The commercial trucking industry is a major contributor to our country’s economy. The goods and services that get shipped from state to state impact all of us. Unfortunately, the trucks hauling those items don’t always make it to their destination. When an accident occurs between a large commercial vehicle and a smaller passenger car, the results can be devastating. If you’ve been in a crash, you’ll benefit from seeking legal advice from a Morgantown truck accident lawyer.
At DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, we have years of experience representing accident victims. In order to recover as fully as possible from the crash, you’re going to need compensation to cover your losses. When you file a personal injury claim with us, we’ll build a strong case on your behalf that proves you were wronged and are owed a settlement to cover your accident-related losses.
The claims process can be challenging, but we’ll handle all the difficult aspects for you and make sure you understand what’s going on every step of the way. Not only will you have the money you need to take care of your medical expenses and lost wages, but we hope to provide you with a sense of peace and the ability to securely move forward.
Truck Accident Statistics
Every year, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration publishes a Pocket Guide to Large Truck and Bus Statistics. According to their 2018 guide, of the 268,799,083 registered vehicles in the country in 2016, 8,746,518 were straight trucks and 2,752,043 were tractor-trailers. It’s estimated that those trucks traveled 287.9 billion miles that year.
As a result of those miles traveled, there were over 540,000 crashes involving commercial trucks. Of those, over 4,000 resulted in fatalities. The fatality rate is high because of the size difference between semis and passenger vehicles. While the average car weighs less than 3,000 pounds, commercial vehicles weigh anywhere between 10,000 to over 33,000 pounds.
Crashes occur for a number of reasons, but there are commonalities surrounding many of the incidents. The most common causes include driver error, distracted driving, fatigue, vehicle malfunction, driver intoxication, and inclement weather. Regardless of your accident’s cause, when negligence is involved you can seek compensation to aid in your recovery and hold the at-fault party accountable for their actions. Doing so, however, requires a detailed investigation. Our lawyers can investigate your wreck and collect evidence that proves your crash should have been prevented.
Investigating a Tractor-Trailer Crash in Morgantown
The investigation is one of the most important factors in a successful claim. With the right evidence, we’ll be able to prove you were wronged. The process can be lengthy and is often complicated. The following steps are typically involved:
- Evaluating the Accident Scene. It’s important to evaluate the scene of the crash as soon as possible after the incident takes place, so as to preserve useful evidence. This involves taking photos and videos of the site. We’ll make note of the road conditions, debris, damage to the vehicles or other structures, and any other relevant environmental factors or physical evidence.
- Examining the Vehicles. We’ll inspect the truck to look for signs of equipment failure or defects, in addition to the mechanical condition of the vehicle. This will play a big role in determining fault.
- Reviewing the Records. Your lawyer will analyze the truck driver’s logbooks, driving records, and personnel file to find out if any laws were being broken at the time of the collision. They’ll also take a look at the trucking company’s maintenance and safety records, inspection reports, equipment checks, and hiring practices.
- Collecting Relevant Documentation. We’ll keep track of your medical bills, eyewitness statements, and the police accident report. All that information can be used while building your claim.
- Interviewing Witnesses. Your lawyer will speak to any other drivers involved in the crash, first responders, and anyone else who witnessed the accident. Their testimony could be useful when proving fault.
- Obtaining Black Box Information. The truck’s data recorder has information like the speed before the crash, sudden acceleration or deceleration, whether the brakes were applied, the presence of cruise control, tire pressure, and communications between the trucker and trucking company.
- Consulting Experts. Depending on the complexity of your case, we could hire an expert like an accident reconstructionist to help with your claim.
Determining Liability After a Commercial Truck Accident
Determining fault for a truck accident can be a challenge because of the possibility of multiple at-fault parties. The truck driver could be liable if they were breaking the law at the time of the crash. The trucking company may be responsible if they have improper hiring practices, they neglect their vehicles, or they cut corners around safety to save money. There’s also the possibility of the manufacturer being negligent and causing the accident. When companies try to protect their bottom line by improperly installing auto parts or neglecting to follow safety protocols, you can hold them accountable.
A thorough investigation will show who caused your accident. Regardless of that party’s identity, we’ll fight for your right to full and fair compensation for all your crash-related losses.
Legal Representation You Can Rely On
Without the help of a Morgantown truck accident lawyer, you could be jeopardizing your chances of receiving compensation for your crash-related losses. To secure your future, you’ll need an accurate account of all your losses, which can be challenging to calculate when you should be focusing on recovering from your injuries. We’ll not only include your medical bills and lost wages in the settlement demand letter, but we’ll also take into consideration the possibility of medical treatments and more time off work in the future, in addition to your pain and suffering.
At DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, we pride ourselves on representing clients all over West Virginia. We understand the stress that comes with choosing a legal representative, but our personal injury attorneys are committed to delivering the best experience possible for our clients. If you have questions about your rights or options after a truck accident, seeking advice from our firm is a way to start your legal journey. We’ll do what it takes to get you on the road to recovery. To learn more, contact us today.