Causes, Liability & The Law
West Virginia’s economy is heavily influenced by commodity extraction and transportation of extracted raw materials such as timber, coal, oil, shale, gas, and other materials. As a result, the roads and highways throughout large portions of rural West Virginia have become exceptionally hazardous. Steep, twisting mountain roads are overburdened with extremely large, heavily weighted commercial vehicles, engines, pumps, and other equipment that is being transported around the state on roads that were not built to handle this type of traffic.
In and around Morgantown and throughout the state of West Virginia, there are simply too many vehicles on roads that were not built to accommodate this amount of traffic. More traffic leads to more accidents – and more injuries.
There are five main contributing factors to accidents caused by the operators of large trucks and commercial vehicles in West Virginia.
1. Overloaded Trucks – All too often, in an effort to skimp on transportation costs, company owners, managers, and drivers allow commercial transport trucks to be overloaded with materials. These excess materials cannot be safely contained and frequently fly off of the trucks while in motion and may hit other vehicles sharing the road.
2. Overweight Trucks – Many of the materials transported over our West Virginia roads are quite dense in weight. With fresh timber weighing up to 85 lbs. per cubic foot and oil weighing in at eight lbs. per gallon, it adds up fast. Excess shipment weight can easily exceed the performance and stopping capability of a truck’s brakes when drivers allow a truck to carry more weight than it was built to handle.
3. Vehicle (and Driver) Instability – Shifting product on a massive scale can lead to serious hazards including loss of control, rollovers, jackknifing, and other types of accidents that are much more likely to result in serious injuries and fatalities. Additionally, the inherent nature of the lifestyle of long-haul truck drivers, such as spending many hours sitting behind a wheel all day, every day, for years (and all that entails), may create issues ranging from drowsy driving to heart disease and abuse of stimulant drugs.
4. Company Liability – In many cases, the company who owns and operates the vehicle in question may be responsible (in addition to the driver). When sheer profit overtakes all aspects of a company’s corporate philosophy, a trail of destruction often follows. The act of pushing workers to work and drive unrealistic schedules beyond the point of exhaustion is a well-known recipe for disaster. Additionally, poorly maintained large trucks and commercial vehicles are strongly correlated with dismemberment, disability, serious injury, and death on West Virginia highways.
5. Driver Fatigue/Impairment – When operators of large trucks and commercial equipment take the wheel when overworked or under the influence of mind-altering substances, the likelihood of accidents increases dramatically. Whether pressured by an employer to drive long distances without adequate rest to meet a deadline or a driver makes the decision to consume alcohol or illicit drugs, the resulting lack of inability to concentrate can create a dangerous level of impairment leading to an accident with catastrophic – and sometimes fatal – consequences.
Accidents involving commercial vehicles are much different than passenger vehicle accidents. When collisions with large commercial trucks and heavy equipment occur on the roads, highways, and interstate passageways of West Virginia, several entities may share responsibility. Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law leaves no stone unturned.
Injured? We Offer Legal Guidance & Pursue Maximum Financial Compensation
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured, or a loved one has died, as a result of another person or entity’s recklessness or negligence, contact the skilled personal injury attorneys at Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law right away. We cannot take away an injury or a death; however, we can provide comfort, exceptional legal guidance, and the vigilance required to help ensure that our clients are able to pursue the maximum financial compensation allowed by law for serious injuries and wrongful death. That is what we do.
Contact Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law: (304) 292-4381.