Cagle Law Firm

Missouri Truck Accident FAQ

Are 18-wheelers more likely to cause accidents than cars?

Yes, big rigs such as tractor-trailers, semis, semi-trailers, flatbeds, tankers and other 18-wheelers are involved in a disproportionate share of serious vehicle collisions in the U.S. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, large trucks represent 4 percent of registered vehicles, but they account for 8 percent of vehicles in fatal crashes. Because of the size of large trucks relative to other vehicles, when a truck accident occurs, typically the occupants of other vehicles receive the brunt of the injuries.

What are common contributing factors to truck accidents?

The list of contributing causes of accidents involving 18-wheelers, semis, semi-trailers, flatbeds, tankers and other tractor trailers include driving too fast for conditions, speeding, tailgating, improper lane change, driver fatigue, use of over-the-counter drugs, distracted driving, cell phone usage, equipment failures and braking failures. Some truck accidents may have multiple contributing causes. An experienced truck accident lawyer can evaluate a truck crash, identify all the contributing factors and explain your legal rights whether you are in Missouri or Illinois.

The truck driver who caused the collision was weaving in his lane on Interstate 44 and may have dozed off before the truck accident. Are there any limits on the number of hours that a truck driver can drive?

Federal hours-of-service rules do limit the number of hours per day and per week that a truck driver can operate an 18-wheeler. See 49 C.F.R. §395. The rules are in place because driver fatigue is an occupational hazard for truck drivers and a contributing cause to many truck accidents. Unfortunately, truck drivers may feel they can overcome fatigue with over-the-counter stimulants and pep pills. Truckers may drive until they are dangerously fatigued and unresponsive to sudden changes in traffic conditions and cause a serious accident. A skilled St. Louis truck accident lawyer can use trucker logs, toll receipts, and cell phone records to determine whether a driver stayed behind the wheel too long and violated hours-of-service regulations.

If a flatbed truck’s cargo fell off the truck into the road and caused a serious injury vehicle accident, is the truck driver liable?

Yes, unsecured loads are a serious hazard to public safety. A truck driver has a duty to ensure that a load is properly secured before setting out on a trip. An improperly secured load can shift and cause a big rig to overturn. Or an unsecured load can fall off and cause a motorist to swerve to avoid it and cause an accident. A motorist injured by a load that fell off a large truck and caused an accident may have a cause of action against the truck driver and trucking company. A knowledgeable St. Louis truck accident lawyer can advise you.

I was involved in an accident with a large truck. The police said I was partially at fault and the 18-wheeler driver was partly at fault. I was the only one injured and my car was totaled. Can I sue the trucking company for my injuries and damages if I was partially at fault in the truck accident?

Yes, you may have a legal case. Under Missouri’s pure comparative fault doctrine, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your injuries from an at-fault truck driver even if you were partially at fault. In Illinois, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries if you can show the other driver was at least 51 percent at-fault in the accident. Illinois has a modified comparative fault law. We need to review the specific facts of your accident to advise you of your legal options. Determining the percentage of fault of each driver is critical to your ability to recover damages.