If you regularly drive, whether for work or errands, it’s likely you see tractor-trailers on the road a lot. While those large vehicles are useful for hauling goods and services across the state and country, they have the potential to be dangerous or even fatal when involved in a crash. In fact, hundreds of tractor-trailers are involved in accidents all over Ohio every year.
If you find yourself dealing with the repercussions of a collision, a Columbus truck accident lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can help you file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your losses and hold the negligent party accountable for their actions and ensure no one else has to go through a similar situation. In the event you’ve lost a loved one in a semi wreck, we can help your family file a wrongful death claim on their behalf.
Truck Accidents in Columbus
With Interstate 71 running through the center of Columbus, truck accidents are not uncommon to the area. Accidents also happen on I-270, which is the highway that travels around Columbus. For example, police responded to a crash in February 2020 involving a tractor-trailer and a few smaller passenger vehicles. As a result of the crash, one man died, and the road was closed for some time.
High speeds and heavy traffic attribute to a number of tractor-trailer wrecks—many of which are deadly. According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, 121 heavy trucks were involved in fatal accidents in the state in 2018. That was the highest number since 2015 when there were over 130 large trucks involves in fatal crashes.
If you’ve been involved in a tractor-trailer wreck in Columbus, you’ll want to understand what you could be facing in regard to consequences and what your options are when it comes to recovery.
Understand the Consequences of a Semi Wreck
Tractor-trailer accidents have the potential to affect the victim physically, emotionally, and financially. The physical injuries always have to be dealt with first—as they have the most potential to be life-altering or fatal.
Because of the size difference between a tractor-trailer and a passenger vehicle, it’s likely for the victim in a commercial vehicle crash to sustain serious injuries like head trauma, spinal cord damage, limb loss, and burns. In most cases, the injured party will be looking at months, if not longer, of recovery. This includes time spent in the hospital, physical therapy, and any required homecare.
Being in any type of vehicular accident has the potential to be traumatizing. With a truck accident, the victim could be left to deal with signs of post-traumatic stress disorder like anxiety, fear, depression, anger, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. Professional counseling, therapy, or medication may be needed to improve the victim’s emotional and mental health and to help them work past what they were wrongfully put through.
In regard to financial losses, medical expenses usually add up the fastest—for physical and emotional injuries. In addition to that, it’s likely the victim will need to take time off of work to recover. While they may have some sick time or paid leave to use, they could be missing paychecks if they use that up and still need time to recover. Property damage is also a financial loss factor, as most vehicles involved in tractor-trailer accidents are totaled.
When you decide to pursue a personal injury claim with Thomas Law Offices, we’ll thoroughly investigate your case and determine how much you’re owed based on the consequences you’re dealing with.
Tractor-Trailer Crashes and Liability in Ohio
To determine the party responsible for your truck accident, your lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation. While people may think the truck driver is automatically the at-fault party, this isn’t always the case. If the truck driver isn’t at fault, there are typically two other potential leads—the trucking company or the truck manufacturer.
The truck driver may be at fault in the event they were fatigued while driving, distracted, intoxicated, or driving recklessly. The police officer who files a report at the scene will likely discuss whether they believe the driver was committing an infraction at the time of impact.
Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring their drivers have the resources to operate their vehicles safely—which includes proper training and a well-maintenanced vehicle. In the event they hire someone unfit for the job or they fail to regularly maintenance their truck, they may be held liable in the event of a crash.
Because of the size and the weight they’re built to carry, big rigs are complex vehicles with many moving and stationary parts. It’s important that no mistakes are made during the design or manufacturing process, as even a small error could result in a truck driver’s inability to control the vehicle.
Per the negligence law in Ohio, the victim of a personal injury accident has the right to be compensated for their losses by the negligent party. Part of determining that negligence will be looking to see if any laws were broken before or during the collision.
Trucking Industry Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) establishes the trucking industry regulations that trucking companies and truck drivers are required to follow. When either party fails to follow the law, they are putting lives at risk.
Some of the regulations include specifics on loading cargo and trailer weight limits, the lighting that must be visible on the tractor, trailer, and undercarriage, how long a trucker can be on the road, what the parameters are for hiring a new truck driver, and what happens in the event a regulation is violated.
It’s likely that the FMCSA’s rules will play a part in proving your personal injury claim. Your lawyer will have a comprehensive understanding of the laws that apply to your situation and other resources to ensure any violations don’t slip through the cracks.
The Benefits of Working With a Truck Accident Attorney
Even when you’re not at fault for a truck accident, it can be challenging to prove the fault of the other driver on your own. That’s why it’s in your best interest to work with a Columbus truck accident attorney. Hiring a lawyer gives you the advantage of having access to the resources, experts, and knowledge you need to get the compensation needed to recover as fully as possible.
When you first reach out to Thomas Law Offices, we’ll evaluate your situation and determine if you have a valid personal injury claim. If you do and you decide to proceed, we’ll help you prepare your case. This includes getting a solid understanding of what you’ve suffered and what you’re entitled to in regard to compensation.
Strong claims rely on strong evidence. We’ll be able to prove why you were not responsible for the crash and why it never should have happened. To do this, we’ll draw on the police report, your medical records, the trucker’s logs, information from the black box, and witness accounts. Depending on your situation, we may call on an accident reconstructionist or other expert to help support your case.
Once we feel we have a solid case, we’ll begin negotiations with the insurance company. The adjuster assigned to your case will most likely do what they can to lower your settlement offer. They may even try to deny your claim. When you work with us, you won’t have to worry about having difficult conversations that could jeopardize your claim. Instead, we’ll handle the phone calls and paperwork and fight for what’s fair.
While most cases settle outside of court, it’s not unheard of to have a truck accident claim go to court. If we’re unable to reach an ideal settlement through negotiations, we can prepare your claim for trial and proceed with a lawsuit. The litigation process is complex, but we’ll guide you through and ensure the verdict is in your favor.
Representing Truck Accident Victims in Columbus
If you’ve been injured in a tractor-trailer crash in Columbus and are now faced with dealing with the ramifications, Thomas Law Offices can help. A Columbus truck accident lawyer is prepared to take on your case, determine the best court of action, and fight for your right to full and fair compensation for your losses.
In the event you’ve tragically lost a loved one in a semi wreck, we can help your family secure their future with a wrongful death claim. Losing a loved one is never easy, and you shouldn’t have to struggle financially because of someone else’s negligence.
It’s important to note that truck accident claims are subject to Ohio’s statute of limitations. This refers to the amount of time to have to file your case in court. Under Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10, you have two years from the date of the accident to take legal action. If you fail to do so in that timeframe, it’s likely you’ll have rendered yourself ineligible for compensation.
To get started with your claim, contact us today. We’re prepared to review your case, explain your legal rights and options to you, and guide you through the personal injury process so you receive the compensation you need to get your life back in order.