Columbus Truck Accident Lawyer
The average car weighs about 4,000 pounds, compared to 80,000 pounds for a loaded-down tractor-trailer. Even the most well-built and “crashworthy” SUV is no match for an impact with an 18-wheeler at highway speeds. Motor vehicle occupants involved in collisions with semi-trucks are at high risk of suffering a catastrophic injury or wrongful death. Truck accidents are complex events, and recovering full compensation for injury victims can be a complicated, challenging task. The Oliver Law Office is a Columbus-area law firm with particular expertise in auto, truck, and pedestrian accident cases, including fatal crashes and collisions causing serious or catastrophic injury. If you were injured in a collision with a big rig, the attorneys at the Oliver Law Office will dedicate themselves to identifying the party responsible for the crash and holding them fully accountable for the harm they have caused. Learn more about truck accidents below, or contact our experienced Columbus truck accident lawyer for immediate assistance.
Common Causes of Columbus Truck Accidents
Truck accidents happen in many ways, sometimes involving other parties besides just a negligent truck driver. Here are some of the most common reasons for truck accidents on the streets and highways of Columbus.
Drowsy or Fatigued Driving
Whether paid by the mile or the trip, the more truckers drive and the more trips they complete, the more money they make. The same goes for trucking companies and the freight shippers that hire them. These facts can incentivize drivers to drive longer than is reasonably safe. As it is, industry-friendly federal regulations allow truck drivers to put in 14-hour days with 11 hours behind the wheel, with as little as 30 minutes rest after eight hours on the road. After putting in this punishing schedule for 60 hours over seven consecutive days or 70 hours over eight consecutive days, truckers need only take off 32 hours before starting all over again.
That’s what federal law allows, but many truck drivers ignore the law and drive even longer, sometimes going to great lengths to falsify their logs and hide their legal non-compliance. We know this because annual roadside inspections routinely turn up large numbers of drivers with falsified logs, many of whom also lack the proper licenses or endorsements to drive a big rig. Cross-country highway driving is fatiguing enough for a rested driver; truckers who spend too much time on the road are at risk of nodding off at the wheel or causing tragic accidents because of decreased attention and alertness due to fatigue.
Negligent Truck Maintenance
Semi-trucks are expensive, and many trucking companies maintain aging fleets, doing everything to put off the date when they’ll need to scrap an old truck and buy a new one. Tractor-trailers might put on 500,000 or even millions of miles before they are replaced. The older 18-wheelers get, the more maintenance they may need to stay safe, but too many trucking companies skirt even the most basic maintenance to keep their trucks in service and their costs down. This fact is also known from annual roadside inspections, where about 20% of commercial vehicles inspected get immediately pulled from service due to dangerously unsafe tires, bad or missing brake components, malfunctioning signal lights and coupling devices, and other serious safety issues. When tires, brakes or other components fail while in operation, the likelihood of the driver losing control and causing a crash is dangerously high.
Negligent Cargo Loading
Loading up a trailer, container truck, or flatbed is an art and a science, and it must be done carefully to prevent disasters on the road. An overloaded trailer can increase the likelihood of brakes failing or tires blowing out. An unbalanced load can make the driver lose control and send the truck into a rollover or jackknife crash. Unsecured or improperly secured loads can spill out of or off of the truck and create road hazards for drivers for a mile or more. Cargo spills or crashes with trucks carrying hazardous materials also increase the risk of catastrophic injuries or wrongful death from fires and explosions, chemical burns, respiratory damage, and more.
Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident?
Because truck accidents are complex and so many factors go into trucking, there might be one or more different parties who are liable for causing the crash. Possible liable parties in a Columbus truck accident can include, for example:
- Negligent truck drivers
- The owner of the truck
- The employer of the driver
- Truck maintenance companies
- Cargo loaders
- Truck manufacturers
- Tire companies and other parts manufacturers
How the Oliver Law Office Helps With Truck Accidents in Columbus
Truck accidents are expensive, and trucking companies carry large insurance policies. The insurers, in turn, want to minimize or avoid large payouts wherever possible. The trucking company or their insurer might come to you almost immediately after a crash with an offer of settlement. This settlement offer might seem to meet your present needs, but it is unlikely to take into account all the damages and harm you’ll suffer from the accident, and it is likely to be far less than an attorney could get for you through settlement negotiations or litigation. At the other end of the spectrum, insurance companies might drag out and delay any settlement payment, hoping to wear you down and get you to give up on your claim or take less than you should. They could also take advantage of the complex nature of truck accidents to blame some other party for causing the accident, in some cases even pinning the blame on the accident victim.
Our experienced legal team knows how to investigate a truck accident, identify the responsible party or parties, and hold them accountable for the harm they’ve caused. We won’t try to settle your case until all your damages are known, and if we can’t get a fair amount through negotiation, our firm has the skills and the track record in court you can count on to litigate your case to a successful conclusion.
Contact the Oliver Law Office Today
If you have been injured in a crash with an 18-wheeler, or if you lost a family member in a fatal tractor-trailer collision along I-70, I-71, or other Columbus roads and highways, the Oliver Law Office is the law firm you need to help you get a full and fair amount of compensation for the harm done to you. Call our experienced Columbus truck accident lawyer today for a no-cost consultation to discuss your claims.