If you have been seriously hurt in a truck accident in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, or Colorado, contact our firm now to learn how we can help. Our firm specifically limits the number of cases we handle at any one time. That way we can give you and your case the personal attention you deserve. We will review your case for free, and there is no fee unless we win money for you.
Why Truck Accident Cases Are So Complicated
You may think that filing a truck accident claim is no different from any other kind of car accident case. The truth is, truck accidents are much more complicated than your average car accident for several reasons:
- Truck accidents involve more evidence. A high level of state and federal regulation governs the trucking industry. This regulation and the trucking industry’s complex nature generate many more pieces of evidence that must be reviewed following a crash to definitively determine the cause.
- Truck accidents involve more potentially liable parties. Multiple companies play roles in a truck’s operation. Negligence or recklessness by any of these parties may lead to an accident. To ensure that injured accident victims get the full compensation they deserve, each of these parties’ actions must be reviewed. This investigation will help to determine which of them bears fault for the crash and in what proportion.
- Truck accidents cause more extensive injuries and damage. The hefty impact in a truck accident often results in catastrophic injuries. This complicates a truck accident case. Serious injuries take longer to treat. This makes it more likely that truck accident victims will still be undergoing treatment by the time their claim goes to settlement negotiations or to trial. Any settlement or judgment must include the accident victim’s future expenses and damages.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Truck Accident?
The trucking industry’s complex nature means there are multiple parties involved in getting trucks and their cargo onto the road. Any one of these parties may bear some or all of the fault for a truck accident. The circumstances of the crash will show who is at fault. The parties that might be held responsible for a truck accident include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company, which can be held responsible for the truck driver’s negligence because it employs the driver or can be held responsible for its own negligence in hiring, training, or supervising the driver
- The truck’s owner, which may not be the truck driver or trucking company, when an accident is caused by deferred maintenance that the owner should have performed
- The truck’s mechanic, when an accident is caused by improper maintenance
- The freight company, which can be held responsible for an accident caused by an unsafe load
- The truck’s manufacturer, or a manufacturer of a part used in the truck, which can be held responsible when a design or manufacturing defect leads to an accident
Evidence We May Use in a Truck Accident Claim
Figuring out what exactly caused a truck accident can prove incredibly difficult. Thoroughly investigating a truck accident claim requires securing and reviewing many different pieces of evidence to determine the cause of a crash and who should be held liable. Examples of evidence that our knowledgeable truck accident attorneys may review in your case include:
- The truck driver’s log. Drivers must observe state- and federally-mandated limits on the number of hours they can spend on duty and behind the wheel. To ensure drivers obey these limits, they are required to keep a log of their hours of service. Reviewing the log can show if a driver had exceeded those limits at the time of an accident and thus may have been fatigued or drowsy.
- The truck driver’s toxicology report. In accidents involving serious injury or death, truck drivers are often required to take a blood alcohol and drug test immediately after the accident.
- The truck driver’s employment records. These can show whether the driver was properly trained to operate his or her vehicle, or if the driver had prior accidents or an unsafe driving record.
- The truck’s electronic data record. A type of “black box” is often attached to commercial trucks. The “black box” records information. Records stored include the truck’s position and speed, or even the steering, acceleration, and braking inputs by the driver. This data can show what the driver did (or did not) do in the moments leading up to the crash.
- The load manifest. The manifest can show whether a truck had an unsafe, unbalanced, or unsecured load that may have caused or contributed to the crash.
- The truck’s maintenance records. Truck operators have a duty to keep trucks in good working condition and to follow recommended maintenance schedules. Failing to do so can lead to failure of critical parts or systems and cause a crash.
Pursuing Full Compensation in a Truck Accident Case
You may be entitled to compensation in a truck accident case for losses such as:
- Costs of medical treatment, including hospital stays, surgeries and other medical procedures, pain medication, physical and occupational therapy, mobility or other medical equipment, and other out-of-pocket expenses (such as transportation to appointments)
- Personal care expenses, such as home health services, home maintenance services (when you cannot perform those tasks yourself due your injuries), or home modifications if you’ve become disabled due to your injuries
- Lost wages, income, or business opportunities if you were forced to miss work due to your recovery
- Lost earning capacity, if your disabilities prevent you from returning to your pre-accident level of income
- Pain, suffering, or emotional distress caused by the accident and your injuries
- Reduced quality of life, possibly due to physical disabilities or disfigurement
How Long Do You Have to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
The law places a time limit on how long you have to file a personal injury lawsuit after a truck accident. This time limit is called the statute of limitations. Each state has its own statute of limitations on truck accident lawsuits, including:
- Kansas: Two years from the date of your accident
- Missouri: Five years from the date of your accident
- Oklahoma: Two years from the date of your accident
- Colorado: Three years from the date of your accident
Although it may seem like you have plenty of time to file a claim, the sooner you speak to a lawyer the better. Evidence can quickly be lost or destroyed after a truck wreck. Your attorney will work to preserve all the necessary evidence and craft a strong claim for full compensation.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
Take these steps after a truck accident to help protect your legal rights:
- Call 911 or local law enforcement. An officer will come to the scene to prepare a police accident report. This report often serves as a key piece of evidence in truck accident cases. Request a copy from the officer.
- Get contact information. Get the name, license, registration, and employer information from the truck driver in your crash. Gather the names, license/vehicle information, and insurance information from any other drivers involved. If bystanders witnessed your crash, get their names and contact information as well.
- Take pictures or video. Include photos of the vehicles after the crash, the damage to the vehicles, skid marks on the road, the traffic control and road lines, any obstructions to visibility, traffic and road conditions, lighting, and weather. Also take pictures of any visible injuries you have suffered.
- Get checked out in the ER or by your primary care physician. A doctor can diagnose any injuries you’ve suffered. Promptly diagnosing your injuries not only allows you to begin treatment more quickly but also ensures your injuries are documented.
Finally, you should schedule a free case evaluation with the truck accident attorneys of Mann, Wyatt & Tanksley Injury Attorneys to discuss your legal rights.
Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents
Safely driving commercial trucks requires a great deal of training and skill. When trucking companies and truck drivers disregard state and federal safety regulations, it puts everyone on the road at risk. Even a momentary lapse of concentration or judgment by a truck driver can lead to a catastrophic crash. Common causes of 18-wheeler accidents include:
- Careless or reckless driving, such as weaving through traffic
- Following too closely, or tailgating
- Unsafe lane changes, including failing to check mirrors or blind spots, or to signal a change
- Unsafe turns, such as failing to yield to oncoming traffic or swinging wide left for a right-hand turn
- Tired or drowsy driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- Distracted driving, such as texting while driving
- Inexperienced drivers, who may not know how to properly operate a vehicle of a certain size
- Unfamiliarity with routes, which can cause truck drivers to get lost and end up on roads unsafe for large commercial trucks
- Unsafe cargo loads, including loads too heavy for the vehicle’s capacity or loads that are unbalanced or not properly secured
- Improper or deferred truck maintenance
- Manufacturing or design defects in trucks or truck parts
- Defective road conditions such as broken pavement or potholes
- Heavy snow or rain, heavy fog, or low lighting
Catastrophic Injuries Caused by Semi-Truck Accidents
The force of an impact with a semi-truck on smaller passenger vehicles, or on exposed accident victims such as motorcycle riders, bicyclists, or pedestrians, can lead to catastrophic injuries. Examples of some of the injury cases we handle related to truck accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries, which often lead to paralysis
- Herniated or ruptured spinal discs, and other back or neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Dislocated joints
- Sprains and tears of ligaments, muscles, and tendons
- Perforated organs and internal bleeding
- Burns, which can result if an accident leads to a victim’s vehicle catching on fire
How Our Truck Accident Attorney Can Help You
Recovering from a truck accident can prove difficult for anyone. But you don’t have to go through the recovery process alone. Let a dedicated truck accident lawyer from Mann, Wyatt & Tanksley Injury Attorneys help you demand the maximum financial compensation you deserve by:
- Thoroughly investigating your accident to secure every available piece of evidence
- Working with accident reconstruction and trucking industry experts to determine how your crash occurred and identify the party or parties at fault
- Consulting with medical, vocational, and financial experts to determine the full extent of your past, ongoing, and future damages
- Vigorously negotiating for fair and full compensation in your case
- Preparing your claim to be filed in court and advocating at trial, if necessary, for a verdict in your favor
If you have been hurt in a truck accident, don’t wait to get the legal advice you need. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a truck accident attorney from Mann, Wyatt & Tanksley Injury Attorneys. We have a reputation as a strong advocate for truck accident victims throughout Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Colorado.