Commercial vehicles are a familiar sight on Ohio’s roadways, but when they are involved in accidents, the results can be life-shattering. If you are a victim of an accident with a large truck caused by someone else, contact the Cleveland truck accident lawyers with KNR right away.
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Truck Accidents – Cleveland
ON THIS PAGE
- What to Do After a Truck Accident
- Who Is Liable for My Cleveland Truck Accident?
- Federal Trucking Regulations
- Statutes of Limitations on Truck Accident Claims
- Common Causes of Truck Accidents
- Common Types of Truck Accidents
- Insurance Issues After a Truck Accident
- Truck Accident Settlements
- Preparing for a Truck Accident Trial
- Truck Accident Compensation
- Call a Cleveland Truck Accident Lawyer for Help
Large trucks and commercial vehicles fill Ohio’s roadways and interstates like I-70, I-90, I-480, and I-490. And Cleveland is no exception.
When trucks crash, devastating injuries can occur. If you suffered in a truck crash caused by negligence, contact our Cleveland truck accident lawyers right away.
At Kisling, Nestico & Redick, our Cleveland personal injury attorneys know that being hurt in a truck accident can turn your life upside down. From medical bills to lost wages, you may not know how to handle a serious truck accident.
With over 400 years of combined legal experience, our attorneys know what to do and will fight to obtain everything you deserve.
You do not have to rely on our word alone. We have secured many favorable settlements and court awards for truck accident victims in Cleveland. Please review our case results to learn more.
We also have been recognized for our work by many well-respected legal organizations, including Ohio Super Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, The American Trial Lawyers Association, The National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys, and Martindale-Hubbell.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
If you were involved in a Cleveland truck accident, the following could help you prepare for an insurance claim or lawsuit:
- Call the Cleveland Police – The swiftest way to get the police and emergency responders to the scene is to call 911. This is important, as it can ensure that everyone involved gets checked out for injuries, traffic remains under control, and an officer can begin to write up an accident report.
- Get Medical Attention – If you are or may be hurt, do not wait to go to the emergency room (ER). We have experience working with medical providers at Cleveland Clinic’s Lutheran Hospital, Fairview Hospital, and Euclid Hospital; and University Hospital ER locations.
- Exchange Insurance Information – Whenever possible, you should exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. Ask for their name, phone number, employer (if they are working at the time), insurance carrier, and policy number.
- Collect Evidence – We understand you might be hurt and in pain or shock after a serious crash. In this condition, you cannot get up and take pictures. However, if you are well enough to do so, we recommend you take photos and video of the crash from different angles and distances. Also, record any nearby property damage and marks on the pavement.
- Call a Cleveland Truck Accident Lawyer – You should have help when pursuing compensation after a truck wreck. Kisling, Nestico & Redick is here to guide you through the insurance claim and litigation processes.
Who is Liable for My Cleveland Truck Accident?
After suffering in a Cleveland truck accident, it is important to determine who is liable. You need to know who is at fault and who is financially responsible.
Was it the driver? Was it the trucking company?
Once you know who was responsible, you can determine if that party or another is ultimately liable under the law.
The party at fault for a truck accident is the one whose negligence led to the collision and your injuries. For example, the truck driver’s negligence may have caused the crash if they were speeding.
But, the truck driver may not be the only liable party. If a business employed the truck driver, they might be liable if they failed to maintain the truck. As a result, you will need to pursue a settlement from the insurance carrier or the business itself.
What is Negligence?
When discussing fault and liability, it is essential to discuss truck accident negligence. People have a duty to act as a reasonable person would under the same or similar circumstances. This goes for truck drivers, trucking companies, cargo owners and loaders, maintenance providers, truck manufacturers, and anyone involved in the trucking industry.
Negligence arises when a party or business fails to act reasonably. Instead, its actions increase the probability of an accident.
Another way to think of negligence is carelessness. When a person acts carelessly, they potentially place themselves and others in harm’s way.
Truck Driver Negligence
Truckers have a commercial driver’s license, and in many ways, are held to a higher standard than regular drivers. Unfortunately, a common cause of truck accidents is still truck driver negligence.
CDL (commercial driver’s license) holders must obey the rules of the road. This means complying with federal trucking regulations and acting carefully to avoid an accident. The truck driver is negligent when they fail to take these steps.
Truck drivers can be independent contractors or employees. When a trucker is an employee and negligently causes a crash, then the employer-trucking company is liable for the driver’s actions.
However, truck drivers are not always the negligent party. Many times, the truck driver’s employer is responsible, and their neglect is the underlying cause of the collision.
Trucking companies that fail to inspect and maintain their vehicles properly are negligent. For example, if poorly maintained brakes fail, a runaway truck accident could occur.
Highway and Road Design Defects
Ensuring all roadways are designed to be as safe as possible is a challenge. Engineers have to consider the amount of traffic on the road, the shape of the road, lighting, passing and no-passing zones, and necessary traffic instructions, like stop signs and lights, yield signs, and speed limits.
These factors must also be considered in construction zones. Construction companies and municipalities need to ensure signs and safety equipment are visible, yet do not impede the drivers’ ability to drive safely.
In some circumstances, truck accidents arise because the roadways or work zones are poorly designed and do not take into account the size, weight, and limitations of commercial vehicles.
If you are suffering after a truck crash, it is critical you speak with a Cleveland truck accident attorney about who is liable. If a municipality is responsible, you face a different process for recovering compensation.
Federal Trucking Regulations
Truck drivers and motor carrier companies must adhere to regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). There is a wide range of federal and state regulations, about inspections, maintenance, hours of service, weight and size, licensure of drivers, insurance coverage, and more.
How We Prove Negligence in Truck Accidents
If you are injured in a truck accident, we will thoroughly investigate the incident. We will look into the truck driver’s history as well as the trucking company’s records. In addition, we will search for any indication of FMCSA regulatory violations.
At first glance, a violation may seem minor. However, failure to conduct even one inspection could lead to a defective truck going out, placing the driver and other motorists at risk.
Prior violations can establish a truck driver or motor carrier negligence. Therefore, they should be held liable for your injuries.
Statutes of Limitations on Truck Accident Claims
The Ohio statute of limitations for personal injury and truck accident lawsuits is two years. This means that you generally have two years from the date of the crash to file. This deadline only applies to lawsuits and not your insurance claim.
Insurers require that you notify them of a claim soon after the accident. Waiting to notify the insurer can lead to your claim being denied based on the delay.
If you are worried about the statute of limitations, contact a truck accident lawyer in Cleveland right away.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
To assign responsibility, you must determine the underlying cause of the truck collision. After the crash, an officer will conduct a cursory investigation. The trucking company and its insurer will also perform an investigation.
However, you should not rely on either the police report or the other insurer’s conclusions. It is best to work with an experienced truck accident attorney who will thoroughly and independently investigate the cause of the accident.
We have found some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- Fatigue and falling asleep at the wheel
- Distracted driving
- Improper truck maintenance
- Truck part defect
- Mechanical or equipment failure
- Improperly changing lanes
- Failing to check blind spots
Common Types of Truck Accidents
At Kisling, Nestico & Redick, we have handled truck accident claims in Cleveland for decades. We have recovered compensation in all types of truck crashes, including:
- Rear-End Truck Accidents
- Head-On Truck Accidents
- Underride/Override Truck Accidents
- Sideswipe Truck Accidents
- Side Impact “T-Bone” Truck Accidents
- Jackknife Truck Accidents
- Runaway Truck Accidents
- Brake Failure Truck Accidents
- Blown Tire Truck Accidents
- Rollover Truck Accidents
Insurance Issues After a Truck Accident
Following a truck wreck, the best way to get compensation is typically through an insurance settlement. The trucking company should have a liability policy with a significant policy limit. The truck driver also should have an insurance policy. As an independent contractor, the truck driver typically needs proof of insurance to work.
However, the presence of an applicable insurance policy does not guarantee a settlement or a smooth claim process. You can run into all sorts of issues when pursuing a truck accident settlement.
Therefore, it is beneficial to have an experienced attorney.
Insurance Limits for Truck Drivers
Another important FMCSA regulation is insurance coverage. Truck drivers and companies must have public liability insurance that covers both property damage and bodily injuries.
The minimum policy limit depends on the weight of the truck and the type of cargo. For example, vehicles under 10,001 pounds moving non-hazardous freight must have at least $300,000 in coverage.
These regulations are often helpful to truck accident victims. Such insurance requirements increase the likelihood that the at-fault party has insurance. Also, the policy limits for truck drivers and companies are higher than for personal auto insurance requirements. As a result, there is a greater likelihood of obtaining a fair settlement for your injuries.
How the Truck Driver’s Insurance Company Will Act Toward You
How the truck driver’s or company’s insurer treats you can vary. However, you should not expect the insurance adjuster to be overly friendly or helpful.
The insurer is not focused on your best interests. Instead, they want to protect the policyholder and its bottom line. It will only pay out if it has to. Even then, it will work to pay you as little as possible.
You should be cautious in communicating with the truck driver or company’s insurer. The insurance company will try and get you to make a statement on the record. Your best response is to decline and speak with a Cleveland truck accident attorney.
At KNR, we will handle all of the communication with the insurance company and ensure your rights are respected.
How Truck Insurance Companies Try to Reduce Costs
The truck driver’s insurance company will look for any evidence that you were fully or partly at fault. If there is evidence of negligence on your part, the insurer will use this to reduce your payout.
Comparative negligence claims are common following truck accidents. Kisling, Nestico & Redick regularly fights claims that our clients were negligent. We strive to reduce your percentage of liability for the collision.
The insurer will also want to look into your medical history. Insurers often ask crash victims to sign a medical waiver, which gives the insurer the right to look through all of your medical records -not only the records associated with your truck accident injuries.
By working with an attorney, you can avoid this. Your lawyer will ensure the adjuster receives the necessary medical records, but cannot dig into your past and blame your injuries on something from before the crash.
Truck Accident Settlements
After being injured in a trucking accident, your focus may be on getting a settlement. We will strive to obtain you a fair settlement as quickly as possible, though this can take months or years. When you accept a settlement, you do so in exchange for agreeing to not file a lawsuit against the liable party or for dropping an ongoing lawsuit.
However, a settlement is not always possible. You may find that the truck driver or trucking company was not insured as required. Or, the insurer may have wrongfully denied your claim and refuses to settle. Another possible problem is an insurer that simply refuses to negotiate in good faith and resolve the claim for a fair amount.
When we cannot obtain a pre-trial settlement and the insurer is acting in bad faith, we will prepare for trial.
Preparing for a Truck Accident Trial
If you need to take your truck accident claim to court, you have to prepare to prove the other party’s liability. You need evidence to establish the truck driver, trucking company, or another party was negligent. You must have additional evidence that this negligence directly led to the accident.
Then, after establishing that negligence occurred and caused the crash, you must also prove you suffered injuries. You will need to present evidence of the type and severity of your injuries and the financial costs associated with these injuries.
During a trial, we will present this information to a judge and jury. It is up to us to present the evidence in the most persuasive manner possible to convince the jury of the other party’s liability and the value of your injuries.
What is Discovery?
One of the pre-trial phases is discovery. During discovery, the parties exchange information through interrogatories (questions), requests for documents, and depositions (out-of-court interviews with witnesses and relevant parties).
Discovery is essential to our investigation. Prior to filing a truck accident lawsuit and discovery, we will begin our independent investigation into the crash and gather as much evidence as possible.
However, there will be information and records controlled by other parties that we cannot obtain outside of discovery. For example, during discovery, we can obtain the trucker’s driving log and employment history, the trucking company’s maintenance records, the trucking company’s history of accidents, and the truck’s stored electronic data.
Gathering evidence during a truck accident claim is critical. At Kisling, Nestico & Redick, we obtain a copy of the police report. We gather any photos you or witnesses took. We look for possible video footage from nearby traffic, weather, or surveillance cameras.
Our team will seek out witnesses who did not automatically come forward and ask all of the witnesses to provide statements regarding what they saw and heard leading up to and during the accident.
KNR will also thoroughly investigate the background of the truck driver and trucking company to see if there is a history of traffic violations, accidents, or regulatory violations.
Dealing with Experts
During truck accident cases, we may hire one or more experts to support your claim. Our team may hire an accident reconstructionist, engineer, or other trucking experts to testify regarding the other party’s actions and why they amounted to negligence.
KNR might also hire a medical expert to discuss your injuries, including the pain you suffered and the future medical care you will need. Additionally, if you suffered serious injuries, we may hire a vocational or economic expert about your ability to work and your lost earnings.
Witnesses to your truck crash can make a significant difference, especially if a witness is an objective third party. If someone saw the crash and is willing to testify, we will ask them to speak in court regarding what they saw and heard.
Truck Accident Compensation
When a truck accident injures you and it is another person or business’s fault, we are here to help you pursue full and fair compensation for your injuries.
A truck accident claim can help you recover your:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
KNR has helped numerous injury victims after truck accidents get compensation for their long-term needs. For example, KNR represented a man in Elyria who was injured by a delivery truck. We settled the case for $90,000 for the man’s various injuries.
We will pursue compensation for your expenses and financial losses. These are known as special damages. This includes your medical bills, lost wages, lost employment benefits, other out-of-pocket expenses, and your reduced earning capacity due to a disability.
We will also demand compensation for your non-economic injuries as well, including your pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish.
Special and general damages are known as compensatory damages. This is because they compensate you for a specific injury.
Punitive damages are different because they punish the negligent party. These damages are not allowed if your injuries are the result of ordinary negligence. You must be able to establish recklessness, malicious conduct, or fraud.
If a loved one was seriously injured in a truck accident, and later passed away, talk to a Cleveland truck accident lawyer about a survival action claim.
When someone passes away before they can file the lawsuit or resolve their claim, then this personal injury action survives their death. Your relative’s estate can continue to pursue damages.
Wrongful Death Damages
If your loved one was tragically killed in a truck accident, contact Kisling, Nestico & Redick about filing a wrongful death claim. Through such a lawsuit, you and your family can pursue compensation for the lost financial support, companionship and services, and your mental anguish.
Call a Cleveland Truck Accident Lawyer For Help
After an unexpected truck accident, you suddenly have to deal with pain, grief, and a large financial burden. All of this can make it extremely difficult to deal with an insurance adjuster or contemplate going to court.
Whether you need assistance with a truck accident claim, a car accident, workers’ comp, or a case involving medical malpractice, our dedicated legal team of Cleveland personal injury lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick can help you obtain the funds you deserve.
We will take all of the necessary steps to secure compensation for your injuries.