According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety administration, large trucks such as 18-wheelers were responsible for more than 1,000 crashes in West Virginia in 2007. These accidents led to 45 fatalities and 495 injuries, and this number is expected to increase as roads become more crowded. Large commercial trucks, when fully loaded, weigh approximately 80,000 lbs. A vehicle with this much size and weight is an extreme hazard when out of control.
The lawyers of Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, help victims of tractor-trailer crashes in Charleston and surrounding areas. We know how truck accidents are different from other types of crashes. More importantly, we know what it takes to handle those differences.
We are one of the leading personal injury law firms in West Virginia, with three partners who each belong to the elite, invitation-only Million Dollar Advocates and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forums. If you were injured or lost a loved one in a crash involving a large commercial truck, we will put our skill, experience and resources to work for you and pursue the compensation you deserve.
You must move quickly after a truck accident in order to protect your rights. As soon as you are ready to take action, please contact us to discuss your case. We will provide a free consultation at our Charleston office or any location that is convenient for you and your family.
A lawyer cannot treat a truck accident like other types of accidents. At Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, we adjust to the many different, unique aspects of crashes that involve large commercial trucks. Those aspects include the following:
Most trucking companies are major corporations. If one of their trucks gets involved in a crash, the company and/or its insurer will immediately send response teams to the accident scene. We will act quickly for you, too.
Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, will preserve and gather important evidence before it becomes “lost” or otherwise inaccessible. For instance, we can send our own investigators to the crash scene to inspect it and take photos of skid marks, debris and – if they have not been moved yet – the vehicles involved in the crash, including the 18-wheeler.
Additionally, we will make sure that information from the truck’s event data recorder, or “black box,” is preserved. This information typically includes the vehicle’s speed and brake use in the seconds just before the crash.
We will make sure that the trucking company retains and provides us with the driver’s paper or electronic log, which should document the number of hours that the driver was on the road. We can also demand to see the trucking company’s vehicle inspection, maintenance and repair records.
We often work with accident reconstruction experts who have experience with truck accidents, including jackknifing, underride and rollover accidents. These specialists can examine all of the information from a crash and determine why it happened.
Tractor-trailers on West Virginia roads can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when they are fully loaded. It is no wonder that people in passenger cars suffer the most severe harm when they collide with these vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that, between 2013 and 2015, 8,725 of the 11,956 people killed in crashes involving large trucks were drivers or occupants of passenger vehicles, or 73 percent of the total victims.
Our firm knows how to pursue just compensation for those who suffer common truck accident injuries. These injuries can be catastrophic, or “life-changing.” They include:
As part of our investigation, we will thoroughly review all of your medical records. We will also consult with medical experts and life-care planning specialists. We want to ensure that your medical expenses are fully covered and that you have the funds you will need to cover your medical treatment in the future.
FMCSA regulations cover nearly every aspect of the interstate trucking industry. For instance, these rules limit how much tractor-trailers can weigh when they are loaded, restrict the number of hours that drivers can spend on the road and require routine inspections and maintenance of commercial vehicles.
At Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, our lawyers know the ins-and-outs of FMCSA regulations. We can identify when truckers and trucking companies violate these rules, and we can use that information as we seek compensation for you.
The purpose of FMCSA regulations is to make trucking safe and to protect others on the road, including you and your family. If a trucker or trucking company violates these rules, it can serve as a basis for holding those parties liable, or legally responsible for your physical, emotional and financial harm.
Most car accidents involve only one defendant – the driver who hit you. However, in truck accidents, the truck driver may be only one of many parties that you sue. Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, will identify all of those parties in your case.
For instance, the truck driver may be responsible because the driver’s negligence caused the accident. Common causes of truck accidents in West Virginia include:
If a driver caused a crash while “on the clock,” the trucking company can be held liable for the driver’s negligence. This is called employer liability. However, the trucking company’s own negligence could also be the cause of a crash. Examples of trucking company negligence are:
The other parties who could contribute to a crash include mechanics, warehouse operators, shipping brokers and the manufacturers or others who hire trucking companies to transport goods.
In many cases, the manufacturers of defective trucks or truck parts could be sued. Defective tires, wheels, brakes, steering columns, hydraulic systems and hitches and couplings of often cause accidents.
When you get into an accident, you will seek compensation through the responsible parties’ insurance coverage and maybe even your own coverage. Because a truck accident may involve many different responsible parties, your case could involve sorting through numerous insurance policies, including commercial liability policies that carry significantly high limits.
Our lawyers will carefully review the insurance policies involved in your case and turn to all available sources of compensation to cover your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and more. We may also go beyond insurance and seek a recovery for you from the trucker or trucking company’s assets. Our goal is simple: We want to get the maximum amount for you and your family.
The stakes are high after a commercial truck accident. In order to protect their interests, trucking companies and insurance companies will have a team of investigators, lawyers and experts on their side.
Our law firm knows how to take on major corporations. We can provide the aggressive and skilled representation and the resources you need to level the playing field.
The statute of limitations restricts the amount of time you have to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit after a truck accident. For instance, in West Virginia, you generally must file a claim within two years from the date of an accident or two years from the date of a loved one’s death.
Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, will pay close attention to the deadlines that apply to your case. We will move efficiently to prepare your case and file all paperwork in a timely and professional manner. You will help your case by getting in touch with us as early as possible.
Within days – maybe even hours – after a truck accident, insurance companies may contact you. Before you give any statement or accept an insurance offer, you should get in touch with Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC.
The insurance companies will look for ways to deny your claim or to pay as little as possible. On the other hand, our lawyers will be focused solely on maximizing the amount of your financial recovery.
We know the devastating nature of truck accidents. We also know how important it is for you to recover full and fair compensation. While it cannot erase the harm you have suffered or replace the loss of a loved one, the compensation from a truck accident claim can help you to move forward in life.
We care about the truck accident victims we represent. For us, it’s not just business. It’s personal.
We help truck accident victims and their families in Charleston and throughout West Virginia. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.