Walnut Creek Truck Accident Lawyer

Semi-trucks and big rigs are a cornerstone of our economy, delivering vital goods to stores, factories, schools, hospitals and more. While these trucks are necessary, they can also be dangerous. A commercial motor vehicle (CMV) may range in size from 20,000 to 80,000 pounds – compared to 2,500 to 6,000 pounds for the average passenger vehicle. As a result, collisions between 18 wheelers and cars often result in serious or catastrophic injuries.

According to data from the California Highway Patrol (CHP), in 2019 alone, there were 7,009 truck accidents that caused injuries and an additional 344 fatal truck crashes. If you have been hurt in a collision with a big rig, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, trucking company, or even the manufacturer of a defective part on the truck. A Walnut Creek truck accident attorney will advocate for your right to fill compensation for your full scope of losses.

The Appel Law Firm advocates for injury victims throughout the Bay Area. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a truck accident lawyer, reach out to our law offices in Walnut Creek today.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Every year, approximately 4,000 people are killed in auto and truck collisions, and thousands more are injured as a result of these accidents.  The injury and fatality toll in these accidents is typically high, because of the massive weight of the truck, tractor trailer or semi rig involved in the collision.

As noted in a recent CHP report on traffic safety, the number of people being killed in auto and truck collisions in California has remained more or less stable, with slight fluctuations every year.  This is in spite of the fact that there have been reductions in traffic fatalities involving motor vehicles.

The main reason for this is that any accident involving an automobile and a truck can have a devastating impact.  A typical tractor-trailer, for example, can weigh an approximate 80,000 pounds, and can pack devastating power.  When a vehicle of this size and bulk crashes into a much smaller passenger vehicle or SUV, the results for the occupants of the smaller vehicle can be catastrophic.

There are many potential causes for truck accidents – just as there are for any other type of auto accident. However, there are some unique aspects of truck crashes that can make them more deadly. For example, truckers tend to be on the road for far longer than the average driver – and they’re operating vehicles that can be much harder to control if something goes wrong.

Driver Fatigue

The federal government has been especially concerned about the rising number of accidents involving fatigued and sleepy truck drivers.  The trucking industry has pushed for an increase in the maximum working hours for truck drivers in order to boost efficiency, but trucking safety advocates have been strongly opposed to any such proposals, because of the increased risk from drivers working long hours without rest. Currently, federal hours of service regulations limit the amount of time that a driver of a commercial motor vehicle can be on the road without a break.

Truck Failures

Any kind of malfunctioning in the components of the truck like the brake, the steering, or other components can cause a truck driver to lose control of the truck, causing an accident. Our law firm has handled truck accidents caused by:

  1. Mechanical Failure
  2. Brake Failure

Our office thoroughly examines the potential causes of the crash to determine who may be liable – including the manufacturer of a dangerous or defective product.

Driver Error

Driver error is one of the biggest causes of collisions between trucks and cars in the United States. Much of the responsibility for prevention of driver errors lies with trucking companies that have a responsibility to hire qualified, trained, experienced truckers. Unfortunately, truckers are in huge demand these days, with demand far outstripping supply, and as a result, many companies have hired drivers who may not have a qualified record. These drivers are at a higher risk of accidents.


Semi trucks often carry large loads, up to a combined weight of 80,000 pounds. When those loads aren’t properly balanced or secured, it can cause a crash. Overloading is a major concern when it comes to truck accidents, and can cause devastating injuries.

Driving Under The Influence of Drugs or Alcohol

Drug use is a huge problem in the trucking industry, with many truck drivers frequently taking methamphetamines to stay alert and awake for long periods of time.  When the effect of the drug wears off, the driver may suddenly feel drowsy, increasing his accident risk. Trucking companies may also be liable for drunk or drugged driving accidents, particularly if they fail to implement a program to reduce the risk of DUI among their drivers.

When Can I File a Lawsuit for a Walnut Creek Truck Accident?

Truck accident claims are typically based on a theory of negligence, or carelessness. In some cases, such as a trucking company cutting costs by performing required maintenance or repairs, the lawsuit may be based on a theory of intentional or reckless conduct.

Generally, to prove a negligence claim, you will need to prove four things:

  1. Duty: the at-fault driver (defendant) owed you (plaintiff) a duty of care
  2. Breach: the defendant violated that duty in some way (such as by speeding)
  3. Causation: that violation was the but for cause of the accident
  4. Damages: you suffered damages as a result

Depending on the facts of the case, you may be able to file a claim against:

  • The truck driver
  • The trucking company
  • The manufacturer of the truck
  • Manufacturers of defective truck parts

In some cases, you may even be able to bring a claim against a government entity.

Through this type of claim, you can recover financial compensation for your injuries. Damages in a truck accident fall into one of three categories: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic and non-economic damages compensate injury victims for their losses, while punitive damages punish a wrongdoer.

Economic damages include money for things like medical bills, future medical treatment, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, and property damage. They pay for direct financial losses, which are usually documented through invoices, estimates, pay stubs, and bills.

Non-economic damages compensate accident victims for their intangible losses. This may include pain and suffering, scarring, disfigurement, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. These damages can be harder to prove, but a skilled Walnut Creek truck accident lawyer can work with you to help put together a claim for damages.

Punitive damages are rarely awarded in personal injury cases, which are usually based on a theory of negligence. However, they may be awarded in claims where a defendant acted intentionally or recklessly. For example, if a truck driver was under the influence at the time of the crash, then punitive damages may be appropriate.

Finally, if a commercial truck accident is fatal, then the victim’s surviving family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party. Damages in a wrongful death claim may include burial and funeral expenses, the deceased person’s lost income, and compensation for the loss of their companionship and support.

Getting the compensation that you deserve for a truck accident can be challenging, particularly when you’re going up against a big trucking company and their insurer. At the Appel Law Firm, we have decades of combined experience taking on big insurance companies – and winning. Reach out today to talk to a Walnut Creek truck accident attorney about your claim.

How a Walnut Creek Truck Accident Attorney Can Help

Truck accidents are often linked to catastrophic, life-changing injuries. A lawsuit may not make you whole again, but it can provide you with the financial stability that you need to move forward. Our law firm will fight for your right to full compensation.

The California truck accident lawyers at the Appel Law Firm LLP represent persons who have been injured in tractor-trailer, commercial truck and semi rig accidents across California. We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that we never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation with a Walnut Creek truck accident lawyer, give our law offices a call at 925-938-2000 or fill out our online contact form.