Car vs. Truck Crashes in Kansas City
Commercial trucks, often referred to as 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, big rigs, tractor trailers, or large trucks, are vital to the U.S. economy. However, they can be deadly in traffic accidents. Large truck crashes with cars in Kansas City can cause horrific injuries for everyone involved. Because accidents involving large trucks are different from traffic accidents involving only passenger vehicles, the process of recovering compensation for injuries is also different.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries from a car vs. truck crash, you likely have many questions. Below, our Kansas City truck accident lawyer answers the top 6 questions about accidents with cars and trucks.
Answers to Top 6 Car & Truck Accident Questions
1. Why are injuries more severe in truck accidents?
Any motor vehicle accident can result in traumatic and life-threatening injuries. However, because of the size and weight of large trucks, injuries in commercial truck accidents tend to be more severe than injuries in a similar car accident. Trucks can do more damage to other vehicles, even when traveling at lower speeds, compared to passenger vehicles.
For example, if a minivan rear-ends your vehicle at 50 mph, it can cause significant damage to your vehicle and may cause severe injuries. However, a large truck traveling at 50 mph when it rear-ends your vehicle is likely to destroy your car and has a higher chance of causing death and traumatic injuries. Your vehicle is simply no match for an 80,000 pound, 14-foot high truck.
2. Why are large truck accidents more complicated than a typical car accident?
Some car accidents are very complicated, even though the crash only involves passenger vehicles. However, accidents involving commercial trucks are almost always complicated because of factors that are not typically involved in a passenger vehicle accident.
For instance, large trucks must follow federal laws and guidelines. States and local traffic ordinances may also apply to vehicles of certain heights and weights. Therefore, investigating a truck accident also means researching applicable truck laws to determine if a violation of any truck laws played a factor in the cause of the truck accident. The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) is the federal agency that monitors rules and guidelines for the trucking industry.
In addition to dealing with different rules and laws, truck accident cases also involve using different science to determine the cause of the accident. Trucks are operated much differently than passenger vehicles. They have large blind spots, take longer to come to a full stop, and maneuver much differently compared to a car. Some of the systems in a truck, such as the breaking and transmission systems, are also much more complicated compared to the average car. Therefore, experts usually must analyze these differences when determining the factors that contributed to the cause of the truck crash.
3. What evidence is used in a truck crash case?
Many of the same types of evidence are used to prove fault for a large truck accident that is used to prove liability for a car accident. However, truck accident cases also have some evidence that is unique to truck accident cases.
Evidence in a truck accident also includes evidence related to the truck, the truck driver, and the cargo. For instance, you want to closely review the truck driver’s driving history, his logbooks, alcohol and drug screenings, health conditions, qualifications, and training. Also, you want to analyze the information for the truck, including the truck’s black box, maintenance records, and repair history.
The trucking company also has records that must be examined. Information about the cargo and the loading of the cargo must also be examined to determine if the weight or the position of the cargo could have contributed to the cause of the truck accident.
4. Who is liable for a truck accident?
Liability for a commercial truck accident can rest with one or more parties. A careful, thorough accident investigation must be completed to determine the factors that played a role in causing the accident to identify which parties are liable for paying your medical bills and other damages after the truck crash.
Parties who might be liable for damages caused by a large truck crash include:
- Truck Drivers — Common reasons for truck driver error include drugged or impaired driving, speeding, inexperience, improper training, distracted driving, traffic infractions, and drowsy driving.
- Trucking Companies — Improper truck maintenance, failing to inspect the truck, failing to train drivers, hiring inexperienced or questionable drivers, failing to allow sufficient time for trips, and failing to monitor drivers can be reasons for trucking company liability adequately.
- Shippers and Loaders — Trucks that are overloaded or improperly loaded with cargo are more likely to turn over, cause the driver to lose control, or cause the truck to take longer to stop.
- Repair Facilities — Repair facilities can also be held liable for faulty or negligent work.
- Manufacturers — Companies that manufacturer trucks or truck parts may be liable for an accident if the parts or trucks are defective.
- Government Entities — Hazardous and dangerous road conditions can contribute to truck accidents. If a government entity was negligent, it could be held liable for damages caused by a truck accident.
5. What should I do after a Kansas City truck accident?
As with any traffic accident, call 9-1-1 immediately to report the crash and request emergency medical assistance. Because most truck accidents result in severe injuries, victims may not be able to document the accident scene by taking pictures or asking witnesses for contact information. Furthermore, because of the dangers posed by the vehicles involved and debris on the road, it can be dangerous to move around an accident scene involving a large truck.
Your health and safety are the priorities after a truck accident. It is vital that you seek medical attention immediately after a truck accident. Once you are stable, contacting a Kansas City truck accident lawyer is the best step you can take to protect your legal rights. Truck accident cases are complicated. They typically involve numerous parties and insurance providers. These companies have teams of investigators, adjusters, experts, and attorneys to protect their interests. You need an experienced attorney on your side to protect you.
6. Do I need a Kansas City truck accident lawyer to file an injury claim?
Yes, as soon as possible. As discussed above, you need someone on your side to protect your legal rights and best interests. The law does not require you to hire an attorney to file an insurance claim after a truck accident, but that does not mean it is not in your best interest to contact a Kansas City truck accident law firm as soon as possible.
An experienced truck accident attorney in Kansas City understands how to protect key evidence that is necessary to prove fault for the truck crash. The attorney can take steps to place parties on notice to preserve evidence so that the attorney can subpoena the evidence later in the case to help prove fault and liability.
Your attorney understands the various laws related to the trucking industry and how to use those laws in your favor. An attorney who is not experienced in handling truck accident cases may not have the knowledge, resources, and expertise necessary to investigate a commercial truck accident and build a strong case for full and fair compensation of all damages, losses, and injuries sustained by the truck accident victims.
Contact a Kansas City Truck Accident Attorney for More Information
Still have questions or need assistance? Our Kansas City truck accident attorney is ready to help. We have the skills, resources, and knowledge you want on your side as you fight for the compensation you deserve.
If you are injured in a truck accident in Missouri or Kansas, call 816-203-0143 for a free consultation to discuss how we can help you and your family after a devastating truck crash.