Hire 18-Wheeler Truck Accident Lawyer in St. Louis
Have you or a family member been involved in an 18-wheeler truck accident in Missouri? If the answer to that question is yes then you’re in the right place. When an 80,000 lb vehicle collides with a 2,000 lb vehicle, there’s not much of a contest. That’s why accidents involving 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, or big rigs can be extremely dangerous and often deadly. Drivers of commercial vehicles like 18-wheelers are held to a higher standard under Missouri law. Not only that many times the companies that own these vehicles will do anything and everything to protect themselves from legal action that can arise when one of their drivers is involved in an accident. That’s why the first thing you should do when you’re involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler you should get in touch with an attorney right away. Because you can bet that the other side will have a team of lawyers looking to minimize the financial impact for their clients. Combs Law Group is here to help you fight that battle and get you the compensation you deserve. Call us today and we can provide a full consultation for free to evaluate your case. Or you can fill out a contact form and we will call you back.
Semi-Truck Accidents Can Be High Profile Cases
Most of the time an 18-Wheeler is being operated by an employee of a trucking company or a company that has it’s own trucking division. When one of their drivers is involved in an accident you can bet that the companies who own the trucks have responsive plans that are aimed at reducing the financial risk from the accident. Many times these companies will immediately launch investigative teams to the scene of the accident in order to gather their own evidence, take witness statements, take photographs, etc. All of this is aimed at protecting the companies financially. If they find that their driver was at fault they will begin to work on a plan to settle with any of the drivers that were hurt as a result of their drivers negligence. They will be trying to act quickly before you can speak to an attorney, so be cautious if you recieve phone calls or letters that offer you a settlement before you’ve spoken with an attorney. The reason why these cases can be high profile sometimes is that they can involve everyday big brands like Walmart or Target. These companies have very deep pockets and have very extensive insurance protection. However, they don’t care about you, they care about the bottom line, so that’s why it’s crucial to have an advocate in your corner before speaking with their representatives.
Semi-Truck Accidents Can Be Avoided
The reasons why 18-wheelers get into accidents are well documented. As stated before, drivers of commercial vehicles are held to a higher standard under most state traffic laws. But when you look at the history of traffic accidents involving 18-weeler or semi-trucks you begin to see a patterns. Here are the main causes:
Fatigued Semi-Truck Drivers – There are federal laws that mandate how long a driver of an 18-wheeler can continuously drive his vehicle. A driver is limited to driving 11 consecutive hours during a 14-hour driving shift. They may not drive again until they have had at least 10 hours of rest. Driver’s must log their driving hours and in some cases these log files are provided electronically through the companies systems. Getting access to this information can be difficult especially if the driver/operator was not obiding by these guidelines. The fact is that many truck drivers do break these laws because the faster they can get their truckload to the destination the more money they make. So many operators/drivers will stretch the limits because the risk is worth the reward for your average 18-wheeler truck driver.
Distracted Drivers – When you’re on the road for hours at a time you it’s difficult to maintain your attention 100% if the time. Even with modern technologies like Bluetooth headphones, drivers, in general, are constantly battling with distractions while driving their vehicles. That’s no different for 18-wheeler semi-truck drivers, who can lose focus on their road surroundings very quickly. Many truck drivers get bored on the road and spend time speaking on their cell phones for hours at a time. Even if they are using hands-free technology they are not 100% focused on the road. Even the National Safety Council has stated that hands-free does not equate to risk-free. The laws that have been established for truck drivers make it illegal to use mobile phones while driving. That doesn’t mean they can’t be on their cell phones while driving. It just means there are specific restrictions around the use. Here’s the guidance as to what’s acceptable:
Make sure the mobile telephone is within close enough proximity that it is operable while the driver is restrained by properly installed and adjusted seat belts.
- Use an earpiece or the speaker phone function.
- Use voice-activated dialing.
- Use the hands-free feature. To comply, a driver must have his or her mobile telephone located where he or she is able to initiate, answer, or terminate a call by touching a single button. The driver must be in the seated driving position and properly restrained by a seat belt. Drivers are not in compliance if they unsafely reach for a mobile phone, even if they intend to use the hands-free function.
Poor Weather – We’ve all seen those horrific videos or pictures of 18-wheelers jackknifing in snowy conditions. It’s no surprise to anyone when the road conditions turn bad through rain or snow, it’s likely there will be an accident that involves an 18-wheeler semi-truck. When you’ve got 80,000 lbs of steel traveling at 70 MPH on slick conditions, drivers have to be extra cautious. And unfortunately, that’s not always the case. It’s hard enough to stop an 18-wheeler in dry conditions. In fact, it takes approximately 400 feet to stop an 18-wheeler in dry conditions when traveling around 55 MPH. Cars will stop at about 120 feet going the same speed. Therefore, truck drivers need to take that into consideration when weather conditions worsen. If they don’t the results can be catastrophic.
DWI/DUI Drivers – Truck driving is a lonely profession and the industry has been know to deal with a higher rate of substance abuse than other industries. The industry has gotten better at regulating it’s driving force through drug and alcohol testing, but it’s still not a perfect system. There are many 18-wheeler truck drivers who are dealing with drug and alcohol problems. Unfortunately, that can lead to some serious accidents every year. When a driver is involved in an accident and has been charged with a DWI as well, the case becomes more complicated. Since the driver is innocent unti proven guilty, some cases may take a while to settle because some of the evidence will be based on the criminal case itself.
Reckless Drivers – Sometimes an accident is just the result of a bad truck driver. Even though truck drivers are mandated to go through specific training before they can get behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler semi-truck, it doesn’t always mean you have good drivers on the road. That being said the bar is set higher for commercial truck drivers and they are supposed to drive with a safety first mentality. That’s not always the case though, and there have been many instances where the semi-truck driver was driving too fast or driving irradically for unknown reasons. Many times a reckless truck driver is someone who is driving aggressively and without consideration of the drivers around them. Furthermore, they tend to forget that they are behind an 80,000 lb machine that can kill people if things go wrong.
Overweight, Unstable, Dangerous Load – It’s crucial to point out that every day as drivers we come into contact with some very dangerous 18-wheeler semi-trucks. They can be carrying high flammable chemicals or other dangerous chemicals. It’s the responsibility of the trucking company to secure those loads in a way that minimizes the risk of people getting hurt if the truck is involved in an accident. Furthermore, there are specific federal guidelines on the total weight allowed for each semi-truck. Many truck drivers will try to carry more because it means more money for them, but the added weight can make the semi-truck more unstable. Therefore, the federal regulations mandate specific weight for specific truck types. If you’re accident involved a dangerous load we will find out and use that evidence for your case.
Injuries From 18-Wheeler Accidents
The injuries sustained from an accident with an 18-wheeler semi-truck can be very traumatic. Head, neck, and back injuries are typically the types of injuries that happen to the car or motorcycle driver. These types of injuries can be very serious and have a long-lasting impact on someone’s life. If you’ve sustained any type of neck, back, or head injuries it’s in your best interest to go seek medical help. Getting documentation like x-rays or CT scans can be crucial in your case. If you haven’t had the opportunity to get these tests done yet we can help refer you to medical providers who can perform a full examination of your injuries. Combs Law Group has a network of medical providers who can assist with your medical needs that have arisen from the accident. Call us today and we can get you the help you need.