West Virginia Trucking Accident Lawyers
The number of tractor-trailers, semi trucks, and other large, commercial motor vehicles on West Virginia roadways has risen sharply in recent years. Sadly, with this increase in large truck traffic, the rate of injuries and fatalities caused by tractor-trailer crashes continues to climb.
Crashes involving commercial trucks, often weighing 80,000 pounds compared to a 3,000 to 5,000 pound passenger vehicle, commonly result in serious injury and sometimes death. In fact, large truck accidents account for over 4,800 fatalities and 100,000 injuries each year in the US.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a West Virginia trucking or automobile accident, West Law Firm can help. We have decades of collective experience helping people like you recover full and fair compensation for their losses while providing them excellent, caring service. We invite you to call us today for a FREE consultation at 1-877-943-WEST (1-877-943-9378). And with West Law Firm, you never have to worry about whether you can afford a lawyer because there’s No Fee unless and until we get money for you.
Three Ways To Avoid Tractor Trailer Crashes
1. Allow plenty of space between your car and vehicle in front of you, especially when there is a tractor trailer behind you.
This will give you enough time to stop suddenly if necessary without crashing into the car in front of you. As a result, you will avoid a collision with the vehicle ahead of you and avoid being a sitting target for any tractor trailers behind you.
2. Routinely check your rearview mirrors.
We all know it’s important and the law to not follow vehicles in front of us too closely. However, it’s also important to not allow others to “ride our bumpers,” especially heavy tractor trailers. If you see a tractor trailer or other vehicle trailing you too closely, the easiest thing to do is get out of their way and let them pass. If they are being aggressive and reckless, call 911.
3. Avoid tractor trailer blind spots.
Understandably, passenger vehicle drivers frequently assume that a trucker can see the road better than most because they are higher off the road. While truckers do have a better forward view and bigger mirrors, they still have dangerous blind spots where tractor trailer crashes frequently happen. Generally speaking, if you can’t see the truck driver in his or her side mirror, he or she can’t see you. These blind spots are often called the “NO ZONE” and should be avoided as much as possible.
West Virginia trucking accidents involve complex legal issues
Recovering full and fair compensation after being injured by a tractor trailer or a commercial vehicle like those that transport gas drilling equipment involves complex issues unique to the trucking industry. If properly understood by you and your West Virginia truck accident lawyer, effectively dealing with these issues can help you make a complete financial and physical recovery. Below are just some of the issues you are likely to face if you were injured in West Virginia by a negligent tractor trailer driver or trucking company.
1. Evidence from the Scene of the Truck Accident
Trucking companies, in and out of West Virginia, often have a major advantage over truck accident victims. If someone is significantly injured in a truck accident, they likely won’t be able to hire a lawyer before the crash scene has been cleared and evidence has been destroyed. On the other hand, most trucking companies have lawyers and private investigators on retainer to investigate accident scenes and talk with witnesses and police immediately following a truck accident. An effective truck accident lawyer can minimize this advantage during litigation and seek to secure evidence before it is lost or destroyed, which is another reason why hiring the right West Virginia lawyer is so important.
2. Who is Liable for Your Injuries?
As in all West Virginia auto accidents, a driver may be liable for all injuries and economic losses caused by his negligence. However, in a commercial truck accident, there are a number of other parties who may also be liable, including the driver’s employer, the company whose load was being hauled by the truck driver, and the company whose truck license placard is placed on the tractor and trailer. Also, under a product liability theory, the designer, manufacturer, seller, and/or distributor of any faulty parts that may have led to the automobile crash may also be liable, as well as any entity responsible for the maintenance and repair of the truck.
This is often a critical issue when the truck driver and trucking company is underinsured. A truck driver is underinsured when he doesn’t have enough insurance coverage to fairly compensate the person he injured. An effective trucking accident lawyer should be able to evaluate each potential source of recovery and be aware of the different theories of recovery available under West Virginia law.
3. Trucking Company Resources
Another advantage that a trucking company often has over West Virginia truck accident victims is virtually unlimited resources. A truck accident victim often does not have sufficient resources to cover their medical bills and almost always not enough to cover the costs of litigating a complex track accident lawsuit. On the other hand, trucking companies are often multi-million or multi-billion dollar corporations that employ the best truck accident defense attorneys and investigators available.
To offset this disadvantage, West Law Firm never recovers an attorney’s fee unless and until we recover money for you. We also advance and cover the costs and expenses of litigation unless and until a recovery is made. Litigating a trucking accident claim can be expensive, especially if you were seriously injured.
That’s why another important question to ask any truck accident lawyer you’re considering is whether they will expect you to pay them back your litigation expenses if they lose your case. Under West Virginia law, a West Virginia attorney must disclose to the client who is responsible for the cost of litigation if you lose your case. If no money is recovered for you, West Law Firm pays for all costs and expenses associated with your case.
4. Falsified Truck Driver Records
A common cause of tractor trailer accidents is truck driver fatigue, which is often caused by a truck driver staying on the road too long. For this reason, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations limit how much time a trucker can spend driving without sleep and rest. These regulations also require that truck drivers keep a log of their driving time. However, greed, profit, fear of losing their job may motivate a driver and/or trucking company to falsify records so that they can keep the truck on the road longer than allowed by law.
An experienced truck accident lawyer may be able to recognize inconsistencies in the records produced by the truck driver and trucking company during litigation. An effective attorney may also be able to elicit testimony from witnesses to help prove the truck driver or trucking company falsified records. Proving that the truck driver or trucking company falsified records can significantly help resolve a West Virginia truck accident claim and may justify punitive damages.
5. Trucking Company Policies
Trucking companies usually have written policies that its truck drivers must follow. These policies address most aspects of a trucker’s job including pre and post-trip tractor trailer inspections, substance abuse issues, and what to do in the event that a tractor trailer needs repaired. A skilled West Virginia lawyer will obtain and review these policies to determine whether they were followed by the truck driver and the trucking company. Promptly consulting with a West Virginia lawyer after a serious truck accident can help prevent destruction of documents that might be helpful to your case.
Get a Consultation with an Experienced West Virginia Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a tractor trailer accident, hiring an experienced West Virginia injury lawyer who is aware of the above issues is likely the most important thing you can do to ensure you are fully compensated for your injuries and losses. People injured in truck accidents are often at a disadvantage in regards to resources, truck accident litigation experience, and time spent at the accident scene. Hiring an experienced, skilled lawyer like those at West Law Firm will help level the playing ground.
For a free consultation with a West Virginia tractor trailer accident lawyer, we invite you to call us toll free at 1-877-943-WEST (1-877-943-9378).