Truck Accidents. Cleveland Truck Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one is facing serious injuries due to a truck accident caused by a driver’s negligence, don’t fight these large trucking companies alone. The Mellino Law Firm has almost 40 years of experience in personal injury cases. Our Cleveland personal injury attorneys handle all types of semi-truck and tractor-trailer accidents. We handle complex truck accident cases so the victims can receive justice and compensation for their injuries.
How Common Are Truck Accidents?
Truck accidents are surprisingly common in the United States. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were around 101,000 large truck accidents that resulted in injuries in 2020 (these are the most recent statistics).
Additional statistics from FMCSA reveal that:
- 4,998 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes
- 62% of fatal large truck crashes involved two vehicles
- One truck driver-related factor was recorded in 32% of fatal crashes
- These factors include speeding, fatigue, alcohol, illness
Truck Accidents in Cleveland, Ohio
In Cuyahoga County alone there were 12,603 commercial crashes so far in 2023.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol breaks down how many crashes there were each month:
- January 2023: 1,368
- February 2023: 1,052
- March 2023: 1,355
- April 2023: 1,237
- May 2023: 1,392
- June 2023: 1,156
- July 2023: 1,176
- August 2023: 1,341
- September 2023: 1,184
- October 2023: 1,247
The average number of commercial crashes is around 1,250 crashes each month.
Injuries & Compensation in Truck Accident Cases
Due to the size of semi-trucks and tractor-trailers, accidents involving these types of vehicles often result in severe injury and major property damage. In many cases, truck accidents are fatal. As a result, the impact of truck accidents is often extensive. Injured victims face expensive medical bills, not to mention the emotional and physical suffering that accompanies life-altering injuries.
Injuries sustained in truck accidents tend to be severe and often include:
- Broken bones
- Accidental amputation
- Internal organ damage
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe burns
Recovering from these severe injuries takes time, money, and extensive medical attention. In many cases, injured victims are unable to return to work for weeks, months, or even years. Or they may be unable to return to work at all, depending on the severity of their injuries. This can place a financial burden on families who have to deal with the aftermath of a truck accident.
While a truck accident claim cannot undo the pain and suffering you and your family have endured, it can allow you to recover compensation for medical bills and other damages you have suffered as a result of the accident.
While every case is different, many victims of truck accidents can recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses, including both current and future medical bills
- Ongoing medical care, such as physical rehabilitation therapy
- Lost income/wages and lost or reduced earning ability
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress, PTSD, etc.
- Loss of enjoyment/lost or reduced quality of life
If your family member or loved one was killed in a truck accident, you may be able to recover compensation for medical bills before death, funeral costs, loss of companionship, emotional distress, and other damages. In cases of severe negligence, victims may be able to recover punitive damages, which are meant to punish the party at fault.
Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident in Cleveland?
The process of proving fault is complicated in truck accident cases. Why? Because liability can be spread out across multiple parties. In many cases, not only can the truck driver be held at fault, but so can the company that employs them, the company that’s leasing the trailer they’re hauling, and the company that loaded the trailer.
The truck manufacturer, parts manufacturer, or even the maintenance team may also have some responsibility, along with the jurisdiction responsible for maintaining the roadway where the accident happened. State, local, and federal laws all can come into play, including laws that govern the safety rules and regulations a truck company and driver must follow to even travel on the roadways.
When a truck accident occurs, the finger-pointing begins, and suddenly, what may have seemed like a fairly straightforward case becomes a tangled mess that needs to be carefully dissected to determine who’s at fault and how much “blame” each party is liable for.
Each party has a lot at stake, and that means you may suddenly find yourself dealing with multiple parties and multiple insurance companies. Every insurance company has a team of experienced attorneys who are ready to defend their interests and attempt to shift blame elsewhere. This is why you should have your own legal representation.
How to Determine Who is at Fault for a Commercial Trucking Accident
To determine who is at fault in a commercial truck accident, you need to gather as much information as you can. That may mean gathering police reports, firsthand witness accounts, driver and passenger interviews, expert witness testimony, and other information. It can also mean a lot of behind-the-scenes investigation of the parties involved, including determining whether the driver or other parties have had prior accidents or violations.
Current trucking regulations need to be reviewed to ensure the driver and vehicle were in compliance at the time of the accident, and the local laws also need a careful and thorough evaluation.
Some of the most common regulations that truck drivers violate include:
- Driving more than 11 hours per day
- Working more than 14 hours per day (including driving and non-driving job responsibilities)
- Not taking at least 10 hours off after each shift
- Not properly documenting hours and mileage in a log book
Trucking regulations are governed by the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Truck drivers frequently violate DOT regulations, generally because they’re paid by the miles they drive. When they fail to follow regulations, they can quickly become fatigued, which dulls their senses, reaction time, and driving ability, resulting in dangerous consequences.
Protecting Your Rights After a Truck Accident
Establishing fault requires gathering a lot of information. This means you need an experienced lawyer who understands how complex these cases are and has the resources needed to form a strong case.
After all, the driver, trucking company, and all the other parties that may be involved have expert legal teams working on their behalf. It just makes sense for you to take the same precautions to ensure your rights are protected, especially considering the injuries that occur in a truck accident are likely to be severe.
Proving that a driver or trucking company was at fault in your accident can be difficult, so having as much information as possible to support your claim is key to a successful personal injury lawsuit.
Our Cleveland truck accident attorneys can help you by:
- Collecting evidence such as trucking company documents, logbooks, safety reports, police reports, medical records, photos, and video.
- Sending a spoliation letter to the trucking company to prevent evidence from being destroyed.
- Comparing the driver’s logbook with other types of evidence collected at the scene.
- Working with expert witnesses who are trained in recreating commercial truck accidents to determine the cause of the crash.
- Police investigators, doctors, and truckers from other companies may also provide useful information
We work with the responsible parties to attempt to settle cases out of court with terms that favor our clients and support their rights. If we wind up going to court, we provide our clients with the best legal support available. We take pride in presenting a strong, clear case that supports their best interests for the best possible outcomes.
Contact our Cleveland Truck Accident Attorneys
At The Mellino Law Firm, we have almost 40 years of experience helping Cleveland-area residents protect their rights following a truck accident. Our legal team is skilled in developing strong cases using an array of techniques to “cover all the bases” and determine who’s really at fault, and how much “blame” or liability each party is responsible for. Call The Mellino Law Firm at (440)333-3800 and schedule a free initial consultation.
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What our clients say. I found everybody there to be extremely professional and very caring and very friendly, and I was particularly impressed by the expertise of Chris Mellino. He did excellent work and was entirely realistic about our chances. I saw him interacting with the lawyers on the other side, who were definitely not pushovers, and I was very impressed by the way he conducted himself.Lisa L.