It is in your best interest to speak to a semi crash lawyer as soon as possible after an accident with a big truck. This is especially true if a member of your family was killed in the collision.
Semi-trucks are among the most dangerous vehicles on the road. Along with their immense size and weight, semis are also difficult to control. Even minor errors on the truck driver’s part can result in fatal crashes.
If you have lost a loved one in a fatal truck accident in West Virginia, you have clear legal rights. A semi crash lawyer at Colombo Law can help you and your family pursue compensation from the truck driver, his employer, and other parties.
You may be entitled to compensation for a range of economic and non-economic losses. Call Colombo Law at (304) 599-4229 today for a FREE consultation.
7 Important Facts About Suing After a Fatal Semi-Truck Accident
Recovering compensation after a fatal truck accident in West Virginia is a complicated process that requires experienced legal representation. If you are coping with the loss of a loved one, here are seven facts you will need to know as you move forward:
1. Evidence at the Scene of the Accident Must Be Collected Promptly
Collecting evidence at the scene of the crash is vital. It is important to conduct an on-scene investigation promptly before evidence starts to disappear.
Vehicle debris, skid marks, damaged guardrails, destroyed signs and foliage, and other types of forensic evidence may quickly be cleared or repaired. When you hire an attorney to handle your family’s wrongful death claim, your attorney should send an investigator to the scene of the crash promptly.
2. Other Sources of Evidence May Be Available as Well
Along with evidence from the scene of the crash, your attorney may be able to obtain evidence of liability from various other sources as well. Depending on the factors that ultimately led to a fatal semi crash, relevant forms of evidence may include:
- Truck maintenance records and service history
- Truck driver logs
- The truck driver’s cell phone records
- The truck’s internal computer (or “black box”) data
- Shipping manifest
- Dash camera or traffic camera footage
- Eyewitness testimony
- Post-crash vehicle inspection reports
Much of this evidence will be held by the truck driver, the trucking company, and other liable parties. Your attorney will act quickly to ensure that any and all evidence is preserved.
3. Multiple Companies Could Be Liable for Your Loved One’s Death
When seeking financial compensation for a fatal semi-truck accident, one of the most important questions is: Who can you sue? The truck driver is the most obvious candidate, and you might have a claim against his or her employer as well. However, potential defendants in a semi crash lawsuit are not limited to these two parties.
In the course of investigating the crash and building the wrongful death claim, your attorney may find evidence of liability on the part of:
- The shipping company
- Companies involved in the manufacture of the truck and/or its components
- Third-party maintenance companies
- Government agencies and road contractors
- Other drivers involved in the crash
4. The Insurance Companies May Try to Blame Your Loved One
When you file a lawsuit for a fatal semi crash, there is a good chance that the insurance companies will try to assign blame for the accident to your loved one. Such an accusation may seem outrageous, but it is a common defense tactic for which you and your family need to be prepared.
Using the available evidence, your attorney will take steps to dispute allegations of fault and fight to recover the maximum compensation you and your family deserve.
5. Damages in Fatal Semi Crash Cases Can Be Substantial
The damages in a wrongful death claim can be significant. After all, surviving relatives are pursuing compensation for the loss of income, support, services, and other benefits that the deceased would have provided over the course of his or her life.
It is of the utmost importance to have an attorney who understands both truck accident cases and wrongful death litigation handle your case. A knowledgeable lawyer will be able to accurately calculate the impact of a fatal semi crash and determine the value of any and all damages.
6. Wrongful Death Claims May Go to Trial
Although the majority of personal injury cases are settled out of court, there is a distinct possibility that a wrongful death action may need to be resolved at trial. Similarly, truck accident cases have a greater likelihood of going to trial as well.
Both types of cases involve issues of complex liability and substantial damages. It is crucial to choose a lawyer who can try your case in court if necessary.
7. You Should Start the Process as Soon as Possible
The statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is 2 years (see West Virginia Code § 55-7-6(d)). With this in mind, it is important to start exploring your rights and building your case as soon as you can. Hiring a qualified semi crash lawyer is the first step.
Contact a Semi Crash Lawyer Today
Truck accidents represent a major focus of our practice at Colombo Law. We understand the devastating impact of these collisions, especially when someone’s family member is killed.
Our firm has achieved major verdicts and settlements in truck accident cases. We will seek maximum compensation on your behalf and on behalf of your family after a fatal semi crash.