West Virginia’s scenic mountain roads are known to inspire awe, wonder and even songs, but their sharp curves and steep grades are dangerous for drivers, especially those unfamiliar with the terrain. On a winding road or highway, a motor vehicle collision may result from a second of distraction, a single error in judgment or a minor miscalculation behind the wheel. When a tractor trailer or other large vehicle is involved, the damage can be catastrophic.
Truck accidents cause injuries and claim lives every year. According to a 2019 report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 398 vehicles were involved in fatal large-truck collisions in West Virginia during 2017 alone. Only 47 of those vehicles were trucks – meaning that for every truck involved in a fatal crash, eight or nine additional vehicles and their passengers were also affected. Fatalities in these crashes included truck drivers, their passengers, occupants of other vehicles and bicyclists and pedestrians.
Passenger car drivers are wise to take precautions when traveling in the vicinity of trucks, whose drivers may or may not be alert and or aware of the risks posed by different routes. Truck accidents occur more often in rural areas, but highly-trafficked sections of interstates can be deadly as well. West Virginia interstates cited for their hazards include I-68, I-77 and I-79.
Unfortunately, even the most cautious driver can end up in a truck wreck. Brakes fail, turns are made too wide, speed limits are ignored and other motorists behave recklessly. Anyone whose actions lead directly to a collision can be held at fault for at least some of the resulting damage.
Lawsuits arising from accidents involving commercial trucks can be especially complicated to litigate, due to the multiple parties that may be involved and the various bases of liability. Not only the truck’s driver but also its owner, lessee, loader and maintenance provider may share in responsibility, and each will have their own insurance company and legal defense team. Such cases also involve analysis of compliance with federal and state trucking regulations and safety standards. And the damages suffered in such accidents — especially fatal ones — must be quantified to determine the compensation due.
The seasoned attorneys at Kaufman & McPherson, PLLC in Bridgeport represent individuals injured in West Virginia truck accidents and the families of accident fatalities. If you need to speak to a lawyer about a truck injury case, call us at 304-842-4300 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.