Ohio Truck Accident Lawyers
There are more than 37 million commercial semi-trucks traveling the roads throughout the United States on any given day. No matter where you happen to be, it is nearly impossible to drive and not encounter at least one along your route, whether it be on an eight-lane freeway, or a two-lane rural road in the Buckeye State.
American life depends on these behemoth trucks – they transport and deliver fresh foods, vital medicines, construction materials, research equipment, gasoline, clothing, automobiles, and countless other commodities that enrich our lives. As vital a role they play in our daily survival, however, these massive trucks are also incredibly dangerous should an accident with one occur, and deadly more often than not.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the rates of trucking accidents increased by nine percent between 2016 and 2017, with over 4,000 resulting deaths in 2017 – 11 percent of all traffic-related fatalities.
What Are Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Ohio?
There are a variety of reasons for truck accidents, including driver fault, road conditions, faulty equipment, or the driver of the passenger vehicle involved. Unfortunately, large truck accidents cause such a level of damage that it is often very difficult to determine the exact causes of accidents, but the most common include:
- Distracted driver
- Driving during unsafe weather or road conditions
- Drowsy driving, fatigued, or falling asleep at the wheel
- Equipment failure, truck or trailer
- Improper driving, failure to obey traffic signs and signals, aggressive driving
- Improper driving, making unsafe turns or lane changes
- Improperly loaded, or unsecured cargo
- Inexperienced drivers
- Maintenance negligence
- Operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Reckless driving or speeding
- Safety instrument failure or uninstalled
- Traveling too closely to other vehicles
- Unsafe company practices and policies
- Weather affecting road conditions and surfaces, such as rain, sleet, ice or snow
There is no doubt about it: accidents involving large trucks are life-altering for those who survive. The injuries incurred by the passenger vehicle’s occupants often leads to immense physical, financial, and emotional suffering and hardship that will endure most of their lifetime.
Where Do Most Truck Accidents Occur?
Contrary to popular assumption, more large truck accidents take place in rural areas than in larger cities with more congested traffic. The reason? Drivers pay more attention in urban areas with high-volume traffic and congested interstates. So, the same reasons most people assume would contribute to an accident with a large truck are the very same that actually help prevent one.
In congested areas and cities, truck drivers typically reduce their speed, pay more attention to their surroundings and other motorists, put more distance between other vehicles, follow traffic signs, and watch more attentively for pedestrians.
In rural areas, less vigilance seems necessary, and given the long distances trucks must cover in one trip through flat and boring landscapes, the driver’s attention can drift away from the road. Fatigued drivers on the road for long periods often succumb to the hypnotic movement over flat landscape and fall asleep at the wheel in rural areas. The scarcity of other cars of the road can falsely lead the driver to believe there are no immediate dangers nearby.
During such periods, drivers may become distracted by texting while driving, making phone calls, watching a movie, or fiddling with the truck’s global positioning system, looking for a good place to stop for dinner. Any distraction, no matter how minor, that takes a driver’s eyes off the road can have disastrous consequences.
What Injuries Are Common in Truck Accidents?
Accidents involving large trucks almost always result in catastrophic injuries and fatalities. In fact, 97 percent of passenger car occupants are killed in collisions involving large trucks which, fully loaded, can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds. Those who survive are usually left with permanent disabling conditions requiring extensive and lifelong care. In Ohio, some of the most common truck accident injuries include:
- Broken, fractured, or shattered bones
- Burns, often severe
- Internal organ damage
- Lacerations, cuts, punctures, and bruises, usually severe
- Ligament, muscle, and disc injuries
- Loss of limbs
- Neck, back and spinal cord injuries
- Nervous system and nerve damage
- Partial or complete paralysis
- Traumatic brain injury
It is common for those injured in large truck accidents to suffer a combination of the above injuries, requiring extensive and ongoing medical treatment for nearly all survivors. Injuries of this magnitude frequently require multiple diagnostic tests and surgeries, lengthy hospitalizations, rehabilitation, physical therapy, home modification and care, and much more. Medical costs for truck accident injures alone are staggering.
For this reason, truck accidents have high stakes regarding compensation and working with the knowledgeable truck accident lawyers at Wolterman Law Office means our top-notch team will work tirelessly to provide you with the compensation you deserve.
Do I Need a Lawyer for My Truck Accident?
Accidents involving large trucks are more complex and difficult than any other form of vehicle accident law. The financial stakes at play are immense, and depending on the results of the accident investigation, could also levy heavy finds and reprimands for federal regulations violations.
With all these factors at stake, insurance and trucking companies are for more aggressive in fighting off claims. And both industries have the financial means to prepare a top-notch case in defense of accident claims. But our highly skilled team of large truck attorneys are more than capable of preparing an even better case, and our opponents know we will.
For most minor car accidents, we recommend drivers begin working on their claim at the scene by taking evidence photos, getting witness statements, and the like. With the severity of injuries caused by large truck accidents, the same recommendations cannot apply. Which is why, when you work with our skilled truck accident lawyers at Wolterman Law Office, you can count on us to shoulder the challenges on your behalf so you can focus on your recovery. We are dedicated to handle every aspect of your case, from gathering evidence to litigating your case.
The entirety of your personal injury claim must be supported by evidence, and to receive the appropriate compensation for your injuries and property damage, we will immediately begin gathering evidence, such as:
- Photographing the scene, including road conditions, surrounding traffic signs, adjacent property damage, and anything else at the scene that may have contributed to the accident.
- Photographing the vehicle damage, if possible.
- Locating and interviewing witnesses, and requesting any photo or video footage they may have taken during or after the accident.
- Canvasing the area to located traffic or security cameras that may have footage of the accident and request copies.
- Obtaining and reviewing the police report, including the officers’ body-cam footage at the scene and any subsequent investigative reports.
- Collecting all medical reports and collaborate with your medical team to ensure your medical reports properly document your injuries, care, and long-term prognosis.
Evidence gathering for large truck accidents is often more complicated than in general car accidents, largely due to the trucks themselves. Large trucks are often owned and operated by multiple people or companies, and the majority of evidence is held within the truck, the trucking company, and any other parties with ownership, which may or may not include the driver. Given that much of this evidence is the trucking company’s property, it is imperative that an attorney intervene immediately to obtain and preserve the evidence from being destroyed, including the:
- Truck cab, trailer, and the “black box” that records digital information detailing the truck’s conditions, maintenance functions, speed, driver performance and more leading up to and during the accident.
- Truck driver’s logbooks.
- Commercial operator’s driving record.
- Employment records for the driver, including medical, performance, citations, and hiring records.
- Maintenance records for the truck cab and trailer.
- Records and documents related to the freight on the truck at the time of the accident.
- Driver’s electronic data usage, such as cell phone records, internet logins, and more.
Preparing the Case
In order to file a claim for the appropriate compensation, it is necessary to have a complete understanding of how much you are entitled to, what you are likely to recover, and which party or parties are responsible for paying.
In addition to gathering physical evidence and witness statements, we will also pursue expert witnesses to gather testimony in order to prove the extent of your damages and fault, such as:
- Medical: We will interview the entire medical staff involved in your healthcare, including emergency room doctors, surgeons, specialists, and rehabilitation specialists, and experts outside your direct care to assess your injuries and the impact on your current and future life
- Trucking industry: The commercial trucking industry is federally regulated, and we will identify industry experts who can testify regarding operations and regulations and whether the trucking company or driver committed violations
- Accident reconstruction: Forensic field experts who will use all of the accident’s collected evidence to create sophisticated and exact models of the accident and how it occurred
- Mechanics: We will enlist large truck mechanical experts to inspect the truck and trailer to determine whether either have defects, poor maintenance, broken, failed, or non-operational equipment, and any other abnormalities that may have contributed to the crash
- Economic: Financial planners, economics professors, and experts in your field who can testify to the impact your injuries will have on your ability to remain working
Negotiating a Settlement
Not all truck accident cases wind up in court. Many, in fact, are settled out of court if an appropriate settlement can be reached without involving the court system. Insurance companies are highly successful at in getting claimants to accept lower compensation than they deserve, often much lower. This happens far more often than it should, and largely in cases where the claimant chose not to be represented by skilled personal injury attorney. It is a proven fact that claimants who have legal representation receive much higher compensation for their injuries and damages.
Litigating your Case
When negotiations fail to produce an acceptable settlement, the claim will move into the court system and a trial will ensue. We will continue to represent you, even if your injuries prevent you from attending, and we will present the evidence gathered, bring in our consulted experts, witnesses, members of your medical team, and more, in order to prove your claim, and achieve the proper compensation.
The large truck attorneys at Wolterman Law Office are superb litigators, skilled at taking on contentious insurance companies, and we will not hesitate to take your case to trial to provide you the justice you deserve. Call us today at 513-488-1135 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and discover what our team can do for you!
What Types of Compensation Can I Claim?
As stated earlier, compensation in large truck accidents is much larger than in other types of car accidents, but the types of damages you may be entitled to are similar to those of other accidents, such as:
- All medical bills associated with the juries you incurred and future medical care you may need, including cost of home health aides, medications, and home assistance, such as housecleaning or childcare in the home
- Loss of wages for the periods you are unable to work, or disability coverage if you are permanently unable to return to work
- Loss of earning capacity for the income you would have earned if not permanently disabled by the accident
- Property damages for the repair or replacement costs of your vehicle and any personal property inside the car damaged or destroyed in the accident
- Modifications to your home and vehicle to accommodate your injuries or disability, and any assistive devices you may need, such as wheelchairs, canes, and the like
- Travel expenses for medical-related appointments or treatment
- Pain and suffering for physical and psychological pain, and related mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and more
- Scarring, disfigurement, and non-physical disability, such as humiliation, inconvenience, shame, embarrassment, and more related to the change of your appearance and disabling condition
- Loss of enjoyment of life due the inability to perform favorite activities and hobbies you can no longer participate in and enjoy because of the injuries
- Loss of consortium for the loss of companionship, affection, and support of an injured spouse
- Death benefits for your surviving family, including:
- Cost of funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of financial income and economic support
- Loss of parental guidance for surviving children if neither parent is living following the accident
- Loss of household services and support
- Loss of companionship, consortium, and society for the surviving spouse
- Emotional anguish
- Punitive damages if the case goes to trial and the court finds the defendant committed “malice or aggravated or egregious fraud” through their actions and omissions
Ohio Truck Accident Lawyers at the Wolterman Law Office Advocate for Clients Injured in Large Truck Collisions
Large truck accidents have devastating outcomes for those injured and their families and can cause severe financial distress. If you or a family member have been injured in an accident with a semi-truck, the experienced Ohio truck accident lawyers at the Wolterman Law Office will fight on your behalf for the compensation you deserve. Call us at 513-488-1135 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Loveland Ohio, we proudly serve clients throughout Hamilton County, Fairfield, Norwood, and Forest Park.