The outcome is often horrific when a commercial truck collides with a passenger vehicle. The mass of commercial trucks means they cannot slow quickly, and catastrophic injuries are common when they crash into smaller vehicles.
If you were injured in a truck accident in Kansas City, it’s time to contact a truck accident attorney to discuss your legal options. You deserve fair compensation for your vehicle repair and medical bills, and working with a truck accident lawyer offers you the best opportunity to pursue the restitution you deserve.
The Guidance You Need
The weeks following a large truck accident are chaotic, and you will likely find yourself struggling to determine the best course of action for your situation. Truck accidents often leave you with injuries and property damage, and if you’re too badly injured to work, it’s easy to become buried under bills.
At Holman Schiavone, LLC, our Kansas City truck accident lawyers will work to prevent another driver’s mistake from wrecking your financial future. They will also help you navigate through the overwhelming process of pursuing compensation for your losses and protect you from having your rights infringed upon. Truck accidents can instantly turn your life upside down, but the experienced attorneys at our law firm are ready to help you get the compensation you need to get your life right side up again.
Why You Need a Kansas City Trucking Accident Lawyer
While you can file a truck accident claim independently, if you’re determined to recover compensation for your losses you’ll want a trustworthy Kansas City law firm handling your case. Truck accident lawyers will keep you from being pushed around or manipulated by the insurance and trucking company and work diligently to get you the justice and compensation you deserve.
So You Can Focus on Healing
Instead of fielding phone calls and emails from the truck driver or trucking company’s insurance company, you need to heal from your serious injuries following the collision. Truck accident claims require enormous amounts of legwork because the insurance company will be doing everything in its power to make the process of receiving compensation challenging.
It isn’t unusual for insurance adjusters to hound accident victims while they are dealing with medical issues in hopes that the victim will accept a low settlement simply to end the stressful process. Giving your accident claim the energy it requires to succeed will place you under additional stress when your body needs to use its strength to heal. An attorney will communicate with adjusters on your behalf, enabling you to step back from the chaos and concentrate on recovering.
To Protect Your Interests
Insurance and truck companies aren’t concerned with whether the outcome of the claim is fair for you. Instead, the insurance company aims to pay you as little money as possible, and the trucking company is focused on protecting its best interests.
Since trucking companies will have a legal team working on their behalf, it’s essential that you have an experienced personal injury lawyer representing you. A truck crash case isn’t an undertaking the average individual should attempt, so you’ll want to trust your truck accident claim to a seasoned lawyer.
To Negotiate a Fair Settlement
Having a Kansas City truck accident lawyer managing your case is the best way to increase your likelihood of recovering fair compensation for your medical bills and other losses. Unfortunately, the insurance company will not take your claim as seriously if you don’t have legal representation.
Unfair as it may be, you are more likely to be offered a reasonable settlement from the start if you have a truck accident lawyer working on your case. In addition, if the settlement offer is unacceptable, your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and do everything possible to secure you a more lucrative offer.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
Immediately following a truck accident, you will likely be caught up in the chaos and adrenaline of having been in a collision. However, knowing what steps to take can help you stay focused on what you need to do to protect yourself after a truck accident.
Call the Police
If you are in a crash with a truck or a commercial vehicle, the first thing you should do is call the police. The police will ensure everyone needing medical attention receives it, direct traffic around the truck accident scene, and take a report. A police report provides a valuable account of the accident scene that you can use to verify that your version of the truck accident is valid.
Remember that even though you will need to engage politely with the police when they ask you questions about the accident, you should not admit fault or wrongdoing. You will also want to make sure you do not minimize your injuries. Everything you say to the police could be critical to your truck accident case if it escalates to the courtroom.
Document the Scene
Although the police will be taking a report and gathering evidence from the scene, you will want to collect evidence yourself if you are able. Photograph the accident scene and anything that contributed to the truck accident, such as road conditions, weather, or traffic signals and signs.
Speak to any witnesses present and ask for their contact information, as well as the contact information of the truck driver. Finally, write down what happened or make a voice recording so that as the memory fades, you will have a record of what took place.
In addition to documenting the scene, you’ll want to collect the following information. While you may not need all the details you gather, it’s better to have them and realize you don’t need them than to have your case suffer because you don’t have vital information.
- The truck’s license plate number, as well as the license plate number of any other vehicles involved in the crash
- The driver’s U.S Department of Transportation (DOT) placard or motor carrier identification number
- The name of the trucking company
- The police report number
- Contact information of all involved parties and witnesses
See a Medical Practitioner
After a truck accident, you may be in shock or have a rush of adrenaline. Unfortunately, the adrenaline or shock from the crash can mislead you into thinking that you do not have serious injuries. Even if you feel uninjured, seeking the opinion of a medical professional is essential. It is better to see a doctor and learn that you are fine than find out later you suffered an injury during the collision and have difficulty proving the validity of your injuries.
Waiting to see a doctor can hurt your chances of securing a settlement during a truck accident case because the defendant (at-fault party) can claim you received the injury elsewhere. Visiting a doctor following the accident allows you to create a paper trail that will serve as evidence as you seek compensation for your truck accident injuries.
Contact a Kansas City Truck Accident Lawyer
Consider only truck accident lawyers when searching for an attorney to handle your claim. Trucking accident claims are complex, so you’ll want to ensure the attorney you hire has extensive experience with truck accident cases.
Your Kansas City truck accident lawyer will explain all your choices for pursuing compensation and investigate the details of the truck accident. They can also find expert witnesses to speak on your behalf, collect statements from anyone who witnessed the collision and build a solid case supporting your claim.
Proving Fault in a Kansas City Truck Accident
Although you may be sure you are not at fault for the truck accident, being confident that you didn’t cause the accident isn’t enough for a successful truck crash case. A personal injury lawsuit involving a car accident requires the victim to be able to prove that four elements of negligence occurred. Victims in trucking accident cases must be able to demonstrate the following to establish truck accident liability:
- The driver of the tractor-trailer owed you a duty of care to drive their vehicle safely
- The semi-truck driver violated or breached that duty of care
- The tractor-trailer driver’s breach of care caused your injuries, or the death of your loved one
- You or a loved one experienced loss and damages because of the injuries received in the semi-truck accident
Skilled truck accident attorneys know how to present the details of your situation to highlight how your truck accident fits these parameters. They will look for signs of truck driver negligence, collect medical records to demonstrate how you suffered serious personal injuries from the truck crash, and document the economic and non-economic losses you suffered.
Choose a Lawyer Who Can Take Your Case to Court
Although most cases involving truck accidents will settle out of court, you still want to choose to work with a Kansas City truck accident attorney with experience in the courtroom. Not every law firm has attorneys with years of courtroom experience, so you’ll want to vet the Kansas City firms you’re considering working with carefully. At Holman Schiavone, LLC, our attorneys have a proven track record of courtroom victories and successful verdicts for our clients.
We know that the outcome of your case will have a long-lasting impact on you and your family’s future, and we don’t take our responsibility to defend your rights and seek justice on your behalf lightly. Truck crashes can devastate victims physically and financially, and you deserve compensation for your economic and non-economic losses.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Victims of Kansas City commercial truck accidents are often left with severe injuries. Some common injuries truck accident lawyers help victims seek compensation for include the following:
- Back injury
- Broken bones
- Crush injury
- Facial injury
- Internal organ damage
- Seat belt injury
- Soft tissue damage
- Traumatic brain injury
Potentially Liable Parties
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your traffic accident, there may be more than one potentially liable party. While you may assume all the blame for the accident falls squarely on the driver, numerous parties could have contributed to the crash.
There are multiple ways truck drivers can cause or contribute to accidents, such as choosing not to obey speed limits, engaging in distracted driving, or operating a commercial vehicle while intoxicated. Commercial truck drivers who push themselves too hard can suffer from truck driver fatigue, which impairs their ability to react to changes in traffic or could cause them to fall asleep at the wheel.
Although truck drivers are bound by federal and state laws, as well as federal trucking regulations, some drivers may violate these regulations. This reckless behavior can cause catastrophic accidents.
Sometimes trucking company negligence contributes to an accident. For example, when trucking companies hire drivers without doing their due diligence, they may be held liable if truck accidents occur because the drivers they hired were improperly trained.
Trucking companies are responsible for vetting their drivers and ensuring they have a clean license. Failure to do so can place the trucking company in hot water alongside the negligent truck driver.
When cargo isn’t loaded or tied down appropriately, there is a higher risk that it could shift during transport. Shifting cargo contributes to truck accidents by causing drivers to lose control of their vehicles.
Unsecured freight is also at risk of knocking the trailer doors open during a collision and spilling out onto the interstate, where it can cause numerous car accidents. In these situations, the person responsible for loading and securing the cargo could also be liable for damage during the truck crash.
Vehicle defects can also cause truck accidents. If an accident occurred because of a manufacturer defect, victims may be able to recover compensation from the company that built the commercial vehicle.
Other Passenger Vehicles
Fatal accidents can be caused by the driver of a passenger vehicle behaving irresponsibly or recklessly. When sharing the road with commercial trucks, it’s crucial to remember that semi-trucks cannot maneuver as nimbly as commuter cars.
Drivers who cut off commercial trucks and ride in the blind spot of truck drivers put themselves and other passenger vehicle occupants at risk. If another driver contributed to an accident involving a commercial motor vehicle, they might also be liable for your medical bills and losses.
Truck Accident Victims
Not all truck crashes are solely the fault of the commercial truck driver. The accident victim may also hold some responsibility for the collision.
In Missouri, victims are allowed to seek compensation through a personal injury claim or lawsuit, even if they are partially responsible for the accident. How much a victim contributed to the Kansas City truck accident will impact the total of their truck accident case worth, as the amount the victim receives is reduced by the percentage of responsibility they have for the collision.
Statute of Limitations on Kansas City Truck Accidents
Victims of truck accidents should contact truck accident attorneys as soon as possible after the crash. Missouri’s statute of limitations for truck and car accident cases is five years from the accident date. The five-year deadline is for personal injury lawsuits stemming from trucking accidents.
Fatal truck accidents have a shorter statute of limitations. Family members of individuals killed in traffic accidents have only three years from the date of death to pursue justice for their loved ones. Whether you’re filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, you’ll want to contact Kansas City truck accident lawyers regarding your situation.
Truck Accident Injury Lawsuits Should Be Pursued Quickly and Thoroughly
In approaching a truck accident injury claim, it is important to remember the defendants in these cases are typically large commercial trucking operations. These companies are required by federal law to maintain relatively high minimum liability insurance coverage on all their vehicles, but evidence in these cases is also likely to go missing if it is not preserved quickly following the accident.
Our lawyers are well-versed in the federal and state laws that govern truck accident injury lawsuits. We can help you understand your rights and legal options, and we can manage an independent investigation with accident reconstructionists, trucking experts and medical experts that will make your maximum deserved compensation achievable.
Accidents involving 18-wheelers (semis) and other large trucks often lead to severe head, neck and back injuries, and all too often, wrongful death. We will work with you personally to determine your needs and help you maximize your recovery of all past, present and future damages and losses.
Request a Free Consultation From a Kansas City Truck Accident Attorney
Take the first step toward seeking justice for the harm you suffered by scheduling a free consultation with one of our compassionate, skilled attorneys at Holman Schiavone, LLC. During your free consultation, we will discuss the details of your situation and learn more about the circumstances that caused the crash, the injuries you sustained, and the challenges you are experiencing because of the crash.
After we understand the critical aspects of your situation, we can outline the legal options you have available going forward. This consultation also provides you with an opportunity to ask any questions you have about the legal aspects of pursuing compensation from the party who injured you.
Work with a law firm with a proven record of successful truck accident cases. Reach out to Holman Schiavone, LLC, at 816-399-5149 and schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys to go over the particulars of your case.