While trucks are necessary for transporting cargo across the country, these vehicles are considerably larger and heavier than other cars on the road and can cause terrible accidents. Truck wrecks are often preventable and happen because of someone’s negligent actions. The aftermath of the wreck can result in injuries that cause disabilities like brain injuries, spine and back injuries, and broken bones. In the most tragic cases, the collision can result in a fatality. When you’re seeking justice for you or a loved one, a Kansas City truck accident lawyer from Thomas Law Offices will protect your rights.
These cases can become complex. As a personal injury case, you’re going to have to file within the statute of limitations. In Missouri, you have five years to bring an action forward. It’s best to get started on your case as quickly as possible so physical evidence can be preserved and to ensure you aren’t up against a deadline when you’re filing your claim.
Truck Accidents in Missouri
There are different types of trucks that may have caused your accident. Big rigs, 18 wheelers, and tractor-trailers are common names that you may be familiar with. Let’s take a look at the 2017 Edition of Missouri Traffic Crashes to see the data from various truck collisions.
- Single Unit Truck with 2 Axels and 6 Tires. This type of vehicle was involved in 11 fatal accidents, 480 injury accidents, and 2,043 accidents that caused property damage. In total, 12 people lost their lives and 683 were injured.
- Single Unit Truck with 3 or More Axels. 16 fatal accidents, 269 injury crashes, 880 property damage accidents caused a total of 17 fatalities and 360 injured people.
- Truck Tractor. There were a total of 3 fatalities and 54 injured. The crash types included 3 fatal, 44 injury, and 236 for property damage.
- Truck Tractor with One Unit. This vehicle type had 69 fatal accidents with 71 total fatalities. The injury crashes totaled 1,041 with 1,358 people injured. Property damage accidents were 5,038.
- Truck Tractor with Two Units. The two-unit vehicle had 1 fatal crash resulting in 1 fatality, 4 injury crashes with 5 injured, and 17 property damage accidents.
- Truck Tractor with Three Units. While this type of vehicle had no fatalities, there were 36 injury crashes and 52 injured, and 129 property damage collisions.
- Other Heavy Trucks. The data for other heavy trucks showed 104 injury crashes with 142 injured, 760 property damage accidents, and no fatal wrecks.
It’s important to know the vehicle type that was involved in your accident as there are different weight requirements depending on the vehicle. If the truck was carrying too much weight, for example, that negligence could have contributed to the accident and your resulting injuries.
While overloaded cargo is one of the reasons why an accident can occur, there are many others. Let’s take a look at how truck accidents can occur.
How Can a Truck Accident Happen?
Truck drivers need to be aware of others around them, their road conditions, and how to safely operate their vehicles. When they exhibit one of the following forms of negligence, they can cause a collision.
- Fatigue. Truck drivers can travel for multiple days and have a lot of long hours on the road. While there are regulations in place that tell drivers when they need to rest, some may feel pressure to meet tight deadlines, or ignore obvious signs of exhaustion if they haven’t yet hit their set driving limit. An exhausted truck driver can fall asleep at the wheel and collide with cars next to them or veer into oncoming traffic.
- Failing to Obey Signs. Truckers are no different from other motorists. They also need to yield when they don’t have right of way. If a truck driver doesn’t yield when they’re supposed to, the other driver may think they’re going to follow the rules of the road, which can result in a crash.
- Not Adjusting to Weather. Rain, sleet, snow, and ice all cause slippery road conditions that make it more difficult to maintain control of a vehicle. If a truck driver doesn’t reduce their speed for the weather, they could hydroplane or slide and lose control of their vehicle.
- Speeding. Whether they’re trying to make up for lost time, not paying attention to the speed limit, or think they can get away with going above the posted speed limit, there is never a good reason to speed. When a truck is going faster than traffic, they’re going to need more time to slow down or switch lanes if they have to.
- Inexperience. Inexperienced drivers may not be comfortable behind the wheel. If they’re not driving confidently, they could make mistakes that lead to accidents.
- Poor Visibility. Weather, the glare of the sun, and night time all cause some visibility issues. Truckers need to know how to adjust their driving in these conditions. If it’s not safe to drive, the trucker needs to make the decision to safely pull over and wait for driving conditions to get better.
The reason why your accident occurred may not be listed above, but you should still get in touch with a truck accident attorney who will be able to get the facts of your case and find out what happened and why.
Safety Tips for Driving Near Trucks
As a motorist, you may wonder about the safety precautions you can take when you’re sharing the road with a big rig. While you should always remain alert and cautious, keep these tips in mind:
- Pass with Care. Use the passing lane while maintaining the speed limit to properly pass a truck. Try to avoid traveling right next to the truck for a long time.
- Avoid No Zones. Directly in front, behind, and to the sides, trucks have blind spots where the truck driver cannot see you. They may not realize there’s a vehicle next to them. When you’re on the highway, do not sit in these spots.
- Anticipate Behaviors. While you may assume the truck driver is alert and going to make the safe decision, keep in mind that they may be exhausted, distracted, or inexperienced. Giving the truck plenty of space will give you more reaction time in case something happens.
A negligent truck driver can still cause an accident no matter how careful you were being. That’s why a Kansas City truck accident lawyer from Thomas Law Offices will help you with your claim.
What Can You Recover with a Truck Accident Claim?
A truck accident can result in high medical bills, a long recovery, and additional emotional consequences. Our lawyers will fight for you to recover the following damages:
- Medical Bills
- Future Care Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Property Damage
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
If other damages apply to your case, our lawyers will properly assess them when determining your compensation amount. We can go over more about what these damages could be in a case evaluation.
When you’re bringing your claim forward, you may wonder who was responsible for the accident. While you may think the other driver was at fault, it’s possible for the negligent party to not have been at the scene of the accident.
Who Is Liable for Your Accident?
A truck accident can have different liable parties. There’s a chance the truck driver acted negligently—whether they were looking at their phone or drove past driving regulations and fell asleep at the wheel.
But larger companies may be the reason why the accident occurred. If a tire blew out or there was a mechanical issue with the truck, then the company that made that auto part may have been negligent in its manufacturing. In this case, the accident happened because of a defective auto part, and the manufacturing company may be held liable.
Trucking companies also have rules and regulations they need to adhere to when they’re loading a truck. If the cargo isn’t distributed properly or the trailer is overloaded, it can lead to accidents. The weight could be too much for the axles and the driver could lose control of the trailer in a jackknife accident.
After an accident, it may seem like the other party is going to cooperate. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the legal process is going to go as smoothly as you’d expect. Because Missouri is an at-fault state, the person who wasn’t at fault can seek compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company. The at-fault person is financially responsible for the losses.
However, if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, you may not be able to recover full compensation for your injuries. If you were found to be 10% at fault and the other party was 90% at fault, then you recover 90% of the damages. This is why it’s vital to have a Kansas City truck accident lawyer on your side.
Your attorney from Thomas Law Offices will carefully investigate your case so you have the best chance of getting full compensation. They’ll go over police reports, medical records, and assessments of the accident scene to get a clear picture of what happened.
While an attorney can provide a lot of help, there are certain steps you can take right after the accident to help protect your rights. If you and the other party is able to communicate, you should exchange information for your records. However, it is also important for you to not apologize as this could be seen as you admitting fault or partial fault.
It’s also important to not make any official statements or agree to a settlement without having a lawyer at your side. Your Kansas City truck accident attorney will help you through the process so you don’t get a settlement that’s less than you deserve.
Thomas Law Offices Helps Truck Accident Victims
Our lawyers are here for you when you’ve been harmed because of negligence. We understand how you may feel like you’re not in control as you’re dealing with injuries and a legal matter at the same time. A Kansas City truck accident lawyer from our firm will provide you with the legal assistance you need so you can focus on recovering.
Contact our office today for a free consultation. We’re ready to help you find the way forward.