Nine people were injured after two vehicles collided with an out-of-control cement truck on Laguna Canyon Road at the 73 Toll Road interchange. According to an article in the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. Thankfully none of the injured suffered life-threatening injuries. The Laguna Beach truck accident occurred when the cement truck, which was three-quarters full of cement, careened down the southbound exit ramp as its brakes failed and collided with the two passenger vehicles.
There is no question that overloaded trucks have an increased propensity to be involved in accidents primarily because the heavier a truck gets, the harder it becomes for it to stop quickly. It is also more likely to lose control, as with the cement truck in this Laguna Beach big rig accident. Given the size and weight of this cement truck, it is fortunate that victims of the crash did not suffer fatal injuries.
Increased weight in large trucks causes greater stress on the truck’s parts and could lead to mechanical malfunctions such as brake failure. It could also put the vehicle out of balance especially if it is traveling downhill, on a ramp or in windy conditions. Trucking companies know the dangers of overloading, but they continue to do it so they can transport more. However, it is also illegal.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates trucking companies, limits the total weight for commercial vehicles to 20,000 per axle up to the limit of 80,000 pounds. Although that is a lot of weight, it is the truck driver’s responsibility to make sure that he is in compliance and that the weight is evenly distributed.
The people injured in this truck accident have substantial rights to compensation for their losses and injuries. Not only is the truck driver responsible but the truck driver’s employer and the owner of the cement truck are liable. If brake maintenance is handled be an additional party, they may have some liability as well. The cement truck’s owner may be looking to the maintenance contractor to cover all damages this accident caused, if in fact the brake maintenance is handled by someone independent of the truck owner.
With a number of possible parties responsible, it would be a good idea for the injured people who are contemplating a claim to at least consult with a top personal injury lawyer in orange county well versed in truck accidents and multiple party claims before giving any statement to any non-police agency investigator and certainly before giving a statement to an insurance adjuster, their own. There will be enough insurance money to cover everyone’s damages.