In this post, our Missouri truck accident lawyers answer five questions we frequently hear from the victims of semi-truck crashes.
Missouri semi-truck accidents: Five frequently asked questions
1. What is a commercial truck?
A commercial truck is a large vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds that is used in the transportation of goods or related business. These trucks typically consist of a single-unit truck or tractor and one or more trailers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets a commercial vehicle maximum weight of 80,000 pounds. This means that commercial trucks can weigh 20 to 30 times as much as the average passenger vehicle, and they typically require 20 to 40% farther to come to a complete stop.
2. Are semi-truck accidents more dangerous than collisions involving other kinds of vehicles?
Yes, especially for the occupants of passenger cars and trucks. In collisions involving semis and smaller vehicles, occupants of the small vehicles are considerably more vulnerable to serious, life threatening injury. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 3,413 people were killed in U.S. crashes involving commercial trucks. Of those fatalities, only 14% were the occupants of the commercial trucks. By comparison, 72% of those killed were occupants of passenger vehicles, and 13% were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists.
3. What factors commonly contribute to collisions between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles?
There are several factors that often play a role in semi-truck accidents, including the following: driver error; fatigue; distraction; speeding; truck limits (such as braking distance and visibility); equipment failure; and improperly loaded trailers.
4. What steps should I take if I've been injured in an accident caused by a commercial truck driver?
First and foremost, you'll want to seek medical treatment and report the accident to law enforcement officials. Receiving prompt treatment for your injuries will help protect your right to compensation in the future, and an accident report will provide a formal record of how the accident happened and what factors may have been involved. You'll also want to notify your insurance company about the crash. Finally, it's often wise to seek legal advice - and the sooner, the better. Personal injury claims connected to commercial truck accidents can be extremely complicated, often involving the truck driver and the trucking company (among other parties). An attorney can give you an idea of your options and help you determine the best way to proceed.
5. What kind of damages can I recover in a personal injury claim?
If you've been injured in a Missouri crash caused by a negligent truck driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and disability.