Large commercial trucks transport goods all across the state of Ohio, keeping store shelves stocked and playing a vital role in the economy. While tractor trailers are a necessary and permanent fixture on our roads, they are not necessarily safe. An accident between a passenger vehicle and a semi truck almost always results in catastrophic injuries. If you’ve been hurt in a collision with a big truck, do not delay—contact Thomas Law Offices to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our Cincinnati truck accident lawyers.
Our law firm has successfully handled truck accidents in the past, and we believe that our case results speak for themselves. If the thought of handling a personal injury on your own feels like too much, let us take the lead. We’ve proven ourselves as fierce advocates for victims of truck accidents.
Statistics on Truck Accidents in Ohio
Ohio State Highway Patrol reports that there were 1,356 traffic fatalities in 2021, higher than the five-year average of 1,198. That same year, commercial vehicles like tractor trailers caused 192 traffic fatalities, which was also higher than the five-year average of 162 truck accident deaths.
Most deaths occur in passenger vehicles. Smaller motor vehicles are no match for large 18-wheelers, which are bigger, heavier, and take much longer to stop. If you have lost a loved one in a truck crash, you do not have to suffer in silence. A Cincinnati truck accident lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can help you navigate the process of filing a wrongful death claim to recover compensation on their behalf.
Truck Accident Injuries
No two truck accident cases are alike. However, in our years serving the Cincinnati, OH community, we have become familiar with the most common serious injuries that truck accident victims deal with. These injuries are often catastrophic, meaning they are especially serious, most often affecting the brain, skull, spine, or spinal cord.
The average victim of a commercial truck accident may experience a mixture of minor and severe injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Broken bones
- Neck and back injuries
- Amputation or loss of limbs
- Internal organ damage
- Crush injuries
These injuries can permanently alter the course of your life. Truck accident victims often require time off work, and many are never able to return. Medical expenses, lost income, and any costs necessary to support your life after a serious injury are compensable in a truck accident lawsuit. At our law firm, we’ll fight to make sure you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries.
Types of Truck Accidents
There are many steps that go into successfully navigating a truck accident claim. For example, you must be able to prove how the accident happened and that it was not your fault. To do so, your Cincinnati truck accident lawyer will help you determine what type of collision you were involved in. The use of accident reconstruction specialists is sometimes necessary, and it is a step that Thomas Law Offices is willing to take.
An accident reconstruction specialist is often necessary when not enough evidence was preserved from the accident scene. We will also pull information from the police report, eyewitnesses, and any pictures you might have to determine the cause of your tractor trailer accident.
The difference between a commercial truck’s size and a smaller vehicle is substantial. The average truck may weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, while the typical passenger motor vehicle weighs in at an average of only 4,156 pounds. Not only does the size difference make collisions more severe, but it also increases the likelihood of a rear-end collision.
A semi truck, tractor trailer, or 18-wheeler needs much more space and time to come to a full and complete stop. When traveling at 55 mph on dry pavement, a fully-loaded commercial truck will travel 512 feet for six seconds before coming to a complete stop after applying the brakes. When traveling at 65 mph, that stopping distance is increased to 525 feet.
Commercial vehicle drivers should increase following distances to prevent causing rear-end collisions.
Underride and Override Accidents
Both underride and override accidents involve a car being caught underneath a semi truck. The difference between the two is how the vehicle comes to be in this position.
- When a smaller passenger vehicle collides with the back or side of a truck and then slides underneath it, it is an underride accident.
- When a large truck hits a smaller vehicle and subsequently runs over it, it is an override accident.
These types of trucking accidents are especially dangerous as they can cause crushing injuries and significant amounts of property damage.
Most large commercial vehicles that you pass on the interstate are made up of two main parts—the tractor unit where the driver sits, and the detachable semi-trailer where cargo is stored. A jackknife accident occurs when the tractor unit and the semi-trailer are no longer moving in sync with one another, and the trailer folds or swings around to form the shape of a V or L.
Jackknife accidents are often the result of speeding or sudden braking. If you’ve been in a trucking accident involving a jackknifed tractor trailer, you may be owed financial compensation.
A rollover truck accident occurs when a large commercial truck overturns, often onto its side. An improperly loaded trailer is a common factor in rollover accidents, which may crush other vehicles or cut off other lanes of traffic, leading to multi-vehicle truck accidents.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Although the cause of some trucking accidents is sometimes clear, we never shy away from working with other professionals when it is necessary. When our truck accident attorneys work with accident reconstruction specialists, we are able to more easily identify the role that negligent truck drivers play in these collisions.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets forth hours of service (HOS) regulations that limit how long a truck driver can spend behind the wheel. Highlights include:
- Drivers are required to take a 30-minute break for every eight hours of driving.
- Drivers are only permitted to drive a maximum of 11 hours following 10 hours of being off duty.
- Drivers must take 34 hours off duty after 60 hours on duty in seven days, or 70 hours on duty in eight days.
When drivers violate the above HOS regulations, they risk becoming overly tired and fatigued. Fatigue has been shown to slow your reaction time, impact your judgment, and cause blurred vision. Trucking companies are notorious for encouraging their drivers to ignore these regulations, putting drivers in the difficult position of either breaking the rules or potentially losing their jobs.
Professional drivers are not immune to poor behavior behind the wheel. Truck drivers are human too, and, as such, are capable of engaging in reckless driving habits. A truck driver may put everyone on the road at an increased risk for harm if they:
- Drive faster than conditions call for
- Run red lights
- Roll through stop signs
- Turn without signaling
- Do not stop for pedestrians in crossings
- Cut off other drivers
- Follow too closely to other vehicles
- Swerve between lanes
Commercial truck drivers are licensed and trained to operate large trucks. When they engage in distracted driving habits behind the wheel, they are not only putting themselves in harm’s way, they are putting everyone at risk for semi truck accidents. A driver can be named as one of the responsible parties in a truck accident lawsuit if they were doing any of the following at the time of the collision:
- Taking a video or picture
- Eating or drinking
- Adjusting the radio or air conditioning
Alcohol or Drug Use
It is never acceptable to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after ingesting alcohol or drugs. Truck drivers who are intoxicated at the time of a collision can be held liable for any damages they cause, including medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and more.
Both truck drivers and trucking companies are responsible for performing regular maintenance on fleet vehicles. Drivers must conduct both pre- and post-trip safety inspections, performing minor maintenance that is within their scope, such as inflating tires.
Trucking companies are in charge of both basic and advanced maintenance, including:
- Monitoring tires for wear and tear
- Inspecting and replacing windshield wipers
- Changing oil
- Checking, replacing, and repairing lights
- Replacing belts and hoses that are cracked or damaged
- Servicing brakes
- Maintaining drive axles
- Servicing the exhaust system
- Inspecting and repairing the suspension
- Maintaining steering components
If a truck accident occurred due to poor or insufficient maintenance, you may be owed compensation for your medical bills, which we can calculate based on your medical records.
Negligent Hiring Practices
Many commercial truck accidents are caused by driver error. When a trucking company does not perform a motor vehicle records check, utilize the Pre-Employment Screen Program (PSP), or screen for drug use among applicants, they are putting drivers just like you at risk for serious personal injury.
Unrealistic Delivery Schedules
A trucking company might not directly tell their drivers to exceed HOS regulations, but there are many ways in which truck companies actively encourage spending longer hours behind the wheel. Unrealistic delivery schedules that do not account for the possibility of traffic, road construction, detours, delays, or other issues often require drivers to spend many more hours behind the wheel.
Unsafe Business Practices
Conducting pre- and post-trip inspections, properly tying down cargo, and developing a culture of safety are just a few ways that truck companies can prevent accidents involving large commercial trucks and smaller passenger vehicles. When these large companies fail to take even small steps toward creating a safer environment for everyone on the road, truck accident lawyers work to hold them responsible for their actions.
Why Work With Cincinnati Truck Accident Attorneys?
Even if you were not at fault, going up against a trucking industry insurance company can be daunting. When you file a truck accident case in an attempt to secure fair compensation for your injuries, the insurance company will most likely try to shift all of the blame back onto you. Without a personal injury lawyer who has experience in truck accident claims there to support you, you are unlikely to win.
Most truck drivers are not the actual truck owner, which is just one of many factors that can complicate liability in truck accident lawsuits. Both the truck driver and the trucking company may potentially be liable for your injuries, as can some third parties. You need to work with a truck accident attorney who understands that there may be more than one responsible party in personal injury lawsuits like this.
When you work with Thomas Law Offices, your Cincinnati truck accident attorney will prove negligence in your case by demonstrating the following:
- The truck driver, truck company, or both had a duty of care to perform in a reasonable and safe manner.
- One or both of these parties breached that duty of care.
- The breach caused the accident and your resulting injuries.
- As a result of your injuries, you are now dealing with damages.
Compensation for most personal injury cases can be broken down into two categories: economic and non-economic damages. Your Ohio truck accident lawyer will calculate how much you are owed for both of these types of damages, but a great attorney will make sure that you understand exactly what you are being compensated for.
Compensation for economic damages consists of things that have tangible effects on your finances, including:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Auto repairs
Non-economic damages can be more difficult to calculate, as they encompass things like:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Loss of company or consortium
Calculating the total amount you are owed is no small feat, and you should only work with an experienced truck accident attorney who has the knowledge to make sure you receive what you are owed. At Thomas Law Offices, our attorneys routinely use supporting evidence from your medical records, pay stubs, and other sources to definitively prove how you were financially harmed. We look ahead to see how much you will need over the lifetime of your injury, and not just for immediate medical attention.
Dealing With the Insurance Company
The insurance company has one main goal, and it is not help those who have been injured in truck or car accidents. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses that prioritize their own bottom lines over paying personal injury claims. When you speak with an insurance adjuster they may seem friendly and even concerned about your well-being, but chances are that they are simply digging for information to be used against you.
Your truck accident lawyer should never allow the insurer to bully you into accepting anything less than the full compensation you are owed. When you work with Thomas Law Offices, we’ll deal with the insurance company on your behalf so that you can give your recovery your undivided attention.
Our Cincinnati Truck Accident Lawyers Are Here To Help
The truck accident lawyers at Thomas Law Offices value the attorney-client relationship, which is why we offer a free case review to potential clients. During your consultation, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss the details and merits of your claim with an actual truck accident lawyer. This is more than just an opportunity to see if you have a potential case, though—it is also an opportunity to see if working with our law firm is the right fit.
We encourage you to contact us at your earliest convenience to schedule your free case review. Our Cincinnati truck accident lawyers are waiting.