St. Louis Truck Accident Lawyer

Trucking accidents often include some of the most severe injuries. No matter whether the accident was caused by a commercial truck or 18-wheeler, victims of these serious accidents should feel entitled to recover compensation. However, to do so, it is recommended to reach out to an experienced injury attorney. A St. Louis County truck accident lawyer may be able to help you organize evidence in an effort to build a convincing injury claim. To get started on your case, schedule a consultation today.

What Types of Truck Accident Damages Can I Claim?

Trucks are much larger than standard vehicles; therefore, when the two collide, the results are often catastrophic. A truck accident in St. Louis could leave the individuals involved with life-threatening injuries and could even result in death. So, what type of damages can you pursue when you trust The Mutrux Firm Injury Lawyers?

  • Medical bills
  • Future medical expenses
  • Wrongful death
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma

When someone is involved in an accident with a truck, the trucking company is responsible for covering all damages incurred. At The Mutrux Firm Injury Lawyers, we know how to deal with the trucking company’s insurance and will negotiate the settlement that you deserve.

Who Is Liable For a Truck Accident in St. Louis?

When a truck accident occurs in St. Louis, and the truck driver is at fault, liability must be established. The accident is often due to negligence on the driver’s part and usually can be determined in these scenarios:

  • Someone was responsible for a duty of care
  • The duty of care was breached
  • This breach caused injury or death
  •  Not following a specific duty of care is the reason the injury occurred

There is also the legal concept of respondeat superior. This states that the trucking company is held liable for the negligence of the driver, who they hired to operate the vehicle safely. There are specific laws that trucking companies must follow to remain compliant with state and federal regulations. Some of the most common include the HOS or hours of service laws. Let’s check out a few additional laws that could come into play in your case:

  • Training
  • Truck driver screening
  • Weight limits
  • Vehicle inspections

According to the hours of service laws, truck drivers are not to exceed an 11-hour shift when driving, and they must not be on duty for more than 14 hours. Furthermore, according to the HOS regulations, after driving for eight hours, the driver must take a 30-minute break to refresh.

Although the trucking company is often held liable, other parties could be responsible for the accident as well. These include the company that loaded the freight into the truck, the truck manufacturer who failed to recognize a defect, and even the company that is contracted to maintain the trucks.

The Mutrux Firm Injury Lawyers are your St. Louis truck accident attorneys who will fight for you every step of the way. We consult experts to carefully piece together your case, providing you with the best possible outcome.

st louis truck accident lawyer

Statute of Limitations for Truck Accidents in Missouri

According to the Missouri Statute of Limitations, accident victims have up to five years to file a claim. However, it is recommended that you get in touch with your St Louis truck accident lawyer immediately so we can begin your case. Your semi-truck accident lawyer has the knowledge and experience to help you file your case, and get you the maximum compensation that you deserve.

How Much Will My Truck Accident Claim in St. Louis Settle For?

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly how much your St. Louis truck accident lawyer can help you win in your case. Most settlements depend on a variety of factors, and each case is different. Once we begin to dive into your case and determine the specifics of your particular claim, we will then be able to provide you with a rough estimate of what you are owed.

Steps to Take After a Truck Accident in St. Louis

Being involved in a truck accident in St. Louis can be extremely traumatizing. The first step is to assess your injuries and call 911. It’s most important to ensure that you are safe and out of harm’s way. It is important to do the following right after the accident:

  • See if there are any witnesses, and get their side of the story, depicting what they saw. This could prove critical in your case.
  • Take pictures of the accident scene and your injuries so your attorney can use them to support your case.
  • If you require ongoing medical treatment due to your injuries sustained, it is critical that you attend each appointment. Otherwise, this could cause trouble with the trucking company’s insurance.
  • Document your medical bills
  • Get a copy of the police report from the officer at the scene.

After you have done this, it is critical to get in touch with your St. Louis truck accident attorney immediately. This will allow your attorney to gather evidence, seek eyewitness testimony, and consult industry experts, which will all contribute to putting together a compelling case.

There are a few things you should NEVER do after an accident. This could hinder your chances of receiving the maximum compensation possible. These include:

  • Providing a statement to the insurance company.
  • Accepting a settlement from insurance
  • Admit fault to the trucking company or their insurance

Insurance companies will likely take every chance they get to undermine your injuries and your recollections of the accident. This is why it is critical to consult a lawyer and never try to negotiate on your own.

What are Some Common Causes of Truck Accidents in St. Louis?

Truck accidents can be caused by a number of different factors. Some of the most common include the following:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs: If the driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs, this could lead to a lack of awareness of the environment around them, resulting in a catastrophic accident.
  • Excessive speed: speeding is one of the most common causes of truck accidents and could cause the driver to lose control or have less reaction time in the case of an emergency.
  • Driver working over allotted shift: truck drivers must adhere to regulations that they must not work over their allotted time. This is put into place to reduce fatigue-related accidents.
  • Adverse weather conditions: In adverse weather conditions, the truck driver might have reduced visibility, or loose traction on the slick roadway, causing an accident to occur.
  • Lack of proper training: If a truck driver does not receive adequate training, they could make a careless mistake that could have been addressed had the driver received the hands-on training needed for the job.
  • Manufacturer defects: In some cases, the manufacturer of the truck involved in the accident could be held liable for faulty components or maintenance issues that could have led to the accident.

Regardless of what led up to the accident, you St. Louis truck accident lawyers are ready and able to help you throughout the process of filing your claim, and will work on your behalf to settle your claim.

How to Prevent a Bad Weather-Related Accident from Occurring

Almost all weather-related crashes can be prevented. The easiest way of preventing a crash is to not drive during dangerous weather or to drive slowly during dangerous weather. However, in some areas, using snow tires, snow chains, and using headlights during bad weather can help prevent bad weather crashes. If a truck driver senses that their vehicle is hydroplaning, skidding, slipping, or sliding, they should consider waiting until conditions are more optimal to continue their commute.

Characteristics of Truck Blind Spots in St. Louis County

The following characteristics of trucks make it more likely that their truck drivers may become involved in a blind spot accident with another vehicle:

  • Length of the truck
  • Whether the truck has a tandem
  • Whether the trucks that are carrying two smaller trailers
  • Height of the truck
  • A lack of mirrors at the back of the trailer
  • Inability to see the full length down the sides of the truck and trailer

Blind spot accidents typically happen in St. Louis County, on interstates or on smaller roads when the truck driver is attempting to change lanes. These accidents do not typically occur on state highways where there is only one lane going either way. Blind spot accidents also tend to happen with trucks in St. Louis County when other vehicles are passing the truck or when the truck is passing other vehicles.

Common Damages Seen in a Blind Spot Trucking Accident

Some of the more common injuries seen in a blind spot trucking accident include:

  • Side-impact damage
  • Broken mirrors
  • Damage to bridges, guardrails, or medians

In addition to these damages, victims of a trucking accident could also suffer catastrophic and life-changing injuries. For example, a truck suddenly slamming the side of a nearby vehicle could cause the victim to incur a traumatic brain injury. The abrupt force causing the victim’s head and spine to violently swing at the moment of the crash could also cause painful neck and spinal injuries. Such injuries could prove to be expensive since the medical treatment for healing is known to be ongoing for weeks, months, or even years after an accident.

Preventing Jackknife Tractor Trailer Wrecks in St. Louis County

Jackknifing trucks may usually be prevented by driving slow according to the traffic conditions. This means that when there is moisture or ice on the road, a truck driver should take extra precaution to drive below the speed limit.  If someone gets hurt during a jackknife accident that was not foreseeable or preventable by the parties, then the plaintiff would not be able to recover. However, it is extremely rare that a jackknife accident is not foreseeable or preventable.

In addition, mechanical checks can be done every time the truck stops. This is because another major cause of jackknifing is defective tires and wheels. This may be remedied by simply monitoring wheels and tires during transit and also during stops.

How to Reduce a Truck’s Weight

The main thing that a trucking company can do to ensure that their vehicle is an acceptable weight is to simply abide by federal regulations. There are also other things that are built into the transportation system, like weigh stations, that allow a trucker to monitor their tracking weight. They should also get proper weigh-ins at the pickup location and keep proper logs so that if they do come in overweight at a weigh station, they can point to the logs and show that they were given the incorrect weight at the pickup location.

Characteristics of an Overweight/Overloaded Truck

As defined by St. Louis County truck regulations, an overweight truck is a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of more than 80,000 pounds. However, there are other limitations on weights. The maximum weight allowed on the interstate system is limited to no more than 20,000 pounds per axle.

The maximum weight allowed on all other highways in Missouri is limited to no more than 22,000 pounds per axle. The maximum weight allowed per axle in a commercial zone defined in Section 304.190 is limited to no more than 22,400 pounds. The steering axle weight is subject to the limits listed, but the manufacturer’s weight rating for the steering axle must not be exceeded and the steering axle tire weight rating also must not be exceeded.

Legality of Operating an Overloaded Truck

It is extremely dangerous for a truck to operate over the acceptably safe weight for a variety of reasons. The most obvious reason is that the truck is a danger to other vehicles on the roads. However, other reasons include destruction to roadways and bridges, which can cause more damage later on down the road.

However, Missouri Statute Section 304.200 does allow permits for vehicles with non-divisible loads exceeding maximum dimensions or weights. Additional restrictions may be placed upon these permits. The primary restriction is that there is no movement as allowed on the following holidays:

  • New Year’s day
  • Memorial day
  • Independence day
  • Labor day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas

Mathematically, only a fairly small percentage of trucks operate above the acceptably safe weight. However, there are more than 208 million trucks that are weighed each year and there are tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of semi-trucks on the roads each year that are overweight. Although the actual percentage is low, the sheer number of trucks that are overweight is astounding.

Leading Cause of Truck Driver Fatigue

The leading cause of driver fatigue that leads to trucking accidents in St. Louis County is the pressure placed upon drivers by trucking companies. This includes forcing them to make deliveries at a specific time based upon a certain schedule and penalizing truck drivers for not hitting target times.

Although this does not absolve the truck driver completely, it does shift the liability to the trucking company when the truck driver is forced to meet unreasonable expectations or when the truck driver is penalized for not abiding by federal and state laws.

Prevalence of Truck Driver Intoxication Accidents

Truck accidents caused by intoxicated drivers in St. Louis County are more prevalent than most people realize. Intoxication does not just include driving under the influence of alcohol, but with the increase in opioids and other drugs, the rise in use by truck drivers has increased drastically. Unfortunately, since this is not an uncommon circumstance, the rate of truck driving accidents related to intoxication is also fairly high.

Common Trends Seen in a Truck DUI Case

Major common trends in truck accidents that are attributed to intoxication are the trends in the increase in the use of opioids and methamphetamines. These are both used by truck drivers to either get rest while taking breaks or to keep them awake while on the road. This can lead to a loss of focus and an increase in crashes. Truck drivers who were under the influence of such drugs should be held liable with the help of a St. Louis County truck driver intoxication lawyer as soon as possible.

Implications of a DUI on a Truck Driver’s Employment

The implications of a DWI or DUI on a truck driver’s future employment are very severe. Most truck drivers would lose their job if they have a DUI or a DWI on the record. This may also prevent them from getting a trucking job for 10 years because they would lose their CDL license.

The location of where a truck driver receives a DWI or DUI in St. Louis County can affect the truck driver’s CDL status for a variety of reasons. The main reason is that some jurisdictions may allow for an attorney to negotiate on behalf of the truck driver so that the offense does not appear on a truck driver’s record. This is a common tactic because if the driver loses his CDL, he would no longer be employed.

A St. Louis County DWI or DUI could also impact a truck driver’s out of state license because of the federal multi-state compact, which has automatic reporting from one state to another.

Impact on a Standard Driver’s License

When a truck driver gets a DWI or DUI, it affects their driver’s license in a different way. With a CDL, a truck driver is no longer able to work. However, with the truck driver’s personal license, they would be able to drive with their personal vehicle after a certain number of days in Missouri or in St. Louis County. That is typically after 30 days with limitations, and then after 90 days, they may drive without any limitations.

What to Expect from Insurance Adjusters in Commercial Truck Wrecks

In commercial truck accidents, insurance adjusters have to account for a variety of factors. These factors may include:

  • Whether the truck driver was licensed
  • Who was at fault for the crash
  • What caused the crash
  • Any mechanical defects in the vehicle
  • What substances the truck was carrying
  • The legal status of the driver
  • The license status of the driver
  • Any significance of the injuries of the drivers involved

It is typical for insurance adjusters to report back to the insurance company and provide an inaccurate assessment of what you are owed. In order to avoid being misled by an insurance company during any settlement negotiations or agreements, it is important to speak with an attorney about your situation. A lawyer could conduct their own investigation in order to give you a reliable estimate regarding the calculation of damages.

Insurance that Must be Held by Trucking Companies

Trucking companies are required in most states to carry insurance coverage for their drivers and for their trucks. This coverage could include standard auto insurance coverage, but additional insurance coverage could include medical payment coverage and umbrella coverage for their truck drivers and trucking companies.

Mandatory Liability Coverage

Mandatory liability coverage change depends greatly upon whether the material being carried is hazardous or nonhazardous. Although it is optional in some states on whether it is required to carry insurance coverage, all states require that the carrier maintain insurance when carrying hazardous material.

Comparative Negligence in a Truck Accident Case

Missouri follows comparative negligence rules in legal cases. This means that if someone is injured in a truck accident in Missouri, they may still receive compensation even if they were partially at fault. This is different from contributory negligence, where the injured party cannot receive any compensation if they were partially at fault. In Missouri, even if the defendant is only 1% at fault, the injured party can still receive compensation for their injuries.

Comparative negligence comes into play in a Missouri or in a St. Louis County truck accident case when the plaintiff or injured party is partially at fault for the crash or if the defendant is claiming that the injured party is partially at fault for the crash.

How Could Someone Prove Liability?

When deciding who is responsible for a St. Louis County truck accident, some things to think about are:

  • road blockages
  • road conditions
  • signs or signals that control traffic

To figure out what happened during an accident, people might use different tools like accident experts, videos, pictures, marks made by tires or the truck, and data from devices that record what happened during the accident. These devices, called event data recorders, might be especially useful when someone wants to claim they were hurt in the accident.

Reach Out to a St. Louis Truck Accident Attorney Today

Getting hurt because a truck driver didn’t look for other drivers around could be expensive. You might suffer serious injuries and have to pay for medical care during and after you heal. To make the responsible person pay for your injuries, talk to a St. Louis County lawyer who handles truck accidents today. This can make the difference between winning or losing your case.

St. Louis Truck Accident FAQs

There are a few common questions that our St. Louis truck accident lawyers get from our clients. Let’s review them below so you can stay informed.

How much does it cost to hire a truck accident lawyer in St. Louis?

It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly how much it costs to hire a St. Louis truck accident lawyer, as it varies greatly depending on the case itself, and how complex the case is itself.

Other potential costs associated with your case might include administrative fees, court filing fees, expert witness fees, and investigative expenses. Some law firms might cover these costs initially and deduct them from your settlement or award if you win the case.

What can a St. Louis truck accident attorney do for me?

Hiring a skilled lawyer gives you an advantage when negotiating with insurance companies, and representing you in court. At The Mutrux Firm Injury Lawyers, we want to ensure that we

What makes truck accident cases different from car accidents in terms of legal representation?

Oftentimes, truck accidents are more complex than a car accident, as they can include multiple parties that can be held liable, such as the trucking company or the manufacturer of the truck. There are also various federal regulations surrounding the ability of the truck driver, and whether or not they were within these guidelines. St. Louis truck accident attorneys are experienced in navigating these complex cases, and can help with a plan of action.

Can I still pursue a claim if I was partially at fault for the truck accident in St. Louis?

According to Missouri law, you can still seek compensation and file a claim even if you were partially at fault for the accident. You might receive lower compensation, however, due to your percentage of fault.

Should I talk to the insurance company without a lawyer after a truck accident in St. Louis?

No. You should always consult a lawyer first, as they are adept at negotiating with insurance adjusters, and know every avenue they will take to pin the fault on you. You should always consult your attorney, and never take calls from the other party’s insurance company.

What role do black box data and logs play in a St. Louis truck accident case?

The black box helps provide crucial information about the truck’s speed, braking, and driving patterns prior to the accident. This data is important for your St. Louis truck accident lawyer.

Can I still pursue a claim if the trucking company or driver doesn’t admit fault in St. Louis?

Yes! Even if the truck driver or trucking company does not admit fault, you can still pursue a claim. Establishing liability in a truck accident claim often involves a thorough investigation that includes gathering evidence from the accident scene.

 What if the truck involved in the accident was carrying hazardous materials in St. Louis?

If the truck involved in the accident was carrying hazardous material, the case gets a little more complex due to additional regulations and the dangers associated with the materials. Therefore, it is critical to consult an attorney that is experienced in handling these types of cases.

What if the truck driver was an independent contractor, not an employee of the trucking company?

Even if the driver is an independent contractor, the trucking company might still be held liable under certain circumstances, especially if they exerted control over the driver’s actions or failed to maintain safety standards.

Can I file a lawsuit against the manufacturer if a defective part caused the truck accident in St. Louis?

Yes, if a defective part or component contributed to the accident, the manufacturer or distributor of that part might be held liable. This involves proving the defect and its contribution to the accident, which requires detailed investigation.

How do I know if I have a strong case for a truck accident claim in St. Louis?

The strength of your case depends on various factors, including evidence, liability, and the extent of damages. Consulting with a skilled attorney who can assess your case based on the specifics is crucial in understanding its strength and potential outcomes.