Kansas City Truck Accident Lawyer
The trucking industry is vital to America and Americans because it is the lifeblood of the economy. The reason is that truck drivers haul goods all across the country to various retailers in America; without the work of all of those truck drivers, some stores would not have anything to sell and their customers would not have anything to buy, which would bring the economy to a standstill. So the importance of the trucking industry cannot be overstated, but likewise, the dangers of large trucks should not be understated. The reasons should be clear enough as trucks are much larger than most other vehicles on the road, which makes truck crashes far more dangerous than other types of vehicular accidents.
That means the people involved in truck accidents who were not the truck driver are likely to have serious injuries that require extensive medical care. They will also have steep repair bills because their vehicle is likely to get heavily damaged in the truck crash. The victim of the truck accident will have a lot of expensive bills to take care of, which means that they will need a lot of compensation. That is why they should hire a truck accident attorney as soon as they can. It can be difficult for a normal person to deal with a trucking company because they have their own set of rules and regulations that are different from those of regular vehicles.
However, truck accident lawyers will know how to deal with the trucking companies, which is why they give their clients the best chance of getting the compensation that they need. At the Eslinger Law Firm, our Kansas City truck accident attorney will help anyone who has been injured in a truck accident get the compensation they need from the trucking company. He will help you to file your accident claim and will negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf. So if you were in a Kansas City truck accident, make sure that you contact us at the Eslinger Law Firm as soon as possible.
Why Truck Accidents are so Much More Dangerous
With all other factors being equal — relative speed at impact, type of accident, whether the drivers were wearing seatbelts, etc. — trucking accidents are much more destructive than car on car accidents. The difference comes down to one simple factor: weight. Trucks tend to be much more massive than cars, which typically weigh in the two-ton to three-ton range. A commercial vehicle can weigh five to ten times as much as a car before attaching a loaded trailer.
Common Causes of Kansas City Truck Accidents
There are many different reasons why a truck accident can occur, some of them are caused by truck drivers and others are caused by trucking companies, but no matter the reason, trucking accidents can be very dangerous for those in the vehicle hit by the truck.
Truck Driver Fatigue
Truckers often have to travel long distances with few or no stops for rest. This is actually against the federal regulations laid out by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), which require that truck drivers take mandatory breaks in order to rest. However, some drivers ignore those regulations and continue driving to the point where they become tired. When that happens, the truck driver is likely to drift in and out of consciousness, which is of course, very dangerous, both for the driver and for the other vehicles on the road. That is why driver fatigue is one of the most common causes of truck accidents.
This can encompass a variety of different behaviors such as speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or distracted driving. All of these are causes of regular vehicle accidents, but when they are done by a trucker, the potential for destruction and serious injuries is much higher.
Improperly Loaded Cargo
Some semi-truck accidents are caused when the cargo is too heavy or is not properly loaded. When that happens it can cause an imbalance that affects the handling of the vehicle. If the driver is not able to properly handle the vehicle, then they could lose control of the vehicle and end up causing a large truck crash that injures a lot of people. In truck accident cases involving poorly loaded cargo, the driver is not usually considered to be at fault; the trucking company or the distributor in charge of loading the cargo is typically held responsible.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
FMCSA regulations state that large trucks must regularly receive detailed inspections to make sure that they are in top working condition. The brakes, tires, transmission, engine, and all vital parts of the truck must be inspected and verified to be safe. Failure to do so could result in a truck accident if one of the parts is faulty. That is why it is incumbent on the trucking company to perform regular inspections of their fleet and perform any repairs or necessary replacements before a vehicle is allowed to operate.
It takes many hours of training before someone is allowed to drive a commercial truck on public roads. However, some trucking companies hire inexperienced drivers to operate their vehicles even if they do not have a lot of experience driving large trucks. That means that they may not know what to do to prevent a truck accident in the case of an emergency scenario. That is why all truckers should have a commercial truck license before they are allowed to drive.
Types of Kansas City Truck Accidents
There are many different types of truck accidents that can happen in Kansas City and the rest of the country. But no matter the type of accident, it has the potential to cause severe injuries and heavy vehicle damage:
Rear-End Accidents – These occur when the truck driver crashes into the back of the vehicle ahead of them. The sheer size of the semi-truck means that it can cause far more damage than ordinary rear-end accidents involving regular vehicles normally would.
Jackknife Accidents – These types of truck crashes are unique to trucks because they happen when the tractor-trailer swings in towards the truck, usually when the truck goes out of control or brakes too suddenly. Jackknife accidents can happen for a variety of different reasons, but they are dangerous because the sliding trailer can collect other vehicles as it swings around, and other vehicles can run into the jackknifed trailer, which can cause a multi-vehicle accident.
Head-On Accidents – This type of truck accident usually occurs when the truck driver drifts out of their lane and into oncoming traffic because they are tired or inebriated. It goes without saying that these types of truck accidents are very dangerous and can often lead to severe injuries, and even death, for the occupants of the vehicle in which the truck collided.
Underride Accidents – This is another type of truck accident that is only possible with that type of vehicle. It is when a smaller vehicle runs into the back of a trailer and slides underneath it. This is dangerous to the head and neck of anyone in the vehicle. Normally, the driver of the vehicle who runs into the vehicle ahead of them is at fault, but in some cases, the sudden braking of the trucker can mean that they are responsible for the accident.
Rollover Accidents – With most truck accidents the driver is usually fine because of the large size of their vehicle, but rollover accidents are sometimes an exception. They occur when the truck loses control for reasons like a tire blowout or an overloaded tractor-trailer. That can cause the vehicle to go out of control and end up rolling over onto its side as the driver struggles to retain control.
Cargo Accidents – On some occasions, the cargo of a truck can get loose and spill out onto the road. In the best-case scenarios, the accident is relatively harmless and only causes a traffic jam; in the worst-case scenarios, the cargo accident can cause a multi-car pileup as other vehicles try to avoid the obstacles that suddenly appear in front of them.
Missouri Truck Accident Statistics
In the state of Missouri, 15% of fatal accidents involved a commercial vehicle, but only 10% of all crashes involved commercial vehicles. That means the odds of dying in a crash involving a commercial vehicle are much higher. 7.5% of all truck crashes involved one or more personal injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents
The following questions are typical of the kind our attorneys receive from Kansas City, MO truck accident victims at the Eslinger Law Firm. For a free consultation about your case, call us now.
What is the statute of limitations for a truck accident injury in Missouri?
Under Missouri law, for most accident violations, the statute of limitations is five years from the date of the accident. However, if you have lost a loved one in a truck accident, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is three years from the date of the death, regardless of when the accident occurred.
What are the contingency fees for a Kansas City, MO truck accident attorney?
Missouri truck accident lawyers work on contingency fees, which means that they don’t charge you out-of-pocket fees for their legal advice or actions. They are paid a percentage of your settlement or court award. Contingency fees of a Missouri truck accident can range from 25% to 40%, and they are often based on the size of your settlement or award. It’s important to ask for a written contingency fee schedule before committing to a law firm.
Why can’t I just settle with the insurance company without a lawyer?
You can legally accept a settlement offer from the insurance company without talking to an attorney. However, you should know that you will be expected to sign a waiver of liability, which will prevent you from pursuing future damages. Because consultations are free, it’s always recommended to speak to a truck accident lawyer before you accept a settlement.
Why You Need a Kansas City Truck Accident Lawyer
First of all, trucking accidents can cause serious injuries to the occupants of any vehicle that collided with the truck. Those can include brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and other injuries that require extensive medical treatment. According to the accident statistics, over 4000 people died in large truck crashes in 2018, so a wrongful death is also a concern in addition to severe injuries. Few people will be able to pay the cost for their accident injuries by themselves, which is why they will need to be compensated by the company that is responsible for the semi-truck and its driver.
An experienced truck accident lawyer will be necessary because truck accident cases can get very complicated. First of all, you have to find out who was responsible for the accident in the first place. If the driver or a problem with the truck was the cause, then the company is responsible. But if the cargo was the cause of the truck accident, then the entity responsible for loading the cargo should be held liable. You need to know the responsible party before you can file your accident claim.
When you do file your claim, you will need the help of a Kansas City truck accident lawyer to do so because a truck accident case can get very complicated. The reason is that trucks have different rules and regulations to standard vehicles and only personal injury lawyers who know how to handle truck accident cases will be able to provide the help you need. Your attorney can help you to file your personal injury claim, gather evidence against the responsible party, and calculate the amount of compensation that you will need. They will then send a demand letter to the insurance company that requests the settlement amount that you need.
Insurance companies will always try to offer the lowest amount possible, which is why you should not deal with them yourself. Truck accident attorneys— who are specialized personal injury attorneys— will negotiate on their clients’ behalf to make sure that they are fairly compensated. If the insurance company is being unreasonable, then you will have to file a lawsuit against the responsible party to get the settlement that you need. If your truck accident case comes to that point, then you will definitely need a Kansas City truck accident attorney to help you.
Contact Us If You Were in a Kansas City Truck Accident
Whether you were in the accident yourself or you were related to someone who suffered a wrongful death because of the accident, we at the Eslinger Law Firm will help you. We will hold the entity responsible for the accident accountable and fight to make sure that they fairly compensate you for your injuries.
Our truck accident lawyers will negotiate with the insurance company to make sure that they do not simply give you the lowest possible offer. At the Eslinger Law Firm, we know how devastating an accident involving a large truck can be, which is why we are dedicated to helping the victims of such accidents. So be sure to get in touch with us if you or someone close to you was the victim of a truck accident in Kansas City.