Our firm represents individuals and families in Clayton, and throughout the states of Missouri and Illinois who have been harmed by serious truck accidents. Large trucks weigh far more than other vehicles on the roads. When car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents occur involving tractor trailers and semis, they often result in catastrophic injuries or deaths to other motorists in smaller vehicles.
Because of the severe harm that large trucks can cause, trucking companies and commercial truck drivers are required to carry much higher amounts of insurance coverage than other motorists, so high money damages are often recoverable.
Each large truck accident has a unique set of facts and contributing factors. It is important that you have a lawyer experienced with truck accidents and knowledgeable about the laws that apply to these types of cases. With hard work and skilled negotiation, the personal injury attorneys at Sansone & Lauber have obtained numerous large settlements on behalf of accident victims and their loved ones, including multi-million dollar settlements.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving an 18-wheeler, we are available to review the specifics of the accident and discuss your legal options. Our consultation is free. We represent truck accident victims on a contingency fee basis. We do not get paid unless we obtain compensation for you. Call us at 314-863-0500 to discuss your case.
Our Clayton Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help
We will investigate the truck accident thoroughly, interview witnesses, and get relevant trucking company maintenance records and driver logs. We know what questions to ask and understand the importance of moving quickly to secure evidence before it is lost. If the truck accident is complicated, we may work with a traffic reconstruction expert to pinpoint how the accident occurred.
Truck accident claims may involve multiple insurance companies representing a trucking company, a truck driver and cargo shipper or parts manufacturer. Through our investigation, we will identify all the potentially responsible parties, their insurers and the policy limits of their insurance coverage.
We will review the medical records related to your injuries to determine the extent of your medical bills. If the truck accident leaves you with a permanent disability or ongoing medical needs, we will make an estimate of future medical costs or modifications needed to your home required because of your injury.
We will submit a claim to the insurance company of the at-fault truck driver, trucking company or other responsible party and seek full compensation for your injuries and other losses. We will negotiate with the insurance companies so that you can focus on your recovery.
We will keep you informed of our progress on your case and notify you of any settlement offers that we receive. When an insurer puts a settlement offer on the table, we will share with you our perspective based on having handled numerous accident settlements about whether the offer represents a fair value. If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, we will file a personal injury lawsuit and use our trial skills to pursue justice in the appropriate court in Missouri or Illinois.
Clayton Truck Accident Factors & Causes
In Missouri, 106 people died in accidents involving semi-trucks in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Approximately 80 percent of the people killed in those truck crashes were occupants of smaller passenger vehicles.
Many of the crashes were preventable accidents caused by a truck driver’s error or trucking company negligence. A federal study of the causes of large truck crashes found that truck drivers and semis were at fault in 55 percent of the approximately 1,000 truck accidents analyzed.
The most common factors identified as truck driver errors that cause truck accidents are:
- Failure to adjust to changes in traffic flow and speed
- Truck driver unfamiliarity with the roadway
- Inadequate surveillance
- Driving too fast for conditions/speeding
- Illegal maneuver
- False assumption of other road user’s actions
- Distraction by object or person inside the vehicle
Mechanical problems with trucks contribute to many accidents. Loaded tractor trailers often weigh 20 to 30 times more than passenger vehicles and take much farther to stop. If a truck has poorly maintained brakes, the vehicle’s braking capability can be a contributing factor to a serious accident.
State and federal truck safety inspectors conduct roadside inspections of tractor trailers. In 2015, the inspectors ordered 20 percent of tractor trailer trucks they inspected taken off the road due to safety violations, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Brake problems were one of the most commonly cited safety violations.
Truck Accident Lawyer in Clayton: Identifying Responsible Parties
Multi-vehicle accidents involving semi-trucks are more complicated to investigate and settle than crashes involving only automobiles. Truck accidents often have multiple contributing causes and determining fault can be a complex issue.
It is important to have a Clayton attorney with experience handling truck accident cases to investigate the accident thoroughly and identify all the potentially responsible parties. The at-fault parties may include any of the following:
- Truck Driver – A commercial truck driver may cause a truck accident by speeding, following too closely, driving too fast for traffic conditions, talking on a cell phone, driving distracted, driving drowsy, violating limits on time behind the wheel, or driving while impaired. A truck driver may fail to see another vehicle hidden in a blind spot and attempt to change lanes. A truck driver may park in an active lane of traffic or on an off ramp while trying to determine where to make a delivery and cause an accident.
- Trucking Company — A trucking company may be negligent in a truck accident by failing to perform regular maintenance on a semi-truck such as making sure the brakes are in adjustment and replacing worn tires. Brake problems account for a significant portion of truck accidents. Trucking companies also may be found responsible if they allow dangerous drivers with checkered driving records to continue to operate their vehicles or drivers who have failed drug tests or been cited for driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
- Trailer Owner — Truck drivers may pull trailers that have other owners besides the trucking company. If the trailer is improperly maintained and improperly loaded and causes a truck accident, the trailer owner may be partly or wholly responsible for the accident.
- Freight Shipper — A freight shipper may be liable for a truck accident if freight falls off a truck trailer, causing an accident, or is improperly loaded and shifts inside a trailer and causes it to overturn.
- Truck Parts Manufacturer — Manufacturers of truck components have a legal duty to design and produce safe products. When equipment failures occur and cause accidents, the parts manufacturer may be held liable. But defective equipment cases are challenging to prove and require careful investigation and the use of product engineers to identify equipment failures.
Verdicts and Settlements from our Truck Accident Lawyer
The truck accident attorneys at Sansone & Lauber pursue the maximum amount available for people who have been harmed through no fault of their own by truck accidents. If your life has been turned upside down by a truck accident in Clayton or southern Illinois, we understand that you need aggressive legal representation to deal with the trucking company and their insurers so that you can recover.
Take a look at the kind of results we have achieved for truck accident victims and other accident victims:
The accident lawyers at Sansone & Lauber recovered $100,000 (the limits of all insurance policies) for a client who was a passenger in a vehicle that ran a stop sign at an intersection in Fenton Missouri, just outside of Saint Louis, causing a T-bone collision with a tractor trailer truck.
We recovered $50,000 for a client who suffered injuries when he stepped in front of a Greyhound bus and incurred $8,000 in medical bills. The bus brakes were determined to be malfunctioning after months of investigation.
Truck Accident Attorneys in Clayton: FAQ’s
Clayton Truck Accident Attorneys
You should speak with a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer if you have been seriously injured by a tractor trailer or other large truck. Before accepting any settlement from a trucking company’s insurance provider, you should definitely have an attorney review the offer and tell you whether it reflects a fair value for your claim including medical bills, loss of income and other expenses.
Having a lawyer representing you signals to the insurance company that you are serious about receiving just compensation for your injuries. Our Clayton personal injury attorneys at Sansone & Lauber are experienced at handling truck accident cases. We will answer your questions and explain your legal options during a free consultation. Our experienced lawyers will not let an insurance company take advantage of you.
Missouri follows the doctrine of comparative fault when assigning responsibility in injury claims, including truck accident injuries. Insurance company adjusters investigate truck accidents and assign a percentage of fault to each motorist involved. If you and a truck driver were both partly at fault in an accident, any compensation that you collect for injuries may be reduced by your percentage of fault.
An insurance company may offer a settlement based on its review of the truck accident. For example, if an insurance company estimates that your total damages are $100,000 and that you were 25 percent at fault for the truck accident, then you would be eligible to receive $75,000. You may dispute an insurance company’s determination of your portion of fault in an accident. A lawyer who is familiar with insurance company tactics can discuss your legal options.