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Ohio and Northern Kentucky Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer
Even the most responsible drivers face significant risks every time they get behind the wheel. That’s because wherever there is traffic, there are going to be traffic accidents. An accident with a passenger vehicle is terrifying enough, but a wreck with a commercial vehicle comes with its own set of unique complications. That’s why, if you’ve been in a truck accident with a commercial vehicle, you will need an experienced Northern Kentucky or Ohio commercial vehicle accident lawyer on your side.
The safety standards and regulations for commercial drivers are much higher than they are for ordinary drivers. This is because they often operate large commercial vehicles such as passenger buses, 18-wheelers, and tanker trucks hauling hazardous materials.
They are also some of the most dangerous motor vehicles on the road due to their heavy weight, loads, and size. As a result, accidents involving commercial vehicles frequently include life-threatening injuries. Fatal accidents are also unfortunately common in commercial truck accident cases. When this happens, injured victims or their families may file personal injury claims against the negligent party.
After any type of motor vehicle accident, especially a serious accident involving a commercial vehicle, the Ohio and Northern Kentucky personal injury lawyers at TLF: The Medical Injury Law Firm can help. For a free evaluation of your case, give us a call at (859) 578-9130 to reach our Northern Kentucky law office or (513) 651-4130 to reach our Cincinnati law office.
Commercial Truck Accident Lawyer in Covington and Cincinnati
After being hurt in a commercial vehicle accident, taking on truck accident lawsuits with a big trucking company is not easy. Their insurance carriers spend a lot of money on skilled attorneys who work to reduce liability and make sure they pay out the smallest amount possible to persons injured in wrecks with their trucks.
That’s why you need to beat them at their own game. They may have their own liability attorneys, but you have The Lawrence Firm. If you suffer injuries in a traffic collision with a big rig due to a negligent driver or other negligent parties, it is essential to have our skilled legal team representing your interests. The personal injury attorneys at TLF defend your rights across both Northern Kentucky and Ohio, pursuing fair compensation for the injuries you suffered and aggressively defending your claim to ensure you receive the best possible settlement for your damages.
What is a Commercial Vehicle?
A commercial vehicle is registered or titled to a business. Company cars, semi-trucks, fleet vehicles, and other automobiles used for business purposes all fall under the term “commercial vehicle.” Additionally, any truck weighing more than 26,001 lbs is also automatically considered a commercial vehicle.
Other examples of commercial vehicles include a semi truck, pickup truck, taxis, vans, box trucks, 18-wheelers, delivery trucks, RVs, and tractor trailers.
Ohio Commercial Vehicle Rules and Regulations
Commercial truck drivers spend quite a bit of time on the roads. Because of this, they have rigid safety regulations and laws in place to govern them. In addition to the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also work to enforce these standards across the nation.
Each state also sets its own safety regulations for drivers with a commercial driver’s license. For Ohio, these rules are detailed in Ohio Revised Code 4501. For Kentucky, you can find them under 601 KAR 1:005.
What Causes Commercial Truck Accidents?
Due to the sheer size and weight of many commercial trucks, the risks of danger to smaller passenger vehicles increases significantly when involved in a truck accident. Various factors may contribute to commercial truck accidents, with many potential parties being at fault.
Truck Accidents Caused By Passenger Vehicle Drivers
Passenger vehicle drivers may cause a trucking accident due to a lack of knowledge about their speed, size, and how quickly a truck can stop.
The following behaviors are unsafe around big trucks and potentially cause devastating wrecks:
- Driving on the right side of a truck making a right turn
- Making lane changes directly in front of a truck
- Moving in between big rigs
- Driving in “no zones” (the areas behind and next to a truck where the driver has zero or limited visibility)
- Improper merges into traffic that cause a truck to brake or maneuver quickly
- Not slowing down or speeding up while a truck merges or changes lanes
- Unsafe passing
- Merging into traffic in front of a truck from the roadside and not accelerating fast enough
- Turning left in front of a truck at an intersection and misjudging the truck’s speed
- Not accounting for cross-wind or air turbulence when passing a truck
Truck Accidents Caused by Commercial Truck Drivers
Increasing consumer demand can place a lot of pressure on both truck drivers and the trucking companies employing them. It’s common for safety standards to be overlooked or ignored as a result. Although commercial truck operators are skilled professional drivers, there are several factors besides the size and weight of the truck that contribute to wrecks:
- A lack of training in safety, driving techniques, and defensive driving
- Driving longer consecutive hours and faster speeds due to incentivization through pay systems
- Driver fatigue stemming from unrealistic schedules and expectations
- Faulty truck parts or manufacturing problems
- Distracted driving
Common Causes of Commercial Vehicle Accidents
All drivers are at risk of an accident with another vehicle, including wrecks involving motorcycles to those involving big rigs. No matter how safe you are on the road, there are several factors that might increase the probability of an accident. For example, one of the most common areas for a truck accident is in construction zones. The FMCSA reports that 30.1% of deadly construction zone accidents in 2014 involved a truck crash.
The following includes other common causes of truck accidents:
Fatigue is a factor behind many accidents involving commercial drivers. They have tight time schedules and must make deliveries and complete assigned tasks on time. Exhaustion leads to a longer reaction time, lowered concentration, reduced attentiveness, and an increased chance of unsafe decision-making.
At the state and federal levels, hours of service laws address the amount of time driven within a given period, consecutive driving hours, required rest breaks, and more.
Distractions may be anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the activities required for safe driving. The most common example of distracted driving is texting. According to the FMCSA, texting while driving is also the most dangerous distraction for commercial drivers.
It’s important that commercial drivers focus completely on the road ahead to stay safe behind the wheel.
Truckers and many other commercial drivers work long hours on the road. They have tight schedules, high stress, and few options for healthy food or physical activity. As a result, many operators develop substance abuse problems that increase the risk of a wreck.
Driving Under the Influence
Tying in with the unhealthy lifestyle choices that a truck driver may make due to their long and strenuous schedules, they may engage in extremely unhealthy behaviors such as drunk driving. Drunk driving accidents involving large trucks can have devastating consequences, including life-altering injuries and wrongful death.
Other Causes of Trucking Accidents
In your typical motor vehicle accident in Kentucky or Ohio, the driver that caused the accident is assigned fault, and a claim proceeds from there. However, driver error is not the only culprit when it comes to accidents in the trucking industry. In fact, a truck accident case often involves several liable parties at once.
A commercial driver works for another entity, such as a trucking carrier. As such, negligent trucking companies may be held liable for their driver’s actions and the safety of the vehicle driven. Several other parties may also share responsibility for a truck accident. For example, a cargo company may be held responsible for overloaded trucks, while a truck manufacturer may be held liable for faulty parts or design flaws. Other potential parties that may hold liability in truck accident cases include the vendors the carrier receives services from, the company responsible for vehicle maintenance, or the contractors and/or local government responsible for road maintenance.
Your dedicated Cincinnati, Dayton, or Northern Kentucky truck accident lawyer will look at all of the circumstances surrounding your truck accident claim, including whether the truck manufacturer made a safe product, whether the truck mechanics are trained and qualified, and how much blame the trucking company shares.
Read Also: Give Trucks Space on the Road This Winter
What Do I Do After a Commercial Truck Accident in Cincinnati?
As we mentioned before, the large size of trucks and other commercial vehicles often cause severe injuries to truck accident victims. When someone is gravely injured, the main concern is getting them the medical treatment they need right away.
However, if you are lucky enough to receive only minor injuries in commercial truck accidents cases, there are several critical steps you should follow to help build and strengthen your personal injury claim. Our Northern Kentucky and Ohio truck accident attorneys highly recommend that you:
- Check to see if everyone involved in the accident is alright. Call an ambulance, if necessary. You should also call the police as soon as possible, as you’ll need a police report for your insurance claim later on. It is the best way to have an accurate record of what happened.
- Get medical attention whether you think you’re hurt or not. Adrenaline after a crash often masks injuries and pain for days. If you wait and end up requiring treatment later, it may be hard to prove the wreck caused your injury. Be sure to hold on to your medical records, as well.
- Document evidence at the scene, but be sure it is safe to leave your vehicle and walk around before doing so. Take notes and photos of weather and road conditions, photos of the accident scene, and other contributing factors such as missing or damaged road signage or traffic signals.
- Gather contact information from the at-fault party, witnesses, and anyone else involved in the accident. This includes names, phone numbers, insurance company names and policy numbers, and driver’s license numbers. You should also get the name and contact information of the truck driver, trucking company, license plate number, and other identifying information.
- Get your vehicle appraised before having repairs completed. The repair estimate will be part of your accident claim. Make sure you know your insurance company’s requirements. For example, some providers simply want photos of the damage, while others may require it to be brought to an approved repair shop.
- Use caution after the accident. Keep a cool head, and don’t speak out in anger. Also, don’t admit fault, even if you caused the wreck. Don’t lie, but don’t discuss the details with anyone but your experienced truck accident attorney.
- Don’t post your accident on social media. Anything you write can later be used against you if your case goes to trial.
- Hire our experienced commercial truck accident lawyers. A truck accident lawyer can help in several different ways, such as providing formal legal advice, investigating your case, employing accident reconstruction specialists, negotiating with insurance companies, and ensuring you get the proper financial compensation for loss of wages, medical bills, property damage, and more.
Who Is At Fault in a Commercial Vehicle Accident?
Following devastating truck accidents, it can be challenging to determine who all is at fault. Multiple parties may be held financially liable for damages in your personal injury claim. This includes the trucking company or truck owner, the truck driver, other drivers, the truck manufacturer, cargo owner, and many other potentially liable individuals or entities.
When a crash involving a smaller vehicle and a big rig, large semi-truck, tractor-trailer, or another commercial automobile occurs, please be sure to retain the services of a Ohio or Northern Kentucky truck accident lawyer at The Lawrence Firm. We have the experience and skills necessary to investigate and determine any and all parties who may have played a role in your accident (and likely severe injury) and successfully present your case.
What Compensation Can You Recover With a Cincinnati Car Accident Lawyer?
Settlements for accidents involving large trucks are typically much higher than those for motor vehicle accidents involving another passenger vehicle. This is especially true if an 18-wheeler or semi-truck is involved. Due to the extent of damage, the likelihood of severe or catastrophic injuries and wrongful death, and the fact that it is a commercial entity, the maximum compensation for these types of accidents can range anywhere from tens of thousands to even tens of millions of dollars.
The variables of your unique case determine the amount you are able to get from your personal injury lawsuit settlement. A truck crash attorney at our law firm will use these factors to help calculate your compensation:
- Incidental Culpability: Were there other factors contributing to the accident, such as the other driver being under the influence of alcohol or drugs? This circumstance would assign a more significant portion of fault to that driver.
- Medical Expenses: The extent of your injuries and the costs for your medical treatment significantly influence your settlement.
- Property Damage Claims: How much damage did your vehicle sustain? Major repairs or a replacement reflect in your award. If you need a rental car, that cost is part of your award as well.
- Lost Wages: Healing from some injuries may require time off work. Your lost income and future earning capacity will be impacted while you heal from your injuries and will be factored into your compensation amount.
- Pain and Suffering: This accounts for the physical pain you felt following the accident as well as the emotional anguish that may result. For example, victims are often traumatized after a significant commercial vehicle accident such as a big rig collision. Many accident victims experience PTSD. These are the things your attorney will consider when calculating a fair settlement amount.
Get a Free Initial Consultation From an Experienced Cincinnati Truck Accident Attorney
As you can see, there are many more variables involved in an accident involving commercial trucks than there typically are for other auto accidents in Kentucky and Ohio. This is especially true if a large corporation owns the vehicle, as they likely have a legal team on standby and will pose a challenge to your claim. These law firms fight aggressively against paying out considerable settlement amounts.
Luckily, at TLF: The Medical Injury Law Firm, our aggressive truck accident attorneys are prepared to fight back against these trucking companies and ensure injured victims receive justice and compensation for the injuries sustained by the negligence of another. When you hire the legal team at The Lawrence Firm, our dedicated and trustworthy Ohio and Northern Kentucky personal injury attorneys will make sure your case is treated with priority and professionalism and will work hard to hold the responsible parties accountable. We’ll also represent you on a contingency basis, which means you don’t owe us unless we win your case and get you compensation.
If you or a family member has been injured in a commercial truck accident case and you wish to seek compensation, call our personal injury attorneys today at (800) 698-4054 for a free consultation to evaluate your case.
You Pay No Fees Unless We Win!
We are happy to offer a free consultation to evaluate your case. If you hire us as your legal counsel, we will represent you on a contingency-fee basis. You will pay no attorneys’ fees unless we recover financial damages.