Columbus Truck Accident Lawyer | Finding Reliable Legal Counsel
Trucking remains one of the most popular means to transport goods in the United States. Because there aren't many people who want to do this job, drivers are often overworked and must adhere to strict deadlines.
The result is a fatigued or distracted truck driver. Truck accidents remain one of the leading causes of traffic accident fatalities in the United States. Each year, over 500,000 trucking accidents occur in the United States, and approximately 5,000 of them result in death.
Because of the sheer size and weight of the trucks, the driver and occupants in the other vehicle are often more likely to be left with serious injuries and disabilities than the victims of other motor vehicle accidents.
When to Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer
The reality is that truck accidents cause an average of 130,000 injuries each year. Those injured in a truck accident that was not their fault need a reliable truck accident lawyer to help them get the compensation they rightfully deserve to cover their medical expenses and lost wages.
Truck accident lawyers at Keating Law have decades of experience in handling motor vehicle accidents and truck accident lawsuits. Those who have lost their loved one in a truck accident should also contact Keating Law Firm to file a wrongful death claim and hold the liable party responsible.
The Most Common Reasons Why Columbus Truck Accidents Occur
There are several reasons why truck accidents occur. It could be because of a truck driver speeding to meet the demands of his job or a mechanical problem with the truck. Whatever the reason for the accident, victims can find reliable legal support from Keating Law Firm's experienced legal team. The section below discusses some of the most common reasons for accidents involving large commercial trucks.
Unrealistic Deadlines Set By Trucking Companies
Collisions caused by commercial truckers frequently occur due to the driver's negligence or reckless behavior. However, unlike other motor vehicle accidents, the truck driver may not be the only one to blame.
Truckers are often given strict deadlines, with little time allocated for drivers to rest. This leaves Columbus truck drivers tired and unable to concentrate on driving. The trucking company can also be held liable for the damages in these cases.
If trucking companies fail to perform the necessary maintenance on their vehicles and this causes a trucking accident, the trucking company will be held responsible. Additionally, if inexperienced drivers are allowed to drive a truck and cause a truck accident, the trucking company will also be held responsible. Contact an experienced truck accident attorney from Keating Law Firm to pursue compensation from all the responsible parties.
Truck Driver Error
A study conducted in Kansas that analyzed the truck accident data from 2004 to 2008 concluded that driver error accounted for approximately three-quarters of the accidents that occurred in that period.
Here are some of the most common types of driver errors that cause truck accidents in Columbus:
Taking risks on busy freeways like the I-670 or the I-270. These include tailgating, changing lanes without indicating, and traveling too close to other vehicles
Speeding, especially on Columbus' I-70 and I-71 roads
Driver fatigue causes the driver to fall asleep behind the wheel
Incompetent truck drivers who fail to control the truck, particularly in inclement weather conditions or while attempting to go around a sharp bend or ramp
Distracted driving, which includes texting, eating, adjusting the stereo, and other similar activities while operating a truck
Operating a truck while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Mechanical Errors May Also Be to Blame
Mechanical errors can also occur when traveling long distances. These mechanical errors are often out of the driver's control. However, many mechanical problems can be identified quite easily through regular maintenance of the vehicle.
Here are some of the most common mechanical errors that lead to these accidents:
Heavy cargo or cargo that has not been adequately secured
Signals and lights that have stopped working
In these cases, a Columbus truck accident lawyer will hold the trucking companies involved liable for failing to provide a duty of care to the victim by failing to maintain the vehicle.
Whatever the Reason, Contact a Columbus Truck Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible
These are just a few of the causes of accidents where a delivery truck, tractor-trailer, semi-truck, and other commercial trucking vehicles are involved in collisions. Whatever caused the collision, victims must ensure that they treat it as a serious matter and contact a Columbus truck accident attorney as soon as possible to obtain legal counsel and begin the legal process.
Who Can Be Sued in a Truck Accident Case?
Truck collisions aren't always basic. While people may believe that the truck driver is to blame, this may not always be the case. Claimants could file a suit against one or more of the parties named below.
The Truck Driver
If a commercial truck driver's negligence caused the collision, they could be held liable. This means that drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs or those caught speeding may be required to pay compensation to the victim from their insurance coverage.
Truck Parts Manufacturers
Sometimes a defective part can cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle. In such cases, a plaintiff must prove that the defective part was wholly or partially to blame for the accident. If the manufacturer is only partially to blame, the compensation will be split between the manufacturer and the truck driver or trucking company.
Should the defective part be the sole cause of the accident, only the manufacturer is held responsible. Claimants could be able to file a claim against a technician who unwittingly caused the crash by failing to address a flaw properly.
Companies are indirectly accountable for their workers' negligent behavior under the tort principle of vicarious responsibility. This means that if one of its workers causes an accident, the trucking company will be held liable. As an example, if a trucking business fails to train its employees adequately, they will be held liable.
Similarly, if a business employs a driver with a history of drinking and driving convictions, the business will be held liable if the driver causes an accident while intoxicated. This individual, however, must be a full-time member of staff and not an independent contractor. Furthermore, the worker's vehicle must have crashed during business hours.
The Shipper or Loader of the Cargo
When goods fall out of a truck, it spills and is more than likely to cause another car to crash. The cargo shipper will be held responsible for the accident if this occurs. In these cases, the producer, shipper, or loader could be held liable.
Other Third Parties
A third party is a motorist who is not the truck driver or any of the individuals listed above. Consider what happens if a small vehicle overtakes or swerves in front of a truck suddenly and without warning. The truck may enter the accident victim's lane in an attempt to avoid being hit by the car, resulting in a head-on accident. In these cases, the third-party motorist would be held accountable.
The Statute of Limitations in Ohio for Filing a Truck Accident Claim
Suppose a victim wants to hold a party liable, whether it is the negligent truck driver, the trucking companies, or both, liable for the injuries and damages they suffered as a result of a trucking accident. In that case, there are certain time limits in which to do so.
According to the Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10, sufferers may file a lawsuit within two years from the date of the accident. Furthermore, according to Ohio Revised Code Section 2125.02, the family members of a person who lost their lives in a truck accident have two years in which to file a wrongful death claim.
Establishing Negligence in Truck Accidents
Victims must prove that the trucking driver or trucking company was negligent in order to obtain compensation for the damages they suffered, regardless of who is the responsible party. This process requires collecting a lot of evidence.
The truth is that many truck accident victims have no clue where to start when proving negligence, so it is best to contact a truck accident lawyer who can help to compile evidence in support of the victim's allegations. Below are some of the ways a Columbus truck accident lawyer can prove negligence in a truck accident case.
Claimants may also need the expert opinion of several professionals who can testify in favor of their allegations, in addition to collecting evidence and conducting research. If a manufacturer failed to repair a defective part in the truck, having a mechanical expert who can describe the problem in greater detail could be highly advantageous to a truck accident case.
Other Witness Statements
Plaintiffs may also be able to rely on the testimonies of those who witnessed the incident or those who have worked with the trucking company involved. If, for example, the truck driver alleges that they were overworked, getting other commercial truck drivers from the trucking company to relay their experiences can back up this allegation and may help prove the company's negligence.
The Most Common Types of Truck Accidents
Accidents involving trucks can happen in a number of ways. Here are some of the most common accidents seen on Columbus roads:
Head-on collisions - these accidents are common at intersections
Rear-end collisions - often end in serious injuries or death because the truck tends to crush the car
Jackknife accidents - braking suddenly can result in the truck's trailer swinging out of its lane and hitting other motorists
Blindspot accidents - sometimes, truck drivers may not see a car in their blind spot, causing a collision
Rollover accidents - when the truck falls to its side
Underride accidents - when a truck stops unexpectedly, this deadly accident can occur, as cars can become trapped beneath the truck's trailer
Tire blowouts - an accident caused by wear and tear of the tires when trucks travel long distances
Common Injuries Sustained in Motor Vehicle Accidents Involving Trucks
Whether the injury was severe or minor, truck accident victims are encouraged to book a free consultation with a Keating Law truck accident lawyer to determine whether they are eligible for compensation.
The reality is that truck accident injuries are often far worse than other motor vehicle accidents. This is not surprising since an 18-wheeler carrying a full load can weigh 9 tons or more. Here are some of the most common injuries that victims often sustain in truck accidents.
1. Head Injuries
The occupants of a vehicle can be tossed around when the vehicle collides with a large truck. They may even be thrown out of the car in some cases. Drivers and passengers are at risk of crashing into several interior components, such as the dash or windscreen, as a result of this. Head, neck, or brain injuries usually occur when the head takes the brunt of the hit.
Brain damage may occur as a result of a forceful blow or jolt of the head in a serious motor vehicle crash. Head injuries can be life-changing and even result in permanent disability. These injuries aren't often obvious right away, and they can happen even if a victim hasn't been left unresponsive or unconscious.
Injuries to the head and neck sustained in a truck accident are often serious and lead to the loss of physical and cognitive functions, which can change the sufferer's quality of life significantly. This is why it is imperative to hold the truck driver or trucking companies responsible when these injuries occur. Examples of head injuries include contusions, concussions, hemorrhages, and hematomas.
2. Spinal Cord Injuries
During a truck accident, injuries to the spinal cord are typically very severe, usually leading to permanent paralysis and even disability. Like head injuries, spinal cord damage may not be apparent at first. This is why anyone involved in a truck accident is always advised to seek medical help as soon as possible, regardless of how they feel.
The nerve fibers in the spinal column transmit information from the brain to the rest of the body, which makes it the communication superhighway of the body. When there is an injury to this essential anatomical structure, there isn't always a fast way to manage the issues that arise.
Treatment could take years to manage pain, rectify issues through surgical procedures, regain use of the limbs through physical therapy. These treatments can be expensive. However, a truck accident attorney can help victims claim these expenses by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
3. Burns, Scars, and Disfigurement
A burn is another significant injury that can happen as a consequence of a truck accident. When a truck comes into contact with a passenger vehicle, it often causes substantially more damage, and there is a significant risk of puncturing gasoline tanks.
There is, therefore, a risk of a fire spreading quickly and consuming the truck or neighboring cars. As a result, the people in the vehicles may suffer serious burns. Depending on the extent of the burn injuries experienced, victims may require intensive medical treatment and a prolonged hospital stay.
Numerous cuts and bruises can be caused by glass shards, sharp metal pieces, or unsecured objects that become airborne within the vehicle. A laceration can cause serious scarring or even a potentially fatal infection, so these injuries should not be taken lightly.
4. Broken Bones and Amputations
When a heavy vehicle runs someone over, any of the 206 bones of the body can be cracked or broken. Truck accidents can also lead to deformities and amputations. Amputations are common in collisions involving large vehicles, especially when the passenger car is smashed. Those who have suffered these injuries will likely need ongoing medical treatment and devices such as prosthetics.
5. Injuries to Internal Organs
Blunt force trauma during a collision can cause internal organs like the spleen, liver, stomach, and kidneys to become damaged. This can lead to internal bleeding and other complications requiring surgery. Broken ribs can become dislodged and pierce lungs, which can cause life-threatening complications and even death.
What Damages Can Victims Claim in Truck Accident Cases?
Because of the size and weight of a truck, truck accidents often have devastating consequences. During a truck accident, bodies can be crushed and limbs severed, which often leads to financial losses like lost wages and growing medical bills.
However, these are not the only damages that can be claimed in truck accident lawsuits. These damages, or losses, can be categorized as either economic or non-economic damages.
These damages are easy to quantify, as they include the financial losses a victim suffered as the result of someone else's negligence.
The Types of Economic Damages That Can Be Included in Truck Accident Claims
Here are some of the economic damages victims can claim following a truck accident:
Lost wages, both past, and future. Victims may only claim for the wages they did not receive because of the injuries caused during the truck accident
Medical bills, both past, and future. This includes all medical treatment received for the injuries sustained in the accident. A truck accident attorney will also accommodate for the medical expenses that a victim will incur in the future for their injuries
Property damage. Vehicle repair can be costly, and those who don't have insurance can end up paying thousands of dollars out of their pocket to have their vehicle fixed. They can recover these costs in a truck accident lawsuit
A Columbus truck accident lawyer will use several documents, including medical bills, tax forms, and repair bills to prove these damages.
These damages do not have monetary value like economic damages but rather have to do with the emotional and mental consequences of commercial truck accidents. Although these losses are difficult to quantify, an experienced truck accident lawyer can help victims determine the amount they rightfully deserve.
The Types of Non-economic Damages Victims Can Claim in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Here are some of the non-economic damages that can be claimed:
Pain and suffering. This refers to the emotional distress a person faced as a result of the trucking accident
Disability. In addition to the financial compensation for injuries, victims may claim for the emotional distress and mental anguish caused by permanent disability following Columbus truck accidents
Mental anguish. Often, severe injuries can lead to depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, which victims can hold the responsible party liable for
Loss of consortium. Experienced lawyers can also help victims claim for the effect that the trucking accident had on their relationships
Scars and Disfigurement. When injuries cause scars and disfigurement, it can change how a person looks and how they feel about themselves. A Columbus truck accident lawyer will add this to the claim to ensure that the liable party is held responsible for causing the victim this hardship
In order to find out what damages they can claim in a truck accident case, victims are encouraged to get in touch with a knowledgeable attorney from Keating Law as soon as possible for the best chance at obtaining the compensation they rightly deserve.
Punitive damages are damages that aim to punish the negligent party. Punitive damages are awarded by courts to penalize truck drivers who are incredibly careless. It also acts as a deterrent to other drivers, preventing them from engaging in similar behavior. These damages are not awarded by insurance carriers.
Preparation of the Witnesses
Working with witnesses is a crucial aspect of any case. If there are people who testify on one of the party's behalf, it could prove to be beneficial. The accident lawyer in Columbus is going to prepare them for the process so that they do not get intimated or uncomfortable by the opposing party.
Steps to Take After a Truck Accident
Knowing what steps to take after a truck accident can mean the difference between winning and losing a personal injury case. Here are some of the steps victims should take after an accident occurs.
At the Accident Scene
After an accident occurs, it can be difficult to tell what needs to be done. Here are some of the most important steps that don't just improve an injured party's chances at healing from their injuries but also improve their chances of winning their truck accident lawsuit.
1. Contact the Police
One of the most critical steps is contacting law enforcement. A police officer will provide an unbiased account of the accident that can provide crucial information when preparing a personal injury lawsuit. The relevant insurance company will also look at this report before paying out an insurance claim.
Law enforcement will also contact emergency medical services to get any injured parties the medical help they need. At this point, it is essential to mention that everyone involved in an accident should seek medical attention, even if they feel fine at first, because in some cases, symptoms of serious conditions may only be felt a few hours after the accident.
2. Take Pictures
Another thing victims should do after an accident is to take pictures of the accident scene. These images can serve as critical evidence in the case when determining negligence.
3. Obtain Information from the Other Driver
If possible, be sure to talk to the truck driver before leaving the scene. Make a note of the truck's license plate number, the driver's name, contact number, insurance company contact details, and the name of his or her employer.
4. Talk to Witnesses
In addition to obtaining the contact details of the driver and anyone else involved in the accident, it is also essential to obtain the contact details of passersby who may have witnessed the accident. The truck accident lawyer involved can contact these witnesses when preparing the case to obtain their statements or ask them to appear in court to recount what they witnessed.
After the Accident
Below are the steps that should be taken after the accident occurs to help build a strong case.
1. Collect Evidence
Compile a list of medical bills, bills for the repair of the vehicle, and other relevant documents so that they are available when preparing a lawsuit. The insurance company will also request to see this evidence before they provide fair compensation.
2. Contact the Other Driver's Insurance Company
Victims should have obtained the insurance information from the at-fault party at the accident scene. If not, they can get in touch with the driver to obtain this information. They can then file a claim with the insurance company. According to Ohio state law, it is mandatory for all drivers to have insurance coverage.
3. Get in Touch with a Reliable Lawyer
The final step victims can take is contacting an experienced attorney who specializes in truck accident-related claims. An attorney can help walk claimants through the claims process, gather evidence to back up their claim, and help them determine what fair compensation for their case is.
When Ohio Truck Accidents Result in Fatalities
Occupants of a motor vehicle, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists are all at risk of facing severe injuries and even death in truck accidents. In most situations, the force of the collision is too great for them to withstand.
Get Much-needed Financial Relief
Losing a loved one in an untimely death caused by someone else's negligence is never easy to deal with. However, holding the negligent party liable for causing this loss is essential in these circumstances, as it can provide much-needed financial relief.
What Can a Family Claim in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The truck accident lawyers at Keating Law will help the family of victims to pursue compensation for funeral expenses and other damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Here are some of the damages that will be included in the wrongful death claim:
Funeral expenses. Because the victim died as a result of someone else's negligent actions, he or she must be held liable for the burial costs and other funeral expenses
Lost income. When a loved one dies unexpectedly, the family may be left with no income to pay their bills. A truck accident lawyer can help the family recover compensation to help them adjust to this loss of income
Loss of companionship, parental guidance, and consortium. Family members may also obtain compensation for the lost relationships caused by their loved one's untimely death
Why Choose Keating Law Firm?
Victims may be spoiled for choice with so many personal injury lawyers in Columbus. However, a few qualities make Keating Law stand out from other law firms in Columbus.
A proven track record. Keating Law Firm has decades of experience in handling truck accident cases, knowing how to hold negligent truck drivers and trucking companies responsible for their part in causing the accident.
Affordability. Lawyers at Keating Law work on a contingency fee basis, so victims don't have to worry about paying upfront fees. It also means that if the truck accident lawyer loses the case, they don't get paid, which means there's motivation to get a favorable outcome
Expert witnesses. Having enough evidence is crucial to proving negligence in a truck accident case. This is why Keating Law will enlist the help of experts to help provide crucial evidence
Respect and care. Commercial truck accidents are traumatic, so victims don't need rude or accusatory behavior when seeking legal assistance. Keating Law is dedicated to treating every client with the respect and care they deserve
Free legal consultation. Keating Law also offers free consultations, so victims can discuss the unique details of their case with trusted legal advice to determine whether they do, in fact, have grounds for a lawsuit
Need Reliable Truck Accident Lawyers? Contact Keating Law Firm Today!
Columbus truck accidents can happen for a number of reasons, and when they do, victims can be left with serious injuries that change their lives forever. Injuries caused in a truck accident are often more serious than any other type of accident, which can leave victims with mounting medical bills and even a loss of income.
Victims of trucking accidents are encouraged to contact an experienced attorney from Keating Law who can help them build a case. Contact Keating Law today at (866) 836-4878 to book a free consultation and case review!