Injured after an accident with a large truck?
Any auto accident is a dangerous situation and a collision of any kind can leave you with painful and lasting injuries. But when a large truck is involved, things can get much worse—and fast.
Injuries after truck accidents are often much more serious due to the sheer mass of the truck and its inability to stop as quickly as smaller vehicles. Those injured after a crash with an 18-wheeler (some of the largest motor vehicles on the road) or a truck with a tractor trailer are often left facing life-long disabilities or even death.
So, how much will you get paid if an 18-wheeler hit you? Let’s dig into the factors that go into getting compensation for a large truck accident and how a St. Louis truck accident attorney can help.
Common Causes Of Truck Accidents
While the most common causes of accidents overall tend to be speeding, distracted driving, and impaired driving, with a semi-truck accident, things can get a little more complicated.
These massive vehicles carry cargo and are often owned and maintained by someone other than the truck driver. This means there are some other factors that could have caused or contributed to the truck accident.
Causes of an 18-wheeler truck accident could include:
- Sleep-deprived driving due to long hours
- Not following traffic laws
- Improperly loaded cargo area
- Poorly maintained vehicle
- Defect in vehicle parts
Who Can Be Held Liable In A Truck Accident Case?
The cause of the accident will determine which party can be held liable for damages incurred in the collision, and in the case of a truck accident, there are more parties involved than just the two drivers.
When is the Truck Driver Held Accountable?
If the truck driver was at fault for the accident—whether it’s due to being distracted, a driving error, or some other reason – their insurance company can often be held liable for the damages caused. Some trucking companies pay for their drivers’ insurance coverage while other independent truckers have their own insurance.
Trucking Company Liability
The trucking company that employs the semi-truck driver could also be held liable for an accident for a variety of reasons. Maybe company policy and practices led to unreasonably long hours on the road, or perhaps the trucking company didn’t provide its drivers with adequate training to prevent accidents.
Trucking companies—or the owner of the 18-wheeler—are also responsible for maintaining the vehicle and keeping it in good condition. If it can be proven that poor maintenance contributed to the damages in the truck accident, this would be a situation where the trucking company could be held liable.
Truck Manufacturer or Truck Parts Manufacturer Liability
Sometimes there are defects in the parts of the truck that lead to a dangerous situation on the road. If a part malfunctioned—like the brakes, for example—you may have a case against either the manufacturer of the truck or the manufacturer of the part itself.
Cargo Loading or Shipping Company Responsibilities
The cargo being carried by 18-wheeler trucks make the vehicle heavier and more difficult to stop, which is why cargo must be loaded properly to make the vehicle safer.
If a cargo loading or shipping company loaded the truck improperly, causing a dangerous situation – like a tipping or jackknifing truck – the cargo company could be held responsible.
What Damages Can Be Included In Missouri Truck Accident Claims?
- Medical bills due to the injury
- Long-term medical care and rehabilitation treatments
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Decreased earning capabilities
- Disability or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Loss of companionship and love (wrongful death)
What Factors Affect Settlement Amounts In A Truck Accident Claim?
Truck accident cases are some of the costliest auto accident lawsuits due to the severe injuries and damages that often result from them.
Some factors that may affect your settlement amount include:
- How much property damage occurred
- How serious the injuries were
- How the injuries affected the victim’s life
- If wrongful death occurred
- Who is liable for the accident
What’s The Average Truck Accident Settlement In Missouri?
Since the severity of injuries and damages can vary so widely with truck accidents, there are a wide range of settlement amounts awarded. If catastrophic injuries or wrongful death occur, for example, non-economic damages will likely be high. Non-economic damages are non-monetary damages, including pain and suffering and emotional trauma.
Due to the severe damage that can be caused by a truck accident, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires commercial trucks to carry special liability insurance coverage.
These figures provide a good way to estimate how big your settlement may be:
- Trucks carrying non-hazardous cargo that’s less than 10,000 pounds must carry at least $300,000 in insurance coverage
- Trucks carrying non-hazardous cargo that exceeds 10,000 pounds must carry at least $750,000 in insurance coverage
- Oil tankers must carry $1 million in insurance coverage.
- Hazardous cargo carriers must carry $5 million in insurance coverage.
One thing to keep in mind is that those that hire an experienced truck accident lawyer to negotiate with truck drivers’ insurance companies tend to receive higher settlements overall than those who file their personal injury claim on their own.
Get Help From An Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a semi-truck, a tractor trailer, or some other type of large commercial truck, you’re likely suffering from painful injuries, lost wages, or even the loss of a loved one. You are entitled to compensation from the insurance company of the responsible party.
The best way to ensure the best possible outcome for truck accident personal injury claims or a truck accident lawsuit is to get help from a team of experienced truck accident attorneys.
Contact a truck accident lawyer at Jett Legal to ensure your personal injury case results in a fair settlement that covers all your damages.
Matt Jett is the CEO and Managing Partner of Jett Legal, a Missouri personal injury law firm. With more than 10 years of
experience in personal injury, he has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including car and truck
accidents, workers’ compensation, wrongful death, and other cases.
Matt received his Juris Doctor from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law and is a member of the Missouri
Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including the Rising Stars distinction by Super Lawyers 2019-2022.