When a commercial vehicle like a semi-truck, 18-wheeler, or large flatbed collides with a passenger car, the results can be catastrophic. When someone is killed because the driver of a commercial vehicle was negligent, the family of the deceased driver is entitled to compensation including economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim Following a Trucking Accident
If someone you love was killed by a negligent truck driver, your family may be entitled to compensation. When someone is killed due to someone else’s negligence, surviving family members can file a claim for wrongful death to seek compensation for:
Economic damages including medical and therapy expenses, funeral costs, lost wages, lost benefits, costs associated with child care, and loss of inheritance.
Non-economic damages to cover emotional and psychological suffering such as mental anguish, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship.
Punitive damages, which may be awarded to deter the trucking company from engaging in future negligent conduct and to punish wrongful behavior.
Ohio’s wrongful death statute allows surviving family members and the estate of the deceased to make a claim up to two years after the death of a family member. But beware - many different parties may be liable in a trucking accident case, including the driver of the truck, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, individuals and companies involved in maintaining and servicing the truck, as well as the shipper, broker, and trucking safety consultants. An experienced trucking accident attorney can help by identifying all the defendants who might be responsible.
Causes of Trucking Accidents
Even though truck crashes account for a lower percentage of highway accidents, the proportion of trucking accidents that are fatal is significantly higher than crashes involving passenger vehicles. This is because commercial trucks are so much larger than passenger vehicles and, when the two collide, occupants of the smaller vehicle are more likely to be injured or even killed.
When fully loaded, a tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Because of their size, trucks are less maneuverable than smaller passenger vehicles, which makes precise control of the vehicle more difficult. This increases the risk of a potentially fatal crash because the driver may experience difficulty controlling the larger vehicle.
The size and weight of a semi-truck increases braking times, which means that large, heavy trucks require longer stopping distances. Commercial truck drivers should know and account for this, but in cases of emergency trucks are simply unable to stop as quickly as a smaller passenger car.
The size of a large commercial makes it more difficult for the driver to see, and a truck may move over into a lane that is occupied by a smaller vehicle, or simply may not see the smaller car and cause a collision. Further compounding the problem is the fact that semi-trucks are higher off the ground and, in a collision, the smaller passenger vehicle can become crushed underneath the trailer, mangling the vehicle and causing catastrophic injuries and even death to the occupants.
The trucking industry is partly to blame, as some truck drivers ignore hours of service regulations and drive longer than is permitted by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules because they feel pressure to make deliveries on-time. This can result in dangerous driver fatigue, and speeding. Other times, crashes are caused by negligently maintained vehicles or trailers that were improperly loaded, or by drivers who were operating a commercial vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Because trucking accident cases are so complex, it is critically important that your family works with an experienced trucking accident attorney who can sift through the rules and regulations that govern the trucking industry, identify the causes of the crash, and help your family obtain justice.
Compassionate Lawyers Who Fight for Your Rights
At Robenalt Law, our lawyers help families facing difficult times after the loss of a loved one. We’re here to lend support, and to assist your family in obtaining the compensation you need and deserve. We start by analyzing your claim and identifying the negligent parties. Then, to help you and your family obtain justice, we will:
Notify the trucking company and other parties of their obligation to preserve evidence that might be related to the collision
Inspect the vehicles involved in the collision to identify whether improper maintenance or other issues may have been a cause of the crash
Request relevant documents from the trucking company, including driver’s logs, maintenance records, and black box information that can be used to determine fault and prove negligence
Interview witnesses including other drivers and people working for the trucking company and other companies involved in the supply chain who may have had a role in loading freight, maintaining the vehicle, or who could have otherwise contributed to the cause of the crash
Work with accident reconstructionists and other experts to illustrate the factors that led up the crash and identify causes of the collision
Robenalt Law - Lawyers for Trucking Accident Victims
If someone you love was killed in a trucking accident, act quickly to seek justice for your family. The experienced Ohio trucking accident attorneys at Robenalt Law are here to help. We will fight for your family’s rights and for the compensation your family is entitled to receive.
We recognize that no amount of money can make up for your loss, but financial compensation can help with medical bills, funeral expenses, and the lost income from the death of a loved one.
Tom Robenalt started his litigation career representing trucking companies at a large firm in Cleveland. For the past 25 years, he has used that experience to help victims and the families of those injured by negligent trucking companies and truck drivers.
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