In 2019, semi-trucks were involved in 179,509 crashes on the road. Given the extreme size and weight of most semi-trucks, these accidents are often the most severe. Nearly 5,000 people were killed in trucking-related crashes in 2019, with thousands more injured. Lives are lost and others changed forever when someone is reckless or negligent behind the wheel of a 40-ton vehicle.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash involving a semi-truck, you may be eligible to pursue compensation that can help you cover any overwhelming medical expenses, lost wages, and any further pain and suffering you’ve been forced to endure. For more than 50 years, our attorneys at Peterson & Peterson, LLC have been representing clients and their families in Xenia, Beavercreek, Bellbrook, and the surrounding Ohio communities to seek compensation for their injuries so that they can begin to recover and get their life back.
In Ohio, there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury or wrongful death claims following a truck accident. That means that the injured party has two years from the date of the accident to file a claim or lawsuit.
If the driver responsible for the crash is uninsured and medical expenses and/or property damage exceed $400, parties may file a crash report with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles within six months of the crash.
Additionally, under Ohio law, employers can be held liable for the acts of their employees while operating within the scope of their employment. This means that if a semi-truck is involved in a crash, the trucking company and its insurer can be held liable when an employee causes a crash. For this reason, and because injuries tend to be so severe in semi-truck accidents, companies typically carry high insurance liability limits.
Liability or “fault” in a semi-truck accident can lie with more than one person or entity. You can file a claim against any party whose negligence contributed to the crash. This includes:
The truck driver who failed to inspect the semi-truck properly, logged excessive hours on the road and was fatigued, or simply failed to pay attention.
The trucking company that failed to adequately train or supervise the driver, placed profit over safety, or put a driver with a poor safety record on the road.
The manufacturer of the semi-truck or trailer, especially if the manufacturer provided damaged or faulty parts — such as defective brake pads, or a compromised coupling mechanism — that led to the crash.
Maintenance personnel who failed to inspect, repair, or maintain the vehicle.
Any persons who improperly loaded cargo that led to shifting or falling cargo, causing an accident.
There are a number of other factors to consider when determining liability for a crash, including potential negligence and any comparative fault on the part of other drivers involved in the crash, Harsh road and weather conditions can also be a major contributing factor as well.
Seek immediate medical treatment
Call the police
Never admit fault to anyone at the scene
Exchange information with all other drivers involved in the crash
Take down names and contact information for any witnesses
If possible, take photos of the truck, vehicles, roadway, and any other elements at the scene of the accident.
Don’t post any photos or other information about the crash on social media
If anyone representing any potentially liable party attempts to contact you, be it an insurance agent or a legal professional, do not speak to them. Tell them you are consulting with an attorney and you do not wish to make any statements at this time.
Contact a reliable personal injury attorney who has experience handling injury claims involving truck accidents.
If you’ve been injured in a crash involving a semi-truck or other commercial vehicle, you don’t have to pursue a claim on your own. It is crucial that you work with an experienced personal injury attorney to tackle the complicated task of investigating the circumstances of the crash and establishing liability. This might require a crash reconstruction, witness interviews, and vehicle inspections.
The federal government requires the trucking industry to comply with rigorous safety standards. That’s why you need an attorney who understands these regulations down to the smallest detail so you can determine if those standards were breached.
Trucking companies have a lot of money at stake when their drivers are involved in an accident. That means their insurers will likely have a team of attorneys on their side, so it’s important you have a skilled attorney working to protect your rights and negotiate on your behalf.
Above all else, you need someone with extensive legal expertise and experience fighting to make sure that everyone who was liable for your injuries is held accountable.
At Peterson & Peterson, LLC, we are committed to putting our experience and expertise to work for injured victims seeking justice. If you or someone you know has been involved in a trucking accident in Xenia, Ohio, or the surrounding cities of Springfield, Dayton, Lebanon, or Wilmington, don’t wait. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation.