According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2012, a total of 3,802 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes, which was an increase from 2011. Injuries caused by large trucks also witnessed an increase, going up by 22%, from 63,000 to 77,000. Given the sheer size and weight of trucks, the injuries caused by them are often life-altering, leaving a lasting impact that affects not only the injured person, but his or her family as well.
At Sanders.Law, our Kansas City truck accident attorneys exclusively represent injury victims in both Kansas and Missouri, and are passionate about providing dedicated legal assistance. Medical expenses and psychological injuries from a commercial truck accident can be overwhelming, which is why it’s important to enlist legal guidance as soon as possible. If you or someone you love was injured in a truck accident, reach out to us for fierce and compassionate representation.
Our legal team cares about our clients. Contact us today at (816) 844-6938.
Who is Liable in a Truck Accident?
Unlike car accidents, truck accidents often involve more than one liable party. One or more of the following might be responsible for a victim’s injuries:
- The truck driver
- The owner of the truck
- The trucking company
- The manufacturer of the truck, tires, or other parts that might have been defective and caused the accident
- The loader of the truck’s cargo in cases where improper loading led to the accident
When a trucking company fails to properly hire and train drivers, and they cause an accident, victims can sue the company under a theory called “negligent hiring.” The FMCSA outlines requirements for drivers of commercial motor vehicles that all drivers and employers of drivers must follow.
According to federal law, a truck driver must meet the following requirements:
- Is at least 21 years old
- Can read and speak English sufficiently to understand highway traffic signs, respond to official inquiries, and make entries on reports and records.
- Can, by reason of experience, training, or both, safely operate the type of commercial motor vehicle they drives
- Is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle in accordance with the physical qualifications required by law
- Has a currently valid commercial motor vehicle operator's license
- Has prepared and furnished their motor carrier with a certified list of all motor vehicle traffic violations of which they been convicted in the preceding 12 months
- Is not disqualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle due to a criminal conviction, such as a DUI or drug possession
- Has successfully completed a driver's road test and has been issued a certificate of driver's road test
The law generally expects employers to make sure (1) their employees have the proper commercial driving license, (2) they provide proper certifications and training information, (3) they check driving history and any past accidents and (4) they screen for medical history, drug use, or past criminal behavior.
Common Causes and Types of Truck Accidents
One of the most common causes of truck accidents is truck driver fatigue. Despite the fact that there are regulations that restrict the number of hours a trucker is allowed to drive without rest, many often go beyond these limits. These long work hours prevent a driver from getting sufficient recovery time, which results in a slower reaction times and reduced ability to assess situations. According to the FMCSA, truck driver fatigue and hours of service continue to be a critical issue in safety. In 2014, a study revealed that 13% of commercial motor vehicle drivers were considered to have been overly fatigued during the time of their crash.
While fatigue is a very common factor in crashes, it is not the only one. Other common types of truck accidents include:
- Distracted Driving: The truck driver was speaking on the phone or texting, updating social media, browsing the internet, eating, or distracted in some other way at the time of the accident.
- Drugs and Alcohol: The truck driver was under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol, which affected his or her judgment and contributed to the accident.
- Lack of Experience: The truck driver was young or lacked sufficient experience and training for the road, load, or route he or she was in.
- Aggressive Driving: The truck driver was driving recklessly or aggressively, leading to the accident.
- Speeding: The truck driver was driving above the speed limit, or driving at a speed that was unsafe for road conditions at the time of the accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 18% of all large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2012 had at least one prior speeding conviction.
- Overloaded & Improperly Loaded Trucks: An overloaded trailer makes a truck extremely difficult to control on the road, affecting the way it turns, accelerates—and most dangerously—stops. Overloaded trucks are at a higher risk of jackknifing, which is when the trailer swings and forces the cabin to spin and face the opposite direction. An improperly loaded truck is just as bad as an overloaded truck. Putting too much weight in any one area of the trailer may increase the risk of it rolling over. Improperly loaded trucks can also lead to unsecured items falling out of the back of the trailer.
Truck Accident Injuries
Trucks are larger than passenger vehicles, of course, so when they collide, those within the passenger vehicle are at a severe disadvantage and their injuries are often severe, and even fatal. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Serious burns
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Wrongful death
Survivors of truck injuries who sustain serious injuries often require multiple surgeries, therapies, and may need long-term or lifelong medical care. As such, families are devastated by the resulting effects.
You Are Entitled to Compensation
Victims of truck accidents may be able to collect economic, non-economic, and punitive damages in some cases. With a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney on your side, you can be compensated for:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental Anguish
- Loss of consortium
Contact Sanders.Law Today
At Sanders.Law, our Kansas and Missouri truck accident lawyers begin collecting evidence as soon as they take a case. We immediately contact the trucker’s employer and request any pertinent paperwork that can help your case, investigate the history of the driver, the maintenance record of the truck, and more. Our legal team aims to expose unspoken pressures instilled in truckers and how the current system endangers and even destroys the lives of innocent civilians across the country.
For effective and passionate legal representation in either Kansas or Missouri, contact our Kansas City truck accident attorneys today at (816) 844-6938 and ask about scheduling a free consultation.