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Truck Accidents

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Toledo Truck Accident Attorneys

The trucking industry makes money and generates more business for itself not just by delivering goods from point A to point B — but by delivering them as fast as possible. Unfortunately, there comes a point where this business practice gets out of hand and it seems as though it doesn’t matter who gets in their way. At that point, innocent people pay the price.

At Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott, LLC, we represent people in the Toledo area and throughout Ohio who have been tragically injured due to the negligence or recklessness of trucking companies or their drivers. We have been doing this work since 1973 and have helped numerous families and individuals recover the compensation needed to recover from these horrible accidents. Trucking accidents can be caused by any number of things but some of the most common causes include:

  • Intoxicated or overtired drivers
  • Tire blowouts
  • Improperly loaded or secured cargo
  • Brake failures and other mechanical failures
  • Aggressive driving

In many cases, trucking companies and their insurers will be quick to offer a “fair” settlement. Our definition of the word “fair” is different. We prepare every case for trial so that we can negotiate from a position of strength, and take your claim to a jury whenever necessary.

In truck accident cases, our lawyers work with accident reconstruction specialists, investigators, and other professionals to build strong and convincing cases on behalf of our clients. This means going to the scene of the accident as quickly as possible to take measurements, preserve evidence, and identify potential witnesses. We take this factual information and combine it with the latest in case presentation technologies to show clearly, exactly what happened and why our client deserves what we’re asking for. At Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott, LLC, we know there’s no substitute for meticulous preparation to achieve the best results.

Causes of Truck Accidents

At Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott, LLC, we’ve been managing commercial truck accident cases successfully since 1973. Our personal injury attorneys have experience establishing the causes of semi, big rig, and tractor-trailer accidents, such as:

  • Overly fatigued truck drivers — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets limits on the number of hours a driver can operate a big rig. A trucking company is responsible for keeping its employees under the limit.
  • Tire blowouts — Tire failure can be attributed to poor maintenance on the part of the company or a defect for which the tire manufacturer could be responsible.
  • Improperly loaded or secured cargo — Loading companies that stow cargo negligently, causing a rig to swerve or tip, can be held responsible for an accident.
  • Brake failures — This is another area where maintenance or manufacture might be faulty.
  • Unskilled driving — Companies that hire incompetent employees can be liable for negligent hiring and supervision.
  • Motorist negligence — Truck accidents are not always the fault of the truck. Many motorists disregard safety precautions when driving in proximity to semi-trucks, forcing the truck driver to react abruptly and triggering an accident.

What are the Limits of a Truck Company’s Liability for its Employees?

Under the theory of respondeat superior, a company is generally not held to account for deliberate or illegal actions by its employees. A company is responsible if an employee’s aggressive driving causes a crash, but not if the same employee deliberately rammed a car in a fit of road rage. Grey areas like these make it vitally important to have an experienced accident attorney on your side.

Tractor-Trailer Accidents

Our attorneys have experience litigating various types of truck accident cases. Our qualified and concerned trial lawyers are ready to represent clients in cases involving:

  • Jackknifes — These incredibly destructive accidents occur when a driver brakes suddenly and the trailer, traveling faster than the tractor pulling it, swings to one side. A trailer can block two or more lanes of traffic, wiping out the vehicles in its path.
  • Rollovers — On tight turns at high speeds, a trailer can tip over, taking the tractor with it. The trailer can fall onto vehicles and crush them, and cause further destruction when its cargo bursts forth onto the highway.
  • Underride — Since tractor-trailers are mounted very high on their chassis, passenger vehicles can actually get trapped under the trailer when the rig makes an abrupt lane change or jackknifes. Motorists and their passengers risk gruesome injuries, including decapitation
  • Explosions — Tractor-trailers carrying combustible or flammable materials can burst into flame following high-impact collisions.
  • Hazmat spills — Semi-trucks carrying hazardous materials can experience a breach of the cargo area. This can cause harm to anyone exposed to toxic substances.

Big rigs are potentially very destructive. A serious trucking accident often leads to claims for catastrophic injuries, including paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, and wrongful death. Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott, LLC provides professional and highly personal service throughout the legal process.

Understanding Trucking Laws in Ohio

Trucking companies are regulated by the Federal Government. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) creates rules and codes that govern trucking companies in efforts to keep highways safer by reducing the likelihood of truck accidents. The following is some important information regarding the regulations that govern trucking companies:

  • Hours of Service. The FMCSA restricts the number of hours that a truck driver may operate his or her vehicle. These restrictions articulate what tasks are considered on-duty–such as driving, loading, or unloading goods from the truck, and time taken to repair the vehicle. The FMCSA also dictates how many consecutive hours a trucker may operate the truck. In Ohio, someone driving for a private motor carrier who is transporting construction goods within the state may drive for 12 hours after eight consecutive hours off-duty.
  • Insurance. The FMCSA requires commercial vehicles to carry at least $750,000 in liability insurance for physical injury and property damage in the event of an accident. However, remember that these insurance companies represent the trucking company, not you. Never give insurance adjusters any type of statement or sign any documents for them until you speak with your Toledo accident attorney.
  • Truck maintenance. Inadequate truck maintenance can lead to traffic crashes, injury, and death. If a trucking company does not comply with federal regulations that require it to systematically inspect and repair its vehicles, the company may be held liable for any accident injuries caused by one of its trucks.

Truck drivers are also held to federal and state laws regulating speed limits and substance abuse. If you sustained an injury due to a trucking accident, the most important decision you can make is to contact a truck accident attorney in Toledo to represent you in settlement negotiations or litigation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some frequently asked questions regarding trucking accidents include the following:

Who can sue in a tractor-trailer injury or wrongful death case?

As long as another person or entity is found at-fault for the accident, anyone who is injured or loses a loved one in a trucking accident is eligible to participate in a wrongful death suit.

What party can be sued in a truck accident case?

Any party who is at-fault for causing an accident can be sued, such as the truck driver, the trucking company, the shipper, the owner of the trailer, or even the manufacturer of a specific part of the truck that contributed to the accident.

Does the government limit the number of consecutive hours that a truck driver can operate his or her truck?

Yes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration restricts the number of hours that a driver may be on the road. These regulations have provided valuable sources for many truck accident cases over the years.

Trial Lawyers Since 1973

Injured in an 18-wheeler crash or an auto wreck caused by a commercial vehicle? Call our Toledo, Ohio, law offices or contact us online for a free consultation. Our lawyers handle truck accident claims on a contingent fee basis — you will pay no attorney fees unless we obtain a verdict or settlement in your case.

TESTIMONIALS

CASE RESULTS

All of our partners are AV Peer Review Rated* through Martindale-Hubbell. Out-of-state referrals are welcome for all
areas of practice we handle, including personal injury, workers’ compensation and insurance claims issues.

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