While all motor vehicle accidents have the potential to be serious, truck accidents are especially deadly. Involving 80,000 pounds or more slamming into a passenger car that weighs somewhere in the realm of 4,000-5,000 pounds, a truck accident can result in serious damages, a completely totaled vehicle, and injuries that are permanent if not fatal.
Not only are truck accidents typically severe, but truck accident claims are usually very complex. Involving multiple players and trucking companies that are never eager to pay claims in full, a truck accident claim can be difficult to settle fairly.
If you have been in a truck accident in West Virginia, or if you have lost a loved one in a truck accident, please call The Masters Law Firm. Our experienced West Virginia truck accident attorneys know what it takes to prevail with even the most complex cases against well-funded adversaries such as large trucking companies. We work closely with our clients, exploring every potential legal avenue toward recovering maximum compensation for their injuries.
Types of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents don’t just happen. They usually occur because of the negligence of one of the parties involved. While truck accident causation can vary, most of them are very serious. Some of the most common–and most deadly–types of truck accidents include:
An underride accident refers to a crash where a passenger car slams into the rear of a truck trailer; because the trailer is elevated and the passenger car is much smaller, the car may actually drive under the trailer bed. This type of accident may be the result of truck driver negligence, where the truck cuts in front of a passenger car.
An override accident is similar and involves a larger truck riding over the rear-end of a smaller passenger car when the car is in front of the truck. This may occur because the large truck driver does not see the smaller car, or because the truck driver is following much too closely.
Blind spot accidents. Large trucks have large blind spots that can be critical to drivers’ safety. If the driver of large truck does not take care to view the areas around his truck when, for example, switching lanes, an accident could occur.
Squeeze play crashes. A squeeze play crash is terrifying. This type of accident happens when a smaller vehicle attempts to pass a right-turning truck on the right, not realizing that the truck is turning due to the truck moving to the left to swing wide first because the truck does not properly signal the turn. As the truck makes its turn, the passenger car is “squeezed” between the tractor-trailer and the curb/guardrail/etc.
Jackknife crashes. If a trailer comes loose, the cargo within a trailer shifts, or a truck takes a turn too fast, the trailer may swing around to form a 90-degree angle with the truck. This is commonly known as a jackknife accident. These are often the result of improper loading of the truck, improper driver training or experience, or all of the above.
Brake and equipment failures. The brakes and other equipment on tractor-trailer trucks are supposed to be inspected regularly and kept in repair so that they work properly. Many times, trucking companies do not keep their trucks in good repair to save money or because they do not want to lose income keeping a truck off the road for repairs.
Who Pays for a Truck Accident in West Virginia?
When a large truck and a passenger vehicle collide, it is almost always the occupants of the smaller vehicle who suffer the largest degrees of harm. Medical bills, lost wages, property damage costs, and pain and suffering are some of the most pressing losses occupants may suffer, and these losses may total tens of thousands of dollars. A victim deserves to be compensated for these losses.
Our lawyers work hard to build your claim and see to it that the liable party pays you what you are owed. Parties who may be held responsible for truck accident damages include the truck driver, the trucking company, a third-party driver, a vehicle or vehicle part manufacturer, or a shipper or loader of cargo. Sometimes, another third party, such as the party responsible for road maintenance is at fault. We will collect all evidence and open a thorough investigation to determine and prove liability.
Evidence in a Truck Accident Claim
One of our primary jobs as your legal representation is to gather the evidence that’s necessary to determine negligence, causation, and damages. Evidence that may be used includes:
Police reports. Police reports can provide clues as to how an accident happened as well as who the police believe to be at fault.
Truck driver’s logs. Truck driver’s logs can show for how long a truck driver drove and when they took breaks, as well as whether or not Hours of Service regulations were breached (indicative of negligence).
Truck “black box” data. Like driver’s logs, the black box data on a truck will tell us for how long and when a truck was on the road. Black box data can also provide other valuable information about how the truck was driven, ranging from whether or not speeding occurred to braking data and more.
Drivers’ statements. The statements of each of the drivers involved in the crash will be critical to building a case and determining what happened.
Truck maintenance records. If a truck wasn’t properly maintained, this could have contributed to the crash.
Photos of damages to vehicles, skid marks, traffic signs, and more can offer clues about how an accident occurred and whose fault caused the crash.
Eyewitnesses’ statements. The statement of an eyewitness who saw the crash can be very valuable. Credible eyewitnesses have no reason to be biased, and their word may make or break a claim.
Accident reconstruction data. Our legal team may hire accident reconstruction experts who can rebuild your crash from the ground up, offering insight as to its likely cause.
You Need a Skilled Attorney on Your Side
At The Masters Law Firm, our West Virginia truck accident lawyers are passionate about helping victims of serious accidents recover the compensation they need to pay for their past and future damages. We work hard to build your case, as well as negotiate with an insurer to reach a fair settlement. We also have extensive litigation experience, and we are not intimidated by the prospect of taking your case to court when necessary.
If you have been involved in a crash with a large truck, please call us today for a free consultation. You can reach us online, in person, or by phone at 304-342-3106 or toll free at 1-800-342-3106.