The dedicated Morgantown truck accident lawyers at Robinette Legal Group, PLLC understand there’s no question that truck accidents are scary and overwhelming. It’s even more devastating when you suffer a severe injury due to the accident. If you or a loved one have been injured in a semi-truck accident in West Virginia, call Robinette Legal Group, PLLC today. Our goal is to give you as much information as possible so you know exactly when to call a lawyer and what to do to make sure you get the help you need and deserve.
Why Choose Robinette Legal Group, PLLC as Your Morgantown Truck Accident Lawyers?
Robinette Legal Group, PLLC has significant experience helping victims of serious motor vehicle accidents. Over the years, we have helped recover millions of dollars for our clients. Founding attorney Jeff Robinette started his career representing insurance companies and defending against personal injury lawsuits. Now, he uses the knowledge gained from those experiences to fight for justice and victory for you.
This unique perspective gives us the ability to anticipate the strategies the insurance companies will use against our clients that have been injured in accidents with semi-trucks.
How Can a Morgantown Truck Accident Attorney Help You?
Many people are so overwhelmed after a serious auto or truck accident that they don’t even know where to begin. An experienced Morgantown truck accident attorney can help you from start to finish. If you’ve never had to deal with a lawsuit like this before, you may not even be aware of all the issues that a lawyer will handle for you.
A semi-truck accident lawyer will discuss the accident with you and determine all of the information they need to collect to help you properly. They may interview other witnesses involved in the accident, review your medical records, and help determine what kind of compensation you might be entitled to. They can even connect you with necessary medical services if needed.
Additionally, they can find expert witnesses, such as trial-savvy doctors who can testify properly about the extent of your injuries and your prognosis for recovery. This information from the witnesses will be very important to the court when determining how much compensation you are entitled to.
Liability in a Truck Accident that Occurred in Morgantown West Virginia – Who Will Pay?
Obtaining a monetary recovery after a truck accident in Morgantown takes proving liability. Liability is the legal term for the responsibility of paying for an accident, usually through insurance coverage. Proving liability will make an injured victim eligible for financial benefits from the at-fault party’s insurance provider. In general, proving liability means proving negligence.
Negligence consists of four elements that must be proven as more likely to be true than not true:
- A duty of care was owed. A duty of care is a responsibility to act in a way that is reasonable based on the circumstances.
- A duty of care was breached. The truck company, trucker, or another party failed to meet the required duty of care due to a careless or reckless act or omission.
- The breach of duty caused the accident. The truck accident would not have happened but for the defendant’s breach of duty.
- The victim suffered losses. Compensable losses were suffered in the truck accident, such as physical injuries, lost wages, and emotional distress.
The defendant in a Morgantown truck accident lawsuit could be the truck company, truck driver, truck owner/operator, cargo company, truck manufacturer, or a combination of parties. The liable party is most often the truck company, however, for its own negligence or from vicarious liability for the actions of its employees.
Vicarious liability means that an employer is responsible for the actions of its employees. If the truck driver was an on-duty employee of a truck company at the time of his or her negligence, the company may be vicariously liable. Federal law holds that even if a truck driver is an independent contractor, the truck company may bear vicarious liability for the driver’s actions.
What Federal Laws are Truck Companies Required to Follow While Driving Through Morgantown, West Virginia?
Unlike normal drivers, commercial truck drivers have a responsibility to obey federal trucking industry laws. The organization that is in charge of enforcing these laws is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Truck drivers and trucking companies must obey these laws and adhere to any statewide traffic laws.
The following are examples of federal trucking laws:
- Required truck driver qualifications
- Hiring and training procedures
- Driver hours-of-service restrictions
- Cargo loading, balancing, and securement rules
- Hazardous materials rules
- Truck weight, height, and length restrictions
- Truck inspection and maintenance requirements
- Truck equipment requirements
- Rules for driver drug and alcohol testing
If a trucking company violates any federal laws, it may be liable for a resultant truck accident. Unfortunately, many truck companies break the rules in an attempt to save time or money. A truck accident lawyer can investigate the company for a history of federal law violations. If the company is found to have broken any federal trucking laws, this may serve as evidence that the company is liable for your crash.
How to Deal With Insurance Claims Adjusters after a Truck Accident
One of the most difficult aspects of your truck accident case is going up against an insurance claims adjuster. A claims adjuster is a professional hired by the truck company’s insurance provider to handle your claim. The most important thing to know is that the claims adjuster is not on your side. Even if the adjuster seems friendly and helpful, his or her goal is to minimize your financial recovery and save the insurance company money.
When speaking to the insurance claims adjuster, be careful what you say. Do not apologize for the truck accident or admit to any amount of fault. Do not give the insurance company permission to record a statement from you. When answering questions about the truck accident, keep your answers short and simple. Avoid long, narrative answers. If the insurance company accepts your claim and offers of settlement, do not accept it until you’ve spoken to an attorney. Initial settlement offers are often inadequate and do not represent the true value of the victim’s injuries.
Devaluing serious injury claims is a common tactic used by insurance providers in West Virginia. This is especially common in semi-truck accident lawsuits, which can cause catastrophic injuries that require lifelong medical care. If you hire an attorney to represent you during insurance claim negotiations, you can rest assured that someone is fighting for the amount of compensation that you deserve. Your lawyer can counter the insurance company’s tactics for a fair settlement – or else go up against the trucking company at trial.
Do All Morgantown Truck Accident Cases Have to Go to Court?
No, all truck accident cases do not go to court. Most truck accident lawsuits settle at the insurance stage with an agreement between the plaintiff, their truck accident lawyer, and the defendant’s insurance company. A settlement resolves the legal dispute for a certain amount of money. An injury claim may have to go to trial, however, if the insurance company wrongfully denies benefits or refuses to offer a reasonable settlement.
You will have better odds of achieving a satisfactory settlement if you hire a Morgantown truck accident attorney to negotiate your truck accident claim for you. Insurance companies respect attorneys and know that they have the power to go to trial. This motivates them to treat your claim fairly and evaluate your losses honestly. If your case does have to go to trial, an attorney will be able to represent you before a judge and jury.
Statute of Limitations for Trucking Accidents in West Virginia
For truck accidents and other auto accidents, West Virginia has a two-year statute of limitations. This means if you have a claim, you must file your lawsuit within two years of the date of the accident. If you miss the window to file your lawsuit, you won’t be entitled to any compensation.
An exception to the Statute of Limitations
Minors: If the victim was under the age of 18 at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations generally doesn’t begin until the victim turns 18. For example, if a 15-year-old was injured in a truck accident, they will have two years from the date of their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit.
Compensation Available in West Virginia Truck Accident Cases
If you are the victim of a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for economic damages, such as lost wages and medical expenses. You may also be able to collect damages for pain and suffering. The value of your claim will depend on the extent of your losses. The losses for which you can seek compensation may include:
- Present and future medical expenses
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Disability costs and accommodations
- Lost wages and capacity to earn
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Physical pain and emotional distress
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Lost quality of life
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death damages
In West Virginia, there is no limit to the amount of non-economic damages (pain and suffering) a victim can collect in a truck or auto accident lawsuit. There is a limit on punitive damages, however. The court awards punitive damages as a way to punish the wrongdoer and deter them and others from engaging in activity that might cause another accident. The cap on punitive damages in West Virginia is $500,000. However, it’s uncommon for punitive damages to be awarded in this type of case.
Common Injuries Resulting from Truck Accidents
Bulging Disc – A bulging disc is different from a slipped disc or herniated disc. A slipped or herniated disc occurs when the soft inner part protrudes out of the middle of the disc. As for a bulging disc, only the tough outer layer is affected. If the bulging disc hasn’t reached the herniation stage, then you may experience very little pain or no pain at all. Since it’s hard to identify, it’s critical to receive a full medical examination immediately after a car crash.
Rotator Cuff Injury – Your shoulder is very complex and comprises tendons, cartilage, and ligaments which makes it susceptible to injury when subjected to unnatural forces which occur in car accidents.
Herniated Disc – One of the most painful spinal injuries caused by car crashes is a herniated disc.
Broken Bones – Bone fractures are one of the most common injuries collision victims suffer from truck accidents.
TBI – Brain Injury After a Truck Accident: To recover pain and suffering damages, you must be able to demonstrate to a jury the impact that your brain injury has had on your life.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Determining the cause of your truck accident is necessary before you can file an insurance claim in West Virginia. This is how the state’s fault-based system works. The party or driver at fault for the collision will have to pay for injuries and property damage through his or her insurance provider. The cause of your truck accident will most likely come down to truck driver or trucking company negligence. Being negligent means acting carelessly and causing harm or injury to others.
Some of the most common causes of truck accidents in Morgantown include:
- Texting and driving
- Truck driver distraction
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Reckless driving
- Tailgating or aggressive driving
- Unsafe truck operation
- Truck driver fatigue
- Hours-of-service violations
- Broken federal safety laws
- Unsafe driver hiring or training procedures
- Lack of truck maintenance or part breakdowns
- Inadequately secured cargo
Determining and proving the cause of your truck accident are tasks an experienced Morgantown truck accident lawyer can complete for you. If one or more parties had the power to prevent your collision but negligently failed to do so, they may be financially responsible for your related injuries and losses.
Most Common Types of Truck Accidents
The unique size, shape, and weight of a commercial truck can create collision types that are not found in other car accident cases. In many situations, the type of truck accident can point to fault. If the truck jackknifed and flipped over, for example, this is a sign that the truck driver did not use the correct braking technique downhill or around a corner. An attorney can study your type of accident for signs of fault and causation.
Common types of commercial truck accidents in Morgantown are:
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- Override and underride accidents
- Side-impact accidents
- Blind-spot accidents
- Wide-turn accidents
- Tire blowouts
- Lost loads
- Mechanical failure
- Inadequate maintenance
- Drowsy driving
- Delivery Truck accidents
- Commercial truck accidents
- Water truck accidents
- Logging trucks
These are all preventable types of semi-truck accidents. No matter what type of truck accident you were involved in, you may be eligible for financial compensation from the at-fault party. The type of collision can help you or your attorney determine fault. Then, your attorney can help you go up against the responsible party in pursuit of justice.
What Injuries Are Associated With Truck Accidents?
Commercial truck accidents are often catastrophic, meaning they inflict injuries that will stay with victims for the foreseeable future. Examples of catastrophic injuries are spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain damage. The vast size and weight of the average big rig mean that smaller passenger cars are often severely damaged, crushed, or completely obliterated in collisions. This can lead to serious and life-threatening injuries for vehicle occupants, such as:
- Back and spine injuries
- Bone fractures
- Contusions and bruising
- Crush injuries
- Organ damage and internal injuries
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Severe burns
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Wrongful death
Truck accident injuries often require trips to emergency rooms and intensive care units, along with expensive medical treatments such as surgeries or medically induced comas. The medical costs alone can climb into the hundreds of thousands of dollars over a victim’s lifetime. Even if you suffered a minor injury in a truck accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
How Much Will a Morgantown Truck Accident Lawyer Cost?
If you need a Morgantown truck accident lawyer, it’s crucial to find the best lawyer possible. You need someone who will have your back and help you get everything you deserve. Attorneys can be expensive, so finding one who works on a contingent fee basis can be really helpful. If you choose Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, you will end up with an experienced Morgantown personal injury law firm that won’t charge you any fees unless we win your case!
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in Morgantown, WV Today
Injury Client Review: “Attorney Robinette was very knowledgeable in his field of expertise. He represented himself in a professional manner, with honesty and dignity. I was always kept well informed and kept up to date on a regular basis. His staff was very courteous and knowledgeable and very patient.”
If you want someone in your corner who has the knowledge and compassion to fight hard and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve, the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC Morgantown truck accident lawyers are the ones you should call. Contact us at (304) 594-1800 or fill out our convenient online contact form.