Cincinnati, Ohio Truck Accident Lawyer Investigating Catastrophic Injury following serious trucking accidents
Truck accidents can result from a minor mishap and result in a massive collision. The size of the vehicles involved generally make car passengers very vulnerable. Trucking accidents can result from driver fatigue, driver error, truck tire blowouts and overloading trucks.
Both State and federal governments have imposed laws on trucks and their regulators in an effort to make highways a safer place. However, these laws and limitations are often broken and lead to accidents and injuries.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), thousands of people are killed each year in auto crashes involving large trucks. The majority of people killed in large-truck crashes are occupants of other vehicles.
Truck Accident Lawsuits
Following an truck accident where you suspect there was negligence, a defective product or simply have questions about what may have happened, you should contact and experienced product liability and truck accident lawyer to investigate the matter.
Joe Lyon is an experienced Cincinnati truck accident lawyer and product liability attorney who is well versed in the science and economic impact that such an injury has on a life.
The Lyon Firm has developed compelling evidence in catastrophic injury cases through the use of accident reconstructionists, bio-mechanical engineers, forensic design engineers, life care planners, economists, and medical doctors to present the highest quality evidence and arguments on the Plaintiff’s behalf.
This work has resulted in significant seven figure settlements that enhanced and secured a dignified quality of life for the Plaintiff’s future.
Causes of Fatal Truck Accidents
Truck driver error is a common problem. Trucking companies can fail to properly train their employees in a multitude of ways. Among many other variables, employees need to know: how to drive a truck versus any other vehicle, what every truck control does, how often they can drive, what loads they are allowed to carry, what to do when other trucks and vehicles are on the highway, what is considered distracted driving, what driving under the influence exactly is, and, consequently, what not to do while driving.
If employers fail to mention or adequately touch on any one of these factors (or others) during training, then they have negligently trained and have not given their drivers the appropriate knowledge they need to be safe on the road.
Additionally, negligent driver training can arise if, after hiring and initial training, trucking companies fail to renew that training or continue to enhance their drivers’ abilities in months and years to come. Furthermore, if trucking companies fail to let go of an employee who has shown signs of inadequate driving, the companies may be charged with negligent training, as well.
- Driver Fatigue
- Defective Tires
- Trash Collection Accidents
- Negligent Truck Operation
- Overloading Trucks
Truck Driver Error
A leading cause of trucking accidents in Ohio is truck driver error. This may include illegal consumption of drugs and alcohol, reckless driving, texting and driving, and other preventable driving errors.
There is federal oversight for heavy commercial trucks and Ohio state agencies like the Ohio Department of Transportation who try to identify and improve unsafe roads, enforce traffic laws, and promote safe driving behavior, but that is not always enough.
A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey concluded that human driver error is the primary reason for over 90 percent of truck-car crashes.
Events leading up to a negligent truck crash in Ohio may be argued as poor driving behavior. For example, abusing drugs and alcohol before getting behind the wheel can constitute driver error, just as much as texting and driving.
There are several factors that can contribute to a cause of a truck accident in Ohio. According to the Federal Highway Administration, the following are the most common driver errors:
- Failure to stop for a stop sign
- Failure to make a turn signal
- Unsafe crossing of traffic
- Improper lane changes
- Driving while intoxicated
- Unsafe excessive speeding
- Passing with insufficient headway
- Crossing lane lines
- Reckless turning
- Driver Fatigue
- Tire failure
- Texting and driving
- Driver distraction
Truck Companies Operating in Cincinnati
- AAA Cooper
- ABF Freight System
- Averitt Express
- Cardinal Logistics
- Celadon Group
- Con-Way Freight
- Covenant Transport
- CR England
- JB Hunt Transport Services
- New England Motor Freight
- Old Dominion Freight Line
- Prime Inc.
- R+L Carriers
- Ryder Systems
- Schneider National
- Stevens Transport
- Swift Transportation
- US Xpress
- Werner Enterprises
- YRC Freight
Override & Underride Truck Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), up to half of truck-passenger car accidents reported are either an underride or an override truck accident. Underride and override accidents involving semis and tractor-trailers can lead to serious injuries and road deaths for drivers and other occupants of passenger cars.
To help regulate dangerous trucking scenarios on Ohio’s roads, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have implemented traffic laws to assist in eliminating override and underride accidents.
For example, for trucks a certain size and weight, they are required to have reflective tape or reflector strips on the back of the truck, and along both sides. In the stated requirements, the FMCSA provides proper layouts for how the reflectors are arranged on Ohio trucks.
The FMCSA also requires certain tractor-trailers weighing at least 10,000 pounds to have underride guards installed. These are protective steel bars on the bottom of a truck that prevents a passenger vehicle from sliding underneath a truck.
These safety guards have the potential to reduce underride accidents. Attorneys and experts believe, however, that underride guards need to be stronger than the ones meeting current standards.
What is an Override Accident?
During an override truck accident, a semi drives over a motorcycle or car in front of it. When this happens, the roof of the passenger is often ripped off as the truck comes to a stop on top of the car, resulting in roof crush and crush injuries, severely injuring or even killing car occupants.
Truck malfunctions, overloading, tire blowouts, poor truck maintenance, or truck driver negligence may be factors in commercial truck overrides.
If you have been involved in an override truck accident and seriously injured, you may be entitled to receive compensation and recover medical costs, lost wages, and other damages. A truck may be liable for your injury if they did not follow traffic laws, governmental regulations, had an overloaded truck, drove recklessly, or failed to properly maintain their vehicle.
Trucking companies may also be responsible for the actions of the trucker that caused an accident. If a trucking company failed to have reflective strips or underride guards installed on their commercial trucks, they could be held liable.
Truck manufacturers may also be at partial fault in a claim. If a truck component is defective or installed incorrectly and fails, it may cause damage and injuries. Underride and override accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries to drivers and passengers, and should be preventable.
What is an Underride Accident?
An underride accident occurs when a passenger car drives underneath a commercial-sized truck. Trucks are not high enough for a passenger vehicle to fit under, so in many cases a car can be stuck in the truck’s undercarriage and leads to roof crush injuries.
Any driver or passenger in the vehicle may suffer from severe head and neck injuries. Truck underride accidents occur frequently at night when visibility is more difficult and drivers may be fatigued. Vehicle collisions involving the sides of trucks are more common, though rear underride crashes also occur.
Trucks don’t always meet Ohio state and federal standards. Accidents may occur if:
- A truck is missing required underride guardrails
- Trucks are missing reflective markings or reflector tape
- A truck driver fails to signal
- A driver fails to check blind spots when switching lanes
- A has broken brake lights
- A driver is speeding
- Distracted or fatigued drivers operating trucks
- Drugs or alcohol abuse
- Failing to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles
- Faulty brakes
- Overloaded cargo
- Defective tires on truck—tire blowout
- Low visibility from rain, fog, or snow
- A truck is parked on the shoulder without proper lights
Inaccurate Truck Driver Logs
For financial reasons, truckers often mark down times that make it look like they slept more than they actually did. Nonetheless, it is possible to catch truckers falsifying their books with certain measures like the following:
- Black box data: It is possible to compare logbooks to a truck’s black box data, which indicates when the truck was traveling and when it was at rest.
- GPS data: GPS data can tell you where the truck was at specific times.
- Mileage on the Odometer: Hard evidence of mileage is difficult to argue.
- Similar trip history: Many truckers in Ohio make the same trips over and over. If one trip looks different on log books it is important to investigate why.
- Driver, Dispatcher, Carrier and Witness testimony: employees of the truck carrier can help determine if the logs reflect the truth.
- Video footage: Like witness testimony, video footage and photos can prove a trucker was traveling if they noted in a logbook that they were off duty.
Truck Accident Investigation
Truck-related accidents are not only extremely perilous events, but often very complex legal matters as well. Following a serious truck accident, where a commercial transport vehicle and driver may be liable for damages, there can be several unanswered questions that only a thorough investigation can uncover.
The factors involved in truck liability are numerous, and may include driver error, defective truck parts like brakes and tires, missing safety features on trucks like underride rails and reflectors, driver fatigue, and improperly keep log books, which are required by law.
Digging more into the employers and driver’s history, and looking at log books can assist victims and lawyers build a compelling case against those responsible for injuries. The goal is to determine who is responsible, and recover compensation for medical costs and other damages. This may require an in-depth investigation into a specific trucker’s record and actions leading up to the crash.
Following trucking accidents, a driver and carrier’s records regarding hours of service and vehicle maintenance can be very telling. It is prudent to hire an experienced Ohio trucking accident lawyer to assist you.
Truck Driver Training
Driving a large commercial vehicle, like an 18-wheeler semi or tow truck requires extensive driver training and practice behind the wheel. Truckers need proper driver training and certification in order to handle different types of vehicles, transmissions, brakes, and other complex systems.
Drivers must be comfortable in handling common and difficult situations like driving in poor weather, heavy traffic congestion, city driving, taking narrow turns, and knowing how to deal with tire blowouts without causing an accident.
Without the proper driver training for specific commercial-sized trucks and vehicles, inexperienced truck drivers are more likely to cause a collision. Anybody injured in a truck accident because the driver had inadequate Ohio driver training from their transport or trucking company may be able to recover compensation from the liable employer.
Trucking and transportation companies are legally liable for hiring and employing qualified and competent drivers. Trucking companies are ultimately responsible for their driver’s actions and the potentially dangerous and deadly consequences.
An employer must research the background of their employees at the time of hire to ensure they have their CDLs, and adequate training before they hit the road. Certifications are necessary to make sure truckers are technically qualified and competent to operate the truck or semi in a safe manner.
New truck drivers with basic qualifications should receive additional training. Inexperience and poorly trained CDL drivers are much more likely to cause an accident.
Required Truck Cert: Ohio Driver Training
Current requirements to obtain a CDL (commercial driver’s license) are managed by the state of either residence or employment. Ohio programs teach the basic knowledge and skills necessary to obtain a CDL, though may require more practice for any driver to safely drive for a company.
Drivers first get a commercial learner’s permit (CLP), take knowledge tests, prove they are medically qualified to drive, and demonstrate a clean driving record for the past 10 years.
The permit enables drivers to practice driving with a qualified CDL holder in the vehicle with them for 14 days prior to being eligible to take the skills test, which includes a comprehensive vehicle inspection test, the basic controls test, and the road test.
In 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced it had established a new rule regarding minimum driver training standards for entry-level commercial truck drivers seeking a CDL or certain endorsements, which will apply to drivers obtaining any CDL for the first time, trying to upgrade their CDL to a higher class, or seeking an endorsement to transport hazardous materials, passengers, or school buses.
Individuals will have to complete an entry-level Ohio driver training, including theory instruction and practical behind-the-wheel instruction. Drivers will have to demonstrate safety awareness and driving proficiency prior to obtaining a CDL license or endorsement.
Transport & Freight Negligence
One often overlooked factor in road safety and cause of Ohio trucking accidents includes the inexperience and lack of training of commercial truck drivers, sometimes due to high driver turnover, and transport companies putting new drivers behind the wheel too fast.
Commercial trucking jobs were once a high-paying secure job, but with a lack of unions and deregulation in the trucking industry, truck drivers now earn lower salaries and the turnover rate is much higher. According to American Trucking Associations, the turnover rate is sometimes as high as 90 percent. Perhaps the number of accidents and injuries in Cincinnati and Ohio is positively correlated with a lack of training and experience.
Even for mature, experienced drivers, the long hours on the road lead to exhaustion and fatigue that may endanger everyone on the road. Drivers recognize the dangers, but are under pressure to deliver goods promptly and to sometimes cut corners.
Trucking companies are partly responsible for improving road safety for drivers as well as for other motorists and occupants on the road. Victims of Ohio trucking accidents have the right to seek compensating for injuries, pain and suffering, medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages.
Trucking Accident FAQ
What Causes Tire Blowouts?
The most common causes of tire blowouts are underinflating tires, overinflating tires, failing to maintain tires, putting too many miles on old tires, tire defects, and overloading trucks. Sometimes it is a combination of these causes that results in a tire blowout accident.
What is a Tread Separation?
Trucks put a lot of pressure on their tires with the combined weight and mileage. Trucking companies try to maximize their tires to save on costs, but aging tires can be unsafe to use. When an old or defective tire has reach its limit, the tire sidewall or underlying belts can fail and the tread will tear away from the rest of the tire.
Do Tire Blowouts Cause Accidents?
Yes. Tire Blowouts are extremely dangerous for everyone on the road. When a tire is blown on a passenger vehicle or a commercial truck, debris is thrown into the air with velocity and force, and can hit other vehicles. The vehicle on which the tire blew can lose control, and cause serious collisions.
How Do I Avoid Tire Blowouts?
As a motorist it is prudent to keep a safe distance from very large semis and heavy trucks as a general rule. Not only are there tire blowout risks, but many truck drivers cannot see smaller vehicles. There is also the chance of trucks kicking up other debris and rocks from the road and causing accidents.
Can I File a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
The Lyon Firm works with industry experts to determine the root cause of any accident that causes injury and damages. The lawsuit may target a tire manufacturer, a negligent driver or a trucking company for failing to maintain a vehicle properly.
Truck Accident Prevention in Ohio
It is not always possible to know every factor involved with a truck accident, though certain elements of commercial driving are suspected—poor driver training, poor truck maintenance, trucking companies putting profit over safety, or defective brakes and tires.
Ohio road experts, truck accident lawyers, and federal safety agencies try to get truck drivers and trucking companies operating safely, but it is best to take the following precautions:
- Be aware of a truck blind spots & avoid them
- Never cut in front of a truck—braking is difficult for vehicles weighing up to 80,000 pounds
- Avoid tailgating trucks
- Pass on the left side of trucks
Common Types of Ohio Road Hazards
Every state has roads and highways that require improvements, but some neglect may directly lead to deadly car accidents. In Ohio, drivers and truckers cannot always avoid dangerous roads, intersections, or highways—which may include I-76, I-90, I-71, I-75, and I-85.
Highways and byways surrounding Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, and Akron can be dangerous due to road hazards and road work zones. In fact, I-75 is ranked as one of most dangerous highways in the country, based on the number of traffic-related deaths. Ohio also has the most fatalities on I-75 compared to the other states.
A local municipality or state could be responsible for poor design or dangerous road conditions. For example, the road may have potholes so long they are a significant hazard.
The liable party from an accident could be a trucking company, road design company, or construction company, and a claim can be filed on your behalf. If a local or state government is at fault, an Ohio road safety lawsuit is a viable option. Truck accident lawyers can asses your case carefully.
Under Ohio law, the state can be held responsible in some instances for not keeping public roadways in good repair. Truck Drivers are urged to pay attention to the following:
- Roadwork areas
- Steep drop offs
- Very steep roads
- Sharp curves and turns
- Large blind spots along roads
- Poorly lit roads
- Road design defects
- Inadequate signage
- Missing or malfunctioning traffic signal
- Lack of barriers or defective guardrails
- Tire failure
- Broken pavement
- Poorly maintained construction zones
Truck Accident Settlements
The legal options will depend on what caused the truck accident and injury. In any case, these injuries are usually too serious for the injured party to negotiate a fair and comprehensive settlement without a truck accident lawyer.
Vehicle Accident: If the case involved a vehicle accident, there is typically insurance available to compensate the injured party. However, often individual vehicle insurance policies will not be sufficient to fully compensate the victim. In those cases, it may be necessary to find additional defendants that contributed to the accident sequence and can therefore contribute to compensating the injured party.
Product Liability: Where the injury was caused by a defective product, the litigation path is much more expensive and complex. The attorney will need to evaluate the viability of the defendant and cost to prove the case through expert testimony.
Product liability cases can be some of the most expensive types of litigation, but where there is a viable defendant, the cases should be evaluated carefully to determine if a defective automotive product caused the trucking accident.
Workers Comp as Exclusive Remedy: If you were injured at work by another worker, the first step is whether the case is limited to Worker’s Compensation. This analysis requires a thorough understanding of Employer Intentional Tort law which has become more difficult in recent years.
Often the case requires a removal of an equipment safety guard or a knowing violation of an OSHA regulation to move past a motion for summary judgment. Joe Lyon is a truck accident lawyer and has successfully litigated cases and obtained settlements for workers in addition to Workers Compensation.
Ohio Truck Driver Safety
In addition to federal truck safety standards set by the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motors Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Ohio and Kentucky regulate commercial trucks to ensure all motorists enjoy a safe road experience. Truck drivers and transport companies are subject to strict regulations in matters such matters such as:
- Driving Time: Hours on the road
- Safety procedures
- Maintenance requirements
- Weight limits
- Zero alcohol / drug tolerance
- Underride prevention equipment
- Reflecting Tape/Markings
- Allow the car or cars in the accident to be destroyed. This evidence must be preserved and shared only with your truck accident lawyer
- Remove any social media postings.
- Make any statements to insurance companies or automotive company private investigators without first speaking with a qualified truck accident lawyer.
Contact a Cincinnati Truck Accident Lawyer
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that large trucks, which make up 4 percent of vehicles on U.S. roads, account for as many as 11 percent of fatal accidents. The majority of those killed in Ohio trucking accidents are passengers of cars, bicyclists, pedestrians, and road construction workers.
Regardless of the cause of Ohio trucking accidents, any auto occupant involved in a crash with a semi, bus, tractor trailer, or another heavy transport vehicle will likely suffer serious injuries, and may have a claim against the responsible parties, including a transport company or truck manufacturer.
The Lyon Firm has the resources required to assist victims in filing a claim and lead them through a difficult legal process following Ohio trucking accidents. Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati personal injury attorney, experienced in investigating and settling truck accident claims in Cincinnati and nationwide.
Roadway collisions and accidents involving commercial trucks in Ohio and Kentucky can be serious, life-changing events that can lead to severe injuries and even death. The responsibility of damage caused can be traced back to negligent truck manufacturers, employers, overloading, defective tires, and fatigued drivers.
Unsafe driving conditions and failing to maintain a large commercial vehicle can result in major truck crash scenarios that almost always preventable.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to a truck accident and have questions about the implications and the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, a truck accident lawyer, and he will help you answer these critical questions.