Charles Town Truck Accident Lawyers

Whether used for construction, collecting garbage, delivering goods, or transporting hazardous materials, trucks sharing the roads with Charles Town drivers have commonalities. They are big, heavy, and can do serious damage when they collide with other vehicles or pedestrians. Trucks do a lot of good. They support the economy and industry and make our lives, if not our roadways, more convenient.

Despite this, if you are a victim of a Charles Town truck accident, you are likely to experience serious negative consequences to your health, emotional well-being, and financial situation. When that accident happens because of someone else’s negligence, that party needs to pay you compensation for your losses. A Charles Town truck accident lawyer from Skinner Accident & Injury Lawyers will work hard to get you every dollar you deserve.

Truck Accident Statistics

For a recent full year of data collection, the National Safety Council (NSC) reported:

  • 5700 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes, representing an 18% increase from the year before
  • 5,788 people died in truck accidents, a 17% increase from the year before
  • While large trucks only account for 5% of registered vehicles, they represent 9% of fatal crashes
  • 117,300 large trucks were involved in injury-causing accidents, representing a 12% increase from the year before
  • Most victims in fatal accidents were passengers of other cars at 72%. Truck occupants represented 17%, and non-occupants accounted for 11%.


Steps to Take Following a Truck Accident in Charles Town

Right after a truck accident, your immediate concern should be safety. Unfortunately, most times, truck accidents produce serious injuries, so you may not be able to move.

If you can move safely, get yourself and others out of the path of traffic and start gathering information. Take down contact information from witnesses. Get license and insurance information from the truck operator. Take pictures and video of the accident scene, including the vehicles, injuries, and road conditions.

Even if you do not need emergency medical care, go to a doctor as soon as possible. The symptoms of some injuries take time to appear–such as brain bleeds or organ damage–and can be life-threatening. Other times, the pain of a broken burn or damaged nerves or muscles are masked by adrenaline, and you can cause further injury if you delay treatment. Delaying treatment also gives the at-fault party an opportunity to blame you for any worsened condition rather than owning responsibility for your injuries.

After ensuring your safety, call a Charles Town truck accident attorney from Skinner Accident & Injury Lawyers. West Virginia has a two-year legal deadline, or statute of limitations, for filing personal injury claims. The sooner you partner with a skilled lawyer, the better.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Charles Town

To hold that party at fault for your accident accountable, you must prove that party’s negligence. Making your case requires evidence. The Charles Town truck accident attorneys from Skinner Accident and Injuries Lawyers will carry out a thorough examination of your accident to determine its cause. Though there are many reasons for truck accidents, some causes are more common than others.

Driver Fatigue or Illness

Day after day, truckers spend hours upon hours operating their vehicles. The work is tiring and often monotonous, and it is natural for drivers to experience fatigue. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has regulations in place to keep fatigued and ill drivers off the roads.

Drivers must comply with regulations governing their “hours of service,” not exceeding a certain number of hours or consecutive days on duty without rest.

The FMCSA also requires ill drivers to take their vehicles off the road, provided it is safe to do so, and wait to resume driving until they have recovered. Under this regulation, truck companies must not force sick drivers to operate their vehicles when unwell.

Driving Under the Influence

While most states consider vehicle operators to be driving under the influence (DUI) with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, commercial vehicle drivers are held to a higher standard, and can be charged with DUI with a BAC of .04% or higher.

The FMCSA forbids drivers to drink alcohol within four hours of going on duty or while operating or being “in physical control” of a truck. Drivers cannot possess or be under the influence of drugs or substances that would impair their ability to drive safely.

Over or Improperly Loaded Trucks

There are strict rules for how heavy a truck’s load can be and how that load must be secured. Trucks require long distances to come to a stop. Overloaded trucks are harder to stop–overworked brakes can fail entirely. They are also harder to balance and vulnerable to tipping over or jackknifing.

The type and number of load restraints is also prescribed to ensure safety. Weakened or too few restraints can cause loads to shift, putting the truck off balance, or allowing objects to fly from the vehicle and into other cars or the roadway.

Vehicle Malfunction

Even when drivers do everything right, if a truck experiences a mechanical malfunction, serious accidents can follow.

Bad Roads or Weather

Because of their massive size and weight, trucks are easier to lose control of if they hit loose gravel, potholes, or other road damage. Icy or wet roads and excessive winds also pose significant dangers. The FMCSA requires drivers to reduce speeds or take the vehicle off the road when extreme weather impairs visibility or otherwise comprises safe operation.

Holding At-Fault Parties Accountable for a Charles Town Truck Accident

By discovering the cause of the accident, your attorney can identify the party to hold accountable for paying you compensation. Sometimes, there may be more than one at-fault party. Whatever the situation, your truck accident attorney will file appropriately.

Truck Drivers

Truck operators who ignore traffic laws, drive under the influence, or use bad judgment, perhaps by staying on the road despite seriously unsafe weather conditions, may be found liable for the accidents their actions or lack of action cause.

FMCSA regulations require drivers to perform and submit daily vehicle inspections pre- and post-ride. If a problem exists, the vehicle must be repaired before going back on the road. Failure to complete these inspections or have repairs made can leave drivers culpable.

Truck Operator Employers

When truck operators commit certain offenses, and the offense is one their employer knows about or should reasonably know about, the employer must not allow the driver to continue operating the vehicle for a period established by the FMCSA.

If employers fail to follow through with the driver’s disqualification, they may be held liable if that driver causes an accident.

To remain competitive in our world of overnight or same-day deliveries, some companies pressure drivers to stay on duty longer than FMCSA regulations allow or overload their trailers. Both actions can cause conditions leading to accidents.

Commercial vehicle drivers must undergo specific training and continued evaluations to ensure they are road-safe. Companies must also ensure their vehicles undergo proper inspections according to FMCSA regulations. Failure in these areas can leave unsafe drivers or vehicles on the road and leave companies culpable for the damage that results.

Vehicle Manufacturers and Inspectors

Trucks are complex vehicles made of sensitive systems such as braking, steering, loading, dumping, and others, depending on the truck’s function. Different entities are responsible for the safe production and installation of these systems, whose proper operation is critical for the safety of all who share the roads.

Truck inspectors must perform careful examinations of the vehicle, noting safety problems and taking unsafe trucks off the roads, and mechanics or others responsible for maintaining the trucks’ safety must complete their repairs properly.

Other Possibilities

You may collide with a truck because of another driver’s negligence. Or, if the accident happened because of a broken traffic signal or poorly maintained or unlit roads, the government entity responsible for overseeing those areas may be held accountable.

If your claim is against a government entity–whether for road conditions or because the crash was with a government-owned truck–the procedures for filing a claim and pursuing compensation differ from what you face when filing against a private company. You can trust your truck accident lawyer in Charles Town to navigate these differences with efficiency.

Your Truck Accident Attorneys in Charles Town Will Gather Exhaustive Evidence

You must prove the at-fault party’s negligence to collect a settlement. To do this, you must show the negligent party:

  • Owed you a Duty of Care: The party had an obligation to avoid actions that compromise your safety and take actions to preserve that safety. All drivers owe others on the road a duty of care.
  • Breached their Duty of Care: By breaching their duty, the at-fault party committed an action or failed to take an action and this behavior caused your accident.
  • Caused your injuries: The accident caused by the at-fault party’s breach of duty caused your injuries.
  • Cost you damages: The injuries you sustained cost you measurable losses.

Proving these four elements of negligence requires evidence. The truck accident lawyers at Skinner Accident and Injury Lawyers have the resources and know-how to get that evidence. Among other sources, your lawyer may access evidence from:

  • The truck’s “Black Box” or other electronic devices. These instruments record data before and during an accident, provide logs of the driver’s on-duty and rest periods, and provide information about the vehicle’s operating systems.
  • Witnesses. Your attorney will track down, interview, and document testimonies from accident witnesses.
  • Cameras. Traffic, security, or other photo or video footage can be invaluable sources of evidence, providing images of the accident itself and of the overall environment, including road conditions and traffic signals.
  • Official reports. Your truck accident attorneys will access truck inspection and maintenance reports, driver training and evaluations, the accident report, and any other report relevant to your accident.
  • Experts. Your attorney will gather medical reports from your doctors and other medical professionals and from other relevant experts.
  • Your family and caregivers. Your physical and emotional conditions and progress serve as important evidence of the severity and consequences of your injuries.

Factors Affecting Compensation for Charles Town Truck Accident Victims

Injuries and property damage are typically extensive for victims of truck accidents. Collecting a just settlement is essential for your recovery and financial stability, and several factors influence the amount you can collect. An experienced Charles Town truck accident lawyer is in the best position to calculate your losses and navigate the negotiation process.

What Compensation Covers

It is not possible to offer a “typical” settlement amount, as accidents and their consequences differ from one personal injury case to another. However, your truck accident lawyer will consider the severity of your injuries, how the injuries have affected your life, and other expenses incurred to determine a fair demand. You can expect a settlement to cover the following:

  • Medical Bills and Care Costs: while most victims recognize the cost of their immediate medical costs, they do not always know how to calculate future care costs. Your attorney will consult with medical experts to determine coverage for your future needs.
  • Lost Earnings: You will miss work and either lose wages or sick time as you recover. If your injuries prevent you from working again, you will also need to recover lost future earnings and benefits.
  • Property Loss: If your vehicle was damaged in the accident, a settlement covers repairs or, in most truck accident cases, covers the value of your totaled vehicle.
  • Other Expenses: You may need to hire childcare or household or transportation help to carry out responsibilities you can no longer fulfill. Your truck accident lawyer in Charles Town will factor any accident-related expenses into the settlement demand.
  • Pain: Though difficult to quantity, an experienced attorney will demand acknowledgment for your physical pain and emotional suffering.
  • Lost Quality of Life: Pain and its emotional consequences can significantly reduce your enjoyment and quality of life. Since injuries from a truck accident are typically severe, you may be left with chronic pain or permanent disability, be unable to care for yourself independently, or take part in family or social relationships as you did previously.
  • Wrongful Death: If your loved one is killed in a truck accident, your truck accident lawyer can file a wrongful death claim. A settlement compensates survivors for related medical costs, death expenses, lost earnings, and acknowledges the loss of affection and loss of relationship.

It is so important to avoid underestimating your losses. In the aftermath of such a traumatic accident, it is easy for victims or their loved ones to overlook certain losses and accept an immediate settlement offer only to realize later that they have been taken advantage of, and the amount is far less than they need and deserve.

Securing representation from a truck accident attorney promptly after your accident protects you from undervaluing your case and being left with an unstable financial future.

Charles Town Comparative Fault Laws

West Virginia follows a comparative fault system for negligence cases. This means victims who are less than 50% responsible for causing an accident can file an injury claim against those at fault for the accident. If victims meet this threshold but still bear some fault, the compensation they can receive is reduced by their percentage of fault. If you are found 15% responsible for the accident, you can receive 85% (15% less) of the calculated total settlement amount.

Because insurance companies are businesses that want to protect their assets, they will work hard to put as much blame for the accident on you to reduce the compensation they must pay out. These companies are good at using intimidation, inflating your level of blame, or otherwise manipulating you and the situation overall to their benefit.

Protect yourself from these stressful discussions and your settlement from unfair reduction by putting your case and all insurance negotiations in the hands of knowledgeable Charles Town truck accident lawyers. Your lawyers have strong negotiating skills and knowledge of the law and will not be intimidated or tricked into accepting less than you deserve.

A Truck Accident Lawyer in Charles Town Will Manage Your Case from Start to Finish

A truck accident leaves you physically and emotionally spent. Taking on a complicated and high-stakes legal claim with inferior representation or on your own is not in your best interest and will only add to your stress and anxiety. Partnership with our highly skilled truck accident lawyers in Charles Town is the smartest course of action. Your attorney will:

  • Investigate your accident comprehensively
  • Identify the at-fault party
  • File against the at-fault party within West Virginia’s statute of limitations
  • Prepare and submit evidence supporting your claim and proving the at-fault party’s negligence
  • Make a fair settlement demand and handle all negotiations with insurance companies or other representatives
  • Update you regularly on the status of your case

While most personal injury cases settle out of court, in the event that the at-fault party refuses to make a fair settlement offer, you may opt to take your case to trial. You can count on your attorney to provide aggressive representation at all court proceedings.

Count on Our Dedicated Advocacy

With 60 years of combined experience, the team at Skinner Accident and Injury Lawyers is ready to fight for you. We are dedicated to getting justice for accident victims and are available to meet with you for a free case review. Contact us to arrange a meeting with an attentive, experienced Charles Town truck accident lawyer. We are in this together.