Large trucks may cause significant damage if they have an accident. There might also be several liable parties to consider. If you have an accident with a truck in Columbus, MS, contact an experienced truck accident lawyer at Richard Schwartz & Associates to learn about your legal rights.
Representing Truck Accident Victims in Columbus, MS
The trucking industry is a crucial piece of the American economy, accounting for about 70% of all freight transported in the United States and $671 billion worth of manufactured and retail items carried by truck in the United States alone. This cargo includes food and medical supplies. So, there’s no question that we need semi-trucks on the road to transport products. But unfortunately, these trucks have more significant blind spots and take longer to stop than passenger cars.
There are approximately 7.65 million persons working in trucking-related occupations in the United States economy. Truck drivers must go through special education and licensing to help guarantee the safety of Columbus roadways. Although commercial truck drivers must follow federal rules, they might still cause accidents. When this happens, you need to know what to do. The Richard Schwartz & Associates Columbus, Mississippi, truck accident attorneys can help. Call for your FREE consultation today.
Truck Accident FAQs
Why Are Truck Accidents So Dangerous?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports roughly 510,000 police-reported crashes with large trucks in 2019. Of those crashes, 4,479 or 1 percent were fatal crashes. Additionally, 114,000 or 29 percent of large truck crashes in 2019 involved injuries.
Due to the massive size and weight of semi-trucks, they are dangerous when they collide with an automobile. During this type of collision, it’s likely for the victim in a commercial vehicle crash to sustain serious injuries like head trauma, spinal cord damage, amputations, and burns. In most situations, the injured party will have months, if not years, of rehabilitation ahead of them. This recovery includes time spent in the hospital, physical therapy, and necessary home care.
Truckers may continue to drive when tired or make poor judgments to arrive at their destination as soon as possible, and trucking firms may keep a closer eye on their revenue than they do on vehicle safety. When commercial truck accidents result in significant personal harm or wrongful death because of the carelessness or recklessness of truckers and the trucking industry, victims are entitled to compensation.
If you have an accident with a semi-truck that results in injuries, it is essential to call the experienced accident attorneys at Richard Schwartz & Associates Personal Injury Lawyers, P.A., right away.
What Should I Do After a Truck Accident in Columbus, MS?
If you were in a car accident with a commercial vehicle in Columbus, there are specific measures you should take to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
- Seek Medical Attention: Trucks can destroy passenger automobiles due to their size. If you’re in that vehicle, you risk serious injuries, including traumatic brain damage, bone fractures, and even death. Therefore, seeking medical attention is the most important thing following a collision.
- Call the Police: If you can, contact the authorities while you are on the scene. Someone else will likely call the cops as well. The official police report is substantial evidence that may make all of the difference in your truck accident case.
- Gather evidence: If you are not critically injured, gather as much relevant evidence as possible at the accident scene. Take photos of the accident site, including skid marks, property damage, and road conditions. Collect the offender’s vehicle registration information, driver identifying data, parent company information, license plate number, insurance carriers, and try to get witness statements.
- Don’t answer questions without legal representation: The commercial truck company or their insurance company will probably contact you after the accident. State that you don’t want to talk with them until your lawyer is present, even if you don’t have a truck accident lawyer yet. Anything you do or say could be negatively used against you. Make sure you don’t apologize for the accident or admit fault. It is always advisable to consult with an experienced truck accident attorney first.
- Call a Columbus truck accident lawyer at Richard Schwartz & Associates: Filing a personal injury claim following a significant truck accident is more time-consuming and complex than vehicle accident claims. To receive the compensation you deserve from insurance carriers, you need the assistance of an experienced legal team.
These are essential steps that will assist you with your truck accident claim. Because tractor-trailer accidents are frequently catastrophic, you may not be able to complete every part of the process yourself, and you certainly don’t want to fight insurance companies on your own. The Columbus truck accident lawyers at Richard Schwartz & Associates Injury Lawyers, P.A. are here to help. You should be able to concentrate on recovering from your injuries while our truck accident lawyers focus on helping you obtain the compensation you deserve.
What Causes Truck Accidents in Columbus?
Truck accidents can happen for many reasons. Below are some common causes of truck accidents near Columbus, Mississippi.
Driver inexperience or lack of proper training can result in poor decision-making and truck and car accidents. To obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), you must meet the Mississippi eligibility requirements.
- You must be 17 years old to drive commercial vehicles within the state.
- You must be 21 years old to drive interstate with a Mississippi-issued CDL.
- You must have a current and valid regular driver’s license.
- Provide a medical examiner’s certificate stating you can physically drive a commercial vehicle.
- Pass a background check of your complete driving record.
- Attend a commercial drivers education program (not required, however beneficial).
- Acquire a Mississippi commercial learner’s permit CLP for at least 14 days before taking your skills test for a full CDL. A CLP authorizes you to drive with someone who has their CDL.
- Complete a required knowledge test with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS). Topics include a general knowledge test, passenger transport test, air brakes test, combination vehicles test, hazardous materials test, etc.
- Schedule a Mississippi CDL road test at a local DPS office. This test includes being able to complete a pre-trip vehicle inspection, demonstrating vehicle control skills, and completing a road test.
Driving While Fatigued
Truck drivers spend a significant amount of time on the road and are frequently on the road late at night. If a truck driver falls asleep at the wheel, it’s a recipe for disaster.
Because alcohol impairs driving performance by lowering reaction time and slowing decision-making capabilities endangers public safety. Mississippi law and the federal government prohibit commercial truck drivers from working with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher to protect the general public’s safety. In addition, the use of other drugs like marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, and other illegal drugs while driving is a concern.
Driving While Distracted
You are likely to become distracted if you work all day behind the wheel. It’s easy to lose focus while driving an 18-wheeler if you’re doing anything other than operating the vehicle. Even a few seconds of being distracted behind the wheel of such a large machine might be deadly.
There are times when drivers of freight vehicles may get nervous about completing the journey and start to drive aggressively. Tailgating, tailing too closely, speeding, and other reckless driving actions are all examples.
Improperly Loaded or Overloaded Trailer
When a large commercial truck is loaded, the trailer it tows may be quite hefty. Loaders must correctly fill, or the trailers can fall over and cause an accident. Having too heavy of a load can also cause tire blowouts. When a tire blows out, it can cause the truck to lose control, and the tire can cause damage to other vehicles.
Loose items inside a tractor-trailer can shift and make the truck more prone to rollover. This risk is particularly true when a truck is making a turn. The uneven weight distribution can cause a rollover accident if the cargo quickly moves to one side.
Inadequately Secured Cargo
Unsecured cargo falling off of a truck can cause severe accidents. Falling items cause significant damage to cars traveling at high speeds. Drivers and loaders need to learn how to secure their cargo. Drivers should also ensure they do not overload their trucks, even if it means it will take multiple trips to deliver all cargo.
The United States Department of Transportation has rules regarding how commercial trucks are supposed to safeguard their freight. Adhering to these guidelines is especially important when tractor-trailers transport dangerous products because these incidents have the potential to cause explosions or fires.
Malfunctioning Vehicle or Parts
Vehicle or part malfunction, including brake failure, can result in deadly crashes due to the size of trucks. Therefore, a driver must perform a vehicle pre-check before getting on the roadways. It is also crucial for the trucking company or driver to maintain vehicle inspection records to prove they completed regular maintenance and safety checks.
Poor Road Conditions Due to Weather
To determine who is liable for an accident, we must establish if someone was negligent. In this case, negligence would imply that a driver did not take adequate measures to guarantee safety in any given scenario, such as driving through inclement weather. Drivers should listen to weather reports and follow any recommended advisories.
What Are The Benefits of Working With a Richard Schwartz & Associates Truck Accident Lawyer?
The Columbus truck accident lawyers at Richard Schwartz & Associates have over 40 years of experience handling truck accident cases. This knowledge of truck accident claims means we know what questions to ask. We also know how to identify potentially responsible parties. Additionally, we will be able to accurately calculate what your claim is worth. Contact a Columbus truck accident lawyer from our law firm so we can help you get the total compensation you deserve for your personal injuries.
Richard Schwartz & Associates Injury Lawyers have access to resources and experts to help us investigate your truck accident. Avoidable mistakes cause many semi-truck accidents. Our attorneys work hard to determine who is responsible for your accident. Documenting the evidence to prove negligence is vital for your truck accident claim.
We begin to gather evidence from the accident scene and the vehicles involved as soon as possible. We also ensure that evidence is preserved and not “lost” or destroyed by obtaining a court order against the trucking company.
We may look for the driver’s Hours of Service logs, freight manifests, and truck maintenance records. A vehicle or truck components failure (tires, brakes, steering, etc.) might have caused a collision on rare occasions. In addition, maintenance records may indicate that the carrier was putting off necessary repairs to keep operating.
Obtaining access to the truck’s event data recorder (EDR) is a crucial element in truck accident investigations. This gadget produces a wealth of information regarding the truck’s operations leading up to an accident. Below are a few of the details you can ascertain by downloading a truck’s EDR data:
- Date and time of the crash
- Vehicle speed
- Brake status
- Clutch status
- Gas pedal position
- Cruise control status
There may be other monitoring systems available depending on the truck’s age and the technology included by the manufacturer or trucking company. A truck accident lawyer will look at all available evidence. Other types of evidence that will assist in telling the story of the crash include:
- Cellphone records
- Weather and traffic reports
- Recall notices for the truck
- Maintenance records
A truck accident lawyer knows what evidence to look for and where to find it. Call Richard Schwartz & Associates Injury Lawyers, P.A. today to discuss your case during a FREE consultation.
What Can I Recover From My Columbus Truck Accident Claim?
If you suffer injuries in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. Truck accidents are generally more severe than car accidents and, therefore, you may be eligible for more considerable sums of money. Below are some of the most frequent forms of compensation available following a trucking accident.
- Medical expenses: This includes your current and future medical bills. Examples include hospital expenses, prescription medications, therapies, rehabilitation costs, nursing home care, and surgical operations. Keep track of your medical records and bills for your medical care. These documents will help your truck accident lawyer seek compensation for your injuries.
- Lost wages: You may be unable to work due to the accident, resulting in a loss in income. In addition, the accident may damage your future earning potential depending on your injuries. Therefore, your truck accident lawyer will consider your present and future monetary losses when calculating your compensation request.
- Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering include physical agony, mental anguish, and emotional trauma resulting from your accident. There may also be lasting physical scarring or disfigurement, impacting an individual’s emotional well-being.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: Compensation can increase if the accident causes the victim to lose their enjoyment of life. Loss of enjoyment happens when an individual can no longer participate in an activity that previously brought them joy before the accident.
- Loss of consortium: Spouses may experience a loss of consortium if the injured person can no longer fulfill some marital responsibilities.
- Wrongful death: Wrongful death damages are available in the case of a fatal truck accident to immediate family members. In addition to the specified compensations, the attorney can also include burial and funeral expenses and loss of inheritance, among others.
- Punitive damages: On some occasions, a judge may add punitive damages to the truck accident compensation if the truck driver or firm was grossly irresponsible. Punitive damages are financial compensation added as punishment for the negligent party.
Holding Trucking Companies Liable for Vehicle Safety
One of the most important aspects of a truck accident claim is figuring out who is responsible for causing the truck accident. Unfortunately, many individuals and entities are responsible for maintaining the safety and operation of a large commercial vehicle. These parties’ negligence, directly or indirectly, could cause an accident resulting in debilitating injuries. Frequent liable parties in truck accidents include:
- Truck drivers
- The owner of the truck
- Safety inspectors
- Maintenance technicians
- Cargo loaders
- The truck manufacturer
- Truck parts manufacturers
There may be others who have a responsibility as well. Your Columbus truck accident lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident to determine which party or parties are responsible in your case. If multiple parties contribute to your injuries, your lawyer will include each party in your truck accident claim. Doing this ensures that every responsible party is held accountable for their part in your damages and losses.
Why You Need An Attorney With Experience in Large Truck Accidents
Richard Schwartz & Associates has over 40 years of experience dealing with truck accident claims. Do you have questions about our truck accident law firm in Columbus, MS? Or are you unsure if you need a lawyer? Then, we are here to answer your questions. Our consultations are FREE, so you have nothing to lose from scheduling a no-obligation consultation to discuss your truck accident case.
Contact Richard Schwartz & Associates Injury Lawyers, P.A., to schedule your FREE consultation today.