Charleston Truck Accident Lawyers
Knowledgeable WV attorneys help victims obtain full compensation
West Virginia’s country roads are famous for their scenic beauty, but weather conditions and careless driving can easily elevate the danger of catastrophic accidents involving large commercial trucks. If you’ve been injured in an 18-wheeler accident, you can trust the Charleston truck accident attorneys at Calwell Luce diTrapano PLLC to pursue the maximum possible damage award. Our attorneys are known for their experience and dedication, especially in cases where the odds seem to be against us. We have the resources to take on huge insurance companies that underwrite commercial trucking companies. We never forget why and for whom we are working: we remain accessible to you throughout the legal process, updating you frequently and returning your calls promptly, so your can have confidence and peace of mind.
Trucking accidents are on the rise in West Virginia and nationwide
Auto accidents involving large commercial trucks are on the rise across the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that fatalities rose from 3,908 in 2014 to 4,094 in 2015, and increased once more to 4,3017 in 2016. Trucking accidents also cause in excess of 110,000 injuries annually.
Because of the obvious danger of heavy equipment racing at highway speeds and the personal injuries that may result from crashes, commercial trucking is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the country. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an office of the U.S. Department of Transportation, drafts regulations for matters ranging from noise emissions standards to transportation of migrant workers. Regulations specific to highway safety include:
- Qualifications of drivers
- Inspection, repair and maintenance rules
- Insurance requirements
- Limitations on hours of drivers’ service
- Employee safety and health standards
- Testing for controlled substance and alcohol use
- Rules on preservation of records
- Principles and practices of investigations of damage claims
Our experienced trucking accident attorneys use the discovery process to obtain pertinent records that could indicate liability. For example, we might find the driver had spent too many hours behind the wheel in successive days. One very unfortunate fact of commercial trucking is that enforcement of violations can be very lax. It is not uncommon to discover that a rig involved in an accident recently failed a brake test and was put back in service although the company had not fixed the problem.
Who is liable for a trucking accident in West Virginia?
Many commercial truck accidents happen because of driver error. The truck driver can make an unsafe maneuver due to inattention, distraction, overly aggressive driving, fatigue, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In most cases where a truck driver is liable for an accident, the trucking company is also liable under the established legal theory respondeat superior, which holds an employer responsible for the negligence of an employee in the performance of his duties.
However, other persons or entities could be responsible for a truck accident, including:
- Maintenance companies — Faulty maintenance, especially to the brake system, can easily cause a destructive accident.
- Equipment manufacturers — When original equipment fails due to a defect, the manufacturer may be liable for damages.
- Loading companies — Poorly loaded and overloaded cargo can cause a driver to lose control of a rig and can even cause a rollover.
- Government entities — When poor design or maintenance of state and federal highways causes a truck accident, the entity in charge of the road might be liable.
- Passenger car motorists — Negligent drivers who make unsafe maneuvers around 18 wheelers can cause a truck driver to brake sharply, triggering a jackknife accident.
The complexity of commercial truck accident litigation requires experienced case management from a knowledgeable legal team. If you have been seriously injured, you must trust your case to a reputable law firm with a record of positive results.
Consult our determined Charleston truck accident lawyers about your case
A commercial trucking accident often requires complex proof of liability. For skilled representation after a truck accident, call Calwell Luce diTrapano PLLC in Charleston at 304-400-6558 or contact our law firm online to schedule an appointment. Our lawyers recognize that your injuries may prevent you from traveling to our law offices; we can schedule home or hospital visits at your request.