The operation of large commercial trucks comes with significant responsibilities because these vehicles that weigh up to 80,000 pounds have the capability of causing catastrophic injuries in an accident. Trucking companies and their drivers are held to heightened safety standards and are governed by federal and state rules and regulations. Negligent operation and noncompliance with trucking regulations pose a serious threat to everyone else on the road.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident in Morgantown, you need an attorney who knows the applicable rules and regulations and how to recover and preserve commercial truck evidence. The Morgantown truck accident attorneys at Tiano O’Dell, PLLC, have more than two decades of experience representing clients who have been injured in truck accidents. We offer no-cost and no-obligation case evaluations to discuss your claim.
Why Choose Our Truck Accident Practice
- Determining truck accident liability can be complicated, especially if you do not have a skilled and experienced truck accident attorney handling your claim. Our attorneys have the resources and expert contacts necessary to thoroughly investigate truck accident cases, determine the accident cause and contributing factors, and pursue compensation from all liable parties.
- Our Charleston, West Virginia personal injury attorneys handle all of our cases on a contingency fee basis. We know that after an accident, injured clients and their families often have financial challenges due to medical expenses and lost income. We do not take any upfront legal fees from our clients, and our attorneys are only paid after we have helped you win your injury claim.
- We regularly take on powerful corporate defendants and their insurance companies. No claim is too big for us to handle. We use cutting-edge technology to investigate truck accidents and manage our cases. Our attorneys work through our injury cases as efficiently as possible without sacrificing results for our clients.
Why Should I Hire A Truck Accident Attorney?
Most people who are injured due to the negligence of a truck driver or truck company do not have the resources or experience to take on the at-fault parties and their insurance carriers. Truck insurance companies have millions of dollars at their disposal that they can use to discredit your case. Your West Virginia truck accident lawyer will be responsible for:
Obtaining all evidence necessary to prove the other party’s liability. This includes gathering accident reports, video surveillance that may have captured the accident, eyewitness statements, photographs taken at the scene, and more.
- Consult with experts to reconstruct the accident scene if necessary to prove the fact of the crash.
- Obtaining data from the electronic control module (EMC) on the truck.
- Ensuring that you are properly evaluated by a trusted medical professional and that you receive the care you need.
- Investigating in obtaining all safety records related to the truck driver and truck company.
- Negotiating with all parties involved, including insurance carriers, to secure a settlement that covers all of your accident-related expenses.
Investigating Your Truck Accident
Handling personal injury claims for commercial truck accidents is not the same as handling regular car accident claims. Experienced truck accident attorneys know that investigating the accident and preserving all evidence as soon as possible is critical after a truck accident. Our attorneys know how to gather evidence, such as maintenance logs, black box data, hours of service logs, and other important documents and data to help prove your claim against the defendants.
Common Causes and Contributing Factors in Truck Accidents
Common causes and contributing factors in truck accident cases include the following:
- Negligent and reckless driving, such as speeding, intoxication, distracted driving, and drowsy driving.
- Preventable driving errors, including improper passing, improper lane changes, and failure to yield.
- Negligent vehicle maintenance and failure to inspect can cause accidents due to tire blowouts, brake failures, and lack of underride guards and other safety features.
- Failure to load and secure cargo according to industry standards and practices is a danger for everyone on the road. Unbalanced or unsecured cargo can hinder the truck’s ability to stop safely and can cause rollover accidents and cargo spills.
- Vehicle defects can cause accidents and injuries. Truck sellers and manufacturers can be held accountable for defective vehicles and parts.
- Truck company employers can be held accountable for misconduct, such as negligent hiring and training, setting unreasonable delivery deadlines, and encouraging hours of service violations.
How Is Negligence Established?
Truck drivers and truck companies owe a duty of care to those on the road with them. An attorney will work to show that there was a breach of that duty that led to your injuries and damages. The FMCSA has strict regulations in place to prevent truck driver negligence.
Some of the requirements set forth by the FMCSA to prevent driver negligence includes:
- Maintenance of logbook detailing hours driven
- Documenting hours of service and rest breaks
- Adhering to scheduled and legally mandated maintenance requirements
- Proper loading of truck cargo, including hazardous materials
- Non-use of controlled substances and alcohol
- Driving no more than ten hours per workday
Who Is Liable In A Truck Accident?
One of the hardest parts of truck accident cases is determining who is liable. There are often various parties involved in the operation of a large commercial truck, and any of these parties could be liable for the accident. Potentially liable parties include:
- Truck driver
- Truck company
- Truck manufacturer
- Company leasing the trailer
- Company leasing the truck
- A shipper who wanted the load
- Truck parts manufacturers
- Maintenance companies responsible for the vehicle
It is not uncommon for there to be multiple parties liable for a truck accident. This highlights just how complicated these cases can become, and why a Morgantown truck accident lawyer is necessary.
Truck Accident Compensation
Your truck accident compensation depends on the losses you have suffered as a result of being involved in the accident. Generally speaking, the more severe your injuries are, the more compensation you are likely to collect. To properly value your claim, we must analyze and evaluate your total losses. Sometimes we hire medical and financial experts to help us calculate our clients’ losses.
Medical expenses are often significant in truck accident cases. In addition to compensation for past and ongoing medical expenses, you might also be compensated for future accident-related medical expenses. If you have missed work because of your injuries, you might be entitled to compensation for your lost wages. If your injuries are permanent and they limit your ability to work, you might also be entitled to compensation for loss of earning capacity. Other losses you may claim include pain and suffering, mental anguish, disability, and disfigurement.
Fatal Truck Accident Injuries
Unfortunately, fatal injuries are common in truck accident cases. As surviving family members go through the grieving process, they often have to deal with the significant financial impact of losing their loved ones as well. In West Virginia, surviving family members may pursue a wrongful death claim to compensate them for the losses they have suffered as a result of their loved one’s death.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you might be entitled to recover three types of compensation: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. Economic damages are meant to compensate you for the financial losses you have suffered, such as loss of the decedent’s financial support, the value of the decedent’s household services, funeral expenses, and medical expenses.
Non-economic damages are more subjective than economic damages because they do not have a specific monetary value. These damages are sometimes referred to as emotional damages. Examples of non-economic damages in wrongful death claims include sorrow, mental anguish, and solace, which can refer to companionship, comfort, and guidance.
Punitive damages are sometimes awarded in wrongful death claims when the defendant’s conduct is found to be egregious. These awards are meant to punish defendants for their misconduct and deter similar conduct in the future. In truck accident cases, punitive damages are sometimes awarded when the truck driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident or when the trucking company has a history of repeatedly violating trucking safety measures, rules, and regulations.
Contact Our Morgantown Truck Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, it is important to speak with an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. The Morgantown truck accident lawyers at Tiano O’Dell, PLLC, know that you and your family may be going through a difficult time after your accident, and we can help. We will meet with you to go over your accident and discuss your legal options. Our case evaluations are always free and confidential.