With a bunch of hometown trucking companies and several malls and shopping centers that constantly take deliveries, semi-trucks roll into and through Morgantown all the time—along Interstates 79 and 68, down Mileground Road and Beechurst Avenue, and other big roads. In our neighborhoods, box trucks deliver items we ordered online. They deliver the goods we need.
However, despite the necessity of these vehicles on U.S. roadways, they pose hazards to other roadway users; accidents involving large trucks are some of the most threatening to other passengers and motorists. Often they occur because a trucker didn’t pay attention to the traffic around him or her, and when that happens, call the Morgantown truck accident lawyers at Wagoner Desai.
We operate a different kind of law firm, one that puts people first and provides personalized service to our clients. We know the danger that can strike when a commercial trucker drives negligently in Morgantown and we are passionate about helping our clients recover from their accidents. Call us today.
What Makes Trucks Dangerous?
Commercial trucks are a common sight where we live in Morgantown, and have long been a topic of civic discussion. In fact, the city once attempted to ban heavy trucks from traveling through the downtown area. A collective of trucking companies whose routes regularly pass through the area filed a lawsuit, stating that the city ban was unenforceable as the routes used are state highways that allow commercial truck traffic. After a lower court found in favor of the plaintiffs, the city appealed the matter to the state Supreme Court, who also ruled that they did not have the jurisdiction to ban traffic on state highways.
About 15.5 million commercial trucks operate in the U.S., with about 2 million of these being tractor-trailers. The economy relies on commercial trucks to deliver approximately 70 percent of the retail goods and products sold in stores and restaurants across the country.
There are several hazards involved in the operation of these commercial trucks, mostly related to the size of the vehicles.
Here are a few large truck features that often result in or exacerbate accidents:
- Trucks weigh approximately 20-30 times as much as most passenger vehicles. This makes the occupants of other vehicles extremely vulnerable to injury or death if an accident occurs.
- Trucks have higher ground clearance, increasing the risk of something known as an underride, which occurs when the smaller passenger vehicle slides beneath the truck in an accident.
- While all vehicles have an area in the rear and to the sides in which the driver cannot see obstacles by using either the rear or side-view mirrors, the blind spots in commercial trucks are particularly significant along all four sides of the vehicle, increasing the risk of a truck driver being unaware of a vehicle in his or her blind spot and causing a collision.
- Loaded tractor-trailers take 20-40 percent more distance to come to a safe stop after the driver sees a hazard and responds to it by depressing the brakes. This distance is even larger on icy or wet roadways or if the truck’s brakes are poorly maintained.
- Because of their length, trucks make wide turns. This is hazardous to other vehicles who may become trapped between the turning truck and the curb.
- Trucks, at least for now, are operated by very human drivers. As with any type of motor vehicle accident, human error causes the vast majority of Morgantown truck accidents.
West Virginia Trucking Fatalities
What Are The Causes of Morgantown Truck Accidents?
As mentioned, the largest percentage of Morgantown truck accidents are the result of human error.
Some examples of human errors that can result in an accident involving a commercial truck include:
- Fatigue: Truck drivers work long hours, often driving for long periods of time across uneventful terrain. Despite federal hours of service regulations that prohibit a driver from being on-duty for more than 11 hours at a time, many drivers still drive when fatigued. In fact, in a study of large truck crashes, it was discovered that 13 percent of truck drivers were fatigued at the time when the crash occurred. In addition to long hours, truck drivers commonly choose to drive during the late-night hours, when the body is biologically wired for sleep.
- Distractions: Commercial truck drivers are not immune to the distractions posed to other drivers, including texting and other cell phone use, eating or drinking, adjusting GPS or vehicle controls, visiting with passengers, and external distractions including previous accident scenes, construction zones, other vehicles, and billboards.
- Impairment: Federal regulations require truck drivers to be routinely tested for drugs and alcohol in their systems. However, this doesn’t stop some drivers from indulging, even if they’re working. Additionally, many over-the-counter medications that drivers take for issues such as insomnia or allergies can cause drowsiness or other signs of impairment.
- Speeding: Truck drivers work on tight deadlines that tempt them to drive faster than the posted speed or too fast for the conditions of the road. Speed can increase the distance needed for the truck to come to a safe stop and can also increase the severity of the impact in an accident. A speeding truck also makes it harder for other drivers to judge a safe gap in which to pull into a travel lane.
- Tailgating: Being followed too closely by a truck is hazardous. As already described, trucks need an additional amount of space to stop if the vehicle in front of them brakes suddenly. Trucks often make wide turns and also tend to take time to gain speed after stopping for a stop sign or traffic light. A driver who is following too closely is not only in the truck driver’s rear blind spot but also may miss signs of the driver’s intentions and rear-end the truck.
- Getting lost: It is not unusual for a truck driver to find himself or herself in an unfamiliar city. Getting lost can result in unsafe driving practices such as carelessly attempting to cross lanes to avoid missing an exit, making a careless turn after missing an exit, or even entering a freeway ramp or a one-way road while driving the wrong direction.
Morgantown Truck Accident FAQ
Truck accidents in Morgantown can inflict catastrophic injuries on their victims. In the aftermath of a crash, those victims have pressing, important questions about their legal and financial rights. Below, we answer some of the most frequently asked of those questions. For answers to specific questions about a Morgantown truck accident that injured you or a loved one, contact an experienced attorney at Wagoner Desai today.
Who is liable for injuries I suffered in a Morgantown truck accident?
It depends on how the accident happened and the parties involved.
Unlike your typical two-car accident, in which a driver of one of the vehicles may bear the bulk of responsibility for causing the crash, a truck accident can happen because of numerous bad decisions or careless actions by a wide range of individuals, companies, and others. That is because trucks are usually commercial vehicles that different parties may own, operate, maintain, load, and unload.
An experienced lawyer for victims of a Morgantown truck accident knows to take a hard look at the range of parties who may have liability for the harm the crash caused.
That could include:
- The truck driver;
- The truck owner or trucking company;
- The owner of the truck trailer;
- The truck’s mechanic; and
- The owner of the truck’s cargo.
That is just a sampling of the parties who could face liability, believe it or not. To find out who may have liability for the Morgantown truck crash that injured you, contact a skilled attorney today.
What damages can I seek from the liable party?
Every Morgantown truck accident case is different, so there is no single answer to that question.
However, in general, victims of Morgantown truck accidents can usually take legal action seeking compensation to help them pay for:
- Medical expenses;
- Other expenses related to the accident and injuries;
- Lost wages and future income;
- Pain, suffering, and diminished quality of life; and
- In some cases, punitive damages.
Speak with an experienced Morgantown truck accident injury lawyer about your injuries and losses to find out what types of damages you may have the right to recover by taking legal action.
How much is my Morgantown truck accident case worth?
That depends on several factors specific to your case:
- The severity of your injury. Generally speaking, the more significant the harm you suffered, and the greater its impact on your life, the higher the potential amount of any claim for damages.
- The strength of your case. To obtain compensation through legal action, your lawyer must have the ability to prove someone’s liability to you and the amount of damages they owe you. The higher the quality of the evidence, and the clearer the legal arguments in your favor, the more money you may have the ability to recover.
- The financial resources of the liable parties. You have a better chance of recovering the full amount of compensation you deserve if the party who has a liability to you carries lots of insurance and/or has many assets than you do if that party has minimal (or no) insurance and few assets.
Hiring a skilled Morgantown truck accident injury lawyer can improve your odds of recovering maximum compensation for your injuries and losses. An experienced attorney can evaluate the full amount of damages you deserve based on the severity of your injury, build the strongest possible case on your half, and investigate your case to make sure to identify all parties who may have liability to you.
What are my rights if my loved one died in a Morgantown truck accident?
As a surviving spouse or family member of someone who tragically died in a Morgantown truck accident, you may have the right to pursue a lawsuit known as a wrongful death action, in which you and your family may seek to recover compensation for your loss. Money cannot bring back a loved one, but it can provide much-needed financial support during a difficult time. Speak with an experienced Morgantown truck accident lawyer today to learn more.
A Morgantown trucking company’s insurance company offered me a settlement. Should I agree to it?
No, do not agree to any settlement without first talking to an experienced Morgantown truck accident injury lawyer.
Insurance companies, particularly ones whose policyholders have potential liability for an expensive truck accident, sometimes try to tempt accident victims with quick payments of what seems like a lot of money. In fact, the sum they offer will almost always fall far short of the amount victims have the right to receive under West Virginia law. And, that money comes with strings attached. To get it, victims must sign-away their rights to sue for damages in the future, which could leave them out-of-luck and empty-handed if they later realize they agreed to settle for far too little.
Do not put your legal rights at risk by jumping at what seems like easy money. Instead, let an experienced Morgantown truck accident injury lawyer, who serves your interests, handle any interactions and negotiations with the trucking company’s insurance company and lawyers.
How much does a Morgantown truck accident lawyer cost at Wagoner Desai?
An experienced Morgantown truck accident lawyer will meet with you free-of-charge to learn about the Morgantown truck accident and the injuries you sustained in it. In this initial consultation, you can get to know the lawyer, and the lawyer can give you a first impression of whether you have a case to make for compensation.
Lawyers for Morgantown truck accident victims also virtually always represent their clients on a contingent fee basis. This is an arrangement in which the lawyer’s fee consists only of a percentage of any money the lawyer secures on the client’s behalf. The client does not pay the lawyer money upfront or as the case goes along. The lawyer only receives a fee by getting results for the client.
So, you have nothing to lose, and potentially lots to gain, by sitting down with a skilled Morgantown truck accident lawyer at Wagoner Desai as soon as possible.
Are Wagoner Desai, PLLC Here to Help?
Morgantown truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries due to the massive size of the vehicle when compared to other vehicles on the roadway. If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in a truck accident in Morgantown, there is a legal process that you can use to recover damages related to your injuries.
This type of accident is often complex, however, typically requiring extensive knowledge of the industry and the regulations that truck drivers and trucking companies must follow, as well as an understanding of the medical conditions and complications that those who were in truck accidents may face, both now and in the future.
The experienced Morgantown personal accident attorneys at Wagoner Desai, PLLC are ready to talk to you about your case and the legal options that are available to you. Contact us now for a free case evaluation. You can call us at (304) 470-2056 or write to us through our contact page.
Wagoner Desai, PLLC
265 High Street, 3rd Floor
Citizens Bank Building
Morgantown, WV 26505
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