Tractor-trailers play a vital role in our nation’s economy. Here in Lexington and throughout Kentucky, we benefit from the services truck drivers provide our communities.
But commercial tractor-trailers are 80,000-pound machines that can cause large-scale destruction. If not handled properly—with the utmost attention given to safety—a semi-truck becomes a weapon in the wrong hands.
Peterson Law Office in Lexington, Kentucky is committed to fighting for the rights of those injured or killed through trucking negligence. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Lexington truck accident lawyer.
How Do I Recover From a Truck Accident?
After a severe personal injury, your first priority should be recovery. If you were injured or lost a loved one in a commercial trucking wreck, you may be entitled to recover compensation from a negligent truck driver, trucking company, or other involved party. Our truck accident lawyers can help you seek justice.
The Lexington truck accident attorneys on our team advocate for those injured or killed in trucking accidents throughout the state of Kentucky. We help our clients recover from a truck accident by determining liability and taking legal action against the at-fault entity.
Through a Lexington, KY truck accident lawsuit, you may be able to recover compensation for damages such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
What Compensation Can I Recover Through a Kentucky Truck Accident Claim?
Large truck accidents cause immense devastation. The economic losses of just one serious collision involving a commercial truck can reach over a billion dollars. For this reason, trucking companies are required by law to be covered by insurance policies with much higher minimums than those required of other vehicles’ drivers in Lexington, KY.
When you work with a personal injury attorney to file a semi-truck accident claim, you may be able to seek financial recovery for economic damages, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost, past, and future wages
- Property damage
- Lost earning capacity
- Household services like cleaning and child-sitting
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
And noneconomic damages, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Psychological injury, including PTSD
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Punitive damages may also apply in a small number of commercial truck crash cases. Punitive damages are a different category of damages than those listed above. Compensatory damages compensate the victim’s losses. But punitive damages punish the wrongdoer’s behavior to prevent it from happening again in the future. These are only applied in rare cases of malicious, fraudulent, or oppressive behavior. During your free consultation, a lawyer from Peterson Law Office can advise if punitive damages are warranted in your case.
One of the reasons the attorney-client relationship is so important to us at Peterson Law Office is because it allows us to better understand the full spectrum of ways your life was altered by your injury. When we get to know you, we can more comprehensively assess the extent of your losses. A lawyer who doesn’t know you well may have no idea how severely your mental health was compromised by the semi-truck accident. Only when we have this understanding can we work to get you the compensation you need to afford quality medical care.
At Peterson Law Office, your recovery and wellbeing is always our number one priority.
Do I Need a Lawyer To Handle My Truck Accident Claim?
Semi-truck accidents are wholly different from passenger vehicle crashes. In a typical car accident, there are usually two similarly-sized vehicles being driven by their owners. This is not the case in most commercial truck accidents. Here, there is a huge size disparity between vehicles, a number of state and federal laws that complicate litigation, multiple insurance policies, and a driver who is actually an on-the-job employee operating a company vehicle.
If you’re wondering if you need a lawyer to help you file your Lexington truck accident claim, the answer is probably yes. Truck accident lawyers undergo years of education and practical experience before they can advocate for clients. Very few truck accident victims have the legal training and knowledge to successfully hold a trucking company liable for negligence. Even more importantly, many truck accident survivors are facing a long recovery process after suffering catastrophic injuries.
At Peterson Law Office, we believe that no injured victim should be left to fight for their rights alone. Every person who was injured by someone else’s negligence deserves to have the help they need. That’s why we take most cases on a contingency fee basis. This allows victims to receive top-rated legal representation without worrying about any upfront fees. Aligning both our interests toward the goal of winning you full compensation helps to establish a strong, lasting attorney-client relationship.
Here are just a few of the reasons it’s best to have a Lexington, KY truck accident lawyer represent you after a collision:
- More Severe Injuries. Due to the size and weight differences between large trucks and smaller passenger vehicles, car accidents involving 18-wheelers tend to result in much more serious injuries. Lawyers frequently need to work with medical experts to correctly calculate the cost of past, ongoing, and future medical care in a personal injury claim.
- Higher Fatality Rates. Truck accidents are often deadly to passenger car occupants. In all two-vehicle crashes involving a smaller car and a larger truck, 97% of those killed are passenger car occupants, not occupants of the tractor-trailer. Legal proceedings can become much more complex when there is a fatality involved.
- Complicated State and Federal Laws. Federal government bodies such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) set safety regulations that all commercial truck drivers and companies must follow. There are also laws at the state (and sometimes local) level that affect a tractor-trailer accident case. Your lawyer must have a thorough understanding of all these laws in order to successfully handle your trucking accident case.
- Multiple Possibly Liable Parties. By the time a truck is loaded with cargo and on its route, it has already passed through the hands of numerous parties. Any one of these parties could have committed the negligence that led to the accident. Truck drivers are not the only ones who may be held liable for truck accidents in Kentucky. A lawyer can investigate to determine if another entity is partially or fully at fault.
- Complex Insurance Policies. The minimum insurance requirements for commercial vehicles are much higher than those set for passenger vehicles. Most trucking companies have multiple insurance policies covering varying aspects of the business. Filing a claim with a truck company’s insurance carrier is highly involved and requires a wealth of knowledge. Without expert legal representation, it’s very difficult to obtain the compensation you deserve.
- Hazardous Materials. Some truck accident cases involve a vehicle carrying toxic, flammable, or hazardous materials. Trucking companies must only allow truck drivers with the mandatory license type, endorsements, and training to drive these dangerous tanker trucks. The insurance requirements for large trucks transporting hazardous materials are also different from other commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). A qualified lawyer will have in-depth knowledge of these factors and how they impact your truck crash lawsuit.
Hire the Lexington Truck Accident Attorneys Who Get Results
Truck drivers and trucking companies must be held liable for their actions. If there are no repercussions for dangerous trucking practices, the roads and highways of Kentucky will never become safer.
The truck accident attorneys at Peterson Law Office fight to hold the trucking industry to higher safety standards. We make sure our clients receive fair compensation. If a truck’s insurance company is offering you anything less than maximum compensation, you aren’t being treated fairly. The personal injury lawyers from our firm can negotiate on your behalf to make sure your medical costs and other expenses are appropriately addressed.
If you have questions about a semi-truck accident in which you were involved, schedule a free consultation at our Lexington office. You’ll have the opportunity to sit down with an actual attorney to discuss your case. We’ll go over your legal options in detail. If you decide that we have the legal services you need to recover from your serious accident, we will devote our strongest efforts to getting you the justice you deserve.
Kentucky Truck Accident Statistics
The pervasiveness of truck accident injuries and fatalities isn’t just a national problem. It’s also a local problem. The most recent comprehensive highway safety statistics in our state can be found in the 2020 Kentucky Traffic Collision Facts report. The following Kentucky truck crash statistics were obtained from this report.
- While trucks are involved in less than 5% of all Kentucky collisions, roughly 9% of vehicles in fatal crashes are commercial trucks.
- In the span of one year, 8,667 commercial trucks were involved in collisions in Kentucky.
- Over 40% of in-state truck accidents involve out-of-state drivers passing through Kentucky.
- 134 trucks carrying hazardous materials were involved in crashes in 2020.
- In a single year, 1,738 people were seriously injured, and 111 were killed in trucking accidents.
- Some of the most common contributing factors cited by Kentucky police conducting CMV accident investigations are: failure to yield right of way, driver inattention, loss of vehicle control, drug involvement, and speeding.
Who Can Be Liable for a Truck Collision in Lexington?
Truck accidents can be caused by the negligence of one or more parties. Your legal representative will investigate your tractor-trailer crash to look for evidence proving liability. The following are the most common defendants named in Kentucky semi-truck lawsuits:
If the driver was distracted, reckless, or intoxicated behind the wheel, for example, their actions may be directly responsible for the trucking accident.
Large trucks are often owned, maintained, and regulated by the company that employs the driver. Not every motor carrier has a company culture that promotes safety. Large truck accidents may happen because a driver is overworked, undertrained, or sent out on the road in an unsafe truck. Even if a tractor-trailer crash is caused by driver error, it’s common for a trucking agency and their insurance company to be named in the accident claim.
Truck Parts Manufacturing Company
If defective auto parts played a role in the crash, your lawyer may advise that a product liability claim filed against a negligent manufacturing company is the best way to proceed in your case.
Other Potentially Liable Parties
Other parties that may hold partial or full responsibility for your injuries are:
- Drivers of other vehicles whose actions contributed to the crash
- Employees of a shipping or loading company
- A truck mechanic company tasked with fixing a problem
- The truck owner, if not the trucking company or driver
Most Common Causes of Large Commercial Vehicle Accidents
While any number of factors may be found relevant in a trucking accident investigation, the most common causes of CMV crashes are usually:
Kentucky state police have noted driver error as a factor in a significant percentage of truck-involved accidents. A truck driver error might involve:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Inattention due to driver fatigue
- Loss of vehicle control on hills, turns, or in adverse weather conditions
- Tailgating (following too closely)
- Reckless driving or aggressive driving
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Violating traffic laws
- Unsafe turning, merging, or lane changing
Truck parts or systems failures also lead to a high number of trucking accidents. Mechanical failures often arise when trucks are not properly maintained, and pre-trip inspections are cursory or skipped altogether. A mechanical failure may be:
- Blown tires
- Steering system failure
- Brake defects
- Tow hitch failures
- Nonfunctioning lights
- Low fluid levels
- Transmission failure
Federal Regulation Violations
FMCSA and DOT commercial trucking regulations exist to hold large truck owners and operators to a high standard of safety. When these laws are broken, passenger vehicle drivers sharing the road with 40-ton CMVs can suffer serious consequences. Violations that create dangerous conditions include:
- Hours of service (HOS) violations that lead to driver fatigue
- Lack of proper inspections
- Poor truck maintenance
- Improper cargo loading
- Inadequate driver training
- Driver licensing violations (such as operating a commercial vehicle without a CDL or without the proper endorsements)
- Failure to conduct driver background checks
- Electronic Logging Device (EDL) violations or falsified record of duty status (RODS) reports
- Driving without a valid medical certificate
- Drug, alcohol, and controlled substance use violations
What Injuries Do Truck Accident Victims Most Often Suffer?
A fully loaded tractor-trailer is roughly 20-30 times the weight of a typical passenger vehicle. Any accident involving a large truck is almost always more devastating than one between cars. Truck accident victims often suffer what is known as catastrophic injuries—injuries that completely alter a person’s life, usually permanently.
Some of the most common catastrophic truck accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Cognitive impairment
- Spinal cord damage
- Full or partial paralysis
- Permanent nerve damage
- Amputation or loss of limb
- Disfigurement and permanent scarring
- Severe burn injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Poisoning from toxic materials spilled or released in a hazmat truck crash
Even if an injury does not result in permanent disability, it can require months or more of recovery and medical treatment. An injury that might be classified as “moderate” will still have an enormous impact on a person’s life. Because it can be difficult to ascertain the severity of your injuries at the accident scene, we highly recommend that you schedule a full physical examination with your doctor.
Other serious injuries in a trucking accident might involve:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Cuts, lacerations, bruises, and abrasions
- Back and neck injuries
- Facial cuts and bruises
- Sprains, tears, strains, and other soft tissue injuries
In the most severe trucking accidents, a person may lose their life. In these situations, trucking companies may be held liable through a wrongful death lawsuit.
A wrongful death claim is a way for surviving family members to obtain recovery by holding the at-fault party accountable for the actions that caused a person’s untimely death. It also forces the wrongdoer to take financial responsibility for the expenses and losses the deceased’s loved ones incurred.
Fatal crashes devastate the lives of those left behind. Kentucky law provides an opportunity for a family to alleviate the emotional and financial burden caused by a loved one’s loss. The legal team at Peterson Law Office has years of combined legal experience in complex wrongful death cases in Kentucky. Contact a personal injury lawyer from our firm to learn more about the legal options for families of victims of fatal crashes.
Filing Truck Accident Lawsuits in Lexington, KY
Commercial truck collisions can leave victims feeling like they have no options. Fortunately, Kentucky law provides the means for injured parties to take back what has been stolen from them through negligence.
If your accident occurred in Lexington or elsewhere in the state of Kentucky, get in touch with a lawyer immediately to schedule a free consultation. State law requires that all legal action be taken within a limited amount of time. Your attorney can inform you of the statute of limitations that applies to your situation.
Partner With the Lexington Truck Accident Lawyers With Experience
Looking for a truck accident lawyer in a city like Lexington, KY can feel overwhelming. At Peterson Law Office, we offer free consultations to individuals and families exploring legal options after a serious truck accident. This initial case evaluation gives you the opportunity to learn about our experience, values, and philosophies as a Kentucky personal injury law firm.
There is no fee or obligation associated with this meeting. We will only begin the process of filing your Kentucky truck accident claim if you believe we are the best law firm to represent you.
We invite you to schedule a no-cost case evaluation with a Lexington truck accident lawyer from Peterson Law Office. Our deep practice area knowledge and past case successes have prepared us to answer any questions you have about your tractor-trailer accident case.