Runaway trailer attorneys in Virginia
While tractor-trailers (also known as "big rigs" or "semi-trucks") are a vital part of Virginia’s economy, they can be a menacing presence as they lumber along our roadways. A fully-loaded big rig can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds, dwarfing the average passenger vehicle, which weighs about 4,000 pounds. In a collision between the two, the smaller vehicle is never the winner.
Not only do a semi-truck’s size and weight make it dangerous, but semis are composed of multiple parts: the tractor and the trailer, and in some cases, two trailers. In disastrous cases, the trailer can detach from the cab, and barrel down the road without a driver. Such runaway trailers have been known to cross lanes of traffic, rollover, and crash into other vehicles.
If you’ve been injured or lost a family member because of a large truck, you may have grounds for a personal injury or wrongful death claim. In a lawsuit, you may be able to recover money for medical bills, lost wages, burial expenses, and much more. To find out about your legal rights and options, contact our team at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. We are here to help our neighbors in Eastern Virginia when things go wrong.
The first thing you should do if you or a passenger has been injured in a truck accident in Virginia is call 911. Once everyone is taken care of, exchange information with all the people involved in the accident including any possible witnesses.
Use your phone to take pictures of all cars and trucks involved in the accident and to record the extent of damage. Take photos of your injuries and the accident site, including any skid marks.
It’s a very good idea to contact a Virginia lawyer who specializes in truck accidents as soon as you can. You can reach GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys at (804) 413-6777 or toll-free at (855) 781-6777.
A trailer can break away from a tractor for multiple reasons, but none are excusable. Shipping companies and truck drivers have to make sure a trailer and its load are as secure as possible.
The following are common causes of trailers breaking away:
- Road conditions: Ice, rain, snow, and oil on a road surface can cause a trailer to move separately from the tractor, jackknife, and become detached. Sometimes, for truckers, it’s better not to risk the run.
- Speeding: Speeding can cause a trailer to break away if the tractor brakes suddenly or too quickly, and the velocity of the trailer stays the same. This can cause jackknifing and snap the connections between tractor and trailer.
- Steep declines: When a tractor slows down or brakes while heading down a steep decline, the weight of the trailer can cause it to move independently of the tractor and break away.
- Sudden turns: When the tractor suddenly changes direction, the momentum of the trailer can cause it to jackknife and break free.
- Brake failure: Trailers are equipped with their own brakes, intended to work in conjunction with the tractor’s brakes. If the trailer’s brakes fail, there is nothing but the tractor’s brakes to slow the trailer’s momentum. That may not be enough.
- Overloaded, or improperly loaded, trailers: For safety reasons, semi-trucks must be loaded properly. Overloading a trailer may make its weight too much for the braking capacity of both tractor and trailer. If a trailer is loaded unevenly, it can be lopsided, making it more likely to jackknife or rollover.
- Faulty equipment: Faulty or poorly maintained truck parts, such as hydraulic brakes, steering mechanisms, hitches, and tires, can all result in runaway trailer accidents.
The danger of runaway trailers isn’t limited to them hitting you. In nearby Kentucky, two motorcyclists ran into a utility trailer that came loose on a highway. Tragically, both were killed. Even pickup truck owners must take care when hitching a tow. They can be held responsible if they make a deadly mistake and allow thousands of pounds of metal to careen wildly out on the roadway, endangering everyone around them.
Determining liability in an accident caused by a runaway truck comes down to discovering the precise causes of the accident. Your attorney will investigate the situation to find out which of the following parties are responsible for the damages you have suffered:
- The truck driver. If the driver goes too fast or otherwise disobeys local speed limits, they are putting you and others on the road in danger. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, distracted driving, or exhaustion that results from driving too many hours are also factors that make the driver culpable for your injuries.
- Mechanics and maintenance technicians. If proper maintenance is not performed on a truck’s brakes or the hitches, brakes can fail, or the hitches may break or release, which are two major reasons why a trailer would separate from the truck on the highway.
- Owners, supervisors, and administrators within the trucking company. The people in charge of a company are ultimately responsible for the actions of their employees and the safety of their equipment. That’s why they need to be held accountable for any death or injury that results from their negligence.
The experienced truck accident team at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys will sit down with you to fully understand the accident that caused your injuries. Then we will conduct a full investigation to find out the cause of the accident and determine who should be held accountable to provide you with fair compensation for your injuries. If the insurance companies don’t want to offer a reasonable settlement, we are ready to go to court to get you the compensation you deserve.
Damages for a runaway truck accident may include:
- Emergency medical care
- Surgical procedures
- Long-term medical care
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death claims
Filing a claim against a trucking company can be complicated because these cases usually involve multiple insurers. Trucking insurance companies have high-priced lawyers on staff whose job is to limit their client’s responsibility for accidents, and reduce the amount they have to pay out to you, the injured person.
To have a successful claim against a trucking company, you’ll need a skilled and ethical attorney on your side. Both Ken Gibson and John Singleton have deep experience. Before starting their own law firm, Ken handled thousands of cases as a state and federal prosecutor, and John handled trial litigation for a large insurance defense firm. As former U.S. Marines, they bring toughness and commitment to service to helping every client.
For a free consultation with a Virginia truck accident lawyer, call GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys today at (804) 413-6777 or toll-free at (855) 781-6777.
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Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.
- Safety Education
GibsonSingleton launches “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
- Annual Coat Drive
During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
- Hands-on Service
John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
- Supporting Local Schools
The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.