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Large trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Because of the heavy weight and size of commercial trucks, accidents in which they are involved are much likelier to be catastrophic or even fatal.
The trucking industry is heavily regulated in order to minimize the risk to other drivers on the road. When you have been seriously injured in a truck accident, you may seek compensation for your losses through personal injury lawsuits. Let a West Virginia truck accident lawyer from our firm help you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled.
Cases involving commercial trucks are normally much more complex than those involving other types of vehicles. The trucking industry is very regulated by both the state of West Virginia as well as the federal government. This means that there are strict rules in place that must be followed by those in the industry.
We at Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, understand the different regulations that govern those in the trucking industry, and that knowledge combined with legal acumen helps us provide an honest assessment of liability in trucking cases.
Truck drivers who cause accidents are not the only potential defendants in these cases. Their employers may also hold liability for the actions of drivers. Liability for trucking accidents may apply to any or all of the following, depending on the facts and circumstances of a particular case:
As is the case with accidents involving other types of vehicles, if you are involved in a collision with a large truck, you will likely need to demonstrate the driver’s negligence. There are a couple of important factors having to do with the added difficulty of driving large trucks that may make this more difficult.
The first is jackknifing. Trucks are prone to jackknifing, especially during hazardous driving conditions or when stopping abruptly. In either case, the driver may not be held liable.
Commercial trucks are also often difficult to turn. In fact, they may require two lanes to complete a sharp turn. If your accident involved a truck that was making a turn, there may not be a clear case of negligence.
Given the special considerations that are taken into account when determining negligence and liability in accidents involving large, commercial trucks, it may be especially important to work with a legal representative who is familiar with this type of case.
Truck crash injuries can be significantly more severe than standard car accidents because the size and weight of most commercial trucks often lead to catastrophic injuries and permanent physical damage to the people involved. Individuals harmed in such accidents may sustain the following types of injuries:
Catastrophic injuries sustained in a semi-truck collision can have life-altering consequences. For example, spinal cord damage can leave the victim paralyzed from the waist or neck down. Traumatic brain injuries can permanently alter the individual’s thinking, memories, and reasoning skills, while significant burns can cause disfigurement and the need for skin grafts. Internal organ damage and bleeding call for emergency surgery, as can cuts and puncture wounds if an individual is anemic or takes blood-thinning medication.
The mental and emotional trauma associated with trucking accidents could also be largely impactful for those involved in the crash. Many people who live through such accidents suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can cause them to relive a trucking collision and potentially lead to the development of night terrors or an inability to be in crowds or heavy traffic. Mental and emotional trauma could take longer than physical injuries to heal, depending on the individual.
Providing as much detail about your injuries as possible will help a local legal professional strengthen your case. These details may come in the form of medical records and police reports as well as personal written statements from loved ones about how this trauma has affected you.
Damages requested by lawyers representing truck accident victims commonly include emergency medical care, ongoing medical care, physical and occupational therapy, lost wages, and disability. These are called economic damages because they are quantifiable losses related to the truck accident. The second type of damages are called non-economic damages and provide compensation for the pain and trauma individuals experience as a result of a commercial vehicle crash. This usually includes emotional distress, pain and suffering, reduced enjoyment of life, and mental health afflictions.
If a person passes away because of his or her injuries, their surviving family members can request damages such as loss of future wages, loss of companionship, funeral and burial expenses, emergency care costs, and loss of life enjoyment. The term “loss of future wages” refers to the reasonable income the deceased individual would have earned had they survived. West Virginia limits non-economic damages to $500,000 for catastrophic injury cases and $250,000 for standard injury claims. There is no limit on economic damages in a truck crash case.
The statute of limitations for auto accident cases in West Virginia is generally two years. This means that individuals who file after the two-year period ends may not receive compensation. The date of the commercial truck accident is the start date for this time-frame. It is therefore advisable to seek legal counsel as soon as possible after a big rig collision to avoid missing the filing deadline.
Driving safely around large, commercial trucks can be difficult. Perhaps you didn’t leave enough following distance or failed to take into account the truck driver’s limited visibility. If this is the case, you may be partly at fault for the accident.
However, that does not necessarily mean you are not entitled to receive damages. Under the legal doctrine called “comparative damages,” the other party’s negligence will be compared with your own. And the party’s percentage of liability determines the damages they will pay. So if the driver of the truck’s negligence contributed to the accident more than your own, you will likely be able to collect damages. Working with a legal representative experienced in determining “comparative damages” is important in a case such as this.
When you have been injured in a trucking accident through no fault of your own, you deserve to be compensated for both your economic and non-economic losses, which our team can fight to maximize.
Call or send us an e-mail for a free consultation from a West Virginia truck accident lawyer. We are here to assist you during this challenging time and help you navigate your claim to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law