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Missouri Trucking Accident Frequently Asked Questions – November 10, 2009
What is a “commercial truck”
A vehicle used within the usual course of doing business or for the transport of commercial goods. Some examples include 18-wheelers, tractor trailers, big-rigs, tanker trucks, construction trucks, delivery vehicles, semi trucks, Mack Trucks and bucket trucks. It is not uncommon that a fully-loaded commercial truck can weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds.
How are traffic accidents different between trucks and those involving only automobiles?
Clearly, truck accidents have the potential to be more catastrophic simply due to the disparate size and weight of the vehicles involved. This effects braking distances and the damaging effects of impacts. Additionally, although the same laws of negligence apply, there are additional licensing, vehicle codes and training requirements that can impact the resolution of a personal injury claim against a trucking defendant. Because the defendant is in the business of driving, other factors in experienced legal representation become important. As an example, getting access to and interpreting GPS tracking systems can be invaluable to a successful resolution of your case.
What’s the first thing I should do if I am involved in a truck accident in Missouri?
First, make sure that everyone is okay or receives the assistance they need. Remove yourself from danger from other oncoming vehicles by getting your person off the shoulder and clear of the highway. Contact police and emergency personnel at your first opportunity. In the event that the trucking company sends defense attorneys, investigators, or insurance representatives immediately to the scene, do not speak with them or sign anything. Simply tell them that you will be cooperating with the police and then call a Missouri lawyer, like Padberg & Corrigan, experienced in commercial truck injury litigation.
Are truckers and trucking companies regulated?
Yes. In order to increase safety on the nation’s interstate highways and roads, the federal government regulates trucking companies. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for establishing the rules and regulations that govern commercial motor vehicles and the companies who operate these vehicles. The rules and regulations may concern the vehicles and equipment themselves, the drivers and the companies that operate them.
Are their limits to the amount of time a driver may drive?
Yes. Since 1939 Federal laws have addressed this safety issue. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations contain specific regulations concerning hours of service allowed. This is just one example of how experienced representation with knowledge of these rules and requirements is critical to effective representation of your case.
Does federal law require trucking companies to carry insurance?
Yes. Both federal and Missouri law require commercial trucks to carry a minimum of $750,000 for bodily injury and property damage insurance.
Who can I bring a legal claim against in a personal injury or wrongful death case involving a truck?
Anyone who was at fault or contributed to the cause of the accident can be sued. This may include the driver, the trucking company, the shipping company and even a load broker or trailer owner depending on the circumstances. Other drivers in other vehicles, and public or private landowners can be sued if their negligence was a contributing cause. The vehicle, equipment and tire manufacturers may also be sued depending on the facts available. Oftentimes, the contributing causes may not be readily apparent until after a thorough investigation. Contacting our office to have one of our investigators examine the accident, as soon after the accident as possible, helps preserve some of this critical evidence.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking related accident, please feel free to contact us at The Padberg Corrigan Law Firm for a free initial consultation. 314.621.2900