West Virginia is a beautiful state. But unfortunately, many of the same factors that make our state lovely, such as the mountains and the winding roads, also make West Virginia a dangerous place for truck accidents. In fact, the Mountain State is among the most dangerous places in the United States for truck accidents.
Large commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) caused 52 deaths in West Virginia in the most recent year for which statistics are available, according to the U.S. government’s Fatality Accident Reporting System. Our fatality rate per 100 million total vehicle miles traveled is one of the highest in the nation, at 0.27. The U.S. average is 0.16.
Truck Accidents Are Among the Most Dangerous Vehicle Accidents Possible
Large trucks often have to negotiate narrow mountain roads in West Virginia – or smaller country roads that may be difficult to brake and maneuver in. As a result, there are far more truck accidents in West Virginia than in many states. Types of truck accidents that that involve passersby, such as rollovers and jackknifes, are often caused by difficulty turning on roads.
That means West Virginians stand more chance of being hurt or killed in a large truck accident. CMV accidents are already among the most dangerous kinds of crashes on the road, simply because commercial trucks are much larger than most vehicles on the road. A truck can weight 80,000 pounds or more. Cars can weight as little as 3,000 pounds.
As a result, West Virginians might be facing mounting doctor’s bills from injuries caused by a truck accident. West Virginia families might be mourning the tragic death of a loved one due to a truck accident.
What Can I Do If I’m Hurt in a Truck Accident?
If a truck accident was caused by negligence, you don’t have to face doctor’s bills or an empty loved one’s chair alone. Negligence means that an ordinary duty of care, such as safe driving or adequate truck maintenance, was ignored. If a truck driver’s actions or poor truck maintenance was to blame for the accident, it’s negligence, and the responsible person or organization is financially responsible for the injuries caused.
Getting financial compensation for injured suffered in a truck accident from the at-fault party can be challenging, though. Why? Why don’t they just pay injured people fairly? There are several reasons.
First, insurance companies try to protect their profits, frankly. They use strategies designed to deny claims or pay less than the claims are worth. They may even make contacting them difficult – close to impossible.
Second, it is not always easy to find out who or what was responsible for a truck accident in West Virginia. Truck accidents can stem from the actions of many different parties along the way. Truck drivers or maintenance and repair companies can be at fault.
But so can contractors responsible for an overloaded truck or improperly secured cargo. Truck accidents can be caused by faulty manufacturing or faulty components as well.
In short, the responsible parties can be one or several of the following:
- The driver
- The company, for inadequate maintenance, inspection, repair, and training
- Subcontractors, for inadequate maintenance, inspection, and repair
- Subcontractors, for improperly loading
- Subcontractors, for improper securing of cargo
- Truck or component manufacturers
Investigations are often needed to determine fault. Until the investigation is needed, injured people don’t know who is liable for their injuries.
Third, it’s not uncommon for each responsible party to have separate insurance companies. Getting claims approved can be difficult for that reason alone.
How an Attorney Can Help
Experienced truck accident attorneys can help suffering victims whose loved ones have been in a truck accident. They know how to negotiate with insurance companies to receive as much compensation for injured people as possible. They know how to make insurance companies deal with victims, and not ignore them.
They are also seasoned in dealing with the aftermath of truck accidents, such as combing through the records of the investigations. Attorneys can also work with their own investigative team to help victims of truck accidents.
Finally, an attorney can take insurance companies and responsible parties to court to make sure that you receive justice. You can be compensated via a personal injury suit if injured or through a wrongful death suit if a truck accident killed your loved one.
When You Need to Talk to a West Virginia Truck Accident Lawyer
If you suffered injuries or a loved one died in a large commercial truck crash, experienced West Virginia at Johnstone & Gabhart, LLP can help you fight for justice by obtaining compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our first consultation is always free.
Contact us today. If your injuries make it hard to come to our office, we can come to you.