Without question some of the most dangerous and devastating motor vehicle accidents are caused by semi-trucks also known as tractor-trailers, big-rigs, coal trucks, 18-wheelers, and commercial trucks. These motor vehicles are particularly dangerous because of their massive size, length, and weight. The size and weight of semi-trucks means that they are harder to maneuver and stop; they also have massive blind spots referred to as "no zones." Considering that a passenger car may weigh less than 2 tons while a semi-truck transporting a full load may weigh 40 tons, individuals in the passenger car often suffer devastating permanent injuries or wrongful death. When a tractor-trailer accident results in severe injury or fatalities, the party that is seriously injured or dies is the occupant of the other vehicle in excess of 95 percent of the time. Our experienced Kentucky semi-truck accident attorneys at Goeing Goeing and McQuinn, PLLC have the experience and resources to passionately advocate for the fullest financial recovery for victims of these horrific motor vehicle accidents with respect and compassion. We have offices in both Lexington, Kentucky and Winchester, Kentucky to better serve our clients.
Unique Types of Kentucky Semi-Truck Accidents
While there are many types of trucking accidents that also often involve other types of motor vehicles, there are some very unique types of semi-truck accidents:
- Jackknife Trucking Accidents: One of the most common types of Kentucky trucking accidents is a tractor-trailer jackknife collision. This type of Kentucky semi-truck accident occurs when the driver suddenly applies the brakes so that the cab stops, but the trailer goes into a skid and swings out and forms a 90 degree angle with the cab. If the truck jackknifes with any speed, the entire truck is likely to flip and rollover causing more serious injuries and widening the area of danger around the big-rig.
- Carriage Under-ride Accidents: Another type of Kentucky tractor-trailer accident is referred to as a carriage under-ride or over-ride accident. This type of semi-truck accident involves a passenger vehicle traveling underneath the undercarriage of the tractor-trailer so that the passenger vehicle is actually crushed by the truck's undercarriage. These types of Kentucky trucking accidents can result in horrific injuries where the top portion of the vehicle is ripped away and the passenger vehicle occupants are crushed, decapitated or suffer other serious injury or wrongful death.
- Rollover Accidents: While vehicle rollovers can occur with other vehicles, they are fundamentally different when a tractor-trailer is involved. Most rollover accidents pose the biggest danger to those in the vehicle that rolls over. Because fully loaded semi-trucks weigh 80,000 pounds, they can flatten other vehicles in a rollover accident. Rollovers involving tractor-trailers in Kentucky may be the result of improperly secured loads that shift making the vehicle unbalanced and prone to tip.
Unique Challenges of Litigating Kentucky Trucking Accident Claims
The risk of a Kentucky semi-truck accident is increased because of inherent limitations in the handling and braking of commercial trucks. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA"), approximately 33 percent of all motor vehicle related fatalities are caused by tractor-trailer accidents. This is particularly troubling because tractor-trailers constitute a rather small proportion of registered vehicles.
For additional information on what you should know if you have been injured in a trucking accident see our article: What Those Suffering Injury in Kentucky Trucking Accidents Need to Know
Due to the serious nature of the injuries associated with Kentucky trucking accidents, it is important to have an experienced Kentucky big-rig accident law firm represent you in seeking financial compensation for your physical injuries or loss of a loved one. Trucking accident claims in Kentucky are not simply a car accident with a big vehicle but instead extremely complex cases. Our experienced Kentucky trucking accident attorneys at Goeing Goeing and McQuinn, PLLC understand the unique issues and challenges of handling complex semi-truck accident claims. Some of the factors that make Winchester tractor-trailer accident claims unique include:
- Regulatory Structure of the Trucking Industry: There is an extensive and complex matrix of state and federal regulations that govern intrastate and interstate commercial trucking. Many of these regulations govern safety issues, such as inspections, maintenance, maximum size and weight of a big-rig, drug and alcohol policies, proper securing of loads, pre-employment screening, restrictions on use of electronic devices, and anti-fatigue rules (called "Hours of Service Rules"). These regulations govern the conduct of truck drivers and commercial carriers (e.g. trucking companies) to reduce the magnitude of danger to others sharing the roadways posed by these massive vehicles. Unfortunately, too many trucking companies and commercial drivers disregard these regulations in an effort to increase profits. When the failure to comply with one of these regulations results in a collision that causes injury, the victim may have a viable claim for financial compensation.
- Trucking Litigation Tactics and Resources: Commercial trucking companies possess extensive experience defending big-rig accident claims. Most trucking companies also have rapid response teams that may be dispatched to a trucking accident scene almost immediately to investigate and begin developing a defense strategy. Trucking companies and their insurance carriers have a virtually limitless supply of financial resources and trucking accident experts. When you pursue a Kentucky semi-truck accident claim, you need a tractor-trailer accident law firm with experience handling trucking accident claims and that has access to top experts.
- Trucking Industry Practice of Manipulating Evidence: Many Kentucky trucking accident claims are adversely affected because critical evidence is altered or destroyed. Drivers of semi-trucks are required to maintain logbooks that document driving time, rest breaks, vehicle inspections, maintenance issues, and other factors that may provide valuable insight into the cause of a trucking accident in Kentucky. Our experienced Kentucky semi-truck accident attorneys at Goeing Goeing and McQuinn, PLLC engage in aggressive discovery to obtain fuel receipts, hotel bills, email correspondence, and other documents that can be used to expose evidence that is being manipulated in logbooks. We also take affirmative action to prevent a tractor-trailer from having damage repaired and to preserve black box data recorder information.
Causes of Kentucky Tractor-Trailer Accidents
There are many different types of negligent practices that may be a factor in causing a Kentucky trucking accident. These include the following:
- Drivers that fail to drive at a safe speed given the braking and handling limitations of commercial trucks
- Drunk or drugged truck drivers
- Lack of awareness of "no zones" which are large truck blind spots
- Failure to conduct inspections or perform maintenance
- Driver fatigue resulting from violations of hours of service rules
- Truck drivers who do not properly plan routes to avoid unsafe inclines and other unsafe roads for big-rigs
- Insufficient screening of potential drivers
- Brake failure and tire blowouts resulting from inadequate maintenance practices
- Drivers that are not medically fit to operate semi-trucks in Kentucky
When Kentucky truck drivers fail to operate their commercial vehicles in a safe manner, it can result in permanent and life-threatening injuries and even wrongful death. As noted, victims are commonly occupants in passenger vehicles. Our dedicated team of Kentucky trucking accident attorneys at Goeing Goeing and McQuinn, PLLC represents individuals that experience serious injury as a result of negligent drivers and indifferent trucking companies, which turn a blind eye to the violation of trucking regulations and to unsafe driving practices. Serious injuries that may be inflicted in a Kentucky tractor-trailer accident include:
- Broken bones including injuries that require pins and other medical devices
- Spinal cord injuries causing paralysis, loss of mobility, or impaired sensation
- Wrongful death
- Severe disfigurement that requires reconstructive surgery
- Loss of extremities
- Severe impact to the head resulting in traumatic brain injuries
- Injuries to the joints, such as the shoulder, elbow, knee or other joints
- Whiplash injuries that may cause pain and disability for months
- Severe damage to internal organs
Kentucky Truck Accident Lawyers
Injuries resulting from a Winchester or Lexington Kentucky trucking accident can prevent you from returning to work for extended periods of time, even though your medical expenses and household bills continue to mount. The harm suffered in a semi-truck collision in Kentucky also may affect your quality of life. At Goeing Goeing and McQuinn, PLLC, our Kentucky trucking accident attorneys have experience recovering many different forms of compensation, including but not limited to the following:
- Loss of past, present and future wages/salary
- Costs associated with hospitalization and medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death type damages including burial and funeral expenses
- Impairment of marital relationship
- Vehicle repair costs
- Other damages based on specific facts and circumstances
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Kentucky trucking accident, we welcome you to contact our experienced legal team so that we can evaluate your claim and advise you of your rights and options. We are committed to seeking the best possible recovery our clients. Our attorneys represent clients throughout Central and Eastern Kentucky. We frequently travel outside these areas. We encourage you to schedule a FREE consultation and contact us at (859) 744-4004 or toll free at 1 (888) 595-2943. We look forward to hearing from you and assisting you with your legal needs!