An accident occurred between a tractor trailer filled with watermelons and another vehicle near Clayton, causing both drivers to visit the hospital. In this instance, the driver of the tractor trailer clipped a traffic light and further drove into a car at the intersection, causing the truck to tip over. Was it the turning action, the braking action or the shift in cargo that caused the accident, or driver error? Professionals will have to perform due diligence and find out what percentage of fault lies with each driver. Both vehicles received damage and both drivers had to seek medical attention, although it was not life-threatening. Truck accidents account for a large percentage of highway fatalities where thousands of lives are still taken every day.
Post-accident actions for victims.
Weight load distribution in tractor trailers can cause or impact roadway accidents. If you are involved in an accident with a tractor trailer, it is important to know what action to take directly after the accident and later on to make sure your damages and injuries are covered. Immediately after the accident, if you are able:
- Check on the condition of the people involved in the accident;
- Call the police or emergency responders if needed;
- Get a written accident report;
- Remain at the accident scene;
- Exchange driver and insurance information;
- Get witness contact information;
- Call your insurance company to set up a claim;
- Seek out medical treatment if necessary;
- Take pictures of the scene, and the vehicle damages;
- If the truck is a Commercial Vehicle, get a State Trooper report;
- Do not make any statements regarding the fault or liability at the scene or when making a complaint;
- Call an accident attorney to help determine “fault” and actions toward a legal proceeding if needed.
Factors that impact damage settlements.
Insurance and legal settlements will be based on the information obtained by the victims, witnesses and professionals who arrive at the scene. Multiple factors will assist in the determination of fault. The size and weight of a large truck may result in extensive damage and serious injury compared to an accident with a passenger vehicle. A truck’s heavy weight and length can compromise maneuverability and braking distances leading to crash, jackknife and rollover scenarios where multi-vehicle involvement may occur.
If cargo is not properly secured or within weight restrictions, it can cause accidents.
Cargo is an important safety consideration for trucking companies, and is often dependent solely on the people who load and/or drive these large trucks. Overloading cargo is when a truck is carrying more than the specific maximum weight designed for the truck. A trucking company may do this to avoid making more than one trip that would cost more road time and fuel. An overloaded truck can cause an accident because: 1) the added weight requires longer stopping distances; 2) tires may not be able to support the extra weight and cause blowout situations; 3) mechanical components may not be able to bear the weight increasing downhill speeds and decreasing uphill speed of a truck, and most importantly a shift in cargo weight could cause an overturn or jackknife situation.
Damages to seek.
An accident victim may receive both compensatory damages, which are those damages that caused economic loss (loss of wages, medical bills, legal fees and property damage) and non-economic loss to victim (pain and suffering); and punitive damages can be awarded to punish the persons being sued, in the event of gross negligence causing extensive damage or death, or criminal acts while driving such as DUI.
Hire legal counsel.
An attorney at the Kruse Law Offices will be able to assist you with your claim for damages resulting from an accident with a tractor trailer. These types of accidents involve more complex legal interaction requiring specific knowledge of the trucking industry, insurance law and civil injury laws in the State of Missouri.
Kruse Law, LLC
2016 S. Big Bend Boulevard
Richmond Heights, Missouri 63117
Edward C. Kruse: [email protected]