Experienced Truck Accident Attorneys Serving Clients in Truckee, CA
A truck accident can be catastrophic, causing serious injury, significant destruction of property, and even death. If you or someone you love has been involved in a collision with a big rig, our Truckee truck accident lawyer at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger can help. Our firm’s skilled and caring personal injury lawyers have five decades of experience handling all types of truck accident cases. We understand the challenges truck collisions produce—physical injury, lengthy recovery, property loss, and financial hardship. We can help you rebuild your life and hold a negligent driver or trucking company accountable.
We are members of the Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America (APITLA), an organization committed to improving highway safety and facilitating networking between attorneys that handle major truck injury collision cases. Through litigation, we are working to help eliminate unsafe and illegal interstate trucking practices and make our roads safer for our clients, families, and all Americans.
The Big Dangers of Big Rigs
Whether they are called tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, semi-truck, or big rigs, they may be 65-75 feet long and weigh over 80,000 lbs. They handle much differently than a regular car. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a fully loaded truck traveling at typical highway speeds under good conditions requires a distance of almost 600 feet to stop. Their trailers can swing wide to the left or right, squeezing smaller vehicles, cyclists, or pedestrians out of a lane. Commercial trucks are also susceptible to rollovers and jackknifing.
Due to their sheer bulk and structure, large trucks pose an outsized hazard on the road and can cause devastating harm when involved in a crash with a smaller vehicle, cyclist, or pedestrian. Statistics on truck crashes bear this out:
Truck Accident Statistics
Every year in the United States, 4000-5000 lives are lost due to accidents involving large trucks, and 130,000-150,000 people are injured.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
Of the 4,965 people killed in truck accidents in 2020, just 17 percent were occupants of large trucks and, 71 percent were occupants of other vehicles.
In that same year,146,930 people suffered injuries in crashes involving large trucks; of those, 68 percent were occupants of other vehicles.
California, the most populous state in the country, has an increasingly high volume of truck traffic. In 2020, California ranked second only to Texas for the number of people killed in truck accidents. In our state, around 3000 truck accidents result in injury yearly. Collisions involving trucks are responsible for 300-400 fatalities annually.
Although most California truck accidents occur on major roadways around big cities, even peaceful mountain towns like Truckee are touched by truck accident dangers and tragedy.
In the summer of 2022, two people were hurt and one killed when a box truck headed north on Highway 89 crossed the center line and sideswiped one car before crashing head-on into another. And when the first big snow hit the Sierra that fall, a collision on I-80 east of Truckee, involving six semi-trucks and one car, injured multiple people.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
Truck driver error. Truckers do difficult work and deliver their loads on a tight timetable, under extreme pressure from employers with unrealistic schedules. Poor decisions increase the risk of a severe accident and, according to the FMCSA, play a role in a high percentage of accidents. Speeding is the most common error (note that the speed limit for trucks is never greater than 55 mph in California), followed by inattention, distraction (such as texting), impairment (under the influence of drugs or alcohol), extreme fatigue/drowsiness (thought to be a significant factor in nearly 40% of heavy trucking accidents), and insufficient training.
Poor maintenance or code violations. Every trucking company is responsible for ensuring that its fleet out on the roads works properly for whatever distance the vehicles need to travel. Daily checks of all major systems, tires, lights, fluids, etc., are essential. When systems are not maintained, faulty equipment, blowouts, and breakdowns on busy roads can cause serious accidents.
Bad weather or driving conditions. Pouring rain, blowing snow, pea-soup fog, high winds, icy patches—dangerous weather can crop up anytime in Northern California’s mountain passes. Losing control of any vehicle—especially a large tractor-trailer—can be fatal. Truck drivers are responsible for recognizing when they must slow down, practice special driving/braking techniques for dangerous conditions, or pull off at a rest stop because it’s unsafe to proceed.
Common injuries caused by a severe trucking accident include neck/back/spinal cord injury, head injury/TBI, internal organ damage, burns, broken bones, lacerations, disfigurement, and amputation. These traumas can turn your life upside down with pain and suffering, short- or long-term disability, surgery, medical bills, future care, lost wages, and more.
Contact Our Truckee Truck Accident Attorney Today!
The Truckee Truck Accident lawyers at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger are skilled in trial, mediation, and settlement negotiations with trucking companies. We’ve helped countless truck accident victims and their families get the compensation they need and deserve, so they can heal and get on with a fulfilling life. Call us today at (415) 212-7047 for a free consultation.