Lexington, Kentucky, residents involved in commercial truck accidents find out quickly that the crash is not like a passenger car accident. The injuries suffered in a truck accident are usually worse, and seeking justice afterward is complex because there are multiple parties potentially responsible for the crash.
It can take months and sometimes even longer to recover from serious injuries suffered in a truck accident. Meanwhile, insurers for the trucking company or other liable parties will either pressure you to accept a settlement that is too small or deny their obligation to you altogether.
When you have been seriously injured in a truck accident that was not your fault, it takes courage to stand up to the trucking company and pursue a claim for compensation to help you recover financially. A commercial truck accident attorney at Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer can provide the courage to take on trucking companies and insurers. Together, we’ll show them the Kentucky Courage that hold accountable those whose negligence endangers innocent people’s lives and makes our communities less safe.
Truck Accident Statistics in Kentucky and Lexington
More than 10,600 commercial trucks were involved in collisions in Kentucky in 2018, according to Kentucky State Police records. Trucks accounted for 4% of vehicles in all collisions but for 9% of vehicles in fatal collisions.
When we refer to commercial trucks, we mean vehicles with a registered weight of 10,000 pounds or more, commonly referred to as:
- Tractor-Trailer Truck
- Extra Duty Truck
- Tanker Truck
- Heavy Truck
- Flatbed Truck
- Garbage Truck
- Dump Truck
Truck accidents can happen anywhere in Kentucky. In 2018:
- 3,004 truck accidents happened on interstate highways in Kentucky, such as I-75 and I-64 in Lexington.
- 2,750 truck accidents happened on state highways in Kentucky, such as KY 4 (New Circle Road) and KY 2335 north (Houston-Antioch Road) in Lexington.
- 1,798 truck accidents happened on U.S. highways in Kentucky, such as U.S. 25, 57, 60 and 68 in Lexington.
- 1,455 truck accidents happened on city streets in Kentucky, such as along your everyday commute in Lexington.
Across the country, more than 4,700 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks in 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The agency says 82% of fatal crashes involving large trucks were multiple-vehicle crashes.
Among the people who died:
- 72 percent (3,450) were occupants of other vehicles
- 18 percent (841) were occupants of the large trucks
- 10 percent (470) were pedestrians or cyclists.
Common Causes for Truck Accidents
Truck drivers can be guilty of the same carelessness or recklessness behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer as any other driver on a Kentucky highway.
According to Kentucky State Police, the most common truck driver errors in crashes are:
- Inattention / distracted driving
- Cell phone use
- Misjudging clearance
- Loss of control of the vehicle
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Following too closely
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Disregarding traffic controls such as stoplights and stop signs
- Drowsy driving
- Improper passing
- Improper backing
- Turning improperly
- Overcorrecting / oversteering
- Alcohol / drug involvement.
Many times, a problem with the truck, a truck component or the truck’s cargo turns out to have been the main cause of a truck accident.
Common mechanical failures and other factors that lead to truck accidents include:
- Defective brakes
- Tire failure
- Defective headlights
- Other lighting failures
- Steering failure
- Tow hitch failure
- Oversized or improper load
- Improperly secured load.
Who Is Liable for Truck Accidents in Lexington?
In a commercial truck accident, there are several parties potentially liable for what happened, including the:
- Truck driver who drove the 18 wheeler
- Trucking company that employs the truck driver and/or owns the truck and/or trailer
- Contractors who loaded cargo on a truck, if a cargo spill or cargo shift led to the accident
- Maintenance or repair garage, if mechanical failure that should have been mitigated led to the accident
- Manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer of the truck or truck parts, if the accident occurred because of a manufacturing or design failure
In a commercial truck accident, the motor carrier that employs the truck driver or owns the truck/trailer may be held responsible for an employee’s negligence. Truck owners are legally responsible for ensuring that they are putting safe vehicles on public roads. In most truck accident cases, the trucking company is a defendant.
In a personal injury claim, the injured party must be able to prove that the defendant’s negligence or intentional actions caused the injury and associated losses.
This requires demonstrating the existence of four elements of the case:
- Duty of Care — The defendant must have had a legal obligation to the victim to act in a reasonable and safe manner. Truck drivers and truck owners have a legal duty to drive with reasonable safety so as not to endanger others on public roads.
- Breach of Duty — The defendant breached their duty of care by failing to act in a reasonable and safe manner. This may be demonstrated by one of the causes of truck accidents cited above and/or by identifying a violation of any of the federal or state regulations regarding safe operation of commercial trucks.
- Causation — That breach of duty is the closely related cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
- Damages — The plaintiff’s injuries can be made better with compensation.
An 18 wheeler accident lawyer at Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer will thoroughly investigate the accident you were injured in to identify who was at fault. At the same time, we will track the costs and losses you have suffered as a result of the accident. After collecting evidence to support your case, our truck accident law firm may file multiple claims seeking compensation for you.
How Much Compensation Can I Receive in A Truck Accident Claim?
Part of our work in preparing a truck accident lawsuit on your behalf will be to document all the costs and losses you have suffered as a result of the truck accident, including anticipated future losses. Based on this calculation, we will demand payment from insurers who have extended coverage to the truck driver or trucking company.
It Is not possible ahead of time to suggest an amount of money you may recover in a truck accident claim. The objective is for you to recover all of your out-of-pocket costs as well as additional money to ensure your and your family’s financial stability in the years ahead. Kentucky law says accident victims are due compensation for the pain and suffering unjustly brought upon them.
In a truck accident claim, we would demand damages for:
- Medical expenses
- Future treatment and care costs
- Lost wages
- Future lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Damage to your vehicle
In cases of permanent disability, we work with life care planning consultants to project future costs required for medical care and assistance. This may range from equipment such as a wheelchair and hospital bed to home renovations to add ramps or widened doorways.
In extraordinary cases, Kentucky juries are allowed to award punitive damages. This is an additional payment meant to punish defendants for egregious conduct and to send a message to others that the public will not tolerate such outrageous behavior. Unlike many other states, Kentucky does not limit how much money may be awarded victims as punitive damages.
It is important to recognize that we must understand the full extent of your injuries and your prognosis for recovery before we can put a value on a potential claim. This is why you cannot trust a quick settlement offer from an insurance company. You need to know how your injuries will affect you in the long run, and what future costs you can expect.
Insurers often downplay accident victims’ injuries and ignore the reality of future costs. They may reject an expensive claim, which is often the case after a commercial truck accident. Insurance company settlement offers are based on prior case settlements and are designed to be big enough to look acceptable to an injury victim but small enough to protect the insurer’s profit margins.
It is important to steer clear of insurance adjusters and trucking company lawyers after an accident. Decline to record a statement, and do not sign anything. You could inadvertently sign away your rights to compensation you deserve to have and would recover with proper legal help.
Contact A Lexington Truck Accident Lawyer
Contact an experienced semi truck accident lawyer as soon as you are able after being injured in a commercial truck accident. In the Lexington, Kentucky, area, the attorneys of Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer can investigate the accident and develop a truck accident lawsuit seeking full compensation for your injuries.
A truck injury attorney at Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer will provide compassionate and experienced representation for Kentucky families who have been injured by the negligence of others. We fully understand federal and state laws regulating truck drivers, trucking companies and the trucking industry and how they apply to accident investigations.
Let our firm’s experienced and compassionate lawyers and staff counsel and support and you as we fight for your rights to full compensation for your losses. We do not get paid for our legal services until we recover a settlement or a jury award for clients like you. Please call us now at (877) 809-5352 or contact us online to set up your free legal consultation about how a truck injury attorney can help you demand justice.