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One of the worst truck accidents in recent memory occurred on September 10, 2020, on the southbound stretch of I-5 in Sacramento, California. In a video released from a Tesla driver who witnessed the accident, a big rig seems to begin swerving before slamming into the back of an SUV, barely slowing down as it continued plowing into more vehicles, which, in turn, struck other vehicles.
First responders have reported that the accident involved 11 vehicles in total and resulted in critical injuries to three people and one death. Investigators have yet to determine the exact cause of the accident and why the truck driver did not slow down at all, but they have so far ruled out drug and alcohol use as a potential cause.
Common Issues With Truck Accident Cases
This accident is a prime example of how a truck accident can cause devastating damage to multiple victims. Additionally, liability for the accident is not immediately clear. If the truck driver was negligent in their handling of the vehicle, then the driver may absorb liability for the victim’s damages. If the trucking company did not properly train the driver or check the driver’s background before hiring, the trucking company might face vicarious liability as well. If a mechanical failure caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle, a defective part manufacturer or the repair team responsible for the truck’s maintenance might be liable.
Truck accidents have the potential to involve multiple defendants, unclear liability, and substantial damages. The victims of this tragic accident will need reliable legal representation so they may accurately assess their damages and begin civil actions against whatever party or parties are found responsible for the incident.
Potential Damages from This Catastrophic Accident
Whenever a motor vehicle accident occurs, the party responsible for causing the accident absorbs liability for the victim’s damages. These damages typically include medical expenses, property losses, lost income from time the victim must spend at home in recovery, and pain and suffering compensation. In this particular accident, at least ten drivers have grounds for personal injury claims against the party responsible for causing the crash. Three of those drivers would have grounds to claim medical expenses and other damages for the severe injuries they sustained. The family of the person killed in the accident would have grounds for a wrongful death claim instead of a personal injury claim under California state law.
In any of these civil actions, a plaintiff has the right to claim compensation for any and all damages resulting from the incident in question. Once an investigation determines the cause of the accident, those who suffered losses may then start taking legal action against the party bearing liability. It’s not uncommon for trucking accident cases to involve multiple defendants, so time will tell how this accident will unfold from a legal perspective.
The party liable for the accident will be responsible for the medical expenses of all the victims hurt in the incident. This includes their immediate medical expenses following the accident and the future cost of treatments they need to reach maximum recovery. The liable party or parties will also be responsible for the cost of repairing or replacing the vehicles and other personal property damaged and destroyed in the accident, as well as lost income the victims incurred from time spent home in recovery. This accident could be extremely costly for the parties found responsible for causing it.
Trucking Industry Regulations as They Apply to Truck Accidents
Depending on how this accident happened, the truck driver, trucking company, or both might face professional disciplinary action if the accident resulted from a failure to adhere to trucking industry regulations. Due to the inherently dangerous nature of large commercial vehicles and the prevalence of the trucking industry in the US, there are many federal and state-level statutes that apply to trucking operations of all kinds. If a regulatory violation led to this accident, the party responsible for the violation could face significant fines and other professional penalties, possibly even criminal prosecution.
Ultimately, this accident is an example of how complicated a truck accident case can become when liability is not immediately clear. Hopefully, the victims of this accident will learn more about who is responsible for their damages so they might recover as soon as possible. If you or someone you love recently experienced losses from a trucking accident, it is vital to seek reliable legal representation as soon as possible to maximize your chances of securing compensation. Contact the Kreeger Law Firm today to speak with an experienced Sacramento truck accident attorney about your specific situation.