St. Charles Truck Accident Facts
According to modot.org, in 2020, the state of 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. In the entire United States, nearly 4,136 people lost their lives in fatal truck accidents in 2018. When a passenger vehicle is hit in the front by a semi-truck, 31 percent of those in the passenger vehicle will die.
About 25 percent of passenger vehicle occupants die when the semi-truck hits them from the side, and only about 5 percent of passenger vehicle occupants die when the semi-truck hits them from the rear. If you or a loved one have been involved in a semi-truck accident in St. Charles, it is crucial that you speak to a knowledgeable St. Charles truck accident attorney quickly and that you are aware of what you should and should not do immediately following your truck accident.
How Are Commercial Trucks Defined?
Commercial vehicles are defined as those used for commercial or business purposes, transporting goods, or paying customers.
- Flatbed trucks—Trucks with flatbed trailers carry items like lumber, steel, oversized machinery, bulk cargo or other items, usually having multiple axles to be able to handle heavy cargo safely.
- Tractor-trailers are a combination of a “tractor” unit (the truck cab) attached to a trailer or bed, using a fifth-wheel connection. Tractor-trailers are also known as semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, and big rigs. A tractor-trailer can have single, double, or triple trailer.
- Box trucks are directly attached to the trailer without a fifth-wheel connector. The cargo area is separate from the cab, and businesses often use box trucks to make local deliveries, or for hauling large items like furniture. Box trucks are also used by those who are moving from one area to another.
- Garbage trucks are similar to box trucks, however, the bed of the garbage truck can be a dump bed or have other accommodations needed by garbage trucks.
- Tow trucks have a cab attached to a special trailer that can tow damaged or disabled vehicles from one area to another.
- Cargo vans are one-piece vehicles with the cargo area connected to the cab. Some cargo vans have roll-up rear doors, similar to box trucks. Typically, you will see cargo vans used for courier or delivery services, as well as for electrical, plumbing, and cable repair services.
- Mass transit buses are city buses that transport those in the city from one bus stop to another.
- Government vehicles or “fleet” vehicles are those used for government or company purposes
- Tour buses are large buses that are similar to school buses in size, but may be more luxurious, depending on the use. Greyhound buses transport people all across the United States, while groups—including musical groups—use tour buses to travel to specific destinations.
- Recreational RVs can be used by families to travel across the United States, or can be used by companies—like Bookmobiles—to provide a service across the country.
Who’s Responsible for Your Truck Accident?
As noted, there may be more than one defendant in a truck accident. Perhaps the truck driver that hit you was distracted. He or she could have been talking on the phone, texting, eating, talking to a passenger, changing radio stations, or setting the GPS. The driver could have been driving while impaired with drugs or alcohol or could have been driving while overly fatigued. The truck driver could also have simply been driving recklessly, and that recklessness caused the accident.
The trucking company could be responsible for the accident in that they may not have performed a thorough background check, or they might not have made sure the driver was trained and qualified to be a truck driver. The trucking company may also have been aware that the driver was exceeding his or her hours, therefore, was likely to be overly tired. If the accident was caused by bad brakes or tires, the maintenance company may not have done their job so may be responsible for the accident.
If the accident was caused by cargo that shifted and caused the truck to tilt to one side, causing an accident, or if the cargo fell from the truck and caused an accident, then the loading company may be responsible for the accident. If a defective truck part caused the accident, then the manufacturer of the truck part could be responsible. Often, more than one party is responsible for the accident, therefore, there will be more than one defendant.
Why Should You Choose a St. Charles Truck Accident Attorney from Finney Injury Law?
If you have been involved in a St. Charles truck accident, you need real help from a solid legal professional that has experience and knowledge regarding truck accidents. Truck accidents are not the same as a “typical” two-car accident that usually involves one negligent driver who is responsible for the accident. Truck accidents are much more complex.
There are usually much more serious injuries for those in the passenger vehicle or even death. A fully loaded truck can weigh 80,000 pounds, while the typical passenger vehicle weighs around 3,000 pounds. This means catastrophic injuries like traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries are much more common. This type of injury can change your life forever and can be financially devastating as well.
There can also be more than one defendant in a St. Charles truck accident. The driver, the trucking company, the loading company, the maintenance company, or even the manufacturer that made a defective truck part may be responsible for your injuries. You need a St. Charles truck accident attorney who knows how to fully investigate your truck accident, help you obtain the medical treatments you need, and ensure you receive a fair settlement. Finney Injury Law is the law firm you need to ensure the best outcome possible following your truck accident in St. Charles.
We want you to be able to look forward to your future and deal with your injuries while we handle all the legalities associated with your truck accident. Having a trusted legal representative from Finney Injury Law on your side who will be your advocate can truly make a difference in the outcome of your truck accident.
When you choose a St. Charles truck accident attorney from Finney Injury Law, you will receive an award-winning law firm that:
- Is available 24/7
- Speaks both Spanish and English
- Will come to you if you are too injured to travel
- Makes hiring an attorney affordable, starting with a free, comprehensive consultation
- Has more than 100 positive reviews
- Has an award-winning trail lawyer at our firm
- Is deeply involved with our community
What Are the Common Damages That Can Be Collected Following a St. Charles Truck Accident?
The damages you are entitled to receive will depend on the extent of your injuries, as well as the facts and circumstances surrounding your truck accident. That being said, you are likely entitled to medical expenses, and pain and suffering damages.
You will be reimbursed for any medical expenses you have already incurred as well as future medical expenses. Your St. Charles truck accident attorney will determine your future medical expenses by speaking to your physician to determine your prognosis as well as the medical treatments you can expect in the future. Medical expenses include ambulance transport, hospital expenses, surgical costs, the cost for prescription drugs, physician expenses, and rehabilitative therapy costs.
You may also be entitled to pain and suffering damages, also known as “general” damages. General damages are more difficult to quantify because pain is a very subjective issue. Your physician can give his or her opinion on how your pain affects your normal, day-to-day tasks and your ability to work and make a living.
What Are Some Causes of Truck Accidents?
- Severe weather can be responsible for serious truck accidents. A hydroplaning truck ranks as one of the most dangerous forces you can encounter. Rain, snow, and ice also have negative effects for a large commercial truck, making the road slippery, and affecting the traction of the truck.
- Poor road conditions can include such issues as fallen trees, excessive oil or debris from road maintenance projects, or improper banking on curves.
- Road construction can cause serious truck accidents, often due to signs that are placed too close to the construction site, preventing trucks from having the necessary time to slow down.
- Inadequate or improper training of truck drivers can be a significant cause of truck accidents. Drivers must receive specific training to drive a commercial vehicle—and trucking companies are responsible for ensuring that training occurs.
- Driver unfamiliarity or inexperience is the cause of many truck accidents as inexperienced drivers who are unfamiliar with the road are not aware of any potential hazards that could lead to an accident.
- Overloaded cargo is estimated to cause as many as 5 percent of all truck accidents in the United States. Overloaded trucks have an increased possibility of tire-blowouts, rollovers, and other deadly accidents and the driver of an overloaded truck can quickly lose control, particularly in inclement weather.
- Mechanical malfunction due to poor maintenance—Blown tires, inadequate brakes, and transmission or steering problems can all contribute to the driver’s inability to control the truck. Even something as minor as missing or worn windshield wipers can affect visibility during bad weather, causing an accident.
- Negligent driving—Many truck accidents are caused by some type of negligence on the part of the truck driver, including:
- Improper lane changes are a major cause of truck accidents. Truck drivers have blind spots on either side of the truck; when the driver changes lanes without double-checking to see if there is a smaller vehicle in the other lane, a tragic accident can occur.
- Speeding can cause truck accidents due to the lack of braking ability in a large, loaded truck. Speeding can also be a problem when the driver is going too fast on a curve.
- Distracted driving is a problem for all drivers, including truck drivers. Truck drivers often eat entire meals while driving, simply to save time and get to their destination quickly.
- Alcohol or drugs—While impaired driving is not extremely common among truck drivers, it can happen. Certain prescription drugs can cause drowsiness or other side effects that can lead to an accident.
- Road rage or aggressive driving—Truck drivers are constantly under pressure to deliver loads quickly. If a driver is not behind the wheel, he or she is not getting paid. This can lead to frustration and aggressive driving.
- Failure to use signals or improper turning—The size of a large commercial truck can make it a serious danger to smaller vehicles when turning, and often causing accidents.
- Tailgating—since large commercial trucks cannot stop quickly, they should never tailgate a smaller vehicle. If the truck driver should need to stop quickly, the truck may run right over the smaller vehicle.
- Failing to obey the rules of the road—Due to the size of trucks—and the fact that they may carry hazardous materials—truck drivers have an additional duty of care to other drivers on the roadways. This duty of care requires truck drivers to always obey the rules of the road.
What Are the Rules and Regulations Associated with Commercial Truck Accidents?
Under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation Handbook, §395.1, truck drivers are only allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours following 10 hours off duty, with a 30-minute break at the 8-hour mark. Drivers are not allowed to drive after 60 hours in 7 consecutive days or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days, with the 7/8 day period re-setting after 34 consecutive hours off duty. When there are adverse driving conditions—like inclement weather—drivers may extend their 11-hour maximum driving limit and their 14-hour “window” by up to 2 hours.
If the driver operates within a 150 air-mile radius of the normal work reporting location, there is a short-haul exception to the 11 hours of driving time. Drivers must have a CDL license to operate a semi-truck and must pass the health requirements as well. The driver must also have sufficient command of the English language, allowing them to read road signs, fill out reports and documents, and communicate with others.
How Can a St. Charles Truck Accident Attorney Help You with the Legal Process?
Filing a truck accident injury claim after your accident can be difficult and time-consuming. At a time when all you want is to have the time to heal from your injuries and return to something resembling your normal life, dealing with the legalities can be overwhelming. Your St. Charles truck accident attorney from Finney Injury Law can make sure all the paperwork is filed within the time allowances, as well as investigating your accident thoroughly to ensure all responsible parties are held liable for your injuries.
We have the necessary resources to reconstruct the accident and collect all evidence. We talk to medical professionals to determine the extent of your injuries and how they will affect your future. Finney Injury Law attorneys will negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement on your behalf, or, if the case cannot be negotiated, we will represent you in court. Having an experienced St. Charles truck accident attorney from Finney Injury Law is crucial to your recovery and your future.
Types of Semi-Truck Accidents
There are many different types of semi-truck accidents, caused by a wide variety of issues.
- Rear-end collisions often occur when the brakes on the large commercial truck are unable to stop the truck before it runs into the vehicle in front. Because of the significant weight of a truck, the smaller passenger vehicle can be crushed during the accident.
- Blindspot truck accidents are also known as “no-zone” accidents. A semi-truck has a blind spot of about 30 feet directly behind the truck, 20 feet directly in front of the truck, form the driver’s door toward the back of the truck in the lane to the left of the truck, and from the right side of the semi-cab across two lanes, the length of the truck. A trucker may change lanes or merge when he cannot see vehicles in the blind spots.
- Jackknife accidents occur when the front of the vehicle and the trailer stop moving in unison and the trailer begins to go in a different direction. The trailer forms a “V” or “L” shape along with the front of the truck, resembling folding blades. The loss of traction is a common cause of jackknife accidents.
- Head-on collisions usually happen quickly and unexpectedly and can be deadly. When a vehicle crosses a median or center line into oncoming traffic, when a driver drives the wrong way down a one-way street, or when a driver enters an on-ramp the wrong way, a head-on collision can occur.
- Underride accidents can be devastating to those in the smaller vehicle, when it crashes into the side or back of a semi-truck trailer, sliding underneath. Underride accidents are among truck accidents most likely to be fatal.
- Rollover accidents occur when a large commercial truck turns over, sometimes multiple times. Truck rollover accidents can be the result of excess speed on a curved road, swerving too fast, or abrupt counter-steering after misjudging the sharpness of a turn.
- Lost load accidents can happen when cargo is improperly loaded and/or improperly secured. Trailers can be loaded with thousands of pounds of cargo that can present significant risks when not properly secured. Imagine an entire trailer load of cargo sliding off the truck into heavy traffic—serious or deadly injuries are bound to occur.
- T-bone accidents are also known as side-impact accidents. A T-bone collision can be deadly when the vehicle hitting the side of your passenger vehicle is a heavy commercial truck. The side of your car has much less protection than the front or rear. Although some vehicles have side-impact airbags, when you are hit by 80,000 pounds, these may not make a significant difference in the outcome.
- Wide-turn accidents are caused by the fact that a large semi-truck must swing out wide to make a 90-degree right turn. This turn must begin from the second lane to the left, rather than the right turning lane. When a truck driver makes a wide turn into an opposing lane of traffic, a head-on collision can result.
What Are the Most Common Injuries Associated with Truck Accidents?
Like any automobile accident, a truck accident can cause scrapes and cuts, broken bones, amputated limbs, vision loss, facial lacerations and disfigurement, and internal injuries. Truck accidents also frequently result in traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. Both of these injuries often never fully resolve, causing problems for the remainder of the victim’s life. A spinal cord injury can result in partial or complete paralysis, while a traumatic brain injury can cause serious cognitive issues, as well as personality changes and emotional problems. The costs associated with either of these injuries can be astronomical over the course of one’s life, easily going into the millions of dollars.
What Should You Do Following Your Truck Accident in St. Charles?
If you have been involved in a truck accident, getting medical treatment is the most important thing you can do. You should be checked out by a physician immediately for your injuries. If you think you are not injured that badly, you should still see a doctor. The rush of adrenaline that floods the body during an accident often masks symptoms of injuries, then those injuries manifest within the next few hours, days, or even weeks. If you are physically able following the truck accident, you should take photos with your phone of the scene of the accident. If there were witnesses to your accident, obtain their contact information, as this could be extremely helpful later on.
Once you are home from the hospital, write down every detail you can remember about your truck accident and start a file with medical receipts. Contact your own insurance company to let them know about the accident, then contact a truck accident lawyer so he or she can begin investigating your claim. There are deadlines, known as statutes of limitations—the window of opportunity you have to file your claim. In the state of Missouri, you have five years from the date of the accident to file a claim, three years for a wrongful death claim, however, the sooner you file your truck accident claim, the sooner you will receive a settlement, allowing you to move forward with your life.
How long does it take to receive a settlement from the insurance company?
In most cases, once your St. Charles truck accident attorney has negotiated a settlement and you have signed off on it, you can expect to wait about six weeks to receive your settlement check. If your claim cannot be negotiated and goes to trial, once the judge or jury reaches a decision, if you were successful, you can expect your check in approximately six weeks as well.
Should I talk to the insurance company following my truck accident?
If the trucking company’s insurance company calls you and asks for a statement, asks if they can record your conversation, or asks you any question at all about your medical status, you should always politely refer them to your attorney. You have the right to hire a St. Charles truck accident attorney before you provide a statement. Agreeing to talk to the insurance company puts your claim at serious risk. Your words could be taken out of context or otherwise used to reduce your settlement or deny your claim.
What Are the Benefits of Choosing a St. Charles Truck Accident Attorney from Finney Injury Law?
Following your truck accident, it is in your best interests to contact a truck accident attorney from Finney Injury Law. Our attorneys make sure you are protected the minute we are hired. We deal with the insurance company or companies and will not allow them to intimidate you or attempt to devalue your claim. With Finney Injury Law, you have an attorney that is here for you, from start to finish. Communication with you along the way is prioritized, so you always know where your case stands. Lowball offers on your behalf aren’t accepted, it’s important to fight for a fair settlement that will fully cover all your damages. We’re not afraid to go to trial if that’s what is best for your case.
Do not wait—contact Finney Injury Law today for a 100% free consultation.