A collision between a large commercial truck and a passenger car is likely to be devastating for those in the car. The weight of a tractor trailer, 18-wheeler, “big rig,” etc., means the impact in a collision will lead to catastrophic injury or death. Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) accidents can also involve cargo spills, including spills of hazardous materials, that result in injuries, fatalities and significant property damage.
Individuals in truck accidents suffer physical injuries that lead to medical expenses and lost income, on top of losses from property damage and the psychological anguish of a serious accident and injury. Family members suffer losses too, sometimes including total disruption of their lives as they deal with an accident victim who undergoes a lengthy recovery or has become disabled.
The law firm of Bubalo Goode helps individuals and families after commercial truck accidents have upended their lives. When the actions or inaction of a truck driver or a trucking company causes an individual’s injuries or the wrongful death of an accident victim, the injured parties have a right to compensation for their losses.
Our law firm, with Kentucky offices in Louisville and Lexington, can assist you if you or a family member of yours has been seriously injured in a Kentucky truck or CMV accident. We also have attorneys admitted in Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee. We accept serious truck injury cases from those states.
Kentucky State Police say that 8,622 trucks were involved in collisions in the state in 2011, including 86 fatal collisions and 1,334 accidents in which someone involved suffered a non-fatal injury.
By “truck,” the State Police report refers to a vehicle with a registered weight of 10,000 pounds or more. This is in keeping with federal regulations, which identify large commercial trucks as weighing more than 10,000 pounds and hauling cargo that may weigh up to 80,000 pounds.
The nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says large trucks, also known as commercial motor vehicles or CMVs, were involved in 10 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths and 22 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in multiple-vehicle crashes in 2011. In fatal two-vehicle collisions between large trucks and passenger vehicles, 98 percent of those killed were occupants of the passenger cars and trucks.
Truck drivers are susceptible to the same careless and reckless behavior as other drivers. Truckers are cited for alcohol use (drunk driving), speeding, following too closely (tailgating), failure to yield and distracted driving (in particular the use of cellphones), just like other drivers.
One problem more closely identified with truck drivers is fatigued or “drowsy” driving. The IIHS says the proportion of large truck crashes for which fatigue is a contributing factor is uncertain, but IIHS research shows that truck drivers behind the wheel for more than eight hours are twice as likely to crash. Truckers’ long work hours cause sleep deprivation, disruption of normal sleep/rest cycles and fatigue, the research group says. Sometimes it is the truck driver’s employer who pushes a trucker to keep driving when they shouldn’t be behind the wheel any longer.
Proper maintenance of a truck and its cargo is also a concern in trucking operations. In its 2011 report, Kentucky State Police list the following contributing factors to truck accidents in the state:
Just as there may be multiple contributing factors in large commercial truck accidents, there are several factors that may complicate a truck accident. First, the dynamics of a wreck involving a large heavy vehicle plus tens of thousands of pounds of cargo are complex. If a cargo spill is part of the accident, the consequences grow significantly. And if a truck accident involves a hazardous materials spill, the consequences as well as the complexity grow exponentially.
The second factor complicating commercial truck accidents is the voluminous federal regulations surrounding commercial trucking. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for the issuance, administration and enforcement of safety regulations, truck maintenance rules, cargo weight regulations, hazardous materials regulations, truck drivers’ hours of service or HOS (i.e., time allowed behind the wheel) ,drug and alcohol testing of drivers, and much more.
The third problem in a truck accident is usually the trucking firm, or the “carrier,” which may be a large corporation. After a serious collision, a trucking company will take immediate measures to actively ensure that they are protected against legal claims by those who have been injured. The trucking company’s investigators will begin to collect evidence in order to defend or minimize the claim. The carrier may also contact you, the injured party, in an attempt to steer you away from legal counsel, because they know that if you have an attorney, you are statistically likely to receive a greater settlement.
For the reasons outlined above, it is crucial to have an experienced advocate on your side if you have suffered personal injury, the death of a loved one or significant property damage in a commercial truck accident. You need someone who understands commercial insurance, truck mechanics, and federal regulations.
After a truck accident, FMCSA regulations require that certain essential evidence is only maintained for a limited amount of time. For instance, the truck driver’s log, which should document time behind the wheel, may be destroyed after six months unless an attorney obtains a court order or takes other immediate action.
Determining what happened, who is at fault and even the extent of damage in a trucking accident requires a thorough investigation. In a rollover accident involving a hazardous material spill, for example, a proper investigation involves calculating the potential for long-term environmental damage to land and groundwater.
The action necessary to protect your interests after a truck accident requires specialized knowledge and experience, as well as aggressiveness. The truck accident lawyers at Bubalo Goode know FMCSA rules and regulations, and how to interpret and use the information contained in drivers’ logs and accident reconstruction reports to the advantage of our clients’ cases.
Bubalo law attorneys also know how to conduct preliminary investigations to evaluate truck accidents and advise our clients about what to realistically anticipate as they head into the lawsuits filed in their cases.
Our truck accident attorneys first seek to negotiate fair and proper settlements from trucking firms and their insurance carriers after commercial truck accidents. Settlements resolve cases faster and let our clients concentrate on their medical recovery. When a case cannot be settled to our clients’ satisfaction, we go to court with thoroughly prepared cases that we are eager to present.
Bubalo Goode attorneys have earned regional and national reputations for their litigation skills. Lawyers from our firm have successfully tried cases in the numerous states’ courts and in several federal district courts. We have also participated in Multi-District Litigation (MDL) cases across the country.
If we take your truck accident lawsuit to court, the Bubalo Law truck accident lawyers will do so with a commitment to applying the full weight of this firm’s knowledge and experience toward obtaining all of the compensation available to you.
If you have lost a loved one or you have suffered a personal injury or significant property damage in a commercial truck accident, contact a Bubalo Goode truck accident attorney for a free review of your case. Bubalo law has the legal knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to ensure you obtain an appropriate financial settlement for your loss.
Contact Bubalo Goode online or by phone at 866.870.2489 for an initial consultation. We are ready to get work on your case started. We have attorneys admitted in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee.