Cincinnati Truck Accident Lawyers
Truck accidents can be complicated, and the evidence can be crucial. As soon as a client asks for our help, our attorneys start investigating. The weight differential usually means the physical injuries and other damages will be severe. If a loved one has been injured or killed in a truck accident, contact Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima.
Our firm’s personal injury lawyers have investigated many truck accidents, so we waste no time in starting the process. Our Cincinnati attorneys and the experts we bring to the case examine the accident scene and collect evidence.
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We examine the log books to determine if the driver had been behind the wheel for too long. We go through the mechanical records. Was the equipment properly maintained? We check the freight weight, examine the personnel and training records of the driver, investigate adherence to DOT regulations, and determine if there were any prior incidents. Was the driver on drugs or alcohol? Was the driver distracted by a cellphone, navigation equipment, onboard faxes, or texting?
We Pursue All Available Liable Parties In A Truck Accident
In addition to getting the facts about an accident, our lawyers assess liabilities. In a truck accident, there may be multiple liable parties. When the injuries are serious, that can increase the available financial resources for the injured person or the family of a wrongful death victim. On an 18-wheeler, the tractor and trailer may have different owners. Owners of the cargo, the maintenance firm or others may be liable.
Our job as personal injury attorneys is to find the liable parties, document current and future medical needs, make the insurance claims, and ensure that the victims are properly compensated.
Types Of Truck Accidents
At Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima, we have been handling truck accident cases for more than 30 years. That experience has taught us that every case comes with its own unique nuances, and those nuances may ultimately define the legal strategy we create. One of the first differentiating factors we look at when reviewing a case is the type of truck accident.
- Rear-end truck accidents: Semi trucks are extremely heavy. They require substantially more braking time than smaller motor vehicles. Truck drivers are trained to allow plenty of room to stop. When they fail to do so, it could lead to a rear-end accident. However, there are other factors that could lead to these types of truck accidents as well. If a truck’s brakes have not been properly maintained or the tractor-trailer was overloaded, a rear-end collision could also result. We look at all these possibilities when reviewing a rear-end truck accident and hold all responsible parties accountable.
- Truck jackknife accidents: When a semi truck pulling a trailer skids and the trailer pushes it from behind, forcing it to turn around and face the opposite direction, it is referred to as a jackknife accident. These trucking accidents can be the result of unsafe driving in inclement weather. They can also be caused by improper braking or maintenance and equipment issues. We review these cases to determine what negligence played a role in causing the truck to jackknife.
- Truck underride accidents: Truck underride guards can be found beneath the rear and sides of tractor-trailers. They are designed to prevent smaller motor vehicles from going underneath the tractor-trailer, which could result in decapitation or serious injuries to drivers and passengers. Unfortunately, if these guards are poorly maintained or defective, they will not do their job. For example, the law requires commercial trucks to line the back and side of the trailer with reflectors to give drivers advance warning of stopped or slow-moving trucks. We review these cases to determine if negligence took place and the truck accident could have been prevented.
What Are The Most Common Causes Of Truck Accidents In Ohio?
When Professional Drivers Fail To Drive Professionally
Getting a commercial driver’s license (CDL) is not like getting a license to drive a car. Far more rigorous training is required. The goal of these training requirements is to make certain that the people who end up behind the wheels of semi trucks know how to drive professionally and minimize the danger to those they share the road with. When drivers make errors and fail to drive professionally, it can result in truck accidents.
Truck Tire Blowouts And Injuries
There is a reason why regulations require that truck tires be checked frequently and replaced when the tread grows too thin. If a tire blowout happens, it can result in a truck accident. The truck could careen out of control and collide with another motor vehicle. In some cases, the tread from the truck tire is thrown into traffic behind the truck, and that is what causes the accident. A motor vehicle may hit the tire tread and go out of control, or the driver may try to dodge the road hazard and end up colliding with someone else on the road.
Was The Truck Company To Blame For An Accident?
Trucking companies must be licensed through the U.S. Department of Transportation, which tracks safety records and notes all violations. Too many violations could lead to a trucking company being shut down.
During the course of our investigation of these cases, our Cincinnati trucking company negligence lawyers frequently find that the business we are currently investigating was once operating under a different name, until it was shut down by the Department of Transportation. It simply created a chameleon business using the same staff and fleet, and continued to endanger the lives of others on the road until it caused another truck accident. We hold these businesses accountable, and we are proud that we do.
Accidents Caused By Drunk Truck Drivers
Commercial trucks were involved in 113 fatal crashes in Ohio during 2011, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Because tractor-trailers can easily cause death and severe injury, it’s illegal to drive a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .04 percent or more in Ohio, which is half the legal limit for noncommercial drivers.
Commercial truck drivers are operating instruments of death. Most truck drivers take their jobs seriously and operate sober and in compliance with hours of service (HOS) laws, but some recklessly disregard the law, risking the lives of everyone else on the roads.
If you or a loved one has been seriously harmed in an Ohio truck accident, and you believe that the commercial driver was drowsy or using alcohol or drugs, it is important to get an attorney involved as soon as possible.
Drugged Truck Driving Accidents
While drunk driving has declined among commercial motorists, drug use remains prevalent. Some commercial drivers use stimulants such as crystal meth, cocaine and Adderall to fight fatigue. Others use narcotics like marijuana or oxycodone.
Whether a truck driver’s drug use is illegal or prescribed, he or she can be held liable when it causes an accident. If you believe that drug use factored into an Ohio truck accident, causing harm to you or a loved one, contact an experienced attorney to discuss your situation.
Negligent Truck Maintenance And Equipment Failures
Multiple parties have duties to make sure trucks are in proper working order: truck drivers, trucking companies, maintenance companies and more. There are state and federal regulations that dictate maintenance and upkeep requirements. These requirements are based on a variety of factors, including whether or not the truck is engaged in interstate commerce, as well as the number of miles it is driven each day.
Failure to properly maintain a commercial vehicle is a major cause of truck accidents, and one that our attorneys at Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima always take into consideration when they investigate these claims. Our Cincinnati attorneys leave no stone unturned when it comes to getting you fair compensation.
Holding The Negligent Parties Accountable
Victims of truck accidents rarely know whether maintenance was an issue. Perhaps you have reason to believe that a defective truck or trucking part played a role, but it is important that we bring our more than 30 years of practice into play to find out exactly what went wrong.
Failure to replace tires when the tread has worn thin can result in truck tire blowouts. Failure to change brakes that are worn out can result in rear-end collisions. Failure to replace or clean lights and reflectors could cause another motor vehicle to hit a tractor-trailer. We will take care to determine whether one of these was an issue in your accident. We will find out who was responsible for the negligent truck maintenance and equipment failure.
While a variety of parties could be to blame, truck drivers are required to conduct an investigation before every run. They must clean off lights and reflectors. They must check tires, brakes and other parts. If they failed to do so, we will see that they pay.
Have You Lost A Loved One In A Semi-Truck Crash?
Be aware that trucking companies typically get their investigators and their attorneys on the case within hours of a fatal accident. While this is an emotional and difficult time for you and your family, it is important that you retain your own attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your right to collect compensation is protected.
The Cincinnati fatal truck accident lawyers at Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima have been handling these cases for more than three decades. We understand what you are going through and will do everything we can to allow you to focus on being with your family in your time of grief. Our job is to see that those who caused the loss of your loved one are held accountable. The millions of dollars we have recovered for people like you are proof that we are good at our job.
In these cases, the highway patrol is brought in to conduct a far more detailed investigation than that which would take place in a nonfatal truck accident. However, an experienced lawyer knows that even though the highway patrol may bring to light important details that will play a role in the wrongful death claim, deeper digging must be done.
We look for patterns of negligence on the part of the trucking company, the background of the truck driver and more. Over the years, we have gained access to top experts who can help us understand technical aspects of what happened. You can be confident that we will cut no corners when it comes to building a legal strategy designed to get justice in your case.
Ohio Pedestrian Killed By Large Truck
Take a recent fatal Ohio truck accident involving a pedestrian victim as an example. WHIO-TV reported that a semi truck traveling south on Interstate 75 between I-675 and State Route 725 hit a 45-year-old woman who was crossing the highway on foot at approximately 2 a.m.
The TV station quoted Sgt. John Chesser of the Ohio State Highway Patrol that excessive speed apparently played no role in the fatal crash. Troopers told WHIO that there appeared to be nothing the truck driver could have done to avoid hitting the woman, who had apparently abandoned her car a short distance away.
Examining The Causes Of A Deadly Ohio Truck/Pedestrian Accident
After a motor vehicle crash, police officers usually fill out an accident report to record details from the scene of the wreck as well as witness accounts. The accident report provides basic information that can be used to determine which driver or drivers were at fault. Law enforcement officers, however, do not have the resources or time to conduct an intensive investigation.
Personal injury lawyers who understand crash investigation and accident reconstruction are often able to uncover critical pieces of evidence pertaining to the liability and damages resulting from a crash.
Factors To Investigate In Fatal Truck Crashes
There are a number of factors that should be investigated before concluding that there was no negligence or wrongdoing on the part of the truck driver:
- Were the truck’s headlights in working order? Were they on?
- Was the driver distracted at the time of the deadly crash or immediately before it? (A check of cellphone records could help determine this.)
- Did the driver receive the mandatory amount of rest before the shift he was on at the time of the deadly crash? (Checking the driver’s log could help determine this.)
- Were the 18-wheeler’s brakes in working condition? Were they applied?
- What, if any, evasive action was taken by the driver? Was the truck properly loaded, allowing the driver to properly brake and conduct evasive actions?
- Were the emergency lights flashing on the woman’s vehicle? Did the truck driver notice them?
Who Can Be Held Responsible?
Who is responsible for a truck tire blowout accident? That is what our investigation is designed to reveal. Perhaps the driver failed to conduct the required inspection of the tires before taking the truck on the road. Perhaps the trucking company failed to change the truck tires properly. It is even possible that the truck tires used were defective. Our attorneys have the experience to handle defective truck tire cases and all other tire blowout claims.
When we prepare truck tire blowout cases, we may need to bring highly technical evidence into play. Our resources include a network of experts on the subject matter who are frequently involved in the personal injury cases we handle. The bottom line is that we will get everything we need to make your case successful in negotiation or trial.
Fighting For Clients
When determining whether negligence took place, our attorneys look at the trucking company’s hiring practices. If we determine that faulty hiring practices led to truck drivers being hired who had records of accidents and safety violations, we will make sure the employer pays for putting a dangerous driver on the road.
Our investigation also will include a review of the semi truck’s electronic control module, referred to as the black box. This records information about speed, braking and number of hours of operation. It can tell a lot about not only the truck driver but also the habits of the trucking company. We encourage you to move quickly, because the trucking company may tamper with or destroy the black box if a claim is not filed soon.
It’s easy enough for law enforcement to test a trucker for blood alcohol content and the presence of prescription or illegal drugs in his system. But determining liability in crashes is not always as simple as assessing whether a driver was intoxicated.
In many cases, families of survivors have strong reason to believe a police accident report doesn’t add up or give a full accounting of what happened to their loved one. In these situations, people typically contact a personal injury attorney experienced in accident investigation and wrongful death litigation. An Ohio personal injury lawyer can assess the facts of the case, determine if further investigation is warranted, and help survivors pursue compensation for their tragic loss.
Talk To An Attorney Now
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, tell us about it. Contact us for a consultation by calling 513-496-0134. With offices in Lebanon, West Chester and downtown Cincinnati, our law firm serves clients throughout southwest Ohio.