Kansas City Truck Accident Lawyer: Your Advocate Against Negligent Trucking Companies.
Truck drivers are required to adhere to strict federal regulations designed to protect road users. Legal obligations such as restricted driving time, taking plenty of breaks, and being in good health, are often ignored. As a result, there are large numbers of accidents involving trucks every year, and that number has increased by more than 50% since 2009!
Truck accident statistics are shocking. Kansas sees over 3,800 truck accidents each year, and Missouri sees more than 2000. Truck accidents are incredibly serious and can often result in severe injuries and even the tragic loss of life. Therefore, negligent parties must be held accountable for their actions.
At Wendt Law, we are committed to making the roads of Kansas City a safer place to be.
However, our top priority is our clients. Following a truck accident, it is essential that you have time to rest and recover, we will take over the legal battle for you, and fight tirelessly for the compensation you deserve.
Often Kansas City truck accidents leave victims with physical, mental, and financial challenges that can affect them for the rest of their lives. An attorney can help you seek compensation for not only your medical bills and lost wages, but also your emotional suffering, and any ongoing costs as a result of the accident.
Considering the devastating aftermath of traffic accidents it is essential that you have a trucking accident lawyer who has the skills, experience, and resources to handle your case with the dedication it deserves.
At Wendt Law, our award-winning Kansas City truck accident lawyers have over 50 years of combined experience, including numerous trucking accident claims. We are also proud to be spearheaded by one of the Top 50 Super Lawyers in Kansas City, Samuel Wendt. When you obtain representation from us, you can rest easy knowing that everything possible is being done for your case.
We believe that everyone should have access to legal aid, which is why we work on a contingency basis. This means we only take payment if your case is successful. We also offer a free consultation, so anyone can seek immediate legal advice when they need it.
The FMCSA keeps track of large truck crash statistics using the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and other databases. According to the FMCSA, 4,657 fatal accidents involved large trucks in 2017. This represented a 10% increase from 4,251 fatal accidents the previous year. In addition, about 107,000 injury crashes involved large trucks – a 5% increase from 2016. While all truck accidents are unique, there are certain patterns that exist among these types of wrecks. The design of large trucks lends itself to these types of accidents in particular:
Commercial trucks can tip and rollover if the driver takes a curve too sharply, drives too fast for conditions, strikes an object in the road, tries to correct a trailer that’s gone off the road, or brakes incorrectly down steep declines. Rollovers can crush smaller vehicles and lead to highway pileups.
A large truck “jackknifes” when the trailer swings out away from the cab at a sharp angle. Jackknifing can occur when the driver uses an incorrect braking tactic. This makes it impossible for the driver to control the vehicle. At this point, a rollover or other accident may occur.
Large trucks do not possess the same stopping power as smaller, lighter vehicles. They require more room to come to complete stops. Truckers that follow too closely or speed may end up causing rear-end collisions that can be fatal to passengers in other motor vehicles.
When a smaller vehicle rear-ends a large truck, the front of the smaller car can go underneath the rear trailer. This can lead to catastrophic and fatal injuries such as decapitation. Other motorists should always leave plenty of following room when behind large trucks, and pay attention while driving.
Truck accidents can occur due to various reasons. In all of these situations, there is someone that could have prevented the accident. From a truck driver driving under the influence to lost cargo loads on the interstate, most trucking accidents come down to negligence. When this is the case, victims can pursue compensation for damages through the Kansas City civil court system.
At Wendt Law, we take pride in being the personal injury lawyer Kansas City truck accident victims can rely on. During your free, no-obligation consultation, we will listen to the intimate details of your crash and discuss all possible legal acts of negligence. From here, we can begin building your personal injury lawsuit and the Wendt Law Firm team will be with you every step of the way. Call today to schedule your consultation.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Kansas City
Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
Overloaded commercial trucks.
Passenger vehicles tailgate and drive too close to the truck.
Shifting loads inhibits the driver’s ability to drive the vehicle safely.
Aggressive driving behaviors.
Failing to Adhere to Federal Legislation
Truck driver negligence is one of the most common causes of truck accidents, however, trucking companies are often at fault. Trucking companies regularly put extra pressure on their staff to drive for long hours, and to avoid taking breaks.
When a driver or trucking company fails to adhere to federal legislation, fatal accidents are often the result. Drivers of large trucks are required to:
Limit their time on the road to 11 hours maximum.
Take at least a 30-minute break for every 8 hours of driving.
However, when there is a lot of traffic, and truck drivers have deadlines and quotas to meet, it is not uncommon for them to ignore these laws. If a truck driver remains on the road for 3 or more hours over these limits, they can face civil penalties.
Trucking companies must also maintain vehicles and keep logbooks for driver hours. Trucking companies deal with car accidents all the time and know how to limit their responsibility. They may rush vehicle repairs and even produce fraudulent logbooks, to negate the evidence against them. Experienced Kansas City truck accident attorneys will not stand for this, and will know how to uncover evidence.
Common Injuries Sustained from Truck Accidents
Truck accidents are catastrophic more often than not. The large size and weight of commercial trucks can crush or obliterate smaller passenger vehicles in a collision. Passenger vehicle drivers are at a much higher risk of serious, life-threatening injuries than truck drivers. The list of potential injuries in a trucking accident is almost endless. Some injuries, however, arise more often than others. Contact our firm as soon as possible if you or a loved one suffered any of the following injuries in a recent Kansas City truck accident:
Broken bones are common car accident injuries, but that doesn’t make your case any less significant or unique. Bone fractures can be painful and debilitating. You will likely have to take medical leave at work – paid or unpaid. Fractures can take months to heal, with some of the worst breaks never fully healing at all. Fractures of the skull or spinal cord can be fatal.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
The delicate brain can sustain many different types of injuries in a bad trucking accident. The brain striking the inside of the skull can cause bleeding or swelling, along with significant damage to the victim. Brain injuries can cause temporary or permanent physical and cognitive impairments. Traumatic brain injury survivors might never be the same as they were pre-accident. To learn more about pursuing compensation for a TBI, schedule a free consultation with our Kansas City brain injury attorneys.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spine injuries can affect the ability to move and feel. A severe spine injury could result in full or partial paralysis of the limbs and/or trunk of the body. Spine injuries result in lifetime costs such as medical care and live-in assistance, as well as modifications to accommodate a permanent disability. Less serious injuries to the neck and back (e.g., whiplash) can also be debilitating and cause chronic pain. Schedule a free consultation with a Kansas City personal injury attorney.
Serious truck accidents often result in vehicle fires – especially if the large truck was carrying flammable or hazardous substances. Fires in crashes can cause catastrophic burn injuries that leave behind significant physical and emotional scarring. Disfiguring burn injuries deserve serious financial compensation from the at-fault party in Kansas City. Speak with a Kansas City personal injury attorney to learn more.
Sadly, truck accidents are frequently fatal for passenger vehicle drivers and occupants. Fatal fractures, brain injuries, spine injuries, internal organ damage, or other trauma can unexpectedly cut life short. Talk to our law firm right away after losing a beloved family member in a Kansas City truck accident. Our wrongful death attorneys can help you fight for maximum compensation.
Personal injuries can change your life. You might face hefty hospital bills, significant pain and suffering, emotional damage, permanent disability, lost income, or the death of a loved one after a KC truck accident. In the face of these serious losses, know you’re not alone. Wendt Law Firm P.C. has experience with a wide range of truck accident injury claims and knows how to navigate the complex web of laws surrounding these collisions. We can help your family seek recovery for all the losses connected to a serious personal injury.
Ask a Kansas City Personal Injury Lawyer: Who is Liable For Truck Accidents?
Many truck accident cases involve catastrophic injuries that significantly impact a person’s quality of life. Truck accident fatalities are also far too common, and their families deserve to seek justice.
Truck accident victims are entitled to compensation for both their financial and emotional suffering, however, in order to successfully claim compensation, the first step is to determine who was at fault for the accident. Truck accident lawyers in Kansas City can help you to determine, and evidence, who the at-fault party was, and who therefore is liable to pay your damages.
Trucking companies are often at fault for truck crashes and can be found liable if they:
Cut corners when hiring staff, failing to ensure that the people they hire are safe to drive a commercial vehicle.
Inadequately train staff.
Encourage drivers to work for long hours, or take insufficient breaks.
Fail to ensure that vehicles are safe for use.
Overload vehicles in order to try and make more money.
Truck Driver Liability
Truck drivers are also frequently liable for truck crashes. They may act recklessly, or negligently while operating a vehicle. All drivers are expected to act in a reasonable manner to keep those around them safe. This means following the rules of the road and making decisions as a reasonable person would. Due to the nature of commercial vehicles and their potential to cause catastrophic injuries, drivers should take extra care. If they don’t then they should be held responsible.
Manufacturers or Mechanics
Regardless of whether someone is driving a motorbike, car, or truck, vehicle safety is paramount. Too many accidents are caused by brake failure, tire blowout, or jammed accelerators. In these situations, it could be the manufacturer or retailer who installed faulty parts. It could also be a mechanic who failed to service, diagnose, or repair a fault due to their own negligence.
The Cargo Company
Loading trucks is a careful process. Trucks will have very strict specifications regarding the size and weight that can be loaded onto them. They must also be secured carefully. If a trailer or a truck is improperly loaded then it can cause them to tip over, leading to serious accidents.
The Owner of the Truck
Owners of commercial vehicles are expected to know who is driving their trucks. If they fail to check that someone is licensed and qualified to drive their vehicle then they could be found liable.
Sometimes damaged roadways or road debris can cause trucking accidents. In these situations, it could be a government body responsible for maintaining the road that is to blame.
Damages For Truck Accident Injuries in Kansas City, MO
The physical battle is only half the story, the emotional trauma of both the accident itself, the injuries that incur, and the changes that victims must make in their lives must also be considered when fighting for a fair settlement.
At Wendt Law, our truck accident attorneys know how to maximize potential compensation.
Large insurance companies and trucking companies will have plenty of experience limiting liability and restricting how much they pay out in compensation. This makes it important for you to level the playing field. You can do this by securing your own, experienced representation.
A car accident involving large trucks often leaves victims with severe injuries that lead to long hospital stays. Costs quickly mount up, and you deserve to be compensated.
Future Medical Bills
If you have suffered injuries that are going to require ongoing treatment, physiotherapy, or home adjustments, then all of this should be reflected in your settlement. Our team will consult with medical professionals to evidence your claim and determine what your future medical costs could look like.
Hospital stays and follow-up appointments inevitably lead to lost wages, which could make paying medical bills even more stressful if you are not properly compensated.
Future Earning Potential
Following an accident with a commercial truck, you could be left with injuries that prevent you from continuing with the same work as before. Our team can help you to calculate the cost of future lost earnings.
If your job came with benefits such as medical coverage and retirement plans, then losing your job is more costly than just your wages. A skilled truck accident attorney in Kansas City will fight for a settlement that properly reflects your struggles.
Truck accident cases involve property damage. Cars and other vehicles are often completely written off in the incident. We will also help you recover property damage, including any items in your vehicle that could have been damaged such as your phone.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages are designed to compensate you for your emotional suffering. These types of damages can be very challenging to quantify. Unlike, medical bills they don’t have a clear number attached to them.
A Kansas City truck accident attorney at Wendt Law has the skills and experience necessary to recover compensation, taking into account factors like your non-economic damages, such as:
Loss of Consortium
Kansas City truck accidents impact a lot of people, not only the people who are directly involved, but also their families. Sometimes families may have to become carers, or victims may be unable to carry out the same duties or provide the same level of care and support for their loved ones. This is known as loss of consortium.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
Truck accident cases often have long-lasting consequences that can affect victims’ quality of life. Serious injuries may prevent people from enjoying activities, engaging in sports, returning to work, or attending certain social events.
Truck crashes are incredibly traumatic and can lead to ongoing emotional suffering including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Punitive damages are designed to punish an at-fault party who acts with gross negligence. They are not always awarded, but some examples include commercial truck accidents caused by someone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or a trucking company that failed to fix a known fault with a vehicle.
If you have lost a loved one in a truck crash, then you deserve fair compensation that takes into account aspects such as funeral costs, loss of consortium, and loss of income to a family household.
Federal Regulation of Missouri Trucking Accidents and Accident Lawsuits
Truckers differ from typical motor vehicle drivers in that they must obey federal and state safety laws while on the road. Truck drivers must also possess commercial driver’s licenses, obtained only after special tests and driver training. There are dozens of laws truck drivers must abide by at all times, which cover how often they must sleep, and when to check the truck’s engine performance among other details. Breaking any of these laws is an act of negligence that could result in a crash. Here are some of the most important FMCSA regulations involved in trucking:
Drug and Alcohol Tests
All commercial vehicle operators must consent to drug and alcohol testing pre-employment, during random drug tests, under reasonable suspicion, and post-accident. Trucking companies can only offer employment if the driver tests negative during pre-employment substance tests.
Hours of Service Regulations
Drowsy driving is a serious issue in the commercial trucking industry. Truck drivers may not drive longer than 11 consecutive hours during a 14-hour maximum shift, which can only occur after 10 consecutive off-duty hours. Drivers cannot drive 60 hours in seven consecutive days or 70 hours in eight days. Drivers must take one 30-minute break in the first eight hours of a shift.
Size and Weight Restrictions
Large trucks can only weigh so much depending on their size. Single-axle trucks may only carry up to 20,000 pounds, while two-axle trucks can carry 34,000 pounds maximum. No large truck can weigh more than 80,000 pounds. Overloading a truck is extremely dangerous, and can lead to rollover accidents. There are also laws for truck heights and widths.
Trucking companies and drivers must take care to properly maintain and service fleet vehicles. Drivers must keep logs recording daily inspections and performance checks prior to hitting the road. Federal laws exist to control the quality of many truck parts, such as air brake systems. Part manufacturers must also obey certain regulations when creating truck components.
After a crash, victims should look at federal regulations the driver, company, or another entity may have broken in relation to the accident. The federal government strictly regulates commercial vehicle activity and performance. Any broken federal or state laws, resulting in a crash, is negligence per se. This legal doctrine makes it relatively easy for victims to obtain compensation since the defendant committed an unlawful act. A Kansas City personal injury lawyer can help you navigate all applicable FMCSA laws and state-specific trucking codes to pursue recovery.
Missouri and Kansas Trucking Laws
The laws surrounding the commercial trucking industry and related accidents aren’t only federal – Missouri and Kansas also impose statewide trucking laws. Trucking companies and their drivers must obey all related state laws; breaking them and causing injuries to others is a type of negligence that points directly to trucking company liability. When operating in Kansas City, truckers and their employers must obey local speed limits, signage, and driving under the influence laws.
Trucks in Kansas City cannot surpass a maximum speed limit of 70 miles per hour at any time. The limit is much lower in certain areas, such as rural roads. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for all KC commercial drivers is 0.04% – half the limit for non-commercial drivers. Truckers must obey road signage that states that trucks cannot operate on certain roads or must only take certain routes. In the event that state laws conflict with federal laws, state laws take precedence. Get in touch with our Kansas City truck accident attorneys to learn more about state-specific trucking laws in relation to your recent accident.
What to Do After a Kansas City Truck Accident
As a driver in Kansas City, it may be possible to prevent a truck accident. Do your best to maneuver safely around 18-wheelers. Stay visible by keeping out of the truck’s no zone – its blind spots. Pass a large truck with care. Never cut off a big rig, as it may be unable to stop in time to avoid hitting you. Anticipate wide turns and be patient with a trucker. If you do get into a collision, do your best to complete certain steps.
Stay at the scene to avoid a hit-and-run charge. Pull your car over or move it safely to the side of the road. Exchange information with the truck driver and other involved parties.
Call 911. If you or anyone else has injuries, call the police for assistance from the scene. You should also notify the police if the crash caused major property damages.
Obtain insurance information. If you can, write down the truck driver’s name, truck number, and insurance information. Mark the time and location of the crash as well.
Next, contact a lawyer as soon as possible for an overview of your rights. A truck accident attorney in Kansas City from Wendt Law Firm P.C. can review your case, hear your story and let you know your legal options. We can walk you through all the steps it will take to recover compensation from the at-fault party. Calling us right away can ensure you do all the right things to build a claim.
What Our Truck Accident Attorneys in Kansas City Can Do For You
In Kansas City, depending on what side of the border you are on, you could be dealing with Kansas or Missouri trucking laws. Navigating the legal system in either state is incredibly complex, and can cause people a lot of stress when they should be focused on their recovery.
At Wendt Law, we offer everyone a free consultation. In this meeting, you can speak to a Kansas City truck accident lawyer and ask any questions you need to ask before you agree to representation.
We also work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that if we do not win your claim, you will not pay anything. That is how confident we are that we are the right people to handle your case.
Our personal injury attorneys have the skills, experience, and resources necessary to fight for maximum compensation.
Filing Court Documents
If you fail to file court documents correctly and on time then it could cost you extra time and money, it could even result in your case being unsuccessful. We will make sure that everything is filed correctly and in line with legislation.
Your Kansas City truck accident attorney will dedicate themselves to collecting strong evidence, and therefore maximizing your compensation. Evidence will include photos from the scene, surveillance footage, police reports, witness statements, medical records, trucking company records, and expert testimony from accident reconstruction specialists and medical professionals.
Following trucking accidents, trucking companies may act quickly to eliminate evidence. They may have the truck repaired quickly, or even manipulate logbooks. Therefore, you should contact a truck accident lawyer in Kansas City as soon as possible, so that they can protect the evidence.
Determining The Value of Your Truck Accident Case
The amount you receive in compensation is determined by both your economic and non-economic damages. However, a skilled Kansas City truck accident lawyer will understand how to maximize your claim.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
Insurance companies did not get to be as big as they are by paying out large amounts in compensation. In Kansas City, trucking accidents incur big bills, but if you say anything to an insurance company that they can use against you, it could hinder your ability to claim compensation.
Fortunately, when you agree to representation from us, we will handle all communication with insurance companies. We will not settle for less than what you deserve.
We always recommend contacting a truck accident attorney in Kansas City before you call your insurance company. However, if you do contact them, stick to the facts of the case, do not admit fault, and if they push you for information simply tell them that your lawyer will be in touch.
The attorney-client relationship is of the utmost importance to us. We will maintain communication throughout the process and will always be on hand to answer your questions, and offer support and guidance when you need it.
Skilled Representation in Court
Wherever we can, we will negotiate truck accident claims outside of court, to avoid court costs However, if the defendant refuses to accept a fair settlement, then we will be prepared to fight your case in court.
Injured in a Truck Accident? Contact the Best Personal Injury Lawyer Kansas City Has to Offer!
Wendt Law is prepared to handle your truck accident case in Kansas City. We know that the aftermath of a truck crash can be incredibly stressful, and the emotional pain can be worsened by the financial consequences. Negligent parties must be held accountable, and you deserve fair and just compensation.
Considering the life-altering effects of truck accident injuries, it is essential that you do everything you can to protect your future. Once you agree to a settlement, you will be unable to negotiate for a higher amount. If you have ongoing medical expenses and lost wages, then this could make life unnecessarily difficult.
Contact Wendt Law today for a free case evaluation about your trucking accident claim. At the very least you will have a better understanding of your case, and in the best-case scenario, you will secure quality representation from a law firm that has your best interests at heart.