Have you or a loved one been injured in a crash with a commercial truck, like a semi or tractor-trailer?
The Cleveland truck accident lawyers at our firm know how devastating these accidents often are. We are ready to help you seek justice and compensation. For more than 45 years, the licensed attorneys at our firm have been helping crash victims with their legal claims. We have secured millions for our clients and are prepared to help you during this difficult time.
There is no financial risk with our services as there are no upfront fees. We are not paid unless our clients are compensated. The initial consultation is also free.
Free Consultation. No Upfront Fees. Call today 216-621-0070.
How Friedman, Domiano & Smith Helps Truck Crash Victims
If we find you have a valid claim for compensation, we are prepared to handle every step of the legal process on your behalf. We are committed to your best interests throughout the process, unlike the insurance company that is only focused on limiting its financial liability.
We have the resources and legal knowledge to thoroughly investigate the crash, your injuries, insurance policies that apply to the crash and other aspects of your case, such as:
- The truck driver’s qualifications – was the person inexperienced or lacking the proper license or other credentials
- Maintenance logs for the truck to see if negligent maintenance contributed to the crash
- The truck driver’s background – Has he or she been ticketed in the past or failed drug or alcohol tests?
- Your damages, including past and future medical bills, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, etc.
Did you know research has shown those who hire experienced attorneys to represent them often recover more compensation than those who do not?
There are various reasons for this. For example, if you hire an attorney who is prepared to go to court and regularly does go to court, the insurance company may be more likely to negotiate in good faith. Insurers often make lowball offers to victims because they know the victim will not file a lawsuit on his or her own.
Insurance companies often do not want to risk going to court and having a jury award significant compensation to the victim.
Insurers know victims are vulnerable and in need of money to pay their medical bills. They would prefer victims not hire attorneys because insurers are often able to get crash victims to accept a settlement that is far below what the case is worth.
At Friedman, Domiano & Smith, we know how difficult a truck crash injury can be for the victim and his or her loved ones. We are committed to helping you with the many legal issues that may come up:
- Death benefits if your loved one passed away in the crash
- Immediate financial needs for your family
- Probate and estate issues
- Minimizing the tax burdens of a settlement
We are here to help with your claim. Call to learn more: 216-621-0070
How do Trucking Accidents Differ From Car Accidents?
Trucking accidents are different from car accidents in a variety ways. People believe that trucks act like cars and they don’t. Trucks don’t have the ability to stop, maneuver, or see like an automobile.
There are three times as many truck accidents in the U.S. as there are automobile accidents in proportion to the amount of trucking traffic to car traffic. They are usually catastrophic. I rarely find a trucking accident that does not cause serious injury.
Can You Seek Compensation for Your Damages?
This is the question our attorneys consider when meeting with truck crash victims. If you were injured in a crash with a commercial truck and have reason to believe it was the driver’s fault, you may have a case.
However, there are many factors that must be considered as to whether you have a valid claim. That is why it is vital to call an attorney as soon as possible to discuss legal options. There is limited time to file a claim and if you do have a case, it is best that your attorney is able to get to work on it as quickly as possible. Evidence can quickly get lost or damaged and victims and witnesses can forget important details over time.
Some of the other factors we may need to consider include:
- Your diagnosis
- Treatment you are receiving
- Severity of your injuries
- The type of crash you were involved in
- Damage to your vehicle
- Evidence you may have collected from the scene, including pictures, video footage or statements from witnesses
Our Cleveland truck accident lawyers need to determine if your crash resulted from negligence. This is a legal concept that is the central issue in most personal injury cases. Victims must prove another party breached a duty of care and this directly resulted in your injuries and damages. Another way to think about negligence is that another party failed to take reasonable steps to prevent a crash.
Will I Need to Go to Court to Recover Compensation?
We know injury victims are often concerned they will need to go to court if they hire a lawyer. While there are cases that make it to court, many do not. Most personal injury claims are settled. In fact, even if a lawsuit is filed, the case may still settle. Sometimes the filing of a lawsuit motivates the insurance company to offer more compensation and resolve the claim.
If you hire our firm and we need to go to court to pursue full compensation, you can rest assured we can manage the legal process on your behalf. We keep our clients informed and are available to answer questions.
Our attorneys are focused on your best interests throughout the legal process. We will only recommend filing a lawsuit if we think it is in your best interests, based on the details of your claim.
Damages for Truck Crash Victims
Truck crash victims often have significant medical expenses, as they often need extensive and/or long-term treatment. This can include:
- Prescription medications for pain and other symptoms
- Medical equipment (cane, crutches, wheelchair, etc.)
- Medical testing (X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, blood work, etc.)
- Physical therapy
- Appointments with doctors
- Travel to appointments
However, we understand how devastating a truck crash injury can be to other aspects of your life. While we are committed to pursuing compensation for your past and future medical bills, we also want you to have compensation for the physical and psychological damages caused by your injuries.
We know how to assign a value to the pain and suffering, emotional distress and mental anguish that crash victims may suffer. Injuries can also lead to lost enjoyment of life and loss of companionship.
Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity
Often, victims of serious collisions are unable to work in the same capacity as before, and some will never be able to work again. Our Cleveland truck accident lawyers not only pursue lost wages, but also loss of earning capacity because of your injuries.
We know how to put a value of lost earning capacity, considering numerous factors, such as the victim’s:
- Employment history
If your loved one was killed in a crash with a commercial truck, we are prepared to file a wrongful death lawsuit to pursue compensation for:
- Funeral expenses
- Burial expenses
- Loss inheritance
- Lost income
- Lost benefits
It may also be possible to pursue a survival action to recover damages suffered by your loved after the accident but before death, such as:
- Final medical bills
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
At Friedman, Domiano & Smith, we have a proven track record of helping crash victims recover compensation to help them move forward after an accident.
Free Consultation. Millions Recovered. Call 216-621-0070.
What is a Truck Accident Claim Worth?
The answer to this question depends on the damages suffered and various other factors. It is important to note commercial trucks typically have insurance policies that max out at hundreds of thousands of dollars.
For example, under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, commercial vehicles that weigh less than 10,001 pounds and are moving non-hazardous cargo must have a minimum of $300,000 in coverage. Some commercial trucks have policies that max out at $750,000 or even more than $1 million. For example, trucks carrying hazardous materials must have a minimum of $5 million in coverage.
What this means for you is the insurance policy on the truck that crashed into your car may have more than enough to cover your damages. There may also be various insurance policies that apply to one crash.
Why Liability for a Trucking Accident is Complex
Many motor vehicle accident claims place liability on one of the drivers involved in a crash. Truck drivers are often liable for a crash because he or she acted negligently behind the wheel. Examples of truck driver negligence that often leads to a crash include:
- Distracted driving
- Falling asleep behind the wheel or driving while drowsy
- Impaired driving
- Failing to check blind spots before changing lanes
- Speeding, particularly in poor weather or low visibility conditions
- Violating another driver’s right of way
- Tailgating another vehicle
- Doing a poor job maintaining the truck so it is safe to drive
- Failing to stay in a lane
However, commercial truck accident cases are often complicated because other parties besides the driver may be at fault. Sometimes the truck driver shares fault for the crash with a trucking company. Product manufacturers may also be at fault if a defective part of the truck contributed to the crash.
Another factor to consider is who owns the truck. Sometimes the driver is an owner-operator, which means he or she owns the truck. In that situation, the driver may bear all the fault for the crash. If the driver leases the truck to a trucking company, the trucking company may be partially at fault.
Sometimes the companies that repair or maintain a commercial truck bear liability for the crash. They may have been negligent in performing repairs. They may have failed to fix something or ignored a problem they should have seen and fixed. For example, some crashes are caused by failing brakes and the maintenance company may have failed to repair or replace the brakes.
Sometimes cargo-loading companies bear fault for a crash if they were negligent in loading and securing the cargo in the trailer. Some truck crashes involve cargo falling out of the trailer and hitting another vehicle or causing a crash.
Special hazards like highway construction or poorly maintained roads may also be a factor in a car accident. In these situations, the entity responsible for maintaining the road may bear fault for the crash.
Regulations on Trucks and Trucking Companies
There are federal and state regulations on the commercial trucking industry that are meant to prevent accidents. When driver or trucking companies violate these rules and a crash happens, the victim likely has a strong case for compensation.
Regulations cover a variety of issues with drivers and commercial trucks and trailers, including:
Limitations on Drivers
Drivers must have a commercial driver’s license, otherwise they are not permitted to drive a commercial truck. They are also limited in the amount of time spent behind the wheel. For example, the FMCSA says drivers can drive a maximum of 11 hours after being off duty for 10 consecutive hours. Drivers are also required to take a 30-minute break after driving for eight hours without taking such a break.
There are various weight limits on trucks meant to ensure trucks are safe to operate. Trucks cannot have more than 20,000 pounds on a single axle, 34,000 pounds on a tandem axle and 80,000 pounds in gross vehicle weight.
Drug and Alcohol Testing
This includes testing after crashes, before starting to drive a commercial truck and random testing. Our Cleveland truck accident attorneys know how to obtain drug testing records to determine if there was a violation of the rules.
Some crashes are a result of failing to secure cargo. Sometimes drivers or those who load the trailer fail to take the proper steps to secure cargo and prevent it from moving around when the truck is in motion. There are various regulations on the use of things like:
- Shoring bars
- Dunnage bags
- And more
How Much Time do I Have to File a Claim for Compensation?
Ohio gives crash victims two years from the date of a crash to file a lawsuit to seek compensation. If you do not file a lawsuit before those two years pass, your case is likely to be dismissed in court.
You should contact a lawyer right away so he or she can help you file an insurance claim soon after the crash. This helps link your injury to the crash and makes it harder for the insurance company to claim your injury was caused by something else.
Most cases are resolved through an insurance settlement. However, you never know when filing a lawsuit may be necessary. It also takes time to prepare a lawsuit. Sometimes insurance companies try to drag the process out so there is less time to file a lawsuit.
Steps to Take After a Truck Crash
There are several steps truck crash victims should take for their own health and safety and to help preserve their claim for compensation.
Not only will this send first responders to the scene to provide treatment to you and others injured in the crash, but the police can also divert traffic and secure the accident scene. The responding police officer will also write up a report on the crash that can be a vital piece of evidence in an insurance claim.
Get Treatment for Your Injuries
Your top priority after a crash is to get checked out for injuries. Waiting to seek treatment is dangerous, as your injuries could get much worse and potentially become life-threatening or permanent. Waiting to seek treatment also hurts your claim for compensation. Insurance companies are looking for a reason to deny or underpay your claim. Waiting to seek treatment gives them a reason to say your injuries were caused by something besides the crash.
This is often not possible, as victims are too badly injured to move around or are unconscious. However, if it is possible and the victim will not be putting himself or herself in danger, gathering evidence can be very helpful. This includes:
- Pictures of the damaged vehicles
- Visible injuries
- The side of the trailer and other identifying features of the truck
- Insurance information
- Contact information of witnesses
- Landmarks that help show where the crash happened
Call a Lawyer to Discuss Legal Options
Liable insurance companies often try to contact victims soon after a crash to make a lowball settlement offer. They know victims are vulnerable and in need of compensation for medical expenses and other damages. Insurance companies often mislead victims into thinking they need to accept the offer because if they do not, they may not get anything.
It is vital to discuss the situation with an experienced lawyer. At Friedman, Domiano & Smith, we are committed to your best interests. We can discuss your options and review any settlement offers you have received.
Different Types of Commercial Truck Crashes
Our Cleveland truck accident attorneys are prepared to help victims of a variety of commercial truck crashes, such as:
- Brake failure crashes
- Falling cargo crashes
- Blown tire crashes
- Blind-spot accidents
- Wide-turn crashes
- And more
If you were injured in a crash with an 18-wheeler, garbage truck, delivery truck or another type of commercial truck, our attorneys are available to discuss legal options.
Contact an Experienced Cleveland Truck Accident Attorney
The attorneys at Friedman, Domiano & Smith work with victims of commercial truck crashes. We know those injured in these types of crashes are often not fully aware of their rights.
We have been advocating for crash victims for decades and have a proven track record of securing compensation. We take cases on contingency, which means there are no upfront fees. This helps level the playing field, as victims are taking on large trucking and insurance companies that are ready to throw a lot of money at a case to avoid paying fair compensation.
We are prepared to manage the case on your behalf, working to hold negligent parties accountable for the damages you have suffered.
Our firm is located at 55 Public Square #1055 in Cleveland, one block away from the Justice Center.
Schedule an initial consultation today to learn more. Call us at 216-621-0070.