WV Tractor-Trailer Accident Lawyers
Semi-trucks are massive machines that, while necessary to the state and national economy, pose a danger to other drivers on the road at the best of times. Add winding West Virginia (WV) roads and hazardous weather conditions, and you have a formula for disaster—especially if a licensed commercial truck driver, trucking company, or someone else has overlooked important safety requirements, such as those relating to load size and weight.
Individuals who have been injured or who have lost a loved one in a tractor-trailer accident in WV need experienced WV tractor-trailer accident lawyers to help them navigate the legal process and fight to obtain the compensation they deserve.
Who Is Liable in a WV Truck Accident?
Due to the sheer size of the trucks, a tractor-trailer accident in WV is more likely to be fatal or cause catastrophic injuries than a typical auto accident. Moreover, tractor-trailers may be hauling large equipment that can turn into deadly flying debris or toxic chemicals that can create additional hazards in an accident.
If large trucks are operated negligently—due to overworked truckers pushing through fatigue, cost-cutting trucking companies failing to implement proper safety standards and equipment, or for other reasons—those trucks become deadly hazards on West Virginia roadways.
Determining and proving who is liable in a WV truck accident is critical to securing compensation for money damages in West Virginia trucking accident claims. Experienced WV tractor-trailer accident attorneys will investigate the crash to determine how and why it occurred, then use that information to fight for your rights and appropriate damages.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in an accident involving a large truck, contact our dedicated and effective WV tractor-trailer accident lawyers for a free consultation on your legal options. Time is critical in West Virginia trucking accident claims both because evidence should be collected and analyzed as soon as possible and because state law limits the time within which a lawsuit may be filed, so don’t delay in getting the legal help you need.
Fatal Tractor-Trailer Accidents Are on the Rise
Semi-truck crashes, especially fatal crashes, are on the rise nationally and in West Virginia. According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 445,842 crashes involving large trucks were reported across the country in 2020. Of those crashes, 4,842 involved fatalities. Fatal accidents involving large trucks have been on the rise since 2010: the 2020 figures represent a 39 percent increase from the 3,494 fatal crashes in 2010. The injury crash numbers are even more astounding: there were 107,000 injury crashes nationwide involving large trucks in 2020, an 85 percent increase over the 58,000 recorded crashes in 2010.
In West Virginia, 34 people were killed in large truck accidents in 2020. While that figure may seem small, West Virginia also has a smaller population as well as fewer trucks and truck miles driven than most other states; West Virginia, therefore, has a higher rate of crashes-per-mile-driven and fatalities-per-million-people than many other states.
In 2020, West Virginia counted 16.81 fatal large truck crashes per million people, making it one of the more dangerous states in terms of fatal truck crashes as compared to the state population. If you have been involved in a big truck crash, it is essential that you seek the guidance of experienced WV tractor-trailer accident attorneys.
Why Contact One of Our WV Tractor-Trailer Accident Lawyers?
It is helpful to know the common causes of a WV tractor-trailer accident when understanding your legal options. Accidents involving tractor-trailers can be caused by any number of factors, many of which are the same factors that lead to other vehicle crashes.
However, some factors are more prevalent among large truck crashes, and these are exacerbated by unsafe practices in the trucking industry as well as passenger vehicles failing to appreciate the additional dangers posed by large trucks and their limitations. Some of the more common causes of tractor-trailer crashes include:
- Driver fatigue, caused by excessive driving hours
- Failure of safety equipment or failure to install up-to-date safety equipment
- Drug or alcohol use
- Aggressive driving or maneuvering
- Excessive speed
- Failure to take precautions during inclement weather or road conditions
- Distracted driving, such as texting or emailing while driving
- Driver negligence, such as failure to check blind spots, failure to signal, turning too wide or too fast
- Inadequate driver training or screening by the employer
- Mistakes by a passenger car driver such as following a truck too closely or sitting in the truck’s blind spot
If you or a loved one has been injured in a tractor-trailer accident in WV, you need an experienced and aggressive West Virginia tractor-trailer accident lawyer to help gather evidence and present the facts of your case in a way that ensures you receive the compensation you need and deserve.
Truck Accidents Are More Dangerous Than Typical Car Accidents
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, large trucks can weigh 20 to 30 times more than passenger vehicles. The large size of the trucks compounds the dangers of any given traffic accident, and the materials being hauled can create additional hazards in the event of an accident. The danger is much greater to those outside the truck: more than 80 percent of the people killed in large truck accidents in 2020 were other vehicle occupants, cyclists, or pedestrians. Fewer than 20 percent of the fatalities were occupants of the trucks.
Steps to Take After a Tractor-Trailer Accident
If you are in a West Virginia tractor-trailer accident, taking the following steps (when possible) can help protect your right to recover damages for the injuries suffered:
- Call the police
- Take photographs
- Get the name and contact information of the other drivers, passengers, and any witnesses
- Write down everything you can recall about the accident
- Get medical attention immediately
- Contact experienced WV tractor-trailer accident attorneys
Reach Out to Our WV Tractor-Trailer Accident Lawyers
For experienced, reliable legal help after a West Virginia truck accident, contact the WV tractor-trailer accident lawyers at Martinsburg law firm Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson. We help clients with their West Virginia trucking accident claims from start to finish. Schedule a free consultation on your case by calling 304-263-0900 or 304-LAWYERS or by completing the firm’s online contact form.