Large commercial trucks, which are often called big rigs, semi-trucks, and 18-wheelers, are very large, massively heavy, and powerful vehicles that can cause an extraordinary amount of damage if they are in a collision. Especially if the vehicle they collide with, is an ordinary passenger vehicle, the consequences for the occupants in the smaller vehicle are often devastating injuries or fatality. Being in an accident with a commercial truck can be a life-changing event. It is important you reach out to a knowledgeable truck accident attorney who can help you explore your legal options.
If you were injured in a truck accident in Kansas City and are wondering how to proceed, contact a Kansas City lawyer who can evaluate your case and help you file a personal injury claim. Please contact a Kansas City truck accident lawyer at (816) 578-0580, who can help guide you.
Who Can Be Sued for a Truck Accident in Missouri?
Truck accidents can be very complex cases to determine who is liable for the accident. There are many different parties who may be held accountable for the crash. It’s important to note also that more than one party may ultimately be responsible as multiple parties could have acted negligently and contributed to the circumstances that caused the accident. The laws regulating trucking safety and traffic control can be complex to navigate, which is why you want to ensure you have experienced truck accident lawyers who understand the ins and outs of the law on your side. They can help you collect the necessary evidence to prove the negligence of another party so you can get the compensation you deserve. The following are some of the potential parties who could be held liable:
The Owner of the Truck
The owner of the truck is responsible for ensuring that their vehicle is properly maintained. For example, failing to maintain the truck’s brakes or tires and replace them, when necessary, could lead to an accident, which puts both the truck driver and the other drivers on the road in significant danger.
The Owner of the Trucking Company
If the truck involved in the crash is part of a larger fleet or company, there are circumstances that could make the owner of that company liable for the crash. For example, the owner may demand delivery of cargo in an unreasonably short amount of time. As a result of these deadlines, the truck driver may be forced to drive longer than allowed by law without a break. Tired drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents. An attorney can help document this negligent practice to prove the truck company’s liability.
The Truck Driver
Truck drivers must follow the rules of the road, just like any other driver. If they break a traffic law while driving their truck, (i.e., failing to stop at a red light, or speeding) and cause an accident, they could be liable for the harm caused. Any negligent actions they engage in, such as texting while driving, or using drugs or alcohol, will result in their culpability.
The Employee Responsible for Loading the Truck
Trucks carry a lot of weight when fully loaded. If the truck is overloaded or unevenly loaded, it can cause the truck to not handle as well. Perhaps it pulls to one side because of uneven weight distribution, or it’s harder to stop because it’s overloaded. There are maximum weight limits that trucks must adhere to. Those that are responsible for loading the truck must ensure these maximum weight limits are followed and that one side isn’t heavier than the other. If these rules are not closely followed and an accident results, the employees can be held responsible.
If the truck itself was designed improperly or has a known that commonly causes accidents, there could be a potential claim against the manufacturer for a design defect.
Truck Maintenance Company
If the company that performs the maintenance on the truck, did not perform maintenance to appropriate standards, they are also potentially liable. The attorney can help prove this by reviewing maintenance records and asking the right questions during the discovery process.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Missouri
The trucking industry is strictly regulated by both federal (FMCSA) and state laws. These laws are designed to keep the public safe and minimize the number of truck accidents that occur on US roadways. However, when those laws are not followed, the chances of a truck accident occurring increase. Unfortunately, accidents involving large trucks have increased drastically over the years. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Improper loading of cargo
- Inadequate driver training
- Equipment failure due to lack of maintenance
- Careless driving during poor weather conditions
- Speeding to make delivery deadlines
- Driver not taking mandatory breaks
- Unlawful intoxication
- Driver error
Kansas City Truck Accident Attorney
Being in a truck accident can be a horrible experience that leaves you with very serious injuries. You may be left unable to work due to your injuries, with increasing costs from medical bills and other expenses. Victims often experience serious and lasting emotional trauma as well. The emotional and physical injuries you are left with can last a lifetime. Receiving fair compensation from the trucking company and the insurance company will be essential for being able to move on with your life. However, this can be a challenging task without the help of an experienced attorney. Even when it’s clear that the truck company or some aspect of their operation was at fault, the insurance company will do whatever it takes to reduce what they pay out. Legal action may be necessary to pursue the just compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages incurred.
The lawyers at Peterson & Associates P.C. can help you file a claim and get you the money you deserve. Contact our Kansas City personal injury lawyers today to learn more about your legal options. Contact Peterson and Associates P.C. by calling (816) 578-0580 to talk to a Kansas City truck accident attorney for a free consultation. Our team of lawyers is standing by to help you.