It’s no great insight to say that 18-wheeler accidents are more dangerous and often cause more damage than motor vehicle accidents. Their sheer size and weight make them potential killing machines when not handled properly. Add dangerous cargo to the equation and truck accidents can wreak even more havoc to other drivers on California’s roads.

In Blythe May 21, a tractor trailer carrying a load of pipes, slammed into a median, causing the truck to jackknife and sending the cargo in all directions. The pipes rolled onto both sides of the highway, causing at least three vehicles to crash. One of those was a bus carrying passengers to Los Angeles. Authorities say the bus either hit one of the pipes or attempted to avoid them and subsequently overturned, rolling down an embankment and coming to a stop on its side.

Of the passengers on the bus, four were killed and 24 or more were rushed to area hospitals for treatment.

A California attorney would look at several factors in determining who might be liable in a tractor-trailer crash. Truck drivers have to rely on their companies to properly maintain the truck, so were they negligent in failing to keep the semi roadworthy? Drivers are also made to work long hours on the road without rest and can easily become fatigued or even nod off from lack of sleep. A momentary lapse of attentiveness is all it takes to cause major damage. If the driver has drugs or alcohol in his or her system that can also be a huge factor.

If negligence can be proven, a California attorney may be able to get you compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and loss of wages.