Helping Truck Accident Victims In Charleston
Semitrucks, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, big rigs and other commercial vehicles are many times larger than every other motor vehicle on the road. Sharing the road with large vehicles presents a significant danger to other motorists, especially if the driver is inattentive or there have not been proper safety checks completed on the vehicle.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a trucking collision, you can turn to the lawyers at the law firm of Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler, PLLC, for help. We advocate for people who have been involved in highway trucking accidents. We serve clients throughout West Virginia from our Charleston office.
Common Causes Of Trucking Accidents
Several reasons can cause truck accidents in Charleston and throughout the state, including:
- Inattentive and negligent drivers
- Drinking and driving, drug use or fatigue
- Failure to follow safety protocols
- Brake failure
- Tire blows
Truck drivers are usually paid by the mile, so they are often overworked, fatigued and pushed to the limit. When accidents occur, the defense attorneys working for the trucking company are the first ones on the scene to look at the evidence to prepare a defense.
When we represent our motor vehicle accident clients, we are aggressive, persistent and work diligently to reach the best possible result. We gather detailed evidence and look at all the facts of the situation. From working with accident reconstructionist specialists to examining details on the truck’s “black box,” we use all available resources to make your claim as strong as possible.
What Injuries Happen In Trucking Accidents?
Because commercial trucks are so much larger than cars, the injuries that result from trucking accidents are almost always severe. These can include:
- Injuries to the spinal cord, including full and partial paralysis
- Organ damage and internal hemorrhaging
- Lacerations, contusions and extensive soft tissue injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Broken bones
In addition to these injuries, survivors of truck accidents frequently grapple with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression and other psychological conditions. Insurance settlements often cover treatment for these as well.
It’s Important To Act Quickly After A Truck Accident
Unlike typical car accidents, there may be a variety of formidable parties at fault in a truck accident. From the trucker to the trucking company and their insurance company, everybody will take quick action to deny fault and cover up any evidence that may hurt their case (and help yours).
That is why, after you are involved in a truck accident, you should take swift action to be sure all evidence is obtained. By beginning to build your case early, you can ensure you are in the best position to move forward and secure the compensation that you need to make a full recovery.
Who We Can Sue
Unlike car crashes, trucking accidents often involve multiple overlapping insurance claims. Because truck drivers are operating their vehicles in an official capacity on behalf of a company, various corporate entities come into play. Liability for an accident can lie with:
- The truck company
- Manufacturers of a faulty truck part
- Mechanics who performed improper maintenance
- A third-party company whose load was being hauled
- The truck driver’s personal insurance policy
Making claims against more than one of these parties is common in truck accidents. Our lawyers will do everything they can to untangle the complex legal web surrounding your accident and make sure that the people responsible do not escape without paying.
Recent Truck Accident Statistics In West Virginia
The numbers on truck accidents are grim. Fatal accidents involving trucks have been rising steadily since 2009. In 2017, more than 4,100 people died in truck crashes, an increase of 40 percent in the last 10 years.
West Virginia is more dangerous than most other states when it comes to trucks, likely because of our winding roads and the sheer volume of truck traffic from mining, logging, and oil and gas activity. While the national average number of fatalities per 100,000 miles of driving is 10.3, in West Virginia it is more than 40 percent higher: 14.7. Of these fatalities, only 30 percent were wearing seat belts.
Trucking Accident FAQ
When is it too late to sue for compensation?
You have two years from the day of the accident to file a lawsuit. The sooner you act, the stronger the evidence and your case will be.
Who would someone injured in an 18-wheeler accident sue?
These types of crashes typically involve massive damage to your vehicle and are serious to catastrophic injuries. Expenses of this magnitude tend to be beyond what a person can cover on their own. You may have to sue not to go bankrupt while covering costs. Additionally, you should not have to pay for damage done by someone else. Suing can help bring justice to wrongfully injured parties and ensure the negligent party is forced to stop their negligent activity — which could spare someone else from being in an accident like this one.
Who is responsible for compensation — the trucking company or the truck driver?
The trucking company is usually at fault. They must train their drivers on how to drive their trucks and train technicians on how to care for them. If the accident was due to an issue with the truck or a driver not being trained properly, then the company may be the one facing a lawsuit. Additionally, the company insures the drivers and is responsible for hiring good drivers.
However, if the driver was drinking while driving or being negligent, you may be able to press additional charges against the truck driver.
When do most fatal crashes occur?
Fatal crashes occur during high-traffic times of day when trucks and cars get up to high speed and then unexpectedly having to slam on the brakes or swerve. Conversely, fatal accidents also happen at night when people on the road are tired, driving under the influence or speeding because fewer cars are on the road.
Where is a truck’s “no zone” or “blind spot”?
Blind spots tend to be 20 feet in front of a truck and 30 feet behind it. To the left of the driver’s seat is a one to two car length blind spot right next to the truck. The right side of the truck is the most dangerous area to be in — the driver cannot see right out that window, and their view is blocked out over two lanes of traffic and about four car lengths back. This means the truck driver cannot see you on the right side of the truck even if you are a full car length behind the truck, where many drivers may assume they are safe. If you can’t see the driver of the truck, they cannot see you.