If you have been injured in a truck accident that was not your fault, you need aggressive legal representation. Truck drivers, trucking companies, and their insurers will fight fiercely to deny your claim or pay you as little as possible. A skilled St. Louis truck accident lawyer from Sumner Law Group, LLC, can ensure that you are demanding the full and fair financial compensation you deserve after a crash.
St. Louis Truck Accident Lawyer
Our truck accident lawyers bring a combined 50-plus years of legal experience to your case. Our firm has earned a reputation for aggressively pursuing the maximum recovery for injured accident victims ─ both in settlement negotiations and at trial. We have successfully recovered millions of dollars for our clients, including multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts in complex cases.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation with one of our knowledgeable St. Louis truck accident lawyers. We will go over your options and discuss the compensation you deserve for your claim.
Why Truck Accidents Are More Complicated
If you have never been involved in a truck accident, you may not realize that these claims can be much more complex than your typical car accident case. Truck accident claims are often more complicated because there are:
- More parties involved. There are multiple parties involved in getting trucks and cargo onto the road. Those parties include the truck driver, the trucking company hired to haul cargo, the freight company that loads the truck, the company responsible for the truck’s maintenance, the manufacturer of the truck, and the manufacturer of the truck’s components. Negligence by one or more of these parties can lead to an accident.
- More severe injuries. The size of large commercial trucks means those vehicles can impart catastrophic forces in a crash. These violent forces often result in more severe injuries for truck accident victims. When more serious injuries are involved, victims may still be undergoing treatment when their claim for compensation reaches settlement negotiations or trial. For that reason, it is necessary to ensure that any settlement or verdict includes compensation for estimated future damages.
- More complicated investigations. The complex nature of commercial trucks requires a far more detailed investigation after a collision. Lawyers must gather and preserve many more pieces of evidence that are not involved in other motor vehicle accidents.
- More money on the line. Because truck crashes result in more severe injuries and may involve multiple other vehicles, there tend to be more extensive damages. This means there is often more money on the line for insurers and the at-fault parties, which in turn means a more fierce fight for victims.
- Complex federal and state regulations. The trucking industry is highly regulated by federal and Missouri trucking laws to ensure that trucks safely operate on public roads and highways. When trucking parties fail to follow those laws, the operation of a truck becomes much more dangerous. Investigating a truck accident requires us to have a full understanding of all federal and state trucking laws and regulations. We must determine whether the laws were followed and whether any violation caused or contributed to a crash.
Who Can Be Held Liable After a Truck Crash?
The trucking industry involves multiple parties that help get trucks and cargo onto Missouri’s roads. An act of negligence or recklessness by any one of these parties can lead to a catastrophic truck accident. Examples of parties that can be held liable for a truck crash include:
- The truck driver, who can be held liable for negligence in operating the truck.
- The trucking company, which can be held vicariously liable for a truck driver’s negligence if it employs the driver. The trucking company can be held directly liable for its own negligence in hiring, retaining, training, or supervising a driver. The trucking company may also be responsible for ordering a driver to speed or ignore hours-of-service limits.
- The truck’s owner, which may be the truck driver, the trucking company, or another person or company. Liability arises when a truck accident is caused by deferred maintenance that leads to a catastrophic failure while the truck is being driven.
- The truck manufacturer, or a manufacturer of a truck part, if an accident is caused by a design or manufacturing defect.
- The truck’s mechanic, if an accident is caused by a failure due to deferred or negligently performed maintenance.
- The freight company, if an accident is caused by an unsafe truckload that causes the truck driver to lose control of the vehicle. Loss of control may occur if a load exceeds the truck’s capacity or is unbalanced and improperly secured.
Evidence We May Use in a Truck Accident Case
Our truck accident attorneys must be certain we know the exact cause of your wreck and have identified the responsible party or parties. The evidence we might use in your truck accident case includes:
- The truck driver’s logs. Federal and state law limits the amount of time that a truck driver can spend on duty or behind the wheel before taking a rest or sleeping. The truck driver’s logs can help show if the driver exceeded these hours-of-service limits and thus may have been fatigued at the time of the accident.
- The truck driver’s toxicology report. When a truck accident causes serious injury, the truck driver may be required to submit to an alcohol or drug screen.
- The truck driver’s employment records. The driver’s employment records may show if the driver had the necessary training to operate the rig involved in the accident. The records may show if the driver had a history of accidents or traffic violations. That evidence could show the trucking company should have known the driver posed an unreasonable risk.
- The truck’s electronic data recorder. Many commercial trucks carry an electronic data recorder onboard. The recorder functions like an airliner’s “black box.” It records data about the truck, such as its GPS location, its speed, and even information about steering, braking, and acceleration inputs by the driver. This data can be used in accident reconstruction.
- Dashcam footage. Many trucks are equipped with a dashcam recorder, which can show what happened in the moments leading up to the accident.
- The load manifest. The truck’s load manifest will help show if a truck may have been overloaded or whether the freight company and the truck driver failed to properly secure the load. An unbalanced load may have caused the truck driver to lose control of the vehicle.
- The truck’s maintenance records. Maintenance records may show if manufacturer-recommended maintenance had been deferred, or if other maintenance had not been properly performed. Those records might indicate that the accident was caused by a part or system failure.
- Photos, crash reports, and witness statements. Our attorneys will also gather any photos of the crash scene, along with law enforcement accident reports and witness statements, to help show what happened.
Damages in a Truck Accident Claim
A truck accident can leave you facing significant financial and personal losses. When you have been involved in a truck accident through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to pursue these types of compensation for your injuries and losses:
- Medical treatment Including visits to the ER, doctor’s appointments, surgeries and other medical procedures, prescription pain medication, and purchases of medical or mobility equipment such as crutches or wheelchairs
- Rehabilitation Such as physical, occupational, vocational, and mental health therapy
- Personal and home care Such as home health care services, or home maintenance services when you can no longer perform those tasks due to your injuries
- Lost wages and earning potential If you miss time from work or are unable to return to work due to your injuries
- Lost quality of life Because of physical disabilities or disfigurement caused by your injuries
- Pain and suffering
Never try to handle a truck accident injury case on your own. Insurance companies and trucking companies will take advantage of people who do not have a knowledgeable attorney on their side. Let us fight for the full payment you deserve after a serious crash.
Missouri Statute of Limitations on
Truck Accident Lawsuits
In Missouri, the statute of limitations places a time limit on filing a lawsuit for your injuries and damages. The statute of limitations requires you to file your personal injury lawsuit within five years of the date of your accident. For minor children injured in a truck crash, this five-year period is measured from their 21st birthday. A claim for wrongful death must be filed within three years.
If you file suit after the statute of limitations has expired, the at-fault parties can petition the court to permanently dismiss your lawsuit. When that happens, you lose your right to pursue compensation in court.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in St. Louis
Safely operating commercial trucks requires attention and care from all parties involved. Most people and companies in the trucking industry act with the utmost regard for safety, but even a single oversight or act of carelessness or recklessness can lead to an accident.
Common causes of truck accidents in St. Louis include:
- Unsafe lane changes, such as failing to signal or check mirrors or blind spots
- Unsafe left turns due to failing to signal or yield to oncoming traffic
- Unsafe right turns, which can include failing to signal or yield, or swinging wide left before the turn
- Following too closely (tailgating)
- Reckless driving, including weaving through traffic
- Drowsy or fatigued driving, which can be caused when drivers remain behind the wheel past hours-of-service limitations
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Distracted driving, such as using a cellphone while driving
- Inexperienced drivers, including drivers who have not been trained to operate certain kinds of trucks or to safely operate trucks of a certain size
- Deferred or improperly performed maintenance
- Design or manufacturing defects in truck parts
- Unsafe truckloads, which can cause trucks to lose control or tip over during travel
- Unfamiliarity with routes, which can cause truck drivers to get lost and end up on roads unsafe for large commercial trucks
Catastrophic Injuries Caused by Truck Accidents
The violent force of an impact between a large semi-truck and a smaller passenger vehicle can inflict significant or life-threatening injuries on those hit by the truck. Catastrophic injuries from truck accidents include:
- Severe lacerations, which can lead to life-threatening blood loss
- Burns, whether caused by a fire ignited by the accident or by road rash (abrasions from contact with pavement or the ground) if an accident victim is ejected from the vehicle
- Broken bones
- Dislocated joints
- Torn tendons, ligaments, and/or muscles
- Herniated or ruptured spinal discs
- Internal organ injuries and internal bleeding
- Perforation injuries caused by debris or shrapnel
- Spinal cord injuries, which can lead to paralysis
- Head injuries, including eye or ear trauma
- Traumatic brain injuries
How a Truck Accident Lawyer in St. Louis Can Help
When you have been injured in a truck accident, you will be up against big rig companies and their insurers for compensation. Let our St. Louis truck accident lawyers take on all the hard work and handle your claim while you focus on your recovery. Our legal team can help you with your case by:
- Conducting a thorough, independent investigation into your accident to recover all available evidence
- Collaborating with engineering experts, accident reconstruction experts, and trucking industry experts to review the evidence in your case to determine how your accident occurred and what party or parties are responsible for the crash
- Working with you to document your expenses and losses, and using medical, financial, and vocational experts to help us persuasively explain the ongoing and future damages that you deserve compensation for
- Filing claims for compensation with the responsible trucking parties and their insurers ─ and evaluating the trucking companies’ complex insurance coverages to ensure we access the full amount of financial resources available to you
- Aggressively pursuing a negotiated settlement that provides you with fair and full compensation for your existing and future damages
- Always preparing your claim for trial, if it becomes necessary so that the other side knows we will not accept anything less than the fair recovery you deserve
If you have suffered catastrophic injuries in a truck wreck, do not wait another day to speak with an experienced attorney about your legal options. Schedule a free consultation with a St. Louis truck accident attorney from Sumner Law Group, LLC. Contact us today to go over the details of your case. There are no fees upfront to start work on your case, and you only pay us if we recover money for you.