Columbus Truck Accident Lawyer
On average, a loaded 18-wheeler weighs 80,000 pounds. Imagine anything that heavy hitting you at 75 mph, or even at 25 mph.
Sadly, thousands of people in and around Columbus, Ohio, learn firsthand exactly how horrific it is to have a big rig crash into their vehicle. People who survive often end up losing legs or arms to amputation, dealing with the aftermath of traumatic brain injuries, and being unable to return to work or many of the activities of daily life such as dressing themselves, cooking, and brushing their teeth. Simply because they can inflict so much suffering when they strike cars, motorcycles, other commercial vehicles, and pedestrians, truck drivers have high legal and professional duties to avoid causing traffic accidents.
If you or a member of your family has been injured, disabled or killed in an accident caused by a commercial truck driver in Ohio, you need help from a Columbus personal injury attorney. Ensuring that the investigation is conducted thoroughly, determining the ultimate reason for the crash, assigning liability, and dealing with insurance companies requires expertise and resources most people do not possess.
Semis Are Not the Only Dangers
When we talk about truck crashes, we do not only mean tractor-trailers. We also mean school buses, construction equipment, delivery vans, transit buses, and city and county work trucks. Operating each of those types of vehicles requires qualifying for and maintaining a commercial driver’s license, or CDL. Passing safety and road tests, as well as eye exams and physicals, are needed to get and keep CDLs. Many commercial drivers also must submit to regular breath, urine, and blood tests designed to detect alcohol and drug use. Any person behind the wheel of a truck, bus, or backhoe who lacks a CDL in good standing poses a genuine risk to themselves and everyone else.
Commercial Vehicle and Truck Accidents Happen for Many Reasons
- Inattention/Distraction, such as using an onboard computer or cell phone while driving
- Vehicle Defects/Equipment Failures, including brake malfunctions and tire blowouts
- Driving While Intoxicated, with commercial drivers in Ohio limited to a legal blood alcohol content of .04 while operating a truck
- Fatigue/Falling Asleep at the Wheel, which is why both Ohio and a U.S. government agency called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration limit the number of hours truckers can drive
- Failure to Yield Right of Way, including unsafe lane changes and entering intersections when unable to stop in time
Truck Crash Cases Can Be Complicated
A sad incident that illustrates how several of the causes for truck crashes can combine to create a tragedy is the collision between a Walmart semi and a limo bus late at night on the New Jersey Turnpike in June 2014. The crash is notable because it left comedian Tracy Morgan with possibly permanent brain damage, claimed the life of another professional stand-up comic, and injured many other people.
The tractor-trailer rear-ended the charter bus when traffic slowed unexpectedly. The truck driver appears to have nodded off briefly after spending most of the previous several days driving. Liability issues were clouded because Walmart used a contractor to assign rigs and drivers, and the truck driver himself is an independent contractor. Determining all that, as well as the facts of the crash such as speed and direction, required digging through numerous paper and digital records from multiple sources and analyzing data from the big rig’s “black box,” which is a computer hooked up to the engine, braking system, and wheels.
The driver himself at first denied ever losing control of the semi. For its part, Walmart initially denied all responsibility for having its contracted drivers exceed hours of operation limits, essentially making drivers take the wheel without getting the required rest. Figuring out that fatigue led to the rear-end collision and that employment practices made drowsy driving all but inevitable allowed lawyers for the victims and their families to file insurance claims and lawsuits against the trucker and Walmart.
Without dedicated work by a team of plaintiffs’ attorneys who specialize in handling personal injury and wrongful death cases arising from truck crashes, Morgan and the other victims would not have been compensated for their loses.
Contact a Columbus, Ohio, Personal Injury Lawyer for Help With Your Truck Accident Case
Recovering from a truck crash can take years and large amounts of money. Receiving fair insurance settlements and just damage awards that allow victims to pay medical bills and replace income lost to the accident can make worlds of difference. Ensuring those outcomes can be easier if you enlist the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer who knows how to handle truck crash cases.
At Leist Warner, we have represented many people hit and hurt by semis, buses, and construction vehicles. Contact us today by calling (614) 222-1000 or filling out this web form. We cannot promise to take every client or guarantee positive results, but we always offer no-cost case evaluations and honest answers to your questions.