Commercial trucking is a major part of the economy in Ohio. Hundreds of thousands of semi-trucks move through Ohio every year hauling massive loads of freight.
Unfortunately, the trucking industry frequently puts profits ahead of people. When this happens, serious accidents can occur.
From 2017 to 2021, the Ohio State Highway Patrol recorded more than 89,000 commercial vehicle crashes. The following statistics demonstrate the devastating consequences of wrecks involving 18-wheelers, buses, and other commercial vehicles in Ohio:
- 709 fatal accidents
- 18,176 accidents involving some degree of injury
- 70,368 accidents resulting in property damage
Have You Been Hurt by a Truck? Colombo Law can help. Our attorneys serve injured people throughout Ohio, with a special commitment to cases involving commercial trucking accidents.
Please call (614) 362-7000 to speak with an Ohio truck accident attorney at Colombo Law today. Your initial case review is free, and you only pay if our lawyers win your case.
What Causes Truck Accidents in Ohio?
Many different issues can lead to accidents involving big trucks and other commercial vehicles. Our lawyers work to identify the cause of the crash so we can determine who is at fault.
Common causes of truck accidents in Ohio include:
- Excess speed: Truck drivers are required to abide by the posted speed limit and adjust their speed for adverse conditions. Driving 15 mph or more over the speed limit is a disqualifying offense for commercial drivers (see Title 49 § 383.51 of the Code of Federal Regulations).
- Driving while fatigued: Commercial truck drivers are required to take rest breaks and go off duty to sleep in the course of a haul (these are known as hours of service regulations). Unfortunately, truck drivers and trucking companies often ignore these rules, increasing the rate of driver fatigue and the likelihood of accidents.
- Tailgating: The stopping distance for a commercial truck is about double that of a passenger vehicle. When truck drivers follow too closely, the semi will often crash into the back of the other vehicle in the event of a sudden stop.
- Failure to check blind spots: All vehicles have blind spots, but the ones on a semi-truck are much larger. Truck drivers need to be diligent about checking their mirrors and leaving space between vehicles to avoid accidents. Lane changes are among the most likely scenarios where inattentive truck drivers collide with vehicles in their blind spots.
- Mechanical failure: The failure of brakes, tires, and other crucial part when an 18-wheeler is in motion can lead to serious accidents.
Most trucking accidents happen due to errors or wrongdoing on the part of the truck driver. However, multiple parties could be at fault for the crash.
Read More: Who Is At Fault in a Trucking Accident?
Determining the cause of the big rig wreck is an essential part of knowing what legal options you have after a truck accident. The Ohio truck accident lawyers at Colombo Law will investigate thoroughly and consult experts to establish what caused the crash and who is responsible.
Common Types of Truck Accidents
At Colombo Law, we are distinguished by our vast truck accident litigation experience. Our Ohio truck accident lawyers have handled claims involving a wide range of crashes involving tractor-trailers.
Some of the most common types of trucking accidents in Ohio include:
- Rear-end collisions
- Head-on crashes
- Jackknife accidents
- A jackknife collision occurs when the trailer of a semi-truck moves out from behind the cab. Jackknifing often occurs because the truck driver is traveling too fast or brakes suddenly. These accidents are serious and often deadly, particularly for people in nearby vehicles.
- Side-impact crashes
- Wide turn accidents
- Semi-trucks have an extremely wide turning radius. Errors on the truck driver’s part while making a turn can lead to potentially serious collisions with other drivers.
- Truck rollovers
- Many different problems can cause a semi-truck to roll over, from inclement weather (especially if the trailer is empty) to high speeds to mistakes behind the wheel. Vehicles in the vicinity of the truck when it rolls are likely to be crushed.
- Underride accidents
- One of the most catastrophic types of truck accidents, an underride crash occurs when a smaller vehicle ends up under one of the open spaces of the trailer (such as the back end or between the wheels). The chances of survival for those in the passenger vehicle in the event of an underride accident are remote.
- Accidents caused by objects falling from the truck
Truck accident claims involve a number of unique challenges. You need an attorney who is well-versed in the complexities of trucking accident litigation generally and the specifics of your case in particular.
Colombo Law has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to truck accident cases. We have handled many different types of wrecks involving commercial vehicles and achieved fair compensation for clients who suffered serious injuries or lost family as a result of negligence.
Ohio Truck Accidents and Common Injuries
A trucking accident can permanently alter a person’s life. The occupants of motor vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians commonly suffer catastrophic injuries in collisions with 18-wheelers.
Some of the injuries our attorneys frequently see among the victims of truck accidents in Ohio include:
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries
- Facial injuries and disfigurement
- Whiplash and other neck injuries
- Back injuries, including injury to the spinal cord injury, vertebrae, discs, etc.
- Bone fractures
- Joint and soft tissue damage
- Lacerations and internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Burn injuries
- Loss of a limb
Sometimes the victims of truck accidents are not able to survive their injuries. In these tragic situations, our Ohio truck accident attorneys can pursue compensation on your family’s behalf through a wrongful death claim.
Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident?
Liability is a complicated issue in all trucking accident claims. The negligence of multiple different parties could have been a factor in the crash that caused your injuries or the wrongful death of your loved one.
At Colombo Law, we collect and analyze key evidence to establish all of the factors that led to the truck accident, as well as the individuals and companies at fault. Liable parties in your trucking accident claim may include:
- The driver of the semi-truck
- The owner of the truck and/or trailer (if different from the driver and/or his employer)
- The trucking company
- The shipping or freight company that loaded the truck
- Manufacturers of the truck, trailer, and/or any component parts that were defective
- Third-party companies responsible for performing maintenance and repairs on the rig
Further complicating matters is the fact that each and every one of these parties is likely to be represented by a different insurance company. The insurers will attempt to pay you as little as possible.
By performing a comprehensive investigation of the truck accident, the attorneys at Colombo Law will be able to ascertain where fault for the crash lies and who is responsible. We will seek compensation on your behalf from all liable parties and draw upon our extensive experience to overcome the obstacles put in place by the insurance companies.
Are Truck Drivers Liable for Accidents?
Fault for most vehicle collisions rests with one or more of the drivers involved, and truck accidents are no exception. In many cases, the negligence of the truck driver is the direct cause of the crash.
Read More: Common Examples of Truck Driver Error
A multitude of issues can lead to the operator of a commercial truck striking a vehicle, a pedestrian, a cyclist, etc. The truck driver may be held liable if the accident was caused by:
- Errors behind the wheel, such as driving too fast, making improper turns, failing to check blind spots, etc.
- Aggressive driving
- Distracted driving
- Violating the hours of service (i.e., fatigued/drowsy driving)
- Failure to inspect the truck and/or the cargo before driving
- Getting lost (truck drivers are more likely to end up in an accident if they are stressed and/or trying to navigate unfamiliar roads)
- Driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs
It might not be clear at the scene whether carelessness on the part of the truck driver led to the accident. Ohio trucking accident attorneys at Colombo Law will thoroughly investigate the crash to determine if the commercial operator was at fault.
Is the Trucking Company Liable for the Accident?
Another important consideration in any truck accident claim is whether negligence on the part of the trucking company played a role in the crash. Trucking companies are liable for the wrongful acts of employees occurring within the scope of employment (under a legal concept known as vicarious liability). However, the wrongdoing of the trucking company itself might also have been a factor in the accident.
Common examples of trucking company negligence that lead to truck accidents include:
- Hiring unqualified drivers or drivers with poor safety records
- Failing to train drivers
- Negligent supervision
- Putting pressure on truck drivers to exceed the federal hours of service regulations
- Inadequate maintenance of semi-trucks owned by the company
Trucking companies are businesses first and foremost. As such, their principal concern after an accident is to protect the bottom line. The trucking company will likely have a number of means at its disposal to do this, such as immediately dispatching investigators to the scene, taking possession of the truck and trailer, and even reaching out to victims in an effort to resolve potential claims quickly.
You should be wary of efforts by the trucking company to contact you after the accident. Trucking companies are not your friend, and they do not have your best interest in mind.
An Ohio truck accident lawyer at Colombo Law can deal with the trucking company and any other liable parties on your behalf. We protect your rights after the crash and aggressively fight for the compensation you deserve.
What Should I Do After a Truck Accident?
Seeking medical attention is the most important thing to do if you have been in a truck accident. If you were seriously injured, this step should be taken immediately. Call 911 and wait for paramedics to evaluate you at the scene; you may be transported directly to the emergency room.
However, if your injuries are not serious and you can move around the scene of the crash safely, there are additional steps you can take to start building your truck accident claim:
- Exchange information with the truck driver: In addition to the standard name, contact details, and insurance information, you will also need the name of the truck driver’s employer and insurance information for the carrier.
- Get the names, contact information, and insurance information of any other drivers involved in the crash: Truck accidents commonly involve multiple vehicles. It is important to have information for all of the parties affected.
- Take photos of the accident: Photograph any vehicles damaged in the accident, your injuries, and conditions at the scene (such as the roadway, lighting, etc.)
- Speak to witnesses: If any bystanders saw the truck accident take place, ask them to tell you what they saw and get their names and contact information.
- Talk to the police: Ohio law requires that any auto accident resulting in injury or death must be reported promptly to the police. Ideally you will be able to provide a statement to a police officer at the scene. Be honest about what happened, but do not say anything to suggest you are at fault.
You should also get medical care ASAP. You may believe that your truck accident injuries are not serious, but you do not want to take a chance and suffer complications that could be avoided.
Another step you will need to take is to notify your insurance company of the accident. If someone else is at fault for the truck crash, your primary means of compensation will be a third-party claim against the party or parties responsible. However, your insurance can cover some of your losses in the event of an accident.
Finally, you should speak to an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Trucking and insurance companies take immediate action after a crash, and you need to do the same.
Read More: What to Do After a Trucking Accident
What Evidence Do I Need in a Truck Accident Claim?
Strong evidence is required to make an effective trucking accident case. The necessary evidence is often complicated and difficult to obtain without the assistance of an attorney.
Ohio truck accident attorneys at Colombo Law know how to build winning claims on behalf of our clients. We will investigate thoroughly and obtain evidence such as:
- Photos of the scene of the accident
- The truck driver’s logbooks
- Qualifications, employment records, and medical history for the driver
- Safety inspection reports for the tractor-trailer
- Maintenance and repair records for the truck
- Electronic information from the event data recorder on the truck
- Documentation of the truck’s cargo
- Testimony from eyewitnesses
Much of the evidence in a truck accident claim will be in the possession of the trucking company. Ohio truck accident attorneys at Colombo Law will act quickly to ensure that any and all crucial evidence is preserved and turned over to us.
For example, it is extremely important for us to inspect the truck and the trailer. Our team will evaluate the big rig to determine if operator error alone caused the crash or if negligent maintenance and/or defective components caused the truck to fail.
In addition, we will consult experts to examine the evidence and provide qualified testimony supporting your claim. Expert witnesses can help reconstruct the accident, identify what violations caused the crash, assess the seriousness of your injuries, calculate the damages you are due, and more.
How Long Do I Have to Make a Claim After an Ohio Truck Accident?
The statute of limitations for your truck accident claim is contained in Ohio Revised Code § 2305.10. Under Ohio law, you have 2 years from the date of the accident to take legal action.
Wrongful death claims are also subject to a 2-year statute of limitations (see Ohio Revised Code § 2125.02). The time limit begins on the date of the family member’s death (which might not be the same date as the truck accident).
It is of the utmost importance to start exploring your legal options as soon as possible after a trucking accident. Two years is a limited amount of time to collect evidence and build your case, and you do not want to lose your chance to recover the compensation you deserve.
Damages in Your Truck Accident Claim
Crashes involving big rigs are devastating events. If someone else was at fault for the trucking accident, you may be entitled to substantial compensation.
Our Ohio truck accident attorneys will pursue recovery of all damages you have sustained. This may include:
- The cost of medical care, including emergency room treatment, surgeries, rehabilitation, counseling, etc.
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- The cost of travel for medical treatment, rehabilitation, therapy, etc.
- Expenses for modifying your home or vehicle
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Generally, compensation for a truck accident can be recovered through settlement negotiations with the defendants and their insurance companies. Our Ohio trucking accident attorneys can negotiate a favorable settlement on your behalf.
However, it is sometimes necessary to file a truck accident lawsuit. This is especially true if those at fault refuse to admit fault or the settlement offer is far lower than what your case is worth. In this situation, the attorneys at Colombo Law will not hesitate to sue and, if necessary, take your case to court.
How an Ohio Truck Accident Attorney Can Help
It is not uncommon for people who have been injured in an accident to consider handling the claim themselves. After all, if the other driver was clearly at fault, you should have no problem getting the compensation you deserve – right?
Unfortunately, these are unrealistic expectations. Truck accident litigation is a totally different animal from a car accident case. As a result, achieving a successful outcome often depends on hiring an attorney.
Colombo Law makes every client a No Fee Promise. Your initial consultation is free, and there is no obligation to hire us. If you entrust your case to our attorneys, you pay no fees until we achieve a settlement or verdict in your favor.
In addition, the Ohio trucking accident attorneys at Colombo Law handle all aspects of building your claim, including:
- Exploring your legal options – you might have claims against the truck driver and the trucking company, the manufacturer of the big rig, and more
- Investigating the truck accident and collecting evidence
- Consulting your doctors and other medical professionals to get a full picture of your injuries
- Working with medical experts to determine how the injuries will affect your life now and in the future
- Calculating the total value of your truck accident damages based on the evidence and expert witness testimony
- Negotiating a settlement with all of the liable parties and their insurers
- Filing a lawsuit and, if necessary, trying your case in court
One of the factors that sets Colombo Law apart from other attorneys and law firms in Ohio is our experience in the courtroom. We prepare every case as though it will go to trial. This approach has enabled us to recover millions of dollars for clients who suffered serious injuries and lost loved ones in collisions with commercial trucks.
When you hire Colombo Law, you can count on our Ohio truck accident attorneys to take on the burdens of your case while you focus on getting better. You and your family need time to heal, and our committed lawyers and staff help you make the most of this time with client-focused representation.
Hurt by a Truck? Contact Our Ohio Truck Accident Attorneys at Colombo Law Today
Trucking accidents pose a number of unique challenges. If you have been hurt by a semi-truck or someone you love suffered serious injury or died in a collision with an 18-wheeler, Colombo Law can provide the guidance and support you need.
Commercial carriers and insurance companies are aware of our reputation for winning truck accident claims. This makes them more willing to negotiate fair settlements. If your truck accident case does go to court, our attorneys will be prepared to fight for the maximum award.