You’ve seen them before – semi-trucks, big rigs, 18-wheelers – barreling down the highway with a trailer attached to the back and thousands of pounds of cargo on board. These trucks may make shipping items across the country easy, but their massive size and weight can make them deadly to passenger vehicles and pedestrians. At 80,000 pounds, an 18-wheeler could flatten a 3,000 pound car.
Truck accidents can become complicated quickly, not just because of their potential to do huge amounts of damage, but because there could be more parties at-fault than just the truck driver. Because of this, if you or a loved one are hurt or killed in a truck accident, you should always consult with a Morgantown, West Virginia truck accident lawyer to find out if you have a case. This is your best bet at protecting your rights and obtaining the recovery you are entitled to.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
The average passenger car is built to stand up to an accident with another passenger vehicle, but it’s not necessarily equipped to handle being hit by a tractor-trailer. When a car is involved in a collision with a truck, the car’s passengers can suffer catastrophic damages. As truck accident attorneys, we have helped clients with with both physical and emotional injuries like:
- Neck and/or back strains and sprains
- Ruptured or torn discs
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Partial/complete paralysis
- Spinal cord injuries
- Fear of driving
- Organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Severe anxiety
Causes of Truck Accidents
The injuries suffered in a truck accident are generally more severe than those seen in car accidents, but both kinds of crashes are typically caused by some form of negligence. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents are because drivers:
- Fall asleep at the wheel
- Engage in distracted driving
- Fail to obey traffic signals/signs
- Drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Fail to take current weather conditions into account
- Violate trucking laws
- Drive aggressively
- Fail to yield right of way
Who is Liable for Tractor-Trailer Accidents?
The causes listed above are most commonly associated with truck driver negligence, but there are other parties who can play a role in causing 18-wheeler accidents. For instance, the company who employs the truck driver could be found negligent for:
- Forcing the driver to work too many hours
- Imposing tight deadlines
- Hiring inexperienced or improperly trained drivers
- Failing to keep up with maintaining the truck’s vital systems
- Failing to investigate the truck driver’s background
- Overloading their trucks
Another example of third-party negligence might include the company who manufactured the truck or its parts. Defects, imperfections, or recalls could indicate that the truck was unsafe to operate, but if the manufacturer fails to notify consumers, the liability for an accident could fall on their shoulders.
Truck accidents can be one person’s fault or it could be the fault of multiple parties. This means truck accidents require a lot of work and can be difficult to handle successfully. Not only will a Morgantown, WV truck accident lawyer have experience with this kind of situation, but they’ll be able to walk you through it as well.
What Can I Be Compensated For After a Truck Accident?
After liability has been established, you may be able to seek compensation for personal injuries, including:
- Loss of income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Missed activities
- Loss of consortium
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Medical bills
- Emotional anguish
- Wrongful death
National Commercial Vehicle Accident Statistics
With millions of trucks on America’s roads every day, it’s no wonder that semi-truck accidents are a common occurrence. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation reports that in 2015 there were:
- 3,598 fatal accidents with 4,050 trucks
- These accidents resulted in 4,067 fatalities
- Of these fatalities, 84 percent were either pedestrians or occupants of a smaller motor vehicle
- In 2015, there were also 83,000 truck accidents that involved 87,000 trucks and caused 116,000 injuries
- Additionally, there were 328,000 accidents that resulted in property damage only
- These property damage accidents damaged 342,000 trucks
Why Should I Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?
The answer is simple: hiring a truck accident lawyer is the easiest and safest way to ensure you’ll be treated fairly by the people who hurt you. After an accident, you’ll be contacted by the trucking company, their insurance adjusters, and their lawyers. You may even be offered a settlement. It’s important to remember that these people are not interested in helping you, and that they settlement they offer you is probably far less than you deserve. This is a tactic used to keep you quiet, avoid going to court, and pay you as little as possible.
A Morgantown, West Virginia truck accident lawyer is your advocate. They work to protect you, and your rights, during the settlement or trial process. They use their years of experience and legal resources to obtain information that can help strengthen your claim. That means they’ll do the hard work, like collecting:
- Camera footage
- Expert testimony
- Police reports
- Phone call information
- Medical bills
- The trucker’s driving logs
- The trucking company’s maintenance and weigh-in records
- Historical information on the truck, the driver, and the company
- Information on trucking law violations
- Criminal records
- Manufacturer recall and defect information
Morgantown, West Virginia Truck Accident Lawyers
The sooner you contact a Morgantown, WV truck accident attorney, the better. Once we evaluate your case, we can begin gathering evidence as soon as possible. It’s critical that this process is started quickly, so we can collect information on skid marks, fluid spills, and accident debris before it is washed away by the elements, lost, or destroyed.
Personal injury claims must be filed within two years under West Virginia’s statute of limitations. If this is not done, your right to bring a claim will be lost and you will miss out on the opportunity to be compensated for your damages.
The attorneys at Colombo Law have worked with truck accident victims all over Morgantown, including:
- Cheat Lake
- Star City
- Wiles Hill
- South Hills
- South Park
- Interstate 79
- Interstate 68
- West Virginia Route 7
- West Virginia Corridor H
- S. Route 33
- S. Route 19
- S. Route 119
- S. Route 250
- S. Route 50
- S. Route 48
Truck accidents are situations that must be handled seriously and with great care. The truck accident lawyers at Colombo Law know this, and will work on your case with the vigor and dedication it deserves. Our goal is to see you made whole again and help you get back on the road. That’s why we offer free consultations. If you choose to make use of our services, you won’t owe us a penny unless we successfully resolve your claim. Call us to learn more about how we can help you, at 304-599-4229.