Trucking Accident Articles

Tractor-Trailer Accidents: How Soon Should I Call You?

How soon should you call The Segal Law Firm after you’ve been hurt in a tractor-trailer accident? Literally as soon as you wake up in the hospital.   Do you have two years to file your lawsuit? Yes, you do. That’s your statute of limitations. But you stand to lose a lot of critical evidence if you don’t call us right away.   The amount of information available on those tractor-trailers these days would astound you. And it can disappear quickly. There’s information concerning how the truck was maintained, how it was loaded, and how that load was secured. Thanks to GPS, many trucking companies know exactly where their trucks are and how fast they’re going at all times. So the sooner we know what happened to you, the sooner we can start that investigation and make sure that information isn’t destroyed.   Remember, too, that the police reports don’t come out for a few days. We have hard-working law enforcement officers, but there is a lot of paperwork involved in a tractor-trailer accident, and we want to be sure to alert the appropriate state authorizes that we’re looking for that accident report.   The call is free and so …

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How Does a Tractor-Trailer Case Begin?

At The Segal Law Firm, we know exactly how to handle your tractor-trailer case because we’ve been doing them for over thirty years. It all starts with a meeting here at the office so that we can explain what your case will look like and how we’ll be able to protect you and your family.   How to Prepare Give us a call here at the office to set up a time that we can meet and get to know each other, whether here in the office or over the phone. At the first meeting, it’s helpful if you have the accident report from the police and the dec card from your insurance company. Many people don’t realize that if the tractor-trailer’s insurance doesn’t offer enough money, your insurance may offer additional coverage.   If you don’t have those two things, don’t worry about it. We are used to investigating these cases here at the firm and will collect accident reports, medical reports and things of that nature, if needed.   Our First Meeting At the first meeting, I’ll explain your legal rights and what type of lawsuit you have on your hands. It’s really important that you ask me …

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Tractor Trailer Cases: What Qualities Does My Lawyer Need?

Some of the most tragic accidents on our roads occur between passenger vehicles and tractor trailers. These accidents often end in life-altering injury or death. If you’re going to go up against a big trucking company, you’ve got to find a lawyer who has the experience with these cases. Not only that, they’ll need the finances to back the case, knowledge of the investigative process, and compassion for you and your family.   Experience One of the most important qualities your lawyer can have is experience. Tractor trailers are regulated by the federal government. And these are strict regulations. You need a lawyer who understands them completely. The rules affect the time that the driver’s allowed to drive the truck, how the truck has to be maintained, how it should be loaded, and everything in between.   Investigative Process You need a lawyer who understands how to investigate tractor trailer cases. Sometimes it’s as simple as an intoxicated driver. Other times, it’s much more complex. The driver may not have had the proper training or the company may not have completed the background check required by law. You want someone who knows what to expect and where to look for …

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The Impact of Coal Truck Negligence

Coal truck negligence leads to some of the most tragic and deadly accidents that we see here at The Segal Law Firm. There are several types of negligence that could lead to these horrific wrecks and your attorney must have experience with each and every one of them. That’s what it will take to fight these big coal companies and get you the results you deserve.   Driver Error Most commonly, we see a lot of drivers who were going too fast or hogging the road. They are in such a rush to get the load to the destination that they disregard speed limits or the condition of the road, and they end up causing an accident. Here in West Virginia, our roads are extremely narrow and these trucks are big, wide and heavy. When they crash into a car, it’s not going to be the rig that takes the beating.   Maintenance Issues There are more sophisticated types of accidents that occur due to improper maintenance. I’m handling a case right now where a coal truck’s brakes completely failed and my client was rear ended while she was legally stopped at a red light. She’s now paralyzed. There are …

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Going Up Against a Tractor Trailer

If you take a two thousand pound vehicle and put it up against an eighty thousand pound tractor trailer, which one do you think is going to end up losing that fight? The tractor trailer is going to crush your car like a sand pebble. You want to have someone on your side that understands the federal regulations that relate to these tractor trailers, and knows how to investigate and prove your case.   Experience is important in these cases from the very start of the investigation. You have to know about modern trucks and what they are capable of these days. Many of them have black boxes and GPS systems that can tell us a lot about what happened in the wreck. Many trucking companies can track their drivers in real time and tell us how fast the truck was going or when the driver last took a federally required break. Was the accident due to fatigue? Was it due to alcohol or drugs? Did load shift because it wasn’t loaded properly or was the tractor trailer poorly maintained? From the get-go, we have to be asking these questions. And if I don’t have the answer, I have to …

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Do I Need a West Virginia Lawyer?

“If I’m from out of state and am hurt in West Virginia, is it necessary to have a West Virginia lawyer?” I don’t think I’d use the word ‘necessary,’ but I certainly think it’s in your best interest.   A West Virginia lawyer with the kind of experience the we have at The Segal Law Firm is going to know West Virginia law, West Virginia judges, and West Virginia juries better than an out of state lawyer. But is it absolutely necessary? The answer is no. The thing is, if you get an out of state lawyer, they’re going to have to hire a West Virginia lawyer anyway because they can’t practice law here unless they happen to be licensed. It’s not unusual for us to work with out of state law firms to help clients who have been hurt in West Virginia.   Right now I’m handling a case for a Canadian woman who was severely injured in a motorcycle accident here in West Virginia. Her Canadian lawyer called me and asked me if I would be willing to help. Once I realized how badly she was hurt I, of course, agreed. So, in the end, you are going …

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What is a Mass Tort Case?

The answer is pretty simple: a mass tort case involves a large group of people who were hurt by a singular event. The most famous one in West Virginia was probably the Upper Big Branch disaster, which took the lives of twenty-nine people as a result of one explosion. Another example would be the asbestos that has poisoned thousands of West Virginia workers since the 1940s. Mass tort cases in West Virginia are handled by mass litigation panels that help experienced lawyers move the cases through the system with great efficiency.   If you have the disease mesothelioma, which was caused by the asbestos used to insulate factories in the forties, fifties, sixties and early seventies, your case will be handled as a mass tort case in West Virginia. It will be streamlined by the mass litigation panel. There’s one judge on this panel who tries mesothelioma cases four times a year, which is usually about fifteen to twenty cases each time. As a result of that, we know what discovery needs to happen and what documents we need to prepare in order to get your case to trial.   The Segal Law Firm knows what information is required by …

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Class Action Cases: A Vehicle for the Masses

Class action lawsuits are a vehicle for several people with a similar type claim to bring a case against the same defendant all at once. Usually it involves everyone getting hurt by the same medicine or getting overcharged by the same financial institution. The good news is, you’re offered plenty of protection as part of the class action.   Let’s say the bank overcharges you five cents for a check. Well, you can’t sue the bank for five cents or even five hundred dollars! In fact, it would cost you more to hire a lawyer. But if all the people who use that bank and those checks got together in a class action, they would be able to afford to sue the bank and get that money back. That’s why you see a lot of class actions against financial institutions, lending companies and credit card companies.   It can also involve certain types of medicine. If a drug is put on the market that is dangerous and the FDA had been misled by the drug company, groups of people can ban together to bring a class action. They might ask for things like medical monitoring, which is a certain type …

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The Average Settlement for Trucking Accidents in West Virginia

If you are involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer in West Virginia, settlement is based on two major components, although each component has many complexities. Component No. 1: Why did the tractor-trailer crash into you or a family member, or why did it dump their load on your vehicle, or why did their brakes fail, resulting in it crashing into your house while you were in bed asleep? The Segal Law Firm uses experts who understand federal regulations concerning how a truck should be loaded, inspected and maintained. They also determine how long the driver actually drove that day before the accident, whether he took the mandatory sleep break, what his log books look like, whether the log books match up with his fuel receipts, and where he checked loads or picked up loads. The sad truth is, a driver can write down anything they want to and their information must be verified. Other determinations involve whether the driver was using drugs or alcohol and if the truck maintained properly. Obviously, an impaired driver or a poorly maintained truck that has bad brakes or bad equipment will result in a case that is worth more than where the driver …

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Tractor Trailer Settlements: The Crushing Truth

Tractor trailer accidents can seem pretty cut and dry when you look at them from the surface. But what exactly determines the amount of the settlement? There are two basic things that go into it. First, what was the misconduct of the driver of the tractor trailer? And two, how seriously did you get hurt? Here at The Segal Law Firm, we have been investigating these cases over many years and understand how to dig to find those answers and get you the best possible settlement or verdict. Let’s break the first one down a little bit. What kinds of misconduct are we looking for when we start digging into the cause of the wreck? Well, there are very specific federal regulations that tell us how many hours a trucker is allowed to drive, so that’s usually the first place we start. Many, many times, we find that the company or the driver pushes it too far and winds up logging way too many hours. This leaves them tired and groggy, which can easily be the cause of a horrific wreck. The other thing we see, of course, is alcohol and drug abuse. That type of thing is going to …

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