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Cleveland Truck Accident Lawyers

Fighting for Justice on Behalf of Clients Hurt in a Big Rig Collision

Commercial vehicles are huge and heavy. Because of this, if a semi-truck collides with a passenger vehicle, serious injury or even death can result. Under personal injury law, if you were in an accident but were not at fault for causing it, you may be entitled to seek compensation for damages you sustained. A fair and just financial payout can help cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain/suffering. However, effectively navigating this type of case can be complicated because many factors come into play, and you must identify the liable party to ensure you file a claim against the correct person or entity.

At HMW Law, our team can guide you through the complexities of your case. Recognizing the impacts the matter can have on you and your family, we deliver compassionate counsel every step of the way. Our Cleveland truck accident lawyers will be available to you 24/7, ready to answer your questions and provide clear explanations of the process and your legal options. At the same time, we can provide the aggressive representation you need to hold the at-fault party financially responsible. When you turn to us, you can trust that you will have an advocate on your side focused on your best interests and committed to protecting your rights.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents?

The federal government highly regulates the trucking industry. Truckers, trucking companies, and any other entity that has a role in shipping cargo across the country must adhere to these regulations. Unfortunately, not all do, and their negligence can lead to accidents that have life-altering consequences. 18-wheeler accidents can arise for several reasons, including, but not limited to, driver error, poor vehicle maintenance, improper cargo loading, lack of adequate training, and poor supervision.

As with other motorists, big-rig drivers must operate their vehicles safely. However, some commercial truck drivers might engage in speeding, aggressive driving, distracted driving, or other unsafe behaviors. When they do so, they can lose control of their trucks and cause accidents.

Additionally, mechanics are responsible for ensuring that the truck is adequately maintained. Failure to properly check all parts and systems could lead to a malfunction that compromises the driver’s ability to control the vehicle.

Needless to say, big rigs carry large items, heavy items, and sometimes hazardous items. To prevent the materials from shifting during transport, they must be loaded and secured correctly. Regulations typically specify how cargo should be loaded into the truck. If the shipper or cargo loader did not adhere to these requirements or was otherwise negligent in securing the items, uneven weight distribution may make it difficult for the driver to control the truck, resulting in an accident.

Regarding inadequate training, the trucking company that employs the driver is generally responsible for ensuring the driver knows how to operate the vehicle safely. If the company has relaxed hiring practices or fails to provide proper training and the driver is in a situation requiring deft maneuvers, they might not know how to respond and engage in behaviors that endanger others’ safety. Another example where a lack of training could cause an accident is when a truck needs to change lanes. Truck drivers should make a reasonable attempt to check their mirrors before changing lanes, turning, or merging. Checking blind spots can be impossible based on the size of the truck, though. Before changing lanes or merging, a truck driver should signal and give plenty of time for a smaller vehicle to move from the blind spot.

In addition, semi-truck drivers can only work a certain number of hours per day and must take rest stops throughout the drive. However, some companies might be lax in enforcing these requirements and let their drivers work beyond what is allowed. This can result in fatigue, and a tired driver behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle can weave into other lanes, drive into oncoming traffic, or engage in other dangerous behaviors.

Another example of a lack of supervision is when a truck is allowed to be operated while overloaded. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires most commercial trucks to weigh no more than 80,000 pounds in total, including all truck parts and cargo. If a truck is overloaded, it can be more likely to tip, experience a brake failure, or become difficult to steer.

What Should I Do After a Truck Accident?

Truck accidents can be traumatic events, but what you do immediately after the accident can impact the outcome of your entire case. Here are a few steps you should try to follow after an accident with a commercial truck.

  • Call for help: Get emergency responders to the scene immediately, especially if someone has been injured. Emergency responders can render first aid and control the scene to prevent secondary accidents. Also, the reports from these responders can benefit our attorneys while we build your claim.
  • Collect evidence: Use your smartphone to collect pictures of the crash scene, including shots of vehicle damage, bodily injuries, traffic conditions, and weather conditions. If you don’t have a smartphone, then see if someone else at the scene can take the pictures and send them to you.
  • Record contact information: Don’t forget the crucial step of exchanging contact and insurance information with everyone involved. In a truck accident, you will want to record information about the truck, too, such as a unique trailer ID and the company that owns it.
  • See a doctor: It is a safe idea to see a medical provider after a truck accident, even if you feel fine. You could have a subtle underlying injury like a soft tissue injury that has yet to become seriously painful. This step also makes a note in your medical record for the checkup, which can be used to prove that the accident happened and what sort of injuries it caused.

You will also want to contact a skilled truck accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. At HMW Law, you can count on the experience and skills of our truck accident attorneys to help you stand up for your rights after being hurt in a truck accident.

Who May Be At Fault for a Big-Rig Accident?

Although the semi-truck driver might have caused an accident, they may not necessarily be the only party who could be liable for damages. Any party with a hand in maintaining the vehicle, loading it, or supervising the driver can be considered responsible for the collision.

In other words, depending on the circumstances, in a commercial truck accident case, a claim can be filed against the driver, the trucking company, the shipper/cargo loader, the maintenance company, and even the parts manufacturer. This is one of the factors that make truck accident cases more complex than car accidents, as they require a thorough investigation of the accident scene in order to identify what caused the accident and which party or parties may be primarily at fault for it. Your attorney can assist you with the process of investigating the crash and determining liability for it.

What Can an Attorney Do to Help My Truck Accident Case?

In order to establish fault and seek maximum compensation for damages, it’s essential to know what caused the accident. At HMW Law, our team can investigate your case to determine who is responsible. We will review all logs, reports, and records to see where errors or negligence occurred. In some matters, it may be necessary to hire an accident reconstruction expert to understand better how the collision occurred. You can be confident that our Cleveland truck accident lawyers will do whatever it takes to work toward obtaining a fair financial recovery on your behalf.

Besides investigating the accident and determining liability, there are many other tasks our firm can assist you with, such as calculating damages owed to you, sending a demand letter to the defendant, filing a claim if the demand letter is rejected, and negotiating for a settlement. If no settlement is possible, then we will prepare for litigation and represent you in court in order to fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.

What Kind of Damages May I Be Entitled to After a Truck Accident?

After a truck accident that was caused by someone else, an injured victim may be entitled to receive a variety of damages compensation to make up for their financial and emotional losses resulting from the accident. Damages that add to the value of a truck accident case can include lost wages and unearned future income, pain and suffering, lowered enjoyment of life, and shortened life expectancy.

At HMW Law, we have decades of collective experience working on complicated truck accident cases. No matter how much compensation is owed to you by the defendant, we will be ready to fight for it. In some cases, we can reach a settlement that gets our clients the compensation that they need sooner than later. We are also ready to litigate if a settlement is not likely to result in a fair recovery.

Is There a Deadline to File a Truck Accident Claim in Ohio?

In Ohio, personal injury cases (including truck accidents) are subject to a legal deadline called a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations defines how long an accident victim can wait to file a claim or initiate a lawsuit. For truck accident cases, Ohio uses a strict two-year statute of limitations that begins on the date of the accident.

In other words, if you want to file an injury claim against the liable parties, then you must do so within that two-year window. If you don’t, then the court can and likely will reject any claim you file later. Please remember that an injury claim is not the same as an insurance claim. You should start an insurance claim as soon as possible and might only have 30 days or fewer after the accident. In either case, the sooner you take action, the better your chances may be to recover compensation, so be sure to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Why Should I Choose HMW Law for My Case?

You have a lot to think about after being injured in a truck accident, such as where you can get medical care and how you can keep going to work or school. Don’t add to your frustrations by also trying to manage a truck accident claim against a defendant who doesn’t want to cooperate. Team up with our Cleveland truck accident lawyers for all the help you need from the start of the case to its conclusion.

Trucking companies and their insurance carriers are usually prepared to fight back against all accident claims with a team of skilled attorneys who are focused on protecting the company from having to pay high sums of money to injury victims. Going up against them on your own without the help of a strong legal advocate on your side may be nearly impossible and often result in no compensation or a settlement that is way less than what you deserve.

When you hire our firm for your case, you will have a zealous advocate on your side who truly cares about you and the outcome. You will work directly with one of our attorneys and receive sound guidance and counsel from a lawyer who knows the law well and has an in-depth understanding of the processes involved in resolving such matters. Speak with one of our Cleveland truck accident attorneys by contacting us at 216-369-1352 and requesting a free consultation to discuss your case.