Louisville Truck Accident Attorneys
Truck driver negligence accounts for 87% of all semi-truck and tractor-trailer accidents, according to a study conducted by the FMCSA. Because of the tremendous dangers posed by large trucks, trucking collisions frequently leave victims with catastrophic injuries that completely upend their lives.
If you have been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, delivery vehicle, or 18-wheeler, you need an experienced legal advocate who can represent your best interests and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Why Choose Our Firm For Your Louisville Truck Accident Case
At Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway, our Louisville truck accident attorneys have more than 30 years of experience handling complex truck accident litigation. Our team of attorneys have experience with a range of truck accident cases including:
- Truck driver negligence
- Improper training and other truck company negligence
- Overloading or improperly loading truck beds
- Improper maintenance
Throughout the past two decades, our Louisville accident attorneys have earned a strong reputation for effective truck accident litigation. Our investigative techniques, thorough case development and aggressive litigation style have impressed upon other attorneys and insurance companies the seriousness of our representation.
Call Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway today at (502) 244-7772 to learn more in a free consultation.
Do You Have a Truck Driver Negligence Claim?
Because of the inherent dangers in operating a truck, truck drivers are required to undergo extensive training before they can get a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The weight differential between trucks and standard passenger vehicles contributes to the severity of injuries that victims in a truck accident suffer. Because of the size and weight of trucks, the mechanics of operating them is also different from a standard passenger vehicle. For example, trucks require a longer distance than standard passenger cars to come to a complete stop. Drivers who are not paying attention on the road may fail to react in time to avoid an accident with deadly consequences. The government has very strict regulations concerning the licensing of truck drivers to protect other road users.
A victim making a claim based on driver negligence must prove all the elements of negligence. They must prove the following:
- The truck driver owed the victim a duty of care. Every person operating a vehicle on a public road or highway owes other road users a duty of care to avoid causing harm or injury to them.
- The driver breached their duty of care. A truck driver may breach their duty of care in many different ways including failing to get enough rest before getting on the road, driving while intoxicated, speeding, or driving recklessly.
- The breach caused an accident and was the proximate cause of the victim’s injury. In a truck accident, there may be many variable causes of a victim’s injury. While the truck’s collision with another vehicle may be the cause of the victim’s injury, the legal responsibility for the victim’s injury may lay elsewhere like with the truck driver’s employer, or a truck manufacturer.
- The victim suffered actual damages. A truck accident will more than likely cause actual damages. A victim could claim for property damage if their vehicle is damaged in the accident, and they may also make a claim for personal injury. A victim who walks away with no damages, will have no claim.
To succeed in a case based on truck driver negligence, the victim must prove all the elements of negligence because failure to prove one element will result in complete failure of the claim.
Improper Training and Other Truck Company Negligence
The trucking industry is highly regulated by the government. Truck companies must adhere to federal and state government regulations in hiring truck drivers, maintaining their vehicles, and monitoring the operation of their trucks.
When a truck company fails to comply with these regulations and their truck is involved in an accident, they may be held responsible for the damages caused to the victim. The legal principle that allows the truck company to be held responsible rather than the actual truck driver is called vicarious liability.
Vicarious liability is a legal principle that holds a supervisory party like an employer responsible for the actions of their subordinate or employee, because of the relationship between the two parties.
For a truck company to be held liable for damages resulting from a truck accident, the truck driver must be an employee of the truck company. The victim must also prove that:
- The truck driver’s negligence caused the accident.
- The accident occurred while the truck driver was acting within the scope of their employment.
It is not uncommon for truck companies to deny an employer-employee relationship with a truck driver who has been in an accident. But their denial of such a relationship can be challenged, and an experienced truck accident lawyer in Louisville will know how to do that. Establishing an employer-employee relationship will require an investigation into the operations of the truck company and establishing their mode of operation. Just because they deny an employer-employee relationship with the truck driver does not mean that they will prevail on that argument.
There are some common practices in the trucking industry that can complicate the identification of which party to hold vicariously liable. For instance, in cases where a truck driver is employed by a truck staffing company, but is driving a truck belonging to a delivery company. While the truck driver may be serving the truck company at the time of the accident, vicarious liability may fall on the truck staffing company instead. Having the support of an experienced truck accident attorney is invaluable in such circumstances.
Apart from being held vicariously liable for the negligent acts of their truck drivers, a truck company may also be held legally responsible for their negligent hiring, training, retaining, and supervision of their truck driver.
In Kentucky, a truck company can be held responsible for both the negligent acts of their truck drivers, and the company’s negligent hiring, entrustment, supervision, or training of the truck driver.
Truck Accidents Caused By Improper Truck Maintenance
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict guidelines for the proper maintenance of trucks.
Truck companies are required to frequently inspect their trucks, make repairs, and maintain all parts for the safe operation of their trucks. They must ensure that all parts, lights, tires, brakes, and other parts are in safe and proper working condition at all times.
Truck companies are also required to keep records on every truck they own or lease. They must keep a record of the date and type of all inspections, maintenance, and repairs of the truck.
A truck company that fails to comply with the regulations may be found liable under strict negligence. A victim does not have to prove that the truck company breached their duty of care because the failure to comply with any of the regulations is evidence of their breach.
After an accident, obtaining these records from a truck company can be difficult especially when they have something to hide. Your truck accident attorney will know what legal procedures to employ to get access to those records.
What If a Defective Auto Part Caused a Truck Accident?
A truck accident may occur due to no fault of either the truck driver or the truck company. The accident could be the result of a defectively manufactured part of the truck. For example, if the accident was caused by a tire blow out, the tire manufacturer may be legally responsible for the victim’s damages.
When a truck accident is caused by a defectively manufactured truck or truck part, the victim may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer. Under Kentucky state law, there are certain presumptions that a victim must overcome to prove a product liability claim. These presumptions are that:
- The product was not defective if the damage caused by the product occurred either more than five years after it was first sold to consumers, or more than eight years after it was manufactured.
- The product was not defective if the design, methods of manufacture, and testing of the product conformed to the prevailing standards in existence at the time the product was designed, and the product was manufactured.
If the victim is able to counter these presumptions then the manufacturer can be held legally responsible for damages resulting from an accident if the product was used in its original, unaltered and unmodified condition. If there was any unauthorized alteration or modification, which was the cause of an accident that resulted in personal injury, death, or property damage, the manufacturer will not be liable for the victim’s damages. Furthermore, if the truck owner failed to exercise ordinary care in using the product, and their failure was a substantial cause of the accident that caused the victim’s injury, the manufacturer will not be legally responsible, whether or not the manufacturer was at fault or the product was defective. A Louisville product liability lawyer at Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway has the experience and litigation skill to handle personal injury claims resulting from a defective product.
Advantages of Working with an “Inner Circle” Attorney
Attorney Tyler S. Thompson has succeeded in obtaining multiple multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for his clients. These successes have led him to become a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, the International Academy of Trial Attorneys, and the American College of Trial Lawyers.
When you have suffered a serious or catastrophic injury in a truck accident, ensure you find a personal injury lawyer who knows how to effectively handle your claim. Reach out to Tyler Thompson and the rest of our skilled team of advocates in Louisville, KY today. The team of attorneys at Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway, PSC have the experience and resources needed to take on large trucking companies, and we want to fight for you.
Who is Liable in a Commercial Semi-Truck Accident?
Through the diligence of our quick-response team and field of accident experts, we often learn that there was more than one cause of the accident. In these cases, we can pursue multiple claims on your behalf to seek the maximum amount of compensation possible.
Liability for a truck accident generally falls to one (or more) of three parties:
- The truck driver: If the truck driver deliberately drove while drunk or distracted, or violated regulations that mandate how long they may drive without a break, and this negligence led to an accident, then the truck driver may be held liable for damages.
- The trucking company that owns the vehicle: If the trucking company that owns the vehicle hired a driver who should not have been on the road or did not schedule regular maintenance checks for their trucks, and this negligence led to an accident, then the trucking company may be held liable for damages.
- Vehicle part manufacturer: Defective auto parts, particularly tires and brakes, are frequently the cause of trucking accidents. If this is the case in your accident, we can pursue damages from the manufacturer of the defective parts.
Liability in a truck accident can be complicated, and it’s not something you should have to deal with when your main concern should be on your recovery. At Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway, our Louisville truck accident attorneys are passionate about protecting the rights of those who have been injured due to another’s negligence.
Call us today at (502) 244-7772 to discuss your legal options and rights.
What if There is More Than One Party Responsible for the Truck Accident?
When there are different parties bearing responsibility for damages suffered from a truck accident, they will each be held liable for their percentage of fault for the accident. Kentucky state follows comparative fault rules, which apportions liability for damages based on each party’s percentage of fault. Fault is determined by the nature of the conduct of each party at fault, and the extent of their causal relation between the conduct and the total damages. This also means that if the victim is found to bear some fault in the accident, they will be responsible for their damages in the percent of fault apportioned to them.
Can I Seek Compensation Outside PIP?
Kentucky is a “no-fault” accident state, which means drivers are required to purchase their own Personal Injury Protection insurance policy to compensate them for any losses sustained in the event of an accident. However, the minimum PIP policy limit is only $10,000 which is not usually enough to cover the high expense of catastrophic injuries that occur in trucking collisions.
Thankfully, there are exceptions to this rule that allow truck accident victims to seek further compensation from the at-fault party:
- A fracture or broken bone
- Amputation injury
- Permanent injury or body disfigurement
- Permanent loss of bodily function
- Wrongful death
If your medical expenses total at least $1,000 and you meet any of the above criteria, a Louisville truck accident lawyer can help file a claim with the negligent truck driver or trucking company.
Common FMCSA Violations
Trucks pose a significant hazard to other vehicles on the road due to their size and weight. Because of this, there are federal regulations for truckers and their employers to ensure the safety of drivers on the road. However, trucking companies frequently put profits ahead of safety and either pressure their drivers into exceeding their limits or outright violating the regulations altogether.
Some of the most common FMCSA regulation violations include:
- Truck drivers exceeding the hours of service limit
- Truck drivers operating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Trucks that are improperly loaded or overloaded
- Trucking companies that do not perform regular maintenance of their vehicles
Work With a Louisville Truck Accident Lawyer to Secure Compensation
Semi-truck and tractor-trailer accidents can have one or multiple causes. At Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway we have an experienced team of accident investigators and reconstructionists that help us determine the exact cause of your accident so that we can pursue all avenues of compensation for you and your loved ones. If you have been injured in a commercial semi-truck accident, contact our Louisville truck accident attorneys today. Our team of skilled personal injury attorneys in Louisville can provide legal support for your case and fight for maximum compensation. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and find out how our attorneys can help with your specific case.
For more information about our experience handling truck accidents throughout Kentucky, contact our truck accident attorneys in Louisville at (502) 244-7772 . We are here to help you seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries or loss.
- Product Liability Settlement $95 Million
- Hospital Liability Settlement $55 Million
- Product Liability Settlement $30 Million
- Truck Accident Jury Verdict $27.3 Million
- We Have Some of the Largest Verdicts & Settlements in KY
- Our Senior Partner is an Inner Circle of Advocates Member
- We Have Over 5 Decades of Experience
- In-House Medical Staff to Assist in Case Preparation & Investigations
- You Won’t Pay Any Upfront Costs
- Respected Among Other Firms For Our Reputation in Handling Complex Cases