Every time you drive on the highway, it’s likely you find yourself surrounded by tractor-trailers. While those large trucks are hauling important goods and services across the state and country, a vehicle of that size can become incredibly dangerous if an accident occurs. If you find yourself dealing with the aftermath of a crash, a Richmond truck accident lawyer from Golden Law Office can help.
Tractor-trailers are significantly larger than the average passenger vehicle. Because of that, traffic accidents can easily result in terrible injuries or fatalities. When a crash victim is faced with dealing with the ramification of an accident on their own, filing a truck accident claim is a way to recover compensation and move forward from what happened. Semi wrecks happen everywhere – even in Richmond. Let’s take a look at how tractor-trailer accidents affect our area.
Truck Accidents in Richmond, KY
According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, 10,620 trucks were involved in crashes throughout the state in 2018. While trucks only accounted for four percent of the vehicles involved in collisions, they accounted for nine percent of vehicles in fatal crashes.
A number of truck accidents happen in and around Richmond. For example, Kentucky State Police, Richmond Post, investigated a fatal collision involving the loss of a father and his 13-year-old son. The November 2019 collision occurred when a flatbed truck and trailer crossed the center line and collided with the passenger vehicle. In February 2020, a tanker accident resulted in a chemical spill. The driver was on his way to Richmond when he crashed in Williamsburg, spilling 1,600 gallons of the chemical butyl acrylates – which is used in manufacturing.
In some cases, vehicular factors, like tire failure, load securement, and defective brakes, contribute to accidents; however, human error plays a role in the majority of crashes. Distracted driving, fatigue, and disobeying the rules of the road are common causes of accidents in Richmond. Determining the cause of a truck accident is important, as it helps determine liability.
If you’ve been in a crash, it’s likely you’re dealing with the consequences on your own. When you work with a personal injury lawyer, they can determine all the ways you’ve been affected and help you recover the compensation you need to take care of your losses.
The Consequences of a Tractor-Trailer Crash
With how dangerous tractor-trailer accidents are, it’s no surprise that victims are left to deal with a number of physical, emotional, and financial consequences. It can be challenging to determine just how you’ve been affected, which is where we come in.
The injuries a crash victim sustains vary depending on the severity of the accident. Because of the size and weight difference between a semi and a passenger vehicle, it’s less likely a passenger will sustain bumps and bruises and more likely they’ll have to recover from broken bones and internal damage.
When injuries are so severe that they impact a person’s ability to work and make money, they’re considered catastrophic. Spinal cord damage and traumatic brain injuries are among the most common catastrophic injuries. With damage to the spinal cord, a person could develop any level of paralysis or have difficulty moving. With a brain injury, the impact could change a person’s motor skill abilities or cognition. Both types of catastrophic injuries require extended recovery. The victim will likely need to learn to adapt to a new way of life.
While the physical injuries need to be dealt with immediately following the crash, there could also be emotional issues to deal with. Suffering from sleep problems, depression, anxiety, and behavior changes are not uncommon after an accident. In particularly traumatic accidents, like if fatalities or catastrophic injuries were involved, it’s not uncommon to develop post-traumatic stress disorder. As with physical injuries, emotional trauma should be treated by a medical professional. There are a number of different methods to help crash victims cope with what they’ve been through.
In regard to the financial consequences following a truck accident, victims are often left with expensive medical bills and property damage costs. If the injuries prohibit them from working for a time, lost wages can make it difficult to keep up with regular bills and expenses and almost impossible to afford new expenses. That’s why it’s often in the best interests of an accident victim to seek guidance from an attorney, who can help them seek the compensation they need to recover as fully as possible.
Steps to Filing a Truck Accident Claim
When you file a personal injury claim after a truck accident, your lawyer will be prepared to present a strong case on your behalf. Building that case is a complex and intricate process, but it will start will getting your side of what happened. Your attorney will make a detailed account of what you say happened, so they can start collecting evidence for support.
Some trucking companies employ the use of cameras in the cabs of their vehicles. Your Richmond lawyer can find out of a camera was present in the truck involved in your accident, so the footage can be reviewed. This may tell you if your driver was distracted or falling asleep. The driver’s logbook can be used to review the number of hours the driver was been on the road, how many breaks they took, and how many miles they drove. If any of the numbers seem off or blatantly disregard the federal limits, that could support the trucker being at fault for the accident.
Trucks are also equipped with black boxes that traffic important information. These event data records keep track of a truck’s speed, deceleration, acceleration, cruise control use, hard stops, tire pressure, GPS location information, and more. Your lawyer will gain access to that information to determine if there’s any evidence there to support negligence.
We’ll also look at truck maintenance records, information on the cargo-loading company that loaded the truck, photographs from the accident, your medical records, and the official police report. If available, we’ll also speak to any witnesses that saw the crash happen.
Once the evidence has been collected and we’ve nailed down the cause of your accident, we can begin determining who caused it. In most cases, the truck driver is responsible; however, that’s not always true.
If the truck wasn’t properly maintained or too much was being demanded of the driver, the trucking company could be liable. Trucking companies are supposed to ensure their vehicles are roadworthy and their drivers can safely get from point A to point B.
In the event a defective auto part, like a faulty brake line or steering mechanism, caused your accident, we can look into holding and manufacturer responsible.
Proving Your Case
Once we’ve built up your claim and determined fault, we can focus on presenting it in a convincing manner. It’s likely you’ll be dealing with the trucking company’s or driver’s insurance company. Insurance adjusters can be hard to speak with because their goal is generally to protect their company’s bottom line – which means minimizing your settlement offer. We’ll handle those conversations for you and make sure we do what it takes to get you full and fair compensation.
While some tractor-trailer crash claims settle outside of court, that’s not always the case. If we feel you’re not being offered the settlement you deserve, we won’t hesitate to take the claim to the next step and file a lawsuit to get an official verdict.
What to Expect When Seeking Compensation
Once it’s proven you were not responsible for the truck accident, you can begin the process of seeking the compensation you need to recover. Your truck accident lawyer will be sure to take all your losses into consideration when it comes time to negotiate your settlement.
Some of your losses will fall into the economic category. The damages can be calculated based on actual dollar amounts. You’ll need to provide your attorney with information on all your medical bills related to the accident, any out-of-pocket expenses, and lost wages. You can seek compensation for those expenses so you can pay off those bills and get back to only thinking about monthly expenses.
Other losses will be considered noneconomic. These damages are harder to calculate, as they’re based on subjective losses. They cover factors like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. While determining what to seek can be challenging, your lawyer will have an idea of what to value your noneconomic damages based on previous cases and how much you’ve had to endure.
Golden Law Office is Here for You
While filing a claim may seem like a daunting task, doing so will put you on the path to recovery faster. When you have the means to take care of your financial losses, you can focus on recovering physically and emotionally. To learn more about how a Richmond truck accident lawyer can help you get back on your feet after a crash, schedule a free consultation with our Golden Law Office today.