St. Louis Truck Accident Attorneys
Just about everyone who has ever driven a car appreciates the danger of being involved in an accident with a large semi-truck or eighteen-wheel commercial truck. Being in a car accident with a commercial truck while going 65 miles per hour on a highway can have devastating, even fatal consequences. Most of the time, people in smaller vehicles sustain the most severe injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the 1,276 people killed on work-related trips in a motor vehicle in a recent year, 38 percent of those deaths involved accidents with large commercial vehicles. Furthermore, more than 30 percent of long-haul truck drivers will be involved in a serious crash over the course of their careers.
Truck accident cases can be more complicated than those involving other motor vehicle accidents because the trucks are often commercially operated. This means you may have the right to bring a claim against the truck driver and the owner of the trucking company and possibly other people. Because commercial truck drivers are required to get scheduled maintenance, the person or company responsible for the maintenance could also be liable for your injuries if the maintenance was faulty. Because liability can be complicated, our experienced truck accident lawyers at NST Law can be invaluable in helping you figure out the right person to bring a claim against.
What are the most common types of truck accidents in St. Louis?
St. Louis is the second-largest city in Missouri, with four interstate highways converging on the metropolis, so it serves as a major transportation hub. Every day, there are car, truck, and motorcycle accidents in and around St. Louis. Commercial trucking is very heavy, particularly on Interstate I-70, which runs east to west through the city. With the heavy commercial trucking traffic, unfortunately, comes a high number of accidents.
The most common types of truck accidents are rear-end crashes, rollovers, jackknifes, side collisions, wide turns, and head-on collisions:
- Rear-end crashes: The most dangerous ones occur when the truck rear-ends a car or smaller vehicle. Sometimes, truck drivers are moving too fast, and they can’t brake in time to avoid hitting the car in front of them. Injuries from this type of collision can include whiplash, head injuries, bone-crushing injuries, and others.
- Roll-over crashes: Roll-over crashes happen when a truck driver loses control and the truck rolls over on its side. These types of crashes are extremely dangerous because the truck may roll onto a car or smaller vehicle, crushing the occupants inside.
- Jackknife crashes: Jackknife accidents occur when the trailer of a commercial truck turns sharply so that the trailer comes to rest at a sharp angle, often in front of the truck’s cab. Sudden braking is often the cause of jackknifes.
- Side collisions: Another common accident involving trucks is a side collision. In these crashes, a car and truck collide while going the same way on a double-lane highway, often with fatal results. In April 2021, for example, a woman was killed on Interstate I-64 when her car ran off the road, hit a concrete barrier, and then drove back onto the road, where she collided with a tractor-trailer.
- Wide turns: Sometimes, when trucks make wide right turns, they first veer sharply to the left, pushing cars and other smaller vehicles off the road or into other traffic as the car tries to avoid a collision.
- Head-on collisions: Finally, although not as common, head-on collisions with truck drivers are often the most deadly. A head-on collision may be caused by a distracted driver (either the truck operator or the car driver) who veers into an oncoming lane. Common causes of head-on collisions include impaired driving due to alcohol, drugs, or falling asleep.
What are the most common causes of truck accidents in St. Louis?
The most common causes of truck accidents in St. Louis include:
- Driver fatigue
- Overloaded trucks
- Improperly loaded trucks
- Manufacturing/design defects (leading to rollovers or jackknifing)
- Distracted driving (the driver is eating or texting)
- Tire blowouts
- Aggressive driving
- Reduced visibility because of bad weather conditions
- Defective road construction
- Insufficient truck maintenance (leading to bad brakes or tires)
- Intoxicated drivers
Because of the sheer size and weight of trucks, the consequences of an accident differ from regular motor vehicle accidents. Federal trucking regulations attempt to mitigate the potential devastation of accidents by providing strict rules and regulations for truck drivers, including regulating maintenance schedules and limiting driving hours to reduce truck driver fatigue.
What are the most common types of truck accident injuries?
Truck accident injuries can be more catastrophic than regular auto accidents because of the impact due to a truck’s size and weight. Potential injuries from truck accidents may include spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, broken bones, internal organ damage, and paralysis.
Truck accidents can also be deadly. Fatal accidents involving commercial trucks are increasing every year. In the United States in one recent year alone, there were 4,102 deaths from accidents involving trucks, a 52 percent increase in deaths from a decade ago.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, our experienced truck accident attorneys at NST Law can help you recover damages for your injuries. We will fight for your right to receive the most compensation possible.
Can I pursue financial recovery if I lost a family member in a St. Louis truck accident?
If your family member died in a truck accident, our lawyers can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver or trucking company. In a wrongful death lawsuit, you may be able to recover non-economic damages based on the pain and suffering caused by the loss of your loved one. Damages may also include the loss of income your family member provided, medical costs, and burial and funeral costs. If someone else’s conduct was reckless, wanton, or willful, such as driving drunk, you may also be able to recover punitive damages.
Who is responsible for my injuries after a truck accident in St. Louis?
Several people can potentially be responsible for a truck accident. This includes the truck driver, the truck driver’s employer, the truck manufacturer, the person who loaded the truck, the inspector of the truck, the person responsible for the truck’s maintenance, and even the local government responsible for highway design or maintenance.
How do Missouri negligence laws affect my case?
In Missouri, a driver has a duty to other drivers to drive safely. If a driver violates that duty, causing injury to another driver, then that person may be liable in a civil lawsuit. The legal term for liability in this type of case is negligence. A person who is found liable for negligence must pay damages to the other person to make them “whole” or to restore them to the place they were before the accident.
This means, for example, if you were injured in a truck accident in St. Louis, your car may have been totaled, you may have incurred hospital or medical bills, you may have had to miss work while you were recovering, or you may have become permanently disfigured, therefore affecting your future ability to work. A person who is found liable for negligence will have to pay you to recoup these costs. Some costs, like pain and suffering, are referred to as intangible costs, and the amount of damages for these types of costs can vary depending on the facts and circumstances of your case.
What if I was partially at fault for the truck accident?
Missouri is a comparative fault state. This means if you were partially at fault in a truck accident, then a court would award you damages according to your degree of fault. For instance, if a court decides an accident was 15 percent your fault, then the court would reduce your compensation by 15 percent. Because of this, it’s important to hire an attorney who can thoroughly research the cause of the accident, interview witnesses, and document all of the contributing factors. It may be necessary for your attorney to retain an expert witness or accident reconstructionist to prove liability.
How do I prove that the other party was negligent in a truck accident case?
In a truck accident case, to prove negligence, you will need to show that the person owed you a duty to drive safely, the driver breached that duty, you were injured, and the other driver caused your injuries. In truck accident cases, it’s important to collect certain information to build this claim. Our experienced attorneys can help you gather the necessary evidence to help ensure you have everything you need to receive the maximum compensation you’re entitled to.
Important information and documents include the police report, information regarding the truck’s ownership, data regarding weather and road conditions at the time of the accident, and witness statements. Our attorneys can also collect data from the truck’s electronic control module, which stores information about the truck’s speed and braking attempts at the time of the accident. Finally, the trucking company will be conducting its own investigation into the accident. Your attorney can send the trucking company a letter requiring them to preserve any evidence that’s relevant to proving your claim.
Federal Laws and Regulations that Apply to Trucks
Various federal laws and regulations govern the trucking industry. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is responsible for the governing federal regulations for truck drivers. These laws can affect your case if the truck driver or trucking company failed to follow these regulations and if that failure caused your injuries. For instance, truck regulations provide minimum driving and safety fitness qualifications, limit the hours truck drivers can drive without taking an off-duty break, provide for routine drug and alcohol testing, set requirements for transporting hazardous materials, and require specified inspection, repair, and maintenance procedures. If a truck driver fails to comply with these regulations, then that can be used as strong evidence of negligence or liability in a truck accident.
What kind of damages can I recover after a truck accident in St. Louis?
If you have been injured in a truck accident in St. Louis, you may recover various types of damages. First, you can recover for the property damage to your vehicle, towing costs, rental car costs, and similar expenses. You may also recover damages for your personal injuries. This will include the costs of your medical care after the accident, as well as any lost wages from having to miss work because of the accident.
You may also be able to recover what are known as intangible or non-economic damages. These are damages for the pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life caused by the accident. In a wrongful death claim, loss of consortium can be obtained.
If your injuries prevent you from returning to work after the accident, you may also be able to recover money damages for loss of future income. Because these latter damages are sometimes difficult to calculate, it’s important to contact an experienced truck accident attorney after your accident. Your attorney can help you estimate what your claim may be worth and fight for your legal right to recover as much compensation as possible. This process can include consulting with economists and similar experts.
How much is my truck accident claim worth?
If you were injured in a truck accident, the amount of damages you can recover will depend on various factors. Commercial truck drivers are required to maintain a certain amount of insurance coverage. The value of your claim depends, of course, on the seriousness of your injuries, as well as whether they’re temporary or permanent. Further, the type of medical treatment you receive after an accident, such as surgery, can affect your case’s value. While some truck accident injuries are minor, many are not. You may find that you can no longer work in the same capacity as you did before your accident.
Our attorneys can help you calculate an estimate of the compensation for what you have lost, both in quantifiable dollar amounts and in intangible ways that your life has been affected. Truck accident victims should not accept a settlement offer from an insurance company after an accident with large trucks without consulting with legal counsel. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help you determine whether the settlement offer is fair based on the facts of your case, medical records, and other relevant information.
Some of our firm’s recent truck accident settlements and verdicts include:
How long do I have to file a lawsuit or personal injury claim after a truck accident in St. Louis?
If you are injured in a truck accident in Missouri, you have five years to file a claim. Technically, you have five years from when you discover that you’re injured, which will usually be five years from the date of the accident.
You may be traumatized and feel confused right after your accident. It is important, though, to begin documenting your case as soon as possible after your truck accident. This is because evidence may be lost and memories may fade over time. A truck accident lawyer can help you sort things out immediately after your accident, helping you gather crucial evidence for your case.
Remember, you must file your claim before the legal deadline. If you do not file within the deadline, you may be barred from recovering damages. Our experienced truck accident attorneys know the applicable statute of limitations to help ensure that you file everything within the proper deadline.
How much does a St. Louis truck accident law firm charge?
Personal injury attorneys typically charge what is referred to as a contingency fee basis. This means that if you hire a truck accident attorney, you will pay no attorney fees upfront. Your attorney will only be paid attorney fees only if you win your case. At NST Law, we will explain how much your contingency fee will be at the outset of your case. The contingency fee is usually a fixed percentage of the amount of money damages you’re awarded in your case.
Why should I hire an experienced St. Louis truck accident attorney?
A St. Louis truck accident attorney can give you valuable legal advice about which parties may be liable, how much your claim may be worth, what evidence you need to collect for your claim, the deadline for filing your claim, and other important information that can help you recover as much as possible.
If a negligent truck driver caused you injuries in a truck accident in St. Louis, contact our attorneys at Nahon, Saharovich, & Trotz immediately to discuss your legal rights. We have over 30 attorneys in offices located around the country and over 30 years of experience. We serve victims of truck accidents in the St. Louis area, including St. Charles, Chesterfield, Clayton, and surrounding areas. Contact us for a free case evaluation today.