San Francisco Truck Accident Attorneys
Over $500 Million Recovered for Accident Victims
Commercial trucks such as 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, and semi-trucks are an important part of the U.S. economy. Most truck drivers exercise caution when operating their vehicles and observe the regulations laid out by the FMCSA. However, some truck drivers fail to recognize the weight of the responsibility they carry. When this happens, all others on the road are put at risk and serious accidents can, and do, occur.
Our team at Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn is here to make sure that the victims of truck accidents have a voice. Each attorney at our firm has built a reputation for strong and successful advocacy. Whether you were injured in a jackknife accident, rollover accident, T-bone accident, or any other type of crash with a semi-truck or 18-wheeler, our experienced team has the insight and dedication to help you seek justice.
Why should you choose Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn?
- You owe us nothing unless we win your case
- We've recovered over $500 million on behalf of our clients
- We have been serving the San Francisco Bay Area since 1980
- Selected for U.S. News – Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms
- AV Preeminent® rated for ethics and legal talent
No matter how complex your case may seem, our San Francisco truck accident lawyers are here to help. Give us a call at (415) 940-7176 to learn more about your options.
Seeking Fair Compensation for Your Injuries
Large commercial trucks tend to cause more damage in an accident than passenger vehicles, even at low speeds. Truck accident victims are also more likely to suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries.
These injuries can lead to a lifetime of pain, suffering, and medical complications for victims and their families, which is why these claims tend to be very costly for trucking companies and their insurers. It is also why victims often meet so much resistance when attempting to settle their claims for a fair amount.
There are many variables in a typical trucking accident. The more you know about what happened, or what could happen after a crash, the more empowered you will be when it comes to filing a claim.
Different types of commercial trucks include:
- Big rigs
- Tractor trailers
- Mail delivery trucks like FedEx, USPS, and UPS
- Dump trucks and garbage trucks
- Industrial trucks
If you were seriously injured in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, or your loved one was killed in a fatal collision, our team at Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn is here to make sure your voice is heard.
Determining Liability in Your Truck Accident Case
Most trucks are commercial vehicles, which can make determining liability in a trucking accident more complex. Multiple parties can be involved in the loading, maintaining, transporting, and hiring of the trucks and its cargo. This includes the trucking company, the truck’s manufacturer or mechanic, the cargo loaders, and more. Therefore, parties other than the driver may share some of the fault in a trucking accident.
Truck Owner’s Liability
According to California state law, “for hire” motor carriers, such as a trucking company, are subject to non-delegable duty doctrines that prevent them from shielding themselves from liability by hiring an independent contractor. This means that even if a trucking company designates drivers as independent contractors, rather than employees, the trucking company is still liable for their drivers’ actions. In fact, federal law specifically defines independent contractors hired to haul freight as employees of the trucking company.
Cargo Loaders’ Liability
Cargo must be loaded safely and evenly into trucks to prevent accidents, such as when a truck jackknifes. Jackknifing occurs when the truck goes into a skid and the trailer swings out to form a 90-degree angle with the tractor. Jackknifing can occur because of improperly loading the trailer. Cargo loaders may be held liable for a truck accident if they did not fully inspect the cargo and load it properly, which then causes an accident.
Trucking Company’s Liability
Trucking companies are responsible for the actions of their drivers and the maintenance of their fleet. A trucking company is required to perform a driving history background check. The trucking company also has an ongoing duty to ensure their drivers are qualified. If a trucking company hires someone who should not be operating a commercial vehicle, and that person causes an accident, the company will likely be liable.
Trucking companies are also required to keep their vehicles in a safe working condition. They must maintain the entire truck, from the brakes to the engine. Sometimes, the trucking company will utilize an outside mechanic to perform the maintenance. If the mechanic fails to properly fix a truck, the mechanic may be liable. California and Federal law mandate trucking companies to perform routine maintenance inspections.
For example, in one of our recent cases, we proved a trucking company was responsible for a fatal accident that occurred when their contracted driver struck a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The trucking company contracted with a “sub-haul” trucker that owned his own tractor. However, the trucking company failed to thoroughly investigate the driver’s record before allowing the driver to transport their freight. Had the trucking company conducted a cursory background check, they would have found multiple infractions, including a DUI. The trucking company also provided little to no training to the driver, and proceeded to place him on the road, endangering the public.
Strict Regulations for Drivers & Trucking Companies
The trucking industry must comply with strict state and federal regulations, such as:
- Hours of service
- Driver qualifications
- Vehicle maintenance
- Cargo weight limits
If any party is found to have violated these regulations - whether it is the driver, trucking company, parts manufacturer, a third party, or all of the above - they can be held liable for the injuries they cause.
Common Types of Trucking Accidents
Commercial trucks comprised of a semi-tractor with a detachable trailer are known as tractor trailers and comprise a significant percentage of all serious truck accidents. Tractor trailers require a high level of skill to operate safely due to the unique way the trailer is attached to the tractor. Truckers who are used to smaller commercial vehicles may experience great difficulty when trying to handle a tractor-trailer.
Three of the most common tractor trailer accidents include:
- Jackknife accidents: The trailer hitched to the tractor rig can swing forward during a hard-braking incident. The result is a tractor trailer folded up like a jackknife and a devastating accident that often affects all lanes of traffic, depending on the length of the truck.
- Tip-over accidents: Large trailers on the back of a tractor act as wind sails when gusts or gales are strong. If the trailer is not loaded correctly or the trucker tries to drive when the weather is too extreme, the trailer may tip right over with a strong wind, possibly even detaching from the tractor in the process. Vehicles in adjacent lanes can be crushed under the tipped trailer.
- Loose cargo: Load crews must be mindful when placing cargo into the trailer of a tractor trailer. Failing to secure it properly or lock the doors can cause freight to spill into the highway, slamming into vehicles behind the commercial truck.
If you were injured in a tractor-trailer accident while traveling the streets or highways of the Bay Area, call Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn to discuss your case with our truck accident lawyers in San Francisco. With more than $500 million in recoveries won through successful case results and decades of total legal experience, you can trust in us for your most complex or high-stakes of truck accident claims.
Examples of Truck Driver Negligence
Our firm has developed many relationships throughout the local legal community to help our clients get the best chance at a favorable outcome. We can work with legal experts to uncover the true cause of your accident and make sure you are fairly compensated for the damages you sustained. If you are found to be at fault in any way, your settlement could suffer as a result. Let our firm help you tell your side of the story.
Impaired Truck Drivers
Commercial truck drivers must meet tight turnaround times, meaning they often spend hours in the driver’s seat with only minimal rest. As a result, they are prone to using "uppers" and prescription medications to try and stay awake for longer periods of time. Some truckers will also get behind the wheel while drunk.
The truck driver in your accident may have been intoxicated with:
- Caffeine pills
- Prescription drugs
While the simple answer is that these drivers should not be using such substances, the fact of the matter is that trucking companies may hold them to near-impossible schedules. Our firm can investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident to hold the right people responsible for your damages.
Distracted Truck Drivers
Commercial drivers are held to higher standards than regular drivers. This is because when a commercial truck is involved in an accident, the consequences are far more serious, including catastrophic injury and even death. It is crucial that professional drivers give their utmost attention to operating their vehicle.
A truck driver may cause an accident due to distractions such as:
- Cell phone use / texting
- Eating or drinking
- Adjusting the radio
- Using their short-wave transmission radio
- Looking around instead of watching the road
- Reading or writing
While these may seem like obvious activities to avoid, they happen often. If you were injured because a commercial driver was distracted, let our team help you fight for the compensation you need.
Tired Truck Drivers
For obvious reasons, trucking companies may not allow overworked or sleep-deprived drivers to operate a commercial vehicle. Unfortunately, some companies choose to put profits over people, prioritizing money over the safety of drivers and all others on the road. By forcing or pressuring truckers to drive for long hours, trucking companies put tired truckers on the road – which often leads to catastrophic accidents.
Federal trucking regulations outline when and for how long a trucker can legally operate their vehicle. For example, any trucker who drives over 70 hours per week is required to rest for at least 34 hours straight. Truckers may not drive more than 70 hours in eight days. Federal law also governs the length of a trucker's workday. If a trucker violates these regulations, they or the company they work for can be held liable.
Advocating for the Wrongfully Injured Since 1980
Our successes include a case in which Attorney Tim Tietjen helped a truck driver recover $8 million after an accident with another truck and another case where he secured 13 settlements, including an $11.4 million wrongful death claim for those injured in a 34-vehicle truck accident in Los Angeles County.
We apply the same dedication to every case. When you work with our truck accident attorneys, you can trust that we will fight for the full amount of compensation you need and deserve after a serious accident.
Our clients’ best interests, comfort, and recoveries are the top priorities at Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn. If you or someone you love was injured, call our San Francisco truck accident attorneys to learn what you can do to seek compensation from a negligent truck driver, trucking company, or other liable party.
Call us at (415) 940-7176 to request your free review.