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Commercial Trucking Accidents in St. Louis, MO


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Trucking Accidents in Missouri

St. Louis is a centralized hub where much of the nation’s cargo and freight moves through. While commercial logistics and freight bring business and jobs to St. Louis, it also means that many of the city’s highways are often littered with semi-trucks. As a result, there are frequently trucking accidents taking place in and around the city. If you are involved in a trucking accident in St. Louis or a neighboring suburb, contact an experienced St Louis truck accident lawyer at TorHoerman Law for a free, no-obligation case consultation today.

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Commercial Truck Accidents in St Louis, MO

According to the Missouri Trucking Association, there were 89 fatal trucking accidents in the last year alone – representing eight percent of all fatal accidents in Missouri.

While St. Louis, MO truck accidents occur less often than other auto accidents, there are key differences setting the two dangerously apart.

  1. Truck accidents are more likely to result in serious injury or death, likely due to the large size of the tractor-trailer vehicle which generally has a more destructive impact than smaller vehicles.
  2. The party held liable for the accident may not be just the driver – it could the owner of the truck, the trucking company the driver is employed with, the company that maintains the truck, or the company the loads the truck’s cargo. In a St. Louis trucking lawsuit, it is likely there will be more than one liable party.

For these reasons, trucking accidents generally warrant legal action to ensure that victims are made whole for the losses that they incur from the accident. If you are involved in an accident, it can greatly benefit you to contact a St Louis truck accident lawyer to discuss your legal options and determine the best avenue to financial recovery.

 

St. Louis Truck Accident Facts & Statistics

While statistics for St. Louis truck accidents are limited, these are some broader stats & facts available.

  • A semi-truck can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds without an oversize or overweight permit. Comparatively, a car typically weighs about 5,000 pounds.
  • Did you know a semi-truck needs 40% more time to stop than a car?
  • If a truck is driving without a trailer, this is referred to as ‘bobtailing’. Surprisingly, driving without a trailer is more dangerous, especially in bad weather.
  • The average cost of all large truck crashes is about $91,000 per crash, but if the accident resulted in a fatality, the cost of the truck accident skyrockets to $3.6 million per crash.
  • Highway deaths decreased in 2017, except when a large truck is involved, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Deaths involving a large truck increased by 9% from 2016 to 2017. The NHTSA defines a large truck as any vehicle, commercial or non-commercial, with GVWR greater than 10,000 pounds.

 

St. Louis Commercial Trucking Rules and Safety Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was founded in 2000 and “partners with industry, safety advocates, and state and local governments to keep our nation’s roadways safe.”  Specifically, the FMCSA has enacted strict laws regulating the trucking industry in hopes of reducing the number of accidents.

Federal regulations state that each driver:

  • adheres to strict driving hour limits
  • maintain a logbook of distance and hours driven
  • ensure the truck is properly maintained
  • follow speed limits
  • follow weight limits for trucks.

Weight limits are to be strictly followed, but if carrying a tractor load that is overweight, special permits can be issued by the chief engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation either for a single trip or a definite time period.

It is required by law that all semi-trucks undergo “systematic inspection, repair, and maintenance” routinely, but how often is dependent on the fleet and type of vehicle. If the company fails to properly maintain the truck, they could be held liable for any accidents that occur.

In Missouri specifically, drivers must first pass a skill and knowledge test before obtaining their commercial driver’s license (CDL). While drivers must be 21 to cross state lines while transporting goods in a large truck, each state can pass its own state laws regulating the age of an individual driving only on state roads. In Missouri, 18 is the legal age a person can drive a semi-truck.

 

Complying with OSHA Guidelines

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), ran by the U.S. Department of Labor since 1970, sets strict regulations for many industries, including trucking. OSHA works alongside other trucking regulators such as FMCSA and the U.S. Department of Transportation – it often depends on the incident and where it happened to decide which regulator will handle the investigation.

While companies are required to follow OSHA guidelines, violations can and do occur. As a driver on the roadways, you have no way of knowing what kind of cargo is in the truck’s cargo hold. If a trucking company or warehouse violated safety regulations, those actions can have implications on the roadways. For example, if the cargo catches fire, the fire poses a great risk to other vehicles. The legal team working on your claim will evaluate the police report and previous OSHA citations to decide on further action.

 

 

Common Causes of St Louis Trucking Accidents

While there are many reasons that truck accidents occur, these are some of the most common causes of truck accidents. Knowing what they are can help you to avoid them on the road.

 

Jackknifing

Likely inevitable when turning at a 45-degree angle, a truck will jackknife which basically means the “trailer contacts the tractor by the ailer “coming around” on the driver”. More common on wet or icy roads, jackknifing can also occur if a tractor is empty and the driver must brake hard.

 

Driver fatigue

Truck drivers are required to adhere to a strict schedule, one that allows for proper resting time. If a driver fails to do this, their driving ability may be severely lacking.

 

Defective truck equipment or mechanical failure

Trucking regulations require companies to maintain proper care of the truck and follow maintenance schedules and inspections. In some cases, the company may have done everything right, but equipment or parts could be defective – placing blame on the manufacturer of those parts. These cases are rare, but can warrant a product liability lawsuit.

 

Trucking company negligence

Several things can equate to negligence on the part of the trucking company. Allowing drivers to violate hours of service limits, failing to properly train drivers, or negligent hiring practices can all lead to trucking company negligence, among other factors.

 

Other careless drivers

Trucks are not equipped with the ability to stop suddenly or change lanes quickly if the need arises. A careless driver zooming in and out of traffic, failing to pay attention and stopping quickly, or simply driving in the blind spot of a truck, can cause a truck driver to make defensive moves that could otherwise put other travelers on the road in danger.

 

Distracted driving

Cell phone usage is strictly prohibited while driving a semi-truck. TorHoerman Law has created the Let’s End Distracted Driving advocacy campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of driving while distracted.

 

 

Filing a St Louis Truck Accident Lawsuit

The affects of a commercial trucking accident can be devastating, both physically and financially. However, a St Louis truck accident lawyer can help you to recover from these damages by seeking compensation for the losses that you incurred.

Before filing a St Louis truck accident lawsuit, it is important that you take the initial steps to build a strong case in your favor.

These steps include:

  • Mitigating injuries
  • Gathering evidence
  • Determining liability
  • Assessing damages

Your St Louis truck accident lawyer can help you to accomplish each of these steps once have hired an attorney to represent you.

 

Mitigating Damages from your St. Louis Truck Accident

The first step is to mitigate the damages of your accident. Mitigation is the process of limiting the losses, costs, and injuries that result from an accident.

The most important part of mitigation is seeking medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident, no matter how minor your injuries may seem. You should follow your doctor’s orders and, if possible, get more than one medical opinion for any injuries diagnosed.

You should also have an assessment of property damage conducted as soon as possible after the accident. Do not further damage your property after the accident and make sure that you get everything fixed before using it again. For example, do not drive your car after the accident until it has been worked on by a mechanic.

Finally, do not try to exaggerate your injuries or other losses. Be honest and up-front about your damages.

 

Gathering Evidence For a St. Louis Truck Accident Lawsuit

The gathering of evidence in the aftermath of a truck accident is imperative to a future claim. This is one of the most important steps of the civil lawsuit process. While most of the leg work will be done by your St. Louis truck accident lawyer, there are a few things that can be done immediately following the accident, if you are able.

Document when and how the accident occurred. Take pictures of the accident, including any other objects hit such as parking barriers. Record the names, licenses, and insurance information of anyone involved. Obtain a copy of the police report, along with the names of responding law enforcement officers.

After discussing your case with a St. Louis trucking accident lawyer, they will begin the process of documenting evidence which will potentially include a number of things.

  • Data from the “black box” installed in every truck
  • Logbooks required to be maintained
  • Radio recordings
  • Driver and accident reports
  • Tire or skid marks in the roads
  • Pictures from the scene of the accident
  • The trucker’s driver and medical histories
  • Truck inspection reports

While the evidence is not limited to those listed, it provides a baseline for the kinds of things you can expect to be gathered and investigated. Each case is different and varying factors are involved warranting different evidence.

 

Determining Liability in a St. Louis Trucking Accident

Trucking accidents can be confusing because there may be more than one liable party. Depending on what caused the accident, the liable party may be in question. The following are common parties, often more than one, that can be held liable in a trucking accident:

  1. The driver of the truck
  2. The company that employs the driver
  3. The company that loaded the truck
  4. Parts manufacturer

 

Pure Comparative Fault Rule

In St. Louis, the courts follow the pure comparative fault rule. Essentially, a jury will decide how much of the accident was your fault and reduce the damages awarded by that percentage.

For example, a jury may decide you were 10% at fault because of your failure to reduce speed in wet conditions, but the driver of the semi-truck was 90% at fault for the accident. If the jury awards you $50,000 in damages, you will only be eligible to receive $45,000 because 10% was deducted because of your 10% responsibility in the accident.

It is not uncommon for the trucking and insurance companies to use the St. Louis liability laws to their advantage by attempting to place at least some blame on another party – resulting in a lesser payment for those companies and less compensation for the victim. For that reason, it is important to hire a lawyer who will fight for your case and fight to help you receive the compensation you deserve.

 

Assessing Your St. Louis Trucking Accident Damages 

Your damages are the total losses that you incurred as a result of your accident.

Your damages can include costs related to physical damages, emotional damages, property damages, and future costs.

Your St Louis truck accident lawyer will be able to help you determine what your total damages are valued at. This will help you come up with a demand for compensation to cover the costs of your accident.

You can use evidence to help prove your economic and non-economic damages. Receipts, bills, paychecks, property damage estimations, medical records, and other documents used as evidence are often-times used to prove the severity of your losses.

Depending of the specifics of your case, your attorney may choose to try to gain compensation in the form of both compensatory damages and punitive damages.

 

 

Hiring a St Louis Truck Accident Lawyer

One of the most important steps in this process is finding an attorney to act as your St Louis truck accident lawyer. You should seek representation from an attorney with experience, resources, and commitment to your case.

The choice of an attorney is an important decision. Be sure to ask your potential St Louis truck accident lawyer any questions you deem necessary before making a decision. Some good questions to start with include:

  • Their experience
  • Their resources
  • Their firm’s history with trucking lawsuits
  • Their fee structure
  • Their payment structure
  • Their commitment to your case

Feel free to contact TorHoerman Law to speak with a St Louis truck accident lawyer from our firm and get your questions answered.

 

 

TorHoerman Law, The Best St. Louis Truck Accident Law Firm

As lawyers, our job is to keep you informed of the lawsuit process through every step – this starts from the minute you contact our firm to the conclusion of your case. If you have any questions about a potential lawsuit, please contact our office.

At TorHoerman Law, our experienced team of attorneys can help address any concerns you may have regarding a St. Louis MO truck accident lawsuit.

Our St. Louis truck accident law firm operates on a contingency fee basis. Thus, you do not make any payments until you have been awarded compensation. No compensation? No legal fees. That’s right – if we don’t win you financial compensation, we foot the entire bill for your case. This is a guarantee of our commitment to your case.

Our team of experienced and award-winning St Louis truck accident lawyers have helped our clients win more than $5 billion in verdicts and negotiated settlements to date.

If you or someone you love has been in a truck accident, you need the best attorney. Contact our team today for a free, no-obligation consultation and find out why TorHoerman Law is the best St. Louis truck accident law firm.

 

For additional information, see the following pages:

For additional practice areas in St. Louis, MO, see the following pages:

 

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q. Why do I need to hire an attorney for a truck accident claim?

A. Trucking accidents differ from car accidents in that there is likely more than one liable party and the claim can get complicated very quickly. St. Louis MO trucking accident lawyers can navigate the legal process on your behalf, allowing you to focus on your recovery.

Q. What does it cost to hire a lawyer to help me after a truck accident in St. Louis?

A. Our firm works on a contingency basis - you don't pay unless we win. Our primary goal is to help you through a difficult situation.

Q. What can I do to increase my chances of success in a St Louis truck accident lawsuit?

A. Keep detailed documentation of all expenses related to the accident - vehicle repairs and costs, medical bills, treatments needed in the future, and income lost during yours or the recovery of a loved one. By keeping these records, it will help your lawyer assemble a solid case in your favor by summarizing what you or a loved one lost as a result of the accident.

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