Why Choose Flick Law Firm for Your Case?
- Success in Truck Accident Cases Since 1995
- Multiple Semi Crash Case Experience
- US Dept. of Transportation Truck Crash Investigation &
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Training
- Top 10 Designation- Trucking Trial Lawyers Association
- No Fee Until You Get Paid Guarantee!
- Hired by Truckers Injured in Crashes Caused by Others
- Instant Access to Truck Company Insurance Information
- Awarded AVVO Top Trucking Accident Attorney Rating
- Advanced Trial Training for Truck Collision Cases
Were You Injured in a Truck Crash?
Hurt by a semi or other big truck? Are you worried and stressed out? We understand how hard this can be. Need help? Then you are in the right place. Since 1995 people hurt in truck wrecks have hired use as their truck accident lawyer. We have been there. We can help you.
Truck collisions cause thousands of fatalities each year. Many more get injuries like spinal cord injury, brain injury, burns, broken bones, herniated discs, joint injuries, back and neck injuries. Were you temporarily or permanently disabled? Can’t handle the demands of your job? Between medical expenses, lost income and reduced ability to earn, 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 18 Wheeler Accident Cases Differ from Car Accident Cases?
Semis can weigh more than 80,000 pounds. Coming at you at up to highway speed, the potential for disaster is obvious. The stakes are higher for everyone. The rules, evidence and insurance in a trucking accident case are different and more complicated than in ordinary car accidents. The trucking industry has its own lingo like: conspicuity, cargo securement, electronic logging and more. 18-wheelers have air brake systems, fifth wheels and other parts not found on most cars. We could go on. Can you see how truck accidents are different from car accident cases and why a truck accident lawyer with specialized knowledge is often necessary to get you the best result?
The clock starts ticking on your truck accident case immediately. Trucking companies and their insurance carriers have rapid response teams of investigators and truck accident attorneys available 24/7 to get to the crash scene, investigate and secure evidence. Evidence key to your case can be lost if steps are not taken to preserve it in time.
For example, tired truckers are known to cause truck wrecks. To reduce the danger there are rules about how many hours they can drive. They also have to keep records of their hours called “logs”. These can be key to determining if the trucker who caused your crash was “over hours” and fatigued. Unfortunately, the rules limit how long trucking companies have to keep these logs.
How Should I Choose a Truck Accident Attorney?
The trucking company, it’s insurer and truck accident attorney 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 law firms handle personal injury and other types of cases as well. A smaller group handle only personal injury but do a range of cases like medical malpractice, product liability, slip and fall cases, car and truck accident cases. Still fewer do only motor vehicle accident cases.
Many of the best Kansas City truck accident lawyers focus heavily or exclusively on truck accidents. They have the specialized knowledge, training and experience to properly work up, litigate and negotiate truck accident cases to get top dollar compensation for 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 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 and sideswipe truck wrecks. Is your case one of these?
We have dealt with issues like:
- Truck driver inattention
- Trucks following too closely or driving too fast
- Improper lane changes
- Trucks not yielding the right of way
- Truckers exceeding allowed hours
- Unqualified drivers/bad driver conduct
- Dangerous merging/illegal truck parking
- Poor trucking company safety practices
- Night driving, darkness and poor visibility
- Truck drivers/trucking and insurance companies denying responsibility
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 as their truck accident lawyer when they are injured in semi crashes.
Lawrence was the truck accident attorney in a case involving a relatively new issue under the federal Motor Carrier Act of 1980, Stewart v. Mitchell Transport, Inc. This case has been widely referenced by the United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, U.S. District Courts in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah. It has also been cited by the Oklahoma Supreme Court and other state courts. This case is also discussed here.
As you can see specialized knowledge can be necessary 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 information. Most of the available truck accident attorney training is specialized, requires 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 truck accident lawyer training. The U.S. Government has hundreds of pages of truck safety regulations, called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, (FMCSR’s). This is a key rule book for the trucking industry. FMCSR violations are common truck crash causes. Few continuing education classes for lawyers offer FMCSR training. To better help truck crash victims Lawrence Flick completed weeks of US Department of Transportation (USDOT) training on the FMCSRs, truck accident investigation and truck inspection. 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
This training has helped us use the FMCSR’s successfully and prepares us to use them in your case. As an example showing the value of this training, in one case this training helped us deliver a successful result for our client by establishing that a truck driver was not properly qualified and should never have been driving the truck. You can easily see how important it is for your Kansas or Missouri truck accident attorney to know how to use the FMCSR’s effectively in your case. For more examples see our: How Your 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyer Can Use the FMCSRS in Your Case page.
Lawrence also completed US Department of Transportation training in truck crash investigation and truck inspection. Some of the subjects he studied are the time required for truckers to see and react to hazards, truck crash reconstruction, truck air brake systems, truck safety inspections and electronic data on trucks. As a part of this training Lawrence studied how to perform a safety inspection of an 18 wheeler including getting under the truck to learn how to inspect brakes and related parts. If you are thinking about hiring another truck accident attorney for your truck accident case find out if they have had this US Department of Transportation FMCSR and truck crash investigation 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 insurance and safety data about specific trucking companies like:
- Insurance carrier name and contact information.
- Amount of basic liability insurance
- Other crashes the company’s trucks were involved in
- Safety violations by company drivers
- Equipment defects like defective brakes, tires or lights
- Other safety violations
This information can be invaluable. Our experience has shown that a big truck wreck, rather than just being a chance event, is often just the “tip of the iceberg”. The apparent cause of your collision may seem to be speeding or driver inattention. However, investigation often uncovers a pattern of FMCSR violations or poor safety practices at the company. Having information about the company’s safety violation history can give us a big head-start in the investigation/evidence collection phase of your case, be helpful in proving the company’s liability and increasing the value of your case.
More Specialized Resources
We have an in-house library of resources on topics ranging from truck crash prevention, trucking safety, tractor-trailer driving, truck safety research, FMCSR’s to truck accident litigation. We also have a relationship with a major national supplier to the trucking industry through which we can obtain industry training and safety materials for use in cases. Government, industry and legal profession sources regularly send us updates on truck accident litigation, research and developments in truck safety. And these are just some of the advantages you get when you hire us as your trucking injury law firm.
Lawrence has been selected as a Top 10 Trucking Trial Lawyer by the Trucking Trial Lawyers Association. He also belongs to a national organization of truck wreck attorneys, the Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America (APITLA). Through APITLA and other resources Flick Law Firm can access national networks of experienced 18 wheeler crash lawyers for case documents, consultation and access to expert witnesses.
We Hit the Ground Running in Your Case
Your initial appointment at Flick Law Firm will usually take between two and three hours and involve an in-depth discussion of your case. We will want to know about what happened before, during and after your collision, your injuries, medical treatment, medical bills, the current status of your injuries, additional treatment that you will need, lost time from work, lost income, any physical and work limitations, medical and vehicle accident insurance and other issues.
We will need to review the police or Highway Patrol crash report. This report is a key document from which we can obtain a wealth of essential information. The identity of the trucking company, driver and insurance carrier, the investigating officer analysis of the crash, whom the officer assigned blame, the basis for it, which driver, if any, was ticketed and the violations they were charged with is just some of the information we can learn from the police report.
Other documents we will want to see include any photos showing the damage to your vehicle, other vehicles involved or the wreck scene, medical bills and other medical documents, off-work slips, other documentation of lost income, the insurance policy on the vehicle you were driving and possibly other materials.
Evidence Collection – Following the Trail
Let’s say you are driving from Independence, Missouri to Lee’s Summit on Interstate 70. You see a vehicle in your rear-view mirror coming up on you way too fast and feel an enormous shock as the vehicle slams into the back of your car. If you were rear-ended by another car, the other driver probably lives somewhere in the Kansas City area. In our typical car accident case where both drivers live in the area, the evidence which needs to be obtained is usually available locally.
If instead a tractor-trailer crashed into you may be in a totally different situation. Kansas City is a major transportation and logistics hub. It is at the crossroads of interstate highways, like I-70, Interstate 35 and Interstate 49. These roads 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, 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 a third state and drive through other states.
The FMCSR’s require trucking companies to maintain extensive documentation. Driver qualification files, driver logs, pre-trip inspection reports, police reports, scene photographs, records held by an assortment of government agencies are just some of the documents which may be needed. The trail of paper and computerized records is often spread across a number of states. You can easily see how highly complex the investigation conducted by your semi tractor trailer truck accident lawyer can be and why having an attorney experienced with this type of investigation can be extremely important.
In one case we handled, we obtained evidence from Kansas, Missouri, and other states as well as Washington, DC from law enforcement, courts, employers, a federal agency, expert and other witnesses and the company.
The importance of having this information is that it gives us a solid foundation when it is time to question the driver and company officials about your wreck. All that work came together to allow us to successfully attack the credibility of the driver, the qualifications of the company’s safety personnel and achieve a very successful result for our client.
Do I have a Trucking or Semi-Truck Accident Case?
A semi crashed into you. It’s the trucker’s fault, right? Maybe. If things were that simple our job would be a lot easier. In Missouri and Kansas you have to prove fault (usually on the part of the truck driver) in whole or part to recover damages in truck collision personal injury cases. This might seem simple at first. It can become complicated fast.
Trucking accidents can happen in ways not often seen in your typical car accident. Rear end and intersection collisions make up a big part of the car accident cases we handle. Rear end truck accidents are common. However truck accidents can also involve situations like improperly loaded trailers tipping over, falling cargo, under-ride collisions and jackknifes not usually seen in car accidents. Sideswipes make up a much higher percentage of truck crashes than auto accidents due to big blind spots around trucks. Proving fault in some truck accidents may be harder than in a typical car accident involving an intersection or rear end collision.
Another challenge is the tendency of some trucking defendants’ stories and versions of the “facts” to change over time. The bottom line is that determining and proving fault in a trucking case is not always simple. So to figure out if you have a trucking or semi-truck accident case in which you can recover damages 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 and 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 an interstate highway which is rear-ended by semi driven by a sleepy trucker who was driving longer than the hours-of-service rules permit. In this case both drivers are probably part to blame for the truck wreck.
Missouri and Kansas law both recognize this issue and provide for comparing 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 decides what percent fault each party had in causing the truck wreck. The jury also decides the amount required to properly compensate the injured party for their losses. An amount of damages 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. The Kansas system is different in some important ways from the Missouri system. Unlike Missouri’s “pure comparative fault” 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 unfortunately recover nothing under Kansas law.
What are the Most Common Types of Injuries from Trucking Accidents?
Back and neck injuries are the most common injuries we see in truck accidents and other motor vehicle crashes. These range from what are called “soft tissue injuries”- strains/sprains of muscles or ligaments in the back or neck to disc injuries like herniated or bulging discs, broken vertebrae and spinal cord injury.
What is the Average Semi Truck Accident Settlement?
The size and weight of semis and other big trucks together with their cargo often make truck wrecks much more devastating. These crashes 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 higher level of insurance than typically required for cars and other smaller vehicles.
18 wheeler accident settlements and other truck accident settlements 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 followed up with 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 for causing the crash 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 – In many cases no. In truck accident cases the full extent of your injuries, required medical care, it’s costs, ongoing pain, permanent disability and other damages are often not fully known at the beginning. Without a full understanding of these and how a truck accident has affected and will affect your life in the future it is difficult to properly value your case.
Also, information about extent of the trucker’s and trucking company’s wrongdoing (and the value of your case) may not be fully known at the beginning. Was your crash caused because the trucker was driving more hours than allowed and tired? Did the trucking company have a history of poor safety practices? Investigation and research is often required to answer these important questions. You may not have accurate information about the amount of insurance available to pay your claim. We could go on.
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.
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 before trial. 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 in the world but if you wait too long you may be totally out of luck. Surprising ? Maybe. But, unfortunately true. Both Missouri and Kansas have time limits in which truck crash injury claims must be made. In the legal system 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 procedural requirements or you will likely lose any right you have to make a claim. So as you can see, to properly protect your interests it is ESSENTIAL that you know what the time limits are, how they apply specifically to your case and make sure that you comply with them.
Missouri has different time limits on truck collision negligence claims depending on whether the injured person survived the crash or died in the wreck. Missouri law contained in V.A.M.S. 516.120(4) sets a five year time limit on injuries caused by truck crashes. Interestingly, Missouri has a shorter three year statute on limitations on wrongful death claims caused by a fatal truck wreck. (V.A.M.S. 537.100)
Missouri has a number of 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 t0 talk to a Missouri 18 wheeler accident attorney.
Kansas in general has a two-year statute of limitations on Kansas truck accident injury negligence claims. K.S.A. 60- 513 is the Kansas law setting this 2 year limit. 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 has stopped for a red light, a stop sign or has slowed down for traffic ahead. Following too closely, speeding/driving too fast for conditions, driver fatigue and driver inattention/distraction are common causes of these big rig wrecks.
Crashes at intersections caused by right-of-way violations like running a stop sign, a red light or not yielding in a left turn can involve any kind of vehicle.
Additionally, 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 serious injury potential than some other trucking accident types
Truckers use mirrors to see traffic to the sides and behind them. As a result, tractor-trailers and other big trucks 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. Sideswipe prevention technology 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 unintentionally crossing into oncoming traffic. Speeding/driving too fast for conditions and inattentive/distracted driving are typical factors. Severe injuries or death are common and, given the size and weight of big rigs compared to smaller vehicles, people in the smaller vehicle are likely to experience more serious injury.
A jackknife accident is 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. While the semi is jackknifing it can collide into other vehicles or obstruct the road so that other vehicles crash into it, resulting in catastrophic multi-vehicle pileups. A jackknife eighteen wheeler accident is often caused by overly hard braking, especially on slippery roads in bad weather conditions.
A tragic example illustrating the catastrophic potential of jackknife accidents occurred in Platte County, Missouri on Interstate 29 between Kansas City and St. Joseph. In icy winter road conditions an 18 wheeler jackknifed across I- 29 near Missouri 273 blocking traffic on the highway. Another tractor-trailer carrying hazardous material including hydrochloric acid crashed into the jackknifed tractor trailer. Fuel began leaking from damaged gas tanks and fires started. More vehicles crashed into the second semi. Explosions happened. The fires burned so hot, that combined with the acid fumes, rescue crews were not able to reach injured people in their cars. Tragically, 10 people died and numerous others were injured.
Many trucks, particularly tankers, can be at increased risk for rollover due to a high center of gravity.
Couple this with speeding/driving too fast around a curve and you have a recipe for a rollover.
Some other factors associated with rollovers are inattentive/distracted driving, weather conditions like crosswinds and cargo shifting.
Truck Crash Causes
Some common (and less common) truck accident causes include:
Speeding or driving too fast for conditions can reduce the time a driver has to react to and avoid a potential collision and increase stopping distance. Unfortunately, the faster a vehicle is going, the longer (in time and distance) it can take to stop and the bigger the potential impact, damage and injuries that can cause a wreck.
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 and is essential to avoiding a rear end wreck. This is especially important for semis and other large trucks because of the weight, force and at times hazardous materials (hazmat) like gasoline, toxic substances or other dangerous cargo they can carry. Unfortunately, following too closely continues to be a contributing factor in these rear-end collisions.
Driver fatigue is a known crash cause. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations 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. Fatigue can slow reaction time, cause drivers to lose focus on the road and even fall asleep at the wheel.
Research indicates that an inattentive or distracted trucker is a common cause of trucking accidents. Truckers not paying proper attention to road and traffic conditions, who are texting, on cellphones or using other electronic devices, for example, are major distracted driving truck accident causes.
All drivers, and especially professional truck drivers, are or should be familiar with 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 a system of mirrors to see beside and behind the vehicle. There are significant blind spots in which the driver has no or limited visibility. 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.
Driving a tractor trailer or other transport truck safely in rain, snow, ice, sleet or other bad weather conditions can be difficult due to their design, weight, cargo and other factors. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations 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
Properly working brakes, tires and lights are just some of the parts essential for safe operation. If an 80,000 pound articulated lorry has a tire blowout or brake failure at highway speed a catastrophic loss of control ending in disaster or death can result. Thanks, in part, to a comprehensive system of federal regulations, inspections by drivers, motor carrier inspectors and law enforcement, equipment failure is not among the most common truck crash causes.
When cargo is not properly loaded, distributed or secured loads can shift causing the truck to fall or roll over, potentially crushing occupants of vehicles unfortunate enough to be in the way. Cargo can also fall off and hit people in other vehicles with the potential for serious injury or death. Wrecks due to improper loading can also occur when trucks are loaded with more than their maximum capacity.
Flick Law Firm is deeply committed to using our extensive knowledge and resources to help commercial motor vehicle accident victims recover the maximum compensation they need and rightfully deserve.
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 AUGUST 17, 2019.