Truck Accidents Attorney in Jackson, Kentucky
There were nearly 5,000 crashes involving commercial vehicles on Kentucky roadways in 2020. When those commercial vehicles weigh up to 80,000 pounds, someone is likely to be injured or killed.
If you have been in an accident involving a semi-truck and sustained injuries, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney. If someone close to you has been injured or killed, you should act on their behalf to seek compensation. Trucking companies will have attorneys working for them — you should have one working for you.
For more than 20 years, I have represented clients and their families in Jackson, Kentucky and surrounding communities of Stanton, Campton, West Liberty, Beattyville, and Booneville in personal injury and wrongful death claims arising from 18-wheeler accidents. At the Law Office of Patrick E. O’Neill, PSC, I am ready to represent you.
Laws Pertaining to Semi-Trucks
There are state and federal laws and regulations that apply specifically to semi-trucks. That’s because they are so large, so heavy, and so prevalent on the road that they need to meet a higher standard of safety and performance than regular vehicles.
The U.S. Department of Transportation requires registration of all semi-trucks and requires drivers to hold a valid commercial driver’s license and medical certificate. It also requires drivers and trucking companies to fully comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). FMCSR requires compliance with rules involving driver training and performance, vehicle inspections and maintenance, and more. The regulations are extremely detailed and highly specific and there is no avoiding them.
The Kentucky State Police has a Division of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement that oversees compliance with state and federal laws and regulations, including the FMCSR. Kentucky law also establishes a time limit for personal injury and wrongful death claims. A personal injury claim must be settled or a lawsuit filed within two years of the date of the crash. A wrongful death claim must be filed within one year of the appointment of the personal representative of the decedent’s estate.
Potentially Liable Parties
The driver of the semi-truck is not the only party that can be held liable for the crash. Others may bear fault as well, including the trucking company that employs the driver. Since the driver was working for the company, the company’s liability insurance policy will pay for damages if the driver or the company was at fault.
The driver might have been tired, distracted, driving too fast, careless, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or failed to inspect the truck and trailer as required by FMSCR. Their employer might be at fault for failing to train the driver properly, allowing them too many hours on the road, or failing to assess the driver’s performance.
Others who may be held liable include those responsible for maintaining the truck and trailer. If a failed part contributed to the crash, the manufacturer of the truck, trailer, or a part may be at fault. If shifting weight contributed to it, the individuals who loaded the cargo may be at fault.
Some of the fault may also be assigned to the driver of the passenger vehicle. As long as you are less than 50% at fault, you can still pursue a claim.
Road and weather conditions can play a role in liability. Perhaps the truck was driving the speed limit but that was too fast for weather conditions that resulted in a wet or slick roadway. A poorly maintained or hazardous roadway or one lacking warning about dangerous conditions could also be at fault.
How to File a Claim
Whether you are filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim, you should consult with an attorney. Trucking company liability policies have high limits, which means a significant amount of money is at stake. Their insurance companies will have attorneys working for them to deny or lower the value of any claim made against the policy.
An attorney can investigate the circumstances of the crash fully, gather documents (including your medical records and other evidence), negotiate with the insurance company and if necessary, present your case to a judge and jury. Your attorney will also seek to hold all of the responsible parties accountable for your injuries.
If your family member was incapacitated in the truck accident, a person with their power of attorney can pursue a personal injury claim on their behalf. If there is no power of attorney, the court can appoint a conservator to file a claim.
If your loved one was killed, the personal representative of their estate may file a wrongful death action. If there is no personal representative, the court will appoint one. Any settlement will become part of the decedent’s estate and benefit its heirs.
Truck Accidents Attorney
Serving Jackson, Kentucky
I understand what you are facing after a truck accident. I have represented other clients and their families seeking justice in Jackson, Kentucky, Campton, Stanton, West Liberty, Boonville, and Beattyville. I am ready to help you too. Call me at the Law Office of Patrick E. O’Neill, PSC to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and get started.