Accidents between semi trucks and cars are generally serious, leading to long-term injury and, in some cases, death. Driving on our interstates can be particularly hazardous due to high speeds. The difference in weight and size between a truck and car is extreme, so when accidents occur, they can often be deadly. Learning a little bit about semi trucks and the common causes of semi truck and car accidents in Ohio will help keep you safe on the road.
Who is Often at Fault in Semi Truck and Car Accidents in Ohio?
As a driver of a compact car, midsize car, SUV or van, have you been concerned about sharing the roadway with large trucks such as semi trucks? Perhaps you have been in a semi truck and car accident and suffered with long-term injuries. Did you know that half of the large truck accidents are the fault of the driver?
These kind of legal cases can be complex and proving negligence and liability can be difficult. This requires the assistance of personal injury lawyers who are experienced in truck accident law. If you have been seriously hurt or someone you loved has been killed in an Ohio truck and car accident, contact the truck accident attorneys at the Chester law Group to speak with a personal injury lawyer to see if you qualify for a settlement. This law group handles serious injury accidents involving truck and car accidents, so they have the insight needed to help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes for Ohio Truck and Car Accidents
Most of us have seen bad semi truck and car accidents on the road, particularly on the interstates. Quite often, they cause a multi-car pile up with many serious injuries and unfortunately fatalities. How can we share the road with such giants? Well, it helps to become knowledgeable about semi trucks and the reasons why these car accidents occur. That way, you will be cautious as a semi approaches you from behind or looming up ahead. Education is always your first line of defense. Some of the dangers associated with large trucks on our roadways include:
Blind Spots for Commercial Truck Drivers
Just as with all vehicles, large trucks have blind spots or what they call No-Zones. These are located around the front, back and sides of the truck. If your car is in a No-Zone while passing a truck, the truck driver could turn into you. Be cautious when passing a truck. In fact, you might want to flash your lights day and night.
Commercial Trucks Make Wide Turns
Some trucks need to swing wide to the left to make a right turn. This is known as the Squeeze Play. In doing so, they might not be able to see small vehicles behind or beside them. If you try to cut between the truck and the curb, you will be caught in a squeeze, so do you best to avoid this situation.
Avoid Slamming on Brakes in Front of a Truck
A large truck requires a much greater stopping distance than regular automobiles. If you have a large truck behind you and you suddenly hit the brakes, chances are you will be rear-ended. If it is not an emergency, think about what vehicles are around you and what they are capable of doing before hitting the brakes.
Watch out for aggressive truck drivers. They are trying to maintain a schedule and will try to push you, as well. If necessary, slow down and pull over into the emergency lane and let them pass.
Driving Too Closely
Do not tailgate a truck and do not let a truck tailgate you. The truck bumper in the front is higher than your bumpers and there is usually no bumper on the back of the truck. This kind of collision ends up in the passenger compartment of your car.
Failure to Maintain Vehicles
Sometimes truck drivers do not perform the necessary safety inspections on their trucks for tires, brakes, and lights. If you are a passenger approaching a truck, inspect the truck as you near them and see what those tires look like and if any lights are out or if there are any hoses hanging down. If something looks amiss, then stay as far away as possible.
Driving While Fatigued
Look for signs that the truck driver is fatigued. Are they keeping an unsteady speed or perhaps they are swaying back and forth in the lane? Perhaps they are failing to maintain a lane? In some cases, these signs could be more than fatigue. The driver may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Again, stay away to prevent any car accidents.
Automobiles are designed under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to withstand collisions with similar size vehicles. A loaded semi can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, whereas the average size car weighs around 3,000 pounds. The semi has so much more mass and therefore much more energy than you do. Recall your physics: kinetic energy (the energy due to motion) is equal to mass times velocity. (KE = mv). Do the math. A collision of this type is devastating.
What Happens After Semi Truck or Car Accidents in Ohio?
If you have been in a truck or car accident in Ohio, there are some things you will need to do as soon as possible to keep yourself protected. Obviously, you have been in a serious accident and will have to go to the hospital and remain there until you are stable. As early as possible, you need to contact an experienced truck accident attorney of your choosing. The truck companies have their own lawyers and investigative teams that will work hard to dismiss their liability. Do not talk with the trucking company, trucking company lawyers, or their insurance adjusters. These are skilled people who do not have your best interests in mind. Anything you say to them could and likely will be held against you at a later time.
Remember, you should file a claim as soon as you can, as this will provide you with more time to gather evidence to prove your case. Also, each state has what is called a ‘statute of limitations’ for filing a personal injury lawsuit. You must file within the allowed time or you will lose your right to litigation and will not be able to collect damages. These rules can be somewhat complicated, so you need to speak with a truck injury attorney about it.
Depending on the state you have your accident in, you might have 1 to 4 years to claim. In Ohio, a person has two years from the date of the accident to file suit against the party at fault for their injuries. Children have until age 20. However, if you are filing a claim against your own auto insurance company for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, your auto policy may require you to bring suit in as little as 2 years. For children injured, this raises the odd result that the child can have 5 or 10 years to file suit depending on their age (until they reach 20) but only have 2 years to file suit against their own insurance company for collecting on their underinsured or uninsured motorist policy if the party at fault has little or no auto insurance. As you can see, even finding out when you have to file suit is complicated, and should be discussed with an experienced truck accident and wrongful death lawyer as quickly as possible.
Another reason why you should hire an attorney to file a claim as soon as possible is that you do not want evidence to disappear. For example, there may be video of the accident or even satellite pictures that may be saved only for a short time by the company or agency taking the photos. Why wait and have valuable evidence disappear? Don’t trust the state highway patrol to do your job for you. Talk with an experienced truck accident and wrongful death lawyer as soon as is reasonably possible.
Consult with an Ohio Lawyer with Experience in Cases for Truck and Car Accidents
These types of accident cases often require an Ohio attorney who is familiar with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Rules and Regulations and common fleet maintenance procedures. The Chester Law Group of Ohio has experienced lawyers to handle the investigation and your claim.
If you have been seriously hurt or lost a loved one in a truck accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and future complications. The Chester Law Group is a personal injury law firm experienced in truck, motorcycle, and car accidents involving severe injuries and damages. Reach out to us soon after your accident to have a legal representative on your side from start to finish of your case. Call the attorneys at Chester Law Group today to get the help you want from people that you can trust at (800) 218-4243.