West Virginia Truck Accident Lawyers
Charleston, WV Trucking Accident Attorney
West Virginia personal injury claims stemming from trucking accidents involving tractor trailers are generally more complex and difficult to litigate than auto accidents involving only passenger cars and/or passenger pick-up trucks. Below are five issues that distinguish injury claims caused by commercial trucks. If properly understood by you and your West Virginia truck accident lawyer, effectively dealing with these issues can help you recover full and fair compensation in a timely manner. That’s why hiring an experienced lawyer is especially important when injured in a West Virginia truck accident.
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 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, 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 auto accident 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 truck 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 dollar corporations and generally employ the best truck accident defense attorneys and investigators available.
Fortunately, West Virginia lawyers who litigate truck accident claims typically represent truck accident victims on a contingency basis. In other words, the lawyer will not charge an attorney’s fee unless and until a recovery is made. An experience truck accident lawyer will also usually advance and cover the costs and expenses of litigation until a recovery is made. Litigating a truck accident claim is expensive and often takes a year or more to resolve. Thus, it’s important to hire a truck accident lawyer who has the resources to effectively litigate your claim and who won’t cut corners because of insufficient resources.
Another important consideration when hiring a truck accident lawyer in West Virginia is whether they 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 thea client who is responsible for the cost of litigation if you lose your case. So, I suggest that you carefully read any agreement an attorney proposes to you.
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.
Hiring a West Virginia Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a tractor trailer accident, hiring an experienced West Virginia truck accident attorney who is aware of the above issues is probably the most important thing you can do to insure you are fairly compensated. 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 a skilled West Virginia truck accident lawyer will help level the playing ground. For a free consultation with a West Virginia tractor trailer attorney, please call West Law Offices toll free at 1-877-943-9378.