Semi-Truck Accident Attorney in Owensboro, Kentucky
For over 50 years, the law offices of Rhoads & Rhoads have focused specifically on helping injured clients in Western Kentucky recover compensation for serious personal injuries. Their semi truck accident attorney has over 150 years of collective experience in personal injury and disability law. This expertise makes them aggressive advocates unafraid to file lawsuits when necessary.
Additionally, insights gained from working on both sides of personal injury cases give them an informed perspective when fighting insurance companies. Whether injured in a tractor-trailer accident or any other type of incident, potential clients can trust Rhoads & Rhoads’ seasoned legal team to effectively represent their best interests. Their free consultations and contingency-fee services also provide extra assurance that you’re in the best hands.
What Types of Compensation Could I Win from a Commercial Truck Accident Settlement?
Beyond the physical and emotional toll, commercial truck accidents can wreak havoc on your financial stability and lead to significant financial strain.
Serious truck accidents result in an inability to work due to injuries or the burden of mounting medical expenses stemming from hospitalization or ongoing treatments.
When your truck crash attorneys can establish liability for your truck accident claim, you may be entitled to one or both types of compensation, economic and non-economic damages.
- Economic damages encompass quantifiable losses, including medical bills, property damage costs, and wages you couldn’t earn due to time off work.
- Non-economic damages address intangible losses like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of spousal support, which do not have a clear monetary value.
The potential compensation your truck accident lawyer will help you win from a commercial truck accident includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Medical expenses and future medical expenses incurred due to the accident include present and future hospital bills, doctors, therapy, surgery costs, medication expenses, rehabilitation fees, and other necessary medical treatments.
- Property damages, including repair or replacement costs for your vehicle or other personal property damaged in the accident.
- Lost wages due to time taken off work for recovery or medical appointments, as well as compensation for any reduction in your earning potential caused by long-term injuries or disabilities.
- Mental anguish, pain, and suffering endured as a result of the accident, taking into account the physical and emotional distress experienced by the victim and their loved ones.
- Damages for emotional distress, including psychological trauma such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions.
- Diminished quality of life, considering the limitations or disabilities caused by the accident and their effects on daily activities, hobbies, and personal relationships.
- Loss of spousal consortium, emotional damages due to the injury or death suffered by your spouse, loss of companionship, society, and relationship.
In the case of a wrongful death case, a victim’s loved ones can file a claim to recover each type of compensation listed above. Surviving spouses may receive additional compensation for loss of consortium, a legal term that means the loss of the companionship and support they received before the accident.
How a Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer in Kentucky Can Help You
If you’ve been in a truck accident, even one that seems minor, it’s essential to talk to a semi-truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Some evidence can only be gathered immediately following your truck accident, and your semi-truck accident lawyers know how to preserve evidence to support your claim.
A Rhoads & Rhoads experienced truck accident attorney will oversee every aspect of your case, including:
- Negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf, skillfully navigating their tactics to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
- Conducting a thorough accident investigation into the truck accident and all involved parties, leaving no stone unturned in determining liability fault and building a compelling case according to truck accident law.
- Gathering compelling evidence to support your claim, including truck accident reports, witness statements, and expert opinions, to strengthen your position during negotiations or in court.
- Tracking and organizing your medical expenses meticulously ensures that every cost of your injuries is accounted for and included in your personal injury claim for compensation.
- Ensuring injuries are thoroughly documented by medical professionals so that the full extent of your physical and emotional suffering is accurately portrayed in your claim.
- Securing expert witness testimony to lend credibility and authority to your case increases the chance of a favorable outcome.
- Establishing the value of your claim, considering not only your current expenses and lost income but also future medical needs and the long-term impact on your quality of life.
- Assisting with property damage insurance claims related to the accident, ensuring that your vehicle is repaired or replaced promptly and that you are adequately compensated for any other property damage.
- Presenting your car crash case persuasively and aggressively if a fair settlement can’t be reached and litigation is needed.
What Types of Evidence Do Truck Accident Attorneys Use To Prove a Truck Accident Claim?
A successful truck accident claim case is built on solid evidence, and an experienced truck accident lawyer is the key to gathering and analyzing this data. When you work with Rhoads & Rhoads, we collect and analyze documentation that truck drivers and trucking companies must keep.
A thorough examination of these documents aids in pinpointing the commercial truck driver’s negligence, liability on the part of the trucking company, or both. Solid evidence enhances the viability of personal injury claims and paves the way for a favorable settlement.
Below are a few of the most common evidence sources that will help your attorney establish liability for truck accidents and accident lawsuits:
Black Box Recorders: Providing crucial data regarding the vehicle’s speed, braking, and other operational parameters during the accident.
Police Reports: Offering an official account of the incident and any preliminary assessments made by law enforcement personnel.
Eyewitness Statements: Valuable testimonies from individuals present at the accident scene.
Expert Witness Testimony: Professional analyses and assessments from experts in relevant fields.
Truck Cameras: Surveillance footage documenting the truck accident victims and potentially shedding light on critical details.
Commercial Truck Driver Logs: Detailed records documenting the service hours, rest breaks, and adherence to federal motor carrier safety regulations by the commercial truck driver.
Trucking Company Records: Providing insight into the maintenance schedules, hiring practices, and compliance with safety protocols performed by truck companies.
Vehicle Maintenance Records: Documentation detailing the maintenance history of the truck involved in the accident, including repairs, inspections, and any reported mechanical issues. This information can be crucial in establishing whether equipment failure or lack of maintenance contributed to the accident.
Truck Driver Qualification Files: The trucking company must maintain records detailing qualifications, training, and driving history to help determine if the truck driver was adequately trained and licensed to operate the vehicle.
Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Data: Analyzing ELD data collected by truck companies can reveal if the truck driver exceeded maximum driving hours or violated other safety regulations before the accident.
Cell Phone Records: In cases where distracted driving is suspected, attorneys may obtain cell phone records to determine if the truck driver was using their phone at the time of the accident.
Employment and Personnel Records: Records related to the employment status of the truck driver, including any disciplinary actions, a previous trucking accident, or violations of truck company policies. These records can provide insight into the driver’s behavior and history of compliance with safety regulations.
Trucking Company Policies and Procedures: Documentation outlining the trucking company’s policies and procedures for trucking company driver training, safety protocols, vehicle maintenance, and compliance with federal motor carrier safety regulations.
Accident Reconstruction Reports: Detailed analyses conducted by accident reconstruction experts to recreate the events leading up to the car accident. These reports use physical evidence, witness statements, and scientific principles to determine the cause and mechanics of the car accident.
Semi-Truck Accidents Are Less Common, But They Are More Deadly than Car Accidents
Ten percent of Kentucky State traffic accidents causing at least one fatality involve a semi-truck. In the United States, large trucking accidents, including commercial vehicle accidents, cause eleven deaths every day and 100,000 injuries each year.
As is true for most places around the country, deaths and injuries from semi-truck crashes have been reduced over the past ten years, but it’s important to note this reduction has more to do with a general decrease in truck accidents.
Additional federal motor carrier safety administration regulations aimed at preventing truck drivers from operating their vehicles when tired appear to have reduced trucking accidents, but they have not eliminated them. The truth remains that semi-trucks can weigh up to sixteen times more than passenger vehicles. If you are involved in a large truck crash or with similar commercial vehicles, you are very likely to sustain serious injury, possibly leading to death.
Another reason semi-trucks are more deadly is due to their height from the ground to the bottom of the truck. In a trucking accident, passenger cars and motorcycles can be pushed underneath the truck during impact, causing catastrophic injuries to the driver and passengers.
This type of trucking accident involving a tractor-trailer and passenger cars is called an override accident, and they are often deadly.
Rhoads & Rhoads personal injury lawyers have protected the rights of injury victims throughout Western Kentucky for over 45 years. If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, our team of experienced trial attorneys and knowledgeable support staff are available to provide you with legal advice that will help you through this challenging time and get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today by calling 888-709-9329 or contacting us online.
Why Are Semi-Truck Accidents Common?
Tractor-trailers and commercial trucks crash for many of the same reasons any other vehicle accident occurs: excessive speed, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, distracted driving, fatigued driving, and bad weather conditions.
Other features of semi-trucks create accident risks that are unique to large trucks. Brake failure and overloaded tractor-trailers can create a horrific accident scene, particularly when driving on a road with a steep grade.
Tire blowouts, wide turns, broken warning or safety devices, failure to yield, and simple driver error create dangerous situations for the other personal and commercial vehicles on the road. If the truck begins to tip over or jackknifes, the risks to other drivers are even higher.
What Are The Top Causes of Semi Truck Accident Cases?
Truck accidents often result in severe devastation. When a large commercial truck collides with a standard-sized car, it causes extensive damage due to the massive force and size of the truck. But what leads to these devastating trucking accidents? The potential causes are numerous, and there are often multiple contributing factors.
Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents:
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI): Operating a commercial vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications.
- Inadequate Training and Driver Inexperience: Lack of proper training or experience handling large commercial trucks and vehicles.
- Aggressive Driving: Following too closely behind other vehicles, engaging in risky maneuvers, or aggressive driving behaviors.
- Inadequate Maintenance: Failure to perform routine maintenance checks on trucks, leading to mechanical failures or malfunctions can lead to a truck crash.
- Poor Road Design or Conditions: Poor weather conditions, road construction, sharp curves, inadequate signage, or poorly maintained roads affect driving safety.
- Distracted Driving: Including texting, talking on the phone, using electronic devices, or daydreaming due to driver tiredness.
- Speeding and Reckless Driving: Driving above the posted speed limits, engaging in reckless behavior, or ignoring traffic signals.
- Improper Cargo Handling: Overloaded trucks, improperly secured cargo, or spills from transporting hazardous materials can endanger other passenger cars and truck drivers.
- Pressure to Meet Unrealistic Deadlines: Pressure to meet tight delivery deadlines leads to rushed driving, ignoring motor carrier safety administration guidelines, or aggressive passing by truck drivers.
- Environmental Factors: Sun glare, dust storms, wildlife collisions, or other environmental conditions that impair visibility.
- Negligent Hiring Practices: Employing truck drivers with poor driving records, safety violations, or engaging in distractions while driving.
What Regulations Help Protect Drivers from Truck Accidents?
As experienced truck accident lawyers, we understand the importance of trucking regulations designed to keep everyone safe on the roads. Regulations cover every aspect of manufacturing, owning, operating, and maintaining a semi or other large commercial truck and running a truck company.
Unfortunately, our experience as seasoned truck accident lawyers has proven that even though these regulations are in place, they aren’t always followed and that negligence results in people getting hurt.
Essential Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations that Semi-Truck Drivers and Trucking Companies should follow:
- Weight and Size Limits: Trucking companies cannot operate vehicles that exceed 80,000 pounds in weight or 96 inches in width. Overloading strains brakes and makes vehicles more challenging to control, increasing the risk of a trucking accident.
- Driver Qualifications: Truckers must meet age, language, physical, and licensing requirements. Training standards for truck drivers ensure they’re equipped to handle the challenges of the road.
- Mandated Rest Periods: Truckers can drive for 11 hours after a 10-hour rest to prevent driver fatigue. After eight hours of driving, they need a 30-minute break. Weekly limits are 60 hours over seven days or 70 hours over eight days.
- Drug and Alcohol Testing: Regular testing ensures truck drivers stay sober behind the wheel, reducing the chance of an impairment-related trucking accident.
- Vehicle Inspections: Routine checks, including pre-trip inspections by drivers and more thorough examinations by technicians, help catch mechanical issues before they lead to a trucking accident.
- Hazardous Materials Training: Specialized training is required for trucking companies and drivers handling hazardous materials, minimizing the risks of transporting dangerous cargo.
- Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs): ELDs automatically track driving and rest times, ensuring compliance with Hours of Service regulations and reducing the risk of a fatigue-related trucking accident.
What to Do if You’ve Been in a Truck Accident
If you’ve been in a semi-accident truck collision, your first focus is ensuring you and everyone involved are safe.
Once that’s done, there are several steps you can take to preserve your legal rights:
- Prioritize Safety: If possible, move people to a safe location away from traffic hazards you may encounter at the accident scene.
- Seek Medical Attention: Even if you don’t think you’re seriously injured, it’s wise to get checked by medical professionals. Some injuries might not appear immediately but could worsen without treatment. Be sure to collect documentation of the injuries sustained because they are crucial for truck accident lawsuits.
- Contact Authorities: Call emergency services to report the accident. Having an official record of your car accident can be vital for insurance claims and legal proceedings.
- Gather Evidence: If you can, collect evidence of where the accident occurred, such as photographs of vehicles, injuries, and road conditions. Get contact details from witnesses and exchange insurance information with the truck driver.
- Be Careful About Who You Talk To: Avoid admitting fault when speaking with authorities or other parties involved. Stick to providing factual information.
- Notify Your Insurance Provider: Inform your insurance company promptly about the car accident. Provide accurate details about the truck collision, but avoid discussing fault or accepting settlements from anyone’s insurance company before speaking with a truck accident attorney.
- Call an Experienced Truck Accident Law Firm: Seeking guidance from a truck accident attorney well-versed in truck accident cases will help protect your rights and advocate for fair compensation. An experienced trucking lawyer like those at Rhoads & Rhoads will know precisely what to do next.
- Document Injuries and Damages: Keep records of medical treatments, bills, and property damage estimates. This documentation is crucial for assessing damages.
- Adhere to Medical Advice: Follow your healthcare provider’s treatment and follow-up care recommendations. Neglecting medical advice could negatively affect your truck accident case.
- Preserve Evidence: Avoid repairing or disposing of damaged property until your truck accident claims attorneys advise. Preserving evidence is crucial for building a solid trucking accident case.
These immediate steps can protect your interests and lay a solid foundation for pursuing compensation after a truck accident. Remember, seeking legal counsel can provide invaluable support during this challenging time.
Common Injuries Caused by Truck Accidents
In addition to having a higher risk of fatalities, truck accident injuries can also be quite severe. Truck crash-related injuries are often life-changing, requiring significant changes to daily life for the truck accident victim, as well as the victim’s family.
Potential injuries from a truck crash include:
Internal Organ Damage: Survivors of truck accidents may suffer internal organ damage, which can lead to life-threatening complications and require extensive medical treatment.
Severe Burns: The intense heat generated in truck accidents can result in severe burns, causing excruciating pain and permanent disfigurement for the victim.
Disfigurement: Car accidents involving tractor-trailers can cause disfiguring injuries, profoundly impacting a person’s physical appearance and psychological well-being.
Traumatic Brain Injury: Traumatic brain injuries are commonly observed after a severe truck crash. TBIs affect cognitive function, behavior, and quality of life for the victim and their family.
Spinal Cord Injury: Survivors of truck accidents may suffer spinal cord injuries, resulting in partial or complete paralysis and requiring long-term medical care and rehabilitation.
Back Injury: The force of a truck accident impact can cause debilitating back injuries, including fractures, herniated discs, and spinal cord damage, leading to chronic pain and limited mobility.
Neck Injury: Whiplash and other neck injuries are common in both auto accidents and truck accidents, causing pain, stiffness, and potentially long-term complications such as nerve damage.
Broken Bones: Truck crashes frequently result in broken bones, ranging from minor fractures to complex compound fractures, requiring surgical intervention and rehabilitation.
What Is Required to Prove Liability For My Accident?
In personal injury truck accident claims, the victim’s trucking accident lawyer must establish that the responsible party is liable for damages because of their actions.
In Kentucky truck accident cases, this requires proving these four key elements:
Duty of Care: First, your attorney has to prove that the responsible party has a legal responsibility, or Duty of Care, to exercise reasonable care that ensures safety.
Breach of Duty: Next, you must prove the defendant was negligent or reckless and failed to fulfill their duty of care. Examples of careless or reckless behavior include breaking the law, ignoring safety regulations about how long a trucker can drive, or overloading a truck with more than it can safely carry.
Causation: Once Breach of Duty is proven, your attorney has to prove that the breach directly caused the victim’s injuries.
Damages: Finally, the victim must demonstrate tangible losses or injuries due to the accident. You may be able to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost hours at work, pain and suffering, and other related damages resulting from the injury caused by the defendant’s actions.
Who Might be Liable for My Truck Accident?
Each truck accident case is unique, and truck accident attorneys will help you identify individuals and organizations that may be held liable in court for your accident. In many negligence cases, a good truck accident lawyer can prove multiple liable parties and increase your chance of a fair settlement.
Here are a few of the most common liable parties your truck accident lawyer will investigate:
Truck Operator: Responsibility may fall upon commercial truck drivers if their actions, such as speeding, distractions, or intoxicated driving, contributed to the accident.
Transportation Firm: The entity managing or owning the truck might be accountable for the driver’s or mechanic’s negligence or failure to maintain their vehicles if a malfunction causes an accident.
Truck Manufacturers or Maintenance Service: Liability could extend to the manufacturer or distributor of the truck or its components if an accident resulted from a flaw in design or production. Likewise, if insufficient maintenance or repairs played a role, the entity responsible for the truck’s upkeep might be held answerable.
Cargo Handlers or Shippers: If improper cargo loading or securing played a role, the entity managing the cargo or the truck company responsible for its shipment could be deemed liable.
Highway Departments: In cases stemming from road defects or unsafe conditions like inadequate signage or poorly maintained roads, the governmental body tasked with road upkeep might be held accountable.
Contracted Parties: Third-party contractors involved in truck operations, such as maintenance or repair firms, logistics providers, or freelance contractors, might share liability in certain situations.
Proving legal liability in a truck accident can be challenging, so you need a truck accident lawyer who knows how to navigate Kentucky’s legal system and fight for fair compensation.
How Is Compensation for a Truck Accident Claim Calculated?
There’s no way to predict the exact amount of your truck accident claim compensation, but several things are evaluated in every personal injury or wrongful death claim.
Both economic and non-economic damages are considered for your truck accident case. Special circumstances may also be considered if they affect truck accident claims.
The final compensation for a truck accident injury case is determined by following these steps:
Assessment of Economic Damages: This includes adding up all quantifiable financial losses resulting from the accident, such as medical expenses (past, current, and estimated future costs), property damage repair or replacement costs, and lost wages or income due to missed work.
Evaluation of Non-Economic Damages: These are more subjective and may involve a multiplier method, where economic damages are multiplied by a factor determined by the severity of the injuries sustained, the impact on quality of life, and the extent of pain and suffering experienced by the victim.
Consideration of Special Circumstances: Certain factors unique to the case, such as the victim’s age, occupation, pre-existing medical conditions, and the jurisdiction’s laws and regulations, may also influence the calculation.
Negotiation with Insurance Companies: Personal injury attorneys often negotiate with insurance companies on behalf of the victim to reach a fair settlement amount that adequately compensates for all losses and damages incurred.
Expert Testimony and Evidence: Expert witnesses, such as medical professionals and economists, may provide testimony and evidence to support the calculation of damages and strengthen the victim’s case for compensation.
Legal Fees and Contingency Agreements: It’s essential to consider any legal fees associated with hiring a personal injury attorney, typically based on a contingency fee agreement, where the attorney receives a percentage of the final settlement or court award.
Rhoads & Rhoads Are The Owensboro and Madisonville Semi-Truck Accident Attorney — No Recovery, No Fee
With personal injury law offices in Owensboro and Madisonville, Rhoads & Rhoads represents truck accident victims throughout Western Kentucky and has the experience you need to win your personal injury case.
Our truck accident law firm offers free initial consultations, and all truck accident lawsuit cases are taken on a contingency fee basis, which means no payment is required upfront. We get paid only if we win or settle your truck accident lawsuit case, so NO RISK is involved.