Semi-truck accidents can be extremely complex—much more complex than a “typical” collision between two passenger cars. There is often more than one defendant in a truck accident, and the injuries are typically much more severe. The average passenger vehicle weighs about 3,000 pounds, while a fully loaded truck can weigh 80,000 pounds. The sheer size and weight difference result in injuries for those in the passenger vehicle being severe, catastrophic, or even deadly. When you are severely injured, it can be extremely difficult to do anything other than try to get better, yet there are many other issues demanding your attention. You may be unable to work and make a living, therefore, unable to pay your normal monthly expenses. You may be receiving medical bills virtually every day and you may be unable to do even the most basic day-to-day tasks. As if all of this were not enough, you are supposed to file a personal injury claim to make the at-fault party pay for your injuries and related expenses. Taken as a whole, there are few people who could handle all this on their own. Luckily, you do not have to. You can hire a Springfield truck accident attorney from Finney Injury Law who can handle the legal aspects of your accidents, protecting your rights and your future every step of the way.
Why Should You Choose a Springfield Truck Accident Attorney from Finney Injury Law?
When you have been injured in a truck accident, attempting to get your life back on track likely feels entirely overwhelming. You may be injured so severely that you are unable to work and make a living, and your medical bills may be mounting alarmingly. What you need most right now is a strong advocate in your corner—someone who truly cares about your health, your future, and your financial future. A truck accident attorney from Finney Injury Law will be that advocate. Our attorneys protect your rights and your future every step of the way. We will absolutely not allow an unscrupulous insurance company to deny you the compensation you need and deserve. We are trial lawyers, not afraid to go to trial and fight for your rights after an accident. Let us help you fight the insurance companies and recover what has been taken from you
Your truck accident attorney from Finney Injury Law is accustomed to handling lawsuits with multiple defendants—which many truck accident claims have. We know all the ins and outs of truck accidents, including how to quickly gather evidence that can clearly show who is responsible for your accident. The aftermath of a trucking accident is not something you should attempt to handle on your own. This is a time when you should be able to get the medical treatments you need and heal from your injuries, while not worrying about receiving compensation for your damages. Finney Injury Law will tirelessly and aggressively advocate on your behalf and this advocacy will make a difference in the outcome of your truck accident.
At Finney Injury Law, we are award-winning trial lawyers that:
- Have more than 100 positive reviews from past clients
- Make hiring an attorney affordable, including a free initial consultation
- Are available 24/7 for you
- Have both English and Spanish speaking staff
- Are deeply involved with our community
How Are Commercial Trucks Defined?
A commercial truck must weight more than 10,000 pounds, must transport goods or people for commercial purposes, or must transport hazardous materials. Any vehicle is considered a commercial vehicle if it is transporting hazardous materials. Commercial trucks may include flatbed trucks, tractor-trailers, box trucks, garbage trucks, tow trucks, mass transit buses, government vehicles or fleets, tour buses, and RVs used for commercial purposes (like Bookmobiles) or for recreational purposes.
Springfield Truck Accident Facts
According to modot.org, in 2020, Missouri experienced a decrease of 16 fatalities resulting from commercial motor vehicle accidents as compared to 2019. This resulted in a 2020 fatality rate from commercial motor vehicles of 1.18 (per 100 million vehicle miles), compared to 1.27 in 2019. Across the United States, mechanical difficulties are the top cause of truck accidents, especially those related to tires and brakes. Other than mechanical issues, most truck accidents are the result of the truck driver’s fatigue, job pressure, aggressive driving, and lack of information regarding the route. About half a million truck accidents occur each year, although not all of these cause fatalities or serious injuries.
Who’s Responsible for Your Truck Accident?
When you are in a “regular” car accident, if you file for damages, you are likely filing against the other driver’s insurance. A truck accident is much different. The truck driver could be liable for your injuries if he or she was driving recklessly, or was impaired, overly fatigued, distracted, or careless. The trucking company could be found liable—or partially liable—if they knowingly placed an inexperienced truck driver on the road, if they knew the driver was over his or her allowable hours, or if the company failed to do a thorough background check on the driver.
If shifting cargo, or cargo that fell from the truck caused the accident, then the loading company might be responsible for the damages. The maintenance company is responsible for keeping the trucks in good working order—particularly brakes and tires—so if the accident was caused by a poorly maintained truck, then the maintenance company could be liable for damages. Finally, if a defective truck part caused the accident, then the manufacturer of the truck or the specific truck part could be held responsible. In many instances, more than one person or entity can be held responsible for your truck accident and subsequent injuries.
What Are Some Causes of Truck Accidents?
- Severe weather can affect all vehicles but may disproportionately affect large commercial trucks. Large trucks may be top-heavy, so high winds can be extremely dangerous.
- Poor road conditions occur unexpectedly in the form of debris or other items in the roadway. Poor road conditions can also include missing or hidden road signs, or faded road lines.
- Road construction can be dangerous for large trucks as the lanes are often narrowed, and there may be uneven pavement.
- Inadequate or improper training of truck drivers—Semi-truck drivers are supposed to take a CDL training course that is typically 20 days long, consisting of 40 hours of classroom training, 16 range hours, 16 over-the-road hours, and 96 hours of remedial training. It is up to the driver to be truthful about his or her training and the trucking company to ensure the driver is properly trained.
- Driver unfamiliarity or inexperience—Just as an improperly trained driver can cause an accident, so can a driver that is inexperienced or unfamiliar with the designated roads.
- Overloaded cargo—There are several factors that determine how much cargo can safely be carried by a truck, including the number of axles, the truck’s braking ability, the weight of the truck, and the working load limit of the truck.
- Mechanical malfunction due to poor maintenance—Brake failure leads the list of mechanical malfunctions that can cause a truck crash. Even in instances where brake failure was not the primary factor in the accident, it was often a contributor.
- Negligent driving on the part of the truck driver can include improperly changing lanes, excessive speed, distracted driving behaviors, impaired driving, aggressive driving, failure to use turn signals, tailgating, and failure to obey the rules of the road.
What Are the Common Damages That Can Be Collected Following a Truck Accident?
When you are filing a truck accident claim, your Springfield truck accident attorney from Finney Injury Law will carefully look at all the evidence in your case—as well as the extent of your injuries and the extent to which those injuries have prevented you from working or your normal life—to determine your damages. There are special damages, as well as general damages. Special damages are those which are easily quantifiable. This means there are receipts or specific amounts attached to those damages. Medical expenses are an example of special damages. You are entitled to current and future medical expenses, including:
- Hospital expenses
- Ambulance costs
- Prescription drug costs
- Physician expenses
- Rehabilitative therapy costs
General damages are much more difficult to put an exact number on. As an example, you may be claiming damages for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering include actual physical pain, as well as emotional pain and trauma. If you have experienced severe depression, anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, and other forms of emotional pain as a result of your truck accident then you are entitled to damages for that pain and suffering. In rare cases, you may also receive punitive damages if the defendant in your case acted maliciously or willfully. Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant as well as deter others from acting in a similar manner.
What Are the Rules and Regulations Associated with Commercial Truck Accidents?
The following are the rules and regulations commercial truck drivers must follow:
- May only drive a maximum of 11 hours following an off-duty period of at least 10 hours.
- May not drive beyond a 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, after 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend that 14-hour period.
- A break of at least 30 minutes must be taken after 8 hours of consecutive driving.
- The driver may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty following 7/8 consecutive days of driving but may restart the 7/8 consecutive day period after taking at least 34 consecutive hours off duty.
- Even though drivers have a 60-hour work limit per week, this can be “reset” with 34 consecutive hours off duty at least once every 168 hours.
- There is a sleeper berth provision included in the rules and regulations which allows drivers to split their required 10-hour off-duty period as long as one off-duty period is a minimum of 2 hours long, and the other involves at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth.
- All sleeper berth pairings are required to add up to a minimum of 10 hours. When used together, these time periods do not count against the maximum 14-hour driving window. During adverse weather driving conditions, truck drivers are allowed to extend the 11-hour maximum driving limit and 14-hour driving window by up to 2 hoursHow Can a Springfield Truck Accident Attorney Help You with the Legal Process?
Types of Semi-Truck Accidents
- Rear-end collisions occur when the front bumper of one vehicle collides with the rear bumper of the other. While rear-end collisions between two passenger vehicles may not be all that serious, when a large commercial truck is involved, the smaller vehicle can be crushed. Rear-end truck accidents may be caused by a truck driver who is tailgating, impaired driving, or distracted driving behaviors.
- Blindspot truck accidents are also known as “no-zone” truck accidents. Truck drivers have four distinct blind spots, including 20 feet directly in front of the truck, 30 feet directly behind the truck, from the driver’s door to the back of the truck in the left lane, and from the right side of the cab across two lanes, almost to the back of the truck. A truck may merge into a lane where other vehicles are present, forcing those vehicles off the road. A truck driver who cannot see the vehicle behind them could slam on their brakes, causing the vehicle to slide under the truck, shearing away the top of the vehicle and often causing fatalities.
- Jackknife accidents are caused when the cab of the truck and the trailer go in different directions, forming an “L” or “V” that resembles the folding blades of a knife. Jackknife accidents are often caused by loss of traction or can occur when the driver does not properly apply the brakes, causing them to lock up.
- Head-on collisions often result in fatalities, particularly when a large semi-truck is involved. Drowsy driving among truck drivers is a common cause of head-on collisions. Since truck drivers drive long hours in order to deliver loads as quickly as possible, they are often driving while overly tired or sleepy. This can cause them to cross over into an oncoming lane of traffic. Tire blowouts can also cause a head-on collision, especially if the truck driver is carrying a heavy load or if the blowout occurs when the driver is changing lanes.
- Underride accidents occur when a smaller vehicle crashes into the back or side of a truck trailer, sliding underneath. While underride bars are now required on the rear of semi-trucks, they are not required on the sides. Additionally, some underride bars are cheaply made and do not do the job they are meant to do—prevent a smaller car from sliding under the truck, shearing away the top of the car.
- Rollover accidents occur when a truck turns over, sometimes multiple times. Truck rollovers can be caused by under-inflated tires, poorly maintained brakes or suspension, improper cargo loading, or improper securement of cargo.
- Lost load accidents can occur when the cargo is not properly strapped down, tie-downs are old or worn, the wrong type of truck is being used to deliver cargo, or there has been a failure to pressurize liquid cargo such as water, gas, or oil.
- T-bone accidents are also known as side-impact accidents. When a large commercial truck slams into the side of a smaller passenger vehicle, those inside the passenger vehicle have virtually no protection and are likely to be severely or fatally injured. T-bone accidents are often caused by distracted driving, the driver’s failure to account for poor weather conditions or slippery roads, or defective brakes.
- Wide-turn accidents are fairly common; a large semi-truck and trailer need a much larger turn area than a smaller vehicle. A truck turning right may swing into the lane of traffic left of the right turn lane or may have to move into the lane of traffic left of their intended lane. While this may be possible on a four-lane road, it becomes extremely problematic on two-lane roads.
How Can a Springfield Truck Accident Attorney Help You with the Legal Process?
Once you have a truck accident attorney from Finney Injury Law on your case, we do the following:
- Thoroughly investigate the accident, examining police reports, medical records, and all other documents associated with your accident. If there were witnesses to the accident, we locate and interview each witness. Next, we access evidence from the truck’s “black box,” while building a solid claim on your behalf.
- Take care of all court documents associated with your truck accident. There is typically a significant amount of paperwork to be filed after your truck accident, and this official documentation cannot be filed late, or you could lose your right to file a claim at all.
- Ensure you receive the medical treatments you need, even when the insurance company attempts to limit your doctor’s visits, or claim you no longer need medical assistance for your injuries. We want you to make the fullest possible recovery, so will work hard on your behalf to ensure this occurs.
- Investigate the trucking company to determine whether their negligence caused the crash.
- Negotiate a favorable settlement with the insurance company as a means of recovering equitable compensation for your injuries. And build a strong case on your behalf that tells the insurance company we will fight for you in court, if necessary.
- The Finney Injury team will file a lawsuit on your behalf, then will mediate for a fair settlement, or litigate, when necessary. If a verdict favors a defendant on the trucking side, we proceed to appeal to a higher court, never stopping our pursuit of compensation for you and your family.
What Are the Most Common Injuries Associated with Truck Accidents?
The most common injuries among those who have been involved in a truck accident include:
- broken bones
- internal injuries
- neck and back injuries
- spinal cord injuries
- head injuries
- traumatic brain injuries
Since these injuries can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat, it is important that you have an experienced, highly-skilled truck accident attorney to determine what your injuries are worth in terms of compensation.
What Should You Do Following Your Springfield Truck Accident?
Seeking medical attention should always be your first priority. Your injuries may be severe or catastrophic, requiring immediate attention. If you are physically able immediately after your truck accident, take photographs of the scene, after calling 911. If there were witnesses, obtain their contact information. Once you are home, write down everything you can remember about your accident and set up a file for medical expense receipts. Always follow your doctor’s orders, and always contact an experienced Springfield truck accident attorney from Finney Injury Law. It is incredibly important not to talk to the opposing insurance company until you have spoken with an experienced Springfield truck accident attorney.
Are There Deadlines for Filing a Truck Accident Claim in Missouri?
Statutes of limitations are in place in each state, setting a specific window of time a plaintiff has to file a claim for damages. In the state of Missouri, the statute for personal injury claims is five years, while the statute for wrongful death claims is three years. If you exceed this time limit, you will be barred from filing a claim, with few exceptions. It is wise to speak to your Springfield truck accident attorney to ensure you are within your time limit to file your claim. It is also wise to file a claim as quickly as possible so you can receive your settlement as quickly as possible.
What is my truck accident claim worth?
Only an experienced Springfield truck accident attorney can determine exactly what your claim is worth after considering all the facts surrounding your accident, as well as examining your medical and work records.
What are the top causes of truck accidents?
Overly fatigued truck drivers, distracted truck drivers, and brake and tire issues on the truck are all among the top causes of truck accidents. Since drivers are only paid when they are actually driving, many truck drivers exceed their allowable hours, resulting in extreme fatigue. The driver may also be impaired or could simply be driving carelessly. Other causes of truck drivers could relate to a poorly maintained truck, defective truck parts, improperly loaded cargo, or a trucking company that failed to perform a thorough background check on the driver or failed to ensure the driver was properly trained.
What Are the Benefits of Choosing a Springfield Truck Accident Attorney from Finney Injury Law?
The experienced truck accident attorneys from Finney Injury Law are waiting to help you through this difficult time. We understand how difficult the aftermath of a truck accident is and will work hard to ensure you are only required to attend to your health, while we look after your future. Contact Finney Injury Law today for a free consultation. We are on your side when you need it most.