In the San Francisco Bay Area, trucks can be found everywhere will be commercial merchandise from one location to another, including from the Bay Area port city of Oakland and the rail terminals in Oakland. Truck accidents present a major risk of injury to motorists on Highway 80, Highway 101, Highway 280, Highway 680, Highway 99, Highway 4, and Highway 24. Large commercial vehicles on East Bay highways and roadways pose a serious threat to motoorists all over East Bay. Hundreds of northern California residents lose their lives and thousands more sustain serious injuries resulting from crashes with commercial motor vehicles in Oakland, Hayward, Alameda, San Pablo, Richmond, El Cerrito, and Fremont Due to their sheer weight and size, big rigs as well as small trucks trigger truck accidents that lead to life-threatening and incapacitating injuries. If you or a loved one suffered harm in an accident involving a small or large commercial hauling vehicle, or a semi-truck, contact the attorneys at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly, and Schoenberger today. Our experienced truck accident attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation into the crash and demand fair compensation from the parties responsible for your injuries, pain, and suffering.
Why Choose Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger for Your Case?
- For more than six decades, our team has been helping recover compensation for injury victims throughout California.
- We have significant experience at trial, giving our clients an edge both in and out of the courtroom.
- We focus on a client-centered approach, which means that you will always have access to your attorney when you have questions or concerns about your case.
- We understand how to investigate truck accident claims, where to look for vital evidence, and how to build strong claims for our clients.
How Will an Attorney Help a Truck Accident Claim?
An Oakland truck accident lawyer is essential to recovering maximal compensation after a crash occurs. The reality is that it is nearly impossible for most individuals to go up against insurance carriers and aggressive trucking companies. However, an attorney will have the resources necessary to go head-to-head with these other parties and help their client recover maximum compensation.
A lawyer will begin by conducting a complete investigation into the crash. This will involve working through the court system to obtain records from the driver and the trucking company that will help prove liability. Additionally, a lawyer will make sure that their client is evaluated by trusted medical and economic professionals. These individuals will not only ensure the well-being of the client, but they will also help adequately calculate total expected losses.
Most Common Oakland Truck Accident Injuries
Commercial trucks weigh much more than traditional passenger vehicles on the roadway. This means that those inside these smaller vehicles often sustain significant injuries when a collision occurs. At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, it is not uncommon for our attorneys to help clients who have sustained the following types of traumatic injuries golden
- Spinal cord injuries with paralysis
- Cervical fractures
- Vertebral fractures and disc injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Head and facial fractures
- Fractured or dislocated jaws, orbits and ribs
- Puncture wounds or lacerations
- Crush injuries or amputations
- Significant scarring and disfigurement
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
Our team is also cognizant of the fact that clients sustain significant emotional and psychological trauma as a result of major truck crashes and their subsequent injuries. This can include prolonged feelings of fear, stress, anxiety, sleeplessness, and more. We also help clients who have sustained post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of crashes. Our goal is to make sure the clients recover full compensation for all of their injuries, including the visible traumatic injuries and the unseen emotional and psychological trauma.
Major Oakland Roadways and Trucking Information
Oakland, Alameda, Hayward, and Richmond are home to many major state and interstate highways that national and regional trucks used to transport commercial goods. Interstate 80, 580, 680, 780, as well as state highways 101, 99, 24, and four, crisscross the region permitting trucks to move goods through the Bay Area to Sacramento and the Central Valley, Southern California, Reno, Las Vegas, Redding Fairfield, and Vacaville. Interstate 580 runs into California’s Central Valley and connects the city to much of the region. I-80 provides a connection between Sacramento and San Rafael. Highway 37 connects the North Bay and the East Bay. Interstate 980, State Route 24, and State Route 13 create routes throughout the communities of Oakland, Berkeley, and Contra Costa.
Truck drivers rely on these routes to transport goods in, out, and through the Oakland area. California transports a whopping 88% of its total manufactured tonnage on its own Interstate and State Routes. Given the density of the communities in and around Oakland and the number of motor vehicles on the very same roadways, the potential for severe truck accidents is very real.
Size Limits for Trucks in Oakland, California
California sets certain size and weight limits for commercial motor vehicles that travel on its roadways. According to both federal and state regulations, a semi-truck operating within California cannot have a trailer in excess of 53 feet, though there is no overall length limit for these vehicles. Caltrans, the state department of transportation, does not allow oversized trucks on 3,364 miles of its state highways, though interstates may have trucks up to 80,000 pounds in gross weight.
Even with these weight and size limits, the difference between a commercial motor vehicle and a passenger car is staggering. A passenger vehicle may only be 7500 pounds, which can easily become crushed by an 80,000-pound semi – especially at the high speeds of California’s roadways.
What Causes Oakland Truck Accidents?
Truck accidents in California have many causes, but some are statistically more likely than others. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which governs both intra- and inter-state trucking, collects data on truck accidents and root causes. According to their research:
- Driver errors account for the majority of trucking accidents nationwide, including in California. Behaviors like texting distracted driving, and impaired driving all contribute to serious truck accidents.
- Logbook violations are a serious contributing factor in accidents involving commercial motor vehicles. Drivers or the companies who employ them may commit logbook violations by failing to take mandated breaks, complete maintenance checks, and more. These offenses become a matter of federal law.
- Improper loading. Since large trucks are so heavy, loaders must use proper weight distribution when putting cargo into a trailer. Failure to load a trailer properly can result in jackknifing or other dangerous scenarios that would lead a truck to lose control of a vehicle.
Types of Compensation Available for Your Claim?
There may be various types of compensation available to truck crash victims in Oakland. At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, our goal is to make sure that our clients recover maximum compensation, which includes recovery of “special damages” and “general damages.”
- Economic damages. This refers to economic losses that an individual experiences after a truck accident. These more easily calculable expenses, can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Emergency medical expenses
- Hospital admission days
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Prescription medications
- Medical devices
- Lost wages
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Property damage expenses
- Non-economic damages. This refers to the less tangible, non-economic losses an individual will experience after a truck accident in Oakland. These types of losses are not as easy to calculate, and there are usually no bills or receipts that can total a person’s:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and psychological distress
- Loss of quality of life
- Punitive damages. In some circumstances, punitive damages may be awarded to a truck accident victim in Oakland. Punitive damages, also called exemplary damages, are reserved for cases where the actions of the defendant are deemed to be intentional or grossly negligent. Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant and send a signal to others that the types of behavior displayed in the case are not acceptable.
How Much Compensation Will You Receive?
There is no set amount of compensation available to truck accident victims in Oakland. Rather, total compensation amounts will depend on several factors related to each particular claim. Some of these factors include:
- The severity of the injuries
- How quickly a person can get back to work
- The extent of property damage
- Overall out-of-pocket expenses
- Insurance limitations of the trucking company
- The overall assets of the trucking company
When working to calculate economic damages, an attorney will add up all of the bills and receipts that their client has received in the aftermath of the truck accident. This includes medical bills and property damage estimates. They will also examine pay stubs to adequately calculate lost wages for the time frame an individual cannot work.
Calculating general damages is more challenging because these are immeasurable types of losses. Typically, a lawyer will use a “multiplier” method where they will add up all the economic damages and then multiply that by a set number to reach the non-economic damage total. For example, if an individual sustains $50,000 worth of medical bills and lost wages as a result of a truck crash in Oakland, an attorney could use a multiplier of “three” to reach a non-economic total of $150,000.
Alternatively, an attorney may use a “per diem” method to calculate non-economic losses. Using this method, they will assign a dollar value to each day that an individual is expected to suffer from these immeasurable losses. If a person is expected to suffer for approximately 500 days, an attorney could $300 to each of those days to arrive at a general damage total of $150,000.
How to Pay for a Truck Accident Lawyer in Oakland
Affording a truck accident attorney in Oakland can seem intimidating, particularly for individuals who have not had to use an attorney in the past. The good news is that the team at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger takes Oakland truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis. This fee arrangement allows individuals to pursue compensation from insurance carriers and at-fault parties without having to pay any upfront or out-of-pocket costs for their case. In fact, individuals will not have to pay any legal fees until after their attorney successfully recovers the compensation they are entitled to. Our attorneys will not collect legal fees if we do not win the case for our clients.
Steps to Take After an Oakland Truck Accident
There are various steps that individuals can take to help ensure that they recover maximum compensation after an Oakland truck accident occurs. As we go through this list of steps, please understand that the aftermath of a truck crash will be chaotic, and you may not be able to take every step in this exact order.
- Call for help. As soon as you can get your vehicle to safety, you need to call 911 to ensure that law enforcement officials, fire personnel, and EMS personnel are on the way to the scene. Do not trust that someone else has already called authorities – do it yourself if you can.
- Check for injuries. You need to check yourself, your passengers, and anyone else involved in the crash or injuries. If you or somebody you love has sustained an injury, you need to seek immediate medical care. This may include taking an ambulance to the hospital or going to the emergency room as soon as possible. Seeking immediate medical care helps establish a solid link between the Oakland truck accident and your injuries.
- Gather evidence. If you are able to do so at the scene of the crash, you can begin gathering as much evidence as possible. If you have a phone on you, use the camera to take photographs of everything, including vehicle damage, injuries, causes of the crash, debris and skid marks, traffic and weather conditions, and more. If you see any eyewitnesses to the crash standing nearby, get their names and contact information as quickly as possible. Additionally, you need to get the name of all drivers involved as well as their insurance information.
- Contact an attorney. You need to reach out to a skilled Oakland truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can get involved and begin working to preserve as much evidence as possible. A lawyer will handle all communication with other parties on your behalf.
- Contact your insurance carrier. You need to contact your personal auto insurance carrier and let them know that a crash has occurred. You do not have to go into much detail when you speak to your insurance carrier, but they do need to know the names of the other parties involved and that you are seeking care for your injuries. Let your attorney handle all further communication with the insurance carriers.
- Continue medical treatment. You must continue all medical treatment until your doctor says you have reached maximum medical improvement. If you choose to discontinue care before the doctor says you have finished treatment, this could jeopardize your overall claim.
What to Do Following an Oakland Truck Accident?
If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries in an Oakland, Hayward, Fremont, sent out below, El Cerrito, Berkeley or Alameda truck accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at Walkup Melodia identify the parties responsible for your injuries and hold them accountable for their actions. We negotiate aggressively with insurance companies to demand fair compensation that represents the full amount of your material and immaterial losses.
The consequences of a trucking accident can take a financial and emotional toll. The Oakland truck accident lawyers at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly, and Schoenberger can help you on the road to recovery. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation and review your legal options today.