consequences as well as physical ones. PTSD is a disabling condition that can cause victims to suffer nightmares, flashbacks, insomnia, anger, guilt, and other extreme responses that can render them unable to work or return to regular life.
The long-term costs associated with truck accident injuries can easily reach into the millions of dollars. You shouldn’t be held responsible for handling these costs on your own if another party’s negligence caused the wreck. Reach out to Pasadena truck injury attorney Pius Joseph today for a free case review.
Front-End Truck Collision Statistics
Front-end truck collisions make up fewer than three percent of all accidents on the road. However, these crashes also have a 58 percent fatality rate. Here are other disturbing facts about head-on truck wrecks:
- Head-on truck collisions are three times more serious than other types of crashes on highways.
- 31 percent of passengers killed in truck accidents in 2018 were struck head on.
- Front-end truck accidents recently accounted for 14 percent of fatal truck crashes in the United States.
- On average, head-on truck collisions kill 250 people every year.
- Head-on collisions are more likely to occur in rural areas.
- California experienced an overall decline in fatal truck accidents between 2007 and 2015, only to see the numbers grow again in recent years.
Fatalities in Head-On Collisions with Trucks
Sadly, many victims involved in head-on truck collisions do not survive. When this is the case, loved ones can file a wrongful death claim against the negligent parties. These claims can allow anyone dependent on the deceased to claim certain damages, such as the loss of income they will no longer receive as a result of the death.
California’s wrongful death law clearly states who may file a claim after a death. These individuals include:
- Surviving spouses and domestic partners
- Grandchildren, but only if there are no surviving children of the deceased
- Other children that were at least 50 percent dependent on the deceased, such as stepchildren
- Any other individual that would be entitled to a portion of the estate according to California’s intestate succession laws
Although these individuals may be able to file a wrongful death claim, they only have a limited amount of time to do it. The time limit to file wrongful death claims in California is two years from the date of the death. Any claims filed after this time are typically barred from receiving any compensation. Due to this, loved ones that wish to file a claim should speak to a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible after their loss.
Liability in Head-On Truck Collisions
One of the most complicated aspects of any truck accident is determining who is at fault. In an average car crash, settlements typically involve the insurance companies of the liable driver(s). With commercial truck accident claims, the pool of possible defendants grows.
Potentially liable parties include:
- The truck driver: Truckers have the same duty as all other drivers to operate their vehicle in a reasonable manner that keeps everyone else safe. When they drive aggressively or while distracted, impaired or drowsy, they may be held accountable for their carelessness through a legal claim.
- The trucking company: Even when a truck driver’s negligence causes a head-on collision, the trucking company may be partly at fault. Carriers must ensure that they hire qualified drivers who can safely transport cargo from place to place. When companies cut corners while hiring or fail to properly maintain their fleet, they can and should pay for their actions.
- Maintenance companies: Regular inspections and maintenance of commercial vehicles are required by law. Often, an outside company is hired to do the work. When their mechanics fail to perform their required tasks and an equipment failure leads to a head-on truck accident, fault may lie with the maintenance company.
- Loading companies: Cargo is often loaded onto trucks by other companies. Improperly loaded cargo may shift during travel, throwing the entire truck off balance. This can easily result in a crash because the driver has less control of the truck.
- Trailer owners: Trailers attached to the truck may be responsible for the collision. Also, there may be a contractual relationship between the trailer owner and the trucking company for delivery. Since the trailer rental company is a leasing company, the lessor can raise a defense under the Graves Amendment to limit liability. Therefore, a truck accident attorney with knowledge is essential to succeed in your case.
- Manufacturers: Truck manufacturers are responsible for making sure that their trucks are safe. When any part of the truck is defective or faulty, these manufacturers can be held liable if a product failure results in an accident. Both truck and part manufacturers can be held liable when they do not ensure that their equipment is safe.
- Other drivers: Sometimes, drivers of smaller passenger vehicles may be responsible for a head-on truck collision. For example, if a driver of another vehicle cuts a truck off, the truck driver may be forced to swerve to avoid hitting them. If they swerve into the lane of oncoming traffic, the move can result in a head-on collision. In those cases, the at-fault driver could be held partly liable for the accident.
- Road conditions: Large potholes, missing signage, uneven surfaces and exposed rebar are all examples of dangerous road conditions that could cause a truck to lose control. In these cases, the local or state government may be held liable for an accident.
Obtaining full and fair compensation for your injuries will depend on identifying all liable parties and seeking compensation from their insurance companies. Negotiating a fair settlement can be challenging in any circumstance. But with truck accidents, it becomes more complex. Multiple insurance policies may be involved, and the amount of compensation you can receive will depend on each party’s percentage of fault and insurance policy limits. For this reason, it’s wise to contact an attorney who can handle negotiations for you.
What a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Do for You
Being injured in a tractor-trailer accident is painful and frightening. You can’t work. Your doctor may not be able to ensure a full recovery. During this tough time, the idea of hiring an attorney can seem overwhelming. However, working with an attorney can considerably lessen your burden.
A skilled truck accident attorney can:
- Investigate your claim to determine who should be held liable for the collision
- Gather all necessary evidence to support your claim (e.g., medical records, police reports, receipts, lost wage documentation, etc.)
- Take over all negotiations with the insurance company(s) related to the wreck
- File all necessary documents on your behalf
- Represent you effectively and aggressively during settlement negotiations
- Take your case to trial, if necessary
Most truck accident claims can be settled out of court. Reaching a settlement is beneficial because claimants can receive compensation more quickly than if the case proceeds to trial.
However, sometimes taking a case to court is the only way to obtain full and fair compensation for injuries suffered in a head-on truck accident.
Why is it Important to Have a Knowledgeable Truck Accident Attorney?
If a truck accident case is handled like a typical car crash case, it will undermine the value of your case. A trucking company and the driver are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) and Commercial Driving Regulations. The truck driver must have a state commercial driver’s license (CDL) and is held to an extremely high standard of care unlike regular automobile drivers. It is seen from experience that many commercial drivers violate the rules that result in catastrophic injuries or deaths. Therefore, an experienced truck accident attorney must be on your side.
The Law Offices of Pius Joseph Will Fight for You
If you are the victim of a Pasadena head-on truck collision, the Law Offices of Pius Joseph can help. Our Pasadena truck accident attorney will meet with you, listen to your story, and discuss all of your legal options in a free consultation.
Let us help you obtain the compensation you need and deserve. Contact the Law Offices of Pius Joseph today.