Most truck accidents are the result of negligence. Someone else’s negligence can leave crash victims with lasting injuries and overwhelming medical bills. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in Clayton, MO, it’s important to talk to a lawyer to learn about your legal options.
The Clayton truck accident lawyers at the Sumner Law Group, LLC have decades of experience handling complex truck wreck claims. We know what steps we need to take to build a solid, persuasive case for the fair compensation you deserve. When you hire one of our Clayton truck accident attorneys, you won’t owe any fees unless and until we help you collect compensation for your injuries.
Contact our office now for a free initial consultation.
What Are the Top Causes of Truck Accidents in Clayton?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), only about 6 percent of truck accidents nationwide are due to vehicle-related factors. In most truck accidents, negligence on the part of a truck driver or the driver of another vehicle caused the crash.
According to the FMCSA, the most common driver-related types of fatal truck accidents are:
- Trucks striking passenger vehicles from behind, head-on after crossing a median, or from another angle – 43 percent
- Passenger vehicles striking trucks from behind, head-on after crossing a median, or from another angle – 51 percent
- Other collisions – 6 percent
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Clayton
Many factors can contribute to a truck accident, such as:
- Aggressive or reckless driving – If a truck driver makes aggressive lane changes or merges, cuts other vehicles off, or is otherwise careless, they can lose control and cause a crash.
- Speeding – Speeding trucks take longer to brake, making it harder to avoid a collision in an emergency. Speed can also cause a trucker to lose control of the vehicle. Trucks also hit with more force the faster they’re moving before impact, which tends to mean more severe injuries.
- Fatigued driving – Specific regulations are intended to help ensure truck drivers get enough rest. Truck drivers who ignore the rules and drive while overly tired may have slower reflexes and impaired judgment. They could even fall asleep behind the wheel.
- Drunk or drugged driving – Truck drivers who take certain drugs – including prescription and over-the-counter medications – or alcohol before getting behind the wheel are much more prone to making errors of judgment while driving. Their reflexes, vision, and ability to focus may all be impaired.
- Distracted driving and texting while driving – Truck drivers who are distracted, whether by their cell phone, a beverage, electronics, or something else, will be unable to react quickly and safely if a hazard arises or if they cause a risk because they’re not paying attention to the road.
- Lane weaving – Semi-trucks are long, unwieldy vehicles that require great care to handle safely. If a truck driver isn’t paying attention, the truck or the trailer it’s towing may drift or weave into the path of other motorists.
- Failure to signal turns and lane changes – Trucks should always provide plenty of warning before attempting to turn or change lanes, otherwise, they can end up sideswiping vehicles in their blind spots.
- Failure to stop at red lights – Trucks that don’t stop at red lights can plow into traffic approaching from another direction, often resulting in devastating T-bone or head-on crashes.
- Failure to stop at stop signs – Trucks that fail to stop at stop signs might run into other vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians crossing the intersection. In many cases, these injuries are fatal.
- Failure to yield the right-of-way – Truckers need to be careful about yielding the right-of-way, as their vehicles’ increased size means even a low-speed collision can cause massive damage.
- Inadequate brake maintenance – Because of the vehicle’s size and weight, proper maintenance of a truck’s brakes is crucial to make the truck as safe as possible. If the brakes aren’t properly maintained, the truck may not be able to stop safely at an intersection or in an emergency.
- Improper cargo loading – Cargo that isn’t distributed properly or improperly secured can shift or come loose, affecting the truck’s center of gravity and making a loss-of-control or rollover accident more likely.
- Defective tires – A sudden tire blowout can cause a driver to lose control of their truck, leading them to crash into objects or vehicles around them.
- Inadequate driver training – It takes care and experience to handle a tractor-trailer properly. Still, many companies skimp on training or properly evaluating drivers due to cost concerns or improper management.
- Negligent inspection practices – Brakes and tires aren’t the only vital parts of a truck that can fail if the vehicle isn’t regularly inspected. Issues with a truck’s engine, transmission, or other critical components can also make avoiding a crash more difficult.
Holding Drivers and Others Accountable for Truck Crashes
To recover compensation for your injuries from a truck accident, you’ll need to show that the truck driver, the trucking company, or another party was somehow negligent and that their negligence led to your injuries. One of the most important jobs of a truck accident lawyer is to gather evidence that can demonstrate liability on the part of another party, such as:
- Your medical records
- Police accident reports
- Testimony from eyewitnesses
- Information from forensic accident investigators
- The truck’s inspection logs
- The truck driver’s logs
- Information from the truck’s electronic data recorder
Tips for Driving Safely Near Trucks
Here are some tips for being safe while driving near large trucks:
- Avoid lingering in a truck’s blind spots, which are directly in front, directly behind, and to the left-rear and the right-rear of the truck.
- Pass a truck carefully and safely, such as by passing on the left side of the truck so the driver can see you, maintaining a consistent speed as you pass, and giving the driver plenty of warning before you merge ahead of them.
- Leave plenty of room between your vehicle and a truck, as they can take a long time to slow down or come to a stop.
- Watch for trucks that are turning. Trucks make wide turns, especially when turning right.
- Give plenty of space to merging trucks that are.