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Can You File a Wrongful Death Claim Against a Negligent Trucking Company?

September 15, 2023

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The tragedy of losing a loved one in a truck accident that could have been prevented is unthinkable. But families are faced with this reality every day. If you and your family are faced with this type of devastating loss, know that you have every right to take legal action against those responsible. But how do you determine who is responsible, and what can you do about it? A Cleveland semi-truck accident lawyer from Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy can help you fight for your rights and compensation for your loss.

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In legal terms, it is called a wrongful death when another person or entity causes someone’s death. For many years, the people most affected by a person’s wrongful death could not take legal action against the responsible parties. Fortunately, that is not the case today, as our legal system offers an avenue of justice known as a wrongful death lawsuit.

To file a wrongful death lawsuit, the person filing (the plaintiff) will represent the decedent’s survivors in court. Usually, this person is the named executor of the decedent’s estate, often a spouse or child of the decedent. With the assistance of a semi-truck accident attorney, parents, dependent family members, close relatives, or other official representatives can also file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Common Causes of Fatal Semi-Truck Accidents

According to traffic safety facts from the NHTSA, thousands die in trucking accidents each year, and many more are injured. In 2020 alone, almost five thousand people died in a truck-involved accident. These numbers are particularly shocking when you consider that in 2020, the country was largely shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and fewer drivers were out on the roads.

Here are some common causes of fatal semi-truck accidents include:

  • Driver error: Truck drivers are usually under so much pressure to keep up with supply chain timelines that they sometimes resort to reckless behavior. This includes aggressive driving and even alcohol or drug use. Overwork can also lead to fatigued or distracted driving, especially when driving for hours on end.
  • Lack of proper vehicle maintenance: Both truck drivers and trucking companies are responsible for ensuring the vehicles in their fleet are in good working order before they get on the road. Failure to perform regular maintenance checks could result in fatal accidents.
  • Bad weather conditions: Poor weather conditions like heavy rain or snow can make driving difficult and increase the chances of getting into an accident.
  • Improper loading: Improperly loaded cargo can become unbalanced and shift during transit, which may result in the driver losing control of the truck. Overloaded trucks also increase the chances of accidents.

Determining Fault in a Semi-Truck Accident

Finding out who is at fault in a semi-truck accident can be a challenging process, which is why victims may need the assistance of a Cleveland semi-truck accident lawyer. Sometimes, the responsibility lies clearly with the truck driver or the big rig trucking company. Other times, a third party could be at fault.

For example, if an accident occurs due to a mechanical failure that could have been avoided had proper maintenance checks been done, the trucking company may be held liable. The loading company may be responsible if the accident resulted from improperly secured or distributed cargo. If the big rig trucking company hires a driver and overlooks their poor driving record, the company may be liable if that driver causes an accident. There could also be a multi-party liability where more than one party is sued simultaneously.

Proving Negligence of a Trucking Company

Every state has laws or statutes that govern how to file a wrongful death claim. However, you won’t have a chance of getting fair compensation without a skilled attorney on your side. A semi-truck accident attorney in Cleveland will know Ohio’s wrongful death claim laws and can gather the necessary evidence to show which parties were at fault and why.

Damages That Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Suit

The relatives of the deceased may be able to recover the following damages in a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • Medical expenses: The family might be able to receive compensation for medical expenses if the decedent received medical treatment before passing away.
  • Funeral and burial expenses: The family may receive compensation for the funeral and burial expenses.
  • Pain and Suffering: The family may be able to obtain compensation for the pain and suffering their loved one experienced before passing away.

Other potentially recoupable damages include lost income, loss of companionship and emotional support, and punitive damages.

A Semi-Truck Accident Attorney in Cleveland Can Help

Have you lost a loved one in a semi-truck accident due to someone else’s negligence? A Cleveland semi-truck accident attorney can help you understand your legal options and get just compensation. Contact Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy semi-truck accident attorneys to review your case and get legal assistance.

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