Truck Accident Attorneys Serving California

Due to the large number of commercial trucks that travel up and down California highways, such as I-5 and US 99, truck accidents are all too common. Thousands of people in and around Bakersfield are at an increased risk of getting into an accident with a large commercial truck every day. 

If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a truck accident, you need an aggressive Bakersfield auto accident lawyer on your side as soon as possible to ensure you are treated fairly and provided swift compensation.

How Do Semi-Truck Accidents Differ from Passenger Car Accidents?

The main reason they are different is due to the strict regulations that the owners and drivers of the trucks must follow due to the size and purpose of big-rig vehicles. Licensed drivers of commercial semi trucks are required to follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). The limits set forth by the FMCSR are intended to prevent driver fatigue and establish driver accountability. Limits such as the number of hours that a truck driver can work each day or week all have to be logged.

Insurance coverage for semi trucks is also much higher than standard vehicle insurance coverage. Federal regulations require truck companies to carry insurance of at least $750,000 per truck. If the trailer is towing hazardous materials, the minimum insurance coverage is $5,000,000.

If you or someone you know has been in a truck accident, please contact the Law Offices of Mickey Fine online or by calling our Bakersfield truck accident lawyers today for a free consultation.

Truck Accident Bakersfield

Common Causes of Bakersfield Truck Accidents

According to a 33-month-long study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the three leading causes of truck accidents are:

  • Trucks veering off the road or running out of their travel lane
  • Loss of vehicle control
  • Failure to stop, resulting in rear-end collisions

At first glance, many truck accidents appear to be the fault of the driver alone. Some factors that lead to trucking accidents where the driver is at fault include:

Driver Fatigue

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently reported that trucker fatigue is a factor in 30 to 40 percent of all truck accidents. Driving on too little sleep has previously been compared to driving while intoxicated, and with good reason. Fatigue decreases attention span and increases the amount of time required to respond to changes in traffic. What’s more, a lack of sleep can cause consecutive losses of consciousness, each one endangering the lives of everyone else on the road.

To reduce the number of truck accidents caused by driver fatigue, the FMCSA has established a series of hours of service regulations:

  • The maximum duration of a driver’s shift is 14 hours, and the driver can’t exceed 11 hours of driving time during that shift
  • Drivers must take at least one 30-minute break within the first 8 hours of their shift
  • Drivers must have at least 10 hours off before starting their next shift
  • The maximum allowable work week for a truck driver is 70 hours in an eight-day period or 60 hours in a seven-day period
  • Once a driver reaches the maximum allowable hour total for a work week, he must take at least 34 hours off before the next shift
  • Drivers must keep an accurate log of the hours they spend at work, including the number of hours spent driving

If a truck driver violates these hours of service regulations and causes a truck accident, you may hold them liable for your injuries and losses.


No matter the vehicle – car, truck, or motorcycle – driving above the posted speed limit is an illegal practice.

Driving above the speed limit decreases the truck’s ability to come to a complete stop when required. Due to a semi truck’s massive size, truck accidents involving speeding can be particularly dangerous; the faster it is going, the harder it is for it to stop. Because of this, a speeding truck could crash into a vehicle in front of it and cause severe damage.

Speeding can also make it easier for the truck driver to lose control of the truck and the trailer it is pulling. If the driver were to encounter a curve or a steep hill, high speeds could make it very easy to lose control.

Many trucks have to drive through inclement weather. When drivers do not take proper precautions over their speed when driving in bad weather, severe accidents can occur.

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving by truckers can pose serious risks on the road, given the size and weight of commercial trucks. Aggressive driving behaviors can lead to accidents, injuries, and even fatalities. Some common aggressive driving behaviors exhibited by truckers include tailgating, unsafe lane changes, road rage, improper passing, and failure to yield.

Distracted Driving

Driving distracted is never a good idea. Habits like eating, texting, putting on makeup, and others can all prove to be deadly if done behind the wheel. When drivers partake in any of these practices, they put themselves and everyone on the road around them at risk.

According to a study by the NHTSA, out of all accidents that were caused by distracted driving, 6% of them involved a semi-truck. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) strictly prohibits the use of cell phones by semi-truck drivers. This includes everything from making calls, using GPS, texting, etc.

Semi truck drivers spend a lot of time on the open road, often driving cross-country. Traveling long distances often requires high rates of speed. It is estimated that a vehicle driving 55 mph covers 300 feet in 5 seconds. So much can occur in that time frame, and if a driver is distracted from the road, disastrous events can occur.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs impairs the body’s essential motor functions. Drivers who are impaired can lose the ability to react, see straight, or control a vehicle safely. Anyone who decides to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol puts themselves and others around them in great danger.

Federal law establishes that truck drivers have a limit of .04 BAC. This is half of the legal limit for normal drivers in most states. The reasoning for this is due to how dangerous it is to operate a vehicle the size of a semi-truck, even if slightly impaired.

In addition to a stricter policy for BAC, there is a zero-tolerance for drug use in commercial truck driving. Even with these restrictions, truck drivers nationwide still partake in these dangerous habits. A study from Reuters found that nearly 30% of truck drivers use amphetamines. The same report revealed that semi-truck drivers in the US had the highest frequency of positive alcohol tests in the world at 12.5%.

Common Causes Truck Accidents

Other Causes of Truck Accidents

The trucking regulations established by the FMCSA are intended to improve the safety of everyone sharing the road. These policies apply to everyone working in the trucking industry, including truck drivers, trucking companies, and truck manufacturers. Failure to adhere to these regulations may result in the negligent party being held liable for injuries caused in a truck accident.

Lack of Proper Training

Along with truck driver negligence and wrongdoing, the trucking company can also bear liability for a trucking accident due to failing to adequately vet and train drivers they employ.

According to FMCSA regulations, truck drivers must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Speak fluent English
  • Have a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL)
  • Pass a physical exam every two years
  • Avoid using drugs or alcohol during their shift, including any prescription medication that may impact the driver’s ability to operate a truck

Federal trucking regulations require trucking companies to:

  • Verify driving records and check references of all truck drivers before they are hired
  • Monitor all drivers’ records on an annual basis
  • Perform routine mechanical inspections of all trucks and make any necessary repairs before sending the vehicle out on a trip
  • Maintain accurate vehicle inspection and repair records

Also, FMCSA regulations prohibit trucks from carrying more than 20,000 pounds of cargo per axle, and the gross vehicle weight (GVW) of the truck cannot exceed 80,000 pounds.

Improperly Loaded Cargo

Determining who can be held liable in a truck accident is often complicated. While many auto accidents simply involve two drivers, a truck accident could involve several parties. For example, if an accident occurs due to faulty cargo loading, the driver, the person who loaded the cargo, and the trucking company could all be held liable.

Unsecured: According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), cargo must be firmly immobilized or secured with shoring bars, tie-downs, or other tools of comparable strength. Improperly secured materials such as furniture, appliances, lumber, or metal can create sudden, unavoidable roadway obstacles. Poorly secured loads can also move unexpectedly within a trailer, causing rollovers.

Unbalanced: A truck’s cargo, even when securely fastened, can still pose a potential threat if the weight of the trailer is not adequately distributed. Unbalanced loads can lead to raised centers of gravity or particularly heavy sides.

Overloaded: When a truck is loaded beyond its weight capacity, its risk of tipping over significantly increases. Excessively heavy loads also put a greater strain on a truck’s tires and braking ability, requiring a greater distance to stop properly.

Many trucking accidents could be avoided if those involved in all levels of the transportation of goods took a more active role in protecting the safety of everyone on the road.

Who Is At Fault in a Truck Accident?

In the case of truck accidents and truck accident lawsuits, Mickey Fine has pursued compensation from:

  • The driver: Just like car drivers, those who operate trucks have responsibilities on the road. If a truck driver is reckless or negligent and causes an accident that results in significant injuries, he or she can be held responsible.
  • The trucking company: Many trucking companies set aggressive schedules for their drivers, which is why driver fatigue is such a common cause of truck accidents. If our truck accident lawyers determine that the trucking company was negligent or engaged in misconduct and that this negligence caused your accident, we can pursue compensation from them.
  • Cargo handlers: Overloaded or improperly loaded cargo is a common cause of truck accident cases. We can investigate to determine if the truck that hit you was carrying too much cargo, and if it was, our truck accident lawyers could hold responsible the company that loaded the cargo.
  • Truck manufacturers: A poorly designed or manufactured commercial vehicle is a danger to everyone on the road. Our truck accident lawyers aren’t afraid of bringing a claim against the large companies that manufacture defective trucks.

This is not an exhaustive list. We believe passionately that Bakersfield residents who have been hurt in a truck accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence should not be alone in this difficult time.

Improperly Loaded Cargo

Common Injuries in Bakersfield Semi Truck Accidents

Due to the excessive size and weight of most commercial trucks, injuries sustained in truck accidents are often catastrophic. If the crash does not kill a victim, it can often leave them with lifelong or prolonged injuries that will affect them for the rest of their lives. According to the NHTSA, nationwide, 1% of truck accidents end up being fatal.

Injuries that stem from truck accidents include, but are not limited to:

Neck and Back Injuries

This includes anything from minor neck pain to ruptured discs. The neck and back are critical to everyday functionality, so a neck or back injury should never be taken lightly. Serious neck and back injuries can lead to symptoms such as:

  • Partial to full paralysis
  • Numbness
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Inability to perform basic daily functions
  • Mild to severe daily pain

Broken or Shattered Bones

Trucks are massive and very powerful vehicles. Human bones stand little chance in wrecks involving semi-trucks. Broken bones can cause long-term damages such as:

  • Pain when moving the affected area
  • Bones being exposed through the skin
  • Deformities
  • Numbness

Head Trauma/Traumatic Brain Injury

Head trauma and traumatic brain injuries happen in truck accidents and are often life-altering. These injuries typically occur when the head encounters a blunt force in an accident. These injuries do not always show immediate symptoms. When symptoms do begin to show, victims may experience:

  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Impaired vision
  • Severe headaches
  • Dizziness

Internal Trauma

Blunt force trauma is very common in truck accidents. Such trauma can cause internal bleeding to organs such as the liver, kidneys, spleen, etc. These injuries are often very hard to treat and must be taken care of immediately.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Truck accidents can cause serious injuries to a person’s spinal structure. Often, the tremendous force generated by these accidents leaves their victims with paralysis. Just like with a TBI, spinal damage is not always apparent to start. A spinal injury can manifest into bigger problems over time, so you should always seek medical attention if your spine was injured in a truck accident.

Wrongful Death

Believe it or not, truck accidents are close to 10 times more likely to kill a victim than normal car accidents. Knowing this, if your loved one was killed in an accident involving a big rig truck in Bakersfield, Mickey Fine can help you hold the trucking company responsible for their death. Mickey Fine can never replace a loved one, but he can help your family get the compensation needed to begin to move forward.

Common Truck Accident Injuries in Bakersfield

Steps to Take After a Semi Truck Accident

The moments following a trucking accident can be among the most frightening in your life. However, the steps you take after your accident can have a significant impact on your ability to collect compensation for all of your damages.

At the Scene of the Truck Accident

If you are able, contact 911 immediately, even in instances where there seems to be only minor damage. While waiting for emergency personnel to arrive:

  • Obtain the contact, insurance, and employment information of the truck driver.
  • Obtain the contact information of any witnesses.
  • Take pictures of the scene from multiple angles, including as much of the surrounding environment as possible.
  • Contact your insurance company to report the accident.

Remember, once police and EMTs arrive, be sure to file a police report and allow for a medical examination. Get the badge number and business card of any officers you speak to. Do not admit or even suggest you are at fault when discussing your accident with anyone on the scene.

Many truck accidents result in traumatic injuries, which may make on-the-scene action on your part impossible. When this is the case, Bakersfield truck accident attorney Mickey Fine can obtain the necessary information through an extensive investigation into your accident.

Compensation After a Truck Accident

The compensation you receive in a truck accident claim in Bakersfield will depend on the circumstances of your case. Bakersfield truck accident attorney Mickey Fine will assess fault in your case and take the necessary steps to value your injuries.

What Compensation is Available in a Bakersfield Truck Accident Case?

Following a comprehensive review of police reports, logbooks, eyewitness testimony, medical care & bills, and other vital evidence, our California truck accident lawyer may seek compensation for damages such as:

  • Property damage
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Physical pain
  • Emotional suffering

Depending on the circumstances of your case, we may be able to pursue compensation for punitive damages against a negligent trucking company, truck driver, or other responsible parties.

Semi Truck Accident Scene

What is Comparative Fault in a Truck Accident Case?

In California, the monetary damages that you can recover will be determined by your percentage of fault in the accident. This is what’s known as comparative fault. In most cases, the insurance company of the defendant will attempt to prove that you were at least partially at fault – if not completely at fault – in the accident. Based on the jury’s decision, your claim can somewhat diminish or reduce entirely. It’s because liability is so complicated that you should make sure you find a truck accident lawyer whose skill, experience, and reputation you trust. Mickey Fine and our other truck accident lawyers have spent decades helping the people of the Bakersfield area pursue justice and compensation for their injuries.

Do I Need a Truck Accident Attorney?

Bakersfield Personal injury lawyer, Mickey Fine has over two decades of experience getting personal injury victims of accidents maximum compensation. Mickey Fine will investigate your truck or car accident, identifying all liable parties and holding each accountable for their actions.

In addition, our personal injury lawyers will work with you personally to protect you against the predatory tactics of insurance companies, see that you receive the medical treatment you require, and fight tooth and nail for every penny you are due. To learn more or to schedule a FREE consultation, please call (661) 333-3333 today.

Law Offices of Mickey Fine – Bakersfield Office
930 Truxtun Ave, Suite 110
Bakersfield, CA 93301
(661) 333-3333