According to the Kentucky State Police, there were 10,650 crashes involving trucks in 2019. More than 100 people were killed and thousands more injured, some seriously. Lives are lost and others changed forever when someone is negligent while operating a 40-ton vehicle.

If you have been injured in a crash involving a semi-truck, or if a loved one has been injured or killed, you may be able to sue for compensation, including medical and/or funeral expenses, lost income, and property damage. Any auto crash can be deadly, but the sheer size and weight of 18-wheelers make them some of the most severe.

At the Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates, we help clients and their families in Shepherdsville, Kentucky and the surrounding communities seek compensation for devastating injuries and deaths caused by trucking accidents. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation.

Kentucky Laws Regarding Truck Accidents

There is a one-year statute of limitations for personal injury or wrongful death claims in Kentucky. That means the injured party has one year from the date of the crash to initiate a claim with an insurer or file a lawsuit. A wrongful death claim must be made or a lawsuit filed in court within one year of the date of the individual’s death, which could be later than the crash.

A driver involved in a vehicular crash that results in bodily injury or death, or total property damage of $500 or more, must file a report with the Kentucky State Police within 10 days of the crash.

Kentucky law holds employers vicariously liable for the acts of their employees while operating in the scope of their employment. This means that the trucking company and its insurer may be held liable when an employee causes a crash.

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Who Can Be Held Liable?

Liability or “fault” for an 18-wheeler accident can lie with more than one person or entity. You may have grounds to sue any party whose negligence contributed to the crash, including:

  • The driver who failed to operate the semi-truck properly, logged excessive hours on the road and was fatigued, or simply failed to pay attention.
  • The trucking company that failed to adequately train or supervise the driver, placed profit above safety, or put a driver with a poor safety record back on the road.
  • The manufacturer of the semi-truck or trailer, or of parts used on them, that provided faulty parts, like defective brakes, or a compromised coupling mechanism, that led to the crash.
  • Maintenance personnel who failed to properly inspect, repair, and maintain the vehicle.
  • The person who improperly loaded cargo if shifting or falling cargo contributed to the crash.

Factors in Determining Liability

There are other factors considered when determining liability for a crash, including potential negligence or pure comparative fault on the part of drivers of passenger vehicles involved, as well as road and weather conditions at the time of the crash.

Steps to Take

Those involved in any vehicular crash are required to exchange information and move vehicles out of the way. When injuries or fatalities are involved, you should call 911, leave vehicles in place, and remain on the scene until law enforcement arrives. You can collect information from drivers and witnesses and take photos of the vehicles, roadway, and debris.

Kentucky law also states that you should provide reasonable assistance to others in the crash, including assisting emergency responders with any injured individuals, if requested to do so.

After the crash, don’t post any photos or other information about the crash on social media, don’t speak with any potentially liable parties or their insurers, and retain a personal injury attorney with experience in pursuing truck accident claims.

If a loved one was incapacitated or killed in a trucking crash, seek the help of an attorney right away. Preservation of evidence is critical to establishing your case.

Why Hiring A Skilled Attorney is Important

The one-year statute of limitations on settling a claim or filing a civil suit in a Kentucky court gives you very little leeway to work with. You need to retain an experienced personal injury attorney right away. Your attorney can investigate the circumstances of the crash and seek to prove liability. This might require a crash reconstruction, witness interviews, and vehicle inspections. The federal government requires the trucking industry to comply with rigorous safety standards. You need an attorney who knows those regulations and how to determine if those standards were breached.

Trucking companies have a lot of money at stake in a crash. This means their insurers will have highly compensated attorneys working on their side. You need someone with the best legal expertise and experience fighting for you to make sure everyone liable for your injuries or your loved one’s death is held accountable.

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