Big trucks are a familiar sight in Columbus, Ohio, but when accidents happen, the results can be life-shattering. If you are a victim of an accident with a large truck caused by someone else, contact the Columbus truck accident lawyers with KNR today.
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Truck Accidents – Columbus
ON THIS PAGE
- What to Do After a Truck Accident
- Who Is Liable for My Truck Accident
- Federal Trucking Regulations
- Statutes of Limitations in Truck Accident Claims
- Common Causes of Truck Accidents
- Common Types of Truck Accidents
- Insurance Issues After a Truck Accident
- Truck Accident Settlements
- Preparing for Trial in a Truck Accident Case
- Semi-Truck Accident Compensation
- Call Our Columbus Truck Accident Lawyers Today
A truck accident can change your life. You may experience serious harm that requires significant medical attention and time off work. You may suffer a disabling injury that hurts your ability to earn a living. Worse yet, you may lose a spouse, parent, or child.
When your life is impacted by a negligent truck driver, we recommend hiring a Columbus truck accident attorney. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help pursue fair compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit.
But don’t just hire any Columbus personal injury lawyer. The team at Kisling, Nestico & Redick has more than 400 years of combined legal experience. We have handled countless truck wreck claims around Franklin County. Additionally, our success has been recognized by many trusted and respected legal organizations. This includes The National Trial Lawyers, The American Trial Lawyers Association, The National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys, Ohio Super Lawyers, and Martindale-Hubbell.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
Whether it happened on broad Street, I-270, 315, or while merging on 670 towards Nationwide Arena, a Columbus truck crash can be catastrophic. You might have been unable to do anything other than focus on yourself. You may be in pain or shock.
The best thing to do is to wait for an ambulance. However, here are a few steps to take after a truck wreck:
- Call 911 or the Columbus Police – You want the police to arrive as soon as possible to control traffic, begin an initial investigation, and prepare an accident report.
- Go to the emergency room – You should seek medical attention as soon as possible after a truck accident. It is important to be looked over by a doctor because your injuries may not be readily apparent. Concussions and internal bleeding may not be noticeable to you or friend just after the crash, but a physician will check for these types of injuries. In Columbus, you can visit the Ohio State University Hospital, Mount Carmel, OhioHealth, or a local ER.
- Exchange insurance information – Ask the truck driver for their name, contact information, employer, and insurance information.
- When possible, collect evidence – If you have a phone, take photos and videos of the crash. Try to document the scene from different angles and distances. Also, take note of the surrounding property damage and any marks on the road.
- Call a truck accident law firm – Once you are home or admitted to the hospital, contact an experienced Columbus truck accident lawyer.
Who is Liable for My Truck Accident?
After a truck crash, it is important to identify who was at fault and who is liable for compensating you. The party liable is generally the one who was negligent.
What is Negligence?
Negligence is the failure to maintain a duty of care, which causes someone harm. Every driver on the road is required to uphold an ordinary duty of care.
Truck drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) are held to an even higher standard. Truck driver negligence means failing to act as a reasonable driver would in a similar situation. A driver might speed, fail to yield, or run a red light. Or, negligence can mean being less careful than the driver should have been. A careless driver may be distracted, drowsy, or fail to check their blind spots.
To prove the other person was negligent, you must show that the driver’s carelessness caused the accident. You must show that were it not for the negligent conduct, the crash would not have occurred. You also must establish that the crash was a foreseeable risk of the driver’s negligent behavior.
Finally, you must prove that you suffered an injury in the accident they caused that you can be compensated for.
Truck Driver Negligence
Many truck wrecks are caused by a trucker’s negligence. This can take all sorts of forms. A truck driver may operate a vehicle while impaired by drugs, alcohol, or both. The trucker may drive too much within a certain period, fail to get enough rest, and drive while drowsy. A truck driver can also violate traffic laws and increase the risk of a crash.
When the truck driver was negligent and caused the accident, we will pursue compensation from the truck driver and their insurance provider. However, we may also pursue compensation from the employer and their insurance policy.
After a thorough investigation, we may discover that the truck driver’s employer was actively negligent and caused the crash and your injuries. The trucking company may have failed to properly maintain the truck or load and secure the cargo. A company can also be negligent by hiring and retaining a truck driver who doesn’t have a CDL license, lacks enough experience, or with a record of speeding, accidents, or drunk driving.
Highway and Road Design Defects
Some tractor-trailer accidents happen because of issues with the roadway. A highway, urban street, or bridge may not be designed properly, and a defect in the design may increase the likelihood of accidents. The highway, road, or bridge may not be properly maintained. Wear and tear also create significant hazards, like large potholes, dips and bumps, and unstable bridges. Another issue is roadways that lack the proper signage or markings.
At Kisling, Nestico & Redick, our Columbus truck accident lawyers have handled virtually every type of truck accident case, including ones in work zones. When there is construction, the company hired to do the job must properly place signs, cones, and other warnings and equipment. If anything is misplaced or the company improperly closes a lane, shifts a lane, or directs traffic, then there may be a crash.
If we uncover evidence that improper road design or an improperly managed work zone is the underlying cause, we may pursue a claim against the private construction company or the municipality in charge.
Federal Trucking Regulations
Truckers and trucking companies are highly regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The FMCSA and the state of Ohio both enforce several regulations. Some of the ones we often address during truck accident cases include:
- Weight and size restrictions
- Commercial driver’s licenses and endorsements
- Truck driver impairment
- Hours of service limits
- Insurance requirements
- Hazardous material signs/warnings
- Truck driver logs
- Truck inspections
- Record retention
At KNR, we are well-versed in FMCSA regulations, and will thoroughly analyze the evidence for any violation.
Regulatory Violations May Prove Negligence
Trucking companies and drivers are required to adhere to FMCSA regulations. It is a part of the duty of care trucking company and drivers owe to others on the road. When a truck driver or business fails to uphold one or more regulations, they are failing to act within the law or as a reasonably prudent person would in similar situations. Failure to follow these regulations is careless and dangerous. Violations often directly contribute to collisions, injuries, and fatalities.
When we find evidence of regulatory violations, we carefully document the evidence and prepare to use this as proof of negligence. We may be able to connect the regulatory violation directly to the crash, or we may use the violation as evidence of the trucker or company’s overall careless or reckless conduct.
Statutes of Limitations in Truck Accident Claims
In Ohio, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. This two-year time limit begins on the date of the crash.
This deadline does not apply to your insurance claim. Insurers typically require notification in a reasonable amount of time after the crash. If you wait weeks or months to notify the insurer, your claim may be denied. That’s why it is important to speak with a Columbus semi-truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Some of the most common causes of truck accidents in Ohio’s capital city 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 are here after any trucking accident:
- 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 After a Truck Accident
Following a truck accident, we will pursue compensation for your injuries through an insurance claim. The policyholder may be the trucker, trucking company, or another business. To avoid problems or to effectively address them, you should have an experienced Columbus truck accident lawyer on your side.
Insurance Limits for Truck Drivers
Truck drivers and trucking companies are required by the FMCSA to carry insurance. The minimum amount of coverage depends on the weight of the truck and the type of cargo. A larger truck must have more insurance coverage. Hazardous materials must be insured for a greater amount than non-hazardous goods.
Truckers and trucking companies typically have insurance policies with larger limits than personal drivers. This can be very helpful because the high cost of your physical, psychological, and financial injuries are likely covered.
How the Truck Driver’s Insurance Company will Act Toward You
During a truck accident insurance claim, no matter how an insurance adjuster acts toward you, the insurance company is looking out for its own best interests by offering low settlements or refusing to pay out claims at all.
The insurer may ask you for a written or oral statement about the accident. You should not give a statement without talking to a truck accident attorney. An innocuous comment in a formal statement could be twisted against you. Or, if you are unprepared, you may not have the most accurate answer.
Instead of feigning friendliness, the insurer may be almost hostile. Whatever the situation, you should have an accident attorney handle the insurance claim. We may have to deal with two different insurers if the trucker and trucking company have policies through different companies.
The Trucker’s Insurance Company Will Try to Reduce Costs
Whether you are pursuing compensation under the truck driver’s insurance policy, the trucking company’s insurance policy, or both, you can expect an insurer to try and mitigate their losses.
One way they do this is to dig into your medical history and look for pre-existing conditions. The insurer may try to argue that your current injuries or condition are entirely or partly to blame on something else that took place before the crash. To reduce the risk of this happening, we limit the insurer’s access to your medical history. We provide the insurer with medical records relating to your injury crashes, but we recommend you do not sign a waiver, which would let the insurer review your entire history.
The insurer may argue that you did not take steps to reduce your injuries. They may claim you made yourself worse. However, we will establish that you sought and received appropriate care.
Additionally, the trucking company may allege you contributed to the crash. If the insurer found you partly to blame, they will reduce your compensation by your percentage of fault.
Truck Accident Settlements
Truck accident settlements are the most common resolution to trucking wreck cases. At Kisling, Nestico & Redick, we have negotiated many fair settlements for our clients. But obtaining a settlement is not always easy.
It is important to have an 18-wheeler accident lawyer to gather and analyze evidence, establish that the other party was negligent, and prove your damages. By effectively presenting evidence of their negligence and your injuries we can negotiate for better settlements.
Unfortunately, settlements are not always attainable. An insurer may wrongfully deny your claim, act in bad faith, or refuse to offer an appropriate sum. That is when we prepare to take your case to trial.
Preparing for Trial in a Truck Accident Case
Preparing for trial is a multi-step process, It includes an independent investigation, thorough use of discovery to gather evidence, an aggressive pretrial motion practice, and establishing the most effective arguments for the jury.
We take trial prep very seriously. By the time the trial date nears, we will have the strongest and most effective argument possible.
Evidence and Discovery
After a truck vs car accident, we take several steps to thoroughly investigate what happened. We gather photos, videos, the police report, your testimony, and eyewitness testimony. KNR will also review the trucking company and the trucker’s backgrounds through public records.
There is a significant amount of information under the truck driver and trucking company’s control after a crash. However, we can access them during the discovery phase.
To ensure that information is still available months down the line, we send a preservation letter to all potential parties. This informs them of your claim and tells them to maintain any potential evidence they otherwise may discard.
During discovery, we will use interrogatories, requests for documents, and depositions to gather more evidence. This includes any results from tests on the truck or specific parts, data from the truck’s electronic data recorder, the truck driver’s logs, the driver’s employment records, and the company’s truck maintenance and repair records.
During our investigation, we may find issues or evidence that need further analysis or explanation. Therefore, we may hire one or more experts to testify on your behalf. For example, we may hire an accident reconstructionist, engineer, or trucking professional to testify regarding the cause of the crash.
We might also enlist a medical expert to testify about the extent of your injuries, medical care, and pain. We may even hire a vocational expert or economist to explain your future working and earning capabilities.
Expert witnesses can be a crucial source of evidence regarding negligence and your damages.
Another potential source of evidence is eyewitnesses to the crash. Your testimony and the testimony of anyone in your vehicle is helpful. However, the word of a third party who is not connected to you or the trucking company carries a lot of weight. An objective witness can help establish what happened and who was at fault.
Semi-Truck Accident Compensation
When a negligent trucker or trucking company causes harm, you may be entitled to compensation:
- Special Damages – Special damages encompass your financial expenses and losses, including medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, property damage, and lost income.
- General Damages – General damages encompass your non-economic injuries, including your pain and suffering and mental anguish.
- Punitive Damages – Punitive damages are not always available after a large truck accident. First, you must establish that the at-fault party was either grossly negligent or acted intentionally. If you can prove recklessness, malice, or intentional misconduct, you may receive additional compensation that is intended to punish the at-fault party.
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 Columbus injury victims get the compensation they need after truck accidents. Please review our case results to learn more.
Wrongful Death and Survival Damages
If your loved one initially survived the accident, then they had a personal injury claim. However, they may have later passed away before filing a claim. Through a survival action, your relative’s estate can still pursue damages.
A wrongful death claim is different. It is based on the surviving family member’s injuries. Through a wrongful death lawsuit, you and your surviving relatives can pursue compensation for your mental anguish as well as the loss of your relative’s financial support, services, and companionship.
Call Our Columbus Truck Accident Lawyers Today
After a sudden truck accident, you are forced to deal with pain, grief, and serious financial burdens. This makes it extremely difficult to also handle an insurance adjuster or possible lawsuit.
The Columbus truck accident attorneys at Kisling, Nestico & Redick will handle every aspect of your claim, from investigating the crash, negotiating with the insurer, and fighting for you in and out of court.
Let us do what it takes to secure compensation for your injuries.