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Big trucks like semi-trucks or 18-wheelers pose a greater threat to motorists than your average vehicle. They’re significantly larger and heavier than regular vehicles; therefore, when a car and a semi collide, it’s more likely that occupants of the smaller vehicle will suffer serious or traumatic injuries.

If you were on the road when a truck accident occurred, you may be able to file a claim against those responsible for causing this type of accident. To win your case, you’ll need an experienced San Luis Obispo semi-truck accident attorney by your side.

Were you injured in a truck wreck? Contact a truck accident lawyer at Ernst Law Group now for a free consultation.

If you or a loved one was hurt in a truck accident, Ernst Law Group can help you get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.

Ernst Law Group is a California personal injury law firm that provides aggressive legal representation to people who have been injured by negligence.

Our truck accident attorneys understand what you’re going through and are committed to helping you get the financial compensation that you deserve. Our family cares about your family and has extensive experience representing people who have been injured by semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, trucks, or other commercial vehicles.

We will thoroughly investigate your accident to build a winning case for maximum damages. Contact us today for a free consultation.

What is the truck’s “black box” and what does it track?

A truck’s “black box” is a colloquial term for the digital onboard recorder that many commercial trucks have been equipped with in recent years.

This device records data which can be very helpful to accident investigators, as it often provides insight into what went wrong when an accident occurs. When a semi-truck is involved in an accident, the data gathered by this box can be critical to determining how the crash took place and who’s at fault for causing it.

The “black box” records things like speed, braking function, steering input, whether or not the truck was using its turn signals, and more.

Ernst Law Group has access to experts who can review this data and determine what might have contributed to the accident. It is important to collect this data as soon as possible to ensure that it is not overwritten or lost.

What to Do After a Truck Accident

The aftermath of a truck accident can be quite chaotic. Follow these six easy steps to protect your health and your right to damages:

1. Move Your Vehicle

If you are able to move your vehicle out of traffic, do so. Otherwise, you risk being hit again or further injuring yourself by remaining in the roadway.

If you or anyone inside the vehicle is critically injured, you should skip this step, as it is more important that you do not risk causing additional injuries.

Staying in the vehicle can be dangerous. If you do not move it when you are able, it could cause a pile-up accident. However, if possible, you should take photos before you move the vehicle as evidence of the scene for your claim.

2. Report the Accident

To protect your rights after a truck accident, you must report the accident as soon as possible. If you do not file a police report, Ernst Law Group may still be able to help you file a claim for damages, but it will be much more difficult and complicated.

Even if the damage is minor, you legally need to report the accident to the police in California. This is because any truck accident damage to a vehicle will total over $500 (the minimum required to warrant a call to the police) and the police will need to reroute traffic while the accident is dealt with.

3. Seek Medical Attention

Even if you think you are not injured, it is important to seek medical attention immediately after a truck accident, just to be safe. This way, Ernst Law Group can have the documentation needed for your claim.

If you are critically injured, your first step should be to call an ambulance for assistance.

Always head to an emergency room after the police have dismissed you from the scene of the truck accident. You may have injuries that are not causing symptoms yet. Internal bleeding, traumatic brain injuries, and whiplash can take hours or days to appear. 

By then, there may be permanent damage.

4. Gather Evidence

Gathering evidence is crucial after a truck accident. Ernst Law Group provides specialized investigators who can gather information to support your claim, but you should still collect any potential evidence that will help your claim.

Keep track of the names of anyone you speak with or get contact information for them, if possible. You should also take photos at the scene and make note of any witnesses.

Try to keep a record of events as well. This can help you recreate the timeline of events later during your damages claim.

It may seem obvious to collect these details, but in the chaos after an accident, common advice like this can be forgotten. That is why every driver should know these steps before they are in an accident.

5. Watch What You Say

It is vital that you protect your own interests.

If you say anything such as “It’s fine”, “I’m fine”, etc., you could risk losing your claim to damages. This is because people can cite this information as you not having been injured. This can negate your future claim for damages, even if you had not been examined by a medical professional yet.

It is important to remember that Ernst Law Group will be on your side, so don’t let this scare you off from filing a claim if you are legitimately injured and mistakenly said something that could be misconstrued.

6. Contact a California Truck Accident Lawyer

Call Ernst Law Group to speak with a specialist who can help you file your claim. We have extensive experience handling truck accident claims for clients all over California, so let us help you today.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents


Speeding causes truck accidents every day. If the trucker is driving too fast, it could cause them to lose control of their vehicle and crash into another vehicle or object directly.

Truckers are limited to 55 MPH on most highways in California, so speeding can be very dangerous. It can also shorten the life of the engine which could also cause a trucker to lose control.

Distracted Driving

Distractions are common in all driving, but truck driving has a reputation for being more dangerous due to the size and weight of their vehicles.

Drivers should always make sure they have a clear path before attempting to change lanes or slow down suddenly. But distractions that include text messages, GPS directions, and passengers in the truck can mean that they don’t take these precautions.

If a driver is distracted for any reason while driving their 18-wheeler, they could end up crashing into other vehicles or objects unexpectedly.

Aggressive or Reckless Driving

Truck drivers deal with a lot of stress on the road, and some choose to handle it with aggressive behavior.

This can include tailgating, not allowing other vehicles to change lanes, and honking excessively. In some cases, truckers could even intentionally force a vehicle to move out of their way or slam on the brakes unexpectedly.

When a driver is acting aggressively, it can cause them to lose control of their vehicle as well as other vehicles on the road.

Exhausted Driver

There are strict regulations on the number of hours a truck driver can be behind the wheel. No matter what time of day, truckers must take rest breaks every 14 hours and cannot drive more than 11 total hours within that time frame.

Driving too much is dangerous for many reasons, including increased fatigue which can lead to reduced reaction times and delayed decision-making.

Overtired drivers can also be less likely to make smart decisions, which is a major issue when maneuvering their large vehicles.

Inclement Weather Conditions

Inclement weather is another common cause of truck accidents. Truckers must always be prepared for these types of conditions, especially when driving at night.

If drivers don’t properly handle their vehicles, they could lose control on the road and cross into other lanes or hit other objects while trying to avoid collisions with other vehicles.

Untrained Drivers

It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Drivers must follow certain rules to pass their commercial driver’s license tests, so it is important to remember these guidelines even after you receive your certification.

If drivers aren’t properly trained or if they cut corners while learning how to operate their 18-wheelers, they could end up involved in various types of roadway accidents.

Many trucking companies are more worried about profit than safety, so they cut corners on driver training.

Overloaded Cargo

Companies who overload their cargo can cause serious problems on the road. It could be extremely heavy and put the vehicle out of alignment, which can cause it to not handle turns or bumps in the road correctly.

Cargo that is too heavy could also shift while a driver is maneuvering their truck onto different roads, causing them to lose control and crash into other vehicles.

If a company overloads their cargo or fails to properly secure it, it can cause an accident to happen if the vehicle begins swerving erratically back and forth.

Mechanical Failures

Even the most well-maintained truck could break down on the side of the road.

Drivers must always be aware of warning signals that their vehicle is experiencing problems and should try to find a safe place on the road to stop. If there are any serious mechanical issues, it’s important to call for assistance so other people on the road are safe.

Sometimes mechanical failures happen in an instant due to improperly installed parts or product liability issues. These can cause life-altering injuries.

Drunk Driving

It’s illegal for anyone to drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher, and this applies to truck drivers as well.

In fact, federal regulators go further to state that truck drivers are not permitted to consume any alcohol within four hours of hitting the road.

Common Types of Truck Accident Injuries

While there are many causes of tractor-trailer accidents, the resulting injuries can be very serious. The size and weight difference between a truck and other vehicles on the road make it easy for them to cause catastrophic damage to any vehicle that they hit.

Drivers could suffer from broken bones, back issues, head injuries, facial lacerations,  paralysis, and other serious health problems after being hit by a truck.

It is important to seek medical attention immediately if you are involved in an accident with a commercial semi-truck or 18-wheeler. Your doctor will fully assess the injuries that you’ve sustained and determine what types of treatments are necessary for your condition.

If there was any fault on your part in the accident, your insurance company may refuse to pay for associated medical costs. You need an experienced California semi truck accident lawyer who will fight to get you the compensation that you deserve.

How much does it cost to hire a truck accident lawyer?

Ernst Law Group’s truck accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This simply means that you do not pay attorney’s fees until we either win your case or settle it. We never get paid unless you do.

That means you have absolutely nothing to lose by hiring our truck accident lawyers – and everything to gain.

What is the average car accident settlement in California?

There is no average settlement in California for any kind of car accident. This is because everything varies from case to case.

A truck accident settlement is based on:

  • The injuries and damages you suffered. If a loved one died, this is worth exponentially more than a broken ankle.
  • Your medical bills to date and estimated future costs associated with the accident. If surgery was required, for example, this will be reflected in your settlement.
  • The fact that the other driver may have been found to be at fault or that you were partially responsible for the accident will also play a role in your settlement amount.
  • The costs of hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer. We never get paid unless you do, so this cost is already baked into our fee – making it risk-free for you.

We have worked on cases that have awarded our clients millions of dollars in damages. At Ernst Law Group, our focus is on getting you the maximum compensation for your injuries.

What damages can I collect in a truck accident?

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the costs that you have incurred as a result of your accident. This includes:

  • Your medical bills to date and those that will be incurred in the future;
  • Lost income (if you can no longer work); and
  • Property damage (repair or replacement of any items that were damaged as a result of the accident).

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify, but they are just as important. This category can include:

  • Pain and suffering;
  • Loss of enjoyment out of life; and
  • Emotional distress.  

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are awarded in cases where the other party’s reckless or negligent behavior was so egregious that they deserve further punishment. This is only awarded when the defendant’s moral culpability justifies punishing them further than just compensating you for your costs.

How Our California Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help You

Ernst Law Group’s truck accident lawyers can help you seek compensation for your economic and non-economic damages.

Our lawyers are here to support you as you go through this difficult time and ensure that your rights are protected.

To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss the details of your case, please complete our contact form or call us directly at (805) 779-3630.

Maximum Results for Truck Wreck Victims

We understand that no amount of money can replace a lost loved one or repair the injuries that you’ve sustained, but it is our goal to get you all of the compensation possible.

This can mean we’ll negotiate with the insurance company to get you a larger settlement. If this is unsuccessful, we may also take the case to trial and fight for your rights as a victim of a truck accident.

Call a California Truck Accident Lawyer Today

If you have been injured by a negligent driver in a truck accident, our attorneys are ready to help you. You can receive a free consultation and case review right now. Please fill out the short form below.

A local California truck accident attorney can help you collect evidence, investigate your claim and file a lawsuit against those responsible for the accident. We represent injured clients nationwide in trucking accidents.

Ernst Law Group is a law firm with a record of big settlement wins in previous trucking accident cases.

Injured in a truck accident? Call our attorneys today.

Truck Accident Questions and Answers

The most important thing you can do after a truck accident is to seek medical attention immediately. After this, you should document the situation as much as possible and try to preserve evidence that could be used in your case.

You should not speak to the insurance company until you have hired a lawyer. Hiring an attorney early on is crucial because only after your truck accident lawyer has reviewed the case will they determine if it is worth pursuing further.

Truck accidents are often caused by negligence on the part of the carrier. When the negligent party is likely to be insured, an attorney can ensure that you receive full compensation for your damages.

You can speak to the police officer at the scene of an accident. However, you are not required to say anything without first consulting with your attorney.

We recommend that you cooperate but be sure not to admit fault for anything.

Several parties can be held responsible for your accident. These include:

  • Trucking company
  • Truck driver
  • Manufacturer
  • Mechanic
  • Entity responsible for road maintenance

In California, you have two years to file a lawsuit from the time of the accident. However, filing as soon as possible is crucial because evidence can be altered or destroyed over time.

If the statute of limitations passes, you will not be able to seek compensation.

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How Can Ernst Law Group Help?

Ernst Law Group custom tailors our representation to you. Our San Luis Obispo personal injury attorneys have been named Super Lawyers and Top Trial Attorneys by numerous organizations including the highest possible rating for ethics and skill. We have developed our negotiation and litigation expertise by successfully taking on the tough cases and fighting against the biggest corporations and insurance companies. We will put our decades of collective expertise to work when representing you in court if you’ve been harmed or a loved one lost his life due to negligence.

Schedule your free consultation by calling 805-541-0300 or contact us online to learn about the legal services we can offer you.

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