Reputable Louisville Truck Accident Attorney Ready To Help You Win Your Case
The amount of force involved in a truck accident is great enough to seriously injure, or even kill those involved. Weighing in at between 4,000 and 6,000 pounds, the average truck can be lethal, especially when colliding with another object at high speeds. This level of damage is nothing, however, compared to the damage that can be sustained in a collision with a commercial truck. When an accident happens with some this large, you need an experienced and proven Louisville truck accident lawyer on your side.
Every year, approximately 5,000 people die in the United States in trucking accidents, and many more people are involved in tractor-trailer wrecks. The vast majority of those injured or killed in trucking accidents are not truck drivers. A breakdown of recent data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that truck crashes disproportionately injure or kill passenger vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. One major cause of semi accidents is the trucks’ weight. A loaded commercial 18-wheeler can weigh up to an incredible 80,000 pounds. In addition, tractor-trailers are larger and are higher off of the ground than other motor vehicles – which are two issues that make them even more deadly on the road. It is not surprising that commercial truck accidents result in more serious injuries and fatalities than vehicle accidents that don’t involve a truck.
If you experienced serious injuries in a tractor-trailer accident, or if a loved one has been killed in an 18-wheeler accident, you need to get the fair compensation that you deserve in a manner that allows for a full or maximum recovery – and by all responsible parties. Our dedicated Louisville truck accident attorney at Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC is committed to giving each of our clients the customized attention that they both deserve and need, and to make sure that the trucking industry is held responsible after cases of negligence. Schedule a free and private case review by our Louisville trucking accident lawyer.
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An Industry That Puts Profits Above People
While our Louisville truck accident lawyer wishes that we could tell you that all trucking collisions are the rare result of freak accidents and unavoidable occurrences, this is simply not often the case. A significant amount of the time, semi-truck accidents are the result of a negligent trucking company, poor federal trucking regulations, and stressed, distracted, or reckless drivers.
In 2015, there were 87,000 injuries and 4,050 fatalities associated with trucking accidents in the United States – comprising more than ten percent of all annual motor vehicle fatalities. This is a big problem, and the industry needs to be held accountable. Our Louisville trucking accident attorney is here to help you fight for your justice.
In the trucking industry, many commercial transportation companies will cut any corners that they can in order to increase their profits. That may mean that they engage in the following dangerous activities:
- Not properly vetting their drivers during the hiring process.
- Not properly training their drivers.
- Not properly supervising their drivers.
- Not testing their drivers for illegal substances.
- Encouraging their drivers to break federal trucking regulations.
- Encouraging their drivers to do whatever it takes to deliver loads more quickly.
- Not properly maintaining their vehicles.
- Not properly loading their vehicles.
- Not properly addressing the issue of distracted driving.
- Not properly addressing the issue of fatigued driving.
As a dedicated and highly experienced Louisville commercial truck accident lawyer, I fully understand the danger associated with activities leading to accidents and injuries.
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Types of Trucking Accidents
A crash that involves a semis and trucks can happen in a matter of seconds. Recovery from severe injuries suffered by occupants of a passenger vehicle, on the other hand, can take months and years. Semis and trucks are involved in many types of devastating crashes. Some examples include:
- A truck rear-ending a vehicle in front of it;
- Head-on collisions and impacts;
- Intersecting vehicles;
- Trucks running off the road;
- A truck swerving out of its lane;
- A truck turning into another vehicle’s path;
- Trucks rolling over;
- A truck sideswiping another car, truck, motorcycle, or bicycle; and
- Trucks hitting objects in the road.
Possible Causes of Trucking Accidents in Louisville, KY
Figuring out what caused the trucking accident is an important first step. There are many reasons for a large number of trucking accidents. Possible causes of a truck crash may include:
- Failing to observe traffic law, rules, and regulations;
- Drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs;
- Driving in the wrong lane;
- Running red lights;
- Forcing other vehicles off the road;
- Driver inattention;
- Trucks changing lanes without using a turn signal; and
- Improper truck maintenance;
- Driver fatigue.
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Proving Truck Driver Fatigue as the Cause Of Accident
It is never easy to uncover negligence because another driver will rarely admit to having a few drinks or being on the cellphone. A blood test, however, can detect if a prescription drug or alcohol-impaired the driver. Records stored with a cell carrier may prove that texting distracted a driver. However, fatigue can be much more difficult to prove.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates how long commercial truck drivers can remain behind the wheel in a given week. The rules apply to vehicles over 10,001 pounds, as well as those that transport paying passengers. In 2013, the agency updated its hours-of-service rule limiting the workweek to 70 hours for big rig drivers. Truck drivers can only be behind the wheel for 11 hours in one day and need to take a 30-minute break within the first eight hours of their shifts. Another change required that drivers who hit 70 hours rest for 34 hours including two overnight (1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.) periods before starting a new workweek.
Even with trucking regulations that many believe still allow for fatigued driving, evidence shows that many truckers do not even follow these regulations, faking their log books or driving during rest periods with the tacit approval of their employers. Fatigued driving accidents can occur both because a trucker falls asleep behind the wheel and because a tired driver may be distracted or slow to react to a hazard.
If you believe that your collision with a commercial truck or 18-wheeler involved fatigued driving, it is imperative that your Louisville truck accident lawyer collects all evidence that could illustrate the facts, including driving logs, pick up and drop off schedules, and witness testimony. This evidence could not only establish that a driver was tired, but also that the trucking company knew about the driver’s state (or should have known about the driver’s state).
Logbooks and Liability
In the past, drivers could fudge how long they were behind the wheel with paper logbooks. However, more companies have installed electronic logging devices on their vehicles.
The FMCSA is in the process of developing a rule that will establish minimum standards for electronic logging devices and mandatory use requirements. Electronic logs eliminate wiggle room for drivers. They also might show that a driver was in violation of the hours-of-service rule at the time of a crash.
A driver, along with his or her company, may receive fines for violating the HOS rule. A review of driving logs is a way to show fatigue. Even if the driver was technically not in violation of the rules, if the accident happened after 10 and a half hours behind the wheel, it might point to a sleepy driver. If a company pushed drivers to break rules to make deadlines, the company could also be vicariously liable.
Following a serious injury in a trucking accident, speak with a Louisville truck accident lawyer at Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC to discuss available remedies. An investigation may uncover that the negligence of another driver caused the crash. Hiring a trusted Louisville truck accident attorney allows you to focus on recovery and rest assured of a fair settlement.
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Inadequate Maintenance By Trucking Companies
Commercial tractor-trailer trucks and semis require more maintenance and regular maintenance than most other vehicles on the road. This is because of the trucks’ size, weight, and mileage: Many trucks criss-cross the United States on long hauls over and over again, pulling as many as 80,000 pounds behind them. Working that hard, it is no surprise that truck parts wear out quickly, and that truck drivers and trucking companies need to regularly maintain their vehicles.
Because truck maintenance can be both expensive and time-consuming, far too many commercial truck owners and operators fail to regularly maintain their tractor-trailers. This can lead to serious failures of equipment, and serious accidents and injuries.
Truck Maintenance & Federal Trucking Regulations
Under federal law, trucking companies must follow a specific set of guidelines regarding maintenance and repair. These laws include the following stipulations outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):
- All trucking companies “…must systematically inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained all motor vehicles.”
- Parts and accessories of each truck shall be in safe and proper operating condition at all times, including but not limited to “frame and frame assemblies, suspension systems, axles and attaching parts, wheels and rims, and steering systems.”
- Trucking companies must maintain records for each motor vehicle they control that include: An identification of the vehicle; a means to indicate the nature and due date of the various inspection and maintenance operations to be performed; and a record of inspection, repairs, and maintenance indicating their date and nature. These records must be maintained and retained for 18 months after the vehicle leaves the company’s control.
When investigating your Kentucky truck accident claim, it is vital to find out if any of these federal regulations have been violated. In addition, it is vital to review the vehicle’s records of maintenance and repairs to shed light on the cause of the accident. An inadequate maintenance trucking accident attorney can help you acquire and analyze these documents.
The trucking company may be held liable for your accident and injuries if:
- The truck did not undergo regular maintenance.
- The truck was not regularly inspected.
- The truck did not undergo the proper repairs.
- The truck’s parts and accessories were not kept in safe and working order.
- The trucking company did not keep proper maintenance records.
The Consequences of Improper Maintenance or Inspections
Driving a truck that has not been properly inspected or maintained is extremely dangerous. The failure of any auto part or accessory can cause the entire vehicle to lose control, leave its lane, rollover, or even catch fire. Inadequate maintenance can both directly cause commercial truck accidents, or make the outcome of commercial truck accidents more serious. Specifically, improper maintenance can result in the following dangerous issues:
- Tire blowouts.
- Failed breaks.
- Failed steering mechanism.
- Detached trailers.
- Failed brake lights and turn signals.
The following truck parts and accessories should be inspected regularly:
- Brakes (hydraulic brakes, air brakes, brake connectors, and parking brake)
- Coupling devices
- Tires, wheels, and rims
- Lights (headlights, brake lights, turn signals)
- Suspension system
- Cab and frame
- Steering mechanism
- Windshield wipers
Commercial truck accidents that involve the violation of federal regulations and improper vehicle maintenance can be complex and confusing. If you believe that you have been involved in such an accident, it is imperative that you speak with a knowledgeable inadequate maintenance trucking accident attorney in Kentucky about the details of your possible claim. You may be owed compensation for:
- Your related medical bills, including future medical bills.
- Your lost wages, including possible future lost wages.
- Your related out-of-pocket expenses.
- Your pain and suffering.
- Your damaged property.
Truck Accident Law FAQs in Louisville
What is a truck’s “black box”?
A truck’s “black box” or “Electronic Data Recorder” records certain data such as:
- the position of the throttle;
- brake application;
- airbag deployment;
- seatbelt use;
- steering angles; and
- other data that might help a Louisville truck accident lawyer prove your claim.
The black box will report the foregoing data a few seconds before, during, and a few seconds after the accident.
What are my rights if my loved one died in a truck collision?
In many states the decedent’s family members can bring a wrongful death claim. But in Kentucky, most cases require a personal representative of the deceased, typically the executor or estate administrator, to file a wrongful death lawsuit for damages. Any compensation can then be paid to (i) the probate estate itself and (ii) the deceased victim’s relatives, according to complex rules of distribution.
How do trucking accidents differ from auto accidents?
Several differences are important:
- Commercial truck drivers usually carry much more insurance than drivers of private automobiles;
- The government heavily regulates truck drivers;
- Trucks typically cause much greater damage in an accident; and
- A truck accident might involve many possible defendants一the driver, the trucking company, a truck maintenance company, etc.
The foregoing is only a very abbreviated list of differences.
Can I sue the trucking company for the negligence of the truck driver?
That depends on a lot of factors. Most drivers are classified as independent contractors rather than employees of the trucking companies they work for. If the driver is classified as an employee, you can usually sue the trucking company for the driver’s negligence if the driver was on duty at the time the accident occurred. Otherwise, you can only sue the trucking company for its own negligence. A Louisville truck crash lawyer can help you find additional defendants.
If an intoxicated truck driver injures me, can I sue a bar that sold the driver alcohol?
A dram shop law typically allows the victim of an intoxicated driver to sue the party who sold them alcohol. Kentucky’s dram shop law allows a defendant to sue a nightclub that served (i) a minor or (ii) someone who was obviously intoxicated at the time they were served.
What is Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)?
MMI is the point where you have recovered from your injuries as much as you are ever going to. For many people that means a full recovery. But for some people, it means something less. Typically, you need to wait for MMI before you can accurately calculate your damages. If you have long-term future damages, a Louisville truck accident lawyer can help you estimate them.
Our highly skilled Louisville truck accident attorney is dedicated to holding the trucking industry accountable for their negligence, one truck accident case at a time. Working with 18-wheeler accident victims and their families one-on-one to gain compensation and justice from trucking companies is what we do best, and we want to help you next.
We leave other firms to handle class action lawsuits, mass recalls, and high-volume legal cases. Our Louisville truck accident attorney is here to help real people find real solutions in the wake of an accident that affects their lives and their families. Our truck accident legal practitioner’s experience, knowledge, and passion can help give you an edge in pursuing compensation for your accident injuries, starting today. Strict state filing deadlines mean that the time to act is now.
Let Our Louisville Truck Accident Attorney Help Your Recovery Process
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