The aptly-named city of Commerce, CA is known as a major industrial and transportation center for Los Angeles County. Thousands of trucks drive along its busy freeways and surface streets every day. In fact, in 2016, over 230,000 trucks drove through or into Commerce on the 5 freeway every day. With that much commercial traffic, truck accidents are going to happen. But unlike accidents between two cars, when a truck and passenger vehicle collide, the injuries to the driver and anyone else in the passenger vehicle are usually serious, if not catastrophic.
If you were injured in a truck accident in or around Commerce, call the Commerce truck accident lawyers at The Dominguez Firm today for a FREE consultation at 800-818-1818. We are available 24/7 and can travel to your home or hospital at a moment’s notice.
Please keep reading for more information and some of the most common questions we get about Commerce truck accidents, you and the law.
Truck accident statistics
There are several sobering statistics regarding truck accidents in the U.S. and California.
First, there were 5,005 deaths in accidents with large trucks (those defined as medium or heavy trucks over 10,000 pounds) in 2019 at the national level. When all vehicle types are accounted for, it shows that trucks are responsible for 9% of all traffic accidents with fatalities.Between 2017 and 2018, 112,000 large truckswere involved in crashes with injuries, which was a 5% increase from the previous time period.
In California, there were 13,612 crashes involving trucks in 2019. Of that number, 463 resulted in fatalities.
As for trucking companies, the ones with the highest number of accidents between 2018-2020 were:
- Werner Trucking – Employs 9,689 drivers. They had 1,003 accidents in the 2 year period, 25 of which resulted in fatalities. That averages out to 1.37 accidents per day and a 2.5% fatality rate.
- U.S. Express – Employs 7,250 drivers. These drivers accounted for 706 accidents with 12 resulting in fatalities. That’s one accident per 10.27 drivers and a fatality rate of 1.7%
- Prime Trucking – Has 8,453 drivers on its payroll. They had 707 accidents with 11 fatalities. That was 1 accident per 11.96 drivers and a 1.6% fatality rate.
Trucking giant Swift did not make the top three this time. It employs more than double the number of truck drivers of the other trucking companies: 20,530 drivers. Swift truck drivers had 1,302 accidents between 2018-2020 with 39 fatalities. That averaged out to 1 accident per 15.7680 drivers but the fatality rate was the highest at 3%.
What are some common causes of Commerce truck accidents?
Commerce truck accidents can happen for any number of reasons. However, some of the most common factors are tied to the pressure truck drivers are under to drive long distances and meet deadlines.
Fatigue – Truck drivers trying to reach a destination by a certain time and date can end up staying behind the wheel beyond the time limits set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA). This can lead to drowsy driving which in turn, can cause the truck driver to fall asleep at the wheel with horrific consequences.
Speeding – A truck driver trying to get to a destination on time may travel at a high speed. However, if that speeding big rig gets into an accident with a car, major injuries and casualties are a very real possibility. To put that into perspective, think what sort of impact a fully loaded 18-wheeler weighing about 80,000 pounds would have on any passenger vehicle it hits.
Trucks that have been improperly loaded – Trucks are improperly loaded for any number of reasons. It could be carelessness or overloading. Either way, an improperly loaded truck can suddenly lose cargo or be hard to control. Both scenarios can cause catastrophic accidents.
The trucking company wants to talk to me regarding the accident. Am I legally obligated to speak with them?
No. The trucking company representative or their insurance adjuster may even tell you that you are obligated to talk to them. That isn’t true. You should not speak to them and most certainly, don’t give them any type of statement, written or oral. If they call you, they may ask if they can record the conversation. You should say no and frankly, end the conversation.
The main reason why the insurance company representative and/or insurance adjuster is calling you is to try and get you to say something incriminating. That way, you’ll share some of the blame for the accident and they can pay you less for your injuries. Something as simple as an apology on your part can be interpreted as admitting guilt. And if it’s in writing or recorded, even better for them.
Instead, let the Commerce truck accident lawyers at The Dominguez Firm deal with the truck company and their insurance adjusters while you concentrate on getting better.
The trucking company said hiring a lawyer would drag the process out unnecessarily. Is that true?
No. Not only does the trucking company want to try to pay you as little as possible for your accident injuries, they don’t want you to get an attorney involved either. Their representatives and insurance adjusters will try and make you believe you don’t need an attorney and use scare tactics to try to convince you of that. The exact opposite is true.
Truck accidents are complex, more so than car accidents. Trucking company representatives and insurance adjusters negotiate for a living. They are trained to settle any claims quickly and for the least amount possible. Most people are not. And if you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, dealing with them is probably the last thing you want to do. In short, taking on the trucking company and insurance adjusters on your own can cause you undue stress and cost you dearly in the end.
Why are truck accident cases more complex?
Unlike an accident between two cars, there can be several defendants in a truck accident case. That alone makes a truck accident case more challenging. Truck accident cases are also complex because trucking companies are notorious for aggressively defending themselves against accident claims in an attempt to pay out as little as possible. They will immediately send investigators to the scene of the accident and do everything in their power to minimize it or deflect blame.
The possible defendants in a Commerce truck accident case can include:
- The trucker
- Their employer, the trucking company
- In the case of truckers who are independent contractors, their leasing company
- A third party if they contributed to an accident by overloading or incorrectly loading the truck’s cargo.
All of this highlights why it’s vitally important to have a law firm like The Dominguez Firm by your side. We are a full service personal injury law firm. We have in-house investigators ready to help you at a moment’s notice. Our award-winning personal injury attorneys in Commerce have decades of experience and have successfully taken on the trucking companies and their army of insurance adjusters and lawyers in the past. We know how complex Commerce trucking accident cases can be and we have the resources and knowledge to taken them on.
What compensation could I be entitled to for my Commerce truck accident?
No attorney can give you an exact amount as to what your Commerce truck accident may be worth because no two cases are alike. However, most crashes between trucks and cars result in serious injuries for the occupants of the passenger vehicle. Among the most common are:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
These injuries are all permanent, life-altering and costly.
The legal term for the compensation you may be entitled to for your Commerce truck accident is called damages. Damages are broken up into two categories, economic and non-economic. Economic damages are easy to explain, they are all of the expenses you had due to the truck accident. The most common economic damages for a truck accident are:
- Medical expenses associated with the truck accident including mental health counseling
- Lost wages now and in the future
- Property damage, which is the cost to repair or replace your vehicle
All of the injuries listed above will require hospitalization, rehabilitation, surgery and ongoing mental health counseling. In more serious cases, long-term care and home modifications may be needed. The ability to return to work in any capacity, if at all must also be taken into consideration. That’s especially true if the victim was the main financial provider for their family.
The other type of damages available are non-economic damages. These are based on the negative impact the truck accident had on the victim’s life. For example, a young father who can no longer play with his children like he did before his truck accident because of the permanent injuries he suffered. For want of a better explanation, non-economic damages are based on emotion. There is no limit to the amount that can be awarded in non-economic damages for a truck accident. They usually make up the lion’s share of a truck accident victim’s final settlement or verdict.
Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of consortium (companionship of a spouse)
Over the long-term, the cost of the accident can total hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars. The Commerce truck accident lawyers at The Dominguez Firm are well aware of this and will fight to get you the maximum legal compensation you are entitled to for your injuries.
I lost a loved one in a Commerce truck accident. Can The Dominguez Firm help me?
Yes. If you are the legal next of kin, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible for the untimely death of your loved one. The damages available to you include:
- All medical bills stemming from the truck accident if the victim received medical attention before they passed away
- Any lost wages from the moment of the truck accident (if the victim survived for some time after) and any future wages the victim was expected to earn
- Funeral expenses
- Burial costs
The next of kin cannot receive damages for pain and suffering in a wrongful death claim. Instead, they would have the right to receive the following damages instead:
- Loss of financial support from the deceased
- Loss of consortium (companionship). These include love, moral support, affection and sexual relations
- Any training or guidance the deceased would have provided, especially to their children
The Commerce Truck Accident Lawyers at The Dominguez Firm are ready to help you
At The Dominguez Firm, we know what a difficult time this is for you and your family. You may be concerned about your finances and how you’ll pay for a lawyer. Know that you don’t have to worry about the cost of hiring us. We work on a contingency basis because we are confident that we can help you. That means we receive a percentage of your final verdict or settlement. That amount will be clearly spelled out in the client representation agreement you initially sign with us. You’ll never have to deal with any upfront fees or hidden costs.
And if we’re unable to recover anything for you, which is highly unlikely, you owe us nothing. In other words, you win, or you don’t pay!
The experienced Commerce personal injury lawyers at The Dominguez Firm have been helping truck accident victims for over 30 years. Our trial attorneys have won verdicts and settlements in the millions and tens of millions of dollars for our truck accident clients. We are ready to help you too. If you’ve been in a truck accident in the City of Commerce, East Los Angeles, Maywood, Pico Rivera or any of the other surrounding areas, call The Dominguez Firm for a FREE consultation at 800-818-1818. We are available for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.