California Freeway Truck Accident Lawyer

Almost every freeway traveler in California has experienced a traffic jam caused by an accident. The victims of these wrecks are likely to sustain severe injuries and financial consequences. Freeways also support truck travel; accidents with large trucks or semi-trucks typically produce devastating outcomes. A California semi-truck accident lawyer from Ernst Law Group can help you fight for compensation for your losses no matter what type of vehicle your accident involves. 

california freeway truck accident lawyer

What are the most dangerous freeways in California?

According to a report published on Value Penguin, “Twenty-five states have at least one of the 100 most dangerous roads in the U.S.,” and eleven are in California. Worse, those California roads hold the largest share of fatalities. I-10, the San Bernandino Freeway, is especially dangerous at night but has the highest accident percentage even in clear weather conditions, as is SR-91, the Garena Freeway. The segment of the Atascadero Freeway, US 101, running through Santa Clara, also produces a high number of fatalities.

 A deep dive by Dateline from NBC named a stretch of California’s I-15 first on their list of deadly high-speed roads, and the California portion of 1-5 (also known as the San Diego Freeway or the Golden State Freeway, among others) is the deadliest for alcohol-related deaths, in America. State Road 138, known by some as “Pear Blossom Highway” but to many locals as “Deathtrap Highway” or “Death Alley,” ranked high for producing a disproportionate number of deaths.

California Highway 1, which includes the Cabrillo Highway, is the scene of many freeway accidents. Extending the length of the West Coast from San Luis Obispo to join the 101 at Leggett is part of a growing trend of collisions and injuries.

What are California’s most common types of freeway truck accidents? 

There is no limit to the kinds of accidents that can occur on a freeway, but some types are more typical than others and include the following.

Jackknifes and rollovers

Improper loading, potholes, driver distraction, and other scenarios can cause the driver to lose control of a massively heavy tractor-trailer, sending the vehicle into a jackknife position. This significant obstacle now presents a danger to nearby and approaching vehicles. 

Semi-trucks can jackknife or become so off-balance as to tip over onto their sides or roofs in traffic. Rollovers can also produce fires and explosions, sending debris into roadways or directly onto nearby vehicles.

Rear-end collisions

Cars or trucks may follow too closely, not leaving enough space to stop without hitting the vehicle before them should hard braking be necessary.


One vehicle hits an obstacle or the car in front of it or abruptly stops and is hit from behind. Even if the driver avoids hitting the front vehicle, they can still be rear-ended, with successive collisions, until multiple vehicles and victims are involved.


Freeway drivers changing lanes can easily miss a car in their blind spot or recklessly weave in and out of lanes, colliding with the sides of other vehicles. If a truck operator makes that error and sideswipes a much smaller vehicle, that vehicle can be driven off the road, sent careening into other cars, or even flipped over.

What are the common causes of California freeway truck accidents?

Increased truck presence and travel, along with more passenger vehicles on our freeways, means you have a greater chance of being involved in a vehicle collision caused by someone’s negligence. Common causes of these accidents include: 

  • Driver fatigue
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence
  • Speeding or reckless driving
  • Driver error
  • Vehicle malfunction
  • Unsafe road conditions

How do truck regulations affect fault in truck accidents?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extensive and strict regulations for truck operators and trucking companies regarding how often and how thoroughly trucks must undergo inspection and repair. 

The FMCSA regulations also govern:

  • How many consecutive hours and days drivers can stay on duty, how often they must rest, and for how long

  • Methods for loading and securing cargo

  • How truckers respond to adverse weather conditions

  • How often truckers must inspect their vehicles (both pre and post-driving shifts)

  • How trucking companies vet, train, evaluate drivers, and remove unsafe drivers from the roads

  • Truck companies’ vehicle maintenance responsibilities

In California, truck drivers are considered to be driving under the influence when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at .04% or higher, which is half the level for other drivers (0.8%). The FMCSA regulations also address how many hours must pass between a truck driver’s last drink and when they can resume driving. 

When investigating the accident, your California freeway accident attorney will look for any compliance failures that contributed to the incident. They will identify who is at fault and work to hold those parties accountable for compensating you.

california freeway truck accident attorney

How can victims hold at-fault parties accountable?

California follows a pure comparative fault system for personal injury claims. This system allows victims, even those who may have contributed to the accident somehow, to hold the at-fault party accountable for paying damages. However, the same percentage of fault assigned will reduce a plaintiff’s compensation.

Victims must prove the at-fault party’s negligence caused the accident that led to their injuries, so it is important to identify the true at-fault party. A California freeway truck accident lawyer from Ernst Law Group can complete a full investigation of your accident to determine the cause and discover the at-fault party. Possible negligent parties may include:

  • Another vehicle operator
  • Vehicle or part manufacturers, installers, mechanics, or inspectors
  • Trucking companies, if the accident is with a truck
  • A government office, if unsafe road conditions led to the event

Your attorney will also gather evidence to prove negligence through the investigation by:

  • Collecting physical evidence from the accident scene
  • Traffic or security cameras
  • Dashboard cameras
  • Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) or “black boxes” if your accident was with a truck
  • Witness statement
  • Input from accident reconstructionists and other experts
  • Police reports

You can depend on your California freeway accident attorney from Ernst Law Group to follow every lead for evidence. If there is information to support your claim and hold the at-fault party accountable, we will work tirelessly to track it down. Our attorneys will work closely with our professional support staff to analyze and prepare evidence for insurance settlement negotiations and the courtroom.

What compensation can you recover from a California freeway accident?

In an accident’s aftermath, victims are often overwhelmed by their physical pain and emotional trauma. They may attend doctor’s appointments or undergo one medical procedure after another, experiencing the extreme stress that comes with recovering physically. They may be unable to work and earn a living with uncertainties about their future.

A seasoned California freeway truck accident attorney will evaluate your losses without missing details. Every accident and injury case is different, which means no two settlements are identical. However, you can expect your attorney to pursue both economic and non-economic damages and address punitive damage awards.

Economic damages

These come with a bill or tangible cost. Medical bills, anticipated future care, lost wages, lost earning potential, and job benefits for victims unable to work again. You may also seek compensation for all other expenses related to the accident and your injuries.

Non-economic damages

This category covers intangible losses you suffer, such as physical pain, disability and disfigurement, emotional and psychological stress, and reduced enjoyment of life. A seasoned lawyer will help you with the calculations needed to ensure these damages are accurately included in your settlement demand. 

Punitive damages

Economic and non-economic damages are “compensatory,” meaning they restore the victim’s losses–to the extent possible. Punitive damages are awarded by the court to punish the at-fault party for intentional actions or egregious negligence. Victims can collect punitive damages by proving with “clear and convincing evidence” that the defendant acted with “oppression, fraud, or malice.” 

Not every case will qualify for issuing a request for punitive damages. You can trust the team at Ernst Law Group to advise you on the criteria needed and whether your case meets the legal standards. 

Can drivers expect fewer freeway accidents in California’s future?

Unfortunately, no. A recent California Interregional Strategic Plan counts 962,040,300 daily vehicle miles traveled and projects a 30.4% increase over the next three decades. More specifically, the plan shows:

  • 904,386,900 daily automobile vehicle miles, with a projected 30-year  27.7% increase
  • 57,653,500 daily truck vehicle miles, with a projected 30-year 71.2% increase
  • 142,653,600 average daily automobile trips, with a project  29.2% increase
  • 1,145,100 average daily freight trips with a 30-year 45.6% increase

No matter the cause of your accident, connect with an experienced California freeway truck accident lawyer for help pursuing the settlement you deserve. 

When should victims connect with an attorney?

The sooner you reach out to Ernst Law Group, the better. With fast access to your case, your California freeway accident attorney can start an immediate investigation, gathering evidence while it is available and the witnesses’ memories are fresh. A prompt partnership also gives your attorney ample time to file your claim within California’s legal deadline, called a Statute of Limitations, which is two years for most injury cases.

Further, once your attorney takes your case, you no longer have to deal with the stresses and responsibilities of pursuing an injury claim. Instead, you can put your energy into recovering and adjusting to your changed circumstances, knowing your case is well in hand.

Don’t pay for someone else’s negligence – Call a California freeway truck accident lawyer today.

When someone else hurts you because of their negligence or recklessness, they must own up to their behavior and what that behavior cost them. The team at Ernst Law Group will fight to make that happen and secure appropriate compensation for your financial, physical, and emotional suffering. Schedule a free consultation by calling (805) 541-0300. Helping injury victims is what we do, and we put the full measure of our resources, legal knowledge, and experience into every case. 

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