Why Choose a Truck Accident Lawyer from Flick Law Firm for Your Case?
- Top 10 Designation – Trucking Trial Lawyers Assoc.
- Success in Truck Accident Cases Since 1995
- Experience with Multiple Semi Crash, Rear-End,
- Intersection, Sideswipe Truck Crashes & More
- Hired by Truckers Injured in Wrecks Caused by Others
- Instant Access to Truck Company Insurance Information
- Access to Truck Crash Expert Witnesses
- No Fees Until You Get Paid Guarantee!
- Awarded AVVO Top Trucking Accident Attorney Rating
- Hundreds of Hours of Specialized Training Including:
- US Dept. of Transportation Truck Crash Investigation &
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Training
- Advanced Trial Training for Truck Collision Cases
- Library of Specialized Truck Crash Resources
Were You Injured in a Truck Crash?
Is the insurance company calling or ignoring you? Worried about medical bills? Can’t work? We understand how difficult your situation can be. Want help? Then you are in the right place. Since 1995 truck accident victims have trusted us to help them. We have been there. Let us help you.
Each year around the USA and in Kansas City large truck collisions cause thousands of fatalities. Many more get spinal cord injury, paralysis, head injuries, burns, broken bones, herniated discs, disfigurement, joint, back, neck and other injuries. Were you temporarily or permanently disabled? Can’t work? Between medical expenses, lost wages and reduced earning ability, the long-term impact on you and your family can be devastating. How are you going to make sure your needs and your family’s are taken care of?
How Do Truck Accident Cases Differ from Car Accident Cases?
Semi-trucks can weigh more than 80,000 pounds. Coming at you at up to highway speed, the potential for disaster is obvious. The rules and evidence in truck accident claims are different and more complicated than in an ordinary passenger vehicle accident. Specialized evidence like black box data, electronic log books and truck maintenance records may be important in your case. Understanding how the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates truck companies, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), traffic laws and truck accident injuries are probably very important to your truck accident claim. We could go on. The best 18 wheeler accident lawyers have the specialized knowledge needed to deal with the unique issues in big truck accident cases.
The clock starts ticking on your truck accident case immediately. Trucking companies and their insurers have rapid response teams of investigators and attorneys available 24/7 to get to the accident scene, investigate and secure evidence. Evidence your big rig accident lawyer may need can be lost if steps are not taken to preserve it in time.
For example, tired truckers cause tractor-trailer accidents. Safety standards limit their driving hours. They are required to keep records of their hours called “logs”. These can be key to your trucking accident lawyer determining if the trucker in your crash was “over hours” and fatigued. Unfortunately, the FMCSRs limit how long the truck company must keep these logs.
How Should I Choose the Best Truck Accident Lawyer?
The truck company and it’s insurer probably aren’t going to look out for your best interests. You want an experienced, knowledgeable and skilled truck accident lawyer on your side.
Many Kansas City law firms handle personal injury and other types of cases as well. A smaller group handle only personal injury but may do a range of cases like medical malpractice, product liability, slip and fall cases, car and truck accident cases. A personal injury lawyer may also do mostly traffic accidents like car and other motor vehicle accident cases.
Many of the best 18 wheeler crash lawyers focus heavily or exclusively on truck accident claims. They have the specialized knowledge, training and experience to the best outcome for truck accident victims. It’s like the difference between a general practice doctor and a specialist. The bottom line is to get the best result you likely need an experienced, knowledgeable and skilled truck accident attorney.
Truck Accident Case Experience
Since 1995 Flick Law Firm, based in Kansas City, has successfully helped people injured in a wide range of truck accidents. Crashes which happened during the day, at night, in Kansas City, in the country and hundreds of miles away. 18 wheeler accidents on the Kansas Turnpike, Interstates like I-35, I-435 and local streets. Crashes involving one semi, several semis and straight trucks. Rear end, intersection, hit and run, head-on, rollover or sideswipe truck wrecks. Is your case one of these?
We have dealt with issues like:
- Trucks following too closely
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
- Improper lane changes
- Trucks not yielding the right of way
- Dangerous merging/illegal truck parking
- Night driving and poor visibility
- Truckers exceeding allowed hours
- Poor trucking company safety practices
- Truck driver with suspended driver’s license
Does your case involve some of these? We have recovered money for clients in all of these kinds of cases. Truckers, who should know, hire us when they are injured in tractor trailer accidents.
Lawrence was the semi truck accident lawyer in a case involving a relatively new issue under the Motor Carrier Act of 1980, Stewart v. Mitchell Transport, Inc. This tractor-trailer accident case has been widely referenced by the United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, Federal Courts in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah. It has also been cited by the Oklahoma Supreme Court and other state courts and is also discussed here.
As you can see specialized knowledge can be essential for your Kansas City truck accident lawyer to handle your truck accident cases well. Unfortunately, most law schools and lawyer’s continuing education programs don’t teach this. Most of the available truck accident attorney training is specialized, and has historically required travel to other parts of the country, days out of the office and expense.
US Department of Transportation Training
For years we have invested in specialized training. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations are a key rule book for the trucking industry. Violations are common truck crash causes. Few continuing education classes for lawyers offer FMCSR training. To better represent big rig crash victims Lawrence Flick completed US Department of Transportation (USDOT) training on the FMCSRs. Areas he studied include:
- Driver qualification requirements
- Driving and work hour limits
- Driver log rules
- Safety inspection rules
- Record keeping requirements
- Driver drug and alcohol testing procedures
Lawrence also completed US Department of Transportation training in truck crash investigation and truck inspection. He studied truck crash reconstruction, truck brake systems, 18 wheeler safety inspection, electronic data on trucks and more. If you are thinking about hiring another truck accident attorney in Kansas City for your truck accident case find out if they have had this USDOT training.
He has also completed Litigating Truck Collision Cases at the American Association for Justice’s Advanced Trial Advocacy College, national level, multi-day continuing education on truck accidents by the Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America and others. Spending the time and money shows our commitment to these cases and our clients.
Instant Access to Trucking Company Insurance and Safety Information
At your initial appointment here, we know how to get instant access to detailed safety data about specific trucking companies like:
- Other crashes the company’s trucks were involved in
- Safety violations by company drivers
- Equipment defects like defective brakes, tires or lights
This information can be invaluable. Having information about the company’s safety violation history can give us a big head-start in investigating your case, help prove the company’s liability, be useful in settlement negotiations and increasing the settlement offer in your case.
More Specialized Resources
We have a library of resources on truck crash prevention, trucking safety, tractor-trailer driving, truck safety research and truck accident litigation. We also have a relationship with a major national trucking industry supplier to get industry training and safety materials. Government, industry and legal profession sources regularly send us updates on truck accident litigation, truck safety research and developments.
Lawrence has been selected as a Top 10 Trucking Trial Lawyer by the Trucking Trial Lawyers Association. He also belongs to a national organizations of truck wreck attorneys like the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys (ATAA). Through ATAA and other resources we can access some of the country’s best 18 wheeler crash lawyers for case documents, consultation and specialized experts.
We Hit the Ground Running in Your Case
Your initial appointment at Flick Law Firm will involve an in-depth discussion of your case. Our Kansas City truck accident lawyer will want to know about what happened before, during and after your collision, your accident injuries and their severity, any hospitalizations, surgery, physician treatment, physical therapy or rehabilitation, medical bills, additional treatment needed, lost income, any physical limitations, medical and vehicle accident insurance and more.
We will need to review the police or Highway Patrol crash report. This key document can contain lots of essential information. The trucking company, driver and insurance carrier, whom the officer assigned blame and citations issued are some of what we can learn from the police report. We will want to see any photos of property damage to your vehicle, other vehicles involved, the wreck scene, medical bills and other medical documents, your vehicle insurance policy and more.
Evidence Collection – Following the Trail
Let’s say you are driving from Independence, Missouri to Lee’s Summit, MO on Interstate 70. You see a vehicle coming up on you too fast and feel and the shock when it hits the back of your car. If you were rear-ended by another passenger car, the other driver probably lives in the Kansas City area. Needed evidence is usually available locally.
If instead the crash involved a tractor-trailer crashed your situation may totally different. Kansas City, a major transportation hub is at the crossroads of interstate highways, like I-70, Interstate 35 and Interstate 49. They carry traffic from a trucking industry which operates in all 50 states. Many trucking and transportation companies like YRC, J.B. Hunt, Swift Transportation, Schneider National, Werner Enterprises, United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx have facilities here or travel our roads. The company, whose truck hit you, may be based hundreds of miles away, in say St. Louis, it’s insurance company somewhere else, the trucker may live in another state and route through others.
The FMCSR’s require trucking companies to maintain extensive documentation. Driver qualification files, logs, inspection reports and government agency records are just some of what may be needed. These paper and computerized records are often located in a number of states. It’s easy to see how complex the investigation can be and why having an attorney experienced with this type of investigation can be so important.
In one case, we obtained evidence from Kansas, Missouri, other states and Washington, DC from law enforcement, courts, employers, a federal agency, witnesses and the company.
This information gives us a solid foundation when questioning the driver and company officials about your big rig accident. All that came together to allow us to successfully attack the credibility of the driver, the company’s safety personnel qualifications and negotiate a very successful settlement agreement for our client.
Do I have a Truck Accident Case?
A semi crashed into you. It’s the trucker’s fault, right? Maybe. In Missouri and Kansas the truck accident victim has to prove fault (usually on the part of the truck driver) in whole or part to recover damages in a semi-truck accident personal injury case. This might seem simple at first. It can become complicated fast.
Trucking accidents can happen in different ways than your typical car accident. Rear end and intersection collisions make up a big part of crashes involving passenger vehicles. These are also common truck accidents types. However, truck accidents can also involve situations like trailers tipping over, falling cargo, under-ride collisions and jackknifes not usually seen in car accidents. Sideswipes are a higher percentage of truck crashes than auto accidents. Proving fault in some truck accidents may be harder than in a car accident involving an intersection or rear end collision.
Another challenge is the tendency of some trucking defendants’ versions of the “facts” to change over time. The bottom line is that determining and proving fault in a trucking case isn’t always simple. To figure out if you can recover damages from a trucking or semi-truck accident case we have to know and analyze what happened in your truck accident, surrounding information, the law and rules which apply and more.
Crashes can have more than one cause. Sometimes more than one person is responsible for causing a truck crash. An example would be a car driven well under the posted minimum speed on a highway getting rear-ended by semi driven by a tired trucker driving longer than the rules permit. Both drivers may be part at fault.
Missouri and Kansas law compare the fault of all people involved in a wreck based on how much fault each has for causing the truck crash. This system is called “comparative fault”. Missouri and Kansas each have their own version.
Missouri uses a system call “pure comparative fault”. Under the Missouri system, the jury makes a decision as to what percent fault each party had in causing the truck wreck. The jury also decides the amount required to properly compensate the injury victims. An amount representing the percentage of injured party’s fault is then deducted from the damages the jury determined to calculate the amount of compensatory damages the plaintiff receives.
Kansas law also provides for comparing fault but is different from the Missouri system. Under Kansas law an injured party can only recover damages if they are less than one-half at fault. Under Kansas law, if the injured party is assigned less than 50% of fault their recovery, their recovery is calculated similarly to the way it is in Missouri. However, if the injured party is found to be one half or more at fault they recover nothing under Kansas law.
What are the Most Common Types of Injuries from Trucking Accidents?
Some of the most common truck accident injuries involve the back or neck. These range from what are called “soft tissue injuries”- strains/sprains of muscles or ligaments in the back or neck (sometimes called whiplash) to herniated or bulging discs, broken vertebrae and spinal cord injuries which can cause paralysis.
What is the Average Semi Truck Accident Settlement?
The size and weight of tractor trailers and other big trucks and their cargo often make truck wrecks much more devastating. They can cause severe, lasting injuries and death. In part because of this, semi truck wreck settlements tend to be higher than those in regular vehicle crashes. Federal law requires commercial motor vehicles to carry more insurance than typically required for cars and other smaller vehicles.
One of the first things our Kansas City truck accident lawyer will tell you is that 18 wheeler accident settlements and other commercial vehicle accident settlements and jury verdicts vary widely. Generally, there is no minimum truck crash settlement amount. If we tried to create a truck accident settlement calculator some of the information which would need to be included is:
- Your Injuries. Did you have a spinal cord injury, brain injury or broken bones for example or neck and back strains?
- Your Medical Care. Were you hospitalized, need surgery or go to the ER and were treated by your personal doctor?
- Your Medical Bills (past and future) were they several thousand or hundreds of thousands?
- Your Lost Income. Past lost income and expected loss of future earnings.
- Your Pain, Suffering and Disability. For the time after the crash until settlement and in the future.
- Your fault (if any). Was the truck driver 100% at fault or were you part at fault?
As you can easily see truck accident settlement amounts can vary widely from case to case depending on these factors and others. Please call us for a free review of your truck accident case.
Should I Settle My 18 Wheeler Accident Claim Quickly?
Short answer – Usually no. The full extent of your injuries, required medical care, costs, ongoing pain, permanent disability and other damages are usually not fully known at the beginning. Without fully understanding these, how your life has and will be affected a proper case evaluation is difficult.
You may not have complete information about extent of the trucker’s and trucking company’s wrongdoing. Was the trucker was driving more longer than allowed and tired or on drugs? Does the trucking company have poor safety practices? Investigation and research is often required to answer these and other important questions.
Some insurance companies may try to settle your claim quickly basically to reduce the amount they have to pay you. The bottom line is that settling your 18 wheeler accident claim quickly may not the best thing to do.
Can I Sue for Being Hit by a Semi Truck?
Yes. You can usually sue if you are hit by a semi truck. Whether you can recover payment for damages is another question. Answering this requires analyzing how your crash happened, your injuries, available insurance coverage and other factors.
Do Most Truck Accident Cases Go to Trial?
No. Most truck accident cases do not go to trial. Nationally more than 90% of personal injury cases are resolved outside the courtroom. Experienced truck accident lawyers know that is true of truck accident lawsuits as well.
What is my Truck Accident Injury Claim Time Limit?
You may have the best semi-truck wreck injury case but if you wait too long you may be out of luck. Surprising? But, unfortunately true. Both Missouri and Kansas have time limits on truck crash injury claims. These are often called a “statute of limitations”. Generally, the time limits which apply to your case are determined by the state in which your truck wreck happened.
Generally, you must either settle your case within the limitations period, file your truck accident lawsuit within that time and meet other requirements or you will likely lose your right to make successful a claim. To protect your rights it is ESSENTIAL that you know what the time limits are, how they apply in your case and make sure that you comply with them.
Missouri time limits on truck collision negligence claims depend on whether the injured person survived the crash or died in the wreck. Missouri law in V.A.M.S. 516.120(4) sets a five year time limit on injuries caused by truck crashes but has a shorter three year limitation on wrongful death claims caused by a fatal truck wreck. (V.A.M.S. 537.100)
Missouri has exceptions to these time limits. For example, when the injured person is a minor or is mentally incapacitated they may have additional time to pursue a claim. There may also be other exceptions. If you need additional information on these important time limits please call (816) 221-0501 to talk to a Missouri 18 wheeler accident attorney.
Kansas in general has a two-year statute of limitations under K.S.A. 60- 513 on Kansas truck accident injury negligence claims. This limit applies to injuries whether they are simple, catastrophic or fatal. Unlike Missouri, Kansas does not have a special time limit on truck wreck cases involving wrongful death.
There are some exceptions to this rule. Some are when the person was hurt is a minor, an incapacitated person as described by K.S.A. 60-515 or is imprisoned. There are some other potential exceptions as well. There are also some more limited (and less well known) cases where a Kansas 18-wheeler accident or other truck wreck claim may be brought within 3 years. This can become complicated very quickly. Please feel free to contact (816) 221-0501 for more information these time limits.
In the US generally, each state determines it’s own statute of limitations. So if your truck crash didn’t happen in Missouri or Kansas then the statutes of limitations listed above probably don’t apply to your case. The law of the state in which your crash happened may be a good place to start to find out what time limits apply to your case.
Common Truck Collision Types
Your crash was probably one of the kinds listed below:
An 18 wheeler or other big truck rear-ending the vehicle ahead is one of the most common kinds of truck crash. Often the vehicle which is rear-ended is stopped or has slowed down. Following too closely, speeds, driver error and inattention/distraction are common causes of these big rig wrecks.
Truck crashes at intersections are often caused by right-of-way violations like running a stop sign, a red light or not yielding in a left turn.
In certain kinds of turns, a tractor-trailer can cause a road accident by obstructing the path of other drivers.
Intersection collisions have a higher potential for serious injury like brain injuries than some other trucking accident types.
Truckers use mirrors to see traffic to the sides and behind and can have large blind spots around them. If the driver doesn’t see a vehicle in an adjacent lane and change lanes, a sideswipe or lane change collision can result. These are much more common on the right side rather than the left. Safety measures like side mounted video cameras and lane departure warning systems are available yet many trucks are still not equipped with them.
A head-on crash can happen when vehicles move toward each other from opposite directions and collide. These most often happen on straight roads due to crossing into oncoming traffic. Speeding/driving too fast for conditions and inattentive/distracted driving are common factors. Severe trauma like brain injuries and organ damage or death can easily result especially to the passenger vehicle occupants.
Jackknifes are like a folding pocketknife. Instead of the tractor and trailer both moving in the same direction, they can fold toward each other with the tractor facing one way, the trailer facing another, and both possibly crashing together. A jackknifing semi can collide with other vehicles or block the road causing other traffic accidents and potentially catastrophic multi-vehicle pileups. Overly hard braking, especially on slippery roads in bad weather conditions are common causes.
Many trucks, particularly tankers, can be at increased risk for a rollover accident due to a high center of gravity.
Speeding, sudden lane changes or driving too fast around a curve are often contributing factots .
Some other factors associated with rollovers are inattentive/distracted driving, weather conditions like crosswinds and cargo shifting.
Underride truck accidents, u-turn truck accidents, crashes caused by improper backing up, flatbed truck accident, tanker truck accident and crashes with parked trucks are other types of truck crashes.
Truck Crash Causes
Speeding or driving too fast for conditions can increase stopping distance and reduce the time a driver has to avoid a collision. The faster a vehicle is going, the longer (in time and distance) it can take to stop and the bigger the potential impact.
Keeping enough space between your vehicle and the one ahead so that you can stop safely without hitting the vehicle ahead is a basic driving rule. This is especially important for semis and other large trucks because of the weight and force involved. Unfortunately, following too closely continues to be a contributing factor in rear-end truck crashes.
Driver fatigue is a known crash cause. The FMCSRs limit the number of hours drivers can be behind the wheel or on duty. Despite this, they may still experience fatigue and drowsiness while driving causing slowed reaction time, drivers to lose focus and even fall asleep at the wheel.
Inattentive or distracted truckers is a common cause of trucking accidents. Truckers on cellphones, texting or using other electronic devices are major causes of distracted driving truck accidents.
Professional truck drivers are expected to know rules-of-the-road governing right-of-way at left turns, stop signs, traffic signals, merges and in other situations. Despite this, failing to yield the right-of-way remains a significant contributing factor to big rig wrecks.
Improper lane changes are another major cause of semi accidents. Eighteen wheeler drivers typically rely on mirrors to see beside and behind the vehicle. There can be significant blind spots. If another vehicle is in one of these blind spots, or the driver is not paying proper attention and starts to change lanes, a sideswipe collision can result.
Tractor trailers or other transport trucks can be more dangerous in rain, snow, ice or other adverse conditions than most passenger vehicles. The FMCSRs require drivers to reduce speed and use extreme caution in these conditions. If the conditions are dangerous enough they are not allowed to drive until the truck can be operated safely. Despite the rules, rain, snow, ice and other weather conditions continue to contribute to truck wrecks.
Proper truck maintenance is essential to safety. Properly working steering components, brakes, tires and lights are just some of the parts required for safe operation. Tire blowouts or brake failure can cause catastrophic loss of control ending in truck accident fatalities. Vehicle maintenance and condition meeting required safety standards can help preventing these crashes. Truck maintenance records and inspection reports can be important in these cases.
When loads are improperly loaded, distributed or secured the shipment can shift causing the truck to fall or roll over, potentially crushing occupants of other vehicles. Gooks can also fall hitting other vehicles with the potential for injury or death. Overloaded, overweight trucks or oversize loads also can create dangerous situations.
Flick Law Firm in Kansas City is committed to using our extensive knowledge and resources to help commercial motor vehicle accident victims recover the maximum compensation they need and rightfully deserve. Cases are handled on a contingency fee basis.
To put our experience and track record to work for you call (816) 221-0501 or complete the Contact Us Form to see how our focus, experience and results can make a difference in your case. We look forward to helping you.
LAWRENCE FLICK LAST REVIEWED AND EDITED THIS PAGE ON OCTOBER 28, 2021.