Truck Accidents Attorney in Canton, Ohio
Truck Accidents Are Different from Car Accidents
It is imperative to begin an investigation into a truck accident as soon as possible before the tractor trailer is towed and possibly moved outside the state, allowing the trucking company to start its investigation and preserve evidence beneficial to its side. The truck or trailer may be repaired quickly thereby destroying critical evidence and preventing an inspection of physical damage caused from the collision. Many times, digital forensic examiners are necessary to retrieve information from the truck’s Electronic Control Module, Electronic Data Recorder or dash cam video to answer questions on speed, engine parameters, hard-stop and deceleration. Also, accident reconstruction investigators may be useful to analyze skid marks, lane departure, and determine what happened seconds prior to the crash. The truck driver’s hours of service, maintenance logs and training records must be reviewed to ensure compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Hiring an attorney experienced with trucking cases to promptly begin your own independent investigation will allow the discovery of important information necessary for your claim.
Expert Analysis Necessary to Show the Cause of Collision or Injuries
Lawyers representing victims of truck collisions must have an understanding of basic scientific principles to address the physical forces involved in a truck collision. The weight and size of semi-trucks often means the severity of injuries can be far greater to the passenger vehicle and its occupants. An analysis of the physical forces involved in the collision may be necessary to explain the impact of the victim. These scientific principles include, changes in velocity inertia, momentum, energy absorption, the coefficient of friction and G-forces.
The injuries we see in car accidents (spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and bone fractures) are very often magnified in truck crash cases. This directly impacts the complexity of a case because it determines the amount of money required to fairly and fully compensate the victim for his/her injuries.
If the injuries are not severe, you may expect a complete recovery with the proper medical care and treatment. However, with serious injuries the medical treatment can be expensive and potentially involve years of painful recovery.
Higher Potential for Fatality
Due to the physical forces involve in truck collisions, there is an increased possibility that a collision could result in a fatality. The large size and weight of the truck affect acceleration, deceleration, braking distance and maneuverability. For example, a car traveling 65 mph will take about 300 feet to stop, whereas a tractor-trailer needs approximately 525 feet to come to a stop. Furthermore, trucks are often 20 to 30 times heavier than passenger vehicles.
Increased Complexity of Claim
Who Is Liable?
In addition to the truck driver, other parties may have liability for damages resulting from truck accident. These additional parties may include:
Another Driver – It is possible that the driver of another engaged in negligent or reckless behavior that contributed to the accident, such as an improper lane change or failure to stop at light or stop sign.
The Trucking Company – The trucking company that employs the driver and/or owns the truck may be responsible for conditions that led to the accident. The trucking company may not have performed a proper background check on the driver to uncover prior driving accidents, offenses or other red flags. The trucking company may have failed to properly train the driver. Additionally, the company may have failed to conduct proper maintenance inspections and repairs.
The Truck Manufacturer – The truck manufacturer may be liable for a defective part of the truck that caused or contributed to the accident.
A Municipality or Government Agency – If a condition of the roadway caused or contributed to the accident, such as inadequately maintained roads, or lack of appropriate signage, the city, county, or state where the accident occurred may be responsible in part for the accident.
Multiple Insurance Companies
Each potential party will most likely be represented by an insurance company, which could result in the involvement of several insurance companies. Each insurance company will try to minimize or eliminate any recovery against their insured, whether that is the truck driver, trucking company, another driver, manufacturer, municipality, or any other party that may possibly bear some responsibility for the accident. Insurance companies have virtually unlimited resources to fight the claim, including claim adjustors, experts and experienced insurance defense attorneys to refute in your claim.
Federal and State Regulations
Federal and State governments have enacted regulations that govern the trucking industry. These regulations establish maintenance requirements and restrict hours that truck drivers may operate their trucks. The regulations are extensive and complicated. It is essential that your attorney be fully aware of the applicable regulations and have a complete understanding of how those regulations apply to your situation. This knowledge and expertise are necessary to best represent your interests in any litigation and to maximize any settlement of the claim. Federal regulations that govern the trucking industry are available through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Higher Litigation Costs and Damages
The more serious the accident, the higher one’s damages will be. The damages may consist of medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other costs incurred as a result of the accident. In addition, property damage may be higher due to the impact from the size of the truck. And while increased damages can result in a higher recovery, it will also increase the costs of litigating the claim. Medical treatment may be ongoing for a considerable period of time, requiring additional costs in obtaining medical records and securing expert medical testimony. In addition, insurance companies may retain experts to contest numerous aspects of the claim, including experts in accident reconstruction, product engineering and manufacturing, and road safety.