Truck Accidents

Understanding Commercial Truck Accident Liability

Navigating the Complexity of Truck Accidents

Truck accidents, particularly those involving commercial vehicles, are significantly more complex than standard car accidents due to the multiple parties that can be held liable. Understanding the nuances of these accidents and the legal ramifications is crucial for those harmed in such incidents. At Harsh Law, located in Southern California, our expertise in personal injury law focuses on guiding clients through the intricate legal process of truck accident claims.

These accidents, often more catastrophic than passenger vehicles, not only disrupt lives but also present a maze of legal complexities. In this article we will explore the critical elements of commercial truck accidents, offering expert guidance and support for victims seeking justice and recovery.


The Legal Framework: Three Pillars of a Truck Accident Lawsuit

When pursuing a truck accident lawsuit, three critical elements must be established:

  • Demonstrable Damages: The extent of physical, emotional, or financial harm suffered.
  • Identifiable Responsible Parties: This can include the truck driver, the parent company, or other entities.
  • Financial Restitution Capability: Ensuring the party at fault has the means to provide compensation.


Statistical Overview of Commercial Truck Accidents

In the United States, and particularly in California, commercial vehicle accidents represent a significant portion of road traffic incidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the federal organization created to enforce rules for trucking companies to follow, ensuring the well-being of all road users, provides the following statistical insight to commercial truck accidents:


  • Number of crashes with large trucks & buses in 2023: 178,604
  • Number of injuries as a result of a crash with large trucks and buses in 2023: 84,333
  • Number of fatalities as a result of a crash with large trucks and buses in 2023: 4,835


Commercial vehicle accidents often involve factors like driver fatigue, mechanical failures, or overloaded cargo. Injuries resulting from commercial vehicle accidents, particularly those involving large trucks or buses, tend to be more severe due to the size and weight of these vehicles compared to standard passenger cars. Common injuries sustained in such accidents include:


  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): These injuries can range from concussions to more severe brain damage, often caused by a blow to the head during the accident.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: These injuries can lead to paralysis (quadriplegia/tetraplegia or paraplegia), chronic pain, or other long-term disabilities.
  • Broken Bones and Fractures: The force of a commercial vehicle collision can easily break bones, sometimes leading to compound fractures that require surgical intervention.
  • Internal Injuries: Damage to internal organs or internal bleeding can occur, often requiring emergency medical treatment.
  • Lacerations and Abrasions: Shattered glass, metal fragments, and the impact can cause severe cuts and scrapes.
  • Whiplash and Neck Injuries: Sudden movement of the head and neck during a collision can lead to whiplash, causing long-lasting pain and mobility issues.
  • Burns: In cases where a vehicle catches fire or hot fluids are released, occupants can suffer from burns, which might be severe.
  • Amputations or Disfigurement: In certain cases, limbs may be amputated as a result of the accident, or individuals may suffer significant disfigurement.
  • Psychological Trauma: Beyond physical injuries, victims often experience psychological issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression.


Given the severity of these injuries, victims of commercial vehicle accidents often face long recovery periods and may require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and support to recover and adjust to life post-accident.


Identifying Liable Parties

A liable party in a lawsuit is an individual or entity that is legally responsible for harm or damage caused to another person or property. This concept is a cornerstone of civil law, particularly in personal injury and property damage cases. When a party is deemed liable, it means they are found to have acted negligently, recklessly, or with intentional wrongdoing, leading to the incident or harm in question. In the context of a lawsuit, establishing liability involves an understanding of the following:

  • Establishing Liability: To establish liability, the plaintiff (the person or entity bringing the lawsuit) must typically prove that the defendant (the party being sued) had a duty to act or refrain from acting in a certain way, breached that duty, and that this breach directly caused the harm or damages experienced by the plaintiff.
  • Types of Liable Parties: Depending on the case, liable parties can range from individuals to corporations, government entities, or other organizations. For instance, in a car accident case, the liable party might be the driver who caused the accident, while in a product liability case, it could be the manufacturer of a defective product.
  • Impact of Liability: Once liability is established in court, the liable party is typically required to compensate the injured party for damages. This compensation can cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and other losses incurred because of the incident.


Responsibility in commercial vehicle accidents often extends beyond the driver. It can include:

  • The Trucking Company or their Insurance: Often liable for their drivers’ actions and vehicle maintenance.
  • Vehicle or Parts Manufacturers: If a mechanical failure contributed to the accident.
  • Maintenance Providers: If improper servicing led to the incident.
  • Other Negligent Parties: Including government entities responsible for road conditions or other drivers.


Begin your Recovery Journey Today – Reach Out to Harsh Law

If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident in Southern California, Harsh Law is here to help. Contact us to understand your rights and take the first step towards recovery. Call Harsh Law at (909) 793-6261 today for your complimentary consultation.