Semi-trucks play a significant role in many industries—they move goods in the quickest, most efficient manner possible. Despite their importance, their large sizes and heavy cargo weights make them dangerous to smaller vehicles sharing the road. When they become involved in an accident, it often leads to injuries, and in the worst of cases, death. Aside from the physical pain and trauma, these accidents can cause financial hardship to the victim.
If you were a victim of such an unfortunate event, you have the legal right to seek damages from those liable. Consult a Columbus semi-truck accident lawyer at the Fitch Law Firm to understand the claims process for personal injury and wrongful death. Take the next step by calling (614) 545-3930 to speak to one of their team members anytime.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
From the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), around 363,000 reported large truck crashes resulted in injuries and property damage in 2017, and 4,657 were fatal. There are many reasons semi-truck accidents happen, some of which are listed below.
Despite rigorous training and years of experience, most semi-truck drivers fall prey to distracted driving. Sometimes, they use a mobile phone, listen to loud music, eat while driving, and converse with passengers, all of which can cause them to lose focus and get into accidents on the road.
Long-distance driving is exhausting, even for truckers who do it for a living. When combined with intense pressure to meet a deadline and quota, it makes drivers more fatigued than usual. Drivers who lack proper rest tend to commit mistakes and errors in judgment, which is why the FMCSA regulates the hours of service.
The lack of experience by most beginner commercial drivers points to an increased risk of truck accidents, even if they already have a license. Also, unfamiliarity with roadways can lead to a costly misstep.
Lack of Vehicle Maintenance
Sometimes, the fault lies with an improperly kept semi-truck. Faulty brakes, balding tires, a malfunctioning engine, and other mechanical issues can lead to road mishaps. Vehicle negligence suggests a blatant disregard of federal regulations and public safety.
Poor Road Conditions
Challenging road conditions can cause semi-truck accidents, especially if the driver lacks experience and fails to respond accordingly to the situation.
What You Should Do Next After an Accident
Being involved in a vehicle accident is a harrowing experience, more so when it is with a semi-truck. What you do next will have an impact should you pursue a claim for the sustained harm and property damage. Below should be your next steps.
Seek Medical Help
Assuming you were already involved in the accident, you should seek medical care if you did not do so yet. Even if you have no symptoms like pain, wounds, and bruises, complications like whiplash and head trauma arise and become more serious if left unchecked after an accident. It can also affect the validity of your claim—insurers may argue that such injuries came from a separate incident.
When you file a claim, the burden of proof is with you. If possible, take photos of the accident’s aftermath, including your injuries. Keep your hospital bills, receipts, and records of expenses incurred due to the semi-truck accident. If you collected the contact information of witnesses at the accident scene, pass them on to a qualified Columbus semi-truck accident lawyer who can get in touch with the witnesses on your behalf and help you gather more evidence.
Avoid Giving a Statement
Refrain from making a statement to insurance companies or law enforcement that implies your fault in the accident—only state the facts and do so after consulting your lawyer.
Proving Liability in Semi-Truck Accidents
Semi-truck accidents often arise from a party’s negligence, and proving who is liable can be a complicated process. The fault does not always lie with the driver—other parties may also be responsible for the accident and must pay for damages.
For instance, the trucking company is responsible for ensuring the safety of its drivers. It may include enforcing strict protocols, routine vehicle inspections, driving hour limits, and reasonable delivery timetables. If there was proof that they attempted to put people at risk, they are held liable for the accident.
The owner of the semi-truck may also hold liability in the accident. It is their primary duty to maintain the vehicle in a roadworthy condition, and neglecting to do so may have led to the preventable mishap. If their commercial vehicle failed the federal inspection, but they still used it for transportation, it is a violation of the rules.
In accidents involving fallen cargo that resulted in injuries and property damage, the loaders or manufacturers must take responsibility for not securing the items properly.
In determining liability for the incident to seek compensation, it is best to consult with a Columbus semi-truck accident lawyer at the Fitch Law Firm rather than do so on your own. Call (614) 545-3930 to discuss the facts surrounding your case.
Understand Your Legal Options Following a Semi-Truck Accident
If you suffered injuries from a semi-truck accident, you might receive compensation from the ones liable. Most trucking companies have insurance to cover related medical expenses and lost wages. If you believe that you deserve more, ask a Columbus semi-truck accident lawyer whether to proceed with a lawsuit instead.
Before your case goes to trial, you have the option to settle out of court first. Both parties will try to resolve the dispute without going through a courtroom battle. If you agree to the settlement, you have no right to pursue a further legal claim.
How We Can Help You Today
Let a Columbus semi-truck accident lawyer from the Fitch Law Firm walk you through legal options and the entire process, even if you opted to file a claim. Their attorneys understand how complex most claims procedures are, and the chances of getting denied are high. If you decide to pursue a lawsuit, they will review your case and help you build a strong one. They will also provide legal representation to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Reach out at (614) 545-3930 to schedule a free case evaluation or send an inquiry through the website.