Commercial trucks deliver almost every item we purchase each day. Trucks transport food, gas, products, raw materials and other items across the country. In fact, U.S. trucking is a 600 billion-dollar industry that greatly contributes to our economy.
Although most truck drivers operate their trucks in a careful and capable manner, truck drivers or trucking companies every day commit acts of negligence or recklessness and cause severe injury or fatal accidents to other motorists.
If you or a family member have been involved or injured in a St. Charles truck accident that wasn’t your fault, you deserve compensation for your injuries and financial damages. Those damages may include medical expenses, lost wages or earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
At the Law Office of Andrew S. Martin, LLC, our St. Charles truck accident lawyer can help you recover the financial compensation that you need and deserve. Contact our firm today to schedule a case evaluation to learn more about our services.
Why Truck Accidents Are More Complicated?
You may believe that a truck accident is just like any other car or motor vehicle accident. That is not the case. Most truck accidents tend to be more complicated than your average car accident for these reasons:
More Severe Injuries – The massive size of a commercial truck adds up to significantly more force on smaller vehicles caught up in a truck accident. The occupants of that smaller vehicle, usually a passenger car, feel the brunt of this violent force and receive severe injuries. The greater the severity of your injuries, the more complicated that your truck accident claim can become. You will need a larger amount of financial compensation to recover from those injuries. You may also need compensation from your truck accident claim that includes future medical expenses.
More Potentially Liable Parties – In a car accident, the parties involved are usually limited to the drivers of the vehicles; if one driver is working at the time of the accident, his or her employer may get involved in the car accident claim. However, many entities may have ownership or interest in a truck. Several members of the trucking industry may be involved and share some fault in a truck accident.
More State and Federal Regulations – The trucking industry is heavily regulated by state and federal regulations. The government imposes strict regulations on driver qualifications, the number of hours a driver can operate, the maintenance of the truck, and the cargo the truck can haul. When the trucking companies violate these regulations, that can serve as evidence of their negligence and responsibility for causing a truck accident.
More Money on the Line – The victims of truck accidents tend to suffer serious, life-altering injuries. Those victims may be entitled to significant amounts of financial compensation. Numerous companies potentially share fault for the accident, and compensation can be sought from each.
How Our Missouri Truck Accident Attorney Can Help You
If you were injured in a truck accident, you may have a claim for compensation against the truck driver and trucking companies. Our Missouri truck accident lawyer can help you effectively and efficiently pursue your claim. We will:
Secure critical evidence – Much of the evidence from a truck accident, including driver logs, truck recorder data and load manifests are held by the trucking companies. Our attorney will ensure that the trucking companies preserve critical evidence and turn it over for investigation.
Document your damages – Our attorney will help you keep track of your medical expenses and calculate your lost wages or earning potential if you miss work or cannot return to your old job.
Work with expert witnesses – We will use expert witnesses to draft accident reconstruction reports that show how your accident happened and who may be at fault.
Negotiate a settlement of your claim – Our attorney will aggressively push the trucking companies and insurers to fairly and fully compensate you for your losses.
Prepare your case for trial, if necessary – If a settlement cannot be reached, our attorney will advocate on your behalf before a judge or jury to secure a favorable verdict.
Who Can Be Held Liable After a Tractor Trailer Accident?
Many different companies may be involved in hauling a single truck load to its destination. When a truck gets into an accident, one or more of these companies may share fault for causing the accident:
The trucking company
The truck’s owner (if different from the trucking company)
The mechanic shop responsible for maintaining the truck
The truck’s manufacturer, or manufacturers of parts used in the truck, when a defect causes the accident
The freight company responsible for loading the truck or trailer
Of course, when the driver’s negligence, in whole or in part, causes your truck accident, the driver (and his or her employer, if any) can also be held liable for your injuries and damages.
Evidence We May Use in a Truck Accident Claim
A regular motor vehicle accident may use evidence such as a police accident report or accident scene photos. Truck accident claims may require examining many more pieces of evidence. Evidence frequently used in truck accident cases includes:
Police accident report
Accident scene photos
Vehicle repair reports
The truck driver’s toxicology report
The truck driver’s logs, which show how long the driver was behind the wheel prior to the accident
The truck’s “black box,” which can record the truck’s position, speed, and/or throttle/braking/steering inputs
The truck’s maintenance logs
The load manifest, which shows the truck or trailer’s cargo
These pieces of evidence help our experts develop an accident reconstruction report that shows how your accident occurred and who may have been at fault for the crash.
Compensation After a Semi-Truck Accident
If you’ve been injured in a semi-truck accident through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to seek compensation from the party or parties responsible for your accident. You could receive compensation for:
Past and future medical costs
Lost wages for time missed from work
Lost earning potential if you cannot return to your pre-accident job
Pain and suffering
Lost quality of life, including from disabilities or disfigurements
In addition, you may be entitled to recover compensation for property damage you suffered in the accident, such as damage to your vehicle.
How Long Do You Have to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit in Missouri?
In Missouri, you have a limited period of time in which to file a lawsuit if you’ve been injured or suffered property damage from a truck accident. This period is called the statute of limitations.
Under Missouri law, the statute of limitations for a lawsuit for personal injuries suffered in a truck accident is five years from the date of your accident. A lawsuit for property damage must be filed within five years of the date of your accident.
In limited circumstances, the statute of limitations can be paused or extended (known as “tolling”). For example, if a minor child or a legally incapacitated person suffers personal injury or property damage from a truck accident, the standard statute of limitations does not begin to run until the child turns 18 or the incapacitated person’s incapacity ceases.
If you fail to file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, the court can permanently dismiss your lawsuit. That means you lose your claim to compensation.
What to Do If You’ve Been Involved in a Truck Crash
If you’ve been involved in a truck wreck, take these steps to protect your rights and options for seeking compensation for injuries and damages.
Call 911 or the police. If you or someone else in the accident was injured, call 911 to summon emergency medical services. Even if no one has been hurt, call the police to have a police accident report prepared. The report may serve as critical evidence in a later truck accident claim. It will set out the officer’s findings and conclusions as to who may have been at fault for the accident.
Document the accident scene. Get the names, contact information and insurance information of the drivers involved in the accident. If possible, take photos or video of the accident scene. If you have visible injuries, photograph those as well.
Seek medical treatment. Even if you don’t feel as though you were injured in your truck accident, follow up with your doctor or other medical provider. Pain or other symptoms of injuries can take days or even weeks to show up. Your doctor may be able to immediately identify your injuries. Be sure to follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations. Otherwise the other party may argue that you are not as injured as you claim.
Speak with an experienced truck accident attorney. Talk to a truck accident attorney about your case. An attorney can secure the complex evidence involved in a truck accident claim, negotiate with the trucking and insurance companies on your behalf, and reach a settlement or prepare your case for trial, if necessary.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Most truck accidents are caused by driver error. Common causes of truck crashes in St. Charles include:
Driver fatigue, especially when truck drivers operate past federally mandated hour limitations.
Distracted driving, such as by cell phone use, operating the radio or entertainment system, or using a GPS device or map.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Some drivers may unfortunately turn to alcohol and drugs to cope with long hours on the road.
Speeding. Some truck drivers may speed in order to meet strict delivery deadlines.
Careless or reckless driving, including failure to signal lane changes or turns, failure to check blind spots, and tailgating.
Inexperience. Tractor-trailer trucks are complicated pieces of machinery that require training and experience to properly operate. Unfortunately, some trucking companies put drivers behind the wheel of trucks that are beyond their capabilities and experience.
Lack of maintenance, which can cause a catastrophic failure of the truck and initiate an accident.
Improper loading of cargo. Trucks and trailers may not have the proper balance of cargo loads or have more cargo than the truck is rated to handle. That can make it difficult or impossible for a driver to properly control the load, creating a serious risk of an accident.
Of course, other causes of truck accidents include poor road conditions like potholes or debris in the roadway, poor weather conditions, and poor lighting conditions.
Catastrophic Injuries Caused by Truck Wrecks
Truck accidents are violent events that tend to result in serious and catastrophic injuries for the occupants of smaller vehicles involved in the crash. Examples of significant injuries frequently suffered in catastrophic truck wrecks include:
Severe lacerations, which can lead to profuse bleeding
Injuries to internal organs and internal bleeding
Back and neck injuries, including herniated or ruptured spinal discs
Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
Head injuries, including injuries to the eyes or inner ears, affecting sight or hearing
Traumatic brain injuries, ranging from mild concussion to serious conscious disorders like coma, or permanent injuries to cognitive function, memory, or behavior
Catastrophic injuries suffered in 18-wheeler crashes can last months or even years before a full recovery. Some injuries can be permanent and life-altering. In the most serious cases, injuries suffered in truck accidents can end up being fatal.
Talk to a St. Charles Truck Accident Lawyer Now
If you or a loved one have been involved in a truck crash due to the carelessness of the truck driver or the trucking industry companies, you deserve to seek compensation for your injuries and property damage.
Truck accident claims are factually and legally complex endeavors. Trucking companies and their insurers have significant resources, and their goal is to give you less than fair and full compensation. Contact the Law Office of Andrew S. Martin, LLC, today to schedule a consultation. Speak with a St. Charles truck accident attorney about your case. You’ll learn more about your legal rights and options.