While all vehicle accidents can be traumatic, truck accidents are often catastrophic. Accidents with commercial trucks involve different issues than accidents between two smaller vehicles. This mostly has to do with the sheer size of the trucks. Victims of these accidents deserve the opportunity to hold the negligent parties accounts for their actions, as well as the right to compensation for their suffering. They can do so with the help of Thomas Law Offices. Our Cincinnati truck accident lawyer will stand up for you and your right to seek compensation because someone else’s negligence caused you preventable harm.
Our firm has handled truck accident cases in the past. We know how the recovery process for our clients is a major undertaking and the thought of handling a personal injury claim may seem like too much. That’s where we step in. We’ll fiercely advocate for you so your focus can be on your health.
Statistics on Ohio Truck Accidents
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2017 there were over 6.2 million vehicular crashes. Of the 32,166 fatal crashes, 11.9 percent involved at least one large truck. Of the non-fatal crashes, 7.6 percent involved at least one tractor-trailer. If we narrow our scope to Ohio, the Ohio Department of Public Safety reported that in 2017, 23,704 large trucks were involved in traffic wrecks.
Based on the number above, it’s clear that thousands of lives are impacted by truck accidents every year. Many of the surviving victims suffer from debilitating injuries and are unable to function like they were before the accident. Families of the victims that did not survive the accidents often face tremendous grief and economic instability.
When beginning your case, we’ll first look into the facts of what happened, including what kind of truck accident you were in. There’s more than one type of big rig crash and our Cincinnati attorneys are familiar with many of them. Let’s take a look at the most common types of truck accidents.
Types of Truck Accidents
To understand why tractor-trailer accidents happen, it’s important to understand the most common types of truck accidents. If you understand the types, you’ll be a more vigilant driver while traveling. Here are the most common types of truck accidents:
Jackknife. When a tractor trailer’s axle brakes lock up, the trailer can skid. If this happens, the trailer may only stop after it has formed a 90-degree angle with the tractor. This type of accident is referred to as a jackknife. These accidents often occur when the truck driver is speeding and needs to suddenly brake. Once a truck jackknifes, the driver can rarely regain control of the semitrailer. The cars in the lane near the truck could hit.
Override. An override accident occurs when a truck driver runs over a smaller vehicle in front of them. These collisions happen when there isn’t enough space between vehicles, the visibility is low, and when a truck driver is speeding and unable to stop when necessary. The big rig overtakes the smaller car and the driver loses control of their vehicle.
Rear-End Collision. Read end collisions are the less severe version of override accidents. They are typically the result of reckless driving, speeding, driving under the influence, or tailgating. Truck drivers cannot slam on their brakes and expect a quick stop like one would in a sedan. Trucks take time to stop and if the driver isn’t paying attention, they may not have enough time to avoid colliding with the back of another vehicle.
Rollover. Rollover accidents are some of the most common truck accidents and often involve more than two vehicles. There are several reasons these accidents occur. Most of them are a result of speeding around curves or improperly loaded cargo. Typically, something will cause the semi-truck to be off-balance, whether it’s taking a turn too quickly and the wheels lift, or the cargo moves and puts too much weight on one side of the trailer.
Underride. The opposite of an override accident, an underride accident, occurs when a smaller vehicle gets trapped underneath the back of a semi. Because of the impact to the front of the smaller vehicle, these accidents are often fatal.
When we find what kind of accident you were involved in, our Cincinnati truck accident lawyers can investigate what caused it. We’ll consult with experts to determine what happened during your accident. When we discover the cause, we’ll likely be able to determine the liable party as well.
Causes of Truck Accidents
In most cases, the causes of truck accidents are related to driver error or poor vehicle maintenance; however, there are a variety of other factors that can cause devastating collisions. Our Cincinnati lawyers are familiar with the various reasons why truck accidents occur. Let’s look into what happens when a truck driver operates their 18 wheeler negligently.
Despite the existing laws and individual company protocols in place to promote truck driver safety, there are times truck drivers make reckless driving decisions. Drowsy or fatigued driving is one of the most dangerous actions truck drivers can do, even though their job often has them traveling long hours for multiple days. A driver may think they can make it to the next stop, but then start to nod off at the wheel. When a truck driver is exhausted, they can fall asleep and veer into a car next to them or run off the road.
Truck drivers can also make poor driving decisions like speeding. While speeding is difficult for any type of vehicle, trucks need more time to maneuver, speed up, and slow down. If a trucker is going above the speed limit and needs to make a quick stop, they will need a lot of time and space to do so. They also will have less control of the vehicle if they’re speeding.
Distracted driving happens when drivers use their phones, try to eat or drink, adjust something in the cab, or reach for an object that’s behind them or in the seat next to them. These actions may seem simple, but they can have severe consequences. When a truck driver doesn’t have both hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, and their mind on driving, there’s a higher chance of causing a truck accident.
Some truck drivers may operate their truck while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While other truck drivers may not break the law, they could be taking over the counter medicine that makes them drowsy, too. Many of those substances impair a driver’s ability to recognize what’s going on around them. When this happens, they aren’t always able to make the most proactive driving decisions.
The truck driver isn’t always the at-fault party. Trucking companies have responsibilities as well. If a commercial vehicle is poorly maintained, major traffic accidents can occur. Because of the number of miles any one tractor-trailer covers in a day, the trucking company should regularly ensure the vehicle is performing at top standard and is safe for the road.
Trucks also have to adhere to regulations regarding loading and securing cargo. If the cargo is above the truck’s weight limit, the driver will not be able to safely operate the vehicle. Unsecured cargo could move and cause the trailer to shift from behind the tractor. An auto part manufacturing company could have issued a defective auto part that led to the truck accident.
If a company is responsible for your injuries, the lawyers at Thomas Law Offices in Cincinnati are up to the task of holding them accountable for their actions. While they may have representation claiming they weren’t at fault, our skill at looking at the facts and evidence and putting together a clear case will allow us to show the company’s negligence and help you get the compensation you deserve.
How Can a Cincinnati Truck Accident Attorney Help You?
After a truck accident, you may have sustained debilitating injuries. A truck’s size and weight is much greater than the average car and will be able to do more damage in a collision. The severe injuries that can happen include:
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Burn Injury
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Broken Bones
If your injuries will have long-lasting effects or will prevent you from returning to work, your injuries are catastrophic. These cause a major upheaval in someone’s life. As you heal, you may not be able to make a full recovery and will need to learn to live with the injury. When you can no longer work, it can be terrifying to think about your future without a job. As you’re balancing the trauma of the accident and trying to figure out your financial situation, it’s important to remember what your Cincinnati truck accident attorney can do for you.
The lawyers from Thomas Law Offices will fight for you to receive fair compensation for all your injuries and damages. These are typically split into two categories: economic and noneconomic.
Economic damages will include items like past medical bills, your current and future medical care—which can cover medication, surgical procedures, and medical equipment, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and physical damages to your vehicle. These types of damages have a monetary amount. Your Cincinnati truck accident attorney will total your medical expenses, the work you’ve missed because of your injuries, and work you will be missing if you can no longer work, and the damages to your vehicle.
Noneconomic damages do not have a set monetary amount attached to them, but they are just as important and your truck accident attorney will keep these in mind when determining your compensation. Your noneconomic damages can include the pain and suffering you’ve endured, or are still enduring, loss of enjoyment of life, and disability or disfigurement. Because of the injury, you may no longer be able to do certain hobbies or activities, and adjusting to this new lifestyle because of the reckless actions of another can do a lot of emotional damage.
What to Do After a Truck Accident in Ohio
In the moments after a truck accident, it can be difficult to remember what you need to do; however, there are important laws and protocols in place that you need to follow. Do your best to remain calm and focus on what you need to do. Your actions could save someone’s life.
Immediately following an accident, it’s crucial to determine if you or anyone else requires medical attention. Call for emergency services so professionals will be able to attend to you and anyone else involved in the accident. The police will also arrive on the scene to take your statement and make a report. Allow the first responders to assess your health so you know if you can speak with the police. If you need to be taken immediately to a hospital, emergency services will arrange transportation.
If you’re able to speak with police, it’s crucial you only relay the facts of your side of the story. Don’t apologize for the accident or assign blame, as you may not have the full story either. While you may think the liable party is the truck driver, there could be a third party who was responsible for the accident. Only careful investigation from professionals will reveal the liable party.
After that, it’s important to document as much information from the scene as possible. You can start by obtaining the other party’s contact and insurance information. You should also jot down information about where the accident happened and why you think it happened, the road and weather conditions at the time of the collision, and the extent of your physical injuries. The information will be freshest in this moment and details could fade if you wait a few days to document what you remember.
If you have your phone, you may want to take photographs of the accident, including shots that capture the entire scene and close-ups of injuries, damages, and conditions of the road. This physical evidence could strengthen your future truck accident claim.
When you’ve done all you can at the scene, your first priority is to take care of your injuries. See your doctor for a health evaluation. They will be able to diagnose your injuries and start treating you. You must see a doctor as soon as possible so your injuries don’t worsen. You’ll also have a medical record of your injuries and evidence you needed to treat them after the accident.
Reporting your accident to the proper channels is another item you have to take care of. If the accident exceeds $400 in personal injuries or property damage or one of the parties involved is uninsured, the accident must be reported to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. You’ll have six months to file this report. You’ll also need to report the accident to your insurance company, so they can begin the investigation and start the settlement process.
Get the Justice You Deserve with a Cincinnati Truck Accident Lawyer
When you or a loved one is hurt in a truck accident, you may feel at a loss of what to do—but you do not have to face this on your own. An experienced Cincinnati truck accident attorney can help you seek justice. We’re here to make sure your voice is heard and will work to benefit your best interests.
Thomas Law Offices is prepared to represent you with the strongest case possible. Whether you’re ready to take legal action or simply looking for answers to your legal questions, we’re ready to help. Contact us today for a free consultation. We’ll go over your case and your options so you can choose the best way to proceed.