Were you injured in a crash with a truck or another large commercial vehicle? The Kentucky truck accident attorneys of Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP will fight to get you the compensation you are owed.
Truck accidents happen fast and can cause catastrophic injuries or may even be fatal. Trucks, especially those hauling cargo, are heavy vehicles, and even a minor accident can have significant consequences for everyone involved. If you have been injured in a truck accident or if you’ve lost a loved one, it’s essential to get the help you need as soon as possible. When you contact Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP about your accident, we’ll work fast to protect you and build a convincing case on your behalf.
At Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP, our experienced Kentucky truck accident attorneys are prepared to fight for you. We’ve helped clients win for over 125 years, and we’re proud to help accident victims secure compensation for their injuries. We’ve been recognized by The National Law Journal, The Best Lawyers in America®, and many other publications. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, let us put our knowledge and expertise to work for you.
If you, or someone you love, has been injured in a truck accident, contact Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. Call us at (859) 279-0478 or fill out our contact form today.
How Can a Kentucky Truck Accident Attorney Help Me?
When you’re injured in a truck accident, the paperwork alone that accompanies an accident claim could be more than you can handle. A truck accident attorney can take care of your case so you can focus on healing. A truck accident attorney can:
- Gather and preserve crucial evidence from the accident scene and from the trucking company, including electronic data recorder records, maintenance records, and driver logs.
- Review police reports and medical records.
- Evaluate your claim and determine the compensation you may be entitled to.
- Work with investigators and local authorities to identify the driver who was responsible.
- Handle complex negotiations and work with insurers to get you the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries.
- Prepare lawsuits against third-parties such as equipment manufacturers.
- Litigate your case and take it to completion.
If you’re involved in a truck accident, it can be difficult to get the compensation you need. Insurers may try to low-ball you, and companies may not take responsibility for the truckers they employ. You’ll need someone on your side with the knowledge and resources to succeed. When you’re injured, let the attorneys at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP advocate for you.
Steps to Take After an Accident
After you are involved in a large commercial truck accident, you and your family have work to do. Truck accidents tend to be even more devastating than car accidents, and you likely have catastrophic injuries that need treatment, along with a car that needs replacing. Here are some steps you should take immediately following a truck accident:
- Contact First Responders – No matter what, your first step should be calling 9-1-1. A truck accident likely caused severe injuries that require immediate treatment. You may need an ambulance to transport you to the hospital. If you can, check the condition of the other drivers, so the dispatcher knows how many personnel to send to the scene.
- Collect Witness Information – You need to try and collect the contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident. With severe injuries, this may be difficult, but hopefully, a bystander or the responding police officer can help collect this information for you.
- Take Photos of the Scene – Anything that supports your claim is essential to your case, and that includes photos of the scene of the accident. Have someone get photos of the accident, your vehicle, the truck, and anything else involved in the collision.
- Seek Medical Attention – Even if you have seemingly minor injuries after a truck accident, you still need to visit your doctor or other healthcare professional as soon as possible. You could have hidden injuries that are not apparent, and you will also need official medical records should you decide to file your claim.
- Call a Truck Accident Lawyer – Make sure to reach out to a Kentucky truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. They may be able to help you with obtaining the compensation you need for treating injuries, wrongful deaths, and property damage.
What Does an Accident Investigation Look Like?
The police will come to the scene and investigate the accident. This includes speaking to you, whether it’s at the scene or at the hospital, as well as everyone else involved in the accident. The police will use that information to determine which drivers acted with negligence. The fault assigned to you and the other driver will depend on that report, as well as other factors.
If you decide to hire a lawyer, they will conduct their own independent investigation of the scene, speak to witnesses, hire expert witnesses, request crucial information from the trucking company, and thoroughly research every aspect of the case. Some of the evidence we’ll work to gather in our investigation includes:
- Police report
- Medical records
- Witness statements
- Evidence provided by expert witnesses, such as an accident reconstruction specialist
- Truck driver’s cell phone records
- Security camera footage
- Electronic data recorder information
- Truck maintenance records
- Driver logs
- Driver’s training history
- Load manifest
What Damages Are Available for Injuries?
Once you’ve been in a truck accident and can show you are eligible to collect damages, then you can proceed with filing your claim. Your claim may include:
- Medical Costs – Truck accidents tend to cause serious and severe injuries, meaning you or your loved one could incur a large amount of medical debt. Surgeries, hospital stays, physical therapy, rehabilitation centers, and more are very expensive, even if you have health insurance. You should not have to shoulder this debt when the accident wasn’t your fault.
- Lost Earnings – It’s likely that you will miss time at work, whether to recover or to help your loved one recover from injuries. That missed time at work combined with the other costs from the accident can put an immense strain on you and your finances. If your injuries are so severe that you cannot return to work, you should try to recover any lost earnings, as well as potential future earnings.
- Property Damage – Your vehicle either suffered damage or was completely totaled in the wreck, meaning you will have costs associated with repairing the vehicle on top of everything else. Add these costs to your claim so that you can either repair or replace your car.
- Wrongful Death – Unfortunately, truck accidents often cause loss of life. If you tragically lose a loved one because of a negligent truck driver or company, we know that there is absolutely no amount of money that can replace them. However, you still should try to recover some damages so that you can try to move forward with your family.
- Pain and Suffering – We often discuss the physical trauma associated with a truck accident, but the fact remains that these collisions can also cause mental and emotional trauma. You can file for pain and suffering in an attempt to be compensated for the mental and emotional issues you have endured as a result of the accident.
At Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP, we have successfully fought for truck accident victims throughout Kentucky, getting them and their families the money they need to recover.
Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents may be more complicated than typical car accidents. Truckers are often employed by trucking companies who must comply with Federal and state laws. This means that they often must have specific pieces of safety equipment installed on their trucks, and they must train and monitor drivers.
If you’re injured in a truck accident, we can help you. We have decades of experience investigating truck accidents and representing truck accident victims. We’re experienced in all types of truck accident cases. These include:
- Accidents due to drugs or alcohol. Like others, truck drivers drive when they shouldn’t. Drugs and alcohol are extraordinarily dangerous when mixed with heavy equipment.
- Driver fatigue. Many truckers keep unusual hours that can disturb their sleep schedules. Others may not get the rest they need. When a tired trucker is on the road, it can spell disaster for everyone.
- Distracted driving. Truckers are susceptible to distractions like everyone else. When truckers take their eyes off the road, the consequences can be severe.
- Reckless driving. Truck drivers are often under extreme pressure to get their deliveries done. It’s no excuse for reckless driving, but some drivers still risk the safety of others to get their job done.
- Failure of trucking companies to maintain their fleet. Trucking companies are required to maintain their fleets and keep records. When they fail to do so, they may be liable.
- Insufficient training of drivers. Truckers must be up to date on new equipment and regulations. When they’re not, they make mistakes that can cost you everything.
- Failure to monitor and correct driver behavior. Trucking companies are expected to monitor their drivers and correct bad behaviors. When a company lets a bad actor continue in their position, it can lead to injury and accident.
- Equipment failures such as brakes and tires. Even the best-trained truck drivers may be helpless if their equipment fails. We can pursue cases against truck equipment manufacturers when their designs or manufacturing leads to injury.
- Wrongful death. It’s too easy for trucking accidents to lead to death. If you’ve lost a loved one, we can help you honor their memory.
Trucking companies are expected to monitor their drivers, and drivers are expected to prioritize safety on the road. Too often, this isn’t the case. Companies and drivers may play fast and loose with the rules to get their deliveries where they need to go. The trouble is that these behaviors can easily result in an accident that costs you everything. If you’ve been injured, speak with one of our attorneys. They’ll help you pursue the justice and compensation you need.
Types of Truck Accidents
We pursue truck claims by looking at the specifics of each case. That includes the specifics of the trucks involved. Trucks come in a variety of sizes, and they differ in purpose, location, limitations in movement, and risks they present. Knowing more about the truck that caused your accident can tell us more about your injuries, the causes of your accident, and the best way to pursue your claim for compensation. Some of the common types of truck accidents we often see at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP include:
- Big Rig: A big rig, also called a semi, semi-tractor trailer, or an 18-wheeler, is perhaps the most obvious and famous truck on the road. These trucks transport all manner of goods across the country. These large movers include a cab that may or may not have a sleeping compartment, where the driver sits, and usually one or two trailers attached behind.
- Moving Van: Moving vans can include vehicles of different sizes, including anything from a minivan to a box truck that moves individuals and families across the country. Moving vans may be a greater risk on the road because some companies allow families to drive their own moving vans, and these drivers are likely inexperienced in handling a vehicle so large. Even experienced professional moving van drivers present a risk because of the potentially awkward freight they carry.
- Delivery Van: Delivery vans are used by businesses that deliver any number of products either to businesses or homes. A common sight in every town, delivery vans are usually very tall but lack the separation between the cap and trailer found with a big rig. Because they navigate through neighborhoods and narrow streets, they are at a greater risk of causing accidents with pedestrians, bicyclists, and stationary vehicles.
- Flatbed Truck: Flatbed trucks have an open, flat floor on which to place freight. Without a roof or sides, these trucks are easier to load for businesses, but they also increase the risk of part of the freight coming loose and causing accidents on the road.
- Tanker Truck: A tanker truck is, as the name suggests, a truck with a large metal cylinder (or “tank”) towed behind. These tanks are often filled with dangerous gases and liquids that, in the event of an accident, can lead to catastrophic damage to individuals and property involved in that accident.
- Fuel Truck: A fuel truck is a type of tanker truck that is designed to carry gasoline or other types of fuel (such as jet fuel for airports). Like tanker truck freight, fuel truck freight is a risk because it can cause explosions in addition to the initial damage of an accident.
- Cement Mixer: Construction companies make regular use of cement mixers. These large trucks have enormous, revolving drums that allow for the mixing of fresh cement when building homes and other buildings. Because of their size and a lack of visibility from the driver, they can cause major accidents on residential streets or highways.
- Tow Truck: A tow truck is designed to help move other vehicles, but when a tow truck driver doesn’t secure the other vehicles properly, there is a risk the vehicle will swerve into other lanes, disconnect from the tow truck, or force the tow truck into other lanes or off the road.
- Box Truck: Box trucks include a cab and a cube-shaped cargo area. These are very popular options for moving vans and delivery vans (although the separation of the cab and the cargo hold technically make them trucks, not vans). Like moving vans, these vehicles are often driven by those without significant experience, and therefore there’s a greater risk of accidents.
- Cargo Truck: Cargo truck is another broad category that can include a large number of different kinds of vehicles. A cargo truck can include anything from a pickup truck that uses the bed for cargo to a moving van or a flatbed. Any time a truck is carrying significant cargo, it increases its weight, which then increases the force with which it hits other vehicles in the event of an accident. Cargo that is poorly loaded can also lead to the truck swerving into another lane or being unable to stop at a reasonable distance.
- Dump Truck: A dump truck transports material to and from construction sites. Because there is no roof (so the truck can be loaded), it’s easy for material to fall out of the truck and cause damage to nearby vehicles. Dump truck accidents can also involve the full contents of the truck falling onto other vehicles, leading to very severe injuries.
- Garbage Truck: Garbage trucks collect garbage from homes and businesses and then dispose of it in garbage dumps. Similarly, recycling trucks gather up recyclable materials and take them to a recycling center. These vehicles are very large and move very quickly through residential areas and other places where pedestrians may not expect to see large vehicles, increasing the risk of an accident.
- Refrigerator Truck: A big rig or other truck can have a refrigerated cargo hold so that foods and other materials that have to be kept cool are not allowed to heat up during transportation.
- Coal Truck: The transportation of coal for the purpose of providing energy is done by coal trucks. These trucks may leave coal exposed, allowing it to fall out in a way similar to dump trucks. Since coal also ignites, it may lead to similar issues to fuel truck accidents.
- Log Truck: A log truck is a long truck, often a flatbed, designed to move huge logs that have been cut for timber uses. If not secured properly, these logs can roll off and cause incredible damage to nearby vehicles. They can also lead to the truck tipping or swerving between lanes.
- Firetruck and Other Emergency Vehicles: Emergency vehicles are meant to provide assistance, but because they speed and often deal with distractions, they also can potentially cause serious accidents.
Because of their size, the speeds they reach, and the high risk of issues like fatigue their driver’s experience, any kind of truck can cause a serious accident. Knowing more about the truck that caused your accident will help us make sure the cause of your injuries is discovered, which will, in turn, allow us to better establish the fault that will help you get the compensation you are owed.
Common Injuries Suffered From Truck Accidents
If you are involved in a truck accident, there are several types of injuries you could sustain. These range from minor to severe, but each type should be taken seriously and should be treated by a doctor as soon as possible. They include:
- Broken Bones – Broken bones can incapacitate you, especially if they’re not properly treated. A doctor needs to set the bone and repair it, either with a cast or surgery.
- Internal Bleeding – Truck accidents may cause internal bleeding or damage to vital organs, and these injuries can be very severe if they are not quickly treated.
- Lacerations – Deep cuts or lacerations could bleed profusely without proper stitches and could lead to large disfiguring scars.
- Traumatic Brain Injury – A traumatic brain injury could cause lifelong brain damage and permanently alter the way someone behaves or functions. If it’s very severe, the victim may need an assisted-living facility or another treatment center.
- Concussion – A concussion may cause headaches, disorientation, and more. A specialist should take a look to make sure everything is healing correctly from your concussion, which may require several follow-up appointments.
- Spinal Cord Injury – You can suffer a spinal cord injury along any part of your spine, and it becomes more severe the higher up your spine it occurs. You may end up with partial or complete paralysis.
What Is the Cost of a Kentucky Truck Accident Lawyer?
It may seem counterintuitive to spend money on a lawyer when you already have so many other costs as a result of your truck accident. But the reality is that you won’t pay your lawyer until we win your claim. At that point, your lawyer will take a certain percentage of the winnings. This amount is decided when you hire that lawyer, so there are no surprise costs for you.
Truck Accident Statistics
According to the 2017 Traffic Collision Facts Report:
- Trucks accounted for 4 percent of all vehicle collisions but made up 7 percent of vehicles in fatal collisions.
- There were 164,556 registered commercial trucks in the state of Kentucky in 2017.
- A total of 9,819 trucks were involved in collisions, 82 in fatal collisions, and 1,461 in non-fatal injury collisions.
- 32 percent of hazardous cargo collisions occurred on interstates.
So what causes truck accidents in the first place? According to data compiled in 2014 by the Kentucky Department of Transportation, the most common causes of truck collisions are tire problems and insecure loads of cargo. In that year, these two categories were the cause of 152 and 159 collisions, respectively. Brake defects and oversized loads are also common.
Kentucky State Laws About Truck Accidents
When you plan to file a claim for a truck accident, there are some laws that you will need to know before moving forward. Your lawyer will know these as well, and they include:
- Kentucky Revised Statute 413.140 – In Kentucky, you have one year from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for your injuries. If you miss this deadline, the court will almost certainly dismiss your case, and you’ll miss your opportunity to recover compensation in a civil suit.
- Kentucky Revised Statute 304.39-060 – Your total injury damages must exceed $1,000 before you are eligible to claim any sort of compensation.
- Kentucky Revised Statute 411.182 – Kentucky uses the comparative negligence rule, meaning anyone involved in the accident can try to seek damages regardless of how much fault they were assigned. The amount of damages they can recover, however, will be reduced in proportion to their percentage of fault.
Accident Claims Process in Kentucky
While every accident is unique, every injury claim will generally follow the same series of steps as your attorneys work toward securing your compensation. Your attorneys will:
- File your claim with the insurance company
- Thoroughly investigate your case and gather evidence
- Send a demand letter to the insurance company
- Negotiate skillfully and aggressively with the insurance adjuster
- Agree to a fair settlement offer and secure compensation
- Prepare your case to go to court, in case the insurance company fails
Your attorneys will keep you apprised of every update, and work with you closely throughout the entire process to ensure your goals are met.
Truck Accident Lawsuits in Kentucky
Filing a lawsuit in Kentucky involves multiple steps and complex procedures. Your attorneys will guide you smoothly through every step of the process and make sure every deadline is met, including the one-year statute of limitations.
Step 1. The first step in the process will be preparing and filing documents with the court, including:
- Complaint: The complaint begins the legal proceedings and identifies the parties involved in the case, the case being brought against the defendant, and the damages being sought.
- Summons. The summons notifies the defendant that they’re being sued and that they’ll need to appear in court.
- Service of process: The complaint and the summons must be properly served, or delivered, to the defendant.
Step 2. Next, the defendant must answer the complaint, where they accept or deny the various allegations.
Step 3: The discovery phase begins. In this phase, the attorneys for both sides will file requests, including:
- Interrogatories: Each party may submit specific questions to the other party, which must be answered under oath.
- Request for production: Each party may request copies of relevant documents and evidence.
- Requests for admission: Each party may ask the other party to admit to or deny various facts.
- Depositions: One party’s attorney will ask the other party questions, which are recorded and answered orally, under oath.
Step 4. At any time, your lawyer and the other party may resume negotiations and try to work toward a settlement, with the aim of avoiding a trial. Both parties may also enter mediation, where all parties a mediator meet to try to settle the case outside of court.
Step 5. If both parties fail to reach a settlement, your case will go to trial, and your skilled trial attorneys will fight aggressively for your rights in court.
How Our Firm Can Help You
If you’ve been injured, you may have a long road to recovery. The Kentucky attorneys at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP can help you get there. With decades of experience, our truck accident attorneys know how to investigate your case and get the compensation you need.
Our attorneys will review your case and build a strategy for your success. We’ll handle the review of trucking company records, negotiating settlement offers from insurers, and any lawsuits you need to file. We’ll also review the law with you and lay out your options for recovery. Medical bills, pain and suffering, replacement of property, and many other types of recovery may be available. We’ve handled every type of truck accident, and we know how to build the strongest case for you.
Experienced Truck Accident Attorneys
At Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP, we understand how serious truck accidents can be. Trucks are powerful, and when they’re mishandled, they can lead to tragedy for everyone involved. Serious injury and even death are common. If you, or a loved one, have been injured in a truck accident, we can help you fight for the compensation you need.
At Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP, we’ll work with authorities, local investigators, insurers, and trucking companies to investigate the accident and get you compensation for your injuries. When you’re injured, focus on healing and let us handle the rest. For a free consultation, contact us at (859) 279-0478 or fill out our online form.