Commercial Semi-Truck Accident Lawyers based in Hamilton, Serving Trucking Accident Victims all over Ontario

Were you injured in a truck accident? Contact a trucking accident lawyer at Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers now for a free consultation.

Truck accident lawyer Matt Lalande is recognized province-wide as a leader in truck accident law. Our law firm is experienced in handling truck accident cases and have recovered millions in Ontario trucking accident settlements and verdicts since 2003.

In a trucking case, drivers and safety directors have to do only one—critical—thing. They have to be safe. They have to be safe because trucks, 80,000-pound trucks, are dangerous if misused, unsafe, or simply carelessly driven. Tractor trailers share the roads with smaller folks such as pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, cars, pickup trucks, and minivans – and when accidents do happen, they are always devastating for the victims.

If you’ve been hit by  a large truck, you need to know your case is in the hands of an experienced truck accident litigator.  Large commercial trucks account for a disproportionate percentage of the injuries and deaths occurring on Canadian roadways. A single average highway in Canada has about 1100 trucks a day traveling on it. In Ontario, the number goes up significantly.  The average km of highway has about 2300 trucks a day, 10000 a day in Southern Ontario and up to 40000 trucks a day  near Toronto. When trucking accidents happen, there is no doubt that truck accidents (including big rigs, 18-wheelers, tractor trailer, commercial vehicles) often cause very serious injuries to those involved, and in some instances, results in fatalities. Trucking accident can be very complex and difficult to handle, which is why you need to retain an experienced trucking accident lawyer to prosecute your case. Last year in Ontario, large truck collisions represented approximately 19% of road fatalities, while large trucks were involved in approximately 2011 reported cases of personal injury.

Our Hamilton truck accident lawyers have been helping trucking accident victims who have suffered serious injuries since 2003. We have the experience to assist victims who have been involved in truck accidents with large trucks, cargo trucks, courier trucks, courier vans, cargo trucks, large buses, commercial buses, 18 wheelers, big rigs, semi trucks, tractor-trailers, delivery vans and fuel trucks.

Our trucking lawyers cannot undo the fact that you have been involved in an truck accident, but we can fight to put you in the place that you were the day before you are hurt.  More often than not, victims involved in commercial truck accidents are so badly hurt that they suffer permanent disability and pain for the rest of their life. It’s not uncommon for trucking accident victims to suffer from paralysis and other very serious personal injuries.

Asides from compensation for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, your loss of income, loss of economic opportunity, the loss of the ability to care for your home, compensation for your family members  – it’s also not uncommon for victims to require funding for your life time care for such things as long-term rehabilitation, physical therapy, occupational therapy, vocational retraining, psychological therapy etc. If you been involved in a trucking accident, it’s important that you hire the right lawyer with specialized knowledge of trucking accident compensation, the long-term effects of catastrophic injuries and the associated economic damages that will need to be paid to you and your family.

80,000 LBS of Traveling Death – In Trucking Accidents, the Motorist Never Wins.

Canada’s road network spans over a million KM – and at any given time of day – we share the road with over million trucks, commercial trucks, tractor trailers, transport trucks and trailers. Our highways are filled with 18-wheelers that pose a threat to innocent motorists on the road. These dangerous vehicles are often poorly maintained and driven by tired truckers. Their victims are usually oblivious to the danger of the 80,000 pounds that could careen into their vehicle at any given moment.

Commercial trucks vary in size and proportion. A semi-truck, or tractor-trailer (semi = made up of 2+ parts) for example, extend up to approximately 70 feet long – giving it the ability to block any size Canadian highway if it ends up jackknifed. The semi-truck is normally made up of a cab (standard or sleeper) which can be about 20 feet long. A standard trailer is 50 to 53 feet long, Double trailers or pup trailers are normally about 28 feet in length, while shipping containers (intermodal containers) can be 20 or 40 feet. There are other types of trailers, such as tanker trailers or flatbeds trailers which vary in lengths. Semi-trucks traveling highway speed limits in Ontario can take between 350 and 400 feet to stop, depending on the load and size of the truck (keep in mind that some trucks in Ontario are mandated to have speed limiters).

When a commercial truck collides with even the largest truck on the road, for example – the Ford F-250 Super Duty, which weighs in at a whopping 8587 lbs. the outcome come be devastating. No vehicle on the road stands a chance in a collision with a loaded tractor-trailer.

In the cases we have seen, many, if not all motorists involved in truck accidents do not survive. Truck accidents are more likely to result in death or serious injury then any other accident. In Ontario alone, there were just under 8500 trucking crashes and 96 deaths in 2020 involving commercial trucks, was the highest number of commercial vehicle collisions and fatalities in more than 20 years. In 2019, those numbers were 7719 and 62, respectively.

Investigation following a Trucking Accident

The amount of evidence available in a trucking case – both the paper trail and the electronic footprints left behind – dwarfs that in a typical car wreck.

In serious trucking cases, our Hamilton truck accident lawyers will move immediately to send preservation letters to every potential defendant or nonparty that may have important evidence in their possession regarding your accident. We will ensure the truck is secured and that no one is manipulating it in any way without notice. We will obtain the black box (ECMs and EDRs) from the truck – and from your or your loved once’s car.

We retain the appropriate accident reconstructionist to investigate the accident scene, photograph and document the physical evidence and discover as much information as possible from investigating officers. It’s important to do this sooner rather than later, because skid marks and other physical evidence begin to disappear and fade within days after the accident, particularly in Canada with harsh weather conditions.  It’s important that we start our trucking accident investigation as soon as possible  in order to collect and organize any evidence required in determining liability.  Typically our Hamilton truck accident lawyers in a trucking accident case will not only want to see the truck in person, but also will want:

Access to the Trucking Black Box – Most trucks are equipped with a “black box” (ECMs and EDRs) which can provide valuable information in case of a truck accident. Electronic date instruction is important in every trucking case.

Access to Daily Travel Logs – legislation and the HTA provided mandated hours of service for commercial vehicles, including trucks and truck drivers. Driver’s are mandated to keep daily logs that account for on-duty and off-duty time.

Access to any Information About the Truck, Cargo and Weight – The HTA mandates restrictions on the size and weight of tractor trailers

Access to Information about Trip Inspections – Trip inspections are mandatory by the HTA – every 24 hours that a tractor trailer is in use in order to ensure that it is in good operating condition. The inspection must be done according to specific regulations.

Access to Annual Inspection Certificates – The Highway Traffic Act has requirements and component performance standards that the tractor trailer must satisfy. If they are satisfied, a mechanic will fill out an annual inspection certificate.

Our Ontario trucking accident lawyers will also ensure to obtain other appropriate evidence such as:

  • Telephone records
  • Photographs of the scene and the vehicles involved
  • Records from on-board computers
  • The trucking accident report
  • Communication systems documents
  • Satellite tracking information
  • Driver disciplinary records
  • Driver Logs
  • Dispatch records
  • Disciplinary records
  • Trip Summaries
  • Daily Manifests and much more.

Semi-Truck, 18-Wheeler, Tractor Trailer and Commercial Vehicle Collisions

Our Hamilton Truck Accident Lawyers and personal injury lawyers represent victims who have suffered serious injuries and families of those who have lost loved ones in truck accidents. We represented victims who have suffered brain injuries, orthopedic injuries, spinal cord injuries.

The goal of our Hamilton truck accident lawyers is to seek justice for our clients and help put them in the place they were before they were hurt or in the case of fatalities – make sure that families and loved ones, whether spouses or children, are well protected financially.

  • Product liability and equipment failure
  • Fatigue
  • Driver Error – i.e. misjudging speed and distance
  • Over driving headlights in the dark or rain
  • Bad weather
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Alcohol or drugs
  • Inadequate surveillance
  • Faulty equipment
  • Poor road conditions
  • Following too close
  • Insecure or tire blowouts
  • Improper or overloaded cargo
  • Accidents resulting from skipped maintenance checks
  • Overloaded trucks
  • Brake problems
  • Defective roadways

Truck Driver Fatigue & Sleep Deprivation

In a recent publication of “Road Today” the IHSA reported that Road Safety Authorities agree that in Ontario, fatigue is a leading cause of truck accidents, right up there with distractions, speed and impairment.

Ontario, along with other Canadian jurisdiction have used the National Safety Code standards as guides in drafting their own transportation safety legislation – including legislation which deals with “hours of service” or the maximum driving times and minimum off-duty times of Ontario truck drivers. The hours of service applies to trucks, tractors or trailers, or a combination of these vehicles, which have a registered gross weight or actual weight greater than 4,500 kilograms.

Ontario’s driving limitations are such that for the 24-hour period “day,” a driver cannot drive more than 13 hours. A day is defined as a 24-hour period that typically begins at midnight. During the 24-hour period “day,” a driver cannot drive after having been on-duty more than 14 hours. The 14 hours of on-duty time can consist of driving time, plus on-duty time when not driving a truck. On-duty, not-driving time can mean, for example, working in the operator’s office or facility, or loading or unloading the vehicle, inspecting the vehicle, waiting at the border ect.

Lastly, a trucking company shall ensure that their driver takes at least 10 hours of off-duty time in a day. Off-duty time means time when a driver is not working or driving (for example, taking a meal break).

A tired truck driver is a safety hazard on our roads. Driver fatigue and sleep deprivation is a major issue has been the cause of countless highway trucking accidents in Ontario, and all across Canada. In the cases we have seen, truck drivers may have taken the required time off over the period of a day, however many truck drivers are also overworked and sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation reduces adequate alertness, performance and can impair a number of important cognitive functions including attention span, processing speed, reaction times, muscular coordination and overall judgment.

In fact, studies have shown that sleep deprivation and overall driver fatigue, can impair a truck or similar to the extent of alcohol impairment. Long-haul truck drivers seem to be more affected by fatigue and sleep deprivation. Although there has been increasing public and regulatory interest in the health consequences of truck driving and sleep deprivation, driver fatigue and drowsiness continues to be an issue among on-duty truck drivers and is still a cause of trucking accidents in Ontario, and across Canada. When our Hamilton trucking accident lawyers represent families impacted by catastrophic trucking crashes, our investigation is very strategic – and to the roots of truck driver fatigue with a focus on the trucking company’s management, supervision, policies and culture that aids and encourages driver fatigue.

How much does it Cost to Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?

At our firm, we never ask our clients for legal fees upfront. We work Ontario truck accident on a contingency fee basis, meaning our law firm only gets paid when you get paid. This is advantageous for truck accident victims and their families as it gives everyone equal access to justice – meaning that they can hire the trucking accident lawyer of their choosing and not worry about having to pay him or her by the your.

What is my Trucking Accident Claim worth?

After determining fault or liability your trucking accident our Hamilton truck accident lawyers will need to valuate your damages, or compensation that might be owned to you if the accident was the fault of the truck driver or trucking company.

Your claim will typically consist of seeking compensation for your pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of amenities, loss of interdependent relationship, loss of housekeeping capacity and future health care costs.  Future care, in the case of spinal cord injury, will usually consist of valuating annual costs. The average annual expenses and lifetime costs that are directly attributable to spinal cord injury vary greatly based on education, neurological impairment – i.e. whether the spinal cord injury is incomplete tetraplegia, incomplete paraplegia, complete paraplegia or complete tetraplegia.

In the context of a wrongful death or fatality, you would want to seek legal advice from a Hamilton truck accident lawyer  if you have suffered a loss of care, guidance and companionship, an economic loss or, if you are a surviving dependent left without financial support or the financial contribution that your deceased love one made to the family unit. Fatality claims in Ontario are complicated and should only be prosecuted by an experienced wrongful death or personal injury lawyer that will work with economists who will assist in calculating the loss of financial support suffered by the family of the deceased, either by sole dependency, cross dependency approach or a modified sole dependency approach.

Experienced Trucking Lawyers to Assess Any Trucking Accident Injury

Matt Lalande is an experienced Hamilton truck accident lawyer that has represented many victims in trucking accident cases. Over the past 15 years he has handled many trucking accident victims recover full compensation for:

Commercial Trucking Accidents and Spinal Cord Injuries 

Spinal cord injuries are common in serious truck-vs-vehicle crashes. The spinal cord is surrounded and protected by 29 vertebrae—the small back bones that make up the spinal column. The vertebrae are stacked one on top of another and each has a hole, creating a canal through which the spinal cord passes. The vertebrae are cushioned from one another by spongy material called disks. Ligaments (very tough and strong ropes) hold the vertebrae in the proper alignment.  Your spinal cord emerges from the base of the skull and ends at the lower part of the back. The peripheral nerves (also called spinal nerves) are paired and travel to various parts of the body. There are 31 pairs of spinal nerves, which are numbered according to sections of the spinal column

The spinal cord is one of the most fragile organs of the body. That’s why there are so many bones and ligaments that protect it. When an injury to the back or neck causes a vertebra to break or a ligament to tear, the backbone can pinch the spinal cord. This pinching or pressure may cause bruising, swelling, or bleeding of the spinal cord.

The higher on the spinal cord your injury occurs, the greater the effect on movement, sensation, and other body functions. Tetraplegia (formerly called quadriplegia) refers to an injury to the cervical (neck) section of the spinal cord. It can involve either partial or complete loss of movement and/or feeling in the head, neck, shoulders, upper chest, arms, and legs. Paraplegia refers to an injury in the thoracic, lumbar, or sacral sections of the spinal cord. It can involve either partial or complete loss of movement or feeling in the chest, stomach, hips, legs, and feet. Tetraplegia is slightly more common than paraplegia. 

Commercial trucking accidents are often the prevalent cause of traumatic spinal cord injuries. It’s important that if your loved one has suffered a trucking related spinal cord injury that you retain our Hamilton truck accident lawyers without delay to assist in not only the investigation, but also with making sure to assist with ensuring proper funding is put into place, housing modifications are completed and any and all assistive devices are installed prior to your loved one returning home. Spinal cord injury rehabilitation and care after a trucking related spinal cord injury can cost millions of dollars, depending on the location of injury on the spine, the type and the age of the victim. For more information about your rights after a spinal cord trucking accident, please request your free consultation today. 

What is the legal process in a trucking accident case?

The following is a short explanation of a truck accident litigation timeline and what you could expect when you retain our Hamilton truck accident lawyers. It is important to understand that, based on the severity and seriousness of the accident and injuries, settlement can occur at any time during the noted process below.  For example, many insurance companies will understand the requirements of a paraplegic victim that was hurt by a driver and pay the policy limits on that claim sooner rather than later, assuming the accident is the truckers’ fault.

  • The Truck Accident – if the accident is not your fault, or partially your fault and you suffered injuries, you will want to speak to an experienced trucking accident lawyer.
  • Gathering or Records and Preserved Evidence – the next phase of litigation is the gathering of relevant records from the truck driver, truck, trucking company and the Ministry of Ontario.
  • Examination for Discovery – the next phase of the examination for discovery, or questioning under oath in a boardroom. 
  • Mediation – Mediation is a voluntary process where both sides meet with an experienced mediator who specializes in facilitating a resolution of the case.
  • Pre-Trial – pre-trial is when the parties meet privately with a Judge in chambers to discuss the case, where it is headed and the prospect of resolution.
  • Trial  – if you case does not resolve, you have the option of proceeding to trial and let a Judge or Jury decide the amount of compensation you are entitled to.

Common Causes of Trucking Accidents in Ontario

Some of the Common Causes of Trucking Accidents in Ontario, and throughout Canada are:

  • Rear End Trucking Accidents
  • Jackknife Trucking Accidents
  • Tire Blowouts
  • Underride Accidents
  • Stopped Trucks
  • Shifting, Unsecured or Fallen Cargo
  • Fatigue and Sleep Deprived Drivers
  • Truck Rollovers

Rear End Trucking Accident
Rear End Accidents are probably the most common types of trucking accidents. Trucks in Ontario could weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and because of the weight (and depending upon the weight of the carry load) these large commercial vehicles, rear end trucking crashes can cause major damage and life-changing catastrophic injury or fatality. Rear end trucking accidents often occur because drivers are sleep deprived or fatigued. Also, in these types of cases the trucks may be overweight, the truck driver may have been speeding or the brakes were defective.

Jackknife Trucking Accidents
Jackknife Trucking accidents is when the semi-truck is folded so that the  and the trailer form a 90° angle. Jackknife situations often occur when a driver is breaking fast and hard, causing the trailer to swing out and turn towards the truck. Jackknife trucking accident can also happen in bad weather and if the truck is traveling too fast while trying to negotiate a curve – even if the curve is quite slight. Jackknife trucks are also a major cause of under-riding accidents, if the truck was no equipped with under-ride guards. Read more about jackknife accidents here.

See the following video:

Tire Blowouts
Tire Blowouts can happen when the trucks are seriously overloaded, the driver improperly inflated or deflated the tires, the driver was not properly trained in tire inflation, the tires might’ve been improperly installed, the tires might have been of incorrect size, the tires might have been old and ignored through inspection, the tire might’ve been recalled in the trucking company didn’t replace it.

Underride Accidents
Underride Accidents are known in Canada as some of the most lethal types of truck accidents. Under ride trucking accidents happen when a truck that is not equipped with under ride guards makes a hard turn and blocks the roadway. If approaching cars do not see the truck in time to stop – they can ride under the trailer. These accidents are almost always fatal. The biggest concern in under ride cases is the vehicle’s ability to see the trailer – hence is why visibility surrounding the accident is important to know, as well as weather conditions and whether or not the truck has any reflective taping or reflectors on the side of the trailer – and whether or not any reflection can be seen. The following is an example of an under ride trucking accident:

Stopped Trucks
Stopped Trucks who are stopped on the side of the road always pose a potential hazard. Unfortunately in some cases, motorists approaching the truck, particularly in bad weather or in darker areas, can fail to see the parked truck and are unable to avoid a collision. If the truck drivers did not turn on his or her hazard lights, place warning markers, lights or warning triangles behind their stopped trucks run the risk of causing a terrible rear-end trucking accident. In these cases, call phone records are important so that we may determined how long the trucking was stopped on the side of th road before the trucking accident.

Shifting, Unsecured or Fallen Cargo
If a truck or trailer is improperly loaded, the goods may shift when the tractor trailer is turning or following a curve on the road, causing the trailer to jackknife or overturn. Shifting cargo can also be caused by drivers driving too fast into a curve. Freight load securement is the cause of many trucking accidents in North America – particularly with trucks carrying lumber or other raw materials or automobile parts. Improper loading claims are the basis of common trucking accident claims in Ontario, and across Canada.

Trucking Roll-Overs
Trucking Rollovers are types of trucking accidents in which the trucker loses control of the truck, causing it to rollover. These types of trucking accidents are extremely devastating when they happen as many surrounding vehicles could be involved. Roll-over trucking accidents can occur when the truck driver exceeds the speed limit, driving too fast for conditions or when entering or exiting an on/off ramp too fast.

Fatigue and Sleep Deprived Drivers
In Ontario – and Canada – have maximum hours of service which governs driving times and off-duty times required of truck drivers. These hours of service apply to drivers who hold CVOR certificates, and drivers who operate trucks, tractors or trailers, or a combination of these vehicles, which have a registered gross weight or actual weight greater than 4,500KG. The problem is that even if truck drivers are mandated to rest after a certain time driving or driving and working, many truck drivers suffer from sleep deprivation – which is still to blame for many trucking accidents in Ontario and across the country.

If you or a loved one has been Hurt in a Trucking Accident, we can help.

If you or a family member has been involved in a trucking accident or 18 wheeler accident and has suffered serious life changing injuries, then you need to speak to an experience truck accident specialist in order to determine your options and best recourse. The truck accident lawyers of Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers represent tractor trailer accident victims throughout the Ontario, and Nationwide. Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers will meet you at your convenience and are more than happy to discuss your case with you. We never charge for consultation and if we agree to work together, we will never ask for fees upfront. Call us from anywhere in Ontario at 1-844-LALANDE or local in the GTA/ Hamilton area at 905-333-8888

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