If you are involved in a commercial truck accident in Ohio, you are likely injured and confused about how to get the help you need. After you seek medical treatment, reach out to a seasoned Ohio truck accident attorney right away for assistance.
If you are a victim of an accident involving a truck and the truck driver was the party at-fault for your injuries, it is important that you act quickly. Trucking companies employ skilled lawyers and personal investigators who will immediately begin gathering evidence to defend against your claims and prevent you from obtaining the compensation you deserve.
Fortunately, an experienced truck accident attorney can create a strong legal strategy to make sure that the responsible parties are held accountable for your injuries and that you obtain the compensation that you deserve. Let us navigate the legal process for you so you and your family can focus on your health.
Truck Accidents in the United States
Statistics reveal that a person is impacted by an accident with an 18-wheeler, semi-truck, or tractor trailer every 16 minutes. As a result, more than 429,000 large commercial truck are involved in accidents each year. Tractor-trailer accidents are also more likely to be involved in deadly multiple-vehicle accidents than other vehicles. A large number of deadly truck accidents in Ohio involve commercial truck drivers who previously received at least one prior speeding conviction. Many of the fatalities associated with commercial vehicle accidents also involve individuals who are traveling in passenger vehicles. For the purpose of these statistics, it is important to note that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration defines a commercial vehicle as large if its gross vehicle weight is greater than 10,000 pounds.
Responsibilities for Truck Accidents
After some car accidents, it is easy to determine who was responsible. Truck accidents, however, often involve much more complex analysis before deciding how an accident occurred and which parties are responsible. Anyone who contributed to a truck accident is at risk of being found liable in a court of law. Some of the most common parties known to cause truck accidents in Ohio include the following:
- Employers of truck drivers
- Manufacturers of trucks or truck parts
- Truck drivers
- Truck owners
- Workers who performed repairs or maintenance on the truck
The Most Common Types of Truck Accidents in Ohio
There are several ways in which accidents tend to occur in the state of Ohio, which include the following:
- Air brake malfunctions: Air brakes are designed to stop large trucks that are traveling at 35 to 40 miles per hour within 100 feet. Air brake malfunctions most often occur while vehicles are headed downhill because they weigh a great amount and are hard to stop. Unfortunately, when air brakes on trucks fail to work properly, there is an increased likelihood that a jackknife or other serious type of truck accident will occur.
- Alcohol and drug use. Many truck drivers rely on alcohol and non-prescription drugs to meet strict on-the-job deadlines. While some people only use drugs once or twice, other truck drivers go so far as to carry these substances in the cabs of their vehicles. These substances greatly increase the chances that a truck driver will be involved in a deadly accident.
- Distracted drivers. Countless truckers experience boredom or restlessness from spending long hours driving over similar looking terrain. In an effort to make the time pass more quickly, truck drivers are known to utilize a number of techniques, many of which are distracting. Some of the most common distractions include talking, texting, or playing games on cell phones and playing music too loudly. When a truck driver’s attention is taken off the road, serious accidents often result.
- Driver error. Even though they appreciate the increased size and weight of commercial trucking vehicle, a number of truck drivers still operate their vehicles in a reckless manner. Dangerous driving behaviors can lead to truck accidents, as can driver inexperience.
- Equipment failure. Defective parts on trucks are rarely the responsibility of the driver, but equipment failures can still result in deadly accidents. In accidents caused by defective truck parts, it is often necessary to pursue legal action against a trucking company or truck manufacturer. Your truck accident attorney can help you determine who exactly is to blame for your injuries.
- Improperly loaded cargo. Trucks need to be loaded properly to avoid deadly accidents. This means that trucks can not be overloaded, packed in such a way that throws the vehicles off balance, or packed in such a way that the items on board the truck are not adequately secured. When items can shift or roll around during transit, the entire vehicle can tip over.
- Improperly maintained trucks. Commercial vehicles are often driven thousands of miles a week. For this reason, every truck requires routine inspections and repairs. When truck drivers operate vehicles that are rundown or not working properly, there is an increased risk of serious accidents.
- Over speeding and overtaking other vehicles. The owners of trucking companies enforce strict deadlines for their drivers. In order to meet these tight deadlines, some truck drivers rely on going well above the speed limit. This can result in truck drivers losing control of their vehicles and causing serious accidents. Rushing also increases the risk of accidents involving fatigued drivers because in an effort to arrive at their destination quickly, many drivers do not stop to take rest breaks.
- Rollovers: These accidents occur when a driver loses control of a vehicle and it either jackknifes or slides away. The momentum of these movements can quickly result in a rollover. Aggressively turning a truck can also lead to a rollover, particularly if the vehicle is traveling at a high rate of speed.
These accidents can involve 18-wheelers, bucket trucks, buses, cherry picker trucks, commercial trucks, delivery trucks, dump trucks, fire trucks, garbage trucks, semi trucks, tractor trailers, tanker trucks, and utility trucks.
What Makes Truck Accidents Different From Car Accidents?
There are a number of factors that make truck accidents unique, which include the following:
- Trucks weight approximately 80,000 pounds and often more, which makes them 20 times the size of passenger vehicles.
- While there are regulations that exist to restrict the risk of trucks being driven in a reckless manner, not all truck drivers obey these laws.
- Insurance policies for trucks are much larger than motor vehicle policies. Given the great amount of money involved, insurance companies often do everything possible to prevent compensation from being paid to victims.
- Given their substantially larger size, accidents involving trucks have a much greater potential to result in significant property damage.
- While injuries are common in both car and truck accidents, they tend to be more serious when trucks are involved. Some injuries frequently caused by truck accidents include brain trauma, broken bones, severe lacerations, and whiplash. Consequently, the medical bills associated with truck accidents are often much larger.
- Accidents involving trucks are much more likely to result in the deaths of accident victims. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that there are approximately 3,000 to 5,000 fatalities each year due to truck accidents.
Common Injuries Due to Truck Accidents
Truck accidents have to cause number of serious injuries. Some of the most common types of injuries incurred by truck accident victims include the following:
- Broken bones are a common result of truck accidents due to the force involved.
- Neck and spinal cord injuries, which can result in a number of painful and serious medical consequences. Many people who experience spine injuries face difficulties with mobility and even paralysis.
- Loss of limbs are a common result of truck accidents.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can have a profound and lasting impact on a person’s physical, mental, and cognitive health.
Compensation for Truck Accident Victims
Some injuries can impact an accident victim for years into the future. Some injuries even create challenges and permanent disabilities that last the rest of a victim’s life. These injuries can leave a person unable to return to work while simultaneously requiring intensive and costly medical care. Truck accident victims face mountains of financial damages, which is why it is important to reach out to an experienced Ohio truck accident attorney for help in filing a personal injury claim.
Our skilled attorneys can help you pursue compensation for several types of damages, such as:
- Lost current and future income as a result of injuries received in a truck accident. It is also possible to receive compensation for any reduced earning capacity you have suffered.
- Medical costs, which can range from one-time treatment to years of therapy or rehabilitation.
- Pain and suffering due to injuries received and the trauma of of the truck accident. In some cases, physical injuries can also result in emotional harm including depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder.
- Sometimes, when a truck driver was particularly negligent, it is possible to obtain punitive damages, which are designed to punish the at-fault party and deter others from engaging in similarly reckless behavior.
How to Respond After a Truck Accident
Truck accidents are overwhelming. Many truck accident victims are unsure how to best respond in the aftermath of the traumatic event.
To avoid the confusion in these moments, it can help to follow these steps in order to get the assistance you need after an accident occurs.
- Call an ambulance and the police immediately if anyone is injured.
- If anyone involved in the accident is still in harm’s way, make sure to move them to a safer location, if possible.
- Gather the names, contact information, and insurance details of the other driver and any other parties involved in the accident.
- Avoid admitting fault or attempting to negotiate matters on scene because anything you say can later be used against you in a court of law.
- Cooperate with law enforcement at the scene of the accident. Provide an honest account of how you believe the accident happened. Obtain a copy of the police report.
- If it is possible to do so and you are not injured, take pictures of the scene of the accident and gather details from any witnesses who saw the accident occur.
- Even if you do not believe that you were injured in the accident, it is often still a wise idea to receive medical care. Many injuries do not show up immediately because of the adrenaline pumping through your system. Seeking immediate medical care will also help you pursue your personal injury case.
Obtain the Services of a Skilled Ohio Truck Accident Lawyer
The personal injury attorneys at Kruger & Hodges help people who are impacted by truck accidents navigate the various obstacles that can arise while pursuing compensation for their injuries. Our legal counsel is experienced at navigating cases involving commercial trucks.
From start to finish, our legal counsel will remain committed to fighting for the compensation that you deserve. Contact our law office today to schedule a free consultation.