If you or a loved one were injured in an accident with a tractor-trailer, you have the right to pursue compensation from the liable parties. These cases can be extremely complex with multiple parties involved, which is why a Dayton tractor-trailer accident lawyer may benefit you. Attorneys can help you identify the types of evidence you need to prove liability in a personal injury case.
The team at The Fitch Law Firm LLC conducts investigations into accidents like these, working with accident scene reconstruction experts if necessary to help our clients. For a complimentary, no-obligation review of your case, contact our team at The Fitch Law Firm LLC today.
Causes of Tractor-Trailer Accidents
There are many possible causes of tractor-trailer accidents, from distracted and drowsy driving to speeding and maintenance issues. Knowing which of these played a role in your tractor-trailer accident can help you prove negligence and liability.
Truck drivers spend most of their work time on the road and are therefore just as susceptible to using distractions as a way to pass the time. Distracted driving consists of driving while performing any other activity that takes your focus off the road. It could include using a navigation system, eating behind the wheel, or changing the radio. While it is illegal to operate a cell phone while driving a tractor-trailer, even talking on the phone using hands-free technology can be distracting and lead to an accident.
Driver fatigue is another common reason for tractor-trailer accidents. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that truck drivers who are behind the wheel for over eight hours are twice as likely to cause a collision.
Yet, drivers can legally drive up to 11 hours in one shift after 10 hours of consecutive off-duty time, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Some drivers even push past the legal time in order to meet tight deadlines for deliveries.
Speeding can significantly increase the likelihood of an accident for any motorist, but especially truck drivers given the weight of their vehicles. Tractor-trailers can easily weigh 20 or 30 times more than the average passenger car on the road. When a driver speeds, they increase the likelihood of losing control of the vehicle, as well as the vehicle’s stopping distance after the driver recognizes a danger.
Speeding is particularly dangerous for tractor-trailer drivers because heavy trucks require a greater stopping distance than passenger cars. Even if they perceive danger in advance, truck drivers may not have time to avoid a collision if they are driving at excessive speeds.
Sometimes it is not the driver who is at fault for an accident. Defective equipment often plays a role in these types of collisions. In one study, researchers found brake defects in 42% of the crash-involved trucks that they investigated, according to IIHS.
Sometimes accidents are the result of improperly maintained trucks. For example, if braking systems are not properly maintained, truck drivers may have an even harder time avoiding a collision if they perceive some type of danger.
These are just a few factors that can contribute to tractor-trailer accidents. Depending on the nature of the accident, the liable parties can include the truck driver, trucking company, or parts manufacturer.
A Dayton tractor-trailer accident lawyer can investigate your accident and examine the evidence to help determine liability for the collision. For a complimentary review of your case, contact our team at The Fitch Law Firm LLC today.
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Ohio’s Statute of Limitations Could Impact Your Claim
If you plan to pursue damages after your accident, it is important to understand that you only have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit. In fact, according to Ohio Revised Code (ORC) §2305.10, you have generally two years from the date of your accident to do so. If you do not file a lawsuit in this window of time, you generally forfeit any right to compensation. There are exceptions in some cases.
Recoverable Damages After a Tractor-Trailer Accident
The damages that victims recover after a tractor-trailer accident depend on the details of the case, including the seriousness and permanency of the injuries, and the extensiveness of the property damage. The impact that the victim’s injuries will have on their future quality of life is also a major consideration. Some types of damages that people recover in cases like these include:
- Medical costs like ambulance rides, surgical procedures, doctor’s visits, and medication
- Therapies, including physical or occupational therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages, including future wages if you lost any earning potential
- Out-of-pocket expenses related to your collision
- Property damage
Recoverable Wrongful Death Damages
Truck accidents are inherently dangerous and potentially fatal. IIHS statistics reported more than 4,000 truck accident fatalities in 2020. If your family lost a loved one in a tractor-trailer accident, we help qualifying surviving family members seek compensation.
Surviving family members can recover:
- Their loved one’s funeral and burial costs
- Loss of their loved one’s financial contributions
- Loss of their loved one’s domestic support
- Loss of companionship and consortium
Our case assessment team will assess these damages. We will also make sure your wrongful death action is filed by the appropriate family member.
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How Negligence Defines the Financially Liable Party
The first part of your tractor-trailer truck accident case is identifying the financially liable party. In a car accident, liability is typically assigned to the car’s driver or owner. Assigning liability in a truck accident case can be much more complex.
Potentially liable parties can include:
- The truck driver, if his actions or behavior caused the accident
- His employer, if the driver was not properly licensed or trained
- The truck’s manufacturer, if the vehicle was faulty or defective
- Parts manufacturers, if faulty brakes, tires, etc. were the cause of the accident
- Truck loaders, if the accident was due to overloaded or imbalanced cargo
You do not have to uncover the cause of your accident on your own. Our law firm will thoroughly investigate the accident. We will identify the at-fault party and handle all case-related communication with them and their insurance or legal representative.
How Expert Witnesses Can Support Your Right to Compensation
When our legal team handles your truck accident case, we stop at nothing to help you recover damages. In addition to accident reconstruction experts, we consult a wide range of other experts, including:
- Health care providers who attest to the cause and extent of your injuries and to your anticipated prognosis
- Vocational rehabilitation specialists who can help define the financial toll the accident is taking on your ability to earn a living now and in the foreseeable future
We also consult economists who can document the accident’s financial impact. They also ensure the value assigned to your injuries and related expenses are comprehensive and accurate.
How a Dayton Tractor-Trailer Accident Lawyer Can Help
Tractor-trailer accidents can involve several different parties, which can make them more difficult to handle than other car accident cases. In some cases, multiple parties may be liable. A thorough investigation can help determine exactly who is responsible for causing the accident. The team at The Fitch Law Firm LLC can help by:
- Investigating your accident, working with accident reconstruction experts to determine liability if necessary
- Requesting evidence like the black box on the truck, police reports, and eyewitness statements
- Communicating with all parties on your behalf throughout the case
- Calculating the full value of your case
- Negotiating with the insurance company and lawyers for a fair settlement for your injuries
- Fighting for your rights at trial if an agreeable settlement cannot be reached
Our team can be there to guide you every step of the way. For a free review of your tractor-trailer accident case, contact our team at The Fitch Law Firm LLC today.
Our Law Firm Supports You at No Out-of-Pocket Costs
Preparing your case can involve a plethora of costs and expenses. Our law firm will undertake these costs without requiring any upfront fees from you. We will absorb these costs and will not expect or accept compensation until after we obtain it for you. If your case does not result in a financial award, you will not owe us any fees.
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Get a Free Consultation for Your Truck Accident Case
If you or someone you love were injured in a collision with a large truck, our tractor-trailer truck accident lawyer can help you get compensation. On your behalf, we will identify the appropriate at-fault party and pursue financial recovery. When you are ready to have your medical and other accident-related expenses covered, contact our team.
Call our consultation team at The Fitch Law Firm LLC for your free truck accident case review today.
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