Cleveland Commercial Truck Accident Attorney
Injury Lawyers for Commercial Truck Accident Victims
Every driver knows the fear of driving next to a semi-truck. These massive vehicles are capable of crushing everything in their path, including other vehicles. As such, truck accident victims often suffer life-changing injuries, if not death. If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a large truck accident, you need a Cleveland commercial truck accident attorney from the Joseph Law Group. Our skilled truck accident lawyers utilize a five-star approach in every case we take on and have been fighting for injured victims in Cleveland and the entire state of Ohio for nearly twenty years now.
At Joseph Law Group, our legal team has comprehensive knowledge of Ohio personal injury law that allows us to help victims of Cleveland motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, industrial accidents and so much more. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced truck accident attorney from our law firm, please give us a call at 216-522-1600 today.
Commercial Truck Accidents in Cleveland
According to statistics provided by the National Safety Council, nearly 5,000 people died in accidents involving large trucks in 2020. This number has increased 31% from 2011. The majority of victims (71%) were occupants of other vehicles. Not all of these accidents resulted in fatalities, though. Approximately 147,000 people sustained injuries from big truck accidents in 2020, with the majority of them also being occupants of other vehicles.
While large truck accidents may only account for a relatively small percentage of vehicle crashes, they are responsible for a disproportionate amount of deaths and catastrophic injuries. The Cleveland truck accident lawyers at Joseph Law Group are here to help victims and their families recover financial compensation following such a devastating accident.
What is a Commercial Truck?
To put it simply, a commercial truck is any vehicle used to transport commercial goods or otherwise used for business purposes. With more than 2,800 miles between the East and West coasts, trucking companies are constantly driving to and fro all over the country. You may recognize the bigger names, such as UPS and FedEx. These trucks often weigh more than 10,000 pounds and require special licenses and training for drivers to operate.
Common Types of Commercial Trucks and How They’re Dangerous
When you think of a commercial truck, you may only think of the average 18-wheeler or semi-truck. However, a commercial vehicle is any vehicle that transports goods commercially or is used in the scope of business. This can include tanker trucks that transport hazardous materials like oil and gasoline, for example. Other common commercial trucks include:
- 18-Wheelers, AKA Semi Trucks
- Flatbed Trucks
- Garbage Trucks
- Tractor Trailers
- Tow Trucks
- Box Trucks/Delivery Truck
All of these commercial trucks require special training to drive, as they are massive pieces of equipment that can destroy a regular passenger vehicle in seconds.
Who is Liable for Commercial Truck Accidents in Ohio?
Part of what makes truck accident cases so complicated is the number of parties involved in the claim. When a commercial entity is involved, there can be an entire list of people that either caused or contributed to the accident.
Truck Driver Negligence
Commercial vehicles require unique standards and training for their drivers, and commercial drivers are often held to a higher standard than other vehicles on the road. As such, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) certainly does not give a truck driver a free pass to ignore speed limits and yield signs or otherwise engage in reckless or distracted driving. Distracted driving, impaired driving, and failure to follow the law can all result in a truck crash that causes severe injuries. Large commercial trucks also have a lot of blind spots. When truck drivers aren’t paying attention as they should, it can result in them hitting another driver and causing a serious accident.
Trucking Company Fault
Trucking companies often set unrealistic deadlines for their employees. This can mean that drivers are more likely to speed, avoid sleep, and use drugs to stay awake for long stretches of time. That’s why federal trucking regulations limit the amount of time commercial truck drivers can spend on the road. Truckers are required to have periods of rest, but if the trucking company encourages drivers to disregard these regulations to meet deadlines, they may be held responsible for any truck accident that occurs.
We trust our vehicles to get us from point A to point B regularly, but general wear and tear can prevent a vehicle from performing as it should. Defective parts and premature failure can also cause a malfunction that results in a serious truck accident.
Manufacturers of defective truck parts can be held responsible for a truck collision caused by a malfunction.
Mechanics are responsible for maintaining all aspects of a commercial truck. Failure to do so can lead to devastating consequences. For example, brake failure can be the result of poorly maintained brakes and cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Overlooking a safety issue like this can make a mechanic liable for damages in a semi-truck accident.
Vehicle’s Cargo Loaders
Improperly loaded cargo can cause weight distribution problems that make it easier for a driver to lose control of their truck. For instance, cargo that isn’t secured properly can shift during transit. These sudden weight shifts can cause a trailer to fishtail and spin out of control. Overloading the truck can also cause serious collisions.
The Cleveland truck accident attorneys at the Joseph Law Group will go over every single piece of evidence in your case to determine who all might have played a part in your injuries. Once we determine the negligent parties, we’ll fight hard to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation available. You don’t have to worry about dealing with the various insurance companies–leave that to us. Focus on healing while the skilled Cleveland personal injury attorneys at Joseph Law Group fight for you.
How to Prove Negligence for Commercial Trucking Accidents
Proving negligence is the most important aspect of a truck accident claim. To prove negligence in personal injury cases, you and your legal team must prove the existence of four elements:
- Duty. All drivers have a duty to other drivers and pedestrians on the roadway to drive safely and follow the law. This is especially true for commercial truck drivers.
- Breach of Duty. A breach of this duty can result in severe injuries and even death. Breaches of duty can include driving while drunk/impaired, driving recklessly, and running stop signs/red lights.
- Causation. The accident must have caused injuries.
- Damages. Damages are any type of loss, including an injury. This can include both financial costs and emotional losses.
Our attorneys know just how devastating auto accidents can be, especially those involving massive semi-trucks. Semi-truck accidents often result in serious injuries that have a lengthy recovery time. The fact of the matter is that you cannot properly investigate your own claim while you’re recovering. Our trucking accident lawyers at Joseph Law Group can do the dirty work for you. We’ll get testimonies from emergency responders, medical professionals, and other motorists or witnesses. We will also examine the police report and collect all the necessary evidence for your claim. Our knowledgeable attorneys also know the strict regulations in the trucking industry and how to investigate violations and driver log books before they can be deleted or destroyed.
Compensation for Commercial Truck Accidents
Truck crashes often have devastating injuries that leave you out of work for quite a while. When these accidents are caused by negligence, you have a legal right to pursue compensation for your injuries. At the Joseph Law Group, our skilled personal injury attorneys work on pursuing compensation for every aspect of your claim.
In a typical car accident injury claim, three types of damages may be recovered: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages are perhaps the most straightforward damages to prove. These damages often have an itemized bill or easily traced losses, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Including future medical bills and counseling services
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Lost income potential
- Funeral expenses in cases of wrongful death
The intent of economic compensation is to compensate the victim (or their family) for direct financial losses. This compensation should return them to the financial status they were in before the accident.
Non-economic damages are often a little more difficult to put an exact price on. These damages are often ‘invisible’ and have more of an effect on your mental and emotional health. At the Joseph Law Group, we fight to recover compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
Non-economic damages compensate the victim for emotional losses that could have been avoided and are intended to help the victim ease into the new life they have after a life-changing accident.
Unlike economic and non-economic damages, the intent of punitive damages is purely to punish the negligent party. If there is evidence of gross negligence or extreme disregard for human life, the court may decide to award punitive damages.
Insurance Issues After a Commercial Truck Accident
Truck drivers are required to have liability insurance. The trucking company often has a separate policy, and so does the freight loading company. These insurance companies will fight with each other and against you to diminish the chances of them paying out an insurance claim. They will often try to get you to make a statement on record, but this should be avoided at all costs as they may try to use your statement against you later and use it to deny your claim.
This can be an extremely fragile time in your life. Having an experienced Cleveland truck accident attorney by your side can prevent an insurance company from taking advantage of you. The attorneys at Joseph Law Group can handle any and all communication with the various insurance companies so you don’t risk the integrity of your claim.
Insurance Limitations for Truck Drivers
Insurance requirements are generally higher for truck drivers than they are for regular automobile drivers. The insurance limitations are set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These limitations are dependent on the weight of the truck and the type of cargo transported. Vehicles under 10,001 pounds moving non-hazardous freight are required to have $300,000 in liability insurance. Vehicles over 10,001 pounds must have $750,000 in coverage. Oil carriers must have $1 million in liability coverage and all other hazardous materials require $5 million in coverage.
Truck Insurance Companies Will Try to Deny Your Claim or Offer a Low Settlement
Remember that insurance companies do not offer their services for free. They are always trying to protect their profits and maintain their bottom line. They do not care about your family’s struggles or how much pain you’re in. If they can find a way to deny your claim, they will. If your claim can’t be denied, they will offer the absolute minimum insurance settlement that won’t even begin to cover all your losses. That is why it is so important that you seek legal guidance as soon as possible after your truck wreck. With the support of a skilled Cleveland truck accident lawyer, you can be confident that you’ll recover the maximum amount of compensation available for your case.
Experienced Cleveland Truck Accident Lawyers
A commercial vehicle accident can change your life permanently, resulting in catastrophic injuries or even death. As such, all negligent parties should be held accountable. At Joseph Law Group, our team of truck accident attorneys can help you receive fair compensation from your truck accident lawsuit. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries from a Cleveland, OH auto accident involving a commercial motor vehicle, call us at 216-369-6220 or complete our online intake form to schedule your free consultation today.
Let's Talk About Your Case
The insurance industry is built on the avoidance of making any payments on claims. They see claims as liabilities, and initially deny, defend, and delay a claim to limit that liability and save money for the company. Ultimately, it is the job of the attorneys at Joseph Law Group to advocate on behalf of our clients and to give the insurance companies and adjusters enough reason to pay an amount of money that is fair under all circumstances. When you hire Joseph Law Group to represent your claim, you are getting a full-service team of dedicated attorneys and paralegals who will be committed to pursuing the best outcome for you from day one until trial.