It is obvious that trucks are bigger and therefore cause more damage than cars, but there are other factors at play that make truck accidents a real risk on the roads today. Driving defensively is one way that drivers on the road can avoid collisions with trucks, but even the most cautious drivers are at risk. Understanding the importance of legal representation after a truck accident can make a significant difference in your life after an accident.
Missouri Truck Accident Causes and Liability
Truck accidents happen for various reasons, and some of the leading causes of truck accidents reflect the most common causes of all motor vehicles in general.
Driving under the influence is extremely dangerous for any driver, but a commercial truck driver under the influence can cause exponentially more damage than a typical passenger vehicle driver. Alcohol impairs judgment, slows reaction time, and increases the likelihood of the driver falling asleep behind the wheel and/or losing control of the vehicle.
Truck drivers must complete extensive training and safety education courses. Newer drivers are more likely to make handling errors like oversteering, dangerous braking, and driving too fast for conditions.
All drivers must use extra caution and reduce speed during inclement weather. Trucks are also more susceptible to high winds when they have nothing in their trailers; their higher centers of gravity make them more vulnerable to tipping or rolling over.
Vehicle drivers around a commercial truck should pass with care and refrain from any dangerous maneuvers. Large trucks cannot slow down or maneuver as quickly as smaller vehicles. An aggressive driver may easily cause a truck accident if the truck driver does not have time or room to respond safely.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Trucking companies must ensure their fleet vehicles receive appropriate maintenance on a consistent basis. Failure to perform required maintenance could lead to equipment failure and an accident.
Faulty Parts And Vehicles
Product manufacturers that produce unreasonably dangerous or defective products face liability for accidents and damages their defective products cause.
Improperly Secured Cargo
Drivers, trucking companies, and distributors responsible for packing trucks must ensure they do so safely. An imbalanced load can easily cause an accident, and some special types of cargo like construction materials, lumber, and smaller vehicles require specialized security equipment.
In truck accident cases, unlike most car accidents, an employer may be held responsible. If any action that caused an accident happened during the normal course of work, an employer may be held liable. Independent contractors are an exception to this rule because they are held personally liable for all of their truck activities.
To determine if an act happened during the natural course of work expected by the employer, the following are evaluated:
- The driver’s intent – any intentional acts that cause an accident, such as drinking or texting while driving, will not generally be held liable by an employer
- The circumstances surrounding the accident, including nature, time, and place
- The type of work
- The freedom an employee is allowed during work
- The time frame an employee spent acting outside of the scope of work
Compensation for Truck Accident Injuries
The damages that may be awarded during the course of a truck accident case may include compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, lost income, and loss of future earning capacity.
Considerations that will affect the outcome of your case primarily affect liability. In some states, if you are partially liable for the accident, you may not receive full monetary compensation for any injuries sustained.
Why You Need a Lawyer for Your Truck Collision Case
Hiring an attorney is a major decision for any type of accident claim, but truck accident claims are far more complicated than typical motor vehicle accident claims. A case may seem straightforward at first only for various potential complicating factors to arise, and an attorney can help an injured client address and handle these issues as they appear. Hiring an attorney for a truck collision case also affords the client several other distinct advantages.
- Trucking companies usually have in-house legal teams or high-profile legal firms on retainer. The average person without legal representation could face a very difficult road to recovery, and trucking companies’ legal representatives and insurance carriers are less likely to push back against a claimant with professional legal representation.
- Your attorney can handle correspondence and negotiations with insurance carriers. Most insurance carriers want to look for any and all reasons they can find to deny a claim or reduce a claimant’s settlement, and an attorney can help ensure you receive appropriate coverage under the policy in question.
- The average person with no legal training would likely miss court filing deadlines and other requirements, potentially leading to a judge throwing out a case before it ever really starts.
- Attorneys have the experience to find the available channels of compensation open in a truck accident case, potentially securing a greater recovery than a client could have managed on their own.
- Liability is not always clear in truck accident cases. Liability could fall to more than one party or a plaintiff may share partial liability for the accident. An attorney can help accurately determine liability and help their client avoid absorbing liability unjustly.
Ultimately, hiring a Kansas City accident lawyer offers an injured driver a better chance of securing compensation for his or her losses. Some injured drivers may believe that self-representation would save them money on legal fees for straightforward cases. However, the expense of hiring an attorney is much easier to handle than having no option for recovery due to a procedural misstep with court filings or an inability to find available avenues of compensation. In most truck accident cases, hiring an attorney is the safest option.
Have You Or a Loved One Been Injured In A Kansas City, Missouri Truck Accident?
If you've been hurt in a Kansas City area truck accident you should speak with an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 816.832.4688 to schedule your free consultation. We are proud to serve Kansas City, Missouri and the surrounding area and look forward to speaking with you.