Truck Accident Lawyer & Truck Accident Attorney St Louis
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The government has established a different set of “rules of the road” covering trucks, trucking companies, and truck driver training and conduct. Among other things:
- Commercial truck drivers are limited in the number of hours they can drive before they must rest. They are required to keep an accurate logbook that documents this and many other aspects of each trip.
- Trucks themselves have weight restrictions, road restrictions, and maintenance requirements.
- Trucking companies are required to follow federal regulations in hiring, training, scheduling, and maintenance. They must transport cargo safely, including proper containment of hazardous materials (HAZMAT regulations).
When these regulations are violated, everyone is at risk and commercial trucking accidents are much more likely to occur.
There are an estimated 500,000 truck accidents in the U.S. each year. Nearly 5,000 of these result in fatalities. The remainder often results in injuries of varying degrees. With three major interstates running through the Missouri-Illinois border in St. Louis — I-44, I-64 and I-70 — Missouri and Illinois see more than their fair share of trucking accidents. Unfortunately, many of these accidents are caused by the negligence of truck drivers or trucking companies.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
The trucking industry involves many parties — drivers, owners, warehouses, and vehicle maintenance crews are just a few. Accidents are therefore susceptible to a variety of causes. The most common causes include:
Truck Driver Fatigue: Truck driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of truck accidents in Missouri and Illinois. Although laws are designed to limit truck driving activity, many drivers either disobey the law or engage in physical activity during the time they should be resting to drive.
Drunk Driving Accidents: A significant number of truck accidents are caused by the use of alcohol or drugs by the truck driver. Some truck drivers ignore the stringent laws against drunk driving or drug use, and their lawbreaking may lead to a catastrophic semi truck accident.
Brake Failure: Brake failure, tire blowouts, brake light failure or other dangerous conditions that go undetected because of the truck owner’s failure to properly inspect or maintain the vehicle. It should be noted that the truck rig and the truck trailer are often owned by different people, each of whom has a responsibility to properly maintain their part.
We understand how insurance companies work to limit your recovery after a tractor-trailer accident. Insurance companies will immediately have people on the scene of an accident to gather evidence to limit their liability. The sooner you hire a lawyer to protect your interests, the sooner we can have our investigators working to build your case.
With more than 20 years of truck accident and personal injury experience, attorney Christopher Hoffmann understands the causes of truck accidents and the many factors that make truck accident claims so complex. He personally handles every truck accident case, including those involving:
- Faulty brakes and defective parts
- Commercial trucks colliding with vans or shuttle buses
- Bucket truck wrecks
- Fire truck accidents
- Pick-up truck accidents
- Tanker truck crashes
Who Was Really Responsible for the Accident?
In truck accident cases, there could be multiple parties responsible for the accident. If you fail to include any of these parties in a lawsuit, you may lose your opportunity to secure the full financial recovery that you need. Attorney Chris Hoffmann thoroughly investigates every case in order to identify every potentially liable party, including:
- The truck driver
- Truck Loaders
- The trucking company that hires or pays the driver
- The truck owner
- The trailer owner
- Truck manufacturers
- Truck and trailer maintenance personnel
Preventing Semi-Truck Accidents with Defensive Driving
Often it is the occupants of the passenger cars who are vulnerable to severe and life-threatening injuries resulting from the collision. It is important that drivers of passenger cars are cautious when driving in the vicinity of semi-trucks to avoid getting into a crash. When you drive defensively, you may prevent a potentially dangerous and fatal accident.
Semi-Truck Accident Statistics
A report from the U.S. Department of Transportation indicates that 68 percent of the total number of accidents involving 18-wheelers and semi-trucks occurred in rural areas. There are over 500,000 truck accidents that happen nationwide each year, and almost 5,000 of these accidents result in fatalities. The victims in 98 percent of the cases have been the occupants of small passenger cars. For this reason, drivers of smaller vehicles should drive defensively when there is a large truck in the vicinity.
Defensive Driving Tips
- Be cautious and alert when on the highway and especially around big trucks.
- Keep a lookout for semi-trucks or tractor-trailers while they are executing a turn or while entering or exiting a highway.
- When driving through a construction zone, give the big trucks some extra space and a wide berth.
- Inclement weather calls for special precautions. Remember that a big truck cannot maneuver or stop like a passenger car and in inclement weather, a close situation can turn disastrous in no time.
- Driving in the truck driver’s blind spot is extremely dangerous because the driver cannot see you.
- When overtaking a truck, never cut it off.
3 Common Questions Insurance Companies Ask After a Truck Accident
How Did the Accident Happen?
The purpose of this question is to gather information that will help the insurer determine who was at fault for the accident. However, the question can also be used as a trap to get you to admit responsibility for the accident. For example, the insurance company may try to get you to say that you “didn’t see the truck” or that you “didn’t have time to react.” These statements could be used to argue that you were at fault for the accident.
To avoid this trap, it is generally best to speak with an experienced attorney and let them communicate with the insurance company. If you choose to answer this question, it’s important to be clear and concise. Stick to the facts and avoid making any speculation about what may have caused the accident. The last thing you want to do is give the insurance company any information that could be used against you.
What Medical Conditions Do You Suffer From?
Insurance companies will typically want detailed information about any health issues that could affect your recovery or ability to work. This might include ongoing medical conditions, medications you are currently taking, or previous injuries that could potentially impact your diagnosis and prognosis.
Don’t answer this question without consulting an attorney. The insurance company could be looking for potential vulnerabilities, such as pre-existing conditions or prior incidents that could be used against you in court.
How Were Your Injuries Treated?
In addition to asking about your current medical condition, insurance companies will also want details on how your injuries were initially treated. They may ask whether you visited an emergency room or received ongoing care from a doctor or specialist of some kind. If so, they will want specific information on these appointments and any treatments that were prescribed as a result of them.
Again, while this may seem like a simple and straightforward question, don’t answer it without an attorney by your side. The insurer may use your answer to blame you for the accident or deny your claim.
St. Louis Truck Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in an accident caused by a semi-truck, you may be able to claim compensation from the driver and trucking company. An experienced St. Louis Truck Accident Lawyer at The Hoffmann Law Firm can help! Call us 24/7 for a free case evaluation.
Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
Don’t talk to an insurance claims adjuster before speaking with The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can help you avoid making statements that may affect the outcome of your case. The consultation is free, and you don’t pay unless we get you money!