Missouri Commercial Vehicle Lawsuits

The average commercial vehicle weighs 80,000 pounds when loaded with cargo, which is more than five times the size of a standard passenger vehicle. If a semi-truck is involved in an accident with a car, motorcyclist, or pedestrian, the results can be catastrophic and come with severe penalties.

CDL drivers are required to adhere to Federal Trucking Regulations, but in addition to this, Missouri Trucking Regulations apply. If you were injured in a truck accident in Missouri or Illinois, and need help determining if you can sue the at-fault truck driver for damages, under Missouri’s commercial vehicle regulations, contact our St Louis, Mo, personal injury lawyers for legal advice. Truck accident claims can recover for all of the damages caused by the negligent driver and trucking company.

Common Causes of Commercial Vehicle Accidents

Every year, hundreds of motorists, pedestrians, and truck drivers are injured or killed in commercial truck accidents. There are many different things that can cause a commercial truck collision, but the leading cause of truck accidents in Missouri is driver negligence, with the most common causes being:

  • Truck driver fatigue
  • Driving under the influence
  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Improper cargo loading of a tractor trailer

If you suffered injuries in a commercial vehicle accident, whether it involved an 18-wheeler, cargo tank, or a bus, you could be eligible to sue the negligent CDL driver and their employer for damages, depending on where, when, and why the auto accident occurred.

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Missouri Truck Accident Lawsuits

After a truck accident, it’s important to get immediate treatment for your injuries, document the scene of the accident, and consult a St. Louis truck accident lawyer about the possibility of filing a commercial truck accident claim against the negligent driver. Commercial motor vehicles have onboard recording devices that must be preserved as soon as possible to avoid the loss of critical information about the crash.

Missouri injury laws give victims up to 30 days after a truck accident to report a collision, and up to five years after a crash to file a claim against the at-fault party. However, it is always the best practice to have the police come to the scene of the crash and document evidence immediately.

Most commercial vehicle accident claims in Missouri are settled out of court and victims can recover total damages related to the accident.

Factors, such as not gathering evidence right after the crash, failing to report the truck accident on time to the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and not hiring a good St. Louis truck accident lawyer to represent your claim increase the odds of recovering a low truck accident settlement in Missouri.

Statutes of Limitations Apply

In Missouri, the statutes of limitations for vehicle accidents are described in the Missouri Revised Statutes 516.120. In essence, you have five years to file your lawsuit from the date of the accident. By comparison, most states only give you two years to seek recovery from a lawsuit.

Who Is Liable If I’m Injured in a Collision With a Commercial Truck?

Motor vehicle accident cases are complex. Many factors determine who is at fault. Since truck crashes often result in serious injury cases to the motorist, often with little or no harm to the truck driver unless the cab overturns, many injured motorists consider the truck driver completely responsible.

However, if you are injured in a collision with a commercial truck, a court will only hold the truck driver liable under situations in which negligence can be proven.

For instance:

  • The truck driver drove in an erratic way that violated state traffic laws.
  • The truck driver was distracted and not paying attention to the road.
  • The truck driver’s judgement was compromised by drugs, alcohol, or excessive fatigue.
  • The truck had a mechanical problem.
  • The truck driver was drowsy or had violated hours of service laws.

Furthermore, even if the truck driver clearly caused the accident, third parties could also be liable. The trucking company could be liable for giving the truck driver back-to-back assignments that resulted in driver fatigue or the cargo loaders could be liable for failing to load the truck properly causing it to swerve too heavily on one side when turning a corner.

Trucking companies are often negligent for improper training or hiring dangerous drivers who should not be on road in the first place.

When an Employer May Be Held Liable

An employer may be held responsible if the employee was driving the vehicle for the employer’s business purpose. This is referred to as “vicarious liability.”

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When Third Parties Are Liable

After a trucking accident, people often assume that the truck driver is liable. However, the situation is far more complex. First, the trucking company could be liable for insufficient driver training, for giving the driver an exhausting schedule, or for poor vehicle maintenance.

Next, the cargo loaders could be liable for negligence in loading the cargo. Finally, the truck manufacturer could be liable for a design defect in their vehicle.

Steps in Filing a Claim After a Trucking Accident

In a commercial vehicle accident lawsuit, certain steps must be taken before an insurance company will accept your accident claim. It is important to never trust the insurer to explain these steps to you and always consult with someone on your side.

Even if you are not aware of these steps, here are some actions that you should take before filing a claim:

After you talk to a truck accident attorney, you must have a signed written agreement that they will represent you. It is then advisable to only communicate with the insurance company through this law firm.

Other steps to get your claim recognized will include discovery, i.e. collecting and investigating evidence; delivering a legal demand letter about your injury; negotiating a fair and just settlement; obtaining reductions of medical expenses; and ensuring all applicable insurance is located.

If all negotiations fail, then it may be necessary to go to trial.

What Happens During a Commercial Vehicle Lawsuit?

An accident with a commercial vehicle can be tricky because it is not always clear who is responsible. You will need a personal injury attorney to advise you about your rights, research the accident, and explain the best steps to recovery, which may be through the insurance company or a lawsuit.

Liability can often be difficult to pinpoint. For instance, is the trucking company or the truck driver responsible? Sometimes, it could be both.

The truck driver might be responsible if he or she was driving the vehicle during off-hours. The trucking company could be responsible if the driver were on duty at the time of the accident. Other complications could arise that would make them both responsible.

When things are not clear, it can be difficult to determine whether you should ask the insurer to cover damages or if you need to file a lawsuit to collect damages. This is why it is essential that you hire an attorney to investigate all the details of the case.

Will My Truck Accident Case Settle or Go to Trial?

Generally speaking, most vehicle accident cases settle before a lawsuit is filed if an experienced attorney is hired from the outset of the case. However, these are just statistical averages and some cases need to be tried to a jury if the insurance company is refusing to take responsibility.

Each case is unique, what happens is determined by the details of your accident.

If you want to know more about the Missouri car accident settlement process, it’s best to speak to an attorney because you need someone with experience to explain your legal options, whether you want to know more about the car accident settlement process or the amount for the average wrongful death settlements in Missouri.

Compensation After a Truck Accident Lawsuit

In truth, there is no standard commercial vehicle accident settlement amount. If you are hit by a company vehicle, settlement for your case typically includes seeking recovery for medical bills after incurring serious injuries as well as for property damage and all other accident related losses. The settlement will depend on the specific circumstances of your case.

No estimate is possible because there are numerous unique factors to consider, such as the extent of property damage, medical bills, future medical costs, and out-of-pocket costs. Settlements may also include a variety of demands for compensation– compensation for physical pain, compensation for emotional trauma, compensation for lost income, compensation for lost future wages, or compensation for lifestyle changes resulting from the accident (e.g. remodeling your home for wheelchair accessibility).

Why a Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorney Is the Right Choice

Selecting the best law firm after you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial vehicle accident is a decision that cannot be made quickly. While all accident victims will get the same attorney-client relationship privileges, not all attorneys have the knowledge and experience to get them the compensation they deserve.

While, it’s better to choose an attorney rather than simply rely on the other party’s insurance company to tell you what you can receive compensation for after the accident, it’s best to select a reputable attorney with experience handling serious injuries.

Here are some pointers in choosing the right attorney for help with truck accident settlements and verdicts:

  • Find an attorney familiar with the area where you had the accident because they will also be familiar with the traffic, road, and weather conditions. This will make it easier for them to investigate the circumstances of the accident. So, if your accident occurred in St. Louis, hire St Louis personal injury lawyers.
  • Find a personal injury attorney familiar with your particular type of accident. If, say, your complaint is that a “dump truck rear-ended me,” then get an attorney familiar with commercial truck rear-end compensation cases. If you are a victim of a t-bone accident, then look for an attorney with commercial vehicle t-bone settlement experience.

Free Legal Consultation

Call or email the Personal Injury Attorneys at Dixon Injury Firm today to schedule your free injury claim consultation with Chris. Our experienced lawyers make the difference.

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Talk to Our St. Louis Truck Accident Lawyers Today

If you have been the victim of a commercial truck accident and need a lawyer to assess your case, you will need real-time assistance. This is why you’ll want the Dixon Injury Firm by your side.

Our Missouri truck accident attorneys can help you gather copies of the negligent truck driver’s driving logs, on board recording devices, evidence from the accident, and file a compelling Missouri truck accident claim against the at-fault CDL driver and the trucking company. They will help you demand the compensation you deserve for your harm and losses.

Christopher Dixon has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers Association as a “Top 100 Trial Lawyer,” and the Dixon Injury Firm is renowned for providing aggressive legal representation to car accident, personal injury, and commercial vehicle accident victims in St. Louis. When you choose the Dixon Injury Firm to represent your case, you are choosing experienced attorneys that are committed to doing everything in their power to recover the highest Missouri truck accident settlements.

If you or someone you love needs help filing a truck accident claim in St. Louis, call (314) 409-7060, 855-40-CRASH (toll-free), or contact the Dixon Injury Firm’s St. Louis Truck Accident Lawyers now for a free case review or consultation.

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