Columbus Truck Accident Lawyer

Do I Need A Columbus Truck Accident Lawyer?

In this video, GB injury attorney and Columbus truck accident lawyer J. Scott Bowman answers common questions about proceeding after you’ve been injured in a truck accident:

  • The information required to determine if you or someone you know has a personal injury case after being in a truck accident. (1:17)
  • How to proceed in dealing with insurance after you’ve been in a truck accident? (1:46)
  • What types of claims you can be compensated for after you’ve sustained an injury in a truck accident. (2:44)
  • Why you should hire GB Law after you’ve been in a truck accident. (3:40)

The attorneys with GB Law have been representing clients in cases involving big-rigs, tractor-trailers, and semi-trucks for more than 35 years. 

We understand the unique and challenging aspects of these complex cases and have recovered more than $200 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients.

If you were injured in a Columbus, Ohio, truck accident, contact us today to discuss your options

It is especially important to preserve evidence in truck crashes, so contacting a lawyer right away can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.

How Common are Truck Accidents in Columbus?

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Unfortunately, serious truck accidents occur in central Ohio every day. In 2021 alone, a total of 523,796 large truck accidents occurred across the United States. According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, there were over 3,000 truck accidents in the state of Ohio in 2020, many of which involved fatalities and serious injuries. 

Truck accidents in Columbus, Ohio, can be devastating events, resulting in catastrophic, life-changing injuries and fatalities in a matter of seconds. 

Of the 268 million vehicles registered in the United States, 11.5 million are large commercial trucks.

Passenger vehicles are required to share the road with these massive vehicles every single day when we drive to work and school. 

Because of their weight and size, being involved in an accident with a commercial truck and not being injured is somewhat uncommon. While 18-wheelers and tractor-trailers play an important role in our economy, they are huge hazards on U.S. roadways and interstates.

What Should You Do Following a Truck Accident?

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You should get legal help as soon as possible. 

If you are injured in an accident involving a large truck, you should contact an experienced Columbus truck accident attorney as soon as possible. 

Evidence may be lost if it is not collected soon after the accident.

In many cases, the proof of a truck driver’s fault can be found in their log book. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act, the trucking company can destroy log books within six months of a wreck. 

Many lawyers don’t know how to secure a truck driver’s logbook or other important evidence before it is destroyed. 

An experienced lawyer will take immediate steps to preserve all of the important evidence before it is destroyed by the trucking company or lost forever.

Transportation companies such as FedEx, UPS, J.B. Hunt, and Swift Transportation have teams of lawyers and investigators ready to minimize their liability for the accident and vigorously defend litigation. 

You need an experienced Columbus truck accident lawyer on your side.

GB Law has the resources to fight these transportation giants and hold them liable for the accident.

How Will GB Law Hold the Trucking Company Responsible?

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We will immediately notify the motor carrier (trucking company) that we are on the case. Our attorneys will then demand the trucking company preserve all relevant evidence by sending a legal notice called a spoliation letter.

From there, we will use every avenue available to find all evidence and establish the truck driver’s negligence and liability for all of the harm and damages caused by the wreck.

We will immediately request the driver’s logbook, which includes the number of miles traveled, duty-on and duty-off times, as well as the driving record.

The truck driver’s medical records will be requested to determine if the accident was caused by sleep apnea, driver fatigue, or other medical conditions.

Information about the truck driver’s prior driving record will be obtained to discover any evidence of prior DUIs and traffic offenses.

We will also obtain the freight bill and bill of lading, which is issued as a receipt of goods and establishes ownership of the property that was transported, and the names of the contracting parties.

Motor carriers often equip trucks with electronic recording GPS devices or onboard computers to operate similarly to an aircraft cockpit voice recorder or “black box.” 

This information may reveal the vehicle’s traveling speed that day, the last recorded speed before the collision, and when and if the brakes were applied prior to a collision. 

It is important to request this be preserved immediately because if the truck drives away from the scene, the data may be soon recorded over.

Because evidence and witness recollections can disappear following an accident, you should contact an experienced attorney immediately.

Understanding Trucking Industry Regulation in the United States

Since January 1, 2000, the trucking industry has been regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

Their website mission statement reads, “The primary mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.” 

The agency employs about 1,150 people and has field offices in all 50 states. The FMCSA field office in Ohio is located in the Bricker Federal Office Building at 200 N. High Street in Columbus. 

State agencies, such as the Ohio State Highway Patrol, help the FMCSA with compliance and enforcement.

What Do FMCSA Regulations Cover?

FMCSA regulations are important because they outline the responsibilities of a commercial motor carrier (trucking company) and commercial driver. 

When an accident occurs, whether or not relevant regulations were complied with can determine the liability of the truck driver or the motor carrier. 

Carrier responsibilities, operational control, and liability are often disputed when accidents occur. For example, motor carriers have attempted to defend lawsuits by saying they are not supervising drivers in leased trucks.

Some of the FMCSA regulations cover:

Driver Qualifications

Just like any commercial pilot flying an airplane in the U.S., a driver of a commercial truck must be proficient in English. They must also have a valid commercial driver’s license and be at least 21 years of age.

Minimum Insurance Requirements

The FMCSA recognizes that trucking accidents are often much more destructive and deadlier than a collision involving two passenger vehicles, and sets minimum insurance requirements. 

The minimum insurance is $750,000 but is much higher for vehicles carrying hazardous materials. States may also require higher than federal minimum liability limits.

Drug Testing

Motor carrier companies are subject to strict drug testing requirements, prior to hiring or contracting with a driver, following an accident, whenever reasonable suspicion exists, or when returning to duty following a positive test or refusal to test. 

Additionally, commercial drivers must be randomly tested throughout the year.

Truck Maintenance, Repairs, and Inspections

Drivers must make pre- and post-trip vehicle inspections and turn in a Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) at the completion of each day’s work. 

Commercial vehicles must be thoroughly inspected per Minimum Period Inspection Standards, at least once every 12 months, including:

  • All components of the brake system
  • Coupling devices
  • Exhaust system
  • Fuel system
  • Lighting devices
  • Loading equipment
  • Steering mechanism
  • Suspension
  • Frame
  • Tires, wheels, and rims
  • Windshield glazing
  • Windshield wipers

Driving Hours and Mandatory Rest

Hours of Service (HOS) regulations impose daily and weekly limits of driving for both property-carrying and passenger-carrying, after which driving is prohibited. 

There are also regulations that prohibit a driver from operating a commercial vehicle and prohibit a motor carrier from operating a commercial vehicle if the driver is impaired by illness, fatigue, or any other cause that makes it unsafe for the driver to begin or continue operating a commercial vehicle.

Why FMCSA Knowledge is Important

When an accident occurs, an attorney with extensive familiarity and knowledge of the FMCSA regulations is important because these rules will apply to the trucking company involved in the accident. 

Violations are common. The trucking company will have a team of attorneys who will attempt to prove that the company didn’t violate any federal regulations, or that the violations did not contribute to the accident.

For the best outcome of your case, you need an attorney who understands the defense counsel strategies. 

At GB Law, we will work with some of the best accident reconstruction engineers and commercial vehicle safety experts to establish the sequence of events that led to the accident and your injuries. 

If the liable parties will not offer a fair settlement in a reasonable period of time, we will not hesitate to take your case to court.


Common Types of Truck Accidents in Columbus

There are many different types of truck accidents throughout Ohio, including but not limited to:

  • 18-wheeler accidents
  • Dump truck and utility vehicle accidents
  • Tanker truck accidents
  • Tractor-trailer and semi-truck accidents
  • Blindspot accidents
  • Driving under the influence
  • Head-on collisions with a truck
  • Hit-and-run truck accidents
  • Jackknife accidents
  • Rear-end accidents
  • Rollover accidents
  • Tire blowouts
  • Underride and override accidents
  • Unsecure cargo
  • Wide-turn crashes

Causes of Truck Accidents in Columbus, Ohio

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The FMCSA has identified the top associated factors assigned in large truck crashes and their percentage of total crashes, based on a probability sample of 120,000 investigated large truck crashes involving at least one large truck and resulted in a fatality or injury:

  • Vehicle: Brake problems (29%)
  • Driver: Traveling too fast for conditions (23%)
  • Driver: Unfamiliar with roadway (22%)
  • Environment: Roadway problems (20%)
  • Driver: Over-the-counter drug use (17%)
  • Driver: Inadequate surveillance (14%)
  • Driver: Fatigue (13%)
  • Driver: Felt under work pressure from carrier (10%)
  • Driver: Made illegal maneuver (9%)
  • Driver: Inattention (9%)
  • Driver: External distraction (8%)
  • Vehicle: Tire problems (6%)
  • Driver: Following too close (5%)
  • Driver: Jackknife (5%)
  • Vehicle: Cargo shift (4%)
  • Driver: Illness (3%)
  • Driver: Internal distraction (2%)
  • Driver: Illegal drugs (2%)
  • Driver: Alcohol (1%)

Many accidents will have several contributing factors, which may reflect the condition of the driver before the crash (i.e. illness, fatigue, drug use) or driver mistakes (i.e. inadequate surveillance, excessive speed, inattention).

What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Commercial Truck Accident Case?

Even a minor truck accident can change your life. 

Many truck accident victims have catastrophic injuries, such as a lost limb, paralysis from a spinal injury, and traumatic brain injuries

These serious truck accident injuries prevent victims from working and doing the things they love. In some cases, victims of truck accidents rely on their loved ones for full around-the-clock care or need to hire a caregiver for the rest of their lives.

If the negligence of the driver or trucking company caused your injuries, you are entitled to compensation after a truck accident. Damages include money for medical care, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.

Our knowledgeable truck accident lawyers can help compensate the accident victim and hold the negligent truck driver, trucking company, and other parties responsible for the accident.

Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a truck accident, fill out our free case review form or call 877-706-6446 to schedule a free consultation. 

All of our cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no fees for our services unless we recover money for you

We look forward to speaking with you and answering your questions.

Columbus Truck Accident FAQs

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What’s Different When a Tractor-Trailer is Involved in a Car Accident?

Truck accidents are much more complex than most accidents between private passenger vehicles. 

In addition to state and local laws, trucking companies are subject to numerous federal regulations. The company and driver must maintain extensive records. Both the company and driver can be liable under a legal concept called respondeat superior.

It’s important that you find the right attorney with knowledge of these extensive laws and regulations in order to fully address the specifics of a trucking accident.

Do Truck Drivers Have Different Rules and Regulations Than Your Average Driver?

Yes. Additional regulations apply from federal law and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Truck drivers are held to a higher standard of care by law than other motorists because they are considered professional drivers who operate very large vehicles that cause devastating harm to other motorists when truck drivers do not follow the regulations set forth in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act. 

These regulations include record-keeping requirements such as the driver qualification file, logbooks, driver violation records, and annual driving record reviews.

A truck driver is subject to hours of service requirements. The driver typically needs a valid CDL (commercial driver’s license). 

The driver must undergo specific training and pass a biannual physical exam with vision, hearing, and communication requirements. There are also rules that apply to pre-trip inspections and securing cargo.

The result is that a capable attorney has many avenues of investigation that can uncover critical violations beyond a simple traffic citation and may provide important means to pursue the full extent of your liability claim for a serious accident.

What if the Truck Driver and/or Trucking Company are Based Outside of Ohio?

Many trucking companies are engaged in interstate transportation. They are generally subject to Ohio jurisdiction if the crash takes place in Ohio. 

The same goes for a truck driver involved in an Ohio crash, regardless of the driver’s state of residence.

If you’re involved in a trucking accident in Ohio, you should be able to bring your claims in Ohio, even if the company and/or driver is based in a different state or if you reside in a different state. 

How is Fault Determined After a Trucking Accident?

If you are involved in a trucking accident, you should call the police if you are able. The police or highway patrol will typically conduct an investigation and create an accident report with statements, diagrams, and/or photographs, which can help with your truck accident case. 

The accident may also be investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) or other government agencies.

It’s important that you don’t just rely on these investigations alone. By contacting a law firm to discuss your accident, the attorney can coordinate an independent investigation into the accident. 

Many trucks are equipped with onboard computers that collect a wealth of data. Some have satellite tracking systems and even cameras. 

The sooner an attorney can get involved, the more likely that these important pieces of evidence can be pursued.

What Should I Do After a Trucking Accident?

In addition to contacting the police, you should take pictures at the scene of the accident and obtain contact information for any witnesses if possible. 

Seek medical attention if you are injured or suspect you may be injured.

Limit your interaction with the truck driver and any company representative or insurance adjuster that may try to communicate with you. 

They are not looking out for your best interest, whether it’s a liability dispute or trying to pin you down to statements about your injuries before you get the full scope of necessary medical care.

Contact an attorney to discuss your legal rights and provide guidance tailored to your best interests.

What Are Your Fees and Costs?

GB Law works on a contingency-fee basis, which means you don’t have to pay us until we settle or win your case.

Contact our law firm as soon as possible for a free case review.