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Kentucky Commercial Truck Accidents Guide

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Kentucky Commercial Truck Accident Guide

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Throughout the highways and roads of Kentucky, commercial trucks play a vital role in the transportation of goods. Unfortunately, this can pose significant risks to themselves or other drivers. Accidents involving semi-trucks can result in devastating consequences, often leading to severe injuries, property damage, and even loss of life. Navigating Kentucky’s legal landscape to seek compensation for your injuries can be overwhelming. That’s where we come in.

As seasoned personal injury attorneys dedicated to serving the residents of Kentucky, Morrin Law understands the challenges associated with commercial truck accidents. We’ve provided you with a comprehensive guide, so you have the knowledge and resources necessary to tackle the road ahead.

From understanding the common causes of commercial truck accidents to unraveling the intricacies of liability and insurance coverage, this guide will walk you through each step of the journey towards securing the compensation your injuries deserve.

What is a Commercial Vehicle?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) defines a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) as any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle that a company uses on a highway in interstate commerce. It is considered to have a gross vehicle weight of 10,0001 pounds or more.

Other common names for a commercial vehicle include:

  • Tractor trailer;
  • Semi-truck;
  • 18-wheeler;
  • Big rig;
  • Box truck;
  • Dump truck;
  • Tanker;
  • Flatbed; and/or
  • Commercial truck (commonly used throughout this guide).

What Causes Commercial Vehicle Accidents?

According to FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, the most common causes of accidents involving commercial trucks include:

  • Unsafe driving – Negligent driving behavior including lack of seat belts, improper lane changes, or phone use while driving.
  • Hours of service noncompliance – “Hours of service” refers to the maximum amount of time CMV drivers are permitted to be on duty, which includes both the driving time and the times for rest. All CMV drivers must comply with the regulations set out under 49 CFR 395, or else a collision or other dangerous outcome can occur.
  • Poor vehicle maintenance – Commercial trucks who do not follow the inspection, repair, and maintenance required under FMCSA’s Chapter 396 can lead to collisions. This chapter covers general, roadside, driver vehicle, and annual inspections relating to commercial trucks. Under 396.7, a CMV must not be operated in such a condition as to likely cause an accident or a breakdown of the vehicle.
  • Alcohol and drug use – CMV drivers who unlawfully use drugs or alcohol at any time during their driving duties can create a dangerous environment on the roadway and lead to collisions. FMCSA states that “all drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles subject to the CDL requirements on public roads in the U.S. are performing safety-sensitive functions and are subject to DOT drug and alcohol testing (§382.103).” This testing is for all part-time, full-time, intermittent, backup, and international drivers and tests for the following substances:
    • Marijuana
    • Cocaine
    • Opiates
    • Amphetamines and methamphetamines
    • Phencyclidine (PCP)

Testing for drugs and alcohol occurs pre-employment, at-random, and post-accident. To review which post-accident scenarios require automatic testing by the CMV driver’s employer, refer to the page here.

  • Hazardous materials non-compliance – When commercial trucks carry certain materials and fail to adhere to the specific regulations pertaining to such transportation, it can lead to a collision. When carrying any radioactive, toxic, or explosive material, it may require obtaining a Hazardous Materials (HM) Safety Permit. To review the materials that require a HM permit, read FMCSA’s page here.


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Injuries from a Commercial Vehicle Collision

A standard passenger vehicle has a weight of 6,000 pounds or less. In comparison, a commercial vehicle can weigh anywhere between 10,000 and 25,000 pounds. Given the massive difference in size and weight, getting into an accident with a commercial truck can lead to serious injuries or even death.

Common injuries sustained in an accident involving a semi-truck in Kentucky include, but are not limited to:

Even if the injuries you experienced due to a collision with a commercial truck are not listed above, you should still consider reaching out to an experienced Kentucky personal injury attorney to assess the physical and financial damages you have suffered. The attorneys with Morrin Law may advise that you file a personal injury claim.

It is easy to see how a crash involving a semi-truck can turn tragic in an instant. Depending on the severity of the collision, the injured person or party may experience physical, mental, and emotional pain. Additionally, funding the common injuries that can result from this type of car crash in Kentucky can add up quickly.

Damages are considered the financial losses that result from an accident. When you hire Morrin Law to represent your case, we can seek compensation for the following damages:

  • Medical bills;
  • Past, current, or future medical treatment;
  • Costs for vehicle repair;
  • Lost wages due to missing work;
  • Reduced earnings from the injuries; and
  • Emotional distress.

Kentucky Data on Commercial Truck Accidents

According to Kentucky’s Traffic Collision Report, there were 186,501 registered commercial vehicles in 2022. Out of those, commercial trucks were involved in 10,384 collisions and 102 fatal collisions during the same year.

FMCSA also provides data on fatal CMV crashes in Kentucky from 2016-2021:

  • 2016 – 102 fatal crashes
  • 2017 – 78 fatal crashes
  • 2018 – 93 fatal crashes
  • 2019 – 108 fatal crashes
  • 2020 – 106 fatal crashes
  • 2021 – 114 fatal crashes

During 2022, the contributing vehicular factors that contributed to related crashes include the following:

  • Defective Brakes: 57 collisions
  • Defective Headlights: 2 collisions
  • Other Lighting Defects: 14 collisions
  • Steering Failure: 23 collisions
  • Tire Failure: 112 collisions
  • Overload/Improper Load: 7 collisions
  • Load Securement: 123 collisions

You can review the entirety of Kentucky’s 2022 Traffic Collision Report here.

Example of a Kentucky Semi-Truck & Commercial Vehicle Accident Case

April 2024 – A collision involving a semi-truck and a passenger vehicle turned deadly on I-75 in Scott County. According to a local report, the crash occurred around 2am near mile marker 121. Police reported that two tires came off a semi-truck that had been traveling northbound, with one tire colliding with an SUV and the other with a different commercial truck.

“My understanding is the tires left the trailer of the vehicle. I don’t even know if the semi-truck driver knew it at the time,” said Scott County Sheriff Captain Joshua Bedson.

The driver of the CMV, Ohio-based Lee Allan Hafer, was struck by the one of the tires and pronounced dead at the scene. At least two individuals in the SUV who were hit by the other tire were transported to the hospital for their injuries. The report addressed that the semi who lost the two tires had not been located.

The crash caused by the loose tires also caused several others, including one that caused “a hazardous material spill that resulted in non-life-threatening injuries to deputies and paramedics.”

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Liability and Fault for Commercial Truck Crashes

Liability and fault in accidents involving commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) are determined through a combination of legal principles and regulations specific to the commercial transportation industry.

The state of Kentucky operates as a “choice no-fault state” which means the driver chooses which type of insurance plan they obtain to protect them in the event of a collision.

For drivers who have chosen no-fault insurance, each party involved in the collision will need to turn to their own insurance policy for any compensation for medical expenses or other financial losses. This is regardless of who was at fault.

For drivers who have chosen to opt out of no-fault insurance, the policyholder can pursue legal liability in a claim against the at-fault driver. In this instance, determining liability is crucial to the case.

When a passenger car, motorcyclist, pedestrian, or other CMV driver collides with a commercial truck in Kentucky, there may be multiple parties liable, including:

  • The CMV driver;
  • The motor carrier;
  • The maintenance crew;
  • The cargo loading company;
  • The owner of the truck or trailer;
  • The company employing the driver; and/or
  • The manufacturer of the vehicle or its parts.

Determining who was at fault for your collision can be both stressful and time consuming. An attorney with Morrin Law can assist you with your case by reviewing the surrounding accident details, talking to witnesses, and any other means to help you with a successful claim.

Kentucky’s Insurance

Outside of motorcyclists, every driver in Kentucky is required to obtain and carry basic personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, along with bodily injury liability insurance to pay for any specific costs relating to injuries or damages from a car collision. The coverage must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person;
  • $50,000 for total bodily injury per accident; and
  • $10,000 for property damage.

After being injured in a crash involving a CMV, it is important to gather the following information prior to speaking to your insurance company:

  • Contact information: Includes the name, address, phone number of all parties involved, including any passengers.
  • Driver’s license and personal information: Will be required for all drivers involved in the collision.
  • Vehicle information: Include the make, model, and year of all vehicles involved in the collision.
  • Insurance information: Contact information for the insurance companies of all parties involved.
  • Accident details: Information about the location of the accident, the road conditions or weather at the time of impact, traffic control, or any other vital details.

It’s important to remember that Kentucky is a choice no-fault state, which means you could be required to seek compensation from your own insurance to cover the resulting medical expenses. If this is the case, Morrin Law advises you to contact one of our attorneys first. Insurance companies are known to offer pennies on the dollar for injuries that require much more attention, treatment, and medical bills. We can assist you with speaking to the tough insurance companies and ensure your financial losses are compensated.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim for a Commercial Truck Accident

The process for seeking compensation for injuries or wrongful death stemming from a traffic accident can be complicated. If you are planning to file a personal injury claim in Kentucky, consider following these steps:

  1. Report the accident – It is required under Kentucky law to report a car collision to the Kentucky State Police if it resulted in $500 or more in property damage. Additionally, the police report can provide information pertaining to liability and fault.
  2. Receive medical attention/treatment – Regardless of how severe your injuries may seem at the time; you should be seen by a medical professional at some point following the accident. Not only does this help to document the extent of injuries and treatment, but there are also cases where shock, or other factors contribute to the injured person not recognizing the full extent of their injuries until later.
  3. Contact the insurance company – Whether you contact your own insurance or have one of Morrin Law’s attorneys contact them on your behalf, it is important to provide them with the accident information. After seeking medical attention/treatment, the insurance company will need to be informed, which also initiates the process of opening a personal injury claim.
  4. Investigation – During this phase, the insurance company will review all the surrounding crash details to determine fault and liability.
  5. Evaluation and settlement – The adjuster from the insurance company will assess the overall damages. Based on the evaluation, the claim can be denied for reasons falling outside of their coverage, or the claim can be accepted with the insurance adjuster making a settlement offer to the injured person or party.

Contact the personal injury attorneys with Morrin Law to represent your case by calling (859) 358-0300.

Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering for a Commercial Truck Accident?

Yes, in certain circumstances the injured person or party can seek a lawsuit against the at-fault driver or party.

The Kentucky Department of Insurance provides that the driver or other party can be sued for damages if the following thresholds are exceeded:

  • $1,000 in medical expenses;
  • A broken bone;
  • Permanent injury;
  • Permanent disfigurement; or

Knowing When to File

One of the most important aspects of a personal injury claim, outside of securing top-quality legal assistance, is ensuring that everything is completed and filed in a timely manner. Under KRS 304.39-230, a person injured in an accident involving a motor vehicle has two years from the date of the accident or last PIP payment to file a claim. Additionally, a person seeking an action for tort (to sue) also has two years from the date of the injury, death, or date of issuance of the last basic or added reparation payment.

Contact Morrin Law if you have any questions or concerns about the statute of limitations. We always recommend having all the necessary information and evidence to file as early as possible. That way, you don’t risk your case being barred and losing out on the compensation you deserve.

Are There Attorneys Who Specialize in Commercial Truck Accidents?

Yes! When considering filing a personal injury claim or a lawsuit for injuries sustained in a collision, finding the right legal representative in Kentucky is paramount to the case.

The Kentucky personal injury attorneys with Morrin Law have years of experience representing injured individuals who are trying to get their lives back on track. Our goal is to guide our clients throughout the entire process, making sure their rights are protected and are fought for to receive fair compensation.

Contact Morrin Law

If you or someone you know was recently injured or killed in an accident involving a semi-truck in Kentucky, consider reaching out to our firm. Morrin Law provides risk-free case evaluations to make sure we can add value to your case before we take it on. We understand how stressful this period is and want to do everything we can to let you focus on your road to recovery while we take the brunt of the work.

Whether you’re dealing with mounting medical bills, lost wages, or emotional trauma, our team is here to advocate fiercely on your behalf and fight for your rights. Reach out to the Kentucky personal injury lawyers with Morrin Law by calling (859) 358-0300 today.

Contact the Commercial Truck Personal Injury Attorneys with Morrin Law

If you’ve been injured at the hands of another person or company’s negligence, you should not be held responsible for any resulting damages. It is already hard enough to go through the physical pain of an injury, on top of the mental anguish that may come with missing work or piling medical bills. If you’ve recently been injured by a semi-truck collision, consider hiring a personal injury attorney with Morrin Law.

Our personal injury attorneys have the knowledge and legal insight to accurately represent your case. We understand the ins and outs of litigation in Kentucky and can take on the bulk of the work by negotiating with insurance companies and the at-fault party on your behalf. If your case requires going to trial, our attorneys will fight to ensure that you receive fair compensation to support your injuries.

Contact the office of Morrin Law Office today at (859) 358-0300 to receive a free case evaluation to go over the details of your Kentucky semi-truck accident. Our firm works on a contingency basis, so we only win when you do!

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Given the sheer size and weight of a commercial truck, it is no surprise that they can cause extensive damage and injuries to those involved in a truck collision. You may be facing long-term injuries that require extensive time and money. This is where a personal injury claim can benefit those who have become victims of a truck accident. If you file a personal injury claim in Kentucky and it is successful, you may be able to receive compensation for any past, present, or future damage caused by the collision.

  • Medical expenses;
  • Lost wages;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Funeral expenses for wrongful death; or
  • Any other accident-related expenses.

It is important to first consult with a personal injury attorney when filing a claim. An experienced attorney can review your case to help determine your injuries and the impact it has caused on your life.

File a Commercial Vehicle Accident Injury Claim

The attorneys at Morrin Law Office can provide legal guidance throughout the investigation, analysis, and litigation process. Receive a free consultation today when you call (859) 358-0300.