November 1st, 2021|
Since 1992 drivers have been required to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate certain commercial vehicles. These include vehicles like semi-trailers, tanker trucks, and buses.
California requires truck drivers to have a CDL if they drive any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more. You also need a CDL if you drive vehicles with a combined weight exceeding 26,000 pounds; the requirement also applies to those driving tractor-trailers.
A commercial driver’s license is important because these are heavy vehicles that require extra training and skill to operate. You must be appropriately licensed and certified, but even the most experienced and careful truck drivers get into accidents.
The size and weight of trucks make them harder to control and bring to a stop in heavy or fast-moving traffic. This makes large trucks more likely to get into crashes and collisions than passenger cars.
If you get into an accident involving a commercial truck and are injured, you’ll need an attorney specializing in truck accident cases. Consider hiring an experienced California truck accident lawyer.
Make sure before you get behind the wheel of any truck that you have the proper licenses. Learn if you need a Class A, Class B, or Class C license to operate a vehicle.
How are Trucks Classified?
Trucks are classified by gross vehicle weight (GVWR) and gross combination weight (GCWR). The type of CDL drivers need depends on the type of vehicle they will be driving.
● Class A License
You will need a Class A license to drive vehicles that possess a gross combined weight (GCWR) of 26,0001 lbs. or more. Any towed vehicle in this class weighs more than 10,000 lbs.
The most common Class A trucks are tractor-trailers, also known as semis or 18-wheelers; these vehicles have a truck cab and a towed trailer.
Other vehicles in this class include tanker trucks, livestock carriers, and flatbed trucks.
Having a Class A license lets you operate most Class B and C vehicles.
● Class B License
You need a Class B license to operate any single vehicle that is not hitched to a trailer. Typically, this is any commercial truck where the cab is attached to the cargo area. In this class, the combined weight of the cab and cargo exceeds 26,001 pounds.
Some of the most common Class B vehicles include box trucks, buses, and straight trucks. This license is also for trucks with a detached towed cargo trailer when the trailer weighs less than 10,000 pounds, such as a small trailer for a dump truck.
Drivers with a Class B license can operate some vehicles requiring a Class C license.
● Class C License
Vehicles that do not fall into Class A or B are designated as Class C. Class C licenses are for passenger vans and buses. Any vehicle that can transport 16 or more people, including the driver, qualifies as Class C.
You will also need a Class C license if you transport hazardous material, as defined by the federal government.
Obtaining a CDL in California
Drivers in California must meet specific state requirements to qualify for a CDL. First, you must have a state driver’s license in good standing.
You must be 18 years of age or older and drive a commercial vehicle within state lines. If you’re driving a commercial vehicle over state lines, transporting passengers, or carrying any hazardous materials, you must be at least 21 years of age. You also have to be a resident of California and have permission to work in the United States.
You must pass written exams before you obtain a CDL. You will undergo a hearing and vision exam and additional medical tests. These requirements are for your safety and those on the road around you.
According to the National Safety Council, trucks make up 4% of the vehicles on the road but account for 10% of all fatal accidents, meaning truck drivers are more likely to get into a severe accident than the average driver.
Ensure that if you’re operating a large motor vehicle, you have the correct license and training to do so. If you hold a CDL and are in an accident where you or someone else becomes injured, seek legal counsel from a reputable law firm.
Truck Companies Can Be Held Liable for Unlicensed Drivers
Some trucking companies will hire drivers who are not licensed to drive a commercial vehicle or have the wrong type of license for the truck they will be driving, because they can pay the inexperienced or underqualified driver less money than they would an experienced and qualified driver. This is irresponsible and dangerous for both the driver of the truck and the drivers of the vehicles who have to share the road with that truck.
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a driver who was not legally qualified to operate that vehicle, you may be able to sue the trucking company for your injuries and other damages.
Our Law Firm Wants to Help
If you’re involved in a truck accident, contact the team at Berg Injury Lawyers today. Our skilled truck accident lawyers are on standby 24/7 to help with your case. Whether you were the victim of an auto accident or were injured on the job, we can ensure you understand your rights and are well-informed when pursuing legal action.
March 29th, 2021|
Truckers have one of the hardest occupations in the U.S. Their job often includes driving for long periods, which can lead to a sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle.
The health conditions that affect truck drivers can sometimes put them at risk of losing their commercial driver’s licenses. Unfortunately, those health problems can also endanger everyone truck drivers share the road with.
Let’s look at some of the health conditions disproportionately affecting truck drivers and why it should matter to all of us.
Sleep Apnea Is a Serious Problem in the Commercial Trucking Industry
When truck drivers have sleep apnea, especially the more severe forms like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), they’re less likely to get restorative sleep and stay alert behind the wheel. OSA leads to excessive daytime sleepiness, and that makes truck drivers far more likely to be involved in crashes.
Sleep Apnea Is Just the Beginning of Health Problems Facing Truckers
A survey conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that long-haul truck drivers are more likely than other workers in the U.S. to:
- Be overweight
- Be physically inactive
NIOSH also finds that truck drivers are twice as likely as other workers to be obese and to have diabetes. They’re also twice as likely to smoke. The survey also revealed that 75% of truck drivers said they did not get the recommended amount of physical activity (30 minutes a day, five days a week).
How the Health of Truck Drivers Affects You
All drivers share the road with large commercial vehicles. Because those vehicles are so much heavier, bigger, and harder to bring to a complete stop, it’s the drivers and passengers in smaller vehicles who are most likely to be injured in collisions involving large trucks and passenger vehicles.
In other words, the health of truck drivers impacts the safety of all road users, from passenger car drivers to bicyclists to pedestrians. When these vulnerable road users are involved in crashes with large trucks, they often face expensive medical bills, lost income, property damage, pain, suffering, and even death.
If You’ve Been Injured in a Large Truck Crash, You Could Be Owed Compensation
Truck accidents often result in serious injuries, which also means expensive medical bills for the injured person. Trucking and insurance companies know this, and they go out of their way after a crash to mitigate their liability and put it on the shoulders of the injured person. In fact, it’s not unheard of for trucking and insurance companies to send a representative to the scene of the crash to solicit signatures from injured people to reduce or deny their claims.
At Berg Injury Lawyers, we know the tactics used by insurers and trucking companies, and we fight to protect the rights of innocent drivers injured in large truck accidents. If you’d like to schedule a free consultation, contact our California truck accident lawyers today.
January 4th, 2021|
The more miles someone drives, the more competent they become behind the wheel. Though that’s true when it comes to any type of driver, it’s especially important when they’re operating a large commercial vehicle.
Large trucks are both difficult to operate and far more dangerous when involved in crashes than passenger vehicles. These vehicles are exponentially heavier than passenger vehicles, they take longer to come to a complete stop, and they are more difficult to navigate at intersections. That’s why commercial vehicles carry the potential to cause so much damage.
For the good of everyone on our roads, we should all want people operating large trucks to have very thorough training. We should also want them to have long careers behind the wheel, so the number of inexperienced truck drivers is kept to a minimum.
Unfortunately, new, insufficiently trained drivers are becoming increasingly common in the trucking industry.
What Research Shows About the Dangers of Inexperienced Truck Drivers
A study funded by the National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence looked at both age and experience in relation the crash risks facing truck drivers. It found that experience was a greater predictor of being involved in a crash than a driver’s age. For example, a younger driver with more experience driving trucks would have a smaller crash risk than an older driver with less experience driving trucks.
Age was also a factor, particularly when a driver was also inexperienced. For example, an inexperienced 55-year-old was more likely to be involved in a crash than an inexperienced 25-year-old. However, inexperience increased the crash risk of truck drivers across all age groups.
Why Younger, Inexperienced Drivers Are Common in the Trucking Industry
In the past few decades, the job of a truck driver has become increasingly undesirable for many workers in the labor market. Through years of deregulation encouraged by the trucking industry, these jobs have become lower-paying and more demanding.
The turnover rates in the trucking industry tell the story of how difficult this job really is. The most recent numbers tell us that large carriers experience a turnover rate of around 96%. Surveys indicate that one of the biggest reasons drivers quit is because they’re dissatisfied with their pay.
It’s no surprise that trucking companies are having a hard time finding workers willing to do the hard job of driving long, demanding hours for inadequate pay. The trucking industry says that it is currently short about 60,000 drivers, and it is lobbying lawmakers to enact federal laws that allow younger drivers to get behind the wheel.
With few experienced drivers choosing to stay in the profession long-term, the problems posed by younger, inexperienced truckers aren’t likely to go away anytime soon.
Why It Matters for the Rest of Us
We all share the road with big trucks, and we all face dangers when inexperienced truck drivers become the norm. Because of their size and weight, these trucks pose very serious threats to other motorists’ safety when they’re operated by someone who isn’t experienced enough to drive them safely.
Hopefully, the trucking industry will find ways to make these jobs more appealing and retain their workforces. Until then, it’s vital you know your legal rights when injured in a large truck accident.
Our Legal Team Is Here to Help
The California truck accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers have years of experience handling these types of cases. Though trucking companies and their insurers will do everything they can to avoid paying injured people what they deserve, our team knows how to hold them accountable for the costs of our clients’ injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a large truck accident, contact our firm anytime for a free consultation.
March 23rd, 2020|
Crashes involving heavy trucks are a driver’s worst nightmare. No one wants a 40-ton tractor-trailer smashing into their vehicle, because we all know how devastating that can be.
In the aftermath of a large truck crash, injured people are left to deal with intense physical pain, posttraumatic stress disorder, medical bills, lost income, and other monumental obstacles. Unfortunately, any injury claims filed in the wake of a serious truck accident tend to be more complicated than those involving other crash types.
Why are these claims more complex? The damages are typically far greater, which almost guarantees resistance from insurance companies. But the fact that trucking crashes involve so many parties is one of the key reasons truck accident cases are so unique.
Who Is Liable for Truck Crashes in California?
Any number of parties might be responsible for a truck accident. To break down this important topic, we’ve created a brief guide:
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of liability in trucking accidents after reading the guide linked above. However, we also know that you likely have other questions you want addressed. If you need to speak to an attorney who has experience with these cases, call Berg Injury Lawyers.
We’ve been helping injured people get the money they deserve for nearly four decades. In our years of experience, we’ve learned so much about how these claims play out, and we want to use that experience to help you and your loved ones.
What You Should Know About Truck Accident Cases
If you’re filing a personal injury claim after being involved in a truck accident, you should strongly consider hiring an attorney. As you learned in our guide above, a single truck accident can involve several well-funded parties, and paying you the money you deserve is the last thing on their minds.
Insurers and trucking companies don’t play nice when money is at stake. It’s not uncommon for one of these companies to send a representative to the scene of a crash to mitigate the liability of the truck driver or the trucking company.
If you are ever involved in a crash with a large truck, DO NOT speak to a representative of the trucking company or the truck driver’s insurance company. If you’ve hired an attorney, direct that representative to them.
To Speak to an Experienced Truck Crash Attorney, Call Berg Injury Lawyers
December 9th, 2019|
At first glance, getting compensation for truck accidents seems like it should follow the same process as getting compensation for accidents involving passenger vehicles. But anyone who was hurt in an accident involving a tractor-trailer can tell you that truck accident claims are often far more complicated than auto accident claims.
There are three main reasons for that:
- Truck accidents involve more potentially liable parties—In auto accidents, there’s usually one liable party: the negligent driver. But in truck accidents, there may be two, three, four, or more negligent parties, including the truck drivers, truck owners, truck companies, and even other motorists. Determining who was at fault can be a difficult process and it requires collecting and analyzing plenty of evidence.
- Truck accidents cause severe injuries—Semi-trucks are dozens of feet in length and can up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. When they’re involved in crashes with passenger vehicles, their occupants are likely to suffer serious injuries that can be life-changing and life-threatening. Victims often experience permanent disabilities that put them out of work, which means their compensation claims must be carefully built and negotiated.
- Truck accidents often result in big settlements—Insurance companies do everything in their power to pay victims as little as possible after crashes. And because truck accident settlements are often much bigger than auto accident settlements, insurance companies can be even less helpful and even combative when victims seek the compensation they are owed.
October 7th, 2019|
If you were recently involved in a truck accident, getting compensation is likely one of your biggest priorities. That’s because truck accidents often cause serious injuries that can require expensive medical treatments and long periods away from work. But in order to get compensation, you must first prove that another party—or even multiple parties—was negligent.
When it comes to truck accidents, one or more parties may contribute to a crash. When you call the California truck accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers, we’ll investigate the accident and find out who was at fault. Potentially liable parties include:
- The truck driver—Truck drivers must not only follow state traffic laws, but must also follow federal trucking guidelines as dictated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
- The truck company—Truck companies may overload trucks to increase profits, or they may follow unsafe loading procedures, causing trucks to be unbalanced and unsafe to drive.
- The truck owner—Trucks can rack up hundreds of thousands of miles in just a few years. Truck owners are required to maintain them regularly, and when they fail to do, accidents can occur.
- Another driver—Trucks may be involved in crashes that were caused by other drivers. We’ll review all the facts to find out who was responsible, including other motorists.
In many cases, multiple parties may share liability for truck accidents. Whoever was responsible for your truck accident, we’ll do everything we can to maximize your chances of getting compensation. Call today.
August 21st, 2019|
Fully loaded semi-trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and be 65 feet in length or longer. In comparison, even the largest SUVs and pickup trucks max out at around 6,500 pounds and 20 feet in length. Simple physics dictate that big trucks are likely to do massive damage to smaller vehicles when they’re involved in crashes, putting drivers and their passengers at high risk of suffering serious injuries.
If you or someone you love was recently hurt in an accident involving a tractor trailer or other commercial vehicle, your injuries may require extensive medical treatments, and you may be unable to work for the foreseeable future. Keeping up with your day-to-day living expenses can be difficult enough when you’re not working, and paying for expensive medical bills may be out of the question.
You know you need to file a compensation claim for your truck accident, but you may be hesitant to do so, especially if you’ve never needed a lawyer before. At Berg Injury Lawyers, it’s our goal to make the process as easy as possible for you. We have years of experience assisting injured truck accident victims like you, and we’re ready to put our track record of success to work for you and your loved ones. Contact us today for a free consultation.
How We’ll Help You with Your Truck Accident Claim
Truck accident claims can be legally complex. That’s because multiple parties may be considered at fault. Our California truck accident lawyers know both state and federal laws concerning the trucking industry, and we’ll put that knowledge to use when we build your claim.
When you contact us, you can count on us to take the following steps on your behalf:
- We’ll determine who was responsible for the crash—Whether the liable party was the truck driver, truck owner, truck company, another driver, or any combination of parties, we’ll collect evidence that proves their responsibility.
- We’ll calculate your accident-related expenses—Your medical bills may keep piling up, and you may be unable to return to work for weeks or months because of the crash. We’ll tally up your total expenses and make sure the insurance company knows how much you’re owed.
- We’ll negotiate to get you maximum compensation—Trucking companies are required to carry much larger insurance policies, and this makes insurance companies even more combative after truck accidents than after car accidents. We’re not afraid to stand up to them regardless of the stakes, especially when it comes to getting you the money you need.
You’ve gone through a difficult experience, and the last thing you need to deal with is the insurance company and its schemes. Let us protect your rights to the compensation you deserve. Contact us today.
July 8th, 2019|
If you or someone you love was injured through no fault of your own, you may be eligible to file a claim to be compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Injury claims can involve big settlements, and the money in those settlements often comes from insurance companies’ pockets. To protect their huge annual profits, insurance companies often push back against injured victims when they file claims, especially when they were hurt in truck accidents.
Truck accidents are more likely to cause serious and even life-threatening injuries than other auto accidents due to the weight and size of tractor trailers. That means the injury claims associated with them can be substantial. Insurance companies and their adjusters use every trick in the book to avoid paying victims what they deserve after truck accidents, and it’s not uncommon for innocent people to have their claims significantly reduced or even denied.
At Berg Injury Lawyers, our California truck accident lawyers want to protect your rights to the money you deserve. We know that truck accident claims can be legally complex due to the number of parties who may be liable, and we also know that the insurance company will likely be uncooperative when you file a claim. Our legal team has many years of experience assisting injured victims like you, and we know how to stay one step ahead of the insurance company throughout the legal process.
Contact us today for a free consultation. You deserve full compensation for what you’ve been through, and we want to help you get it.
March 25th, 2019|
Even the biggest passenger vehicles, including pickup trucks and SUVs, are no match for semi trucks during crashes. That’s because tractor trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and are dozens of feet in length when their trailers are fully loaded.
If you or someone you love was involved in an accident with a big truck, you may have suffered serious and debilitating injuries. At Berg Injury Lawyers, our California truck accident attorneys know what you’re going through. We’ve helped many people just like you get the compensation they deserve after accidents, and we’ll do everything in our power to help you, too.
When you choose us to handle your truck accident claim, we’ll work hard for you in the following ways:
- We’ll collect evidence to determine who was at fault—Truck accidents can have many causes and liable parties, including negligent drivers, truck owners, and truck companies. We’ll investigate the crash and find out who caused it.
- We’ll prove your injuries were caused during the crash—The insurance company may be skeptical of your claim, and it may believe your injuries are pre-existing. We’ll use medical records and even expert witnesses to leave no doubt that the crash caused your injuries.
- We’ll negotiate to get you a fair settlement—By calculating your injury-related medical bills and lost wages, we’ll find out exactly how much money you’re owed. Then, we’ll negotiate with the insurance company to maximize your chances of getting it.
Ready to get started? Contact us today for a free consultation.
January 7th, 2019|
If you were recently injured in a big truck accident, you may be in pain, disabled, and facing expensive medical bills that you can’t afford. At Berg Injury Lawyers, our California truck accident attorneys are here to help victims like you during difficult times like these.
When you’re still dealing with the pain and shock of a truck accident, the last thing you want to do is jump through the insurance company’s hoops while attempting to get compensation for your accident-related expenses. Insurance companies know that some victims would rather get money right away and not deal with any hassle than potentially prolong their claims and get the maximum compensation they deserve.
But you don’t have to go it alone. Our legal team knows everything about truck accident claims, including which parties can be held liable, which laws and regulations are often violated and lead to crashes, and how much money they cost victims. When you choose us to handle your claim, we’ll collect evidence that proves who caused the crash, whether it was the truck driver, truck owner, or truck company. Then, we’ll calculate how much money you’re owed for your lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
We won’t let the insurance company get away with giving you a lowball settlements. It’s our goal to help you get the money you need to move forward with your life. Call us today for a free consultation.