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Truck Accident FAQ

Common questions about West Virginia truck accidents

After trucking accidents, it is no surprise that many people are confused about what to do. That's why it's important to obtain information and seek counsel from a reliable and experienced source. Here at Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC we believe in empowering our clients by giving them the helpful and accurate information they need.

Honest legal guidance and representation can make all the difference in your ability to recover compensation after a serious accident, and you can count on our truck accident attorneys to come through for you. Each of our legal professionals can provide you with the personalized attention and aggressive legal protection that you need after an injury to you or a loved one.

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Our attorneys were born and raised in West Virginia. We know the impact a truck accident can have on you and your family. Contact our office to discuss your accident and your options for compensation. We have also provided some common questions about truck accidents and filing a claim. During your free consultation, we can answer all of your questions and give you the information you need to decide your next move.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do truck drivers have to submit to drug and alcohol testing?

Yes. Truck drivers must submit to tests before they can be hired, and then they are submitted to random tests for the presence of drugs and alcohol throughout the course of their career. If a trucking company has reason to suspect a truck driver's conduct, they can ask that driver to undergo testing. If a driver refuses, he may be barred from driving.

Additionally, trucking companies are required to test 10% of their drivers randomly each and every year. Any truck driver who is involved in a fatal accident or an accident that causes serious injury must be tested, and it is the responsibility of trucking companies to follow through with this.

Despite the stricter laws that have been passed to keep drunk or drugged drivers off of the road, there are still accidents that are caused by truck drivers who are under the influence each year. You have the right to seek compensation for these tragic accidents, and our firm can help you secure the evidence you need to file a claim.

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What are some of the common failures that happen with these large trucks?

Large vehicles such as 18-wheelers, big rigs, and other commercial trucks are simply made differently than their smaller counterparts. Commercial trucks are larger and more difficult to operate, and therefore it is not surprising that there is a greater risk for complications and defective parts.

One of the most defective truck parts that have contributed to accidents are brake failures. When brakes do not meet federal regulations for braking systems, such as not having the proper braking force for the size of the vehicle, the manufacturer or designer could be to blame. One of the other commonly defective parts on trucks is the tires. With so much weight riding on them, tires play a huge role in the everyday operation and safety of trucks on the road. When tires are not up to par or there were errors in the manufacturing process, the manufacturer can be held responsible for any accidents that ensue. You can also learn more about the causes of trucking accidents when you call one of our caring legal professionals.

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Is there any way to know when a truck is carrying hazardous material?

Trucks are often used to carry large amounts of hazardous chemical substances across the country. Because of the risk for catastrophic injuries and accidents, these trucks that haul hazardous materials are required to have a special permit to transport certain types and quantities of hazardous materials. Some of the types of hazardous materials that may be on board these trucks include explosives, radioactive materials, and compressed gases, all of which can be harmful.

Trucking companies with trucks that carry these materials are required to have significantly higher amounts of accidental liability insurance than other commercial trucks. If you have been injured in an accident with a truck carrying hazardous material, you should receive a full medical checkup immediately.

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Are truck drivers limited in the number of hours they can drive?

Absolutely. One of the strictest regulations placed on truck drivers is regarding the number of consecutive hours that they can be on the road. Federal law has established restrictions on the number of hours that commercial truck drivers can driver per day and per week in an effort to reduce the number of large truck accidents on the road today.

Why is this so important? Studies have shown that truck drivers who are behind the wheel for more than eight hours have a greater crash risk, and fatigue has always been one of the most commonly cited factors in serious truck accidents. In order to keep track of truck drivers' hours, each driver is required to keep a driving log of the hours - either manually or electronically - that they drive and the miles they cover every day. Government inspectors have access to these logs as well as electronic on-board recorders at any time, and our firm will always review these logs after an accident takes place.

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When is the right time to file an accident claim?

In West Virginia, as in every other state, there is a statute of limitations that limits the amount of time that an accident victim has to seek compensation through a personal injury claim. The statute of limitations in West Virginia provides accident victims with two years to file a claim from the time that the accident occurred. There are certain special exceptions to this rule, but it is important to take action soon after your accident in order to have the best chance at recovering.

One of the reasons why it is important to contact a legal professional right away is because you must preserve the evidence from your accident. In order to be successful with a personal injury claim, you must be able to prove that the truck driver or trucking company was negligent in some way. When you call Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC about your accident, our legal team will take action immediately to investigate your accident and determine the exact cause of your injuries.

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What regulations do truck drivers and trucking companies need to follow?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has regulations that 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.

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Why does it feel like there are so many semi-trucks on the road today?

Because there are. According to federal truck regulation data, there are well over a million more large trucks on the road today than 10 years ago, and these trucks also travel more miles than they used to. The more trucks on the road, the greater the risk for accidents and injuries to other passengers on the road. In collisions that involve big-rigs, 18-wheelers, or other large trucks, it is the smaller vehicle that usually takes the brunt of the collision and suffers the greatest injury. Learn more about these accidents and how you can obtain financial compensation for your injuries when you call our firm for a free consultation.

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What are different types of truck accidents?

A truck accident can happen in many ways. Different types include:

  • Truck Rollover - If a driver is traveling a high speed, hits an obstacle or drives with unbalanced cargo, the truck can rollover onto its side.
  • Jackknife - This type of accident happens when the drive-axle brakes on a tractor-trailer lock up. The trailer skids and swings out at an angle, much like a jackknife.
  • Truck Rear-Ended Car - If a truck follows too closely behind a car, it won't be able to prevent a collision when the car brakes suddenly.
  • Underride - A car crashes into a tractor-trailer and slides underneath it.
  • Tire Blowout - A tire blows out as the truck is traveling at high speed, causing the driver to lose control.
  • Wide Turn - A driver makes a tight turn too fast or recklessly, crashing into a car or other object.
  • Lost Load - Improperly loaded and secured cargo comes loose during transport, throwing the truck off-balance or spilling out onto the road.

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Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC
602 Virginia St E #200
Charleston, WV 25301
Phone: 304-720-1000