Fresno Truck Accident Lawyer

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Robert May

Founding Partner

Fresno Truck Accident Attorney

 
  • 25 + Years of Experience

    When you hire us, you’re adding unmatched experience to your team, ensuring you get the best possible outcome.

  • 99% Win Rate

    Our firm maintains an impressive 99% win rate, even while accepting difficult cases other law firms have turned away.

  • No Upfront Fees

    We are not afraid of trial, and insurance companies know this. If it’s in your best interest, we are always trial ready.

Commercial trucks serve an essential purpose in the United States—transporting essential goods across the country—but they also present a significant risk to other drivers on the road, and Fresno is no exception. Semi-trucks are big, heavy, and require special expertise to drive safely, and when they are involved in accidents the results are often deadly.

Dealing with the financial impact of a commercial truck accident is often stressful and overwhelming; that’s why the compassionate Fresno truck accident lawyers at The May Firm are here to help. If you or a loved one was injured in a Fresno truck accident, contact our firm today for a free consultation.

Our History of Results

The National Top 40 The Fresno personal injury lawyers at The May Firm is committed to securing clients the recovery they deserve. With more than 22 years of experience and a recovery rate of 99 percent, our team has a proven track record of securing results for our clients. This includes millions of dollars recovered for truck accident victims.

While our past results do not guarantee a recovery in your case, we are nonetheless proud of our successes. We believe in our team’s ability so much that if we don’t recover money on a client’s behalf, that client pays us nothing in attorney fees. We work with each client to understand their goals and bring our collective experience to each case to accomplish those goals.

Community Involvement

At The May Firm we strive to be involved and connected to our local community. For example, this past holiday season we organized bicycle and Christmas tree giveaways for individuals in our community. Our goal is to be a positive force for good in the local community and give back in some small measure to those we can serve. We receive satisfaction and joy from serving our clients and will continue to look for ways to be of assistance to the community as a whole. We receive positive energy from the community when we are involved.

We have listed a few of the local organizations we support and look forward to growing our outreach in the future. If you have any suggestions for ways we can be of service or support, please reach out to us.

  • Memorial Golf Classic
  • Rodeo
  • Hope
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  • CASA

Where Compassion Meets Experience

We take pride in working hard for each of our valued clients and will help you recover from your injuries and losses, including lost wages, mental anguish, future earning potential, disability or continued health care needs and lost or damaged property.

Our Fresno injury lawyers stay well-informed and up-to-date on all applicable legal changes, so you can be confident that you will always receive relevant, current legal advice.

If you have suffered a personal injury or are a victim of an accident that is not your at fault for, contact our award winning Fresno attorneys 24/7 to schedule your free case consultation. You can also call our Fresno office at 1-(559)-385-2090. Let us be your personal injury and accident advocate.

“My number one goal is to help others. When you step foot into our firm, you’ll be treated like family, period.”
Robert May, Attorney | Founder

Truck Accident Statistics in Fresno

Of the 33,654 fatal crashes that occurred in the United States in a recent year, 13.8 percent involved at least one large truck or bus. Additionally, 8.3 percent of non-fatal crashes involved at least one large truck or bus.

Commercial trucks are subject to the laws of the state they are driving in as well as federal regulations. In a recent year, inspections uncovered more than 400,000 traffic enforcement violations.

The most common violations of regulations are:

  • Speeding
  • Failure to obey traffic signals or other traffic control devices
  • Failure to wear a seatbelt
  • No record or inaccurate record of time on duty
  • Operating a commercial truck without the proper license

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 150,000 individuals work as truck drivers in California—the second-highest state for this profession. In California in a recent year, there were over 300 fatal crashes and almost 7,000 injury crashes that involved a truck. These crashes resulted in 367 deaths and 9,710 injuries—including 21 deaths and 225 injuries in the Fresno area.

When the truck driver was found at fault, the following were the most common factors for fatal crashes:

  • Unsafe speed
  • Improper turning
  • Automobile right-of-way
  • Not following traffic signals or signs
  • Influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road

In addition to the above factors, the following were also significant contributors to injury crashes:

  • Unsafe lane change
  • Unsafe starting or backing
  • Following too closely

Commercial truck accidents continue to present a threat to drivers on Fresno roads.

Who Is Responsible for My Fresno Truck Accident Injuries?

If any party acted negligently and caused the accident and your injuries, they should be responsible for your damages. A party is negligent anytime they act outside the ordinary standard of care for their position or profession, including violation of traffic laws and regulations.

Commonly responsible parties after a truck accident include:

  • Truck driver: Truck drivers are subject to numerous state and federal regulations. Violation of these regulations is strong evidence of negligence.
    • Commercial driver’s license (CDL): Safely driving a semi-truck requires special skill, training, and aptitude. If the truck driver did not have a valid CDL, this is a serious violation that should be documented. In California, drivers who have never had a CDL must first secure a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CPL). Getting a CPL requires a 10-year history record check, a completed medical examiner’s report, and successfully passing a knowledge test. After a driver has a CPL for 14 days, they can apply to take a skills test to secure a CDL.
    • Driver fatigue: Drivers spend long hours behind the wheel, often looking at monotonous scenery. It is important, however, that drivers are awake and alert anytime they are on duty. This responsibility is acknowledged in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations which regulate the amount of time a driver can be on the road without a break. Daily driving is limited to eleven hours with a requirement for ten hours off duty in between shifts.
    • Distracted driving: Even if drivers aren’t fatigued, they might still be bored. The federal regulations include a ban on texting while driving and place other limitations on the use of electronic devices in an attempt to prevent accidents due to driver distraction. Any evidence that the driver violated one of these regulations or otherwise drove distracted at the time of the accident supports a negligence claim.
    • Alcohol use: Commercial truck drivers are subject to alcohol consumption standards that are stricter than those for a non-commercial driver. The regulations forbid drivers from consuming any alcohol within four hours of going on duty and prohibit any measurable amount of alcohol in their bloodstream while on duty. While drinking and driving is always evidence of negligence, evidence of alcohol consumption is especially compelling in an accident with a semi-truck.
  • Trucking company: In addition to looking to the driver for recovery, you should also look to the trucking company that owns the truck and/or employs the driver. An employer is responsible for the negligent acts of an employee while on duty. Trucking companies are also responsible for ensuring compliance with important regulations, including keeping an on-duty log to comply with hours of service requirements and servicing requirements for vehicles. Employers generally have a more robust insurance policy making them better positioned to compensate you for your injuries.
  • Manufacturer: If the accident was caused by a mechanical failure in the truck, the manufacturer might be responsible. Common malfunctions include failures in the brakes and steering. If, however, the malfunction was caused by the driver or trucking company’s failure to properly maintain the vehicle, it is unlikely the manufacturer will be found responsible.

Because of all the parties involved in a truck accident, sorting through the evidence and negligent actions can take time and experience. Additionally, if multiple parties are involved, multiple insurance companies may manage various parts of your claim. Your lawyer will help you sort through the evidence, determine which party or parties acted negligently, and manage communications with the other parties and their insurance providers.

How Do I Calculate My Fresno Truck Accident Damages?

Preparing a damages demand is a complicated but important step in the legal recovery process, and it is best done in conjunction with an experienced attorney. The negligent party is responsible for all the injuries you have suffered, not just your medical expenses.

These injuries are unique to each individual, but common damages include:

  • Medical expenses: The injuries suffered after a truck accident are often severe, ranging from broken bones to traumatic brain injury. No matter what the injury is, it is likely to be accompanied by medical expenses. Common medical expenses include the cost of doctor’s visits, hospital stays, prescription medicine, emergency transportation, and physical therapy. Work with your lawyer to include future anticipated medical costs, involving a medical expert as needed to establish an accurate estimate.
  • Lost income: Many injuries require the victim to miss work, work a reduced schedule, or perform like work. You deserve compensation for these lost earnings. If your injury impacts your long-term ability to return to work, include future lost wages and lost earning potential in your damages demand. An economic expert may need to calculate future losses.
  • Property damage: Few cars come out unscathed after crashing with a commercial truck. If your vehicle or other property was damaged or destroyed in the accident, the defendant must compensate you for the repair or recovery of the damaged property.
  • Emotional distress: Motor vehicle accident victims are much more likely to suffer from emotional distress after an accident. Studies have found that road traffic accident victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder at much higher percentages. Anxiety and depression are other common emotional results after an accident. Work with your attorney to include an appropriate recovery for any emotional distress in your damages demand.
  • Loss of enjoyment: If your injuries impact your ability to participate in activities that meaningfully contribute to your life, the defendant is responsible for the damages associated with this loss.
  • Punitive damages: Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the plaintiff for any injury but instead to punish the defendant for egregious behavior. In California, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant acted with oppression, fraud, or malice. This is a much higher standard than the negligence standard required for the recovery of other damages. Your lawyer will work with you to review the facts of your case and determine whether a request for punitive damages is appropriate.

Preparing a comprehensive damages demand can be time-consuming, but is an important step to ensure you secure the recovery you deserve. Not only will the jury review your demand if your case goes to trial, but it is also an important tool when analyzing any settlement offer from the defendant or their insurance company.

What Should I Do After a Fresno Truck Accident?

The first thing to do after any motor vehicle accident is to seek medical attention. Your health and safety should be your priority.

Once you have secured appropriate medical assistance, keep these considerations in mind:

  • Get a police report. A police report will serve as an important piece of evidence in your case. The report will document the scene of the accident, witness information and statements, and any citations issued for failure to follow laws or regulations. In addition to being important evidence, the California Vehicle Code requires that any driver involved in an accident resulting in death or injury report the accident within 24 hours.
  • Avoid social media. While it may be tempting to update your social media account with details of your accident and your recovery, this could be detrimental to your case. The defendant will use any possible evidence against you to avoid recovery. While a social media post may seem innocuous, it is best to vet any posting with your attorney. Even if your account is private, the defendant could try to demand that you produce social media records.
  • Don’t delay. A statute of limitations is the deadline for filing a lawsuit after an injury. The deadline ensures that a case is brought early enough that useful evidence and accounts of the incident are still available. In California, you must file your Fresno truck accident lawsuit within two years from the date of the injury. If the injury was not discovered immediately, the victim has one year from the date the injury was discovered to file suit.
  • Stay organized. You might begin to feel overwhelmed with the paperwork associated with your accident, from the police report to medical records to communications from insurance companies, you are likely to accumulate a lot of paper. Avoid the instinct to shove this paperwork aside. Keep it organized and review it with your attorney to determine what is important evidence.
  • Carefully consider settlement offers. The defendant and insurance company are likely to make one or more settlement offers throughout the process of pursuing recovery. There are many benefits to settlement, including eliminating the unpredictable nature of a jury trial and getting money in your pocket more quickly. You should not, however, settle for an amount less than the strength of your case warrants. Discuss any settlement offer with your attorney.

One of the most important steps you can take after a truck accident is hiring an experienced Fresno truck accident attorney.

Contact The May Firm’s Fresno Truck Accident Attorneys Today

The May Firm is Fresno’s truck accident law firm, known for fighting tirelessly for our clients. Our team of award-winning lawyers is dedicated to securing justice for Fresno truck accident victims. If you or a loved one was the victim of a truck accident in or around Fresno, CA, contact The May Firm today for a free consultation.

Fresno Truck Accident FAQs

Read on to find answers to commonly asked questions that are important to consider if you have been the victim of a truck accident in or around Fresno.

Call Our Fresno Truck Accident Attorneys Right Away

The May Firm is a Fresno truck accident law firm with deep experience supporting truck accident victims throughout our community. The firm’s team of award-winning Fresno truck accident lawyers understand that we are working with clients during what is potentially the worst moment in their lives, and we approach each client with empathy and understanding.

If you or a loved one was the victim of a truck accident in or around Fresno, contact The May Firm today at (559) 385-2090 to schedule a free consultation.

For the most part, we know a commercial truck when we see it. To understand which trucks the government regulates, however, you must understand what trucks qualify as a commercial truck.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations define a “commercial motor vehicle” as a vehicle used on the highway to transport passengers or property in interstate commerce and:

  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more;
  • Is used to transport more than 8 passengers for compensation or more than 15 passengers without compensation; or
  • Is used to transport hazardous material.

The May Firm has substantial experience assisting clients to identify different kinds of trucks and pursue recovery, including 18-wheelers, big rigs, cargo trucks, concrete trucks, construction trucks, fuel trucks, semi-trucks, tanker trucks, tractor trailers, and logging trucks.

Not only are commercial trucks large, but they are also heavy. Semi-trucks can weigh more than 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. For comparison, a standard passenger vehicle weighs approximately 3,000 pounds. The trucks are often carrying cargo, sometimes hazardous, and any failure to load the cargo appropriately increases the risk of cargo spilling across the roadway or affecting the driver’s ability to effectively steer the vehicle. Trucks also require special skill and aptitude to drive and become much more dangerous when an inexperienced driver is behind the wheel.

Of the 33,654 fatal crashes that occurred in the United States in a recent year, 13.8 percent involved at least one large truck or bus. Additionally, 8.3 percent of non-fatal crashes involved at least one large truck or bus.

California employs the second-highest number of truck drivers in the nation with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating the number of individuals at nearly 150,000. In California in a recent year, there were over 300 fatal crashes and close to 7,000 injury crashes that involved a truck. These crashes resulted in 367 deaths and 9,710 injuries across the state and 21 deaths and 225 injuries in the Fresno area.

The following actions were the most common causes of death or injury in a truck accident when the truck driver was found at fault:

  • Unsafe speed
  • Improper turning
  • Automobile right-of-way
  • Not following traffic signals or signs
  • Influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Unsafe lane change
  • Unsafe starting or backing
  • Following too closely

A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is required for any driver of a commercial vehicle in California. First, the driver obtains a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP). To secure a CPL, the driver must have a normal driver’s license in the state of California, complete an application, complete a 10-year history record check, have a medical physical performed, and pass a knowledge test. Once the driver has held a CPL for 14 days, they can apply to take their skills test. The skills test will include a vehicle inspection, basic control skills test, and a road test.

Commercial truck drivers are subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) which govern the conduct of commercial truck drivers. Some of the most notable regulations include:

  • Hours of service: It is important for the safety of everyone on the road that drivers are awake and alert anytime they are on duty. The FMCSRs put strict guidelines around the amount of time a driver can be on the road without a break. Daily driving is limited to eleven hours with a requirement for ten hours off duty in between shifts.
  • Driver inattention: The FMCSRs have a ban on texting while driving and detail other relevant limitations on the use of electronic devices by drivers while on duty.
  • Alcohol use: The regulations around alcohol consumption or stricter for commercial truck drivers than other drivers. Commercial truck drivers are forbidden from consuming alcohol within four hours of going on duty. No measurable amount of alcohol in the driver’s bloodstream while on duty is acceptable.

 

Work with your attorney to analyze the actions of the truck driver involved in your accident to determine whether they violated any federal or state regulations.

Death or serious injuries are more common in truck accidents because of the disparate size and weight of vehicles involved. A collision can occur because of a direct collision, running into spilled cargo, or colliding with a different vehicle attempting to avoid a semi-truck jackknife or rollover.

Common injuries include:

  • Traumatic head and brain injuries: Any blow to the head, including your head striking a dashboard or windshield, can result in head or brain injuries, including skull fractures, laceration, and brain injuries. These injuries can have lifelong impacts.
  • Spinal cord injuries: The spinal cord allows the brain to communicate with the body. Jarring impact to your body in an accident could cause a spinal cord injury.
  • Neck injuries: Vehicle occupants are likely to experience whiplash, herniated discs, slipped discs, and nerve damage after a rollover accident.
  • Internal damage: Any blow to the body has the potential to cause internal bleeding or damage to organs.
  • Broken bones: Passengers often brace for impact as the accident occurs, causing broken bones. Depending on the severity, the break may require multiple surgeries or ongoing physical therapy.
  • Cuts, bruises, and soft tissue injuries: The body is likely to take a beating during a car accident, including torn ligaments and pulled muscles.

Given the high likelihood of injury, be sure to seek medical assistance immediately after the accident.

Any party who acted negligently—meaning outside a normal standard of care—in a way that caused the accident is responsible for any injuries resulting from the accident.

Negligent parties often include:

  • Truck drivers: Any violation of traffic laws is evidence of negligence for a truck driver, as is the failure to secure the necessary licensing or violation of any federal regulations.
  • Employers: Many truck drivers are employed by a trucking company. If the truck driver was operating in the scope of their job at the time of the accident, the employer is responsible for their actions. A trucking company also has obligations to ensure that the driver is appropriately licensed, complies with hours of service requirements, and follows regular maintenance requirements.
  • Manufacturers: If the accident occurred because of a vehicle failure, the manufacturer is responsible. Brake failure is a common malfunction. If, however, the failure is due to lack of maintenance, the employer or driver is more likely to be responsible.

The negligent party is responsible for all injuries suffered by another party in the accident. The most obvious expenses are medical expenses, such as doctor’s bills, the cost of a hospital stay, prescription medicine, and physical therapy. Don’t forget to include an estimate of future anticipated medical costs.

In addition to medical expenses, these are common damages recovered by victims of truck accidents:

  • Loss of any wages from missed work as well as an estimate of future lost wages and lost earning potential;
  • Damage to any property because of the accident, including the costs of repair or replacement of your vehicle;
  • Pain, suffering, and emotional distress resulting from the accident and injuries including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder all of which are more likely to be suffered by car accident victims;
  • Inability to participate in activities that were previously a meaningful part of your life; and
  • Punitive damages punish the defendant rather than compensate the plaintiff, and in California, they require oppression, fraud, or malice.

Work with your attorney to prepare a comprehensive damages assessment because it will be an important tool when preparing for trial and the jury. Your lawyer can also involve financial and economic experts as needed.

The California Vehicle Code requires that any driver involved in an accident resulting in death or injury report the accident within 24 hours. In addition to the fact that a police report is a requirement, a police report will be a valuable evidentiary tool. The report will include photos of the accident scene, witness information, and any citations police issued to any party involved. This in-the-moment description of the accident forms important evidence as you move forward with your case.

California law requires that you file your Fresno truck accident lawsuit within two years from the date of the injury. If you didn’t discover the injury at the time of the accident, you have one year from the date you discover the injury to file a lawsuit.

Nobody can tell you for sure. Recovering after a truck accident may depend on whether you choose to accept a settlement offer. If you accept a settlement, you may receive compensation more quickly, but possibly for less than you would secure at trial. Proceeding through a trial may take longer but could net you more compensation.

Whether resolved via settlement or court judgment, the strategy for each case will depend on the facts of the case and the goals of the client.

Carefully consider any settlement offer and discuss it with your lawyer before accepting. The defendant and their insurance company will try to settle the lawsuit for the lowest amount possible. Early settlement offers are likely to significantly undervalue the cost of your injuries. There are many benefits to settlement, including eliminating the unpredictable nature of a jury trial and getting money in your pocket more quickly, but be sure not to settle for an amount less than is warranted by the strength of your case.

An attorney is a critical partner as you pursue recovery for your injuries after a truck accident. A lawyer will work with you to analyze the facts of your case, identify which party or parties are at fault, compile evidence to support your case, prepare a damages assessment, analyze settlement offers, and prepare all court documents.

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