A collision between a car and commercial trucks is different than a collision between two passenger cars. Whether involving a big rig, tractor-trailer, 18-wheeler, or other truck, collisions with trucks or commercial vehicles can result in significant injury or death. With weights of up to 80,000 pounds, large trucks can cause devastating impacts in head-on, rear-end, or side-swipe collisions. Survivors of truck accidents are left with massive medical bills, lost wages, life-long pain and suffering, and permanent disability.
Unfortunately, large truck accidents are all too common in Kansas and Missouri as more and more freight is transported by truck through the Kansas City area. If you or a loved one were injured by a large commercial truck, please contact our Kansas City trucking accident lawyer as soon as possible. Our legal team is ready to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and guide you through the complex legal issues that arise from truck crashes so you can recover the maximum amount and justice for your family.
Crashes With Trucks Are Different Than Car Accidents
Commercial truck crashes are different from ordinary car accidents for several reasons. Most obvious, trucks are much larger and heavier than cars and other passenger vehicles. When they collide with cars, commercial trucks can cause devastating damage and severe, life-threatening injuries.
In addition, truck accident cases often involve an employer company that owns the truck, has hired and paid the driver, and is responsible for the driver’s actions. Truck drivers must possess a commercial driver's license, are required to pass special tests and receive commercial driver training. If an accident occurred during the course of normal work, an employer may be held accountable for the acts of an employee driver.
Federal Regulations of Commercial Trucks
Another way that commercial truck crashes are different from typical car accidents is that truck drivers must obey both federal and state safety laws and regulations governing commercial vehicles. The federal and state laws that truck drivers must follow are much more specific and extensive than the laws governing regular citizens. The federal laws and regulations governing commercial vehicles are available for review at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
For example, there are regulations that govern how often and how long a truck driver can be on the road. There are rules governing the standards by which commercial drivers and trucking companies must maintain and service their vehicles. There are requirements for record-keeping and performance checks of such maintenance before the vehicles are allowed to be on the road. There are also size and weight restrictions for trucks because overloading a truck is dangerous and can cause rollover truck accidents.
If any federal or state laws are disregarded and result in a crash, there may be a legal basis for asserting a claim of “negligence per se.” Negligence per se is legal doctrine that makes it easier to show that the defendants are at fault and should be legally required to pay damages for the injuries caused by the accident.
What Should I Do After a Trucking Accident?
Below are the four steps we recommend you take if you are involved in an crash with a truck or other commercial vehicle:
- Seek medical treatment. In any truck crashes with injuries, we recommend that you call the police, and if you are injured, you should request an ambulance or go directly to the emergency room. It is very important that you have all potential injuries fully evaluated by a medical specialist as soon as possible. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, such as traumatic brain injuries and spine injuries. For this reason, it's important to have all medical tests and scans done as soon as possible to determine the full extent and scope of your injuries. In addition to addressing your medical needs, prompt and necessary medical treatment will play an important role in proving that the accident caused your injuries and that you have sustained damages as a result.
- Document the accident. If possible at the accident scene, you should take as many pictures of the accident and vehicles involved as possible. You should get information from witnesses and the other driver. In some cases, this may not be possible if the injuries are serious and prevent you from doing so. The police will do an investigation and create an accident report. However, these reports can have errors or incomplete information, so it is critical that you preserve any evidence of what happened as well.
- Speak to an experienced attorney before the adjuster. As soon as you're able, you should contact an experienced truck accident attorney who can guide you through all aspects of your truck accident case as it moves forward. You should avoid speaking wtih the insurance adjuster for the trucking company or at-fault driver about the accident until after you speak with an attorney. You have no obligation to speak with the trucking company's insurer. The reason for caution in speaking with these parties immediately after an accident is any statement you may make about the collision or your damages will likely be twisted and used against you later on in your case. Your attorney should be able to help with communicating between you and the insurance company and any other parties involved in the accident.
- Focus on your recovery. Your primary focus after the accident should be to recover from your injuries and get any needed medical treatment. An experienced truck accident attorney can help put your mind at ease and take care of the legal aspects of your case while you focus on getting better. Our law firm is ready to help handle all aspects of a vehicle accident, including truck accidents.
Types of Injuries from Truck Accident
In general, truck accidents result in much more severe injuries and have a greater risk to be deadly than collisions between passenger cars. There are many reasons for this, but the most obvious one is the immense size and weight of commercial trucks. Large commercial trucks and 18-wheelers that are moving at highway speeds can destroy smaller passenger vehicles instantly in a collision. For this reason, drivers of passenger cars are at a much higher risk of life-threatening injuries than the drivers of trucks.
There are a myriad of types injuries that can result from a trucking accident. However, there are certain types of injuries that are more common than others. If you or a loved one has sustained one of these injuries in a truck accident, please call our office as soon as possible for a free, no-obligation consultation:
- Head or brain injuries. Your head and brain can be injured in several different ways in a trucking accident. The brain is a delicate organ and can be injured by shaking or hitting the inside of the skull. This can cause bleeding or swelling, even without a fracture of the skull or losing consciousness. Brain injuries can cause a variety of temporary or permanent mental and physical limitations. A truck accident victim may not even realize the extent or nature of his or her brain injury until it is too late. For this reason, if you believe you or a loved one sustained even a mild head or brain injury in a crash, you should seek the immediate evaluation of a medical specialist.
- Neck, back or spinal cord injuries. Injuries to your neck, back or spine can be of varying severity, but all such injuries can impact your ability to function and feel good. Injuries to the neck and back, such as whiplash, may not be as serious as spinal cord injuries, but these injuries can still cause chronic and excruciating pain. A severe spine injury may result in full or partial or full paralysis of your extremities. Most spine injuries result in massive ongoing medical costs and permanent functional limitations or disability.
- Burns. Burn injuries are unlike any other injuries in the sense that they leave physical, emotional and psychological scars. Large truck accidents can result in explosions or fires, particularly if flammable substances are involved. Truck crash fires can result in burn injuries that cause great pain and disfigurement to the victims. These injuries deserve great care, attention and advocacy, so the victims can obtain the compensation they deserve.
- Wrongful death. Unfortunately, truck accidents are often deadly for drivers and passengers of the cars involved in the crash. The serious injuries described above can either cause a fatality at the scene or result in death from complications developed after attempting medical treatment. Regardless, if you have lost a family member due to a trucking crash in Kansas or Missouri, you need to consult with our truck accident attorney. Our legal team is ready to help you find answers, seek justice and obtain the recovery you deserve under the law.
Call Our Kansas City Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Being involved in a truck crash can change your life. After a Kansas City truck accident, you may be struggling with growing medical bills, lost income, disability or disfigurement, debilitating pain and suffering, emotional or psychological trauma, or even the death of a loved one.
Please know that you are not alone, and we are here to help. Our legal team is ready to guide you through the complex legal maze of issues so you can recover the maximum available under the law so you can focus on what matters most – getting better and being with your family. Please call us today at (816) 203-0143 for a free, confidential consultation.