Big rig crashes are increasing in Kentucky and across the nation. A shortage of skilled and experienced veteran drivers, new and poorly trained drivers and distracted drivers are only part of the problem.
Since the pandemic, there are more trucks on Kentucky roadways than ever before. People are hooked on the convenience of online shopping, and scores of big rigs are on the move to meet the demand. Drivers travel long distances under tight, inflexible schedules, and they are under extreme pressure to make deliveries on time.
To get the job done and avoid paying a late-delivery penalty, drivers sometimes skip meals and don’t take required breaks. They sometimes skimp on sleep for days at a time and may even rely on drugs to keep them awake. Although these practices might help truckers to meet deadlines, they also increase the likelihood of a serious accident.
The constant stress and sleep deprivation take a heavy toll on a driver’s judgment, reaction time and critical thinking. It can result in distracted driving, nodding off behind the wheel and other dangerous driving practices that put truck drivers and passenger cars at substantial risk of collision.
Big truck collisions are significantly more likely to result in fatalities than wrecks involving passenger autos alone. In most big rig wrecks, it’s the passenger car occupants who are hurt the most.
What If I’m Hit By a Truck?
Many motorists incorrectly believe that trucking insurance companies have deep pockets and sufficient resources to fairly compensate the victims who are injured by their trucks. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.
Trucking companies would rather spend their money on cutthroat lawyers who do their best to ensure that victims of trucking collisions get as little as possible regardless of how seriously they are hurt.
What Does it Mean to Establish Fault?
The likelihood of receiving full compensation for damages sustained in a Kentucky truck collision is largely determined by who is at fault, and Kentucky is a no-fault state.
Under the no-fault system, a driver injured in a collision would initially receive compensation from their own insurance company. The personal injury protection policy (PIP) is designed to cover lost wages, medical bills and other expenses resulting from an accident.
It does not cover catastrophic injuries such as those typically sustained after colliding with a big rig. To cover those expenses, which can last for the rest of a person’s life, an injured motorist would file a lawsuit as a plaintiff seeking additional compensation from the defendant, who in this case would be the truck driver’s insurance company. .
But before you can file a lawsuit, you must first identify who is liable. Because many truck accidents are extremely complex, determining liability can be daunting.
If your expenses exceed what your insurance company is willing to pay, determining fault is the key to receiving fair compensation from the truck driver’s insurance company.
Establishing fault in a big rig collision can involve multiple defendants. Here are some of the most common defendants in a trucking accident lawsuit:
- Trucking company
- Truck driver
- Truck owner
- Insurance company for the truck
- Insurance company for the driver
- Truck parts manufacturer
- Shipping company that loaded the cargo
How Is Fault Determined?
In most cases, the at-fault party is not immediately apparent. Depending on the number of vehicles involved in the crash, establishing fault can involve a number of measures;
- In-depth investigation of the crash site
- Assessment of the vehicles involved in the wreck
- Documents from relevant parties
Relevant parties can include the truck driver’s employer, manufacturing logs for the truck and the shipping company responsible for loading the cargo. Identifying a manufacturer who is responsible for a defective part can be time-consuming in and of itself.
Truck parts can originate from multiple manufacturers, so tracking down which manufacturers contributed which parts can be an arduous task.
Although big rigs can be likened to danger on wheels, they are not always to blame for the accidents in which they are involved. There are cases when passenger vehicles are to blame for big rig wrecks. More often, they are partially responsible.
The states follow one of four rules to handle damages when a plaintiff is partially to blame for an accident. Partial liability indicates that although a driver didn’t cause the wreck, they might have contributed to it.
Another possible outcome in a truck accident lawsuit in Kentucky is that the passenger car driver could have avoided or prevented the collision had they reacted differently. The degree of comparative negligence on the part of the plaintiff will reduce the final settlement amount by the same percentage.
What Kind of Compensation Can a Truck Accident Victim Receive?
A Kentucky truck accident lawsuit seeks to recover all the costs that were incurred as a result of getting hit by a truck. That includes all of the following expenses as well as other costs not included in this list:
- Medical care past, present and future
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Daily living assistance
- Special provisions in your home to accommodate injuries
- Legal fees
- Lost wages now and future
- Therapy to treat emotional trauma and PTSD
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral and burial costs in a fatal collision
If you’ve been hit by a truck and feel that negligence was the cause, call Golden Law Office now. The consultation is free. You can win, but first you have to call.
Golden Law is a local, Kentucky Law Firm, attorneys/lawyers in Fayette County, Kentucky, working in the fields of personal injury, auto accidents, car and truck wrecks; medical malpractice: doctors, hospitals & nursing homes; senior living abuse: neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, dehydration, bedsores, catastrophic injuries, and broken bones. If you are considering a lawsuit, call us at 859.469.5000 for a free consultation. We are located at 771 Corporate Dr. Suite 800/ Lexington, Kentucky 40503. We handle cases all over the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We have represented and trained people in major insurance companies & major trucking companies. We have first hand experience and know the ‘inside of the insurance business’ … that’s a distinction that no other law firm can make. We’re Your Advocate. Dale Golden, Laraclay Parker.