Every week, thousands of tractor-trailers roll through Parkersburg and other towns in West Virginia carrying essential goods, materials, and supplies to those who live there. Trucking is one of the largest industries in the US, and there is no doubt that we depend heavily on commercial trucks to maintain the standard of living we enjoy. All of that said, large semi-trucks can also be very dangerous when they are involved in a crash.
Trucking accidents are some of the deadliest events that occur on the roadways. When a large commercial truck that can weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds when it is fully loaded crashes into a standard passenger car, those who are driving or riding in the other car are most likely to take the brunt of it.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), of the 4000+ individuals who are killed in truck accidents during a year, 67% are occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles while 16% are occupants of big rig trucks. Another 15% are bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. If you or a loved one got injured or killed in a truck accident, you need strong legal counsel by your side fighting hard to secure the full and fair compensation you deserve.
For several decades, the office of The Masters Law Firm has successfully represented victims of truck accidents in Parkersburg and nearby West Virginia communities. Our award-winning attorneys are focused exclusively on personal injury and workers’ comp claims and, while every case is different, we have secured big verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients. We know that trucking accidents can result in severe and catastrophic injuries, and we put our experience to work to explore every potential legal avenue toward recovering maximum compensation.
Truck accident cases are typically far more complicated than standard auto accidents. There are numerous laws and regulations that govern the industry, and there are several different factors that could play a role in the crash. Also, because these tend to be higher value claims, defendants fight them more aggressively in order to mitigate their losses.
For these reasons, it is very important to work with a firm like ours that has a proven track record with these types of cases. There are far too many things that could go wrong if you try to handle a case like this on your own or with someone who does not have an adequate amount of experience.
What Causes Parkersburg, WV Truck Accidents?
There are number of different reasons why trucking accidents occur. Many of them have to do with driver errors, while others are caused by the actions of outside parties. Some of the most common reasons a driver may cause a truck accident include:
Unsafe/Reckless Driving: Truck drivers are frequently under enormous pressure from their employers to deliver their loads on time in the face of tight and often unrealistic deadlines. This causes many of them to cut corners by exceeding the speed limit and driving aggressively or sometimes even recklessly. These driving behaviors increase the chances of a collision.
Chemical Impairment: In order to deal with the stress and take the edge off, some truck drivers turn to alcohol or drugs. It is well-known that substances like these impair a motorist’s ability to drive a vehicle safely.
Drowsy Driving: Truckers typically drive for long periods of time, often during evening and overnight hours. They also tend to alternate a lot between day and night driving, so their body never gets totally acclimated to either one. This and other factors make truck drivers more susceptible to drowsiness and fatigue, making it more difficult for them to focus, and in the worst cases, causing them to fall asleep behind the wheel.
Driver Distractions: Just about everyone is addicted to their cell phones these days, and the boredom of driving for hours at a time can make it very tempting for a trucker to send, receive, and read text messages. Texting while driving and other types of electronic activity while behind the wheel are extremely dangerous, because they distract drivers in three ways; visually, manually, and cognitively.
Some of the reasons a third party might be responsible for a truck accident include:
Overweight/Imbalanced Loads: Some Parkersburg trucking accidents may be caused by a truck that is overloaded or loaded unevenly. Cargo/shipping companies sometimes load a truck beyond the legal weight limit in order to get more goods delivered on the same load. In other cases, they might be in a hurry to get the truck back on the road, making them less careful to balance the weight of the truck.
Mechanical Breakdown: Full-service tractor-trailers typically log thousands of miles over the road each month. With so much vehicle use, and so much wear and tear, proper maintenance is absolutely critical for the safety of the driver and others on the road. Unfortunately, pressure to keep the trucks on the road can cause maintenance personnel to cut corners and risk an accident. An example is failing brakes.
Vehicle Defects: A faulty vehicle or vehicle part could be a contributing factor in a Parkersburg truck accident. When this happens, someone who is injured can bring a product liability claim against the manufacturer, supplier, or distributor of the defective product.
Pursuing a Parkersburg, WV Truck Accident Claim
As we talked about earlier, defendants in a truck accident will go to work immediately and expend a lot of resources to minimize the amount of damages they have to pay out. This is one of the reasons it is so important to get an experienced attorney involved as early as possible before critical pieces of evidence disappear and memories start to fade.
After a thorough investigation, we might find a number of parties that could be at fault. These may include:
The driver of the commercial truck and/or other vehicle drivers.
The trucking company that employs the driver.
The cargo/shipping company that improperly loaded the truck.
The owner or lessor of the truck.
The party that is responsible for maintaining the truck.
Any party within the supply chain of a faulty product that contributed to the accident.
The entity responsible for maintaining the roadways.
We will bring a claim for damages against all responsible parties. This may include compensation not only for direct monetary losses such as medical bills and lost earnings, but also for noneconomic losses such as physical and emotional pain-and-suffering, diminished quality of life, and permanent injury.
If you or someone close to you got injured in a trucking accident anywhere in West Virginia, contact The Masters Law Firm for experienced legal help. To schedule a free consultation and case assessment with one of our attorneys, call our office today at 304-342-3106 or toll free at 1-800-342-3106 or send us an online message. We look forward to serving you!