Cars may have gotten a lot safer over the years, with handy features like forward collision detection and automatic emergency braking. But at the end of the day, there’s no way to get around the basic laws of physics. At highway speeds, an ordinary passenger vehicle is no match for the 80,000 lbs. of a fully loaded semi-truck.
Large trucks, buses, and other commercial vehicles are responsible for causing thousands of severe injuries and traffic deaths each year. If you or a loved one gets hurt by one, you expect them to do the right thing and pay you what you deserve for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
But as good as the trucking industry is at hauling cargo across the country, they’re also very good at getting out of paying fair settlements for injury claims. They conduct biased investigations, sometimes even hiding key evidence. They minimize the severity of your injuries and disregard how they impact your life. They’ll make a settlement offer that’s only a fraction of what you really deserve—and tell you if you want more, you’ll have to sue.
You should be focusing on healing and getting back to living your best life—not playing hardball with the trucking company and their insurance provider. Buffalo truck accident attorney Jeff Marion would love to sit down, talk with you about your case, and give you free, unbiased, and compassionate advice about what to do next.
Why Choose Jeff Marion Law?
Jeff Marion has represented victims of car accidents, truck accidents, and other personal injuries in Buffalo and Western New York for more than 25 years.
He’s an experienced trial attorney who isn’t afraid to take complex and challenging truck accident cases to trial when necessary. That’s a crucial skill for a truck accident lawyer, since these cases tend to involve serious injuries, complex questions about liability, and insurance companies that fight extra aggressively to limit payouts as much as possible.
But it’s not just about the check at the end of the case. Dealing with the aftermath of a truck accident can be a profoundly frustrating, confusing, and stressful experience. Injury victims need more than just a legal expert, and you should expect more from your attorney. When you work with us, you get our full “concierge service”:
- You’re going to get an actual human being (probably Jeff) on the phone when you call.
- You’re going to get your questions answered, by call or by email, the same day (or at least within 24 hours), no matter when you reach out.
- You will be able to talk with your attorney directly, regularly, on the phone or in person. (You won’t even have to head downtown—our office is conveniently located in Williamsville. We can also come to you.)
- You will never feel like a number, or a nuisance, or that you’re sending emails into the void every time you need answers.
In other words, first-class service in the way that we communicate and the way that we care for our clients. If that sounds like the kind of lawyer you want to hire, give us a call today.
Why Truck Accidents Are Different
In theory, accidents involving large trucks shouldn’t be treated any differently by the legal system than any other kind of motor vehicle accident. The basic concept of liability is the same. So are the damages you can claim.
But in practice, big truck cases tend to have some major differences from more ordinary car accidents. For example:
- Catastrophic injuries. Fully loaded commercial trucks are 15 to 30 times heavier than a typical passenger vehicle. As a result, truck accident injuries are frequently life-altering or fatal. Many truck accident victims require lengthy hospitalization and multiple surgeries. Others suffer a lifetime of headaches, dizziness, and emotional and cognitive difficulties due to a traumatic brain injury. You may need home care. You may not be able to go back to work. The nature of your relationships may be permanently altered.
- Multiple potentially liable parties. In a regular auto accident between passenger cars, fault is typically assigned to one (or both) drivers. But determining liability for a truck crash can be much trickier. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, the truck driver, trucking company, truck owner (if it isn’t either of the above), maintenance company, cargo loader, equipment manufacturer, and other parties might bear some of the responsibility.
- Complex legal work. Because of the above two factors, truck accident personal injury claims tend to be much trickier to litigate than a typical car accident. To prove liability, your attorney may need to preserve and obtain trucking company logbooks, driver training and discipline records, crash event recorders, dashcam footage, and more. They will also need a strong knowledge of federal and state trucking regulations. And if catastrophic injuries are involved, making sure you get all the medical care you need (and all the medical records from each procedure) will take time. So will calculating the long-term emotional and financial impact of your injuries.
- Available insurance coverage. Trucking companies are required to carry much more liability insurance than ordinary passenger vehicle drivers. On the plus side, this means your case could be worth millions. But it also motivates the insurance company to aggressively defend the case, too.
Truck Accidents Are Dangerous (and Deadly)
When a tractor trailer is involved in an accident, the results can be catastrophic compared to a car crash. The risk of permanent or fatal injuries increases significantly. Also, these crashes tend to occur on highways where there are more vehicles traveling at higher speeds. A careless truck driver can cause serious injuries, resulting in crushing medical expenses, as well as the need for lifelong care.
The numbers are shocking. The National Safety Council, a major nonprofit organization focusing on safety research and advocacy, estimated that in 2021 there 117,300 injury crashes in the U.S. involving a large truck (10,000 pounds or heavier). There were also an estimated 5,700 fatalities—a 49% increase from just 10 years earlier.
When you see numbers this big, it’s easy to forget that each one is a human being. Someone with family and friends who love them. Someone active in their community as a teacher, mentor, colleague, volunteer, helper. Accidents aren’t just devastating for truck accident victims themselves. They affect entire communities.
Victims deserve more than compensation. They deserve accountability, and a safer future for everyone.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
There are several factors that can lead to trucking accidents. Here are just a few of the most common.
- Speeding. In the trucking and transport industry, drivers often face significant time crunches. Passengers want to make it to their destination by a certain time, delivery deadlines must be met, and so on. Thus, truck drivers are incentivized to make it to the final destination as quickly as possible. Some interstate truck drivers are even paid per mile driven. It’s not hard to see why that would be a safety concern.
- Distraction. Distracted driving affects more than large truck drivers, but it can be more dangerous with these vehicles based on their size and weight. Distracted driving includes cell phone use, texting, surfing the Internet, eating, fiddling with the radio, or doing anything besides focusing 100% on the road.
- Driver fatigue. FMCSA regulations are designed to limit the amount of hours a truck driver can be on the road and mandate regular rest breaks, but these regulations are frequently ignored by truck drivers and trucking companies that put profit over safety. Drivers who are tired suffer from limited reaction times, propensity to dozing off, lapses in judgment, and failures in perceiving depth, among other issues. Studies show tired drivers do not make as good of decisions as drivers who are well-rested.
- Drunk/impaired driving. Commercial truck and bus drivers are prohibited from driving while intoxicated or impaired. For the average driver, the legal limit of intoxication is a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08%. Furthermore, tractor trailer and bus drivers should not be using controlled substances while driving.
- Negligent hiring or training practices. Trucking companies are responsible for the drivers they put on the road. Unfortunately, many companies cut corners on background checks or training procedures, or fail to properly evaluate (and when necessary, fire) drivers with a history of dangerous driving.
- Poor maintenance. Trucks are supposed to be rigorously inspected and maintained, according to a set schedule, to ensure they remain safe to operate. If a truck wreck is caused by a mechanical failure or breakdown that could and should have been caught or fixed with routine maintenance, whoever was responsible for scheduling or performing the work may be at fault.
- Cargo loading issues. When cargo isn’t loaded or secured properly, the risk of a rollover or other serious crash increases dramatically.
Don’t Wait to Talk to a Truck Accident Lawyer
Evidence has a funny way of disappearing pretty quickly after an auto accident, and commercial truck accidents are no exception.
To get the evidence needed to put together a winning case, an experienced truck accident lawyer may need to gain access to driver logbooks, “black box” data from the semi-truck, employment and training records, maintenance records, dash cam and security cam footage, and more. They may need to get an accident reconstructionist on the site, or examine physical evidence (such as exploded tires, damaged brakes, etc.)
Some of this evidence can start to disappear only a few days after the wreck. And for things like driver logbooks, trucking companies only have to keep them for a limited time before they can legally destroy them. If those logs have evidence proving their driver was responsible—and neither you nor your attorney intervenes—you can bet they’ll get rid of them as soon as possible.
In the meantime, you’ll probably also hear from a claims adjuster from the insurance company. They may sound friendly, but they’re not on your side. They won’t give you the full story. They won’t tell you about any evidence they found that is harmful to the trucking company. They won’t tell you how much they have available to pay your truck accident claim. Their job is to make your case go away, as quickly and cheaply as possible.
You deserve more than a token payoff for a life that’s been permanently diminished by injury, and a lifetime of medical bills. But the deck is stacked against you. The sooner you start working with an experienced truck accident lawyer, the better your chances of leveling the playing field.
Choosing the Right Attorney
Not all truck accident attorneys are created equal. Choosing the right attorney for your case is a critically important step, and it also depends on things like how severe your injuries are, and what you want to get from your case.
You’ll probably want to know if your attorney has any experience dealing with large truck crashes. Because truck accident claims are big, complicated, and expensive to litigate, some firms simply don’t have the resources necessary to take them on. There’s too much risk.
You also should ask whether your attorney is willing to take your case to trial, if it comes to that. Because of the severity of injuries, the damages involved, and much higher insurance limits, it’s far more likely that you’ll need to file a lawsuit and (eventually) go to trial to get maximum compensation. Is your attorney aggressive enough to go the distance for (and with) you, or will they simply take the best settlement offer they can get and move on?
Follow Us on Social For More Info, Tips, and Updates
Educating everyday people about personal injury law and helping them stay informed and safe is a personal passion for Jeff. That’s why he started his YouTube and Instagram channels, where you can find news, updates, and tips on a range of personal injury topics. Check us out, like, subscribe, and feel free to ask questions in the comments—Jeff actually reads and responds to them personally!
Hurt in a Commercial Truck Accident? Let’s Talk
If you, or one of your relatives, are injured in a crash with a bus, tractor trailer, or any other commercial vehicle of any size, call or e-mail Jeff. He has been fighting for the injured for more than 25 years, including those hurt in large truck accidents. He has the resources to properly investigate your personal injury claim, and will work with you to put your life back together.
There’s no cost or obligation to talk with Jeff. He’ll review your case for free and give you honest feedback about your case. If we think we can help you further, and you hire our legal team, you won’t owe us anything unless we win your case. And if not, we’ll still help you understand your options and make an informed decision about what to do next.
Jeff has created concierge legal team dedicated to giving each of his clients his full attention and first-class service. Your calls will always be answered. You’ll get real, understandable answers to your questions. You will always be in the loop and in control. And he’ll work hard to get you the fair compensation you deserve. Call (716)-589-6655 or use our online contact form to request a free case evaluation today.