Commercial trucks are notorious for causing catastrophic accidents. When they happen, the consequences can be horrible for anyone in a passenger vehicle. Unfortunately, if you drive for any length of time, being near a truck is basically going to be unavoidable.
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, you should seriously consider speaking with a Penn Kestner & McEwen attorney. Our firm has a great deal of experience in helping clients obtain full and fair compensation, and we will work tirelessly on your behalf. We’ll thoroughly investigate the accident, determine all of the liable parties, and then fight for your rights at every turn.
Ohio Truck Accident Statistics
Between the years 2017-2021, there were 808 fatalities involving commercial vehicle accidents – an average of 161.6 each year. The lowest number of deaths during this time was 132 in 2020, with the highest being 192 the next year.
According to a survey of long-haul commercial truck drivers, 35% reported being in at least one accident during their career. What’s even more troubling is that nearly 25% of them said they were involved in a near-miss in the previous week.
Truck Accidents vs. Car Accidents: What’s the Difference?
Make no mistake, when two passenger cars collide, the results can be devastating. But truck/car accidents tend to be much worse. When a truck hits a car, the impact is much greater, since the truck is so much larger. That tends to make the injuries much more severe.
There are also several differences when it comes to lawsuits. Car wrecks can be complex, but not like truck accidents. There are two main reasons why this is the case.
First, the stakes are typically much higher. Since the injuries are usually worse, the insurance policies that cover trucks are worth a great deal more money. Policies of at least $1 million, or even $2 million are not at all uncommon. So, the insurance companies involved are going to fight incredibly hard to avoid as much liability as possible.
Second, there are many truck accidents where more than one party is liable. As you’ll learn in the next section, a truck accident victim could wind up filing several lawsuits, as opposed to one in the typical car wreck.
The complexities involved in this kind of case are simply too much for the average person to be able to handle. If you want to have the best chance of obtaining maximum compensation, you’re going to need the help of a skilled attorney.
Who Can be Held Liable for a Truck Accident in Ohio?
Again, there are several parties that could face liability when a truck accident takes place.
Let’s consider one possible scenario. A truck rolls over on its side and then plows into a car, causing a severe injury to the driver of that car. After an investigation, it’s discovered that the driver had been behind the wheel for 15 straight hours – a clear violation of federal regulations. But there were other contributing factors as well. A tire blew out because it was defective, and the cargo in the trailer shifted due to negligent loading. Both of these events played a major role in the truck driver losing control. But the investigation also shows that the truck’s brakes failed due to a lack of maintenance.
The injury victim will have a lot of options when it comes to taking legal action. These include suing the:
- Driver for operating the truck while fatigued.
- Manufacturer of the defective tire.
- Company that loaded the cargo.
- Company that owns the truck for failing to keep the machine properly maintained.
Types of Evidence We’ll Use to Build Your Ohio Trucking Accident Case
So, how will your attorney be able to figure out exactly who to sue, and how much to demand? By launching an exhaustive investigation as quickly as possible.
This investigation will be needed in order to gather the evidence it will take to not only identify all potentially liable parties, but also to make your case as strong as it can be. This evidence can include witness statements, footage from nearby surveillance cameras, the police report and much more.
All commercial trucks, for instance, are required to carry what is commonly referred to as a “black box,” or a device that records critical data. This device can show how fast the truck was moving, whether or not there was some sort of system failure, and provide other critical information. An attorney can also obtain logbooks, dispatch records, and even the driver’s phone records.
Every piece of evidence your lawyer obtains will be incredibly important. It will make a huge difference in your ability to get the money you have coming.
Damages You Can Claim in an Ohio Truck Accident Case
If you’ve suffered a severe injury, you’re probably already having to deal with financial losses. You’re not getting paid because you can’t work, and your medical bills keep pouring in. These losses are known as “damages.” But there are other kinds of damages as well, ones that are more subjective. These include loss of quality of life, emotional and mental trauma, and others. Your attorney will work to get the compensation needed to recover all of the damages you’ve experienced.
How Long do I Have to File an Ohio Truck Accident Lawsuit?
You have two years in Ohio from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. This is known as the “statute of limitations.” If you don’t take action within that time, you will no longer be eligible to do so. But you should actually speak with an attorney as quickly as possible. Again, this is a very complex type of case. You’ll need the investigation to start immediately before crucial evidence is lost forever.