Charleston, WV Truck Accident Lawyer
Were You Injured in a Semi-Truck or Tractor Trailor Accident? Learn How Our Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help
If you or someone you know was injured or killed in a truck accident, an experienced Charleston, WV truck accident lawyer can make a critical difference in helping you making a full recovery. West Law Firm has a dedicated team of top-rated truck accident attorneys who will fight for you and hold trucking companies accountable for their negligence.
To learn more about your rights and options, we invite you to call one of our tractor-trailer accident lawyers today using our toll-free number 1 (877) 943-9378 or by completing our contact form. Our truck accident law firm is conveniently located in Charleston, West Virginia, and we serve clients throughout the country. We offer FREE consultations, and our Charleston truck accident lawyers will fight for your rights and give you the personal attention you deserve.
When to Hire a Charleston, WV Truck Accident Attorney?
If you have been involved in a trucking crash and have suffered injuries or other losses, you may be contemplating hiring a truck crash lawyer to help you with your personal injury claim. You likely have medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and other losses, also known as damages, especially if you suffered significant injuries. An experienced trucking accident attorney can help ensure you recover enough compensation to cover not only your past damages but also your future damages, which are often far greater than your past and current damages.
Your biggest losses may be the pain, suffering, and physical limitations the negligent trucking company caused you, and the help of a skilled truck accident attorney is usually needed to recover all the compensation you’re entitled to.
Often, your Charleston, WV trucking accident lawyer will need to work with experts to help prove what losses you will sustain in the future. At West Law Firm, our Charleston, WV injury lawyers have experience working with some of the best trucking accident experts in the country.
Truck drivers and/or their insurance companies often deny responsibility for truck accidents or they may deny some of your injury claims. For example, a common trucking company trick is to argue your injuries are pre-existing conditions, and therefore, they shouldn’t have to pay for some of your medical treatment.
Moreover, the trucking company and/or its insurance company may offer a low settlement. Having an experienced Charleston, WV, truck accident attorney on your side will help you obtain a full and fair settlement as soon as possible.
Who is Financially Responsible for Your Trucking Crash — Liability in Truck Accident Cases
Determining who the responsible party(s) is in a tractor-trailer or other type of commercial trucking case is a critical step in ensuring you recover all the compensation you’re entitled to and holding negligent parties accountable. Truck drivers are the easiest to blame, but the trucking company is often the most at fault. For example, the truck driver who caused your crash may have fell asleep at the wheel, but that may have been caused by the trucking company pressuring the truck driver to spend too many hours on the road. In fact, there are federal regulations that limit the amount of time a truck driver can spend on the road each week.
Other responsible parties can include the manufacturers of commercial trucks or a government agency. For instance, manufacturers of commercial vehicles may have installed a defective part on the truck, while a government agency may have failed to properly identify a potential road hazard.
Some common causes of tractor-trailer and trucking crashes include:
- Driver fatigue. Many trucking companies require their drivers to work demanding schedules and drive long distances. If truck drivers become tired, their judgment can be significantly impaired.
- Drunk driving or driving under the influence. Operating tractor-trailers while impaired significantly reduces reaction time and judgment and is, of course, against the law and deadly.
- Medication use. This includes both prescription and over-the-counter medications, which can impair driver judgment and also cause drivers to fall asleep at the wheeel.
- Driver error. Semi trucks and large trucks weigh much more than passenger cars and SUVs. A simple driving error such as failing to stop at a stop sign can have catastrophic results.
- Failure to properly secure cargo. If not tied down properly, cargo can become dislodged from tractor trailers and other commercial trucks, which can cause car accidents.
- Inadequate vehicle maintenance. A mechanical or safety issue can cause semi truck accidents. For instance, failing to replace brakes or worn tires.
A truck accident attorney Charleston WV can identify all responsible parties and help you to recover the compensation that you deserve.
Compensation in Charleston WV Truck Accident Cases
A West Virginia truck crash involving a tractor-trailer, semi truck, bus, or other commercial vehicles, typically results in more significant injuries than a car accident. Trucks are simply larger and weigh more than passenger vehicles. They generate more force and pose more significant risks to victims. Thus, victims tend to require a greater level of medical treatment for both their short and long-term care. Moreover, they may miss more time from work, become permanently disabled, and experience significant pain and suffering.
Trucking accident victims are likely entitled to economic and non-economic damages. The economic damages cover all the expenses you accrued from the accident. This includes your current and future lost wages, medical bills, and other expenses. The amount of compensation awarded in truck accident cases depends on a broad range of factors, including the following:
- Medical expenses. The costs of short and long-term medical treatment is one of the most important factors in determining compensation. Some examples of treatment include emergency medical, hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, and long-term care.
- Lost wages. Truck accident victims are often unable to work as a result of their injuries. They also may be unable to return to work in the same capacity. Thus, compensation can include past and future lost wages, as well as lost earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering. Pain and suffering includes physical pain and emotional distress that was caused by the accident. Since these damages are not easily documented, expert testimony is often required to prove the extent of the victim’s pain and suffering.
- Property damage. If the victim’s vehicle or other property was damaged in the accident, they may be entitled to compensation for the cost of repairs or replacement.
- Punitive damages. In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded if the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious or reckless. Punitive damages are not intended to compensate the victim. Rather, they are intended to punish the defendant and deter others from engaging in similar conduct.
- Comparative negligence. West Virginia is a comparative negligence state. The victim’s compensation may be reduced if he was partially at fault for the accident.
These factors and others will differ depending on the circumstances of the case. Experienced Charleston WV truck accident lawyers can help to identify the appropriate damages and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Important Legal Issues in West Virginia Truck Accident Cases
Several important issues often arise in West Virginia truck accident cases. Some of the most important issues include the following:
- Determining liability. Determining who is at fault in a truck accident is critical. As mentioned above, responsible parties can include the truck driver, trucking company, semi-truck manufacturer, and/or any other parties involved in the crash.
- Calculating damages. Truck accidents often cause severe and life-changing injuries and sometimes wrongful death. Victims often incur significant medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Calculating the full extent of damages is critical to ensuring that all your expenses are covered and that all of your current and future needs are taken care of.
- Insurance coverage. There may be multiple insurance companies and policies involved in a semi-truck accident or a tractor-trailer accident. The trucking company and the driver may each have their own policies. Personal injury lawyers can determine which insurance companies to pursue claims against.
- Federal and West Virginia law. Trucking companies must comply with numerous federal and West Virginia regulations. Determining whether the truck driver or trucking company violated these regulations is often critical to proving liability in the case.
- Gathering evidence. Gathering evidence is crucial in truck accident cases. For instance, taking photos of the vehicles and accident scene, obtaining witness statements, police reports, and other records, as well as collecting other relevant evidence. Experienced Charleston, WV trucking accident lawyers, like those at West Law Firm, have processes in place to ensure that all relevant evidence is collected and preserved.
- Statute of limitations. The statute of limitations provides the amount of time that victims have to file a personal injury lawsuit in West Virginia. In most cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident. It is critical to be aware of the deadline, as well as other procedural rules that apply to truck accident cases.
- Comparative negligence. West Virginia is a comparative negligence state. This means that if the plaintiff’s actions contributed to the accident, his damages may be reduced proportionally or barred completely depending on his or her degree of fault. Understanding how comparative negligence applies under West Virginia law is essential in winning truck accident claims.
If you’ve been involved in a Charleston, WV truck crash, an experienced truck accident attorney can help you navigate these complex legal issues and ensure that you are protected and taken care of.
Key Evidence in a Charleston, WV Trucking Accident Case
Trucking accident cases can be incredibly complex and involve multiple defendants. For example, some truck accident cases can involve between 10 and 20 defendants who are at least partially responsible for the plaintiff’s losses. Only a top-rated truck accident lawyer will have the skill and experience to identify all the responsible parties. Furthermore, identifying and securing relevant evidence is crucial to proving fault and establishing liability. Some important types of evidence in trucking accident cases include:
- Eyewitness testimony: This is testimony from individuals who witnessed the accident. Witnesses can describe what they saw, including the actions of the truck driver, truck accident victim, and any other parties involved in the accident.
- Accident reconstruction: Accident reconstruction is the process of determining the cause of an accident by analyzing physical evidence, such as skid marks, vehicle damage, and debris. It can help establish who was at fault and what happened in the moments leading up to the accident.
- Truck driver logs: Logs that track driving time, rest breaks, and other important information. Truck driver logs can be used to determine whether the driver was adhering to applicable regulations and to identify potential driver fatigue.
- Black box data: Many commercial trucks are equipped with electronic logging devices (ELDs) or other similar devices. These devices record important data such as vehicle speed and engine performance. This data can help a truck accident attorney Charleston WV to determine the cause of the accident and whether the truck driver was operating the vehicle safely.
- Maintenance records: Truck companies must maintain records of their trucks’ maintenance and repairs. These records can help a Charleston truck accident attorney to determine whether the truck was properly maintained and if any mechanical failures contributed to the accident.
- Police reports: Police reports are crucial to accident claims. They often contain important information about the accident, such as the officer’s assessment of what happened, the identities of witnesses and parties involved, and any citations or charges issued. Insurance adjusters also rely on police reports when determining fault.
- Medical records: A Charleston personal injury attorney will examine medical records and rely on them to establish the extent of their client’s injuries and the costs of treatment.
- Expert testimony: This testimony can help a West Virginia truck accident lawyer to explain complex technical or medical issues to a judge or jury.
The experienced Charleston, WV, truck accident attorneys at West Law Firm will conduct a thorough investigation for you that considers multiple types of evidence to help build you the strongest possible truck accident case.
Common Types of Truck Accidents in Charleston, WV
There are many different types of trucking accidents and your truck crash may have been caused by several factors. Some of the more common types of trucking accidents include:
- Rear-end collisions: Rear-end crashes are when a semi truck, tractor trailer, or other commercial vehicle hits the vehicle in front of it from behind. Rear-end collisions are often caused by driver inattention, distracted driving, or following too closely.
- Jackknife accidents: Occurs when the trailer of a tractor trailer swings out to the side, forming a V-shape with the truck. Jackknife accidents usually occur when truck brakes suddenly or when the driver loses control of the vehicle.
- Rollover Accidents: A commercial motor vehicle crash in which the truck rolls over onto its side or roof. Rollover accidents are often caused by speeding, taking turns too fast, or overloading the trailer.
- Underride accidents: Occurs when a smaller vehicle, typically passenger vehicles, gets trapped under the back or side of a truck’s trailer. These truck accidents are often the result of poor visibility or sudden stops by the truck driver.
- Lost load accidents: Occur when the cargo being transported by the truck falls off onto the road, causing damage to one or more vehicles. These tractor trailer accidents are often due to improper loading, overloading, or inadequately securing cargo.
- Blind spot accidents: Trucks have larger blind spots than a passenger vehicle. This makes it difficult for the truck driver to see other vehicles, causing commercial motor vehicles to collide with a vehicle that is in the driver’s blind spot.
- Tire blowouts: A vehicle accident that occurs when a truck’s tire blows out, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. This type of trucking accident is usually the result of improper maintenance or overuse of the tires.
- Wide turn accidents: Trucks require more space to turn than other vehicles. When a truck driver fails to take this into account, they may collide with another vehicle while turning.
Note that these accidents are not always due to truck driver or trucking company negligence. For instance, poor road conditions, weather, or the actions of other drivers can play a role.
Common Injuries in Charleston, WV Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can result in a wide range of injuries and some may not be immediately apparent. So the list below may help you be on the lookout for symptoms and injuries following your truck accident.
Truck crash injuries range from minor cuts and bruises to severe, potentially life-altering injuries. Some common truck accident injuries include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries: Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) occur when the brain is damaged following a blow to the head. TBIs can range from mild concussions to severe, life-threatening injuries that cause permanent brain damage.
- Spinal cord injuries: These truck crash injuries can cause partial or complete paralysis, potentially resulting in chronic pain, loss of sensation, and other long-term health issues.
- Broken bones: Broken bones are a common injury in truck accidents. They range in severity from simple fractures to complex, compound fractures that require surgery to repair.
- Soft tissue injuries: Soft tissue injuries include sprains, strains, and whiplash. They can cause significant pain and discomfort but may not be symptomatic immediately following a truck accident.
- Burns: Trucking accidents can cause fires and/or explosions that can result in severe burns that require extensive medical treatment.
- Internal injuries: Blunt force trauma in trucking accidents can cause internal injuries. These can include damage to organs such as the liver, spleen, and kidneys.
- Psychological trauma: Trucking accidents often cause significant psychological trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression.
It’s important to seek immediate medical attention following a commercial truck accident. Again, certain injuries may not show symptoms immediately but can be life-threatening if left untreated. Moreover, seeking prompt medical attention can help document your injuries, which can be important in pursuing a subsequent truck accident claim.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Truck Accident Claim?
West Virginia Code Section 55-2-12(b) provides that the statute of limitations for truck accident claims is 2 years from the date of the accident. Likewise, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is also 2 years from the date of the victim’s death in most cases. Wrongful death claims are filed by the victim’s surviving family members or estate.
If you fail to file a truck accident lawsuit by the deadline you will likely forfeit the right to recover compensation for your losses. An experienced truck accident attorney will ensure that your truck accident claim complies with the statute of limitations and other applicable procedural rules.
Free Consultation: Our Charleston, WV Truck Accident Law Firm is Here to Help
If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident, we encourage you to call one of our experienced Charleston, WV truck accident lawyers today. We are conveniently located in Charleston, WV, just a few blocks from the Capitol on Kanawha Boulevard overlooking the Kanawha River. Our award-winning Charleston West Virginia truck accident lawyers have decades of combined experience helping those injured in and around Charleston obtain maximum compensation.
West Law Firm provides the highest quality legal representation in Charleston and throughout West Virginia. We offer free consultations and do not charge any fees for our services unless you win your personal injury case. Contact us today to schedule your FREE and confidential consultation using our toll-free number 1-877-943-9378 or by completing our contact form.
1514 Kanawha Blvd E, Suite 2
Charleston, WV 25311
Frequently Asked Truck Accident Questions
How do Charleston Truck Accident Attorneys Establish Negligence?
A Charleston truck accident lawyer establishes negligence by investigating the accident, identifying potential defendants, and then proving the elements of a negligence claim. This requires proving that the responsible party owed the victim a duty of care and breached that duty. The breach must have caused the accident and the victim must have incurred damages as a result.
For instance, a tractor trailer accident or semi truck accident may have occurred because the truck driver failed to stop at a stop sign. As a licensed driver, he has a duty under West Virginia law to stop, and failing to do so breaches that duty to other drivers. The failure to stop must have caused the accident. This means that the other driver must have had the right of way. And the victim must have incurred damages as a result, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and/or property damages.
An experienced truck accident attorney Charleston WV can help build a strong case on the behalf of the victim and hold responsible parties such as truck drivers and trucking companies accountable to their negligent actions.
Why are Commercial Truck Black Boxes Crucial for Truck Accident Victims?
Commercial truck black boxes or the truck’s electronic control module, records critical data about the operations of commercial trucks. Unlike many other types of evidence in the case, this data is objective and can help an experienced truck accident lawyer to determine what caused the accident, who was at fault, and who the liable parties are.
How Long Does It Take for a Truck Accident Attorney Charleston WV to Settle a Truck Accident Claim?
The amount of time it takes for a West Virginia truck accident lawyer to settle a truck accident claim can vary significantly. All trucking accident claims are different. Factors such as who the trucking company’s insurer is and their willingness to settle, the complexity of the case, and the extent of your injuries all play a role in settling your trucking accident claim.
Some truck accident claims settle within a few months. Other can take years to resolve. If the insurance company is unwilling to settle or the West Virginia statute of limitations is set to run, it may be necessary to file a truck accident lawsuit. A lawsuit can significantly increase the amount of time that it takes to resolve your case.
Another crucial factor that influences the amount of time that it takes to settle a truck accident claim is who your Charleston truck accident attorney is. The best truck accident lawyer will be able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case and negotiate a fair truck accident settlement on your behalf.
How Many Truck Accidents Occur Each Year?
According to the National Safety Council, in 2020 there were 107,000 large truck crashes that resulted in 147,000 people being injured. Approximately 100,000, or 70%, of those injured were occupants of other vehicles while 30% were truck occupants.
In addition to causing serious injuries, many truck crashes are fatal. In 2020, nearly 5,000 truck accident victims were killed. More than half of these fatal truck accidents occurred during the day (63.45%), in rural areas (54.65%), and on non-interstate roadways (73.29%).
Many truck accident victims and their families suffer significant and often life-changing losses as a result of truck driver negligence. These losses include, for example, staggering medical bills and lost wages, and pain and suffering associated with catastrophic injuries. If you have been injured in a trucking accident, it is critical to recover adequate compensation from trucking companies and/or their insurance company to ensure that your short and long-term needs are met.