West Virginia Truck Accident Lawyers Seek Maximum Compensation
Skillful representation in Bridgeport, Clarksburg and beyond
Commercial truck accidents are very different from common passenger car accidents, both in the amount of damage they can do and in the legal complexities of a negligence lawsuit involving them. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a big-rig accident, you need an attorney who can grapple with complexities and build a coherent and compelling case. At Kaufman & McPherson, PLLC, we have more than 30 years of experience in complex personal injury litigation. We are ready to go up against large commercial trucking companies and their deep staff of specialized attorneys to fight for the full compensation you deserve.
Common types of commercial truck accidents in West Virginia
The most common types of tractor-trailer accidents involve:
- Rear-end collisions — Big rigs need greater distances to stop safely. Speeding, distracted driving and aggressive driving are often factors when a rig cannot stop in time.
- Tire blowouts — When a rig loses a tire, the driver can lose control of the trailer. Fragments of the tire can also strike passenger vehicles, causing a disastrous collision.
- Rollovers — Rigs with unbalanced loads making tight turns can topple over, especially in strong crosswinds.
- Jackknife — When a rig has to brake suddenly, the trailer can spin out into adjacent lanes. This is especially dangerous on undivided highways where a trailer obstructs oncoming traffic.
- Head-on collisions — The deadliest type of crash combines the full force of two fast-moving vehicles; when an auto and truck collide, the results are often deadly.
- Cargo breaches — When a rig loses its cargo, it creates an obstacle for oncoming vehicles. Tanker trucks can spew caustic and toxic chemicals, exposing anyone in the surrounding area to harm.
- Brake failure — A particular hazard on mountain roads, brake failure can cause a rig to accelerate out of control, crushing everything in its path.
Legal issues involving commercial truck accidents
From a legal perspective, accidents involving tractor-trailer rigs and other commercial vehicles are quite different from accidents involving private passenger vehicles. Some of those differences involve:
- Regulations:The maintenance and use of commercial vehicles is subject to strict regulation, regarding everything from how much weight a vehicle can carry to how many hours per day a driver can work. Violations can be a basis for liability against the owner of the tractor, the trailer, third parties, or a combination of these.
- Registration:It is not uncommon for a tractor to be owned and insured by one party, while the trailer is owned and insured by a second party, and the load itself is owned by a third party.
- Liability of third parties:Negligence can attach to someone other than the driver or owner, such as the company that loaded the rig and secured the cargo, the company that designed and/or built the rig, or the company that maintained the brake system.
- Design elements:If a design flaw caused or contributed to the injuries, the third party manufacturer can be held liable. A common example is a faulty underride guard that fails to act as a bumper, preventing a passenger car from traveling forward under the carriage of the trailer.
- Electronic evidence: A plaintiff’s attorney can use data from a commercial vehicle’s “black box” or the fleet’s GPS to challenge log entries regarding a driver’s hours behind the wheel, or prove that a driver covered so much territory that he must have driven in an illegal or reckless manner.
- Resources: An auto accident may require little or no investigation, but the proper investigation of a trucking accident often requires financial resources and professional associations. Your attorney must be able to locate and retain engineering and trucking authorities whose expertise provides substantial support for the case.
Complex cases require immediate action. If you are injured in a commercial truck accident, you can trust our firm to bring more than 30 years of knowledge and experience to the prosecution of your case.
Contact our Bridgeport attorneys for your trucking accident
Call Kaufman & McPherson, PLLC at 304-842-4300 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation on your truck accident. We offer home and hospital visits for those who are injured and cannot travel to us. We serve all of West Virginia from our office in Bridgeport.