We use the expression “hit by a truck” to describe devastating physical or emotional impact with good reason. Because trucks, especially tractor-trailers, are much larger and many times as heavy as cars (often as much as 20 times their weight), truck accidents can, and often do, result in catastrophic injuries as well as massive property destruction. If you or someone you love has been literally “hit by a truck” in Ohio — in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence — you need a strong, experienced truck accident law firm like Jones Kahan Law to fight for your right to just compensation.
Why is Ohio particularly prone to truck accidents?
In the Midwest and throughout the country, Ohio is a hub of truck commerce. We have the fourth largest interstate highway network in the U.S. and 80 percent of all freight shipped by Ohio businesses is transported by truck.
The Distressing Statistics Regarding Truck Accidents in Ohio
Tragically, but not surprisingly, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ranks Ohio as one of the top 10 states for fatal large truck crashes. Also worth noting, the Ohio Department of Public Safety reports that 60 percent of large truck crashes are caused by truck drivers themselves. Truck accidents in Ohio result in more than 6,000 serious injuries and nearly 200 deaths annually. Perhaps the most disturbing statistic of all is that Ohio’s estimated 22,000 truck accidents are increasing — as much as 15 percent in recent years.
Jones Kahan Law, LLC is a team of well-credentialed, well-respected truck accident attorneys with offices in Dayton and Cincinnati. Known for our extraordinary negotiation and litigation skills, we have a track record of winning substantial settlements for our clients. Above all, we have a well-earned reputation for empathy and personal concern. This is why so many Ohioans turn to us when it matters most.
Why Truck Accidents Are Not Uncommon
Truck drivers have commercial licenses (CDs) that require specialized training and, since driving is their occupation, spend an enormous amount of time practicing their skills. Nonetheless, there are many reasons truck drivers may be at greater risk of having an accident than other drivers, including:
- Driver fatigue — Because truck drivers must meet strict delivery deadlines, they not only drive for long periods of time but may skip required breaks to stay on schedule. This can result in exhaustion and/or sleepiness that prevents them from staying alert.
- Distracted driving — Truckers rely on several types of electronic devices to meet the demands of their employers, typically depending on smartphones to communicate with their dispatcher and GPS navigation systems to direct them to their destinations. In addition, because they are driving for so many hours at a clip, they may eat, drink, or make personal phone calls while driving. They may listen to distracting music or talk radio, or even give in to the temptation to text without pulling over.
- Driving under the influence — The alarming fact is that a certain percentage of all drivers, including truck drivers, are driving while impaired. In spite of trucker drug testing (which is not random), some truck drivers manage to drive with drugs or alcohol in their systems. It is also not rare for some truckers to use stimulants and/or illegal substances to stay awake on long trips.
- Improper loading — The enormous loads trucks carry must be judiciously stacked to keep the truck properly balanced. If improperly loaded, trucks may pull to one side, be more difficult for the driver to control, or prone to roll over on a sharp turn. In some cases, improper loading is a contributory cause of truck accidents or results in greater injury.
- Improper maintenance — Although trucking companies are legally required to perform regular inspections of their vehicles and keep them in good repair, not only are mistakes made, but regulations are sometimes deliberately circumvented. In some instances, truck drivers may be driving on overworn tires or with a low level of brake fluid because their employer is remiss in terms of maintenance. This can be the result of carelessness or intentional neglect to increase the company’s profit margin.
- Inexperienced drivers — Trucking companies frequently put less experienced truck drivers on the road in an effort to cut costs since rookies can be paid less than their more experienced counterparts.
- Poor weather and road conditions — Like all drivers, truckers are at greater risk of having an accident if they are driving in downpours, snowstorms, heavy winds or fog. Again, the drivers themselves are not responsible for deciding when the weather conditions are too dangerous to navigate.
- Speeding/reckless driving — Truckers, in spite of regulations to the contrary, may travel over the speed limit, pass other vehicles, or travel in the left lane in order to reach their destination sooner. While speeding is always dangerous, speeding is even riskier for truckers whose stopping time is twice as long as that of smaller vehicles.
What makes truck accidents more complicated than car accidents?
If you are injured in a truck accident, it is crucial to have a highly competent truck accident attorney handling your case. This is because when you’re dealing with truck accidents there is much more complexity relative to liability. For one thing, not only the trucker but the trucking company or leasing company may be responsible for the accident. This is the case if the company:
- Failed to vet the driver properly
- Failed to drug test the driver when there was reason to do so
- Failed to inspect the vehicle regularly
- Failed to have the vehicle repaired properly
- Failed to comply with other FMCSA regulations
- Encouraged drivers to ignore break time regulations to increase profit
There is also a possibility that the accident was due to a manufacturing defect in the truck, in which case the truck manufacturer or part manufacturer may be to blame. It is also possible that the city, state or county is at fault, if that government agency provided inadequate road clearance or maintenance that led to the collision.
It takes a well-informed legal mind to investigate a truck accident thoroughly to determine accountability. As long as you were not more than 50 percent at fault for the injuries you suffered, Jones Kahan will fight aggressively to win you damages under Ohio’s “modified comparative fault” law.