August 14, 2012

Surviving a Roadside Inspection

Roadside inspections are part of the job for professional truck drivers. The goal of these inspections is to ensure both the truck and driver are in compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations. Trucks are taken out of service (OOS) when an inspector finds a serious violation that warrants the issuance of an order. The most commonly found violations include: brakes out of adjustment or other brake problems, problems with tires and wheels, lights, and cargo load securement.

There are 5 levels of inspection. A level 1 inspection is the most thorough and includes both a paperwork review and an inspection of the vehicle. A level 2 inspection is the same as level one, but the inspector is not required to get under the vehicle. A level 3 inspection includes only an inspection of paperwork. A level 4 inspection focuses on a particular item of truck, like the brakes. A level 5 inspection takes place at the carrier.

Tips for Handing Roadside Inspection:

1. Always be polite and professional.

2. Know the OOS criteria. This includes braking systems, exhaust systems, pintle hooks, coupling devices, fuel systems, lighting, load securement, suspension, tires and rims, frame, windshield wipers, place carding and logs. Always check these items before you leave to avoid problems.

3. Carry all required documentation including your driver’s license, medical certificate, proof of inspection documentation, all road related paperwork, and your log book.

4. Make sure your tires and wheels are in good condition. Balding tires or sidewall damage are a red flag for a more thorough inspection.

5. Make sure your log book is completely up to date and neat. If you are undergoing a level 1 inspection, the inspectors will go through it.

6. Inspectors take equipment violations seriously, particularly when they involve brakes. Check your brakes often, and then mark and measure. Keep your measurements handy to prove to the inspector that you checked them.

7. Secure your load properly. Familiarize yourself with FMSCA requirements at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/fmcsr/fmcsrruletext.aspx?reg=392.9

July 25, 2012

Safety Tips for Truck Drivers

Truck drivers carry a lot of responsibility. Trucks are immensely powerful vehicles, and truck driving carries with it it's own set of unique dangers. Trucks are created to transport immense amounts of weight, and are therefore much larger and heavier than cars. Consequently, a truck accident can end with catastrophic results.

Even the most well trained truck driver can engage in risky driving behavior that can end in an accident. Trucks are susceptible to accidents from sudden changes in weather conditions, driver fatigue, speeding and failing to look, or not seeing another car on the road. A great resource regarding truck safety can be found at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov

Failure to Use Seat Belts

Besides being the law, it is critical that you and your passengers wear their seatbelt. A seat belt ensures that in the event of a sudden stop or truck accident, you and your passenger will stay secured properly in your seat, preventing injury or death. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, data from 2001 reported that 60% of all passengers that were killed in traffic accidents were not wearing their seatbelt.

Driving Too Fast for Weather Conditions

Driving to fast for the road conditions is a common cause of a truck accident. Road conditions that can affect driving safety include rain, snow, ice, construction zones, heavy traffic and curves in the road. According to a Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS), 23% of large truck accidents were caused when drivers were traveling too fast given the road conditions.

Plan Your Route Ahead of Time

LTCCS reports that 22% of truck crashes occur because commercial drivers are unfamiliar with the roadway. Plan your route ahead of time, so you can avoid trying to read a map while you are driving.

Know your “No-Zone”

A commercial truck driver's “No-Zone” is where the truck’s blind spots are. As a driver, you should be aware of where these are on your vehicle, keeping in mind that the car in your blind spot is unaware that you cannot see them.

Get Enough Sleep

Driver fatigue is a common cause of truck accidents. The LTCCS reports that 13% of drivers reported to be overly tired at the time of a truck accident. Be sure to get enough sleep prior to your trip. Fatigue impairs your ability respond to hazards and greatly increases your chances of getting in a truck accident

Keep a Safe Following Distance

You are following too closely behind a vehicle when you are so close that you could not avoid a collision if the driver in front of you stops suddenly. Large trucks need extra space between other vehicles to allow a safe breaking distance.


July 22, 2012

Five Common Causes of Truck Accident Claims

Due their sheer weight and size, truck accidents can cause serious injury and even death. While there is state and federal regulations in place to minimize the dangers inherent in the trucking industry, truck accidents still occur frequently. There are common reasons for truck accidents, which include:

Fatigue

Driver fatigue tops the list as a leading cause of truck accidents. State and federal laws have attempted to correct this, by regulating the number of hours that a driver can work in a given work day and work week. There are specific regulations, which also require a driver to have a minimum number of consecutive off duty hours as well. These rules have been specifically designed to keep the driver alert, and limit the possibility of driver fatigue. It is important to be aware the employer can be held liable for requiring a driver to work past the maximum number of allowable hours.

Speeding, Not Observing Rules of the Road

According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NTSB), over 25% of fatal truck accidents involved a driver that had been previously cited for speeding. Trucks are particularly dangerous when they are driven at high levels of speed, because of their weight and size.

Faulty Maintenance and Inspection of Truck

Trucking companies and their drivers obligated to perform thorough inspection and maintenance of their vehicles. At the very minimum, this should include regular, appropriate maintenance as well additional pre-trip inspections.

Substance Abuse

Truck driving involves long hours on the road, and it is difficult to maintain focus for hours at a time. Some drivers rely on illegal substances to stay alert. Employers are required to perform drug testing of their drivers upon hiring. Throughout their employment, drivers often go through additional periodic drug testing.

Poorly Loaded Trailers

An improperly loaded trailer can significantly impair the ability of the driver to handle the truck. In the event of a truck accident, the driver could be liable for not following the rules of the road, but also for a poorly loaded trailer, which affects the ability to keep the truck under control.


June 22, 2012

Semi Truck Collision Occurs on US Route 65

Three Lebanon, Missouri residents were injured in a collision with a semi-truck on June 15, 2012 in Christian County. The collision occurred on US Route 65, roughly five miles south of Ozark, Missouri and the time of the accident was at 9:50pm.

Brian P. Cheng of Kansas City, Missouri was traveling southbound on US Route 65 in a 2011 Freightliner semi-truck. At the same time, Joshua L. Oliver of Lebanon, Missouri was traveling behind Cheng in a 2004 Ford Explorer. Oliver was also traveling with Joel. R Oliver, an infant who is not a year old yet, Jace L. Oliver, age 2, and Alaina S. Oliver, age 3. Both vehicles eventually traveled near a construction zone in US-65 and were waiting in traffic. Cheng ended up stalling the motor to his freightliner and began rolling backwards. Oliver, following Cheng at the time, ended up colliding with the freightliner. The freightliner only sustained minor injuries while Oliver’s Ford Explorer sustained moderate injuries. Cheng was unaware of the collision and continued traveling southbound on US-65 away from the scene of the accident. Cheng was later notified by authorities.

Missouri State Highway Patrol and medical responders determined that the three Oliver infants all sustained minor injuries in the accident. All three were transported to Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Missouri by ambulance.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has often expressed some concerns over the stalling of engines and motors. Most often, the NHTSA often makes recommendations that certain vehicle models should be recalled because of spontaneous engine or motor stalling. In these cases, this could pose as a safety risk because vital functions of the vehicle would essentially be shutting down without actually alerting the driver. Thus, the chance of a Missouri vehicle accident would be possible in these kinds of scenarios.

For semi-truck drivers, engine or motor stalls can surface from a variety of different causes. With that said, a semi-truck undergoing sudden motor or engine stalls can endanger all Missouri motorists in the immediate vicinity and can even result in a Missouri semi-truck accident. Due to the large size of a semi-truck, an engine or motor stall can result in the semi-truck suddenly rolling into other vehicles. It could also strip control away from the semi-truck driver. In order to best prevent these kinds of mechanical problems, trucking companies need to make sure that they keep their semi-trucks in frequent and in good repair.

According to Congress, trucking companies have certain duties and obligations that they must fulfill in terms of keeping their semi-trucks in good repair. Failing to keep semi-trucks in good repair could either lead to responsive measures by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or could open semi-truck drivers and companies to civil liability by Missouri semi-truck accident victims. Even in the case of a seemingly innocent semi-truck collision, it would be best to consult with a Missouri semi-truck accident lawyer to see if a trucking company was actually at fault.

June 21, 2012

Missouri Resident Injured in Route 79 Freightliner Accident

A Missouri male resident was moderately injured in a Festus Missouri semi-truck accident on Missouri Route 79 near Hancock St. in Foley, Missouri. The collision occurred in Lincoln County on June 19, 2012 at 10:30am.

Francis R. Biron of Troy, Missouri, age 74, was driving southbound on Route 79 in a 2004 Honda Goldwing. Charles H. Washington of St. Louis, Missouri, age 27, was also driving on southbound Route 79 in a 2004 Freightliner Conventional. Washington was then traveling behind Biron in the same lane. Biron ended up stopping at an intersection in order to yield to oncoming traffic. Washington was not able to come to a stop before it was too late. Washington’s freightliner struck the rear of Biron’s Honda. The collision forced Biron’s vehicle off the road and Biron was subsequently ejected from his vehicle. Both vehicles had some kind of safety device activated at the time of the accident. The freightliner only sustained minor damage while the Honda sustained moderate damage.

Missouri State Highway Patrol and medical personnel determined that Biron sustained moderate injuries due to the accident. Biron was subsequently transported to Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur, Missouri by a medical air helicopter.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has noted that ejection from a vehicle during a car accident is “one of the most injurious events that can happen to a person in a crash.” According to studies in past years, close to 70% of vehicle passengers who were ejected from a vehicle due to an accident were killed as a result. Most studies often note that close to 90% of people who were ejected were not actually wearing their seatbelt at the time. Moreover, both complete and partial ejections can lead to serious injuries or Missouri semi-truck accident fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration often suggests drivers to wear seat-belts to best minimize the risk of ejection. Missouri statute § 307.178 at least requires vehicle occupants to wear their seat-belts. Unfortunately, as seen in this Route 79 accident, seat belts cannot completely prevent vehicle ejection. This is especially true when considering semi-trucks can hit vehicles with a great amount of force.

In a Missouri car accident that leads to ejected occupants, there are still basic legal doctrines that could hold the motorist responsible for the accident as liable under a court of law. The legal theory of negligence incorporates a “foreseeability” component in liability determinations. Most courts simply follow the notion that a liable party is responsible for all consequences that are reasonably foreseeable from his or her actions. It is foreseeable that drivers may be ejected from their vehicle in a Missouri semi-truck accident and could suffer from even greater injuries than otherwise. In these kinds of partial or complete ejection incidents arising out of a Missouri semi-truck accident, it would be best to contact a Festus Missouri semi-truck accident lawyer.

June 19, 2012

Festus, Missouri Motorcyclist Struck by Tractor-Trailer’s Exploding Tire

A male Festus, Missouri resident was struck by an airborne tire tread that exploded from the wheel of a tractor-trailer when the resident was traveling on Interstate 44 on his motorcycle. The motorcyclist was struck on June 13, 2012 at 1:25pm in Phelps County.

Kenneth A. McGugin was traveling on eastbound I-44 in a 1995 Peterbilt Tractor-Trailer shortly before the accident occurred. John D. Rust was traveling on his 2009 Triumph Motorcycle on eastbound I-44 in an adjacent lane from McGugin’s tractor-trailer. McGugin attempted to pass Rust but a tire tread spontaneously exploded from one of the wheels of the tractor-trailer. The tire tread was subsequently forced into the air and struck Rust. Rust’s motorcycle did not sustain any kind of damage, but Rust sustained minor injuries due to the tread striking him. The tractor-trailer only sustained minor damage due to the loss of its tire tread.

Missouri State Highway Patrol recognized that Rust sustained moderate injuries and requested for medical attention for Rust’s injuries. Rust was subsequently transported to Regional Medical Center in Rolla, Missouri by Phelps County Ambulance services.

Missouri statute § 304.016 sets forth certain procedures for passing vehicles on roadways. Normally, a driver of any motor vehicle must pass another vehicle on the left-hand side when attempting to pass a vehicle traveling in the same direction. Passing to the right-hand side is often forbidden unless certain conditions are met (the overtaken vehicle is about to make a left turn or the drivers are on a “city street with unobstructed pavement of sufficient width for two or more lines of vehicles in each direction). However, even proper passing of vehicles can only do so much when something unexpected occurs, such as a sudden loss of control of the vehicle or something coming off of the vehicle as to endanger adjacent vehicles. When passing a vehicle, it is always possible that something can expose an adjacent vehicle to danger such as attached equipment coming loose and potentially striking an adjacent vehicle or the sudden destruction of tire treads striking adjacent vehicles.

In this scenario, especially for truck drivers that may operate in Missouri, the risks of any piece of equipment or part of a large semi-truck or tractor-trailer and subsequently striking adjacent motorists are always present. Federal safety regulations often require semi-trucks to be in good repair and of good construction to make sure nothing comes loose during traveling. This even includes making sure that a semi-truck’s tires are sufficiently in good repair. In a scenario such as this news story, it would still be best to contact a Missouri semi-truck lawyer for advice. In a Missouri semi-truck accident, there are always small components concerning a semi-truck accident that may reveal a semi-truck accident to truly be a scenario of negligence or more as opposed to a mere unexpected accident.

June 12, 2012

Freightliner U-Turn Accident Occurs at Highway 63 and U.S. Route 60

A Missouri car accident occurred on June 10, 2012 in Texas, County. The accident’s location was at Highway 63 and U.S. Route 60 near Cabool, Missouri. The accident’s time was at 4:35pm.

Dion F. Sutfin of Lake City, Arkansas was driving his 2005 Freightliner Semi-Tractor Trailer on the Highway 63 and U.S. Route 60 location. In addition, Samantha J. Robinson of Cabool, Missouri was driving her 2005 Dodge Magnum and was traveling northbound. While Sutfin was traveling, he attempted to make a U-Turn in order to travel on the opposite direction. However, Sutfin ended up making a U-Turn right into the path of Robinson’s vehicle. Sutfin’s Freightliner struck the side of Robinson’s Dodge Magnum. Robinson’s vehicle sustained extensive damage due to the collision while Sutfin’s Freightliner only sustained minor damage.

Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Cabool Police Department responded to the accident. Robinson sustained minor injuries due to the collision. Robinson was subsequently transported to Ozarks Medical Center located in West Plains, Missouri by a private vehicle.

Even though U-Turns are at times legal in most states, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted that less than one (1) percent of all fatal car accidents across the nation surface from U-Turns. U-Turns can be surprisingly dangerous maneuvers if the driver has not looked to see whether it is safe to do the U-Turn or not. Thus, even though U-Turns are also legal in Missouri, it is possible that a fatality can occur due to a Missouri U-Turn trucking accident.

Missouri statute § 304.341 requires drivers to follow certain rules when attempting to make a U-Turn. The law states that any U-Turn maneuver must be made in a manner that “can be made in safety” and also “without interfering with other traffic.” This may be less of an issue with smaller cars, but a tremendous amount of care must be especially made when attempting to U-Turn with any large vehicle like a semi-truck. The large size of the semi-truck and the amount of space needed for its required wide turns would both make semi-truck U-Turns dangerous and would often interfere with traffic regardless. It may be recommended that semi-truck drivers should seldom attempt U-Turns.

In addition to § 307.341, making U-Turns must also be read with § 307.015. This second statute makes it unlawful for any vehicle to make a U-Turn on a highway that is divided by a physical barrier, sign, or line unless the turn is made at a designated area. Highways often restrict certain U-Turn areas to emergency vehicles only.

Making a U-Turn with a semi-truck may not only be dangerous to other motorists and block traffic, but it can also be unlawful at certain areas. A semi-truck or large truck’s size and width greatly increases the risk of causing a Missouri semi-truck accident when making a U-Turn. Victims of a Missouri U-Turn semi-truck accident should consult a Missouri semi-truck accident attorney.

June 9, 2012

FMCSA orders WTSA US Express to Cease Operations

On June 8, 2012, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ordered a Wisconsin trucking company, WTSA US Express, to cease all of its trucking and transportation operations. After a series of intensive investigations on the operations of WTSA US Express, FMCSA found that the trucking company was an “imminent hazard to public safety.” The company operated across state lines and their operations also posed a safety hazard for Missouri drivers.

FMCSA conducted an extensive investigation on the operations of WTSA US Express in the past several months. Investigators found that WTSA US Express violated several federal safety requirements that all trucking companies operating in the United States must follow. The report noted that WTSA US Express’s management could not comply even with basic safety management controls despite prior government interventions.

FMCSA first noted that WTSA US Express did not monitor the hours of service for its drivers. The federal requirements on a semi-truck or large truck driver’s “hours of service” is important because it limits the maximum amount of hours a driver can operate a vehicle in one particular shift. It has also required mandatory rest and sleeping hours in a driver’s shift. Disregarding the hours of service requirements could result in fatigued drivers operating large trucks and potentially causing semi-truck accidents. WTSA US Express also did not follow the FMCSA’s mandatory requirements for employee substance and alcohol abuse testing. It also did not screen prospective employees for possible alcohol and substance abuse. Alcohol and substance abuse is dangerous when driving normal vehicles, but could be catastrophic when a substance abuser is operating a large truck. WTSA US Express also did not follow driver qualification requirements in order to actually ascertain whether its employees were qualified to operate large and semi-trucks. This has allowed some drivers to operate without valid medical certificates. This is problematic because health issues can potentially interfere with operating a motor vehicle.

One driver of the company was issued a cease-operations order by the FMCSA in the past. This driver was cited for carrying alcohol in his vehicle and cited for consuming alcohol within 4 hours before driving his vehicle. This driver has since failed to comply with the FMCSA’s order and continued to act in an employee capacity for WTSA US Express.

Due to these ongoing violations, the FMCSA deemed that WTSA US Express posed as an imminent safety hazard for all motorists. The FMCSA deemed this closure, in addition to the past several trucking company closures over the past few months, to be a part of their “aggressive safety enforcement efforts.” Such companies like WTSA US Express are threats to all motorists, including Missouri motorists. Failing to follow safety requirements could result in Missouri semi-truck accidents with serious or fatal injuries. And like WTSA US Express, these companies try to operate even after prior warnings. If you are involved in a Missouri semi-truck accident, consult a Missouri semi-truck accident lawyer.

June 8, 2012

Franklin County Highway 47 Tractor Truck Accident Injures One

A large tractor trailer struck a New Florence, Missouri resident’s vehicle on Highway 47 and Mid America Lane on June 7, 2012. The exact time of the accident was at 9:46am and the accident occurred in Franklin County.

Eric K. Miller of Warrenton, Missouri was driving his 2012 Peterbilt Tractor truck southbound on Highway 47. Michael E. Thomure of New Florence, Missouri was also driving his 2005 Chevrolet Colorado southbound on Highway 47 before the accident occurred. Thomure came to a stop in order to make a turn onto Mid America Lane from Highway 47. It is unknown as to what lane Thomure was in or which direction he was intending to turn before the accident. Miller did not see Thomure’s stopped vehicle. Miller attempted to steer his vehicle to the extreme right-hand side in an effort to avoid striking Thomure’s vehicle. However, the Peterbilt Tractor struck Thomure’s Chervolet despite Miller’s evasive maneuver. Both vehicles sustained moderate damage and were towed from the scene.

Missouri State Highway Patrol arrived on the scene and determined that Thomure suffered minor injuries due to the accident. Thomure was subsequently transferred to Mercy Hospital-Washington by Washington Ambulance in order to receive medical attention.

While some drivers swerve in order to avoid something unexpected in the road or to avoid other vehicles that could potentially strike them, swerving is still a dangerous driving maneuver. Swerving is most often done at the spur-of-the-moment and drivers placed in this situation often do not have the time to safely check their surroundings. It is quite possible that swerving can lead into overcorrection problems with your vehicle. This can result in either striking another vehicle that you did not have the opportunity to see (even if you successfully evaded the object that caused you to swerve in the first place), overturning and heavily damaging your vehicle, or even losing control of your vehicle and running off the road. This is especially more problematic for large trucks, as it would be tremendously difficult to regain control over a large truck after the driver lost control. A large truck’s size would also make it a massive hazard for all motorists since the truck could strike multiple intended vehicles at once. This could create fatal or serious injuries in a Missouri semi-truck accident.

The key to avoiding this dilemma is to adhere to the Missouri rules of the road in general. One can make sure to drive in a careful and prudent manner (including maintaining reasonable distances from other cars, always paying attention to traffic if a vehicle stops, and others). Violating these basic Missouri driving laws can put a driver in a situation where he or she feels as if they have to swerve to avoid an accident. In actuality, swerving only increases the chance of a Missouri semi-truck accident for multiple unintended victims. Victims of semi-truck accidents caused by unexpected swerving should consult a Franklin County Missouri semi-truck accident lawyer.

June 6, 2012

Freightliner Hits Tow Truck on I-270

A freightliner heavy truck hit a Florissant, Missouri resident on eastbound Interstate 270 on June 1, 2012. The accident occurred in the evening of that day at 8:20pm. The exact location of the accident was slightly east of West Florissant Road in St. Louis County.

Samuel J. Crocker of Alton, Illinois was driving his 2009 freightliner eastbound on I-270 shortly before the accident. Mitchel S. Phillip was driving his 2004 Ford F650 Tow Truck eastbound. Phillip was slightly ahead of Crocker and both were traveling in the same lane. For unknown reasons, Phillip slowed down when driving and Crocker’s freightliner collided with the rear of Phillip’s Ford tow truck. Both vehicles sustained total damage as a result of the accident.

Missouri State Highway Patrol responded and determined that Phillip was moderately injured as a result of the accident. Christian Ambulance services later transported Phillip to Depaul Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri for medical attention.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recognizes that a driver slowing down on the highway could create a hazard to either him or herself or to other motorists if the driver is significantly slower than the flow of traffic. To deal with this issue, the NHTSA has recognized the existence of the “Minimum Speed Rule.” This rule ideally prohibits a driver to slow down to a speed that would interfere with “normal and reasonable movement of traffic.” With that said, the NHTSA also gives enough room for drivers to operate their vehicles at a slower speed when “reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.” Such scenarios may include adverse weather conditions that require slower driving speeds, transporting heavy objects on commercial vehicles, or sudden and unexpected mechanical difficulties that may make high speed driving impossible. The Uniform Vehicle Code § 11-809(a) serves as an example for a minimum speed limit that states may adopt.

Missouri statute § 304.015.3 states that motorists driving less than the normal speed of traffic must drive on the right-most lane of the highway. More often than not, Missouri highways will have posted minimum speed limits (commonly 40 mph) or have special speed restrictions for heavy trucks. This also applies to vehicles that may spontaneously slow down on the highway; it may be not safe or prudent for a highway driver to slow down on a fast-paced highway suddenly. However, Missouri motorists must remember that minimum speed limits are valid and other motorists may exercise their ability to drive at the minimum on the highway. For larger vehicles like trucks, it becomes much harder to suddenly slow down if a vehicle ahead of him or her slows down. Without taking precautions like maintaining proper distance from vehicles or driving in a careful manner, a semi-truck could more likely cause a Missouri semi-truck accident with serious or fatal injuries for a driver operating near the minimum speed. If this occurred, please consult a Missouri semi-truck and heavy truck accident lawyer.

June 4, 2012

U.S. Department of Transportation Shuts Down 26 East-Coast Bus Transportation Services

After a string of bus crashes on the east coast in the past few months, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced on May 31, 2012 that it is shutting down twenty-six (26) bus services. After a year-long investigation on most of the subjects, the FMCSA has noted that all 26 of these bus operators are “imminent hazards to public safety.” This act is a unique, landmark move on the FMCSA’s part; the FMCSA has never shut down this amount of transportation operators in one fell swoop in its history. The closed bus companies previously transported thousands of passengers from New York to Florida by using Interstate-95. The FMCSA’s desist order also applies to 10 individual bus company owners, employees, and managers.

The affected bus services include ticket sellers, active companies, companies that were previously ordered to shut down by the FMCSA, and companies that were in the application process of being able to operate as transportation services. The three biggest companies that the FMCSA aimed at included New Century Travel, I-95 Coach, Inc., and Apex Bus, Inc.

The FMCSA included that all of the bus operators in question posed as an imminent hazard to public safety for fellow motorists. Past investigators often found that the bus companies in question either failed to have controlled substance-testing, allowed employees to operate buses without valid commercial driver’s licenses, allowed employees to operate vehicles that were not regularly maintained or inspected, had employees that operated above the maximum amount of hours an employee can drive in one shift, or a mixture of all the above. The U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stated, “These aggressive enforcement actions against unsafe companies send a clear signal: If you put passengers’ safety at risk, we will shut you down.”

Since a sizable number of the affected bus companies attempted to circumvent prior FMCSA shut-down orders, the FMCSA is implementing measures to ensure that the companies cannot evade the desist order simply by assuming a new company name or brand. The FMCSA created a new rule in April that allows the FMCSA to act against transportation companies that evade the desist order by changing their company brand, name, and image. The FMCSA also intends to cooperate with law enforcement of all types and levels in identifying name-change transportation services.

United States Congress is also contemplating passing legislation that would give the FMCSA greater power to deal with such name-change companies. Some ideas for legislation include a sort of national “successor liability” standard that will discourage FMCSA-targeted companies from merely undergoing name changes, allowing the FMCSA to have more power in terms of investigating companies, or raising the penalty for operating without authority over 10 times the amount it is set at currently.

The trend of FMCSA-targeted transportation services evading shut downs by changing their names is quite troubling. If you are involved in a Missouri truck accident, consult a Missouri truck accident lawyer in light of these company trends.

June 1, 2012

Tractor-Trailer Accident Occurs on I-44 in Webster County

Two tractor-trailer occupants were injured in a Missouri truck accident on Interstate 44 in Webster County. The accident occurred on June 1, 2012 at 5:45am.

Darrell E. Jones was in his 2004 Freightliner Tractor-Trailer driving eastbound on I-44 and roughly five miles west of Marshfield, Missouri shortly before the accident. Jones stopped his vehicle on the shoulder of I-44 for unspecified reasons. The emergency flashers of Jones’s tractor-trailer were activated when he pulled off to the shoulder of the highway. At the same time, Rodney W. Brunker was also traveling in his 2009 International Tractor-Trailer eastbound on I-44 not too far behind Jones’s vehicle. Brunker was also traveling with James D. Peterson. For unknown reasons, Brunker’s tractor-trailer struck Jones’s trailer in the rear. Jones’s trailer sustained extensive damage as a result of the accident. Brunker’s trailer sustained total damage.

Trooper T. A. Badgett, Sergeant J. B. Johnson, and Chief R. L. Talbert of the Missouri State Highway Patrol promptly responded to the accident. Brunker’s passenger, Peterson, was injured during the course of the accident. Jones was also injured. Both injured parties were sent to Cox South Hospital in Springfield, Missouri for medical treatment.

A Missouri truck accident lawsuit can become quite complicated for many reasons. The Missouri lawsuit may be complex if a Missouri semi-truck accident involved two Missouri semi-truck drivers as opposed to one semi-truck driver and one normal motorist. Second, if any vehicle that was involved in the accident had passengers, those passengers may also be a part of the lawsuit. A person who is responsible for the accident may find themselves liable for the injury and destruction of property of not one, but two or more victims.

Litigation is not the sole method available for resolving this kind of complex Missouri semi-truck accident. Courts in recent decades have been more accepting of the concept of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). ADR includes processes like mediation, arbitration, negotiation, conciliation, or other meetings meant to resolve the overall dispute. ADR processes allow parties to better understand an overall legal dispute if it involves multiple parties or if all the parties do not entirely understand the conflict in similar ways. In processes like arbitration and mediation, a third-party neutral evaluator will hear all sides of the argument. Arbitration evaluators closely resemble legal judges in the sense that they pass final and binding decisions. In mediation, the neutral third-party will instead assist all parties in making their own resolution to the overall dispute.

The use of a lawyer in an ADR process is still incredibly vital. For instance, the term “mediation advocacy,” using a lawyer during mediation, creates advantages like effective negotiation, argumentation, and better structuring of a party’s “case.” At times, ADR can very much resemble a litigation battle. For the scenario of a Missouri semi-truck accident that reaches ADR first as opposed to normal litigation, it is highly recommended that you contact a Missouri semi-truck accident lawyer.

May 23, 2012

International Tractor Trailer Collides with Tow Truck on I-70

A 2008 international tractor trailer struck a 2002 international tow truck on eastbound Interstate 70 in Callaway County on May 22, 2012. The accident occurred at 7:00am on that day.

Harold W. Brown of Olathe, Kansas was driving the International Tractor Trailer eastbound on I-70. Dramane Doumbia of New York City, New York was also traveling eastbound on I-70 at the same time. An unidentified vehicle was on the shoulder of the Interstate for unknown reasons at the time both of the vehicles were traveling eastbound. Brown attempted to swerve his vehicle in order to avoid striking the unidentified vehicle. Brown overcorrected on his turn and ended up striking Doumbia’s vehicle. Brown’s tractor trailer sustained total damage due to the accident an Doumbia’s vehicle sustained only minor damages.

Both Doumbia and Brown were injured as a result of the accident. Callaway County Sheriff’s Office subsequently responded to the accident and both drivers were sent to University Hospital in Columbia, Missouri for medical treatment.

Over-correction, or when a driver will steer a vehicle in an opposite direction from which they were originally turning to the point where it often causes the car to skid out of control, is a common cause of vehicle accidents even in Missouri. A 2009 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that over-correction played a part in over 80% of run-off-road crashes that occurred in that time period. The NHTSA has also noted that over-correction is a very common response from drivers in a panic situation; after steering the vehicle in one sudden direction, drivers will often instinctively try to steer the vehicle in an extreme, opposite direction to regain control. When considering that large trucks in particular handle much more differently than a smaller vehicle, the potential for a loss of vehicle control during an over-correction is much greater. A truck driver over-correcting can cause a Missouri truck accident that could lead to serious or fatal injuries.

In addition to the issue of a truck-driver over-correcting when causing an accident, it is also possible that the victim of a Missouri truck driver accident may be a fellow Missouri truck driver. Missouri truck accident suits that involve two employed truck drivers are more complicated than truck accident suits that only involve a single employed truck driver. Under the legal theory of “Respondeat Superior,” a Missouri court of law may hold that an employer is responsible for the actions of employees if the employee was acting within the duties and responsibilities of their employment. The test for determining this kind of relationship is very fact-specific and can be very complex as well. Victims of a Missouri truck accident should contact a Missouri truck accident lawyer for advice even if they are also employed truck drivers. Lawsuits like these can be quite complex and a Missouri truck accident lawyer can best address the needs of the injured parties.

May 17, 2012

Large Truck’s Lane Change on I-70 Injures One Driver and One Minor

Two Missouri residents were injured in a lane change accident on westbound Interstate 70 when a large truck struck their vehicle. The accident occurred in Jackson County on April 28, 2012 at 6:30pm.

Shortly before the accident, a 2010 International Truck driven by Earl E. Wilson (from Shawnee, Kansas) was traveling westbound on I-70 west of Woods Chapel Road. Robert G. Driver (from Raytown, Missouri) was driving a 1993 Mercury and was also traveling westbound on I-70. Driver was traveling slightly in front of Wilson’s large truck in an adjacent lane. The collision occurred when Wilson attempted to change lanes. Unfortunately, the International Truck collided with Driver’s Mercury during the lane change. Driver’s vehicle subsequently spun out of control as a result of the collision. The vehicle stopped when it struck the concrete barrier. The International Truck suffered minor damage and the Mercury suffered from moderate damage.

Driver and his passenger, eight (8) year old Lawna B. Castro, suffered injuries as a result of the accident. Both parties did not require immediate medical attention and were released from the scene. Missouri State Highway Patrol notes that an investigation in the nature of this accident is ongoing and that criminal charges are pending.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s surveys recently found that a greater amount of accidents with fatalities usually occur from 6pm to midnight. There is a greater risk for a Missouri truck accident at 6pm (including outside factors like rush-hour traffic) than other times. Missouri drivers traveling on Interstates during this time must exercise caution while driving near large trucks as a large truck vehicle accident is certainly possible.

When driving with children on highways, drivers need to make sure that any passenger child is properly protected and restrained in compliance with Missouri’s driving safety laws. For instance, Missouri statute § 307.178 requires safety belts to be worn by both the driver and front seat passengers. Missouri authorities have the power to give infractions and fines to drivers and passengers who violate this basic safety rule.

Statute § 307.179 imposes special requirements for child passengers. Younger children may require specific infant restraint seats, to be seated in the back seat rather than the front passenger seat, or be restrained by a safety belt regardless. Missouri authorities seriously emphasize these safety requirements and can fine any driver who did not properly restrain a child in a vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that drivers should have children under the age of 12 to ride in the back seat of a vehicle at all times. Following this basic safety rule can ensure that a child passenger will not be a fatality in a Missouri truck accident. If you followed these rules and you were injured in a Missouri truck accident, please consult a Missouri truck accident lawyer.

May 15, 2012

Missouri Truck Driver Fails to Stop at Intersection Stop Sign at US 63, Seriously Injures Two

A male and female both from Rolla, Missouri were seriously injured in a truck accident on U.S. Route 63 and Route K in Cairo, Missouri. The accident occurred on April 27, 2012 at 3:43pm in Randolph County.

A 2002 International Truck driven by Michael R. Basler attempted to cross into U.S. Route 63. Basler failed to stop at a stop sign and crossed into U.S. Route 63. At the same time, a 1999 Ford driven by Jared T. Taylor was traveling on U.S. Route 63 at the moment Basler crossed into Route 63. Taylor was also traveling with Candice L. Saultz at the time of the accident. Basler crossed into the path of Taylor’s vehicle and Taylor’s 1999 Ford struck Basler’s International Truck. After the collision, both vehicles slid into the median of Route 63. Both vehicles suffered extensive damage as a result of the collision.

Missouri State Highway Patrol and Randolph County First Responders promptly arrived to the accident site. Taylor, Saultz, and Basler were all seriously injured as a result of the collision. Randolph County Ambulance transported Taylor and Saultz to University Hospital in Columbia, Missouri. Basler was transported to Regional Hospital in Moberly, Missouri for medical treatment related to the Rolla Missouri truck accident.

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, intersection crashes commonly occur because activities like crossing over or turning left or right can result in driving “conflicts” between motorists. Making sure to stop at a stop sign and yield to oncoming traffic in an intersection is a fundamental, but very vital aspect of driving any type of motor vehicle. Failing to yield to oncoming traffic in an intersection can most times result in an accident that either causes serious bodily injury to all victims involved or can even result in automobile fatalities. The duty for truck drivers to follow this rule is even more important. Due to their length and bulk, massive trucks can obscure and block the entirety of an intersection, potentially heightening the risk for accidents for all lanes of an intersection. The National Highway Safety Administration notes that large trucks account for almost eight (8) percent of all fatal crashes in the U.S. and five (5) percent of all injury crashes in the U.S.

Missouri Statute § 304.351 requires all drivers to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles when approaching an intersection. Subsection 4.2(a) of this law also requires all drivers to stop either at a clearly marked stop line or at a stop sign. Large truck drivers violating this law can highly endanger the lives of all motorists due to the truck’s large size. Large truck drivers are not immune to the Missouri rules of the road and failure to follow even the most fundamental rules can potentially make a truck driver be liable to injured parties in a Missouri truck accident lawsuit.

March 15, 2012

Truck Driver Causes Lane Change Accident on I-55

A truck driver slammed into a passenger vehicle during a lane change, causing a St. Louis County truck accident. The truck accident occurred on northbound Interstate 55, south of Butler Hill Road.

Kenneth L. Lox of Arnold, Missouri attempted to change lanes in a 2006 Kenworth. During the lane change, the Kenworth crashed into a 2006 Chrysler Sebring. The driver of the Chrysler sustained the only injuries in the accident. Jeff A. Wicker, 49, was transferred to St. Anthony’s Medical Center.

Truck drivers have a duty to exercise due care when changing lanes. Tractor trailers and semi-trucks are substantially larger than passenger vehicles like SUVs and cars. If a large truck negligently attempts to change lanes and crashes into a smaller vehicle, the smaller vehicle may be totaled. The occupants of the passenger vehicles are likely to suffer foreseeable injuries as well.

Truck drivers should make sure that their blind spots are empty before attempting a lane change. Large trucks have extensive blind spots, so truck drivers must work harder to ensure that they are empty. Drivers of passenger vehicles may check their blind spots sufficiently by looking over their shoulder, but truck drivers must do more. When truck drivers cause accidents by failing to sufficiently check their blind spots before a lane change, a St. Louis truck accident attorney can hold that truck driver accountable in a court.

March 13, 2012

Truck’s Brake Failure Causes Three-Vehicle Missouri Truck Accident

A tractor trailer’s mechanical failure was the cause of a three-vehicle chain reaction truck accident in Saint Louis County. The accident occurred on Interstate Highway 270, less than a mile west of Interstate Highway 170.

The West County accident involved three vehicles – a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu, a 2000 Freightliner FLD120, and 2010 Nissan Altima. The three drivers attempted to slow down because of the morning commuter traffic on eastbound I-270. The Freightliner, however, had a mechanical failure, rendering the driver incapable of stopping it. The Freightliner crashed into the rear of the Nissan. The impact forced the Nissan to slam into the Chevrolet.

The impact of the second collision caused the Chevrolet to drive off the south side of the roadway. The Freightliner also travelled off the roadway, striking the guardrail and the Chevrolet. The driver of the Chevrolet, Tynia Mitchell of Saint Louis, was taken to DePaul Hospital after suffering moderate personal injuries.

Mechanical failures are a serious cause of major Missouri tractor trailer accidents. Mechanical failures are dangerous in smaller motor vehicles, but the sheer size of a tractor trailer makes a mechanical failure even more dangerous. When the mechanical failure impedes with a truck driver’s ability to control the tractor trailer, the public safety is at serious risk.

Several types of mechanical failure can lead to a Missouri tractor trailer accident. Brake failure is an unfortunately common cause of truck accidents. Brakes must be maintained well. Leaking brake lines, worn down brake pads, or malfunctioning ABS mechanisms may lead to an accident. Tire blowouts are also considered “mechanical failures.” Tires must be properly inflated and rotated to stay safe for public highways. If tires are not maintained, or replaced when necessary, tires can be responsible for tractor trailer accidents.

Trucking companies have a duty to maintain the quality of their fleet according to federal motor carrier regulations. Truck drivers also have legal duties in inspecting the tractor trailers that they operate. When a tractor trailer has a mechanical failure, a federal safety regulation may have been violated. Missouri tractor trailer accident lawyers understand how to wield safety violations in a lawsuit to hold negligent trucking companies and truck drivers accountable for their actions.

March 11, 2012

Loose Tire Causes Saint Charles County Missouri Truck Accident

Clinton W. Elder, 37, of Wentzville, Missouri was injured in a Missouri truck accident that occurred when a tractor trailer’s tire came off. The accident occurred on the eastbound side of I-70, near Missouri Highway K. The truck tire came off a 2006 International, driven by Paula S. Hendricks of Wood River, Illinois. The tire crossed the centerline of the roadway, crashing into the driver side of Elder’s vehicle. Elder was driving a 2008 Mazda 5. Elder was the only person who suffered personal injury in the accident. St. Charles County ambulance transported Elder to St. Joseph West hospital.

Proper tire installation and maintenance is critical for tractor trailer safety. Tire issues are responsible for a substantial amount of trucking accidents each year. Defective truck tires, improperly installed tires, and negligently maintained tires are a threat to public highway safety. In response to this threat, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has created several tire-related rules and regulations.

Federal law requires that truck drivers inspect the truck’s tires on each day that the vehicle operates and write a driver vehicle inspection report. Specifically, the statute states that “every motor carrier shall require its drivers” to create the report. This language indicates that both the trucking company and its drivers may be responsible for tire-related truck crashes.

Drivers must inspect and report about more than just tires. The regulations require truck drivers to inspect and report the condition of the brakes, steering mechanisms, windshield wipers, wheels, emergency equipment, and lighting devices. When trucking companies and truck drivers fail to take these safety regulations seriously, they are negligently endangering others. If that negligence causes an injurious or fatal accident, the trucking companies and truck drivers should be held accountable.

If someone is injured or killed in a Missouri truck accident, the truck driver or trucking company may have violated federal safety regulations. Experienced Missouri truck accident attorneys understand how to investigate the safety records of both trucking companies and truck drivers.

March 8, 2012

Woman Suffers Personal Injury in Wayne County Missouri Truck Accident

Laura L. Tanner of Puxico, Missouri suffered personal injuries in a motor vehicle collision with a 1994 Freightliner on March 7, 2012. The accident occurred on southbound U.S. Highway 67 at Lodi.

The Freightliner was driven by Robert E. Anderson of Bonne Terre, Missouri. Tanner drove a 2004 Hyundai. The two motor vehicles crashed in a rear end collision. The Hyundai crashed into the rear of the vehicle. After the collision, the Hyundai crossed the centerline of the roadway. The Hyundai eventually drove off the left side of the roadway.

Tanner suffered moderate personal injuries in the accident, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Tanner was taken to the Poplar Bluff Regional Hospital by ambulance.

Large commercial motor vehicles that are used in interstate commerce are regulated by the federal government. Federal motor carrier regulations require that commercial trucks are outfitted with certain features to prevent serious personal injury. Rear guards are a safety feature that the federal government requires in its effect to support highway safety.

Rear guards are designed to prevent underrides. Underrides occur when a smaller vehicle becomes lodged underneath a tractor trailer in a collision. Serious injuries are associated with underrides, including decapitation. Underrides dramatically increase the risk of serious injury in a Missouri tractor trailer accident.

Trucking companies have a responsibility to outfit their vehicles according to federal safety regulations. Trucking companies that fail to follow safety regulations may be held liable in a Missouri tractor trailer lawsuit. Experienced Missouri truck accident lawyers understand how to review a trucking company’s safety record to uncover previous safety violations.

March 6, 2012

St. Peters Woman Injured in Missouri Double Truck Accident in St. Charles

Tameya C. Bibbs of St. Peters, Missouri was injured in a St. Charles Missouri truck accident on March 5, 2012. The afternoon accident involved three vehicles, including two large commercial trucks.

The Missouri truck accident occurred on eastbound I-70 at Mid Rivers Mall Drive. Bibbs was driving a 2007 Ford Escape while wearing a seatbelt. Two commercial trucks collided in front of her vehicle. Bibbs crashed into the rear of the collision. The trucks collided when the 2005 Freightliner M2 in front slowed for traffic. The second 2005 Freightliner M2 slammed into the rear of the first Freightliner.

Bibbs suffered the only personal injury in the accident. The two truck drivers – Kansas driver Eric L. McClure and Illinois driver Robert M. Ganz – were unharmed, according to the crash report by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

If you are injured in a Missouri truck accident, make sure you hire a knowledgeable Missouri truck accident lawyer. Missouri truck accident liability is not the same as car accident liability. In the typical car accident, the two drivers are driving their own personal vehicles, or the personal vehicle of a friend or family member. In semi-truck accidents, the truck driver is often driving the commercial motor vehicle while working. This issue can complicate the lawsuit, since the truck driver’s employer may become a party to a lawsuit.

In typical car accidents, the tort law of the state in which the accident occurs primarily determines liability. Trucking companies and truck drivers, however, are strictly regulated by the federal government. Experienced Missouri truck accident lawyers will understand how federal, state, and local laws affect a particular accident. A general personal injury attorney may not fully understand how complex truck accident liability truly is.

February 21, 2012

Fatality in Fiery Missouri Semi-Trailer Accident

Two semi-trucks crashed into a head-on Missouri semi-truck accident in Cameron, Missouri, killing one and injuring two. The accident occurred when a northbound tractor trailer crossed the centerline and slammed into a semitrailer traveling in the other direction. Both trucks burst into flame at impact.

The northbound truck driver died at the scene of the accident. The northbound driver’s passenger and the driver of the other tractor trailer were rescued from the fiery wreck by passing motorists. The rescued accident victims were rushed to nearby hospital to treat their serious injuries.

The fire caused serious damage. The two tractor trailers burned to their frames. Hundreds of gallons of fuel poured into the roadway. Officials from the hazardous materials crew had to work to contain the accident. Officials from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources worked on the accident as well. The highway was closed for nine hours while the officials worked to clean up the debris.

The rescued truck accident victims may owe a great deal of thanks to the good Samaritans that pulled them from the fiery wreck. However, good Samaritans are occasionally injured while trying to rescue those injured in car accidents. Missouri rescuer liability is a difficult concept for the courts to master.

Accident victims obtain compensation for the injuries caused by negligence. To show negligence, the accident victim must first owe that the defendant owed the accident victim a duty. This first element creates a difficulty for injured rescuers. Does a driver owe a duty to a potential rescuer if there is an accident? The causation requirement of negligence claims creates another problem for injured rescuers. In negligence claims, the accident victim must show that the defendant’s conduct was the cause of the accident victim’s injuries. However, to a certain degree, rescuers choose to involve themselves in the rescue. Was the defendant’s conduct the cause of the rescuer’s injuries since the rescuer chose to help the accident victims?

Injured rescuers should contact Missouri car accident attorneys for a legal consultation to learn about their options.

February 19, 2012

Two Injured when Truck Strikes Two Vehicles on I-44

Two Missourians were injured in a Laclede County Missouri truck accident on Interstate 44 on February 18, 2012. The accident occurred near midnight, at 11:58pm.

A 2007 Freightliner crashed into the rear of a 1997 Chevrolet Camaro on the eastbound side of I-44 near the 121.8 mile marker in Laclede County, Missouri. The impact shoved the Camaro into the left line of the interstate highway, where a 2006 Infiniti G35 crashed into the Camaro. The Camaro ended up in the median of the interstate. The Infiniti drove off the right side of the highway and crashed into the guardrail. The Freightliner travelled of the right side of the highway and rolled over. Two of the vehicles came to rest partially in the roadway.

Two of the drivers were injured in the accident. Tiffany L. Spanier of Lebanon, Missouri, the driver of the Camaro, suffered personal injury but refused treatment at the scene of the accident. Lance J. Bingaman of Belton, Missouri, the driver of the Infiniti, suffered personal injury but sought his own medical treatment after the accident.

Missouri truck accident attorneys recommend that accident victims accept onsite medical treatment after a rear impact truck accident. Most importantly, some accident injuries need immediate attention and treatment. Some serious accident injuries have delayed symptoms, giving the accident victim a false sense of wellness after an accident. While the accident victim may not feel injured, trained emergency medical personnel may be able to recognize signs of serious latent injury. Refusing medical treatment may give serious injuries with delayed symptoms, like brain injuries, time to worsen.

Refusing onsite medical treatment may also affect the ability of the accident victims to recover compensation for their injuries. Defense lawyers may try to argue that the accident victim refused medical treatment because the accident victim was not actually injured by the accident. The defense lawyer may even argue that the accident victim was injured at a later time and is trying to get the defendant to foot the bill. Whether or not onsite medical treatment was denied, accident victims need experienced legal representation to combat the false arguments of defense lawyers.

February 16, 2012

St. Louis County Truck Accident Injures Two

Two people from Saint Louis, Missouri were injured in a St. Louis County truck accident. The accident occurred on westbound I-270, east of Lilac, at 7:25pm on February 9, 2012.

LaTonya D. Tillman was driving a 2004 Honda Accord on westbound I-270 when her vehicle was struck by a 2007 Freightliner. The Freightliner made contact with the left side of the Honda. The force of impact pushed both vehicles off the right side of the roadway. The Honda crashed into the guardrail of the interstate highway.

Two people suffered personal injury in the accident: Tillman and her occupant, Raven M. Rogers. Christian Ambulance transported the two accident victims to the DePaul Hospital. The truck driver, Roderick K. Alexander, did not suffer any reported personal injuries.

Missouri truck accident lawyers are familiar with the complex legal processes that truck accident victims face. Some truck accident victims may win compensation for their injuries in court, but truck accident victims may secure compensation for their injuries through alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

ADR is a term that refers to processes that people use to resolve their conflicts outside of litigation. Some truck accident victims choose to obtain their compensation through ADR because ADR is generally less expensive that a courtroom trial. Mediation is a type of ADR that is becoming popular.

Mediation is a confidential negotiation that is facilitated by a neutral third party. The third party is the mediator. The mediator helps the parties communicate and create a resolution. Unlike a judge, the mediator does not decide any issues. Instead, the mediator helps the parties understand each other and generate creative ideas. Mediation may be beneficial because the parties can determine their own resolution.

Many courts refer the trials on their docket to mediation before allowing a lawsuit to continue. The Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 1998 authorized the use of ADR in all civil federal cases at the district court level. If cases can settle in mediation, the court system becomes more efficient and cost effective.

January 24, 2012

Drowsy Truck Driver Causes Missouri I-70 Truck Accident

A Missouri truck driver fatigue crash occurred on Interstate Highway 70 on January 24, 2012. The Missouri truck crash occurred when Ohio truck driver James E. Buford fell asleep at the wheel of a large truck. The 1993 Freightliner drifted off the right side of the interstate highway as Buford slept. Travelling off the interstate highway, the Freightliner overturned. Buford was the only person who suffered personal injury the accident. Buford was transported by EMS to the University Hospital in Columbia, Missouri for the medical treatment of his moderate personal injury. The Freightliner sustained extensive damage.

Drowsy driving is a major safety hazard in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving causes roughly 1,550 deaths each year. More than 71,000 people are injured because of drowsy driving. Drowsy driving committed by commercial motor drivers carries a greater potential for wrongful death and personal injury than standard drowsy driving. Commercial motor vehicles are larger and heavier than typical passenger vehicles. When a drowsy commercial motor vehicle driver steers a truck or bus into a smaller vehicle, the smaller vehicle’s occupants are put in grave danger.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enacted stricter hours-of-service regulations to counteract the negative impact of drowsy driving. Hours-of-service regulations restrict when and how long truck drivers can operate commercial motor vehicles. The FMCSA issued a new hours-of-service rule on December 22, 2011. The new rule will take effect in February. The new rule was promulgated after extensive research and includes tighter restrictions and higher penalties for negligent truck drivers.

The new hours-of-service rule will help truck accident victims show that Missouri truck drivers are liable for the drowsy driving accidents that they cause. When a negligent driver causes an accident while violating a traffic safety statute, the accident victim can used that statute violation against the truck driver in court. Truck accident victims should contact Missouri truck attorneys for advice about drowsy driving accidents and hours-of-service regulations. Our experienced Missouri personal injury lawyers provide free legal consultations to accident victims.

January 5, 2012

Four Suffer Personal Injury in Audrain County Missouri Truck Crash

A semi-truck crashed into two separate vehicles in a Missouri semi truck accident. A 2012 Kenworth semi-truck crashed into a 2003 GMC Envoy that entered into the intersection of Highway 54 and Highway 19. The GMC was attempting to turn left when the semi-truck hit it from the side. The Kenworth continued on to crash into a 1995 Chevrolet.

Four Missourians suffered personal injury in the accident. Larry L. Apperson, an occupant in the GMC, suffered the worst injuries. Apperson was airlifted by Staff for Life to University Hospital. Two other passengers in the GMC sustained moderate injuries: Zachary T. Jewell of and Randy W. Pruitt. Jewell and Pruitt were transported by ambulance to Audrain Medical Center. Wayne E. Pruitt, the GMC driver, was taken to Audrain Medical Center too. The accident victims were from Eldon, Missouri and California, Missouri. Their ages ranged from 20 to 73 years old.

Trucking accidents injure more than 100,000 people in the United States each year. Truck accident victims are more likely to suffer serious injuries than passenger vehicle accident victims. Truck accident victims may suffer from life-altering injuries backs or spinal cord. One of the worst injuries that a truck accident victim can suffer is traumatic brain injury (TBI).

TBI has the potential to negatively impact every aspect of an accident victim’s life, unlike other injuries. The brain is the control center of the human body and mind. Brain damage therefore can affect seemingly any part of the body or mind. TBI may harm an accident victim’s ability to move, speak, sleep, read, and work. TBI may even affect an accident victim’s ability to control emotions. Even a physically small brain lesion can dramatically alter an accident victim’s ability to interact with the broader environment.

TBI may be difficult to identify. The accident victim may not notice any symptoms at the scene of the accident. In fact, TBI symptoms may develop over the course of several months. Symptoms of TBI include headaches and migraines, sudden personality changes, difficulty sleeping, or loss of motor skills. The previous sentence is not an exhaustive list of the types of problems that TBI can cause.

Accident victims should always accept medical treatment for their accident injuries. TBI treatment may require hospitalization and surgery. Patients and their families should be able to invest their emotional injury into the treatment process, instead of worrying about payment and lawsuits. TBI sufferers who have been in a relatively recent truck accident should contact our St. Louis semi truck accident attorneys for a free legal consultation.

January 3, 2012

Personal Injury in Truck Accident near Moberly, Missouri

An elderly man from Paris, Missouri was injured in a Missouri semi-truck accident on December 17, 2011. The accident occurred when the Lincoln Towncar driven by 78 year old Donald G. Ragsdale of Paris, Missouri collided with a 2005 Mack Semi-Tractor Trailer. The tractor trailer was making a right turn into a private drive from westbound U.S. Highway 24. Robert R. Cooney of Plainfield, Illinois was the truck driver.

The accident resulted in serious injuries for Ragsdale. Ragsdale’s injuries were so severe that he was unresponsive at the scene of the accident. Randolph County Ambulance transported Ragsdale to the Moberly Regional Medical Center for medical treatment. Ragsdale was transferred to the University of Missouri Hospital by the Staff of Life helicopter.

Elderly tractor trailer accident victims deserve compensation for their injuries, just like any other accident victim. The age of the accident victim should not have any effect on the accident victim’s recovery. Whether a truck accident victim receives compensation should be entirely dependent whether the conduct of a negligent truck driver or trucking company caused their injuries. However, some jury members may wonder: should senior citizens be allowed to drive?

Elderly truck accident victims should obtain the services of an experienced Missouri truck accident attorney to fight against ageist arguments. When a senior citizen is injured in a truck accident, some people automatically assume that the elderly driver caused the accident. A substantial portion of the population believes that senior citizens should stop driving. However, many senior citizens are safe drivers who happen to be involved truck crashes caused by negligent truck drivers.

Truck accident attorneys can show that an elderly truck accident victim is a safe driver. The attorney may use evidence from accident reconstruction experts to show that the elderly driver did not cause the truck accident. The attorney may use the truck accident victim’s record to show that the accident victim is generally responsible. Missouri has a shortened driver’s license renewal period for older drivers. Drivers 70 years old and older have to get their license renewed every three years. When an elderly truck accident victim has an up-to-date license, the elderly truck accident victim appears to take driving seriously.

December 29, 2011

Bucklin Missouri Teen Driver Hit by Missouri Truck Driver

Katlin J. Elam, a 16 year old from Bucklin, Missouri, was injured in a Linn County Missouri semi-truck accident on December 29, 2011. After the Missouri side impact truck accident, the Bucklin teen was transported to Pershing Hospital by Linn County Ambulance.

Elam was attempting to turn onto Highway 5, 1 mile north of Marceline, from a private driveway when the Linn County Missouri truck accident occurred. A Freightliner driven by truck driver Gerald F. Spencer of Purdin, Missouri crashed into the driver’s side of Elam’s vehicle. Elam drove a 1997 Pontiac. The Pontiac was totaled in the accident, while the Freightliner sustained moderate damage. The truck driver did not sustain any reported injuries according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

In a Missouri side impact truck accident lawsuit, the court may have to determine whether any party in the accident violated Missouri’s right-of-way traffic regulations. When a truck slams into the side of another vehicle, a right-of-way violation may have occurred. For example, the truck may have failed to yield to another car, or sped up when a passenger car entered the roadway. Failing to yield or increasing speed while another vehicle enters the roadway both violate right-of-way rules and increase the likelihood of a Missouri side impact truck accident.

Accident victims should obtain the legal services of an experienced Missouri truck accident lawyer to protect themselves from the right-of-way arguments made by the defendant truck driver. Experienced plaintiff’s attorneys understand how to combat the types of accusations that defense attorneys and their clients levy against accident victims. When the truck driver crashes into a passenger vehicle that was exiting a driveway, the truck driver may argue that the passenger vehicle failed to yield properly to traffic in violation of Missouri’s right-of-way traffic regulation, Missouri statute §304.351.

Missouri statute §304.351 governs right-of-way rules for the state of Missouri. Section 5 of the statutes specifies the right-of-way rule when a motor vehicle enters a public roadway from a private driveway: “The driver of a vehicle about to enter or cross a highway from an alley, building or any private road or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching on the highway to be entered.” In other words, a driver entering the roadway from a private drive must yield to all traffic that is on the roadway.

December 25, 2011

Two Missouri Semi-Truck Accidents Occur on I-70

Two Missouri semi-truck accidents interfered with morning traffic on Interstate Highway 70. The Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) is investigating both crashes. A MSHP officer state that the morning’s snow may have factored into the crashes, but the snow’s precise role in the accident has not yet been determined.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the first accident occurred at 7:30am near T.R. Hughes Boulevard. During that accident, a refrigerator box truck carrying produce jumped over the median. No one was injured in that accident, but traffic was blocked.

A second Missouri dump truck accident occurred on near the Salt Lick Road overpass in O’Fallon, Missouri. A dump truck crashed into the rear of a passenger car, and then collided with three other vehicles. The dump truck eventually stopped in the far right lane of the I-70. Two passenger car occupants were injured by the dump truck.

Truck drivers have a duty to drive prudently in inclement weather conditions. Missouri statute §304.012 requires all motorists to “exercise the highest degree of care” while operating any motor vehicle on Missouri’s roadways. Exercising the highest degree of care includes a duty to drive carefully and prudently. Drivers must also operate “at a rate of speed so as not to endanger the property of another or the life or limb of any person.” Missouri law requires all motorists, truck drivers included, to avoid causing harm to others while driving.

To satisfy their duties under §304.012, truck drivers must adjust to any weather conditions that affect their ability to avoid an accident. Precipitation, including rain and snow, may adversely affect driving conditions and increase the risk of a vehicle collision. When truck drivers fail to adjust their driving choices to inclement weather conditions, they breach their duties imposed by Missouri law.

Traffic statutes play an important role in Missouri truck accident lawsuits. When used correctly, evidence of a statute violation help an accident victim prove in court that the defendant truck driver was negligent. Statute violations show negligence when: (1) the violation result in injury to a member of the class of person intended to be protected by the statute; and (2) the harm is of the kind which the statute aimed to prevent.

Missouri’s traffic laws aim to protect drivers, vehicle occupants, and pedestrians from physical injury and property damage. When accident victims can show that the defendant truck driver violated a traffic statute, the accident victim has generally shown negligence.

December 22, 2011

Cape Girardeau Woman Injured in Jefferson County Rear End Truck Accident

Carolyn S. Levon, 69, of Cape Girardeau, Missouri was taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center after a Jefferson County Missouri rear end trucking accident. Levon was injured when a 2012 Freightliner driven by out of state truck driver Linda M. Mendez rear ended her vehicle on I-55.

Levon was driving a 2001 Mercury Grand Marquis on northbound I-55 at U.S. Highway 67. Levon slowed for traffic ahead of her. The truck driver failed to slow and crashed into the rear of Levon’s vehicle. Levon was the only injured party in the Missouri rear end truck accident, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s crash report. Her vehicle was totaled as well.

A Missouri truck accident is often a harrowing experience for an accident victim. The time period after the accident may be stressful and confusing for the accident victim as well. The accident victim may need to communicate effectively with several parties to deal with the accident, including the other people involved in the accident and their attorneys, law enforcement officers, medical personnel, insurance company representatives, and employers.

Accident victims should devise a plan to deal with the insurance issues that arise after a Missouri truck accident. Interacting with insurance companies can cause a great deal of stress for an accident victim. An increased level stress may be detrimental for anyone, but is especially harmful for an injured accident victim who needs to recover. Accident victims should acquire the services of an experienced Missouri truck accident lawyer. An experienced personal injury attorney knows what to do after a Missouri truck accident and may negotiate with the insurance company on behalf of the accident victim.

Insurance companies have a financial incentive to pay out as little as possible on an accident-related claims. The insurance company has already received payment for the insurance policies involved. When a claim is filed, the insurance company will attempt to pay as little as possible to keep the revenue gained from payments. The insurance company will likely offer a settlement amount that is much lower than the accident victim could win in court, hoping that the accident victim will ignorantly accept it.

Experienced Missouri personal injury attorneys have the knowledge to protect accident victims from low-ball settlement offers. Unlike accident victims, personal injury attorneys understand how to value the monetary worth of a claim. If the insurance company provides an offer that is far less than what the case is worth, an experienced attorney will know to keep negotiating.

December 20, 2011

Trucker Causes Jasper County Missouri Truck Accident Merging Lanes

Tammy J. Moody, 40, of Joplin, Missouri suffered moderate injuries in a Missouri trucking accident on December 19, 2011 at 6:30am. The early morning Jasper County Missouri truck accident was caused by a truck driver who failed to properly change lanes.

Truck driver John S. McBride of Carthage, Missouri drove a 2009 International TTL on northbound U.S. Highway 71, just 5 miles north of Carthage, Missouri. McBride attempted to merge into the right lane and crashed into Moody’s 1996 Chevrolet Corsica. The Chevrolet slid off the left side of the road and over-turned and struck a guardrail. Moody was taken by ambulance to Freeman West hospital in Joplin, Missouri. The Chevrolet was totaled in the Missouri truck accident.

Lane changes are a major cause of Missouri truck accident. Large tractor trailers may be as long as 80ft, so trucks need a large amount of space to change lanes. The consequences of a negligent truck lane change can be dire. If a tractor trailer incorrectly merges into a lane that is not clear, it can crash into a smaller vehicle. The tractor trailer may even push the smaller vehicle off the highway entirely, as in the above accident.

Truck drivers have a responsibility to avoid accidents by driving prudently. Truck drivers must check carefully before merging lanes, crossing an intersection, or entering and exiting a highway. Safe truck drivers tend to signal their intention to turn, and then allow enough time for vehicles in their blind spots to move out the way. By alerting other drivers of their intention to merge or change lanes, safe truck drivers strive to prevent Missouri lane change truck accidents. Truck drivers who fail to signal long before they attempt a lane change are risking a serious accident.

Continue reading "Trucker Causes Jasper County Missouri Truck Accident Merging Lanes" »

December 15, 2011

St. Charles Missouri Teen Injured in I-44 Missouri Truck Accident

Julianne A. Horsford, a 19 year old from St. Charles, Missouri, was injured in a Missouri semi-truck accident on December 14, 2011. The Missouri truck accident occurred in I-44 in Pulaski County, Missouri.

The towed unit of a 2006 Freightliner collided with the 2000 Mercury Sable driven by Horsford. Horsford’s vehicle traveled off the left side of the interstate, crashing into the cable median of the highway. Horsford’s vehicle came to rest while partially still in the roadways.

Horsford was taken to Phelps County Regional Medical Center by Pulaski County Ambulance. Horsford’s vehicle was totaled in the accident. The truck driver, Tonna L. Bateman from Willard, Missouri, was not injured in the Missouri semi-truck accident.

The most common type of injury in a Missouri tractor trailer accident is broken and fractured bones. Bones are an excellent structural system to support the human body. However, bones cannot withstand an infinite amount of pressure. When too much pressure is applied to a bone, it will fracture.

Missouri tractor trailer accidents subject the human body and its structure to a tremendous amount of pressure. Tractor trailers can weigh up to 80,000lbs – without oversize permits. Tractor trailers may be 70 to 80 feet long as well. Typical passenger vehicles like cars and SUVS cannot absorb the full impact of a collision with such a large vehicle. As a result, the truck accident victim suffers.

Truck accident victims with broken bones may have to endure high medical costs after the accident. Truck accident victims may need to meet with expensive medical specialists like orthopedic surgeons. Truck accident victims may need to meet regularly with physical or occupational therapists for an extended period time after surgery as well.

Truck accident victims should not have to bear the costs of a truck driver’s negligence. If a truck driver negligently causes the injuries of a truck accident victim, the truck driver and her employer should bear the cost of those injuries.

December 13, 2011

St. Joseph Man Injured in Buchanan County Missouri Tractor Trailer Crash

Wilfred Solano, a 56 year old man from St. Joseph, Missouri was injured in a Buchanan County Missouri tractor trailer accident on December 13, 2011. The early morning Missouri truck accident occurred as Solano was driving a 2004 Honda Civic on southbound I-29, 1 mile south off St. Joseph, Missouri. The towed unit of a 2003 Freightliner tractor trailer collided with Solano’s Honda.

The Honda spun around on the interstate highway after the initial impact, and then struck the towed unit of the Freightliner for a second time. The Honda stopped on its wheels in the middle of the interstate at the conclusion of the Buchanan County Missouri tractor trailer accident. The Freightliner was brought to a controlled stop on the shoulder of the highway by out of state truck driver Kenneth I. Harris.

Solano was transported to Heartland Regional Medical Center for medical treatment for his injuries. Solano’s Honda was totaled in the Missouri truck accident. The Honda was towed away from the scene of the accident. The truck driver was not injured and the tractor trailer was driven for the scene.

Missourians injured in Buchanan County Missouri semi-truck accidents often worry about their legal expenses. Trucking companies are sometimes represented by “insurance defense” attorneys who exclusively work to keep compensation out of the hands of truck accident victims. Truck accident victims often wonder how they can afford to pay the high hourly rates of a lawyer.

Our Buchanan County Missouri personal injury attorneys will not send truck accident victims bills while a lawsuit is ongoing. In fact, we do not charge our clients any fees until the case is settled or a verdict is issued. Our attorneys work on contingency so that truck accident victims can focus on the emotional and physical consequences of a truck accident.

December 8, 2011

NSTB Investigates Deadly Missouri School Bus Accident

The National Safety Transportation Board (NTSB), an independent agency of the federal government, has launched an investigation into the cause of the fatal Missouri school bus accident in 2010. The 2010 Missouri school bus accident involved two school buses, a tractor trailer, and a pickup truck in Gray Summit, Missouri.

The two school buses were transporting students from John F. Hodge High School to Six Flags St. Louis. A Volvo tractor trailer slowed or stopped ahead because of the amount of traffic in a construction zone on the highway. A pickup truck slammed into the back of the tractor trailer. The first school bus, carrying the female high school students, change lanes into the wreck. Then the second school bus rear ended the first school bus, pushing the first school bus on top of the second.

Two people died in the fatal accident. A female high school who was sitting in the back of the first bus died. The pickup truck driver died as well. Dozens of injured students were taken to area hospitals after the fatal Missouri bus truck accident. Two students – a 16 year old female student and a 14 year old male student – suffered serious injuries in the accident.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol and the NTSB have been investigating the causes of the tragic Missouri truck accident since the accident occurred. An initial report showed that the inattentive driving may have been a major cause of the accident. Specifically, the drivers failed to react to the traffic pattern in the construction zone of I-44.

Members of the NTSB will meet next week to make a final determination about the probable cause of the accident. The NTSB meeting will occur on December 13, 2011. The meeting will focus on safety recommendations to prevent future Missouri truck bus accidents. The agency may comment on whether seat belts should have been used in the school buses, for example.

Continue reading "NSTB Investigates Deadly Missouri School Bus Accident" »

December 4, 2011

Trucker Causes Double Fatality in Missouri Stop Sign Truck Accident

Two Edgerton residents were killed in a Clinton County Missouri truck accident that occurred on December 1, 2011. Two other Edgerton residents were seriously injured. The fatal Missouri truck accident occurred at the intersection of Missouri highway 116 and U.S. highway 69, roughly four miles east of Lathrop, Missouri.

The accident victims traveled in a 1995 Honda Accord driven by Larry R. Cockriel, 66, on eastbound MO-116. A 2006 International Conventional driven by an out of state truck driver failed to stop at a stop sign as it drove northbound on US-69. The Honda crashed into the trailer in the intersection. The Honda came to rest lodged underneath the trailer of the International.

Cockriel and occupant Carol J. Cockriel, 66, were pronounced dead at the scene of the fatal Missouri truck accident. Two other occupants in the Honda were seriously injured in the accident. 15 year old Draven M. Cockriel of Edgerton was taken to Liberty Hospital by Tri-County Ambulance. Draven Cockriel was later transferred to Children’s Mercy Hospital. 59 year old Wendy S. Wall of Liberty, Missouri was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital by Lifenet Helicopter. Wall was the only occupant in the Honda who wore a seatbelt during the Missouri stop sign truck accident.

Fatal truck accidents leave tragedy in their wake. The families left behind have to deal with the flood of negative emotions associated with the loss of a loved one. Deadly traffic accidents happen occur suddenly, meaning families have to make unexpected decisions while grieving. Families may have to worry about funeral arrangements. If the family depended on the accident victim for an income, the family may grow anxious about their ability to pay for their living expenses. No family should ever be put in this position because of a negligent truck accident.

The laws of Missouri aim to help families put in this position through its wrongful death statute. Missouri statute 537.080 allows the families of accident victims to obtain compensation for a wrongful death. A wrongful death is a death that is caused by the negligent or wrongful conduct of another. When an accident victim is killed in an accident caused by a truck driver’s failure to simply stop at a stop sign, the family left is able to file a wrongful death claim.

Continue reading "Trucker Causes Double Fatality in Missouri Stop Sign Truck Accident" »

November 29, 2011

Missouri Family Wins $7M for Truck Accident Wrongful Death

A federal jury in Arkansas returned a $7 million verdict in a Missouri truck accident lawsuit on November 10, 2011. The Missouri trucking wrongful death lawsuit concerned a double semi-trailer accident that occurred Arkansas.

The Missouri semi-trailer accident occurred as accident victim and plaintiff Roger Reagan of Farmington, Missouri drove a semi-trailer on eastbound U.S. 62 in Arkansas. Morgan Quisenberry, the negligent truck driver and defendant, drove across the centerline of the highway in a large semi-trailer. Quisenberry caused multiple Missouri tractor trailer accidents, striking two other vehicles before crashing into Reagan’s tractor trailer.

Reagan was able to get out of the vehicle, but he was still trapped under the truck. Reagan was surrounded by fire, injured. Rescuers pulled him the wreck but he died on route to an area hospital. Reagan is survived by his widow and two children.

The jury returned a verdict of $7 million after a five-day federal trial. The jury found that Dunaway Timber Company, Inc., the trucking company that employed Quisenberry, was responsible for 75% of the fault of the accident. Quisenberry was responsible for 25% of the fault.

This accident highlights the devastation that occurs when trucking companies fail to take public safety seriously. Dunaway Timber hired Quisenberry despite two previous license revocations. The trucking company did not train Quisenberry after hiring him. The fatal Missouri truck accident occurred within the first few weeks of Quisenberry’s employment.

Quisenberry failed to obey the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA’s) hours of service regulations. The FMCSA enacts and enforces strict regulations that govern how many consecutive hours a truck driver can operate a tractor trailer. Hours of service regulations are designed to prevent truck accidents and Missouri truck accident fatalities. Interstate trucking companies must obey the FMCSA’s hours of service regulations. According to an attorney involved in the case, Quisenberry had been driving hours beyond the federal daily maximum when the accident occurred.

Continue reading "Missouri Family Wins $7M for Truck Accident Wrongful Death" »

November 20, 2011

Nebraska Trucker Causes Missouri Wrong Way Truck Accident

Two people were injured in a Missouri truck accident on November 18, 2011 at 7:35pm. The Buchanan County Missouri trucking accident occurred on southbound I-29 at Missouri Route DD in Faucett, Missouri.

Jerome D. Lunsford of Steinauer, Nebraska drove a 2009 Kenworth northbound up the southbound ramp to I-29. Realizing his mistake, Lunsford turn the Kenworth around to attempt to drive southbound. The Kenworth blocked the southbound lanes of the roadway as Lunsford attempted to turn around. A 2004 Chrysler crashed into the side of the truck.

The Chrysler was driven by James A. McCord of St. Joseph, Missouri. McCord was driving in the correct direction when the Missouri wrong way truck accident occurred. McCord suffered moderate injuries in the accident. Cynthia S. McCord, an occupant in the Chrysler, suffered serious injuries. Both truck accident victims were taken to the Heartland Regional Medical Center. Northland Regional E.M.S. District transported the truck accident victims to the hospital.

Determining fault in a Missouri truck accident is not always complex. Occasionally, the negligence of the truck driver or the trucking company is obvious. However, Missouri truck accident lawsuits in which the truck driver is completely at fault are not always easy for the truck accident victim. Truck accident victims benefit from the services of an experience truck accident attorney who can guide them through the settlement negotiation process. If that process fails, the Missouri truck accident attorney can build a strong case in court.

Defendants have a strong financial incentive to offer the smallest amount possible in settlement negotiations. Trucking companies and their insurers may attempt to offer a low settlement before the truck accident victim obtains the services of an attorney. The defendant offers the early settlement in hopes that the truck accident victim is not aware of the legal rights afforded to accident victims in court. The defendant hopes that the truck accident victim will believe a small settlement is actually a good offer.

A recent case highlights the difference between the amount that a defendant may offer and the amount an accident victim may win in court. In a recent case litigated by our law firm, the accident victim won her traffic accident lawsuit. The jury returned a verdict of $217,500 for the plaintiff. During earlier settlement negotiations, the defendant offered a mere $30,000. Without adequate representation from an experienced plaintiff attorney, the accident victim may have accepted the defendant’s offer. The accident victim may not have known that the defendant’s offer was only 13% of what could be won in court.

November 17, 2011

Elderly Woman Killed in Lawrence County Missouri Truck Accident

Nancy S. Moss, a 76 year old woman from Springfield, Missouri, died in a fatal Lawrence County Missouri truck accident on November 16, 2011 at 11:25am.

The fatal Missouri truck accident occurred on Missouri highway 14 at route ZZ in Marionville, Missouri. A 2007 International truck driven by Arnold W. Messex of Willow Springs, Missouri collided with Moss’s 2009 Chevrolet Aveo. The Chevrolet was totaled in the accident. The crash was forceful enough to cause Ms. Moss’s death, even though she wore a seat belt during the Missouri semi-truck accident.

Truck accident victims experience a high amount of stress during and after a Missouri truck accident. In the past, some truck accident victims suffer physical symptoms as a result of the stress. Truck accident victims may experience high levels of anxiety and disrupted sleep patterns. Some truck accident victims report their hair falling out as a result of the accident. The stress caused by the truck accident may make the victim wary of filing a Missouri truck accident lawsuit because lawsuits are known for being high-stress situations.

Missouri truck accident mediation may be a good route for truck accident victims who want to avoid the time and expense associated with a trial. Mediation is a dispute resolution process in which two sides to a disagreement attempt to resolve their issues with the help of a mediator. A mediator is a third party who helps both sides communicate and come to a settlement.

In a typical traffic accident mediation, the attorneys for both sides give opening statements detailing their clients’ perspective. After the opening statements, the mediator may caucus with each party. A mediator caucus gives the mediator an opportunity to speak confidentially with one side outside of the other side’s presence. The mediator may hold a caucus with each party, then go back and forth between the parties until the parties reach a mutually agreeable settlement.

Mediation may be a good choice for truck accident victims. The defendant trucking company has a strong interest in avoiding litigation. The discovery process in a trial may reveal facts that reflect poorly on their operations. A trucking company may be willing to negotiate a good settlement in mediation to avoid a jury trial. However, truck accident victims should not go into a mediation unprepared. Truck accident victims should make sure to consult a Missouri plaintiff lawyer before the mediation process begins.

Continue reading "Elderly Woman Killed in Lawrence County Missouri Truck Accident" »

November 16, 2011

Trucking Company Shut Down after Discovery of Safety Violations

Earlier today, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it shut down an interstate trucking company after it found serious safety violations. The FMCSA ordered Gunthers Transport, LLC, an interstate trucking company based in Maryland, to immediately stop all trucking and transportation operations. Gunthers Transport is now out of service because it is an “imminent hazard to public safety.”

The FMCSA conducts both announced and surprise inspections to ensure that trucking companies maintain safe vehicles and operation procedures. If a trucking company routinely fails inspection after inspection, the FMCSA will order the trucking company to cease all operations. The FMCSA will conduct vehicle, driver, and hazardous materials inspections to monitor the safety of trucking companies.

The FMCSA shuts down a trucking company if its inspections reveal patterns that increase the likelihood of fatal or injurious Missouri truck accidents. The FMCSA ordered Gunthers to cease operations after it found repeated hours-of-service violations. More specifically, drivers for Gunthers falsified hours-of-service records submitted to the federal government with the trucking company’s knowledge. Their truck drivers repeatedly drove longer than 11 consecutive hours, in violation of federal law. When truck drivers operate large commercial motor vehicles for more than 11 hours, they dramatically increase the risk for Missouri trucking accidents caused by drowsy driving. Drowsy driving may lead to dangerously long reaction times, slower reflexes. Drowsy drivers may even fall asleep at the wheel. Hours-of-service regulations are vital for protecting the safety of the nation’s public roadways. Violations should be taken seriously by trucking companies and truck drivers.

The FMCSA’s inspections revealed multiple vehicle maintenance violations for Gunthers as well. Truck drivers for Gunthers did not perform safety inspections before operating their trucks. Pre-trip inspections are critical in preventing Missouri truck accidents. Simple driver inspections may reveal easily identifiable problems that cause serious accidents if left unattended. A trucking company that systematically neglects to enforce inspection requirements is a trucking company that does not value the safety of the public.

Continue reading "Trucking Company Shut Down after Discovery of Safety Violations" »

November 14, 2011

The Role of Expert Testimony in Missouri Truck Accident Lawsuits

Missouri trucking accidents may be a traumatic experience for truck accident victims. Truck accident victims may have to deal with extensive property damage if a large truck collided with their vehicle. Truck accident victims are more likely to suffer from serious physical injuries as a result of their accident when compared to car accident victims. Truck accident victims may suffer from psychological injuries caused by the truck accident as well. Many truck accident victims report symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, including “flashback” memories and disrupted sleep patterns.

During the tumultuous time after a Missouri truck accident, the trucking company or its insurers and attorneys may attempt to contact the truck accident victims. Truck accident victims may face confusing questions and tricky settlement offers. The trucking insurer may even try to encourage the truck accident victim to accept fault for the accident. Truck accident victims without experienced Missouri truck accident attorneys may have a difficult time understanding what to do after a Missouri truck accident.

After receiving medical treatment for injuries, contacting a skilled Missouri truck accident attorney is the most important step for obtaining just compensation from negligent trucking companies. Experienced truck accident attorneys will understand how to negotiate a settlement with the trucking company. If settlement negotiations fail, an experienced truck accident attorney will understand how to build a strong case in court.

Experienced plaintiff’s attorneys understand how to use expert witness testimony to bolster a case. Testimony from expert witnesses play a key role in winning Missouri truck accident lawsuits. An expert witness is a person with specialized knowledge in a particular area related to a lawsuit. If the expert witness is qualified, the jury may consider the witnesses professional findings while deliberating the merits of the lawsuit.

Certain types of expert witnesses testify in truck accident lawsuits. Medical doctors may provide expert testimony about the extent of the truck accident victim’s injuries. Accident reconstruction professionals may provide expert testimony about how the accident caused the truck accident injuries. Vocational expert witness may provide testimony about the truck accident victims’ career path and whether the accident affected it. Expert witnesses are an important feature of Missouri truck accident lawsuits. Expert witnesses are able to provide more concrete information to help the jury determine the damages in a truck accident lawsuit.

November 3, 2011

Rush Hill Truck Driver Causes Audrain County Missouri Truck Accident

Truck driver Ray I. Mollett of Rush Hill, Missouri caused an Audrain County Missouri truck accident on October 29, 2011 at 4:26pm. The Audrain County Missouri trucking accident occurred on MO-22 at Route Y, as Mollett attempted to make a left turn in a 2000 Freightliner large truck. The Freightliner travelled into the path of a 2003 Chevrolet driven by Daniel B. Browning of Mexico, Missouri.

Occupant Kimberly A. Browning of Mexico, Missouri was injured in the Audrain County Missouri truck accident. She suffered moderate injuries. An ambulance took her to the University Hospital in Columbia, Missouri. No one else was injured in the accident.

Commercial drivers play a special and important role in interstate commerce. Products are developed and manufactured in a variety of locations. Truck drivers are necessary to make these products available around the country. Commercial drivers have a number of significant responsibilities as well. Commercial motor vehicles tend to be larger and heavier than typical passenger vehicles. Driving commercial motor vehicles may be more difficult than driving passenger vehicles. As a result, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the licensing of commercial motor vehicle operators.

The FMCSA’s Commercial Driver’s License Program was created in 1986 to preserve the public safety. Prior to 1986, truck drivers did not need a special license to operate a motor vehicle in many states. Anyone who had a normal driver’s license could operate a commercial motor vehicle, including tractor trailers or buses. The states that required special licensing did not necessarily test the truck driver in a representative vehicle. The federal government enacted the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 in part to address this problem.

The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act created minimum standards for commercial motor vehicle licenses. Under the act, truck drivers must have a special driver’s license to operate large trucks and tractor trailers. Truck drivers must undergo skills testing to legally operate a large commercial motor vehicle. Truck drivers must also undergo testing of their knowledge of trucking regulations and applicable laws.

The FMCSA’s Commercial Driver’s License Program ensures that licensed truck drivers are aware of the risks and responsibilities associated with operating a large commercial motor vehicle. If licensed truck drivers cause Missouri truck accidents while operating commercial motor vehicles, their behavior may be negligent or reckless.

Continue reading "Rush Hill Truck Driver Causes Audrain County Missouri Truck Accident" »

November 1, 2011

Rogersville Woman Injured in I-44 Missouri Lane Change Truck Accident

Cynthia A. Nixon of Rogersville, Missouri was moderately injured in a Phelps County Missouri truck accident. A truck driver attempted to change lanes and caused the Missouri truck accident. Nixon was transported to Phelps County Regional Medical Center for treatment after the Missouri trucking accident.

Oklahoma truck driver Thomas A. Hudgens attempted to change lanes in a 2007 International truck on eastbound I-44. The large truck crashed into Nixon’s 2008 Infiniti M35X. The collision injured Nixon, but did not injure the truck driver. Nixon’s Infiniti was totaled in the accident.

A lane change is a dangerous maneuver for American drivers. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 750 vehicles are involved in fatal traffic accidents while changing lanes or merging. For comparison, changing lanes causes more than six times the number of fatal accidents caused by making a u-turn.

Lane changes are even more dangerous for truck drivers. Large commercial trucks have more blind spots than typical passenger vehicles. For example, a typical passenger car may have two blind spots – one on either side of the vehicle. Tractor trailers have a blind spot on each side, a blind spot behind the rear of the vehicle, and a blind spot in front of the vehicle.

Large commercial trucks also have significantly larger blind spots. An entire vehicle may fit into the blind spot of a tractor trailer. If a truck driver fails to prudently monitor the roadway while driving and attempts a lane change, the truck driver may cause a Missouri lane change truck accident.

Truck drivers undergo extensive training before being licensed to operate large commercial motor vehicles. Most truck drivers understand their role in maintaining the safety of Missouri’s roadways. However, some truck drivers fail to exercise due care and cause Missouri truck accidents. Negligent truck drivers need to be held accountable for the injuries they cause to preserve the public safety.

Continue reading "Rogersville Woman Injured in I-44 Missouri Lane Change Truck Accident" »

October 30, 2011

Six Injured in Carroll County Missouri Truck Accident

Six Missourians were injured when a large truck ran them off the roadway on October 31, 2011 at 2:00pm. The Carroll County Missouri truck accident occurred on U.S. Highway 65 at Route M.

The Carroll County Missouri truck accident began as Iowa truck driver James W. Tucker drove a 2005 Freightliner on northbound US-65. Tucker overtook a 1998 Dodge driven by Jason M. Hartwig of Hale, Missouri. The Freightliner crashed into the driver’s side of the Dodge. The Dodge was totaled in the Missouri truck accident.

Two adults and four children were injured in the accident: Jason M. Hartwig, 34, Dottie E. Boatman, 29, Gavin R. Boatman, 5, Ruger Perkins, 4, Colby M. Hartwig, 1, and an infant named Kinley Brown suffered moderate to minor injuries. All of the injured occupants were taken to Carroll County Memorial Hospital by Carroll County EMS.

Unsafe truck driving endangers the public. There are more than 3,000 large trucks involved in fatal car accidents each year. Even more large trucks cause accidents that result in serious physical injury and property damage. Confronted with the damage caused by Missouri truck accidents, the federal government established an agency that focused on improving motor carrier safety.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the segment of the United States Department of Transportation. The FMCSA promulgates the rules and regulations that govern the trucking industry to preserve the safety of America’s public roadways. A number of FMCSA specifically apply to truck drivers. The FMCSA requires that truck drivers regularly inspect their commercial motor vehicles to prevent truck accidents caused by defective parts. Truck drivers may only drive a certain number of consecutive hours to prevent drowsy driving accidents. The FMCSA’s regulations are carefully crafted to preserve the public safety.

If truck driver causes a Missouri truck accident by violating a FMCSA safety regulation, the truck accident victim may use the violation to show that the truck driver negligently cause the accident. FMCSA regulation violations may be used to show negligence if the regulation was designed to prevent the type of harm that the truck accident victim suffered. Truck accident victims should obtain the services of an experienced Missouri truck accident attorney. Experienced truck accident attorneys have to knowledge to advise truck accident victims about the effect of FMCSA regulations on their case.

October 27, 2011

Freightliner Rear Ends St. Louis Man in Missouri Truck Accident

Bruce D. Cummings was injured in a St. Louis Missouri truck accident on October 27, 2011 at 3:23pm. The St. Louis County Missouri truck accident occurred as Cummings drove a 2009 Mercury Mountainer on the southbound side of I-270. The Thursday afternoon highway traffic stopped ahead. Cummings adjusted to the traffic, but the large truck following him did not. A 2009 Freightliner MT45 slammed into the rear of the Mercury. Cummings suffered the only reported injuries in the St. Louis rear end truck accident. The 59 year old was taken to St. Anthony’s Medical Center by the Mehlville Fire Protection District.

A Missouri rear end truck accident occurs when a large truck collides into the rear of passenger vehicle, like a car or SUV. Passenger vehicles are substantially smaller than large trucks such as tractor trailers and 18 wheelers. As a result, most of the people injured in a Missouri rear end truck accident are occupants of the passenger vehicle. Often, the truck driver remains unscathed after the accident.

Passenger vehicles are disadvantaged after a Missouri rear end truck accident as well. The large truck that causes the accident is typically a commercial motor vehicle, owned and operated by a corporation. The trucking corporation will likely have an insurance company with a strong financial interest in paying truck accident victims the least amount of compensation possible. The trucking corporation, the trucking insurer, and their attorneys will encourage the truck accident victim to settle for less than deserved and will fight any lawsuit filed against them.

To correct the imbalance of power between truck accident victims, truck accident victims should have an experienced Missouri truck accident attorney who has a record of obtaining compensation for their clients. An experienced truck accident attorney will understand the strength of the accident victim’s case. The truck accident attorney will be able to advise the truck accident victim about whether to accept a settlement or whether to file a lawsuit.

October 18, 2011

Polk County Missouri Truck Accident Proves Fatal for Fair Play Man

Hulse H. Towry, an 84 year old resident of Fair Play, Missouri, died in a fatal Polk County Missouri trucking accident on October 17, 2011 at 11:50am. The Polk County truck accident began as Towry attempted to make a right turn onto Missouri Highway 32 near Fair Play, Missouri. As Towry entered the westbound lane of MO-32, a tractor trailer crashed into his vehicle. The tractor trailer was a 2004 Freightliner tractor trailer driven by Norman E. Counts of Sheldon, Missouri. The accident proved fatal for Towry. There were no reported injuries for any other parties.

Thousands of Americans lose their lives in tractor trailer accidents. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,000 large trucks were involved in fatal traffic accidents in 2009. Missouri tractor trailer accidents are a serious threat to the safety of public roadways. The primary regulatory and enforcement arm of the federal government concerning the trucking industry is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA is a segment of the United States Department of Transportation.

The FMCSA promulgates and enforces regulations on the trucking industry to preserve public safety. For example, the FMCSA enforces strict “hours of service” rules to prevent accidents caused by drowsy truck drivers. While most trucking companies are concerned with the safety of their drivers and the public at large, some negligent trucking companies pushed their truck drivers to drive excessive hours. Hours of service regulations limit the number of consecutive hours that truck drivers may operate large commercial vehicles like tractor trailers. Hours of service regulations prevent drowsy drivers from causing fatal Missouri truck accidents.

October 16, 2011

Woman Dies in Missouri Truck Accident on Fort Leonard Wood

Christine Boone of Bucyrus, Missouri was pronounced dead after a Missouri truck accident that occurred on Fort Leonard Wood. According to reports, Boone was driving a 2005 Dodge Neon. The Neon was involved in a two-vehicle Missouri truck accident with a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck in the afternoon.

Boone was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident by medical personnel from the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital. An occupant in Boone’s vehicle was sent to the University of Missouri Hospital in Columbia, Missouri. The occupant was transported to the University Hospital by St. John’s Life Line Medical Services. The Fort Leonard Wood Military Police indicated that the occupant was in critical condition. There were no reported injuries for the soldier who drove the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck.

Missouri truck accidents are a potentially devastating event in someone’s life. Truck accident victims may suffer from a number of serious injuries – traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and painful fractures. Truck accident victims may have to endure expensive hospital stays, multiple medical tests, and painful surgical operations. The physical and financial consequences of a Missouri truck accident may be immense for a truck accident victim.

The emotional consequences may be severe as well. Many truck accident victims report suffering from nightmares after the accident. Flashback memories may cause the truck accident victim to repeatedly relive painful memories from the accident. The emotional consequences may be compounded by “survivor’s guilt” – a mental condition by which someone who has survived a life-threatening event feels guilty because other victims did not survive.

Truck accident victims may feel devastated by the physical, financial, and emotional consequences of a Missouri truck accident. In this stressful stage, decisions about whether to file a lawsuit or accept a settlement offer from an insurance company may feel overwhelming. Truck accident victims and their families are advised to get an experienced Missouri truck accident lawyer involved in the process as early as possible. A knowledgeable Missouri truck accident attorney will understand how to obtain just compensation from negligent truck drivers or trucking companies.

October 9, 2011

Florissant Teen Killed in St. Charles County Trucking Accident

An 18 year old from Florissant, Missouri was killed in a Saint Charles County Missouri trucking accident. The fatal St. Charles County Missouri truck accident occurred on October 5, 2011 at 6:10pm.

The St. Charles County truck accident occurred as 18 year old Hamza J. Hamdan of Florissant travelled along U.S. Highway 67 behind a Freightliner tractor trailer. The tractor trailer, driven by Dale W. Mennemeier of West Alton, unexpectedly slowed. Hamdan’s 1996 Cadillac ETC crashed into the rear of the Freightliner.

Hamdan was transported to Alton Memorial Hospital after the accident in the Arch Helicopter. The teenager was later pronounced dead by Dr. Shiv Patil. The accident victim’s next of kin has been notified.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), thousands of large trucks are involved in fatal traffic accidents each year. The substantial size of a tractor trailer acts as a multiplier for the force of the collision. Large commercial motor vehicles cause significantly stronger forces during a collision than a passenger vehicle or SUV. As a result, accident victims may be more likely to suffer a fatality in a Missouri truck accident than in a typical car accident.

Truck drivers and their insurance companies will attempt to defend any lawsuit that results from a Missouri truck accident, even when the truck accident kills the accident victim. Under Missouri statute §537.085, a wrongful death lawsuit defendant may bring the defenses that the defendant would have been entitled to “had death not ensued.” Missouri statute §537.085 essentially enables wrongful death defendants to use any defense available.

Missouri statute §537.085 does not limit the defenses available to wrongful death defendants. Truck accident wrongful death plaintiffs should consult practiced Missouri wrongful death attorneys to strategize how to overcome the opposing side’s defenses. Experienced plaintiff’s attorneys will be able to anticipate the common defenses that truck accident defendants make based on the facts. By reviewing the police report, the crash report from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the accident reconstruction report, an experienced Missouri truck accident attorney may understand how to combat the defenses raised by the defendant.

Continue reading "Florissant Teen Killed in St. Charles County Trucking Accident" »

October 6, 2011

Stoutland Woman Injured in Laclede County Missouri Truck Crash

Shana M. Peterson from Stoutland, Missouri was injured in a Laclede County Missouri truck accident this week. The Laclede County truck accident occurred on Route T at I-44.

Peterson drove a 2001 Pontiac Sunfire on Route T near I-44. A large 2005 Kenworth tractor trailer attempted a left turn onto Route T. The tractor trailer, driven by Donald E. Wilkinson of Mount Vernon, crashed into the Pontiac. Peterson suffered the only reported injuries in the accident. She was transported to St. John’s Hospital in Lebanon, Missouri for medical treatment.

Left hand turns are an accident prone maneuver. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 6.1% of vehicles involved in fatal crashes were turning left. For comparison, only 0.8% of vehicles involved in fatal crashes were turning right.

Tractor trailers that attempt a left-hand turn are particularly dangerous to other vehicles. Tractor trailers make wider turns than passenger vehicles. The wide turning radius of tractor trailers causes them to cross into multiple lanes while turning. Truck drivers sit much higher than passenger vehicle drivers. As a result, a truck driver making a left turn may not be able to see all the nearby vehicles. Missouri left-hand turn truck accidents are a possibility whenever a tractor trailer attempts a left turn near other vehicles.

Truck drivers should attempt left turns prudently, in full awareness of the vehicles nearby. Truck drivers who rush into a left turn during a yellow light or turn left without monitoring nearby vehicles are putting the public at risk. If truck drivers cause a Missouri truck accident by negligently attempting a left turn, they should be held accountable.

Truck accident victims are empowered to obtain compensation from the truck drivers and truck companies that caused their injuries. Missouri truck accident lawsuits are often more complex than car accident lawsuits. Truck accident victims should contact experienced Missouri truck accident attorneys who understand how federal regulations and state tort laws affect their case.

October 4, 2011

Kansas City Drunk Driving Tow Truck Accident Leads to Charges

54 year old Kansas City tow truck driver Floyd R. Helton caused a Kanas City Missouri tow truck accident while intoxicated. According to reports, Helton ran a stop sign at Ninth and Wyandotte streets late Saturday afternoon. Helton crashed into an SUV after running the stop sign. The Kansas City tow truck accident resulted in hip and pelvis pain for the SUV driver. Law enforcement authorities found beer and an empty beer bottle in the tow truck after the Kansas City Missouri tow truck accident.

Prosecutors are charging Helton with second-degree assault and driving with a revoked driver’s license. Reports do not indicate whether Helton will be charged with driving while intoxicated.

Missouri statute §304.154 regulates tow truck company operation in Missouri. Missouri law imposes six minimum standards for towing companies. Trucking companies must 1) have a business address; 2) have secured storage for motor vehicles; 3) be available 24/7; 4) maintain accident insurance; 5) provide worker’s compensation insurance; and 6) maintain registrations for towing trucks.

Missouri counties may create stricter standards for towing truck companies. For example, St. Louis County heightens the regulations for towing truck companies. St. Louis County requires that detailed tow truck licenses include information helpful to accident victims who may want to sue the tow truck company. Corporate tow truck owners must list their state of incorporation and the address of their principal place of business. Accident victims may need that information to sue the defendant towing company in the proper jurisdiction.

State representatives have attempted to raise the statewide minimum standards for towing companies. House Bill 629 (HB629) was introduced to the Missouri House of Representatives. If passed, HB629 would require higher minimum coverage for insurance and stricter licensing. However, the proposed legislation was opposed by tow truck lobbyists. In fact, the Missouri Tow Truck Association specifically opposed the higher standards and used membership dues to pay the lobbying fees. HB629 was not signed into law.

Continue reading "Kansas City Drunk Driving Tow Truck Accident Leads to Charges" »

October 2, 2011

Columbia Woman Injured in Boone County Missouri Tractor Trailer Accident

Ruth A. Cunningham of Columbia, Missouri was injured in a Boone County Missouri tractor trailer accident on U.S. Highway 63 at Calvert Hill Road. The Boone County Missouri truck accident occurred on September 27, 2011 at 3:10pm.

Cunningham was an occupant in a 1998 Buck driven by Mark H. Ballenger of Columbia, Missouri. A 2009 Freightliner tractor trailer travelled near the Buick. The towed trailer of the massive crashed into the Buck as the Freightliner turned onto northbound US-63 from the median crossover.

Cunningham was the only reported injured party. She was transported by ambulance to Boone Hospital for medical treatment. There were no reported injuries for truck driver Dwain K. McKenzie of Mount Vernon, New York.

Truck accident victims deserve compensation for the injuries they suffered as a result of a Missouri trucking accident. Truck accident victims may incur great expenses for medical treatment related to their injuries. Medical treatment may also cause the truck accident victim to lose wages, since treatment may take a while. Even truck accident victims without serious injuries may incur a financial loss as a result of a Missouri tractor trailer accident. Medical personnel may want to keep a truck accident victim overnight for observation, resulting in steep medical fees. Truck accident victims should not have to bear the cost of a truck driver’s negligence.

Truck drivers and trucking companies negligently cause truck accidents in multiple ways. Some of the most common types of trucking negligence involve defective trucking equipment and load size. Tractor trailers are massive vehicles designed to transport large volumes of freight across public roadways. Overloaded or improperly loaded trailers may increase the risk of Missouri truck accidents. Overloaded tractor trailers are dangerous because the truck driver may not be able to operate a tractor trailer that weighs more than its mechanisms can control. Improperly loaded trailers are dangerous because they may cause a load shift. If the load shifts dramatically during operation, the truck driver may lose control.

Missouri truck accident lawsuits hold trucking companies and truck drivers accountable for their negligence. Some trucking companies may overload their fleet to save money. Other trucking companies may improperly load their fleet as a result of inattention to detail. These negligent trucking companies are willing to put their interests before public safety, even though their business model depends on using public roadways. Contact our Missouri personal injury attorneys today for a free legal consultation about how you can hold these negligent companies accountable for their actions.

September 27, 2011

Jackson Woman Injured in Cape Girardeau County Truck Crash

Theresa D. Culberson, 41, of Jackson, Missouri was moderately injured in a Cape Girardeau Missouri truck accident on September 26, 2011 at 6:59am. The Missouri truck accident occurred on U.S. Highway 61, south of Route C.

Culberson was driving southbound on US-61 in a 2004 Mercury when a 1982 Kenworth tractor trailer pulled out of a private driveway in front of her. Culberson crashed into the trailer unit. Culberson suffered the only reported in the Cape Girardeau Missouri truck accident. She was transported to the Saint Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau.

Motorists should be alert whenever operating a motor vehicle near a tractor trailer. While tractor trailers are equipped with multiple mirrors to help the truck driver see the roadway, the truck driver’s ability to see other vehicles is far less than ideal. Tractor trailers have massive blind spots – deemed “No Zones” by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an arm of the United States Department of Transportation.

Tractor trailers have more No Zones than typical passenger vehicles. For example, passenger car drivers may be able to see a person walking directly in front of their vehicle. Tractor trailer drivers cannot, on account of the large No Zone in front of tractor trailers. Tractor trailers have No Zones on either side, the rear, and the back. The FMCSA warns that the side No Zone on the right is particularly dangerous because tractor trailers make wide right turns. Motorists should avoid the No Zones of tractor trailers to avoid serious injury or even death.

Continue reading "Jackson Woman Injured in Cape Girardeau County Truck Crash" »

September 23, 2011

Tire Blowout Causes Fiery Holt County Missouri Truck Accident

A truck driver from Craig, Missouri was injured in a Missouri truck accident on September 23, 2011. The Holt County Missouri truck accident highlights the important role that commercial motor vehicle maintenance plays in preventing injurious accidents.

William H. Stone, 42, of Craig, Missouri was driving northbound on U.S. Highway 59 in a 2003 Peterbilt Concrete Mixer. The Missouri truck accident occurred when the left front tire of concrete truck blew out. Stone lost control of the concrete truck, crossed the centerline, and drove off the side of the roadway. The truck crashed into an embankment, then a fence. The truck caught fire as it traveled into a nearby corn field. The accident concluded as the truck came to rest on the passenger side.

Stone was moderately injured in the accident. He was transported to Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph by Atchison-Holt ambulance. Stone had to be assisted by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Holt County Sheriff’s Department, Craig Fire Department, and Fairfax Fire Department.

Trucking companies must properly maintain their vehicles in order to prevent Missouri trucking accidents. Commercial motor vehicles must be regularly inspected and serviced to function properly. Negligently maintained commercial motor vehicles may malfunction in a way that causes a serious traffic accident.

Tires are vital for commercial motor vehicle safety. The tires of large commercial vehicles like tractor trailers and concrete mixers carry tremendous weight. Tires with that level of burden must be maintained and replaced appropriately. If trucking companies fail to take tire maintenance seriously, a tire blowout may cause a serious accident. Not only are tire blowout accidents potentially devastating, they are preventable. Trucking companies must maintain their fleet.

Continue reading "Tire Blowout Causes Fiery Holt County Missouri Truck Accident" »

September 18, 2011

Kirksville Missouri Tanker Truck Accident Causes Fuel Spill

Specialists from a Kansas hazardous material (hazmat) team were called in to clean up a fuel spill caused by a Missouri tanker truck accident. Nearly 8,000 gallons of fuel leaked onto the roadway after a tanker truck overturned. The fuel spill closed down Route F and Highway 6. The Missouri tanker truck accident occurred Sunday morning, but the roadways were not reopened until after midnight.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains a federal hazmat program to reduce the risk that hazmat accidents pose to the public and to the environment. The hazmat program works to decrease the number of Missouri tanker truck accidents by promulgating and enforcing regulations.

Hazmat regulations reduce the risk of dangerous Missouri tanker truck accidents by conducting inspections and by imposing penalties on unsafe hazmat carriers. Hazmat transporters are subject to unannounced inspections. An inspection may occur after a non-frivolous complaint was filed with a safety agency. The FMCSA may also conduct an inspection after other government agencies – like the Department of Homeland Security – launch special investigations targeting particular radioactive or explosive materials.

Any hazmat violations discovered in an unannounced inspection may result in civil or criminal penalties. Civil penalties range from $275 to $32,500. Criminal penalties are $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for corporations. Monetary penalties aim to deter Missouri tanker truck accidents. Hazmat carriers who do not care about the environment or the safety of the public are likely to care about their financial bottom-line. Imposing financial sanctions on negligent, unsafe hazmat corporations and truckers deters them from causing future accidents.

Personal injury lawsuits deter negligent corporations and truck drivers as well. If a truck driver or corporation injures someone in an accident by failing to comply with hazmat regulations, the accident victim may recover compensation for her injuries. When trucking companies and truck drivers cause an accident through particularly egregious conduct, the accident victim may recover punitive damages for the accident. Punitive damages are penalties above and beyond the amount needed to compensate the accident victim. The potential for punitive damages acts as another deterrent to prevent Missouri truck accidents.

Continue reading "Kirksville Missouri Tanker Truck Accident Causes Fuel Spill" »

September 4, 2011

Husband Watches as Wife Killed in St. Charles Missouri Truck Accident

A 70 year old Wentzville woman was killed in a St. Charles County Missouri dump truck accident. Her husband witnessed the fatal Saint Charles County Missouri trucking accident from his vehicle, which was behind hers during the accident.

Shirley A. Kutter of Wentzville, Missouri stopped her 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser in the cross over section of Highway 61 at Peine Road. Kutter stopped her vehicle in the cross over to yield to emergency vehicles – a fire truck and an ambulance were near. After the emergency vehicles left her vicinity, Kutter pulled away from the median. The front of a 2007 Sterling Dump Truck slammed into her car.

Kutter was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident by EMS. Truck driver Robert W. Stone of O’Fallon, Missouri only sustained minor injuries in the accident. Kutter was with her husband before the accident, but they decided to take separate vehicles to their destination. According to local news reports, Kutter’s husband witnessed the entire accident. He was not physically harmed during the accident.

Fatal Missouri car accidents put substantial emotional strain on the accident victim’s surviving loved ones. Grief is linked to serious declines in both emotional and physical health. Bereaved adults are at risk of developing major depression, a serious psychiatric condition. Grief-related depression may cause adverse physical reactions such as dramatic weight gain or loss, changes in appetite, sleep problems, and suicidal thoughts. Bereaved individuals who actually witness the catastrophic death of a loved one may suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD symptoms include high levels of anxiety, nightmares, and “flashback” memories of the catastrophic event.

Fatal Missouri car accidents put an enormous financial strain on the accident victim’s spouse. If the accident victim received medical treatment for accident-related injuries before passing away, the victim’s spouse may face resulting medical bills. The victim’s spouse may have to struggle with the expenses incurred funereal expenses, which are most often unplanned for before the accident. The accident victim’s spouse must face these unexpected expenses without the benefit of the victim’s wages. If the accident victim’s spouse wants to pursue a Missouri wrongful death lawsuit, the threat of attorney’s fees may add to the pressure.

Accident victim spouses should consider hiring a personal injury attorney on a contingency basis. Missouri car accident lawyers who work on contingency do not charge for their services upfront. If the client wins a judgment or settles a case, a portion goes to the attorney as payment. If the client loses, the attorney does not charge. Contingency fees help accident victims and their loved ones by reducing their financial risk in their pursuit of compensation.

Continue reading "Husband Watches as Wife Killed in St. Charles Missouri Truck Accident" »

August 30, 2011

Kansas City Woman Injured when Tractor Trailer Runs Stop Sign

A Clay County Missouri trucking accident resulted in moderate injuries for a Kansas City, Missouri woman on August 29, 2011 at 11:20am. The Clay County Missouri truck accident occurred on westbound Highway 210.

Truck driver Robert D. Futcliffe, 42, of Freeman, Missouri failed to stop at a stop sign. Futcliffe drove a 2007 Kenworth into the path of a 1992 Ford F150 Pickup driven by Samantha J. Rojas, 28, of Kanas City, Missouri. The tractor trailer and the pickup truck collided. Both vehicle sustained moderate damage in the Clay County Missouri trucking accident.

Rojas suffered moderate injuries in the accident. She was transported to North Kansas City Hospital by EMS. The truck driver did not suffer any physical injuries in the accident. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, charges are pending.

Distracted driving is a growing cause of serious Missouri truck accidents. The dramatic increase in handheld mobile device use has led to an increase in accidents caused by distracted drivers. Drivers become distracted when they talk on a cellphone, change the input on a GPS device, eat a meal, or switch songs on an mp3 player.

Whenever drivers direct their attention to these distractions, they become more likely to cause a serious Missouri distracted driving accident. Scientific research shows that distracted driving slows response time more dramatically than drunk driving. Response time is the length of time needed to respond to a stimulus in the surrounding environment. Response time is important while driving because the environment changes rapidly – other vehicles may change lanes, cyclists may suddenly ride across the road, etc. Quick response times are vital for avoiding distracted driving accidents – yet distracted drivers routinely sacrifice this critical aspect of safe driving.

Missouri distracted drivers cause accidents because they fail to notice their surroundings. Distracted drivers may fail to notice traffic control devices while looking at the screen of their mobile device. These drivers will run stop signs and red lights without even noticing. Distracted drivers may fail to check their blind spot before initiating a lane change. These drivers will ignorantly cause side impact accidents.

Missouri distracted truck driving is even more dangerous that typical distracted driving. Tractor trailers, semi-trucks, and 18-wheelers cause significantly more damage in a collision. Federal motor carrier laws now prohibit truck drivers from texting while driving, but some distracted truck drivers ignore this regulation.

Continue reading "Kansas City Woman Injured when Tractor Trailer Runs Stop Sign" »

August 25, 2011

Two Joplin, Missouri Residents Killed in Jasper County Missouri Truck Accident

Melva N. Turner and Eugene H. Turner of Joplin, Missouri were killed in a fatal Jasper County Missouri trucking accident on August 23, 2011 at 3:52pm. The Jasper County Missouri truck accident resulted in moderate injuries for a third man from Diamond, Missouri.

The accident occurred as Eugene Turner attempted to cross Highway 59 in a 2004 Buick LeSabre. As Turner crossed the highway, a 1999 Kenworth Straight Truck slammed into the side of Turner’s vehicle. The Kenworth truck then travelled off the roadway and overturned. Jasper County Coroner Rob Chappel pronounced Eugene and Melva Turner dead after responding to the scene. Truck driver James W. Body transported to McCune Brooks Hospital in Carthage, Missouri with moderate injuries.

Missouri side collision truck accidents may result in serious injuries or fatalities. When a massive tractor trailer crashes into the side of the passenger vehicle, the passenger vehicle occupants often suffer immensely. Semi-trucks are much larger than standard cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs. While all vehicles involved in a side collision truck accident absorb the shock of the impact, the forces of proportionally much stronger for small vehicles.

Fatalities and serious injuries may result from what occurs after the major impact of a Missouri side collision truck. The passenger vehicle and the tractor trailer may rollover after they collide. Either vehicle may be pushed into oncoming traffic. The forces of the impact may push a vehicle onto a sidewalk. The risk of serious injury or death during and after impact in a side collision truck accident is high.

Determining liability in a Missouri side collision truck accident may be difficult because numerous factors cause that type of Missouri truck accident. Factors that lead to side collision truck accidents are: driving at a speed higher than the posted speed limit, driving while distracted, driving while intoxicated, mechanical failure, and brake failure. A skilled Missouri truck accident lawyer will investigate the facts of an accident victim’s case to find evidence of negligence.

Continue reading "Two Joplin, Missouri Residents Killed in Jasper County Missouri Truck Accident" »

August 23, 2011

Three Injured in Missouri School Bus Accident in Callaway County Missouri

Three people were transported to a local hospital after a Callway County Missouri school bus accident on August 23, 2011. The early morning Missouri school bus accident occurred on U.S. Highway 63, at County Road 394.

The accident began as the school bus attempted to cross US-63 while driving along the county road. The 2006 International School Bus was driven by 63-year-old driver Dennis W. Lutz from Jefferson City, Missouri. The bus crossed the intersection into the path of a 1997 Jeep driven by Bryan J. Phillips of Russellville, Missouri.

Phillips and two of his occupants were injured by the Missouri school bus crash. Occupant John B. Bernskoetter of Jefferson City, Missouri suffered moderate injuries. Samuel J Luebbering, also from Jefferson City, sustained minor injuries. All three men were transported to St. Mary’s Hospital by ambulance. None of the men wore a safety device during the Missouri school bus accident.

The prospect of a Missouri or Illinois bus accident may terrify parents, but school buses are a safe transportation method for children. Each year, there are roughly 6,000 school bus injuries and 20 school bus fatalities. Those figures are far less than the 78,000 injuries and 400 fatalities sustained by teens while commuting to and from school. In general, school buses are the safest transportation method for children to use to get to school.

Despite their safety, Missouri bus accidents may occur. Many Missourians remember a devastating bus accident that resulted in nearly 50 injured people just last year. A truck driver and a Missouri high school student were injured in a multivehicle accident that involved a tractor trailer, a pickup truck, and two school buses. The school buses were heading to an amusement park and carried many students.

Bus accident settlement negotiations and lawsuits may be complex. Often, multiple parties are injured. The accident victims may be minors. If the bus driver is at fault for the accident, issues of who is financially responsible for the injuries may be hotly contested. For example, if the bus driver is directly employed by the public school district, there may be complicated municipal liability issues. If the bus driver works for a private company that contracted with the school, there may be complicated service contract issues. After a Missouri school bus accident, it is vital for accident victims and their loved ones to contact a Missouri school bus accident lawyer.

Continue reading "Three Injured in Missouri School Bus Accident in Callaway County Missouri" »

August 21, 2011

Columbia Teens Injured in Boone County Missouri Dump Truck Accident

Two 16-year-olds from Columbia, Missouri were injured a Boone County Missouri dump truck accident on August 18, 2011 at 7:15. The Thursday morning accident resulted in injuries for an adult Missourian as well.

The accident began when 16-year-old Alexander R. Jones drove a 2003 Honda Pilot on Route K at Old Plank Road. A 2005 Freightliner dump truck crashed into the passenger side door of Jones’s vehicle as Jones attempted to make a left turn. The dump truck was driven by Delmer T. Nichols of Ashland, Missouri. Both vehicles travelled off Route K. According to local reports, the dump truck overturned and spilled its contents.

Columbia teen Catherine M. Rodriguez was moderately injured in the Boone County Missouri dump truck accident. Jones and Nichols sustained minor injuries. All of the injured parties went to University Hospital in Columbia, Missouri.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,000 people die in large truck accidents in a single year. Thousands of accident victims sustain serious physical injury and emotional distress as a result of a Missouri trucking accidents. Accident victims have the right to obtain compensation for their injuries, but negligent drivers and their insurance companies may attempt to interfere with that right.

Negligent drivers and their insurance companies will likely attempt to argue against an accident victim’s claim. If the negligent driver caused the accident by ignoring a stop sign, the insurance company may argue that the stop sign was not visible enough. If the accident victim claims that injuries were sustained in the accident, the insurance company may argue that the accident victim is not truly injured. If the accident victim does not immediately seek treatment because the injuries sustained have delayed symptoms, the insurance company will argue that the injuries were not caused by the accident.

Accident victims may seek compensation for injuries sustained in a Missouri truck accident through a lawsuit or through settlement negotiations. In either venue, accident victims should have an experienced Missouri truck accident lawyer to fight on their behalf. If you are injured in a Missouri truck accident, get skilled legal representation before discussing the accident with insurance companies or filing a lawsuit.

Continue reading "Columbia Teens Injured in Boone County Missouri Dump Truck Accident" »

August 16, 2011

5-year-old Injured in Double Benton County Missouri Trucking Accident

A 5-year-old from Warrensburg, Missouri was injured in a Benton County Missouri trucking accident on Monday evening. The Benton County Missouri truck accident resulted in injuries for two adults as well.

The Missouri multivehicle truck accident occurred on August 15, 2011 at 7:20pm as two tractor trailers drove on US-65 near Cedar Gate Drive. One Peterbilt tractor trailer attempted to overtake another that was slowing on the roadway. The two tractor trailers collided in a Missouri rear end truck accident. The forces of the impact pushed a tractor trailer across the centerline of US-65 and that tractor trailer crashed into a passenger vehicle

The tractor trailer crashed into a 2004 Chevrolet by Dale T. Crabtree from Lincoln, Missouri. The Chevy went off the right side of the road and crashed into a culvert. The Chevy hit a road sign and then overturned.

There were no reported injuries for the tractor trailer drivers. Dale Crabtree, the driver of the Chevrolet, was seriously injured in the accident. He went to the Staff for Life University Hospital for treatment. Terri J. Crabtree sustained serious injuries. 5-year-old Maycie D. Streb suffered injuries as well. Terri Crabtree and Steb went to the Bothwell Hospital.

In 2010, more than 500,000 large commercial vehicles were involved in traffic accidents. These accidents resulted in serious injuries for more than 100,000 people. Thousands of Americans lost their lives because of trucking accidents. In an effort to decrease the devastation caused by Missouri truck accidents, the federal government enacted a number of safety regulations for the commercial trucking industry.

The federal government enacts and enforces federal motor carrier regulations, the safety laws that apply to the trucking industry. The different categories of motor carrier regulations are designed to combat the causes of trucking accidents. For example, Hours of Service (HOS) regulations govern how long a truck driver may operate a commercial motor vehicle to combat the trend of drowsy driving accidents. The prohibition on texting while driving a commercial truck is designed to combat distracted driving accidents.

An experienced plaintiff’s attorney understands that federal motor carrier regulations play an important role in a Missouri truck accident lawsuit. If the truck driver was violating a motor carrier regulation when a Missouri truck accident occurred, the violation may be evidence of truck driver negligence.

Continue reading "5-year-old Injured in Double Benton County Missouri Trucking Accident" »

August 14, 2011

Tractor Trailer’s Unsafe Lane Change Causes St. Charles Truck Accident

A Nebraska truck driver caused a St. Charles Missouri truck accident when he slammed into a car while changing lanes. Truck driver Rand S. Peterson of Niobrara, Nebraska drove a 1997 International Tractor Trailer southbound on highway 61 early Friday morning. The St. Charles Missouri trucking accident occurred when Peterson attempted to change lanes and crashed into the rear of a 1999 Ford Contour driven by David C. Spaulding of Moscow Mills, Missouri. After impact, Spaulding’s car spun out and off the roadway. The car came to rest in a ditch. Spaulding was transported to St. Joseph West Hospital in Lake St. Louis by St. Charles County Ambulance. His car was totaled, while the tractor trailer only sustained minor damage.

Tractor trailers become particularly dangerous to other drivers while changing lanes. Truck drivers must pay attention while changing lanes because the size and height of their tractor trailers reduce visibility. Negligent truck drivers may attempt to change lanes without exercising due care to make sure no other vehicle is in their blind spot. When a tractor trailer changes lanes, the potential for a St. Charles Missouri truck accident is high.

When truck drivers fail to monitor their surroundings before changing lanes, they may easily miss the presence of another vehicle. Tractor trailers provide lesser visibility for their drivers because they have large blind spots. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) refers to tractor trailer blind spots as “No-Zones” to discourage motorists from driving within them.

According to the FMCSA, cars driving in a No-Zone virtually disappear from the perspective of a truck driver. Most motorists are aware that tractor trailers and other vehicles have blind spots on the side. Driving in the side blind spot of any vehicle increases the likelihood of a Missouri side impact car accident. However, the FMCSA designates the area in front of and behind a tractor trailer as a No-Zone as well. If a tractor trailer appears to be changing lanes behind or in front of your vehicle, putting ample distance between the tractor trailer and your vehicle is advised to avoid a Missouri rear end truck accident.

Continue reading "Tractor Trailer’s Unsafe Lane Change Causes St. Charles Truck Accident" »

August 11, 2011

Investigation Pending for Lafayette County Missouri Truck Accident

A three-vehicle Lafayette County Missouri truck accident left the truck driver unscathed, but resulted in injuries for two local Missourians. Aron B. Crouse of Lamar, Missouri suffered serious injuries in the accident. Crouse was transported by Life Flight to Research Hospital. Julia A. Mintner of Higginsville, Missouri was transported to Lafayette Regional for medical treatment.

The Lafayette County Missouri trucking accident occurred as the vehicles crested a hill on MO-13 around 11:30am on August 11, 2011. Crouse’s 1998 Honda Civic collided with a 2003 Kenworth driven by Missouri truck driver Joshua J. Heimer. Specifically, the passenger of Crouse’s Honda crashed into the rear of the Kenworth. The Missouri side collision truck accident continued as Crouse’s Honda rotated clockwise after impact. The Honda slammed into the driver’s side of a 2006 Saturn View driven by Mintner. Mintner was ejected from her vehicle, though she wore a seatbelt during the accident.

Missouri side collision truck accidents may be particularly dangerous because of what can occur after impact. Strong forces from a side impact truck accident may force a smaller vehicle off the roadway. Passenger vehicles may rollover after being hit on the side by a tractor trailer. Sometimes, passengers are even ejected from their vehicle. The intensity of a side collision truck accident may intense.

Factors that may increase the intensity of a Missouri side collision truck accident include: the velocity of the vehicles involve, the difference in mass between the two vehicles, and the safety features of either vehicle. Velocity affects the strength of the collision. If the tractor trailer was travelling at a high speed before impact, the force on the passenger vehicle will be greater. Disparity in size matters. If the passenger vehicle is much smaller than the tractor trailer, the vehicle may sustain greater damage. Safety features are a relevant factor. The occupants of a passenger vehicle equipped with side airbags and seatbelts may suffer lesser injuries than occupants of vehicles without those safety features.

Intense Missouri side collision truck accidents may lead to serious injury or even death. Missouri tort law gives accident victims the legal ability to sue the parties that may have caused the accident. Negligent truck drivers may be a defendant. Trucking companies, trucking maintenance facilities, and vehicle part manufacturers may be responsible for the accident. Trucking accidents are complex physically and legally. Truck accident victims should have legal representation with experience litigating personal injury lawsuits involving the trucking industry.

Continue reading "Investigation Pending for Lafayette County Missouri Truck Accident" »

August 9, 2011

Injuries directly resulting from the negligent acts or omissions by public employees arising out of the operation of motor vehicles or motorized vehicles within the course of their employment;

Two firefighters were injured in a Saint Francois Missouri truck accident near Doe Run, Missouri. The Saint Francois Missouri trucking accident occurred when a fire tanker raced to a house that was on fire. Firefighter and driver William Nokes rushed down Highway B near Crocker Court, but was driving too fast for a curve in the road. The tanker drove off the roadway and overturned. The damage to the tanker was severe; the tanker was totaled.

Nokes received medical treatment for his minor injuries from the Missouri trucking accident. Occupant and fellow firefighter Haylie Hagermann suffered greater injuries. She was airlifted to Barnes-Jewish Hospital with moderate injuries.

According to local reports, there are more than 170 fire truck crashes in Missouri in a single year. In 2009, five people died in Missouri fire truck accidents and 42 more were injured. Like other commercial motor vehicles, fire trucks are massive. The disparity in size between a fire truck and a typical passenger car puts the passenger car at a great disadvantage. A collision may result in more damage to the smaller vehicle and greater injuries for the smaller vehicle’s occupants.

Fire truck accidents are further complicated by the legal concept of “sovereign immunity.” Sovereign immunity means that the government and its agencies are immune from lawsuits, unless the government explicitly allowed itself to be sued in a statute. Sovereign immunity is “in full force and effect” according to Missouri statute §537.600.

Missouri has created an exception to sovereign immunity for personal injury lawsuits after a Missouri trucking accident is caused by a public employee. Specifically, Missouri statute §537.600 states that sovereign immunity is waived for “[i]njuries directly resulting from the negligent acts or omissions by public employees arising out of the operation of motor vehicles or motorized vehicles within the course of their employment.” Accordingly, if a public employee injures someone in a Missouri trucking accident, the government can be sued for compensation. The Missouri state legislature enacted this statute to protect ordinary citizens from negligent public employees. The waiver of sovereign immunity deters Missouri fire truck accidents and prevents injuries.

Continue reading "Injuries directly resulting from the negligent acts or omissions by public employees arising out of the operation of motor vehicles or motorized vehicles within the course of their employment;" »

July 19, 2011

Cass County Missouri Man Seriously Injured by Kenworth Truck

A Cass County Missouri truck accident left a man from Shell Knob, Missouri seriously injured on July 18, 2011 at 2:50pm. The Cass County Missouri trucking accident occurred as a 2005 Kenworth and a 2005 Hyundai travelled on northbound U.S. Highway 71. Michael E. Finney of Shell Knob, Missouri slowed down the Hyundai because of the congested traffic ahead.

Truck driver Greg J. Tucker of West Branch, Iowa overtook Finney’s Hyundai and slammed into its left rear bumper. The force of the collision forced Finney off the right side of the highway. Finney’s vehicle overturned, coming to rest facing south. Finney was ejected from the Hyundai during the course of the accident. The Kenworth truck came to rest in the highway median. Whether either driver wore a seat belt is unknown.

There was a noticeable imbalance in the consequences of the accident. Finney was taken to Research Hospital with serious injuries. There were no reported injuries for the Iowan truck driver. The Hyundai was totaled. The Kenworth truck only sustained minor damage and could be driven from the scene of the accident.

Typical drivers of passenger cars, vans, and SUVs are at a great disadvantage in a Missouri tractor trailer accident. Commercial motor vehicles are much larger than typical passenger vehicles. Passenger vehicles and the occupants inside them are far more likely to sustain serious damage in a Missouri truck accident.

The potential of serious injury is high for truck accident victims. In response to the high volume of truck accidents, the federal government enacted a number of safety regulations for truck drivers and trucking companies. Truck accidents are often a result of one or more violations of safety regulations. For example, the truck driver may have been texting in violation of the prohibition on texting while driving for truck drivers. The truck driver may have been fatigued for operating the tractor trailer longer than what is allowed.

Truck accidents are not mere car accidents with greater damage. Successfully suing a truck driver or trucking company after a Missouri trucking accident understanding which trucking regulations were violated during the accident. A truck accident victim needs a Missouri trucking accident attorney with experience combing through federal regulations and applicable state law to successfully obtain compensation for truck accident victims.

Continue reading "Cass County Missouri Man Seriously Injured by Kenworth Truck" »

July 12, 2011

Missouri Truck Accident Kills Pike County Pedestrian on Highway 61

A 49 year old Missouri man from Shelbina, Missouri died in a Missouri truck accident on July 12, 2011 at 3:15am. He was struck by a Freightliner tractor trailer while walking in the roadway.

The Missouri trucking pedestrian accident occurred as Kevin W. Shipley of Shelbina, Missouri was walking in the northbound right lane of US-61 before sunrise this morning. Shipley was struck by a 2007 Freightliner that was driven by Edward L. Pinkham, 34. Pinkham was an out of state truck driver from Defiance, Ohio. Shipley died at the scene of the accident. His death was pronounced by the Pike County Coroner Jim Turner at 8:35am. Shipley’s next of kin has been notified of his death. There were no reported injuries for the truck driver.

Pedestrians must stay alert when walking near public roadways. Tractor trailers, buses, and other large commercial vehicles have a limited visibility. Commercial motor vehicle drivers have difficulty seeing individual walkers, a fact that spells danger for pedestrians. Pedestrians should exercise care when walking near highway to prevent the deadly combination of Missouri truck accidents and pedestrians. Pedestrians are advised to avoid walking directly in the roadway outside of a designated crossing area. Walking in the roadway increases a pedestrian’s risk of being involved in a Missouri trucking accident.

Pedestrians who are struck by large trucks while walking in the roadway may still be entitled to compensation. Missouri statute §304.012.1 states: “Every person operating a motor vehicle on the roads and highways of this state shall drive the vehicle in a careful and prudent manner and at a rate of speed so as not to endanger the property of another or the life or limb of any person and shall exercise the highest degree of care.” This statute requires truck drivers to drive carefully and exercise care. Even if the pedestrian accident victim was walking in the roadway when the accident occurred, the truck driver in violation of statute §304.012.1 may still be found negligent and liable for damages.

Continue reading "Missouri Truck Accident Kills Pike County Pedestrian on Highway 61" »

June 26, 2011

Hannibal Teen Injured in Marion County Side Collision Truck Accident

A 19 year old from Hannibal, Missouri was injured when a truck driver’s error resulted in a Missouri side collision truck accident on June 22, 2011. The Marion County Missouri truck accident occurred in Hannibal, Missouri.

Paul W. Shear of Taylor, Missouri was the truck driver who drove a 2004 Freightliner on Veteran’s Road at Route MM in Hannibal, Missouri. As Shear drove the Freightliner to the intersection, he failed to yield to traffic. Shear crashed the Freightliner into the driver’s side of a 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix driven by Kayla M. Rodgers of Hannibal, Missouri. Both vehicles ended off the roadway.

The 19 year old Rodgers suffered moderate injuries in the Missouri side collision truck accident. She was transported to Hannibal Regional Hospital by Marion County Ambulance. She wore her seat belt during the accident. Rodgers’s Pontiac was totaled in the accident. The Freightliner only sustained minor damage. There were no reported injuries for the truck driver.

Missouri side collision truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries. Tractor trailers are significantly larger than passenger vehicles. Passenger vehicle design cannot absorb the forces of a collision with such a large vehicle. Side airbags help prevent injuries when two passenger vehicles collide. However, side airbags are far less effective in tractor trailer accidents.

Missouri drivers should be aware of conditions that increase the risk of side impact collisions with tractor trailers. Intersections are dangerous because truck drivers may cross without being able to properly see other vehicles in the intersection. Truck drivers may also have a difficult time seeing other vehicles while changing lanes or making turns. Drivers of passenger vehicles should give tractor trailers ample space in those conditions. Other conditions that may lead to a Missouri side collision truck accident are adverse weather, and poor road conditions.

Continue reading "Hannibal Teen Injured in Marion County Side Collision Truck Accident" »

June 23, 2011

Texan Truck Driver Causes Missouri Rear End Truck Accident

A Cass County Missouri truck accident happened on June 23, 2011 at 3:25pm. The Missouri rear end truck accident occurred when a tractor trailer crashed into another vehicle on US-71.

Truck driver Hector H. Marrero of Houston, Texas drove a 2005 International tractor trailer on US-71 at 307th Street. Marrero slammed the tractor trailer in the left rear bumper of a 1999 Chevrolet driven by George W. Hess of Clinton, Missouri. After impact, the tractor trailer drove into a ditch off the side of the roadway and overturned. Both vehicles were totaled in the accident. The injured went to the Research Hospital in Kansas City, transported by West Peculiar E.M.S.

Missouri truck accidents may be caused by truck drivers from out of state. Missouri accident victims may wonder whether they may successfully sue out-of-state defendants in Missouri state court. State courts have limited jurisdiction. The Missouri state court does not have the authority to issue judgments on people who lack meaningful contact with the state.

Missouri Rule of Procedure 54.06 determines whether out-of-state defendants may be sued in Missouri state court. According to Rule 54.06, serving process on a person, firm, or corporation who “commits a tortious act” in Missouri is enough to authorize a judgment in Missouri state court. Motor vehicle accidents that result in injury are always considered a tortious act. Therefore, Rule 54.06 grants Missouri state court the authority to issue judgments against out-of-state truck drivers who cause injury in Missouri truck accidents.

Accident victims may additionally sue out-of-state trucking companies under Rule 54.06. When truck drivers injure an accident victim within the course of their employment, their employer trucking companies may be liable for that tortious act. Firms and corporations that commit tortious acts within Missouri are under the authority of Missouri state court. Under Rule 54.06, trucking companies may be held accountable in Missouri state court for causing Missouri truck accidents.

Continue reading "Texan Truck Driver Causes Missouri Rear End Truck Accident" »

June 5, 2011

Inattentive Truck Driver Causes Multivehicle Columbia Missouri Truck Accident

An inattentive truck driver caused a four vehicle Columbia Missouri truck accident when she failed to notice slowed traffic. The Boone County Missouri tractor trailer accident, which injured five people from Columbia, occurred on June 1, 2011 at 4:05pm.

Photo from the Columbia Missourian

Truck driver Pearl T. Anderson of Pine Bluff, Arkansas failed to notice that traffic on US-63 was slowing because of another accident on the roadway. When Anderson noticed the traffic, she swerved a 2009 Frieightliner and struck three passenger vehicles. First, the tractor trailer struck a 2000 Chevrolet driven by Gilberto M. Rodriguez. The tractor trailer then crashed into a 2000 Buick driven by Janice M. Palmer. The tractor trailer slammed into the rear of a 1997 Mercury driven by Amber K. Splitter. After striking the three passenger vehicles, the tractor trailer drove off the left side of the roadway and lost its load of rebar.

The tractor trailer totaled all three passenger vehicles and injured six people. The forces of the collisions pushed all three passenger vehicles off the left side of the roadway. A passenger in the Chevrolet and the driver of the Buick became entrapped in their vehicles.

Five Columbia residents were injured in the Boone County Missouri truck accident, including 1-year-old Latavia L. Franklin. Janice Palmer, 62, suffered the most severe injuries in the accidents. The other injured Columbians were Lylvester Franklin, 25, Amber Splitter, 30, and Marybell Garcia, 32. The truck driver, the only non-Missourian involved in the accident, sustained minor injuries.

Missouri distracted driving is the number one contributing factor to accidents. Cell phone use and texting while driving are popular examples of distracted driving, but any activity that takes attention away from the road contributes to distracted driving. Eating, applying makeup, using a GPS device, and looking at a nearby car accident decrease the amount of brain power used to safely operate a vehicle. Directing attention to another activity while driving for even a moment is dangerous because road conditions change quickly. For example, fast-moving highway traffic may suddenly slow because of an obstruction. If a driver is looking away from the road, she may not be able to slow down enough to prevent a Missouri truck accident.

Continue reading "Inattentive Truck Driver Causes Multivehicle Columbia Missouri Truck Accident" »

June 2, 2011

Madison County Truck Accident Fatal for Poplar Bluff Girl

A Madison County Missouri trucking accident proved fatal for an 8 year old girl from Poplar Bluff, Missouri. The Missouri big rig accident injured three other Poplar Bluff residents.

James H. Murphy, a 54 year old truck driver from Arkansas, attempted to cross US-67 at Route C while traffic was in the intersection. Murphy slammed into the 2003 Ford containing the four accident victims. The Ford ran off the side of the roadway and overturned. The Ford was totaled in the accident.

8 year old Abby N. Burke died in the Missouri big rig accident. She was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident by the Madison County Coroner Chris Follis. Three other people were injured. Ronald E. Daughhetee, 40, and Abby N. Burke, 17, were seriously injured. Melissa L. Daughhetee, 41, suffered moderate injuries. Ronald and Melissa Daughhetee were taken to Parkland Health Center in Farmington, Missouri by ambulance. Abby Burke was transported by Arch Helicopter to St. Louis University Hospital.

The death of a child is an unexpected, tragic event. Parents may be saddled with funeral expenses and medical bills during a time of enormous grief. Missouri law allows family members left behind to obtain compensation for losses related to the wrongful death. However, the circumstances that lead to a Missouri wrongful death lawsuit are emotionally trying.

The emotional difficulty of coping with the death of a loved one highlights the importance of obtaining an experienced Missouri big rig accident lawyer when filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Missouri law limits the recovery of compensation for a wrongful death to the closest family members of the accident victim. As a result, the plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit are often the most emotionally devastated by the accident. An experienced plaintiff’s lawyer is a vital component of a successful wrongful death claim.

Continue reading "Madison County Truck Accident Fatal for Poplar Bluff Girl" »

May 26, 2011

Taney County Truck Accident Injures Two Arkansas Victims

Two Arkansas men were injured in a Taney County Missouri truck accident on May 23, 2011 at 11:50am. The Missouri side collision truck accident occurred on MO-86, just 4 miles west of Ridgedale, Missouri.

Truck driver Terry A. Ozley of Willard, Missouri lost control of a 2001 Freightliner on MO-86 near Ridgedale, Missouri. The Freightliner crossed the centerline of the roadway into oncoming traffic. The Freightliner slammed into the side of a Ford F450 driven by Johnny L. Carter of Harrison, Arkansas. The Freightliner and the F450 both sustained damage in the Missouri side collision truck accident.

The two men injured in the Missouri truck accident were from Harrison, Arkansas. Carter, the driver of the F 450, suffered moderate injuries. Occupant Jeffrey A. Meier sustained minor injuries. Both men were taken to Skaggs Hospital in Branson, Missouri. Both accident victims wore a safety device. There were no reported injuries for the truck driver.

Out-of-state accident victims are advised to obtain a Missouri trucking accident lawyer for legal representation after an accident occurs in Missouri. A Missouri lawyer is well-positioned to understand how Missouri tort law applies to the facts of the accident. Accident victims often sue in the state in which they were injured to avoid jurisdictional issues. An individual court does not have authority over anyone. Rather, a court’s authority is limited by the rules of personal jurisdiction. Personal jurisdiction is the court’s ability to exercise power over a defendant.

State citizenship is one way to establish personal jurisdiction. State courts have personal jurisdiction over the citizens of the state in which they sit. However, the citizenship of the defendant is the determining factor. Even if all the accident victims are from Arkansas, only Missouri state courts can exercise personal jurisdiction based on citizenship over a Missouri truck driver. An Arkansas court does not have personal jurisdiction over the Missouri truck driver through citizenship.

Personal jurisdiction is additionally determined by state laws called “long arm statutes.” The long arm law in Missouri is determined by Missouri statute §506.500. Statute §506.500 gives Missouri courts jurisdiction over defendants in Missouri truck accident cases because injuring an accident victim in Missouri is committing a “tortious act” within the state. Out-of-state accident victims injured in Missouri should seriously consider filing suit in Missouri instead of their home states.

Continue reading "Taney County Truck Accident Injures Two Arkansas Victims" »

May 22, 2011

Young Springfield Woman Killed in St. Clair County Truck Crash

Grace E. Stanton of Springfield, Missouri was killed in St. Clair County Missouri trucking accident on May 21, 2011 at 11:56am. The Missouri truck accident occurred at the intersection of MO-13 and 3rd Street in Lowry City, Missouri.

Stanton drove a 2004 Oldsmobile Alero on MO-13. Truck driver Chad D. Long of Ash Grove, Missouri drove a 2007 International Tractor directly into her path. Stanton’s vehicle crashed into the International’s trailer. Stanton’s Oldsmobile was totaled in the accident, while the tractor trailer sustained only minor damage.

Stanton and occupant Joshua A. Thompson of Brookline, Missouri were injured in the Missouri truck accident. Both were taken to Golden Valley Hospital at Clinton, Missouri by ambulance. Thompson sustained moderate injuries. The accident was fatal for Stanton. She was pronounced in the hospital by Dr. William Comporon at 1:20pm. Her next of kin has been notified by the authorities. Truck driver Chad D. Long was tested for alcohol as required by law.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the agency of the federal government that promulgates safety regulations to decrease the occurrence of Missouri fatal truck accidents. According to the FMCSA’s motor carrier regulations, commercial drivers involved in fatal accidents must be tested for drugs and alcohol. Alcohol tests must be performed within eight hours of the accident. Drug tests must be performed within 32 hours. The FMCSA requires that the drug tests monitor five categories of controlled substances – marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines and methamphetamines, and phencyclidine (PCP). Those controlled substances have been found to negatively affect driving ability.

If a truck driver tests positive for drugs or alcohol, the trucker cannot legally operate a commercial motor vehicle on public roadways. The driver has to complete a “return-to-duty” process before being able to operate any commercial motor vehicle. The “return-to-duty” process may result in lengthy periods of unemployment. Truck drivers with a history of drug and alcohol use while driving often have difficulty finding another job. Even after the “return-to-duty” process is completed, follow-up drug testing adds additional financial stress to the truck driver. The FMCSA regulations deter truckers from driving roadways while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Continue reading "Young Springfield Woman Killed in St. Clair County Truck Crash" »

May 15, 2011

Three Vehicle Henry County Trucking Accident Injures Two

Two men were sent to the hospital for medical treatment after a Henry County trucking accident on May 10, 2011. The Missouri truck accident occurred on MO-13 at 11:15am.

Randy E. Johnston of Springfield, Missouri swerved in a 2007 Kenworth tractor trailer on MO-13, just north of MO-52. Johnston crashed into the left rear of the 1998 Chevrolet driven by Bill L. Kammerich of Chilhowee, Missouri. Johnston’s tractor trailer continued to slam into the whole left side of Kammerich’s Chevrolet after the initial impact. Johnston swerved away from the Chevrolet and began to slide. The trailer of the Kenworth then crashed into a Ford 555 Model Tractor driven William F. Stewart of Clinton, Missouri. The vehicles blocked northbound MO-13 when they came to rest.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol reported that two people were injured in the Missouri tractor trailer accident. William F. Stewart, 73, of Clinton suffered serious injuries. He did not wear safety device during the accident, but tractors are exempt from seat belt requirements. Billy L. Kammerich, 57, of Chilhowee suffered moderate injuries. He wore a safe device during the accident. Both men were taken to Golden Valley Memorial Hospital by Golden Valley E.M.S. There were no reported injuries for Johnston.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent agency of the federal government that makes safety recommendations and monitors the progress of safety regulations. According to the NTSB, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is failing to acceptably respond to highway safety recommendations. For example, the FMCSA has not enacted a proposal that would prevent trucking companies from operating if they use tractor trailers with mechanical problems on the roads. When trucking companies put unsafe vehicles on the road, they negligently endanger the public.

Trucking company negligence is a common Missouri truck accident cause. Trucking companies often sacrifice public safety for their profitability. Trucking companies may put poorly maintained vehicles on the road or hire poorly trained truck drivers. Sometimes, trucking companies will even use defective vehicles. The negligent behavior of trucking companies increases the likelihood of truck accident injuries.

Continue reading "Three Vehicle Henry County Trucking Accident Injures Two" »

May 12, 2011

Double Semi Accident Injures Man on I-70

Two semi trucks narrowly avoided injuring other drivers when they collided on I-70 in a Missouri trucking accident. The Missouri truck accident occurred on May 9, 2011 at 4:41pm in the Cooper County trucking accident.

Truck driver Edward S. Renwick lost control over his 2001 Sterling semi truck while driving eastbound on I-70. He sideswiped a 2005 Freightliner Box Truck driven by truck driver Gary A. Rogers. After impact, Renwick drove off the left side of the roadway into westbound traffic. Renwick then drove the semi truck into a guardrail and rested off the north side of I-70. Renwick suffered moderate injuries in the Missouri semi truck accident. An ambulance took Renwick to the Cooper County Memorial Hospital. The tractor trailers narrowly avoided injuring drivers.

Truck drivers may lose control of their commercial vehicles because of an expansive list of common Missouri truck accident causes. Truck drivers may engage in negligent behaviors that cause destructive accidents. Truck drivers may drive excessive hours above the legal limit or drive faster than the speeding limit. Some truck drivers negligently drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Trucking company negligence may cause a truck driver to lose control over a vehicle and cause a Missouri semi truck accident. Trucking companies may negligently maintain their fleet of commercial vehicles or use defective vehicles. Some trucking companies create unreasonable driving schedules, encouraging their drivers to forgo sleep. Discovering the root cause of a trucking is a difficult task. A plaintiff lawyer who specializes in truck accidents will investigate the facts of a truck accident and obtain compensation for injuries.

Continue reading "Double Semi Accident Injures Man on I-70" »

May 10, 2011

Four Ejected in Atchison County Truck Accident

An Atchison County Missouri truck accident injured four people when they were ejected from a sedan after collision with a tractor trailer. The Missouri trucking accident occurred on northbound I-29, 7 miles north of Rock Port, Missouri, at 10:39pm on May 9, 2011.

Joseph J. Darman of Cold Springs, Missouri was driving a 1995 Dodge on I-29 with three passengers. A 2004 Freightliner driven by David F. Hollenberg of Cameron, Missouri overtook Darman and struck the rear of Darman’s vehicle. The force of the impact overturned Darman’s vehicle, causing it to land on its side in the path of the Freightliner. The Freightliner pushed Darman’s vehicle off the roadway. All of the occupants in Darman’s vehicle were ejected during the course of the accident. The Freightliner came to rest on its wheels. Darman’s vehicle came to rest on its side, off of the roadway.

The four ejected occupants sustained all of the reported injuries in the Missouri truck accident. Driver Joseph Darman, passenger Rebecca L. Darman, and passenger Amanda N. Playford suffered serious injuries in the accident. Atchison-Holt Ambulance transported them to Grape Community Hospital in Hamburg, Iowa. They were transported by Life Flight to Omaha. Christopher J. Darman suffered moderate injuries. He was transported to the Grape Community Hospital in Hamburg, Iowa. The injured parties were all from Cold Springs, New York. None of the injured parties wore a seat belt.

According to the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), the leading cause of death for Americans from 2 to 33 year old is traffic accidents. More than 30,000 Americans die in car accidents each year. However, national reports indicate that last year, 2010, had the lowest number of traffic fatalities since 1949. Traffic deaths have decreased over the years though the number of drivers and cars on the road have increased. The decrease in traffic fatalities is partially attributed to the enforcement of seat belt laws.

Missouri statute §307.178 requires seat belts for passenger cars. Drivers, front-seat adult passengers, and children less than sixteen years of age are required to use an appropriate safety device while in a passenger car. Missouri law does not currently require back-seat adult passengers to wear seat belts. Regardless of age or vehicle position, everyone should wear seat belts while in an operating vehicle.

Continue reading "Four Ejected in Atchison County Truck Accident" »

May 5, 2011

Four Kansans Injured in Jasper County Truck Accident

Four Kansas citizens were injured in a Jasper County Missouri trucking accident near Joplin, Missouri. The Missouri truck accident occurred on May 3, 2011 at 12:25pm.

A 1998 Kenworth tractor trailer slammed into the driver’s side of a 1998 Chevrolet Monte Carlo on MO-43, five miles north of Joplin. After the collision, the Kenworth truck drove off the roadway and overturned. The Kenworth was driven by Jeffrey L. Oglesby of Lamar, Missouri. The Chevrolet, which was totaled in the accident, was driven by Larry D. Hawkins of Parsons, Kansas.

Four citizens of Parsons, Kansas sustained injuries in the accident. Hawkins, the driver, suffered moderate injuries in the accident. James C. Glass and 14-year-old Adreanna M. Kendrick also sustained moderate injuries. Carla D. Kendrick suffered serious injuries. All four injured people went to St. John’s Hospital of Joplin via ambulance. Oglesby the truck driver did not have any reported injuries. The truck sustained extensive damage.

Filing a lawsuit to obtain compensation for injuries sustained in a Missouri trucking accident can be a complex process for an accident victim. The process may be even more daunting when the trucking accident occurred in another state. Each state has the sovereign authority to create its own traffic laws. As a result, a particular turn may be legal in one state and illegal in a neighboring state. This system allows state legislatures to create the traffic laws that are suited for their state’s terrain, population density, and traffic problems. However, it complicates filing a negligence claim for plaintiffs who reside in another state.

An out-of-state accident victim injured in Missouri should contact a Missouri truck accident lawyer. A Missouri truck accident lawyer will understand how Missouri’s traffic laws apply to the facts of the accident victim’s case. A Missouri lawyer will be aware of recent changes in Missouri tort law, the body of law that governs compensatory claims for accident injuries. Like traffic laws, tort laws differ from state to state. A lawyer from the accident victim’s home state may not understand Missouri tort law as well as a Missouri trucking accident attorney.

Out-of-state accident victims should also consider filing in a Missouri state court or federal district court in Missouri. Personal jurisdiction is the power of a court over a defendant in a lawsuit. Every court does not have personal jurisdiction over every defendant. For example, an Alaskan court would not have personal jurisdiction over a non-Alaskan truck driver who injured a Kansas citizen in a Missouri truck accident. However, a Missouri court would have personal jurisdiction over the truck driver because the accident occurred in Missouri. Therefore, the accident victim could sue the truck driver in Missouri but not Alaska.

Continue reading "Four Kansans Injured in Jasper County Truck Accident" »

May 1, 2011

Johnson County Missouri Tractor Trailer Crash Injures Two from Oak Grove

A Johnson County Missouri tractor trailer crash injured two Oak Grove, Missouri residents on April 27, 2011. The Missouri big rig accident occurred on US-50, just west of MO-13, at 4:56pm.

Truck driver Douglas E. Thibodeaux from Lebanon, Missouri drove a 2000 International westbound on US-50 late Wednesday afternoon. Thibodeaux caused a Missouri truck accident when he attempted to change lanes. Thibodeaux crashed the massive tractor trailer that he operated into the rear of a 2004 Dodge driven by Asia M. Couchman from Oak Grove, Missouri.

Couchman and her passenger, Jackie L. Couchman, both suffered personal injuries in the Missouri trucking accident. They were transported to the Western Missouri Medical Center by Johnson County EMS. The injured parties all wore their safety devices during the accident. Both vehicles sustained minor damage.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, charges were pending an investigation by Warrensburg Police. Authorities conduct a number of inquiries into a Missouri trucking accident. The primary emphasis of accident investigation is discovering whether a law was violated. If a law could have been violated, the investigation seeks proof of violation for each element of the offense. For example, Missouri law enforcement officials will test surviving drivers for intoxication if there is suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Authorities investigate the scene of the trucking accident to determine what caused the Missouri truck accident. Skid marks may indicate the velocity, direction, and position of the vehicles before and during the crash. Damaged or broken vehicle parts can illuminate which sections of the vehicles sustained impact forces during the accident. If the drivers in the accident do not own the vehicles in question, the authorities must investigate their relationship to the owners. Investigators must gather information to make official crash reports, including statements from drivers, occupants, and witnesses.

Continue reading "Johnson County Missouri Tractor Trailer Crash Injures Two from Oak Grove" »

April 28, 2011

Tractor Trailer Ignores Stop Sign and Seriously Injures Woman

Lisa G. Hamilton of Albany, Missouri was seriously injured in a Missouri side collision trucking accident on April 26, 2011 at 2:02pm. The Missouri truck accident occurred in Harrison County, Missouri.

Hamilton drove on eastbound US-136 at US-69, 1 mile west of Bethany, in a 2005 Dodge Caravan. Truck driver Stanley G. Bridger failed to yield at a stop sign in a massive 2007 Peterbilt Conventional Tractor-Trailer. Bridger pulled directly into Hamilton’s path. The vehicles crashed in a Missouri side collision truck accident, causing extensive damage to both vehicles. Both vehicles came to rest on their wheels after impact.

Hamilton was seriously injured in the Missouri truck accident. NTA Ambulance transported Hamilton to Harrison County Community Hospital. Whether Hamilton wore a safety belt during the accident is unknown. She was assisted by the Sargent J.J. Rongey, Trooper T.B. Heintz, and the Bethany Police Department. There were no reported injuries for the truck driver.

Stopping at a stop sign, especially when there are other vehicles in the intersection, may be the simplest of driving mandates for Missouri drivers. Failure to stop at a stop sign creates a heightened risk of collisions and injuries, since other vehicles may enter the intersection at the same time. When a truck driver causes a Missouri truck accident by failing to stop at a stop sign, the court may submit punitive damages to deter that behavior in the future.

Punitive damages in a truck accident case are damages above and beyond that needed to compensate the accident victim for her injuries. Punitive damages are reserved for cases in which the truck driver’s conduct was deplorable. In Missouri, the courts may submit punitive damages against a negligent defendant who should have known his conduct created a high risk of injury, but showed disregard for the safety of others. Punitive damages may available in a truck driver negligence case because a truck driver should know that he creates a high risk of injury when fails to stop at a stop sign. When failing to stop at a stop sign, he knowingly violates a safety statute designed to protect the safety of drivers, passengers, and even pedestrians.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Statistical Analysis Center, thousands of Missourians are injured each year in commercial motor vehicle crashes. Deterring truck drivers from engaging in negligent behavior is vital to decreasing the devastation caused by Missouri trucking accidents.

Continue reading "Tractor Trailer Ignores Stop Sign and Seriously Injures Woman" »

April 19, 2011

Underride Truck Accident in St Charles County Injures Man

A Missouri underride truck accident injured a man on April 18, 2011 at 8:59pm. The Saint Charles County Missouri trucking accident occurred on westbound I-370, just east of Elm Street.

Gary Riggs, 57, of Anna, Illinois drove his 1992 Ford F150 into the rear of a big rig truck. The F150 became lodged underneath a 2005 Freightliner. Matthew S. Lackey, 46, of Granite City, Illinois drove the Freightliner.

Riggs was injured in the Missouri underride trucking accident. A Saint Charles County ambulance took him to St. Joseph East Medical Center for medical treatment. Whether Riggs was wearing his safety device is unknown. Both the Freightliner and the F150 sustained minor damage in the Missouri truck accident.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) created trucking regulations to decrease the number of dangerous underride truck accidents. The NHTSA requires that trucks be equipped with underride guards at 22 inches above the ground. Commercial trucks are also required to utilize conspicuity tape on heavy trailers. Conspicuity tape is reflective tape placed on the rear of the tractor trailer to make the truck more noticeable in darker conditions.

A NHTSA technical report found that requiring conspicuity tape on heavy trailers was an effective regulation. The conspicuity tape requirement was particularly effective in reducing crashes that cause injury. The report stated that the conspicuity tape requirement reduced fatal or injurious Missouri trucking accidents by 44% in dark conditions.

The conspicuity tape requirement is vital in preventing Missouri underride accidents that occur at night. Failure to place conspicuity tape on the rear of a tractor trailer is a statute violation that may show negligence on the part of the trucking company.

Continue reading "Underride Truck Accident in St Charles County Injures Man" »

April 14, 2011

Dump Truck Crash Kills One, Injures Four in St. Charles Missouri

A St. Charles Man was killed in a Missouri head-on trucking accident on April 13, 2011 at 6:18am. Missourians from O’Fallon, Troy and St. Charles were additionally injured in the Missouri truck accident.

A 2006 Peterbilt Dump Truck was driven by Bradley J. Geeding, 30, of Troy, Missouri on northbound Route Z, just south of Stealey Road. Geeding failed to negotiate a curve and crossed the centerline. The dump truck slammed into a 1994 Plymouth Sundance, causing a Missouri head-on truck accident. Juan C. Avila-Hernandes, 24, of O’Fallon, Missouri was the driver of the Plymouth. The small car was totaled in the Missouri dump truck accident.

Alfredo T. Robles, 67, of St. Charles, Missouri was killed in the St. Charles County truck accident. Robles was an occupant of Avila-Hernandes’s car. St. Charles County EMS personnel pronounced Robles dead at the scene of the accident at 6:30pm. His next of kin was notified.

Avila-Hernandes suffered from moderate injuries. He was transported to St. Joseph’s Center East. Abraham S. Perez and Leonel C. Ortiz, both occupants in Avila-Hernandes’s vehicle, suffered minor injuries in the accident. They were both transported by St. Charles County Ambulance to St Joseph’s Hospital West. Geeding sustained minor injuries and was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital West. No charges were reported after an investigation into the Missouri dump truck crash by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Enforcement Team and the Major Crash Team.

According to the Department of Transportation, thousands of Americans are killed in trucking accidents each year. 98% of deaths in fatal trucking accidents occur to non-commercial drivers, passengers, and pedestrians on the road. Only 2% of fatalities in trucking accidents occur to the commercial driver. Dump trucks, semis, and tractor trailers are so massive that seemingly slight errors in the operation, the maintenance, and the manufacturing of commercial trucks may cause extensive damage.

Commercial truck manufacturers have launched truck recalls because of safety issues. Peterbilt and Kenworth recalled over 5,000 trucks because a fire may result from degradation in a combustion tube. Peterbilt and Kenworth additionally recalled over 4,500 trucks because of a different potential fire hazard. An oil module centrifugal filter cap may loosen and come off, discharging oil and increasing the likelihood of a fire. The danger of these degraded combustion tubes and loose caps highlight how the negligent manufacturing of commercial trucks affect Missouri highway safety. A single loose cap may make Missouri truck accidents fiery accidents.

Continue reading "Dump Truck Crash Kills One, Injures Four in St. Charles Missouri" »

April 12, 2011

Tractor Trailer Crash Injures Clinton Missouri Woman while Backing Up

A Clinton, Missouri woman sustained injuries in a Missouri trucking accident after a tractor trailer reversed into her at 8:15am on April 8, 2011.

Truck driver Jordan T. Nelson, 22, of Altamont, Illinois reversed at a traffic signal on Business 13 just south of MO-7 in Henry County, Missouri. Nelson crashed a 1997 Peterbilt into the vehicle of Terry L. England, 50, of Clinton, Missouri. The 2003 Ford Focus that England drove sustained extensive damage in the Missouri truck accident.

Crystal M. Freeman, an occupant of England’s car, was injured in the Missouri big rig accident. The 30-year-old from Clinton, Missouri was taken to Golden Valley Hospital by a private vehicle. Freeman was reportedly not wearing her safety device. The Highway Patrol did not report any injuries for England or Nelson, who wore their safety devices.

Under Missouri law, failure to wear a seatbelt may reduce the damages for the victim in a negligence claim. Missouri is a comparative negligence state, meaning that the defendant may pay reduced damages after a Missouri trucking accident if the accident victim was partially at fault. The reduction in damages is typically in proportion to the percentage of fault assigned to the victim. For example, if the damage award is $10,000 and the accident victim was 50% at fault for the accident, the accident victim would only be compensated $5,000. The defendant can use failure to wear a seat belt as evidence of comparative negligence.

Missouri statute §307.178 determines how failure to wear a seat belt can be used as evidence of Missouri comparative negligence. The defendant must introduce expert evidence that the accident victim’s injuries were partially caused by the failure to wear a seat belt. The court may find that the victim’s failure to wear a seat belt contributed to the injuries and reduce the victim’s compensation. In Missouri, failure to wear a seat belt may reduce the victim’s compensation by up to 1% of the damages.

Continue reading "Tractor Trailer Crash Injures Clinton Missouri Woman while Backing Up" »

April 10, 2011

Eagle Rock Missouri Woman Dies in Barry County Head-On Collision with Tractor Trailer

A fatal Missouri head-on truck accident claimed an Eagle Rock resident’s life on Friday morning. The accident occurred on MO-112, 5 miles south of Cassville, Missouri.

Anne L. Davis, 88, of Eagle Rock, Missouri died in the Missouri truck accident. She was traveling in the eastbound lanes of MO-112 in a 2000 Chevrolet Malibu when a 2010 International Truck slammed into her head-on. The reason why the truck driver Jason H. Hessee, 35, of Springfield, Missouri traveled westbound in the eastbound lanes remains unreported.

Davis’s vehicle was totaled, while the International Truck sustained only moderate damage. Emergency services attempted to transport her to Cox South Hospital for medical treatment, but she passed away while in transit. She was pronounced at 12:15pm by Dr. Sweeny.

When a loved one dies in a negligent Missouri head-on truck accident, the emotional impact is devastating. Missouri wrongful death laws allow certain family members to recover monetary compensation to cope with the financial impact of the accident victim’s death. The family may recover for funeral expenses and pecuniary loss. Damages may additionally be recovered for the reasonable value of the support, services, consortium and companionship that the accident victim would have provided if not for the Missouri trucking accident.

Missouri’s wrongful death statute applies to traffic accident cases in which the defendant negligently causes the death of the accident victim. The statute aims to provide monetary compensation to the victim’s family to help with unexpected expenses. The statute also serves to secure compensation for those who relied on the accident victim financially.

Continue reading "Eagle Rock Missouri Woman Dies in Barry County Head-On Collision with Tractor Trailer" »

April 7, 2011

Missouri Tractor Trailer Crash Injures Columbia Missouri Man on Route B

A Missouri man was injured in a Missouri trucking accident on April 5, 2011 at 6:14pm on Route B in Bates County, Missouri.

Truck driver John M. Schreimar, 60, of Concordia, Missouri crossed the centerline of Route B in a 2005 Kenworth while driving eastbound. Everett M. Dains, 53, of Columbia, Missouri was driving a 2007 Dodge on westbound Route B at the same time. The towing unit of the Kenworth tractor trailer struck Dains’s vehicle.

Both the Dodge and the Kenworth tractor trailer sustained minor injuries. The vehicles were released to the drivers after the accident. No injuries were reported for the truck driver. As a result of the Missouri truck accident, Dains suffered minor injuries. He was not transferred to a hospital because he did not seek medical treatment.

Seeking medical treatment after a Missouri trucking accident is an important step in what to do after a Missouri truck accident. Many accident injuries do not show outward symptoms immediately, but can be identified through an examination by medical personnel. For example, brain injuries and whiplash neck injuries may elicit delayed symptoms. Accident victims may not be aware of their injuries for days after the accident. Medical professionals, however, are likely to check for brain and spine injuries after a Missouri truck accident. Receiving medical treatment immediately after the accident is vital for identifying the consequences of the accident.

Seeking immediate medical treatment can also help an accident victim get full compensation for injuries sustained in the accident. Medical records and bills will link the injuries directly to the accident, lessening the insurance company’s ability to argue that the accident was unrelated to the injuries. Medical records and bills related to injuries sustained in an accident will also give the court a better understanding of the financial costs of the accident to the victim. With improved evidence, the court may award more accurate compensation for the victim’s injuries.

Continue reading "Missouri Tractor Trailer Crash Injures Columbia Missouri Man on Route B" »

March 29, 2011

Two Men Injured in Livingston Missouri County Truck Accident in Chillicothe

An early morning Missouri tractor trailer accident in Chillicothe, Missouri near the intersection of highway US-36 and Mitchell Avenue seriously injured one man and moderately injured another on March 28, 2011 at 6:47am.

Max W. Archer, 22, of Hamilton, Missouri crossed US-36 while driving on Mitchell Avenue in a 1994 Chevrolet Corsica. Truck driver Luke J. Swords, 30, of LaSalle, Illinois was driving a 2004 International on US-36 as Archer crossed the roadway. Swords skidded off the roadway in a failed attempt to avoid a collision. The tractor trailer slammed into Archer’s vehicle, causing a Missouri semi-truck accident. After colliding with Archer’s vehicle, the semi-truck drove off the roadway, crashed into a sign, and overturned into a ditch. Both vehicles were totaled and towed away from the scene of the accident.

Archer was seriously injured. He was reportedly not wearing his safety device. The Life-Flight Eagle Helicopter transported him to St. Luke’s hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. Swords was moderately injured. Chillicothe E.M.S. transported him to Hedrick Medical Center. The men were additionally assisted by the Livingston County Sherriff’s Department, Chillicothe Police Department, and Chillicothe E.M.S. and Fire Department.

The accident was similar to another Missouri tractor trailer accident that occurred at the same intersection earlier this year. According to local reports, Walker Trent, 84, of Ludlow, Missouri was killed in a Missouri truck accident with a 2005 Trail King flatbed trailer in a September 2010.

Missouri trucking accident injuries are usually more severe than injuries sustained in car accidents. The increased severity of the injuries causes dramatic financial consequences for the victim of the crash, often an automobile or motorcycle driver. Obtaining compensation for the injuries sustained in the trucking accident is essential for the victim to be made whole after the accident. With the goal of making the victim financially whole after the accident, Missouri law allows recovery for medical bills, lost wages, diminished quality of life, pain and suffering, and other negative consequences caused by a Missouri truck accident.

Continue reading "Two Men Injured in Livingston Missouri County Truck Accident in Chillicothe" »

March 27, 2011

Trucker Overturns after Falling Asleep at the Wheel in Caldwell County Missouri

Two people were injured in a Missouri truck accident when a tractor trailer overturned on highway US 36, 6 miles east of Hamilton, Missouri. The accident occurred on March 20, 2011 at 5:15am in Caldwell County, Missouri.

According the Missouri State Highway Patrol, truck driver Pablo Herrera-Torres of Las Vegas, Nevada fell asleep while operating a 2002 Freightliner Tractor-Trailer. As a result, the massive tractor trailer went off the road. As Herrera-Torres attempted to steer back onto the roadway, the tractor trailer overturned on the passenger side. The tractor trailer blocked the westbound lane of the highway when it finally came to a stop.

The truck driver was injured in the Missouri semi truck accident. Miguel F. Perez-Martiuez, an occupant in the tractor trailer, was additionally injured. Both men were transferred to the Cameron Regional Medical Center by Caldwell County Ambulance. Herrera-Torres was wearing his safety device. Perez-Martinuez was reportedly not wearing a safety device.

Drowsy driving is a significant Missouri truck accident cause. However, the specific number of Missouri 18 wheeler accidents caused by drowsy driving is difficult for researchers to discern. According to a report from the National Sleep Foundation, Missouri is the only state that does not include a fatigue or drowsiness code in its crash reports. Missouri removed its code years ago for an unspecified reason.

Missouri motor carrier regulations aim to decrease the number of Missouri truck accidents, fatalities, and injuries caused by drowsy truck drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) restricts the number of hours that a truck driver can operate a commercial vehicle before taking a break. Under current federal law, trucking companies are required to retain truck driver’s logs for half a year. Despite these laws, some truck drivers do not get enough rest to drive because of unrealistic schedules and the drive to earn more. Missouri truck accident attorneys can use driver’s logs as evidence in personal injury claims against motor carriers and their drivers.

Continue reading "Trucker Overturns after Falling Asleep at the Wheel in Caldwell County Missouri" »

March 20, 2011

Audrain County Rear End Truck Accident Sends Waynesville Missouri Man to Hospital

A Waynesville, Missouri man was hospitalized after a Missouri rear end truck accident at the intersection of MO-19 and MO-54 on March 20, 2011 at 11:15am.

Alex W. Hause, 31, of Waynesville, Missouri was moderately injured in a Missouri truck accident. Hause drove a 2005 Kia on MO-19 in Audrain County, Missouri. He passed a 2010 Peterbilt tractor trailer driven by Michael E. Trinke, 56, of Rushville, Illinois before the intersection of Missouri highways 19 and 54. As Hause attempted to turn onto highway 54, the tractor trailer slammed into the rear of his Kia. The Missouri rear end truck accident forced Hause’s car of the roadway.

Hause suffered moderate injuries. He was transported to Audrain Medical Center for treatment. His vehicle was totaled. The Kia had to be towed away from the scene of the crash. Trinke, the truck driver, had no reported injuries from the crash. The Peterbilt tractor trailer only sustained minor damage and was driven from the scene.

Determining fault in Missouri semi truck accidents is a complicated process. Establishing fault after a big rig crash can involve a complex investigation into driving speeds, vehicle maintenance, and weather conditions. Blatant truck driver negligence can be the catalyst for a Missouri truck accident, but so can improperly weighted loads. Trucking insurance companies will invariably argue that the victim is actually at fault for the crash.

Missouri law allows defendants to raise the comparative negligence defense, which reduces the compensation that a victim can recover after a crash. If a truck driver raises a comparative negligence defense, the court will decide how negligent the victim was during the collision. If the court decides that the victim is even partially at fault for the Missouri truck accident, the court will reduce the compensation the victim may receive for injuries sustained.

Continue reading "Audrain County Rear End Truck Accident Sends Waynesville Missouri Man to Hospital" »

March 17, 2011

Semi Causes Extensive Damage to Washington County Teenager’s Car in a Side Impact Collision

The automobile of a Washington County teenager sustained extensive damage in a Washington County Missouri truck accident on March 16, 2011 at 10:35am. The Missouri side collision truck accident occurred on Highway 32, 1.5 miles west of Holiday Shores.

Truck driver William A. Barnhart, 37, drove a 1994 Peterbilt semi-trailer behind teenager Katelyn J. Beck of Caledonia, Missouri on Wednesday morning. Beck slowed her 2001 Pontiac Montana and attempted to make a left turn. Barnhart tried to pass Beck on the left side while she made that turn, causing the semi to slam into the side of Beck’s car in this Missouri side collision truck accident.

The semi caused extensive damage to Beck’s car. Beck and her passenger Rechelle L. Beck, 41, suffered minor injuries. Washington County ambulances transferred them to the Washington County Hospital. They suffered minor injuries. The Highway Patrol did not report any injuries for Barnhart. While Beck’s car required towing, the Peterbilt semi was simply driven from the scene.

Missouri side impact collisions pose a particular threat to automobiles. Cars cannot withstand broadside collisions as well as front- or rear-impact crashes. There are no crumple zones on the sides of a car to absorb the force of the crash. Many cars additionally lack the protection of side curtain airbags. Broadside collisions exploit these systematic weaknesses, causing extensive damage to vehicles and serious injury to people. Broadside collisions between two cars often cause fatalities, serious injuries, and extensive vehicle damage. A broadside collision involving a semi-trailer is even more dangerous.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) strictly regulates semi-trailers like the Peterbilt with the goal of reducing the rate of dangerous and deadly collisions on the nation’s highways. Many of the regulations target the type of driver behaviors that lead to Missouri side collision truck accidents. Regulations bar driving over the speed limit and texting while driving for commercial motor vehicle. When a truck driver violates a regulation from the FMCSA, an experienced Missouri accident attorney can use that violation as evidence of negligence in driving.

Continue reading "Semi Causes Extensive Damage to Washington County Teenager’s Car in a Side Impact Collision" »

March 2, 2011

Tractor Trailer Causes 31 Car Pileup in St Louis Missouri

TRU%20A1.JPG

Slick, icy roads Wednesday morning in Missouri caused a serious truck accident and led to 31-car pileup on Highway 64/40 in Midtown St Louis. According to local reports, a FedEx tractor trailer was the catalyst for this crash when it lost control on eastbound highway 64. Vehicle after vehicle crashed into the FedEx tractor trailer after losing control on the ice.

Doug Lemmons, a driver from Dardenne Prairie who was involved in the 64/40 pileup, said he could hear the screams of a victim lodged between an SUV and his car while he waited for help. Lemmons himself was trapped in his car until he was extricated by rescuers.

The massive pileup caused roughly 30 people to be sent to local area hospitals. Most of the victims have been treated and released. Fifteen of the injured were sent to Saint Louis University Hospital, one of whom was admitted to surgery. Other victims went to the emergency room at Barnes Jewish Hospital, also in St Louis. There were no serious injuries, though some victims suffered broken bones.

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) stated it could not clear the roads of ice fast enough because of the inadequate weather forecast. The weather forecast changed to ice and freezing rain before dawn. MoDOT called in all of its workers and sent out trucks to salt the road however those actions were not enough to prevent this Missouri truck accident.

Since large commercial motor vehicles can cause significantly more damage than smaller vehicles, the regulation of tractor trailers like the FedEx truck involved in the pileup is essential for safe roads and highways. The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 created stringent requirements for commercial motor vehicles, drivers and carriers, and each must follow the regulations to prevent serious injury and death on our roadways.

Continue reading "Tractor Trailer Causes 31 Car Pileup in St Louis Missouri" »

February 7, 2011

Ballwin, Missouri Teens Narrowly Escape Serious Injury as Trailer Turns Over

Two teenagers barely escaped serious personal injuries from a tractor trailer in Ballwin, Missouri. Apparently the trailer from a semi-truck fell on top of the teen's small car. While the details are still unknown, this tractor trailer accident in Ballwin, Missouri happened on February 8, around 8:15 a.m. on eastbound Big Bend Road, just past Highway 141.

It appears the tractor loosened from the trailer and overturned, completely crushing the passenger side of the teen’s car. The names of the teenagers have not been released. It is unknown whether the teens suffered any injuries from this trucking accident.

Federal law requires truck drivers to perform a specific set of safety and equipment checks each and every time they take to the road, even following a brief rest. If the cause of this truck tipping over was due to an improper safety check the trucking company may be liable for damages. Trucking companies who ignore safety rules may bear punitive damages.

In this case, the consequences of a loaded trailer turning over on a busy roadway could have been fatal, or at the very least extremely serious. Ensuring the trailer is securely attached to the truck requires the most basic of safety and equipment checks. It is possible those safety checks were either not performed. However, this could have been the result of mechanical failure. In cases like this, commercial truck accident lawyers will request the truck and trailer be preserved so an expert can determine the cause of this failure.

Continue reading "Ballwin, Missouri Teens Narrowly Escape Serious Injury as Trailer Turns Over" »

January 31, 2011

Two Clarence, Missouri Residents Suffer Moderate Injuries During 1-70 Snow Storm

The snowy weather brought yet another automobile accident involving two tractor-trailers and a car. The car, a 1998 Honda Civic, was disabled from a previous accident, blocking the roadway near the 79-mile marker. The driver of the Honda, Phyllis Winters, 55, is a resident of Lone Jack, Missouri. The two passengers in the car, Jesse Lathron, 24, and Ben McAllen, 32, were inside the car, waiting for a tow truck.

At approximately 10:25 p.m., a 2011 Freightliner, driven by Steven Jackson of St. Louis slid into the Honda. Immediately following this crash, a 2008 International truck, driven by George Braswell of Kansas, struck Jackson’s truck. While no injuries were sustained by either of the truck drivers or Ms. Winters, Jesse Lathron and Ben McAllen were transported to Fitzgibbon Hospital where they were treated for moderate injuries.

Both truck drivers and Ms. Winters were wearing safety devices, though neither Lathron nor McAllen wore safety belts. The accident is currently under investigation to determine why the Honda was originally disabled and why the trucks were unable to see the car before hitting it. It is possible low visibility played a part in one or both of the accidents, as the recent snowy weather has contributed to many recent accidents in the area. However, federal trucking regulations require trucks pull off the roadway in conditions such as this. If the truck drivers failed to follow protocol, they could be subjected to legal liability for causing these victim's injuries.

We’ve all heard or read about fatalities which occur when a disabled car is struck by a multi-ton tractor-trailer. If you have been in an accident with an 18-wheeler, it’s imperative you contact a seasoned Missouri truck accident attorney in order to have your rights protected right from the beginning. The trucking industry and their insurance companies are notorious for concealing evidence. Many times, things just happen to "disappear."

If you should find yourself stranded by a disabled vehicle this winter, if possible, move the car a safe distance from all lanes of traffic and turn your flashers to alert oncoming traffic. If you are unable to move the vehicle, do not stay inside the vehicle. Exit as quickly as possible and get to a safe area. Next, call the Missouri Highway Patrol immediately for assistance, and use any reflective materials you have in your car to make it more visible.

This time of year always brings a rash of auto accidents due to the snow and ice. If at all possible it’s smart to avoid driving altogether during inclement weather. If you simply must get out on the snowy roads, drive slowly and defensively. Car accidents take a toll on those involved, both physically and mentally. Many times injuries may not present themselves until days or weeks following the accident. If you have been involved in an auto accident, a Saint Louis personal injury attorney can look at the facts surrounding the accident.

January 20, 2011

Hit and Run Semi Truck Injures Fifteen-Year Old Boy Near Springfield

A 15-year old boy from Turley, Oklahoma suffered serious injuries Tuesday night in a hit-and-run truck accident near Springfield, Missouri. This truck accident in Missouri occurred at about 10:50 p.m., January 18, 20100 as the boy walked along the shoulder of Interstate 44, west of Springfield. Apparently, the tractor-trailer hit the boy, then hit a red wrecker truck before leaving the scene of the accident, traveling westbound. According to Missouri highway patrol, the hit-and-run truck driver was driving a white tractor and hauling a box trailer. It is believed the semi-truck may have red paint markings on it. The boy remains in the hospital, although there is no update on the extent of his injuries.

Under Missouri law, the driver of this truck had a legal obligation to stop and render aid to the victim while waiting for officials to arrive. In Missouri, statute 577.060 makes it illegal for one to to leave the scene of an accident where there is injury to a person or damage to property. In fact. Here, this truck driver could be facing a class D felony.

In this particular instance it is not yet clear why the driver left the scene of the accident, however a search is underway for this truck driver. We certainly hope the driver will be apprehended, especially for the sake of this young victim. An array of unique legal issues can come with a truck accident, most especially one where the driver left the scene. Several parties may be liable in this particular trucking accident, such as the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, the shipping company and, of course, the driver.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident involving a commercial truck, you could benefit from speaking with a Missouri personal injury lawyer. Whether the accident involved serious injuries or fatalities, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you pursue compensation and protect your legal rights. The truck driver who struck this boy outside Springfield should be held legally, financially, and morally culpable for his actions.

January 16, 2011

Post-Trial Motion Seeks to Set Aside Madison County Verdict Regarding Tanker Truck Accident

Circuit Judge Ann Callis will hear a post-trial motion at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, January 14, 2011, regarding a multi-million dollar verdict reached last November by a jury who found in favor of plaintiffs after a tanker truck caused a Missouri tractor-trailer accident. The tanker was driven by Gary Collier, employed by Millstadt Rendering Company. Thomas and Betty Edwards claim Mr. Collier fell asleep while driving his tanker truck on I-55 in St. Genevieve County, MO. Allegedly, Collier then drove off the road, causing his tanker to become disengaged from his rig; the tanker crossed the median into the left lane on the other side of the highway crashing into the rig being driven by Mr. Edwards. This truck accident in Missouri occurred in 2008 and soon afterwards Mr. and Mrs. Edward sued, claiming negligence and loss of consortium for Betty Edwards.

In an attempt to recover damages to their tractor trailer, Slay Transportation Inc., Thomas Edward’s employer, filed a motion to intervene in the suit during the trial. Both Millstadt and Gary Collier countered, arguing that Thomas Edwards suffered from uncontrolled diabetes which directly contributed to an accident which could have been avoided. Millstadt and Collier also claim that Slay Transportation was aware of Mr. Edward’s medical condition and should not have allowed him to drive the tractor trailer. The jury deliberated long into the evening of November 17th before finding Millstadt and Gary Collins 93 percent liable for the accident, and awarding Thomas Edwards $2.5 million in damages, Betty Edwards $800,000, and Slay Transportation $110,863.08.

By all accounts, the trial in this truck accident case was extremely contentious, with the defendant’s attorney, Martin Morrissey accusing plaintiff’s attorney Eric Carlson of “mudslinging.” There were specific issues during the trial regarding Collier’s tractor-trailer rig and its tires; Millstadt sent the wrecked rig to the scrap yard, preserving only two tires for the trial and displaying those tires prominently throughout the trial. Because Judge Callis awarded the plaintiff’s a sanction regarding the missing rig and tires, the defense stresses the role of the tire rulings in what they are now claiming was an unfair verdict. Millstadt and Collier’s attorney assert in the post-trial motion there was absolutely no chance the jury would consider the Defendant’s arguments once they determined the Court essentially believed they had hidden or destroyed evidence.

The Defendant’s additionally believe the jury awarded a clearly excessive amount to Thomas Edwards based on sympathy rather than facts and that Mrs. Edward’s award of $800,000 was “grossly excessive,” since Betty Edwards testified during trial that the accident brought her closer to her husband. The post-trial motion in this serious truck accident asks Callis to order a new trial, enter a judgment notwithstanding the verdict or remit the damages awarded to the Edwards.

Our Missouri personal injury truck lawyers will be watching this case closely as we believe the only way to make our roadways as safe as possible is to hold negligent trucking companies and/or their reckless drivers responsible.

January 9, 2011

Missouri Accident Involving Tractor Trailer Kills Livestock

A tractor trailer flipped over near Buck Creek, Missouri on January 2, 2011. Highway 67 was blocked by the disabled truck and trailer for seven hours, disrupting highway traffic and motorists. The trailer was filled with cows and many were killed from the impact. At this point, the investigating officers have not indicated what caused the truck and trailer to flip over. According to weather reports from that day, there was no fog, rain, snow or sleet which may have contributed to this Missouri truck crash. Our truck accident personal injury lawyers often see accidents like this caused by distracted truckers because they are texting, reading, or talking on mobile devices. It is unknown if distraction contributed in causing this crash. Thankfully, no other vehicles were involved and the driver of the truck escaped without serious injury.

If you see tractor trailers swerving or driving erratically on the highway, we strongly recommend you contact the authorities by dialing 911, before someone is seriously injured. As responsible citizens, we must look out and protect one another from fatigued truckers.

January 2, 2011

Impaired Trucker Pays Victim $2.0 Million for Injuries

In Missouri, an lady who was injured by a impaired truck driver under the influence of methamphetamine, amphetamine and methamphetamine metabolites, has been paid $2,000,000.00 to settle her personal injury claim. On October 4, 2007, the victim has traveling in Franklin County when the truck driver rear-ended her, forcing her vehicle off the roadway. Under the federal motor carrier regulations, which control the interstate operation of tractor trailers, whenever any accident results in personal injuries, the driver must submit to a drug test. In this case, the driver underwent a urine test, which revealed the presence of these drugs. This goes to show how important these regulations are in protecting innocent individuals and families from bad truck drivers. In all likelihood, this driver will never be allowed to operate a tractor trailer again

Continue reading "Impaired Trucker Pays Victim $2.0 Million for Injuries " »

December 18, 2010

Deadly Truck Accident in New Madrid, County Missouri Results in Settlement for Family

This week, attorney E. Ryan Bradley, a St. Louis personal injury lawyer secured a confidential settlement for the family of a man who was killed after being rear-ended by a tractor trailer last year in New Madrid County. As part of the settlement, the family has agreed to keep the identity of the truck company confidential as well as the settlement amount.

The facts of this particular case were very difficult since it was established the driver of the vehicle that was rear-ended by the tractor trailer was intoxicated. Even though the trucker was negligent in rear-ending the car, evidence at the crash scene indicated the car was moving very slow at the time of contact and had possibly just reentered the roadway from the shoulder. The truck company alleged the decedent knew or should have known the driver of the car was intoxicated and sought to have his comparative fault reduce any amount awarded at trial. On top of this, the decedent had not worked in years and had not supported his own family.

Overall, our St. Louis wrongful death lawyers, and more importantly, our clients, are extremely pleased with this result obtained against the trucker and the truck company.

Holding negligent truck companies and their reckless drivers responsible for their actions is the only way we can ensure our roadways remain safe. Truck companies throughout the nation are putting more and more inexperienced drivers behind the wheel of massive trucks without the proper training required to operate them safely. In some cases, drivers cannot even speak English, one of the requirements of a CDL holder under the Federal Motor Carrier Regulations.

If you have questions about your rights concerning a truck accident in Missouri, please contact our personal injury lawyers in St. Louis today for a free consultation.

November 17, 2010

Mexico, Missouri man seriously injured after accident with tractor-trailer

James Admire, 47, was seriously injured after his car collided with a tractor-trailer on Highway 54 in Callaway County.

The initial report on this Missouri tractor-trailer accident says that Admire was heading southbound on the highway in a 2009 Mercury at the time of the crash. As he approached Old Highway 54, a 2003 International tractor-trailer, driven by Jesse Bish, 37, entered the highway in front of Admire. Admire's car then slammed into the back of the tractor-trailer unit.

Admire was taken to University Hospital for emergency treatment of serious personal injuries. He was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.

Bish did not sustain any injuries.

Generally in rear-end collision cases, negligence is assumed on the part of the at-fault driver since every driver should be in control of where their vehicle is heading. Some more information needs to be investigated with regard to this incident, however, like the speeds of the two vehicles.

Since every case is unique, it is important to get the advice of a legal professional with lots of experience. If you have questions about how to handle an accident, you should contact a Missouri personal injury lawyer for a consultation. Most will charge nothing for this initial meeting where you can discuss your case and determine the best course of action for you and your family.

November 10, 2010

Texting ban for truck drivers becomes official

Last January, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood banned the practice of texting by truck drivers in order to cut down on tractor-trailer crashes. At the time of the announcement, it was only a regulatory guideline and not yet an official FMCSA rule. That changed at the end of last month when a final rule banning texting by truck drivers took permanent effect.

The final rule specifically targets texting, not just talking, as studies have shown it to impair attention far more and thus making it more likely to result in a serious injury accident. While any number of distractions can exist in the cab of a tractor unit and result in riskier situations, texting results in crash rate 23 times higher than focused, undistracted driving.

The ban comes at a time when text messaging has exploded as a means of communication. The total number of text messages sent last year was 22 times higher than it was just four years ago.

While support of the ban is pretty widespread, some groups, like the American Association for Justice, say it doesn't go far enough. They and other safety advocacy groups argue that there are many more in cab distractions that should be banned, such as some on-board computers. The final rule on texting bans the practice on personal phones and other dispatch or communications equipment, but many other on-board distractors are not addressed by the rule.

November 6, 2010

Family of Missouri woman wins $35 million verdict

The family of Anita Gibbs, an elementary school principal from Kansas City, was awarded $35.25 million for damages stemming from the Missouri tractor-trailer crash that claimed Gibbs' life.

According to local media reports, the accident in question occurred in 2006. A tractor-trailer, driven by George Albright, Jr., crashed into to Gibbs' car. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The verdict in this truck accident case went against CenTra Trucking, which is the trucking company that operated the rig that hit Gibbs. It was argued that Albright, the truck driver, was driving without proper rest and not keeping up his time logs according to regulation. Albright himself was found not guilty of manslaughter in a previous ruling.

While no amount of money can possibly ease the pain of losing a loved one, the verdict will allow Gibbs' family to cover the expenses that have arisen as a result of the crash. It also shows that trucking companies need to follow the commercial motor carrier regulations as the civil courts system will hold them accountable should they cut any corners.

October 31, 2010

Crash involving tractor trailer results in four injuries

A Missouri car accident involving a tractor-trailer sent four people to the hospital in Buchanan County, one with serious injuries.

According to local media reports and the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the accident occurred around 4:15 p.m. on Highway 36. Stephanie Bramblett, 20, was driving a 2002 Ford Focus eastbound on the highway with three passengers: Noah McCrary, 18; Lindsey Hulett, 17; and Colton Shaw, 18. Ahead of Bramblett's vehicle, a tractor-trailer, driven by William Sager, 60, turned onto Highway 36 from northbound Highway 31. As it merged onto the highway, the 1993 Peterbilt tractor-trailer was hit from behind by Bramblett's car. The car ran off the road and came to rest in the median while the tractor-trailer pulled over to the shoulder.

The force of the impact ejected Hulett from the vehicle. She was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

Hulett was seriously injured in this tractor-trailer accident and had to be flown to Heartland Regional Medical Center for emergency treatment. Bramblett, McCrary, and Shaw all sustained less serious injuries, but were still taken to local hospitals for treatment.

Hopefully all involved make a full recover. Our thoughts are with the injured parties and their families.

It has not yet been reported why Bramblett failed to stop before slamming into the back of the tractor-trailer. More investigation into this incident could reveal additional contributing factors not yet identified in these early reports.

October 21, 2010

Save lives by reporting unsafe driving

More than any kind of mechanical failure, the most common cause of tractor trailer crashes is driver error. While most drivers and companies prioritize safety, a few bend the rules in order to cover more miles or bring in bigger shipments. This can be done by driving excessive hours or speeding, and whenever this happens, mistakes are more prone to occurring. The best way to shift priorities back to safety is to hold negligent drivers and their companies responsible.

There are several ways to do this. The simplest way is simply calling the trucking company directly. You might see a phone number on the truck or a company name that you can search for later. If you feel that contacting the company is not the best solution, there are other agencies you can call.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a special hotline set up where people can call to report negligent companies and unsafe maneuvers by drivers. The number for this is 1-888-368-7238. It may also be helpful to call the local highway patrol. Here in Missouri, that number is 573-751-3313.

Another way to hold a company responsible for a serious truck accident is through the civil courts system. If you feel like an accident involving you or a loved one was caused by driver negligence, or you simply have questions about how to handle an injury accident, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

October 19, 2010

Two men injured in accident with tractor-trailer

Johnny Heckman, 36, and William Hilles, 45, were both injured after the vehicle they were in was hit by a tractor-trailer, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

This Missouri truck accident happened on Highway 38 near Marshfield just after midnight on Tuesday morning. The two men that were injured were heading eastbound in a 1999 Ford F350, with Heckman driving. They approached a curve on the highway at the same time as a westbound 2009 Sterling tractor-trailer, driven by Bryan Wells, 44.

According to the accident description in the initial report, as the big rig came around the curve in the roadway, it crossed over the center line. Wells tried to correct by swerving to the right, but the trailer unit still remained across the center line and struck the pickup.

Hilles' injuries were listed as serious, while Heckman's were described as moderate. They both received emergency treatment at Cox South Hospital.

An initial crash report is not considered a comprehensive description of the accident and further investigation, including accident reconstruction, is often performed on more serious accidents.

Those injured in a tractor-trailer crash would be wise to discuss their accident with a truck accident attorney. Trucking companies, especially large national shipping organizations, sometimes have a team of legal experts and crash responders who are often on the scene within hours protecting the interests of the company. Personal injury lawyers will work to make sure the accident victim's rights are preserved.

October 8, 2010

Tractor-trailer hits school bus, causes multiple minor injuries

A Camdenton School District bus and a tractor-trailer were two of the five vehicles involved in a Missouri injury accident on Route 5 that sent 19 people to the hospital, though thankfully, most of the injuries were minor and there were no fatalities.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, this tractor-trailer crash began when the commercial truck, driven by Patrick Wortman, rear ended the school bus. The bus was stopped as a line of cars ahead of it waited for a driver to make a left turn. The initial impact forced the bus into the line of cars, causing a chain reaction collision that ultimately involved three other vehicles besides the bus and tractor-trailer.

A passenger in one of the cars, the bus driver, and 17 students were taken to the hospital for treatment after the wreck. A 13-year-old girl sustained the worst injuries and was airlifted to a local hospital. Her injuries were described only as moderate, however, and she was released later in the evening.

After an accident like this, there will be much investigation into the cause including drug and alcohol tests for the bus and truck driver.

Missouri has already seen a horrible school bus and tractor-trailer accident this year. Thankfully, we didn't see the same level of tragedy in this most recent incident as we did in that terrible school bus crash on I-44 in August where two people were killed.

October 5, 2010

Tractor-trailer driver seriously injured in fiery wreck

A serious Missouri truck accident sent the driver to the hospital and shut down westbound I-70 for hours.

The driver, later identified by local media as Jerry Oiler, 51, was airlifted from the tractor-trailer crash site and flown to St. John's Mercy Medical Center for emergency treatment.

The crash happened around 1:20 p.m. near Wright City, Missouri. Oiler's truck began to drift to the right side of the roadway, where it hit a parked car. After the collision, the car and truck burst into flames.

The parked car was unoccupied at the time of the crash. Hopefully Oiler can make a full recovery.

More investigation will be needed to determine why Oiler's tractor-trailer drifted off the road and why he didn't see the parked car.

September 28, 2010

Tractor-trailer crash in Downtown St. Louis

Photo by KMOV TV
i70truckcrash.jpg

Eastbound Interstate 70 near the Memorial Drive exit is completely shut down after a St. Louis tractor-trailer crash involving two trucks and several other vehicles.

Emergency responders and clean-up crews are still at the scene and many details are still sketchy, but we do know that the accident took place just before 11 a.m. One of the tractor trailers, which was carrying concrete tubes, partially overturned and dumped it's shipment across the roadway.

It appears that at least four other vehicles were involved in this serious truck accident as well.

No indication on whether there were any serious injuries has been given. We will keep an eye on this situation as it develops.

September 26, 2010

Legislators to debate raising weight limit for commercial trucks

Changes to the weight regulations for tractor-trailers are expected to be debated by legislators and transportation officials and could lead to looser restrictions on weight limits for these commercial trucks.

The current proposal being advocated by some in the trucking industry is to raise the weight limit from the current 80,000 pounds to 97,000 pounds, an increase of more than 20 percent.

The weight restrictions exist as a safety measure to limit the amount of damage done in the event of a commercial truck accident. These vehicles are massive and, while many drivers are very skilled and accident-free, mistakes do happen. Anytime a tractor-trailer driver loses control on a highway, the potential for extensive damage and injuries exists. Tests have shown that it takes anywhere from 250 to 450 feet of hard braking for a truck driver to stop a fully loaded tractor-trailer traveling at 55 m.p.h., depending on reaction time and the condition of the brake pads.

Those advocating a higher weight limit say that while safety is of the utmost importance, the current regulations are too restrictive, especially for this economy. If trucks could carry more, companies would be more profitable. You could also see fewer trucks on the road if each individual vehicle could carry a heavier load.

Opponents to the rule change point to a number of high-profile tractor-trailer crashes and the deaths and injuries caused by truck accidents. One such incident took place in St. Louis two years ago when a tractor-trailer driver, who had become distracted by his cell phone, plowed through a line of ten cars near a construction zone before finally coming to a stop. Had the truck been carrying more weight, it would have taken longer to stop and more passenger cars would have been crushed.

September 20, 2010

Number of traffic fatalities falling

The number of people killed in a traffic accident fell to 33,808 for the year 2009, which is the lowest that number has been in 60 years, according to data released by the Department of Transportation.

In addition to the overall decline in accidents, there has been a significant drop in the number of fatal tractor-trailer accidents as well. There was more than a 25 percent drop in these types of crashes when comparing last year to 2008.

Several factors are contributing to this decline in accidents. The economic recession is probably why last year's drop was so dramatic. With many companies scaling back, there were less trucks on the road and less opportunity for wrecks.

While the recession might get credit for the sharpness of the decline last year, truck accidents have been steadily falling for years due to other reasons.

New technological advances, such as collision warning systems and electronic data recorders, are becoming more commonplace and cutting into the number of crashes.

Regulations on the trucking industry are also having an effect. Since the latest Hours of Service regulations took effect, there has been a 20 percent drop in large truck crashes.

September 2, 2010

Most trucking companies have not checked status under new rules

According to the Federal Carrier Safety Administration, the majority of trucking companies have not logged on to the CSA 2010 website to check their safety performance rating data. The new system was designed to better analyze tractor trailer crash and inspection data to give a more accurate safety rating.

Some worry that the trucking industry is not invested in the new program since so few have logged in to check their rating. Over 11,000 carriers have checked their status compared to nearly 500,000 total carriers that could be affected by the new rules.

While some of the apparent lack of interest can be attributed to the fact that some of the 500,000 may not have enough data in the system to give accurate performance ratings, the numbers are much lower than regulators would hope.

The new program hopes to cut down on the number of tractor trailer injury accidents in Missouri and around the country by giving more detailed ratings of companies and drivers. It is unfortunate that so many carriers seem to have little interest in the safety program. Hopefully, as the program leaves the test phase and goes nationwide in November, more carriers will get behind the new program and commit to making our highways safer.

August 29, 2010

Tractor-trailer carrying blueberries crashes and injures 6

A Missouri tractor-trailer crash on I-44 injured six people, four seriously, and snarled traffic for hours as crews had to clean up 40,000 pounds of blueberries that were being transported by the big rig.

According to local media reports, the crash occurred just east of the Piney River Bridge in Pulaski County. The truck driver, Kalisa Evariste, 50, lost control of the 2009 Freightliner and crossed the median into oncoming traffic. After crashing through the median cables, the tractor-trailer hit an oncoming pickup truck, driven by John Korenak, 59, and then went off the roadway down an embankment.

After the initial collision, Korenak's pickup then collided with a 2003 Acura, driven by Angelia Varga, 40, and both the pickup and the Acura also spun out of control over the embankment.

Evariste and a passenger in the semi, Nicholas Sohns, 29, were seriously injured and taken to Phelps County Regional Medical Center. John Korenak and a passenger in the pickup, Behel Korenak, 60, were also seriously injured and taken to different hospitals for emergency treatment. Angelia Varga and her passenger, Francis Varga, 55, also sustained injuries, but theirs were considered less serious and they refused treatment at the scene.

The right lane of westbound I-44 was closed for hours as workers cleared the scene of the passenger vehicles and then worked to unload the berries being hauled by the truck.

Local media reports said that the tractor-trailer was operated by the England trucking company. This large shipping company has more than 5,000 drivers and has been involved in more than 400 total tractor-trailer crashes in the past two years, with a 161 of those crashes causing injury.

August 21, 2010

Trucking industry concerned about public data from CSA 2010

Nine states, including Missouri, have been testing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's new safety enforcement program, CSA 2010, to generally favorable reviews. Now, though, with the program scheduled to go into full swing in November, some in the trucking industry are worried that the program is moving too quickly and that some tweaking needs to be done.

Specifically, those that are concerned about the program are worried that there will be issues with the way the new data is released to the public. Part of the changes with the new program are the way tractor-trailer crashes are tracked and reported to the public. Each driver and company is given safety ratings based on a number of factors, including results of random tests and crash history, and these ratings will be made public.

If everything were to go as scheduled, a lot of the new data from the test states would be made public in November, with the other states officially joining the program after that. Many companies in non-test states have already started to transition to the new CSA procedures to make the process smoother.

The problem, says representatives from the Transport Corporation of America and other industry groups, is that this early data needs to be examined to make sure it accurately reflects the actual ratings of the companies it's tracking. If the data or ratings system is flawed, they say, it could turn public opinion against the program by giving a false impression of the number of truck accidents in Missouri and other states. They want to make sure that all the data is thoroughly scrutinized before going public. A University of Michigan study is being conducted on the testing procedures to make sure they produce accurate results, but that report won't be ready until December.

Representatives for the FMCSA say they are confident in the data, and any errors discovered by the study would only require minor tweaks and public data on truck accidents already exists. The new program just changes the rating systems.

The most important thing in this process is that the data collected is accurate. One of the best ways to curb the rate of tractor-trailer accident injuries is to hold negligent drivers and companies responsible.

If you have questions about a truck accident case of your own and would like legal advice, contact a St. Louis truck accident lawyer for a free consultation.

August 17, 2010

Man killed in wreck with tractor trailer

Tom Sargent, 32, was killed when the car he was driving crashed into a tractor trailer on Highway 412 in Dunklin County, Missouri.

According to the initial crash report, Sargent was traveling south on Route C in a 2002 Saturn at the time of this Missouri tractor trailer crash. As he crossed into the intersection with Highway 412, he struck the rear of a 1998 Freightliner, driven by Glen McBride, 38.

Sargent was pronounced dead at the scene. McBride was uninjured.

Sargent was not wearing a seat belt.

Much more investigation will be needed as the initial crash report leaves out many important details from this fatal truck accident. We don't know why Sargent hit the back of the tractor trailer or if either driver was breaking traffic laws. An accident reconstruction will be able to determine the speeds of the vehicles in question and piece together the events leading up to the crash.

Cars hitting the trailers on big rigs has been a problem for years, but certain steps have been taken to reduce tractor trailer accident injuries. An underride bar has been made mandatory on trailers to prevent smaller cars from traveling under the rig in the event of a rear-end collision. Some trucks are also being fitted with collision warning systems to help the truck driver keep his rig out of harm's way.

August 13, 2010

Tractor-trailer wreck seriously injures Missouri man

Danny Ross, 41, was seriously injured in a tractor-trailer accident on Route F in St. Francois County, Missouri.

Ross was driving westbound in a 2008 Pontiac G8 at the time of the crash, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Ahead of Ross was an International tractor-trailer, driven by John Redmond, 62. Ross attempted to pass the truck on the left, but at that exact moment, Redmond attempted to make a left turn. The truck pulled into the path of Ross' car and he was unable to avoid a collision.

Ross was seriously injured and flown to Barnes Hospital for life-saving treatment. Redmond suffered minor injuries and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Ross wasn't wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

Hopefully both drivers will be able to make a full recovery.

From the initial description of this Missouri truck accident, we don't get all the details that could explain why this crash happened. Was Ross attempting to pass in a safe manner at an area where passing on the left is allowed? How fast were the two vehicles traveling? Did Redmond signal before attempting to make a left turn?

All of these questions will be answered by further investigation as liability and insurance issues will need to be settled. Since accident cases can become very complicated, it is advisable to seek legal advice from an experienced truck accident attorney before making any statements or agreements with insurance companies.

August 11, 2010

Safety officials discussing plans to combat sleep apnea in truckers

Officials with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are engaging in ongoing talks focused on combating health issues like sleep apnea, a major problem contributing to tractor trailer accidents.

Sleep apnea is a condition often associated with obesity that can disrupt normal breathing patterns while a person is at rest. As a result, sleep is disrupted and people suffering from this condition often find themselves fatigued.

This fatigue can lead to very serious truck accident injuries once the driver gets behind the wheel. Fatigue is a significant contributing factor in as many as one out of every seven tractor trailer crashes.

Truck drivers are especially likely to be obese and thus are more at risk for sleep apnea. The nature of the job requires a person to sit for eight hours or more each day and doesn’t provide many opportunities for a regular exercise cycle. As a result, as many as 40 percent of truck drivers are classified as significantly overweight.

Truck drivers receive medical exams every couple years, but it has never been required that they be tested for sleep apnea as part of the exam. That may change in the future as the American Trucking Associations estimate that as many as one-third of truckers suffer from the condition.

While the FMCSA is discussing the final changes to their health monitoring policy, proactive truckers and their companies should be doing everything they can to start exercise programs and reduce their weight so they are not at risk for sleep apnea. This is not only for the driver’s personal health and well being, but for the safety of everyone on the road.

August 6, 2010

More details emerge about fatal I-44 school bus crash

Photo by KMOV TV
stjamesbuscrash1.jpg

While the cause of the fatal Missouri school bus crash on Interstate 44 near Gray Summit is still being investigating, some more details are beginning to emerge, including the names of the two that were killed.

The female student who was killed was Jessica Brinker, 15, and the other death was Daniel Schatz, 19, who was driving the GMC pickup that was also involved in the fatal car crash. Brinker was a member of the John F. Hodge High School band, which was on its way to Six Flags and split up between the two buses involved in the wreck. Schatz was a reserve quarterback for the University of Missouri football team and son of Dave Schatz, a Republican candidate for the Missouri House of Representatives.

In addition to the two deaths, there were more than 50 injuries. Several of the injures were considered serious, but fortunately, most were able to escape the crash with relatively minor scrapes and bruises.

Again, the full investigation is still weeks away from being completed, but local media reports have begun to piece together some of the events leading up to the crash. The two buses were following behind Schatz’s pickup and a Volvo truck tractor. The driver of the truck tractor began to slow down for construction related traffic when Schatz crashed into the back of the truck, which was without a trailer. Moments later, the first school bus crashed into the back of the pickup and came to a rest on top of the first two vehicles. The second bus then collided with the rear of the first.

The National Transportation Safety Board has sent a team of 15 people to assist in the investigation, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch. An accident reconstruction will be performed to determine the exact cause of the crash. Representatives from the NTSB told the Post Dispatch they are particularly interested in this incident because they are looking for ways to improve school bus and construction zone safety, as well as determining whether crash-sensing devices on larger vehicles could prevent future school bus and tractor trailer crashes.

The NTSB will not make any statements regarding fault or liability and are requesting that any witnesses to the crash contact the Missouri State Highway Patrol or the NTSB directly. Coming forward as a witness takes a lot of courage and many people would choose not to involve themselves in the situation. It is important, though, that investigators get all the facts about this St. Louis bus crash so they can determine who was at fault. More than simply getting to the bottom of this incident, the NTSB will be able to use information gathered about this crash to help stop future crashes.

If you feel uncomfortable speaking directly to authorities, you can also email me with any information concerning the St. James bus accident and I will forward it to the appropriate officials.

July 16, 2010

Accident with trash truck injures two

George S. Bush, 50, and his mother, Ella Bush, 84, were both seriously injured in a Missouri truck accident when their pickup collided with a trash truck on Missouri Highway 28.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, both the pickup and the trash truck were heading westbound. The 2007 Freightliner Trash Truck, which was driven by Kyle Rutz, 20, was ahead of the pickup. Bush attempted to pass the large trash truck, but at that same moment, the trash truck attempted to make a left turn. The two vehicles collided causing extensive damage to both.

George and Ella Bush were both rushed to a local hospital with serious injuries. Rutz was not listed as injured on the initial report filed by the investigating officer.

There are still many details of this Missouri trash truck crash that need to be uncovered. We don't know what speed the two vehicles were traveling or if either driver signaled before making their respective maneuvers. Also, were the conditions safe for Bush to attempt to pass the trash truck.

Since there are so many complicating factors to most accidents, it is advisable to get the best legal advice possible to help you protect your rights as an accident victim. Many times, insurance companies will be working to limit the amount they have to pay accident victims. Contact a Missouri personal injury attorney to ensure you receive adequate compensation to assist in your recovery.

July 6, 2010

Changes to expect from CSA 2010

The way we track the safety records of trucking companies will be undergoing some changes in the near future and Missouri is at the forefront of the transition. Our state is helping to test the new Comprehensive Safety Analysis, or CSA, which will replace the current programs in use by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to evaluate companies and prevent Missouri tractor trailer crashes.

The evaluation process for trucking companies will be very different once the new rules take effect. Currently, a compliance review of a company examines four areas: Driver, Vehicle, Safety Management and Accidents. CSA 2010 expands the number of areas rated to seven and makes them more specifically defined. Companies will now be rated for Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving, Driver Fitness, Vehicle Maintenance, Improper Load Securement, Crash History and Alcohol/Drug Abuse Record. This new method should do a better job of pinpointing the exact problem areas that need to be addressed.

Another change is that drivers themselves will be directly measured and given scores independent of their company. For every violation, a weighted score will be given to both the driver and the company based on their level of responsibility and severity of the violation. These scores will stay with drivers as they move from company to company and will hopefully keep the most dangerous drivers off the road before someone is killed or injured in a truck accident they cause.

If a company or driver is given a marginal or unfit rating, they face interventions or suspensions from the FMCSA. The types of interventions will be tailored to the severity of the violation.

Hopefully these new rules will lead to more accountability in the industry. As a St. Louis personal injury lawyer, I have seen countless cases where a company or driver's negligence has lead to a tragic accident. The small percentage of companies who cause the vast majority of crashes need to be held responsible for their actions.

June 26, 2010

The limitations of tractor trailers

Driving a tractor trailer or other large truck is a challenging endeavor. The shear size of these vehicles creates numerous control problems for a driver, which is why truck drivers must go through additional training to earn a CDL, or commercial driver's license. Even with extra training, tractor trailer accidents in Missouri and around the country occur every day. Sometimes these accidents are caused by other drivers who don't respect the limitation of a tractor trailer. Here are some things to keep in mind:

- Stopping distance - A tractor trailer can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds. To put that in perspective, the average passenger car weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,000 pounds. Think of the last time you had to slam on your brakes and how far your car still traveled before actually stopping. Now, multiply that by 20 and you'll get a sense of how hard it is to stop a tractor trailer. Tests have been done with fully loaded tractor trailers driving at 60 mph and, in some cases, it takes 200 to 300 feet to come to a stop. This is the number one reason not to ride directly in front of a tractor trailer on the highway.

- Blind spots - Again, even if you've never driven a tractor trailer, this is a problem that is fairly easy to visualize. Think of the blind spots on a 10 to 12 foot passenger car and then imagine how hard it must be for a truck driver with a rig well over 50 feet to be able to see his blind spots. If at all possible, try not to ride in a truck's blind spot.

- Turning radius - Somewhat connected to the last point, the length of a truck and trailer can make sharp turns a challenge. Truck drivers have to make extremely wide turns and this may catch other drivers off-guard if they are not prepared.

Respect the power and size of tractor trailers and make sure to give them plenty of room on the roadways.

Even if you do everything in your control to prevent a serious truck accident, an incident may still occur if the truck driver makes a negligent error. If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident, it is advisable to contact a Missouri personal injury attorney to learn your rights as an accident victim.

June 18, 2010

Tractor trailer accident sends two Missouri residents to hospital

Zona Elkins, 64, and Harold Rittenhouse, 69, were both seriously injured in a Missouri tractor trailer accident when the pickup they were riding in was struck by a large truck.

The crash took place in St. Clair County at the intersection of Missouri highways 13 and 82. At the moment, not much is known about the cause of the crash. The initial report on file with the Missouri State Highway Patrol only says that the tractor trailer, driven by Jude Rhoads, 58, was heading eastbound while the pickup, driven by Rittenhouse, was heading northbound. They both reached the intersection at the same time and Rhoads failed to yield to the smaller pickup.

Elkins and Rittenhouse were taken to local hospitals for treatment. Rittenhouse's injuries were so severe he required an emergency airlift. Rhoads was not injured, according to the investigating officer's report.

A full investigation into this Missouri truck accident will be conducted and officials will determine whether any federal trucking regulations were violated. The name of the trucking company has not yet been released.

June 15, 2010

Truck accident spills fuel in St. Louis

A St. Louis truck accident dumped more than 1,600 gallons of diesel fuel across a parking lot Tuesday morning, according to a St. Louis Post Dispatch report.

The accident occurred near East Grand Avenue and Hall Street near the Procter and Gamble Plant. The incident is still being investigated and no indication has been given as to how this spill took place.

Fortunately, nobody was injured or hospitalized in the incident. According to officials quoted in the Post Dispatch, about half of the fuel spilled into the sewer.

The tanker carrying the fuel was operated by the Kiesel Co., which sent workers to assist in the cleanup. The Kiesel Co. generally has a great safety record with no serious tractor trailer crashes over the last couple years.

June 5, 2010

MoDOT dump truck crash kills Missouri teen

Matthew Rudder, 17, was killed and another Missouri teen was seriously injured in an accident with a dump truck operated by MoDOT.

The accident took place just after noon at the intersection of Highway 63 and Route K. Rudder was riding in a 1997 Chevrolet S-10 pickup, driven by Christian Alvizo, 18. As the pickup traveled northbound on the highway, the MoDOT dump truck, driven by James Griffith, 25, attempted to enter the highway from Route K. According to the initial crash report on file with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Griffith failed to yield to the pickup and the dump truck struck the passenger side of the smaller truck. Both vehicles traveled through the intersection and into the grass median.

Rudder was rushed to University Hospital in Columbia where he was pronounced dead. Alvizo was also taken to University Hospital for treatment of serious injuries. Griffith was not listed as injured on the initial report.

The investigation into this fatal Missouri truck crash is ongoing. Local media reports say that prosecutors are waiting to receive all the facts before deciding whether to charge the driver.

June 3, 2010

Horrific Missouri tractor trailer crash kills two

Photo by KMOV-TV
I55truckcrash2.jpg

Initial indications are saying inattention is to blame in a fatal Missouri tractor trailer crash near Herculaneum on northbound Interstate 55. The devastating wreck occurred Wednesday afternoon and left two people dead, five more injured, and multiple cars completely mangled.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the tractor trailer was being driven by Jay Valentine, 32, of Huntsville, Texas. Valentine was heading northbound in a 2005 International Tractor Trailer approaching the McNutt Street exit when the semi-trailer accident took place. A line of cars had stopped, possibly due to construction in that area, but Valentine did not see them until it was too late. He swerved his truck into the left lane, but still collided with with multiple cars including a Ford Focus, which was drug almost 100 yards by the truck.

After the initial collision, the force of the impact created a chain reaction which eventually involved seven other vehicles besides the big rig.

Charles Martin, 52, was driving the Focus and was pronounced dead at the scene. Alana McKnight, 28, a driver of one of the other vehicles, also lost her life in the incident.

Among the most seriously injured were Cathy Hawn, 53, and Terry Hawn, 58, who were both taken to local hospitals for emergency treatment. Also injured were Alice Falk, 79; Mary Davis, 65; and Mark London, 51.

Our thoughts are with the families of the victims. Hopefully the injured parties will be able to eventually make a full recovery.

The tractor trailer had the logo for Western Express, Inc., a commercial trucking company based out of Nashville, Tenn. Western Express is a large company which employs over 2,400 drivers and operates trucks all over the country.

Looking at the safety record of the company, this is not the first fatal crash involving a Western Express truck. In fact, over the last two years there have been six fatal truck crashes and over 119 crashes resulting in serious injury.

In the Herculaneum accident, many local media outlets are reporting that Valentine had taken his eyes off the road just before the crash. Investigators have not revealed what he may have been distracted by, if anything. A full crash reconstruction will be performed which will produce a more detailed account of the events leading up to the incident.

If a driver is found to be criminally negligent, charges may be filed. Just recently, a driver pleaded guilty for involuntary manslaughter charges stemming from another tragic tractor trailer crash on Highway 40 in 2008.

The civil courts also can play a role in these cases as well. Injuries from a massive accident such as this can be devastating and take years to recover from, if a full recovery is even possible. This means there will be medical bills, loss of productivity and increased stress on the family. To make sure that their rights as accident victims are protected, it is a good idea for people injured by a tractor trailer to contact a St. Louis truck accident lawyer to discuss their case.

May 26, 2010

Tractor trailer jack-knifes on Highway 210

A tractor trailer jack-knifed on the ramp from Interstate 435 to Highway 210, shutting down traffic in that area for some time.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the driver lost control and began to jack-knife around 3:30 a.m. The rig skidded down the ramp, struck a freeway sign and came to a rest blocking the ramp.

Fortunately, nobody was injured in this Missouri tractor trailer accident.

Jack-knife crashes can cause serious damage. A jack-knife occurs when the angle between the cab and the trailer of a large truck becomes too severe and the trailer begins pushing the cab out of control. Once a tractor trailer has entered a jack-knife position, it is impossible for the driver to regain control and the whole rig can enter a slide. Since commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, they can slide for hundreds of feet and, in the worst tractor trailer crash scenario, crush smaller passenger cars along the way.

May 20, 2010

Alcohol, drugs and tractor trailers

Driving while intoxicated is a major problem on our country's roadways. On almost any given day you can open the newspaper or look at daily crash reports and see at least one alcohol related accident that occurred in the area. In fact, Missouri had 364 alcohol related car accident deaths in 2008 which means the state very nearly averaged a death per day. Nationwide, there were almost 14,000 alcohol related traffic deaths that year. In a tragic bit of irony, many times these accidents will spare the drunken driver, but take the life of an innocent victim in another car.

So alcohol is a major problem in general, but what about the commercial trucking industry? Is it more or less of a problem there? Do regulations help reduce the problem of driving under the influence?

Looking at recent studies, alcohol is actually much less of an issue with commercial truck drivers. Alcohol plays a role in only 6 percent of fatal tractor trailer accidents while it is present in 32 percent of the fatal crashes among the average passenger car driver.

Less than one percent of truck drivers overall ever fail an alcohol screening regardless of whether it came after an accident or was a random test.

What seems to be a bigger problem among truck drivers is drug use, especially stimulants. 5 percent of tractor trailer drivers have failed a test for illegal drugs and 12 percent of drivers were found to have used over the counter stimulants.

The reason the numbers for alcohol use may be lower among truck drivers is that regulations require trucking companies to do an array of drug and alcohol screenings on their employees. These tests may be given pre-employment, after accidents and at random.

Still, we do occasionally see drivers breaking regulation and companies continuing to hire drivers with a history of substance abuse. Those practicing these negligent policies need to be held accountable. If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident with a tractor trailer driver that was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, contact a Missouri truck accident lawyer to make sure your rights as an accident victim are protected.

May 16, 2010

Woman killed in Missouri accident

Marry Anderson, 29, was killed and five others were injured in a Missouri tractor trailer accident at a construction zone on Interstate 44.

According to a Missouri State Highway Patrol report, a tractor trailer driven by Boyd Shropshire, 61, came to a stop in the construction zone around 3:00 p.m. A minivan, driven by Dorlis Germain, 41, was following the big rig as it approached the construction zone. Germain was inattentive to the road ahead, according to the investigating officer, and the van slammed into the back of the tractor trailer.

All of the injuries in this fatal St. Louis area truck crash came from passengers in the minivan.

Anderson was pronounced dead at the scene. Germain and four others were all taken to St. John's Hospital in Creve Coeur for treatment.

Passenger car drivers and truck drivers need to be aware of each other at all times, but especially when approaching a work zone. Construction zones can be very dangerous and drivers must follow the posted instructions and speed limits. Despite numerous adjustments to safety regulations in work zones and many public service announcements about the problem, we still see numerous preventable accidents in these areas.

May 12, 2010

One killed and one injured in separate Missouri tractor trailer crashes

Two serious Missouri tractor trailer accidents in the same day have left one dead and another hospitalized.

In the more serious incident, Maudie Ham, 73, was driving her 1997 Saturn northbound on Interstate 55. A 1997 International tractor trailer, driven by Jerry Pitts, 44, was following behind her. Pitts attempted to overtake Ham's car on the highway at the same time Ham tried to make a turn toward the crossover. Ham's car was struck on the driver's side and was overturned in the median. The big rig ran off the right side of the roadway and came to rest on the shoulder.

Ham was pronounced dead at the scene. Pitts was uninjured.

The other tractor trailer crash, while not as serious, still sent a Missouri man to the hospital.

Scott Crosser, 23, was driving his 1997 Ford Taurus eastbound on I-44 at the time of the crash. He was passing a 1997 Kenworth tractor trailer, driven by Marc Sadler, 45, when the two vehicles clipped each other. Crosser's car came in contact with the left side of the trailer, slid out of control off the right side of the highway, and overturned.

Crosser was taken to St. John's Hospital for treatment. Sadler was uninjured.

Our thoughts are with the families of the victims and those involved in each case. Hopefully Crosser can make a full recovery.

May 6, 2010

Missouri tractor trailer plows through line of cars

A tractor trailer crashed into a line of cars that was backed up because of traffic on Highway 71 on Wednesday afternoon. Five vehicles where involved in this serious Missouri truck injury crash, but thankfully no one was killed.

The accident began as traffic began to back up on the highway due to a previous accident. As the line of cars formed, a 1999 Freightliner, driven by Ronald Rotert, 55, approached. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Rotert failed to slow down and the tractor trailer struck four different vehicles. Among them was a 2002 Volkswagon, driven by Victoria Cooper-Tobin, 60; and a 2009 Chevrolet, driven by Terry Wagner, 29. The truck then finally came to an uncontrolled stop in the southbound lanes.

Cooper-Tobin and Wagner were both rushed to local hospitals with serious injuries. Despite extensive damage to all the other vehicles involved, nobody else was listed as injured on the initial crash report.

Our thoughts are with the injured parties and their families. Hopefully they can make a full recovery. Their injuries notwithstanding, this tractor trailer accident could have been much worse, perhaps even fatal.

Investigators quoted in the Kansas City Star said they are trying to determine whether distracted driving was the cause in this incident. It has a lot of the signs of distracted driving accidents we've seen in the past with a line of cars stopping in an unusual place due to a previous accident and the tractor trailer failing to try to stop at all.

Whatever details the investigation turns up will not change fact that the injured parties are in for a long recovery. Many times, serious traffic accidents can cause injures that require months of treatments or therapy and astronomical medical bills. While the liability in some accidents may seem cut and dry, too often we see insurance companies try to talk their way out of paying damages and hurt individuals who did nothing wrong are stuck with the bill. Because of the complicated nature of investigating these incidents, it is strongly advised that anybody involved in a crash contact a Missouri personal injury attorney for a consultation. There, you can discuss your case, usually free of charge and with no obligations, and learn how to protect your rights as an accident victim.

May 4, 2010

St. Peters man killed by runaway truck tire

Brandon Haskin, 24, was killed Monday morning when a loose tractor trailer tire crashed through his windshield.

According to local media reports, Haskin was driving a 2003 Dodge Durango eastbound on I-70 near McKelvey Road at the time of this fatal St. Louis area tractor trailer accident. At the same time in the westbound lanes of the highway, two wheels separated from a 2008 Volvo tractor-trailer, driven by Wayne Knickmeyer, 48. One of the two wheels was sent flying over the median wall and hit Haskin's SUV. Haskin's vehicle then collided with another vehicle driven by Jamie Duboise, 26.

Haskin was pronounced dead at the scene. Duboise was treated for moderate injuries and Knickmeyer was not injured.

Our thoughts are with the family of the victim and the others involved in this tragic incident.

It is important in cases like these to find the cause of the accident and hold those responsible accountable. This is the only way to try and prevent truck tire accidents like this from happening again.

According to investigators quoted in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the truck had recently been serviced, but the lugnuts on the rear axle likely weren't tightened which allowed the wheels to break free. The question now is to find out who serviced the truck and determine how such a simple, yet important, maintenance issue could have been overlooked. Also, did Knickmeyer follow all federal safety regulations pertaining to vehicle maintenance before he took the truck back on the road?

Tractor trailer crashes can be very complicated and require the attention of an experienced professional. If you or a family member have been involved in an accident and you want to make sure your rights as an accident victim are protected, it would be wise to contact a personal injury attorney with tractor trailer crash experience. Most will offer a free consultation where you can discuss your case with no obligation to hire.

April 28, 2010

Missouri bicyclist killed when hit by tractor trailer

Danny Glaspie, 45, was killed in a fatal Missouri tractor trailer accident when he was hit by a truck while riding a bicycle in Kirksville.

According to local media reports and emergency officials, the accident occurred in the early hours of Tuesday morning on North Baltimore St. Glaspie was riding his bike in the northbound lane when a 2005 Freightliner truck, driven by Richard White, 44, approached from behind. The truck driver was unable to avoid hitting the bicyclist.

Glaspie was taken to Northeast Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Our thoughts are with the victim’s family.

The accident is still under investigation with many details yet to emerge. It is not yet known what type of reflective equipment Glaspie was or was not wearing. Investigators will also examine the truck logs and physical evidence to determine the speed of the truck and if the driver was operating the vehicle according to regulations.

Tractor trailer accidents often result in serious injury and have a higher chance of causing a fatality due to the incredible force of these large vehicles. This is especially true when big rigs collide with smaller passenger cars, motorcycles or bikes that offer passengers little to no protection.

Because of these risks, we must make sure to hold trucking companies accountable when they violate regulations. Most companies and drivers drive safely, but those that don’t can give the entire industry a bad name and cause serious tragedy in the process. If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, contact a Missouri truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.

April 24, 2010

Preventing underride incidents in truck crashes

If you drive a smaller compact car, I'm sure you've had the experience of riding on the highway as a tractor trailer rumbles by and realizing you're actually able to see under the trailer. You can see dangling chains and spare tires, as well as all the axles and moving parts. You might even find yourself wondering if your car could fit totally underneath the trailer.

In the movie "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation", the main character, played by Chevy Chase, finds himself accidentally swerving underneath a trailer in the opening scenes. This incident is played for laughs on the big screen, but the reality is much scarier. Every year, these so-called underride incidents occur in numerous tractor trailer accident cases, and often they have very serious consequences.

The reason for the danger is because the bed of a trailer is often higher than the hood of a standard passenger car. The front end of a car is designed to absorb impacts, but the windshield and frame that makes up the passenger compartment is not quite as sturdy. If a car were to drive underneath a tractor trailer, the bed of the trailer has a good chance of entering the passenger compartment and causing serious head and neck injuries. As you can imagine, these injuries are often fatal.

Because of the risk of underride accidents, federal regulations were put in place requiring all trailers to have a guard bar to prevent cars from wedging under the trailer in the event of a serious truck crash. This rear impact guard is designed to hit a passenger car's front end, rather than the passenger compartment.

Occasionally, though, we see cases where these regulations are not properly followed. A tractor trailer may be missing this guard rail completely or the guard rail may be set to an improper height. The rear impact guard may also not be structurally sound due to excessive rust or damage from a previous accident. If the bar snaps off with minimal pressure, it's just as bad as having no bar at all. In fact, it might be worse as now you have another piece of heavy debris that could potentially crash through the windshield and cause injury.

Investigating these details after a crash is important. It holds negligent trucking companies accountable and helps prevent these incidents in the future. If you have been involved in a wreck with a large commercial truck, consult a Missouri tractor trailer accident attorney as soon as possible to make sure your crash receives a thorough investigation.

April 22, 2010

Two drivers able to walk away from fiery tractor trailer crash

Two drivers are fortunate to be alive after a major Missouri tractor trailer crash Wednesday morning on Highway 36. Not only did the two drivers, Charles Donahue, 68, and Dewayne Achenbach, 51, survive, they were mostly uninjured.

According to local media reports, both trucks were traveling eastbound on Highway 36 at the time of the wreck. Donahue was driving a 2000 Kenworth and Achenbach was driving a 2011 Freightliner. As the two vehicles approached an intersection, Donahue attempted to make a turn from the outside lane. Achenbach was unable to avoid slamming into Donahue's truck and both vehicles ended up in the median.

Nearly immediately after the crash, both tractor trailers caught fire. Officials believe some type of explosion occurred, which spread the fire very quickly and completely destroyed both vehicles.

Despite the viciousness of the accident and the fact that both rigs were totally destroyed, neither driver was injured in this Missouri tractor trailer accident. Both Donahue and Achenbach were able to get out of their cabins before the fire overcame them.

Thankfully, nobody was hurt in this incident and no other smaller cars were caught up in this wreck. Many times in situations like these, the people involved aren't as lucky. Motor carrier regulations and better safety technology have limited injury accidents over the years, but these measures only work when they are actually used. Too often we see companies break regulations or vehicles without the proper safety equipment. Anybody involved in a tractor trailer accident caused by this kind of negligence should contact a personal injury attorney with tractor trailer crash experience.

April 20, 2010

Preventing tractor trailer jackknifes

One of the more common types of tractor trailer crashes is the jackknife crash. The jackknife is usually caused when the driver applies the brakes and the cab slows down, but the trailer's momentum continues to push it forward. In this situation, the cab and the trailer get offset to an extreme angle and the driver loses control of the whole rig.

While usually caused by braking, a jackknife can occur nearly anytime a driver turns the wheel as well. Changing lanes on the highway or making a turn at any intersection can cause a cause a jackknife if attempted by a poorly trained driver.

This is where federal regulations are useful to help prevent these incidents. By required special licenses, regulations try to promote driver expertise and keep negligent drivers off the road. Weight restrictions on shipments, speed limits and general maintenance requirements are all regulations designed to prevent serious tractor trailer crashes, including jackknifes.

Unfortunately, we still see companies failing to do the proper inspections or overloading trucks to a dangerous degree. When this negligent behavior causes an accident, those responsible must be held accountable. If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident with a tractor trailer, contact a Missouri tractor trailer accident attorney as soon as possible to make sure your rights as an accident victim are protected.

April 18, 2010

Tractor trailer insurance minimums

We've often discussed federal regulations of tractor trailers on the blog, but one area that doesn't get talked about often is insurance limits. Like load weights and driving hours, the liability insurance minimums are strictly regulated by the federal government to ensure injured parties are taken care of should a tractor trailer injury accident occur.

Every commercial trucking company that runs shipments across state lines must maintain a minimum level of liability insurance. This level varies depending the weight and nature of the load being hauled, but $750,000 liability minimums are the standard on most 18-wheelers that you see on the road. This minimum goes up if the shipment is hazardous or explosive materials, since they pose more of a threat to other drivers.

Any driver or company who operates a truck without this minimum level of coverage is subject to severe financial penalties. They could be charged with up to $11,000 in fines per day.

Unfortunately, some drivers violate this regulation and don't carry the required amount of liability insurance. In other cases, catastrophic injuries with lifetime effects may end up costing the injured party more than $750,000 in medical costs and lost wages. In these cases, it is a good idea to consult a personal injury lawyer with tractor trailer crash experience. He or she will be able to examine your case and make sure your rights as an accident victim are upheld.

April 14, 2010

Tractor trailer overturns and injures two

Two people were taken to the hospital Tuesday morning after a Missouri tractor trailer crash on Missouri 291 in which a big rig actually tipped over, hitting other vehicles in the process.

According to local media reports, the tractor trailer was southbound on Missouri 291 just before the accident. The truck driver attempted to make a right turn onto Frontage Road, but took the turn too fast. The tractor trailer tipped over and hit three other cars that were waiting at the light.

The tractor trailer driver and the driver of one of the cars waiting at the light were both taken to a local hospital for treatment.

An investigation into this tractor trailer injury accident is ongoing and charges could be filed.

While more details need to emerge about this incident, it appears that the truck driver was simply driving too fast and lost control of his vehicle. We often see accidents in the trucking industry due to drivers trying to rush their deliveries. Whether it be drivers who break the speed limit or drivers who violate the hours of service rules to get to their destination quicker, dangerous situations arise when tractor trailer drivers put speed over safety.

April 6, 2010

Tractor trailer rear ends car near Joplin

A Missouri tractor trailer crash sent one person to the hospital Tuesday morning in Newton County.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the accident occurred on Highway 43 about two miles south of Joplin. Sarinda Dudley, 36, was driving a 2000 Chevrolet Malibu southbound and began to slow to make a right turn. As Dudley slowed her car, a 2007 International tractor trailer, driven by Roger Decker, 45, slammed into the back of her car. The Malibu was totaled.

Thankfully, there were no life-threatening injuries. Decker was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries. While Dudley's car was totaled, surprisingly, she escaped significant injury.

The initial report on this Missouri truck accident doesn't say why Decker was unable to avoid hitting Dudley's car. Often times in cases like these, the truck driver doesn't see the car in front of him until it's too late, or the car driver can hit the brakes hard and not give the 80,000 pound tractor trailer a chance to stop. Truck drivers must always be aware of other cars on the road and should leave themselves plenty of room between the car ahead and the front of the truck.

After a tractor trailer wreck, there is supposed to be an investigation into the driver's logs and an inspection of the truck to determine if any motor carrier regulations were violated.

March 28, 2010

Truck driver fatigue

One point of emphasis when the motor carrier regulations were crafted was limiting the number of fatigued drivers on the road. Mental or physical exhaustion can greatly affect your ability to operate a vehicle safely and is a big contributor to tractor trailer injury accidents.

Just how impaired are you while driving tired? It's a hard question to quantify, but over the years tests were done comparing driver fatigue to drunken driving to give us a scale that we can better relate to. The results are pretty startling.

If you are awake and active for 17 straight hours, your reaction time and coordination is reduced to level of someone with a blood alcohol content of .05. Weight and water consumption can affect BAC levels, but that's roughly comparable to having a few beers over the course of an hour. If you extend the time to 24 straight hours without sufficient rest, you will be as impaired as someone with a .10 BAC. The standard for driving while intoxicated is .08, so effectively, not getting enough rest is as dangerous as driving drunk.

This is why the hours of service regulations were created to limit the amount of time a truck driver can be behind the wheel and on-duty without rest. Study after study has repeatedly shown that fatigued drivers are more likely to cause major truck crashes.

Unfortunately, pressures from trucking companies and the motivation of a per mile pay scale can sometimes lead drivers to violate these regulations. What's more is that drivers will try to fabricate their driving logs to disguise the fact they are driving while dangerously fatigued. This is why every truck accident should be scrutinized by investigators and tractor trailer accident attorneys to hold drivers accountable for negligent practices.

If you have been involved in a tractor trailer crash, consult a personal injury attorney who's knowledgeable in trucking regulations as soon as possible.

March 24, 2010

Man killed after collision with MoDOT truck

Darrell Fryer, 61, was killed and another person was seriously injured Tuesday morning in a Missouri tractor trailer crash on I-44.

Fryer was heading westbound in a 1992 Oldsmobile Cutlass at the time of the accident, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. He was driving in the left lane when he came upon a MoDOT dump truck filling a pothole on the highway just before Antire Road. The dump truck was in the same lane as Fryer and as he tried to maneuver around it, his car began to skid out of control. The Cutlass clipped the back of the MoDOT truck and then spun into the center lane where it was hit by a tractor trailer.

Fryer was pronounced dead by ambulance personnel. A passenger with Fryer, Robert Collins, 46, sustained serious injuries. The tractor trailer driver and the MoDOT workers all avoided injury.

This is a tragic accident and our thoughts go out to the victim's family. Hopefully Collins can make a speedy recovery.

While the initial crash report on file with the Highway Patrol describes the basics of the crash, there are still many details to uncover surrounding this deadly Missouri truck accident. A crash reconstruction will be used to determine the speed Fryer was driving at the time of the crash. Also, if MoDOT was blocking lanes of the highway with their equipment, an investigation into whether they followed procedure to warn other motorists is warranted. If there were caution lights and construction barrels at the work site, why didn't Fryer see them until it was too late?

There are often many complicated questions after a serious injury accident. If you or someone you love has been injured and you are looking for legal advice, contact a St. Louis personal injury lawyer for a free consultation.

March 22, 2010

Missouri woman injured by ice flying off tractor trailer

Joyce Powell, 71, was injured Monday morning when a chunk of ice fell off an oncoming tractor trailer and crashed through her windshield.

The accident occurred on Highway 60 in Newton County, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Powell was traveling westbound and passed an unknown Eastbound tractor trailer. Just as the vehicles were passing each other, the piece of ice separated from the roof of the trailer and pierced the windshield, striking Powell. The tractor trailer continued down the roadway without stopping and has not been identified.

Powell was taken to St. John's Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Ice falling off passing vehicles is not a concern many motorists have, however, while it's true that serious injury accidents involving flying ice are more uncommon than a typical crash, these types of incidents do happen and people do get hurt or even killed. We have previously commented on these types of accidents after a rash of them were reported earlier in the winter.

One problem with these types of accidents is that often the tractor trailer driver doesn't stop and may not even know that he caused an accident. Unless a witness sees the whole incident and can identify the truck, it is usually not found. There isn't a good way to track these incidents, either, and many times they can go unreported.

Another issue is that motor carrier regulations in this area don't have any teeth, though the state of New York is considering making more stringent laws about clearing ice from trucks after a woman was killed by a piece of ice.

As we move into spring, the danger of ice causing a serious car accident will be lessened, though some areas of the country may still get down to freezing temperatures for a couple weeks. While ice may soon not be a factor, there is also the possibility of other types of debris being thrown from trucks on the highway. If you have been involved in an incident were debris or ice has caused you serious injury, contact an experienced Missouri personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

March 20, 2010

Four injured in Missouri tractor trailer crash

Four people were injured, two seriously, in a Saturday morning tractor trailer accident on Highway 61 near Palmyra, Missouri.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol and local media, three of the four injured were riding in a northbound car driven by Lori Peitz, 48. The car was traveling in front of a tractor trailer, driven by Gregory Morris, 44. For some reason, Peitz lost control of the car and began to spin on the roadway. Morris then hit the car with the tractor trailer, then traveled off the roadway where the big rig flipped over. Peitz's car ended up in the median.

Lori Peitz was taken to Hannibal Regional Hospital for treatment. Also in the car was David Peitz, 48, and Maria Peitz, 10. Both joined Lori at Hannibal Regional, though Maria's injuries were less serious. Morris was also treated for minor injuries.

No citation was issued for this Missouri truck crash. No details about why the car spun out in the first place was given.

Hopefully all involved make a full recovery.

March 12, 2010

Median cables to be installed after tractor trailer accident

The Missouri Department of Transportation has decided to install median cables along a stretch of highway where a recent Missouri tractor trailer crash occurred which resulted in a car being dragged across the median.

The accident took place Tuesday when a tractor trailer plowed through a line of cars and into the median. Fortunately, nobody was killed, but this truck injury accident is a reminder of why we need to have median cables installed at more locations around the state.

Median cables have become a more common choice for MoDOT over the years due to their effectiveness and relatively low cost. The cables are designed to give way to cars that spin out of control into the median. This bend but don't break approach keeps the vehicles out of oncoming traffic while doing less damage to the vehicle itself. Since the cable system requires less material and machinery to install than a concrete barrier, they are good fiscal decisions, too.

Since median cables were first installed along some highways, the number of fatal car accidents caused by crossovers has dropped 27%. Due to this success, MoDOT has planned to install more cable medians along smaller highways in the coming years.

March 9, 2010

Tractor trailer plows through several cars and injures three

Three people were injured and several cars were completely destroyed after a Missouri tractor trailer accident on Highway 71 on Tuesday afternoon.

According to local media reports, traffic had become backed up on the highway just north of Missouri 58. A southbound tractor trailer, driven by Jose Valentin, lost control and slammed into the back of the line of cars. The tractor trailer ran over a car and pushed other vehicles into each other. The small car that was run over was actually dragged under the big rig into the median.

Amazingly, nobody was killed in this serious Missouri truck crash. Mindy Osborn was airlifted to a local hospital for treatment. Two others, Adam Moennig and Melissa McClay, were also injured and taken by ambulance to local hospitals. Valentin was uninjured.

It is unclear what caused Valentin to strike the line of cars. The traffic might have stopped suddenly in front of him, making it hard to stop a truck that could have been loaded up to 80,000 pounds. He might also have been distracted and unaware of the traffic ahead of him.Typically, negligence is assumed in rear-end collision accidents, though there may be extenuating circumstances in this case.

An investigation into the accident continues.

After a commercial truck crash, the truck driver submits to an alcohol and drug test and his driving logs are investigated to ensure that no motor carrier violations exist.

March 7, 2010

Tractor trailer crash kills one in Cole County

Richard Veltrop, 37, was killed and two others were injured in a Missouri tractor trailer crash on Highway 54 late Saturday night.

According to the initial crash report, Veltrop was driving with Julie Trenary, 33, in a 2003 Toyota when the accident occurred. Veltrop traveled into the path of an oncoming tractor trailer, driven by Virgil Russom, 67. The Toyota clipped the trailer being hauled, causing massive damage to both vehicles.

Veltrop was pronounced dead at the scene. Trenary and Russom were both taken to local hospitals for treatment.

Since there was a fatality, this crash will undergo a full investigation including an accident reconstruction to determine the cause. Investigators will be able to examine skid marks and debris patterns to determine how fast the vehicles were going and which vehicle was actually out of its lane to cause this fatal Missouri truck accident.

The truck driver's log books will also be investigated to ensure that no motor carrier regulations were violated.

March 5, 2010

Fiery truck crash temporarily closes Highway 60

An explosive Missouri tractor trailer crash sent one man to the hospital and closed a portion of Highway 60 early Friday morning.

According to local media reports, a tractor trailer ran off the road near Poplar Bluff and then hit a guardrail. Shortly after the impact, the rig burst into flames causing officials to close both lanes of the highway until the fire could be extinguished and the roadway cleared.

One person, presumably the truck driver, was taken by ambulance from the scene, but no word has been released on the person's identity or condition after this serious tractor trailer injury accident.

Fortunately, no other vehicles were involved in the incident. The highway was cleared by sunrise on Friday morning.

Aside from the enormous size of tractor trailers causing damage in an accident, the large fuel tanks of big rigs can also become a hazard. If ignited, the explosion can be devastating. This is especially true if the trucker is hauling gasoline or other flammable materials. Drivers are required to get special endorsements on their license for HAZMAT and tanker loads to ensure that he or she is prepared for the special challenges these hauls present.

It is not known what the truck was hauling in the Poplar Bluff accident.

February 28, 2010

Fatal accidents demonstrate importance of using caution near tractor trailers

Two fatal tractor trailer accidents in the past week have become tragic reminders that drivers must use caution when driving near tractor trailers.

The first accident occurred on Monday when Missouri Southern State University student Tyler Tuthill, 22, was killed while driving in Oklahoma. He was behind a tractor trailer as it was approaching a construction zone. The truck slowed down, but Tuthill didn't and crashed into the back of the trailer.

We have previously commented on the number of accidents involving both tractor trailers and construction zones.

The second accident happened in Springfield, Missouri and took the life of an 42-year-old Amish farmer, Edward Kropf. Kropf was riding in a pickup truck with his brother when the pickup ran a red light. The pickup pulled directly in front of a tractor-trailer, which crashed into the side of the pickup, killing Kropf.

Tractor trailer crashes are usually more severe due to the extreme forces involved due to their size. Drivers have to be especially cautious when they know a big rig is present. In fact, most tractor trailer crashes are caused by other vehicles hitting or pulling into the path of a tractor trailer.

There are other times when the accident is caused by a negligent truck driver or trucking company who violates a Federal motor carrier regulation. In these cases, it is important to contact an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible so that no evidence is lost.

February 19, 2010

Multiple tractor trailers involved in Missouri wreck

Three tractor-trailers were involved in a Missouri truck accident on I-29 near St. Joseph.

According to local media reports, there were multiple collisions in this incident. The first tractor-trailer struck a car in front of it in the snowy weather causing other vehicles behind to make evasive maneuvers to avoid further collisions. Mac Grant, the driver of the second tractor-trailer, tried to stop to avoid the first accident, but in doing so a third big rig crashed into his truck. The impact of the second crash sent both trucks into the median.

Fortunately, despite the weather and multiple collisions, nobody was seriously injured in this Missouri tractor-trailer accident.

Missouri is approaching the end of winter, but the temperature is still cold enough to make patches of ice on the roadway. Use extra caution when driving in winter weather and make sure that you leave plenty of space between you and other cars and trucks on the road.

Even if you follow every safety tip in the book, other drivers may involve you in an accident with their negligent driving. If this should happen to you or a member of your family, consult a Missouri personal injury attorney as soon as possible to learn your rights as an accident victim and make sure you receive fair compensation.

February 13, 2010

Kirksville, Missouri man seriously injured after hitting tractor trailer

Edward Montgomery, 57, was seriously injured Wednesday after a serious tractor trailer injury accident on Highway 63.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Montgomery was driving a 1991 Mercury cab on Highway 63 around 3:20 p.m. when the crash occurred. A 2007 International tractor trailer was ahead of Montgomery and had slowed to make a right turn. Montgomery rear-ended the trailer and both vehicles came to a stop on the highway.

Montgomery was airlifted to University Hospital in Columbia for emergency treatment. The tractor trailer driver, Ronald Osterholt, 52, was not injured.

Fortunately, Montgomery was wearing a seat belt or this Missouri tractor trailer accident could have been much worse.

February 12, 2010

Man seriously injured in Missouri semi-truck crash

Vernon Stokes, 69, was seriously injured Friday morning after his pickup was hit by a tractor trailer on Highway 60.

According to the initial crash report on file with Missouri State Highway Patrol, the tractor trailer was a 2001 Freightliner being driven by John Hammond, 49. Stokes and Hammond simultaneously approached an intersection on Highway 60. Stokes failed to yield to oncoming traffic when making his turn and pulled in the path of the big rig. Hammond's tractor trailer slammed into the driver's side of Stokes' pickup.

Stokes was seriously injured and rushed to Cox South Hospital. Hammond was uninjured, riding in the larger truck.

This Missouri tractor trailer accident should serve as another warning to be vigilant on the roadways for large trucks. In an accident, they can cause devastating injuries. Hopefully Stokes can make a full recovery.

Driver error, like in most accidents, seems to be the main contributing factor here. Driver's should give tractor trailers extra clearance on the highways due to their large size and limited mobility. Sometimes, the driver making the error is the tractor trailer driver. Since the vehicles they drive can cause so much damage, truck drivers have to receive special training and are subject to stricter regulation than the average driver. Whenever these regulations are violated, the chances for accidents increases. If you've been involved in an accident with a tractor trailer, it is advisable to have your case examined by a tractor trailer accident attorney who is knowledgeable about Federal Motor Carrier Regulations.

February 9, 2010

Northern Missouri semi-tractor trailer crash blocks part of I-29

Traffic on Interstate 29 near Dearborn, Missouri had to deal with the highway being limited to one lane after a Tuesday morning tractor trailer crash spilled debris on the roadway.

According to local media reports, two tractor trailers were involved. One was carrying soda and the other was hauling milk. Details of how this Missouri truck accident occurred are sketchy at the moment, but the soda truck did lose its cargo onto the road while the milk truck went off the road and down a 40 foot embankment. At the moment, it is not known if other vehicles were involved or if it was just the two commercial trucks.

At least one person was injured, but names have not been released.

With the limited details available, it's hard to deduce what caused the accident. Weather might have played a factor as well as darkness since the accident was more than an hour before sunrise. Investigators will look into these and other possible factors as well as determine if any motor carrier regulations were violated.

If more details emerge, we will add them here.

February 6, 2010

Cell phones not the only distraction for truck drivers

Last month, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood banned all truck drivers from texting while behind the wheel. While this is a step toward preventing serious semi-tractor trailer crashes, texting is not the only distraction for truckers.

Just like other drivers on the road, commercial truck drivers have a plethora of seemingly innocuous distractions that could tempt their attention away from the road. In addition to phones, there are other small personal data devices that drivers could be tinkering with. Navigation systems, which are handy if driving an unfamiliar route, still need to be programmed by hand and can still lure a driver’s eyes away from the task of driving. Aside from the gadgets, drivers could also be taking their hands off the wheel for a bite to eat or even to comb their hair in the rearview mirror. Anything that requires a driver’s attention, even for a couple seconds, can be a recipe for disaster when mixed with a truck weighing 80,000 pounds.

Laptops in the cabin are becoming more popular as well. Trucking companies defend their use because drivers can use them to track their route and communicate more efficiently. While this may be true, negligent use can lead to fatal truck accidents. Recently, a woman in Ohio was killed when a truck driver, who was distracted by his laptop, hit her. While this accident would have been tragic no matter what the trucker was doing with his laptop, the incident was made even more shocking when it was later revealed the truck driver was watching pornography at the time of the crash.

Not all truck drivers are so grossly negligent. It is, in fact, a small percentage of people who would risk other people’s lives because of some silly distraction. It is a danger to be aware of, however, and all drivers should be vigilant on the roads.

If you have been involved in an accident with a tractor trailer and would like professional legal counsel, contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case. Accident cases like these are very time sensitive and any delay could result in important evidence being lost.

February 4, 2010

Fenton woman killed in crash with dump truck

Holly McIntyre, 39, was killed earlier Thursday morning when she was involved in a serious dump truck crash.

According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the accident occurred on Gravois Road at I-270. McIntyre was exiting the highway onto Gravois when the truck hit her car. The truck, which was owned by Missouri American Water and hauling gravel, then overturned, seriously injuring the driver.

McIntyre failed to yield to the truck as she exited the highway just before the fatal truck accident, according to the Post Dispatch report.

McIntyre died at St. Anthony's Medical Center. The truck driver, whose name has not been released, was also rushed to a local hospital for emergency treatment.

Since there was a fatality, an accident reconstruction will follow to definitively describe the series of events that led to this tragic incident.

February 1, 2010

Tractor trailer crash shuts down highway in East St. Louis

A St. Louis area tractor trailer crash seriously injured the driver and closed down the eastbound lanes of I-64 on Monday.

The accident occurred when a 2001 Freightliner, driven by Ladon Trigg, 35, slid off the roadway out of control. According to a St. Louis Post Dispatch report, police say Trigg was driving too fast into the curve, which caused him to run off the road and strike the guardrail. The tractor trailer then overturned and one of the fuel tanks exploded sending up large columns of black smoke.

It took more than an hour for emergency responders to pull Trigg from the truck. He was seriously injured and taken to St. Louis University Hospital for treatment.

Clean-up of this St. Louis trucking accident took hours as diesel fuel and hydraulic material was spilled in the crash.

Charges may be pending for the driver, according to the Post Dispatch.

Thankfully no other vehicles were involved or this accident could have been much worse. Hopefully Trigg makes a full recovery. All signs point to Trigg having been operating his vehicle in a negligent manner by speeding through the curve. Investigators will also check to see if any other motor carrier regulations were violated.

While no smaller cars were involved in this crash, many times this is not the case. If you or someone you love has been involved in a crash with a tractor trailer, contact an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss your rights as an accident victim.

January 31, 2010

Tractor trailer crash seriously injures Missouri man

Gary Whitledge, 66, was seriously injured after a collision with a tractor trailer Sunday afternoon on Highway 61.

Whitledge was driving his 2002 Ford northbound just before the crash. He approached the intersection of Highway 61 and Missouri 177 at the same time as a 2000 Peterbilt tractor trailer, driven by Phillip Ray, 31. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Ray pulled the tractor trailer into the path of Whitledge, who was unable to avoid the crash.

Whitledge was seriously injured and taken to St. Francis Medical Center for emergency treatment. Ray was uninjured and was able to drive his big rig from the scene.

While the initial crash report states that Ray pulled in front of Whitledge, it does not describe the details leading up to this Missouri tractor trailer injury accident. If the intersection was controlled, who had the right of way? How fast were the vehicles going? Did Ray make a negligent maneuver in pulling out in front of Whitledge? All these questions will need to be answered by further investigation.

Investigations into tractor trailer crashes can last a long time, depending on the severity of the crash. The driving logs of the truck driver are usually investigated to see if any motor carrier violations occurred. An accident reconstruction is also sometimes performed to try and determine liability. During this period, insurance companies will often try and contact those involved for statements. It is advisable to crash victims to consult a Missouri personal injury attorney to learn your rights before talking to insurance representatives. Many times they will be looking for ways to lower their damage payment or even eliminate it entirely.

January 18, 2010

Tractor trailer crash injures three in Macon County

Three people were injured Sunday when a tractor trailer collided with a car on Highway 36 in Macon County, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

The initial crash report filed for this Missouri tractor trailer injury crash says the accident took place two miles east of the city of Macon as a 1994 Buick, driven by Joseph P. Joseph, 52, headed westbound on the highway. A 2006 International tractor trailer, driven by Adam Neisen, 28, was also traveling westbound behind the Buick. Joseph then attempted to make a left turn at the same time that Neisen attempted to pass Joseph's vehicle. The big rig then crashed into the Buick, totaling the smaller passenger car.

Joseph and two passengers in his car, Binu Joseph, 46, and Loren Joseph, 14, were all injured and taken to Samaritan Memorial Hospital for emergency treatment. Neisen was not injured, according to the initial crash report.

All the passengers in the Buick were wearing a seat belt. No citations were described in the report on this commercial truck crash.

While the report gives some details on how the accident occurred, it does not lay out enough information to determine who was at fault for the crash. Further investigation will be needed to determine whether Joseph make a quick and negligent turn, or if the Neisen caused the accident by attempting to pass after Joseph had initiated the turn.

An investigation into this accident will also reveal whether any motor carrier regulations were violated by the tractor trailer driver or the company he works for. If you have been involved in an accident with a tractor trailer and you would like to learn your rights as an accident victim, contact a Missouri truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.

January 13, 2010

Debris on roadway a hazard for drivers


In our last post we talked a little about the dangers of ice falling from trucks and causing serious personal injury and property damage. While the danger of ice falling from a tractor trailer is a concern limited to colder weather, drivers have to be on the lookout for lost cargo all year long.

You've probably seen a piece of debris on the highway before. Maybe it was a mattress blocking lanes during the morning rush or a tire propped up against the median. It could have fallen from the back of a pickup or an open bed tractor trailer, but wherever it came from, these items can be very dangerous. Large items like construction equipment can crush smaller cars and even tiny pieces of debris can pop a tire and make a car spin out of control.

To prevent fatal car accidents caused by debris falling from tractor trailers, the FMCSA has made a detailed a set of rules for truck drivers on how to properly secure cargo. These rules are very elaborate and specific to certain items. There are guidelines for securing logs, concrete pipe, cars and many more.

If these rules are not followed, there is a chance that the cargo could come loose and fall into the roadway damaging other vehicles and injuring their occupants. In certain situations it can even be difficult to find the person responsible for losing the debris as a tractor trailer driver might not even realize he's lost cargo until miles down the road.

While it may take some investigation to find a vehicle that left debris in the roadway, it is necessary to hold that driver responsible. If you have been involved in a tractor trailer accident, contact a Missouri personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your rights.

January 10, 2010

Ice falling from tractor trailers can cause injury

One danger that may not be readily apparent to you as you drive on the highway this winter is the risk of large sheets of ice falling off of tractor trailers. Every year, there are numerous incidents where a driver suffers a serious personal injury or is involved in a car accident after losing control of the vehicle when a chunk of ice smashes through the windshield.

If you've driven on the highway long, you've probably had to deal with minor debris hitting your car from large trucks. The large tires of tractor trailers are good at kicking up small rocks and dump trucks have a tendency to lose small bits of what they're hauling as they hit bumps in the road. Usually this only causes minor scratches or cracks in passenger cars (not to mention the headache of patching these minor damages).

In the winter time, though, the tops of tractor trailers can accumulate large blocks of ice that are liable to break free at any moment. The large flat surface of a trailer roof catches lots of snow and water which can shift easily as the truck moves.

The Chicago Daily Herald has recently reported on a handful of accidents in which thousands of dollars in damage and moderate personal injuries have been caused by falling sheets of ice. New York is considering changing its laws about clearing ice from trucks after a woman there was killed when a piece of ice smashed through a windshield after falling off a tractor trailer.

Unfortunately, it is hard to track the number of these types of incidents each year. Sometimes they go unreported and even in severe cases, the truck that loses the ice is often never found. Perhaps if we had a better understanding of just how big a problem this is, we might see more aggressive regulation to reign in these types of accidents.

If you have been involved in an accident where ice or some type of falling debris has damaged your car and caused injury, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case as soon as possible. Be sure to document any information you have about the incident and vehicles involved.

January 8, 2010

Use caution when driving near tractor trailers this winter

snowy%20car.jpg

It should go without saying that drivers need to be extra cautious when traveling on ice or snow covered roadways, but every year around this time hundreds of accidents occur because someone was driving recklessly. Drivers should be aware of how the slick conditions affect their ability to brake and turn as well as the effect these conditions have on other vehicles like tractor trailers. We have already seen some terrible Missouri car and truck accidents this winter like a recent crash where a man rear-ended a tractor trailer and several wrecks where vehicles have slid off the roadway.

Tractor trailers, which are already had to stop because of their weight, can slide out of control and become an 80,000 pound wrecking ball in the hands of an inexperienced driver. Be aware of every truck on the road and don't make any risky maneuvers such as following too closely for the driver's mirrors to see you or racing to get ahead of a truck on an entrance ramp. These maneuvers already cause many Missouri tractor trailer injury accidents in good weather conditions and are only made worse with winter weather.

Here are some other tips to keep in mind when driving in the snow:

-Slow down. While you can still slide out of control at surprisingly slow speeds, going slower does give you more time to correct yourself should you find yourself skidding out of control.

-Be prepared before you get in the car and be prepared for anything when you are behind the wheel. Before you start driving, make sure your windows and mirrors are cleared so you can see while driving. In extreme conditions, you may also want to equip your car with snow tires or chains to help gain traction. Once you are on the road, be prepared for any vehicle to lose control and start sliding. Make sure you leave plenty of space between your car and other vehicles.

-Brake before turns. Slow your vehicle by braking before you have to make a turn, then accelerate through the turn. This gives you far more control and reduces your risk of spinning out than if you accelerate all the way up to the turn and then attempt to brake as you make the turn.

There are many other tip available online and I would recommend preparing yourself before you drive, especially if you are not used to winter driving. While winter conditions certainly play a role in crashes, they are not necessarily a legal defense should a crash occur. If you have been injured in a crash and would like to discuss your rights as an accident victim, please contact an experienced Missouri personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

January 4, 2010

Missouri man in serious condition after hitting dump truck

Wayne Priebe, 66, was seriously injured in a Missouri truck accident after his pickup collided with a dump truck Monday morning on Route B in Lewis County.

Priebe was traveling southbound on Route B when the accident occurred, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. A 2005 Western Star Diesel dump truck, driven by Daniel Fahser, 43, was backing up on 160th Street right off of Route B. As he did so, the dump bed of the truck entered Route B and Priebe was unable to avoid a collision.

Priebe was seriously injured and airlifted to Blessing Hospital for treatment. Fahser was uninjured according to the initial crash report.

The big question surrounding this case is whether the dump truck made a unsafe maneuver in backing up or if Priebe was being inattentive. If the truck driver didn't have the appropriate reflectors on his dump truck or began backing up in a negligent manner, he will likely be held responsible for the crash. Accident reconstuctionists and investigators can examine the crash scene and determine the speed of the vehicles and whether any violations occurred that may have contributed to the accident.

If violations are discovered, a Missouri truck accident lawyer may be able to recover damages for the injured party. An experienced attorney will be able to used the evidence given by the investigators to reveal all violations and recover the maximum award to compensate a victim for their medical bills and other expenses.

January 2, 2010

Physics of tractor trailer driving

truck%20wheels.jpg

The enormous size and weight of tractor trailers makes them very imposing vehicles to drive alongside on the highway. These same factors also make the truck driver's job more complicated as he has to account for the size of his truck in every maneuver he makes in order to avoid a tractor trailer wreck.

A tractor trailer's average length is between 70 and 80 feet long. As you can imagine, this makes every turn a challenge. Tractor trailers don't have nearly the same turning radius as a passenger car and drivers must calculate whether the road they are on is wide enough to make a safe turn. It takes an experienced driver to make these turns safely, but accidents do still happen. That is why you see labels on the back of trailers warning about wide turns. Many tractor trailer accidents have occurred as a result of a passenger car moving too close to a tractor trailer as it was trying to make a turn.

The weight of a tractor trailer also contributes to injury accidents as heavier trucks are harder to stop and cause more damage when an accident occurs. The legal limit for a truck's weight is 80,000 lbs. The average car only weighs about 5,000 lbs. To help control this extra weight, tractor trailers have been fitted with numerous powerful braking systems, but it still takes 40% longer to stop a tractor trailer as it does a passenger car traveling at the same speed.

If the driver doesn't know how to turn properly or is forced to brake hard, he may also force his tractor trailer into a jackknife. If the cab turns at a 45 degree angle in relation to the trailer then a jackknife is almost unavoidable as the weight of the trailer will push forward and lock the two halves in a folded position similar to an open pocket knife, hence the term jackknife.

With all these complicating factors, it takes an experienced driver and a trucking company devoted to safety to avoid potentially fatal 18 wheeler crashes. Unfortunately, not all companies follow federal guidelines and some operate their vehicles with dangerous negligence. These companies must be held accountable to make the roads safer for everyone. If you or a loved one has been involved in a tractor trailer accident, call a Missouri truck accident lawyer to learn your rights and have him look over your case.

December 29, 2009

Tractor trailer accident shows danger of tractor trailer jackknifes

A Missouri tractor trailer jackknifed and slid off southbound Interstate 29 into the median on Monday afternoon. The truck’s progress was stopped by the cable median before it could cross into oncoming traffic and become a more serious tractor trailer accident.

While there was some damage to the median and traffic was backed up for hours, no serious injuries were reported.

Fortunately this particular Missouri big rig accident was not serious, but that does not mean jackknife incidents aren’t capable of causing major damage. Anybody who regularly drives on highways with large amounts of tractor trailer traffic should be cautious and aware of the dangers at all times.

Jackknifes are caused when the load of a trailer pushes the cabin sideways and folds it backwards. Once in this position, the vehicle becomes impossible to control and it can slide unpredictably into other cars. Anytime a truck driver makes a turn or brakes, there is a potential for a jackknife.

A number of technological innovations have become standard to help limit the number of jackknife incidents. Anti-lock brakes help the driver maintain control when stopping suddenly and special rigging between the cabin and the trailer can help prevent the trailer from jackknifing. Computer assisted braking systems are also becoming common to further assist the driver.

Despite all the advances in technology, the best way to prevent truck accidents is to have skilled and responsible drivers. While most have a great driving record, there are a few negligent drivers and companies that violate regulations and put people in danger. If you have been involved in a tractor trailer accident, it is a good idea to have it investigated by an experienced Missouri tractor trailer crash lawyer.

December 21, 2009

Construction zones and tractor trailers make a dangerous mix

cone.jpg

Perhaps the two obstacles on the roadway most likely to elicit a groan from drivers are construction zones and tractor trailers. While both are necessary to maintain our roads and commerce, they can both lead to delays in an already hectic rush hour commute. Aside from just causing traffic backups, though, they are both involved in a large number of serious Missouri injury accidents, especially when you mix the large trucks with the confusion of a construction zone.

Residents of Kansas City have been given a couple recent examples of the dangers when tractor trailers and construction zones meet. A few weeks ago, a truck hauling dangerous hydrochloric acid crashed spilling the liquid all over the highway. The incident was followed a couple weeks later by another tractor trailer, this one hauling soybean meal, that crashed on the exact same stretch of highway.

Over on the east side of the state, we’ve seen our fair share of St. Louis tractor trailer accidents in or near construction zones. Last year, for a tragic example, multiple cars waiting in the backup from the Highway 40 construction detour were crushed by a tractor trailer whose driver had briefly taken his eyes off the road to grab his cell phone.

The confusion and stress that comes from navigating construction zones and detours makes for a dangerous situation that must be navigated carefully by all drivers. If everyone observes the posted speed limits and maintains awareness of workers and equipment, accidents can easily be reduced.

Unfortunately, inattentive drivers of both cars and tractor trailers often don’t see an upcoming construction zone or traffic backup and that’s when accidents occur. If you or a family member have been involved in one of these accidents, consult a Missouri personal injury lawyer to discuss your next steps and learn your rights as an accident victim.

December 17, 2009

Combating truck accidents caused by driver fatigue

We often discuss the causes of Missouri tractor trailer accidents on this blog and one of the major problems continues to be truck driver fatigue. Whether it comes from lack of sleep or just a driver exerting himself further than his body can handle, fatigue can have deadly consequences when mixed with 80,000 pounds of freight.

According to the NTSB, one in three tractor trailer accidents are caused by driver fatigue. This includes both fatal and non-fatal accidents. If these estimates are true, that means there are over 160,000 truck accidents that could have been prevented had the driver not been fatigued.

Even more startling is the number of truck drivers that admit to actually falling asleep at the wheel. Some studies claim this number is as high as one in five drivers having fallen asleep at the wheel at least once in their driving careers.

A driver doesn't actually have to fall asleep to put himself and others in danger. Being heavily fatigued limits your reaction time and attention span as well as making it harder to stay in a lane. Perhaps you may have even felt this yourself in your own car when driving late at night. While driving in this condition is not safe in any vehicle, the large size and limited mobility of commercial shipping trucks requires that your mind be totally focused to avoid any problems.

You are also more susceptible to a condition commonly called "road hypnosis" when you are fatigued. Drivers on long road trips often report that they simply don't remember long stretches of the drive because they were in a type of psychological autopilot. Your conscious mind can separate from simple sub conscious tasks using an ability psychologists call automaticity. A driver's automatic responses may be able to keep a car on the roadway for short stretches, but if something unexpected happens, like a sudden traffic backup, the conscious mind may not be able to take over and stop the vehicle in time.

Federal regulations are in place that limit the number of consecutive hours a driver can be behind the wheel, and these restrictions may be expanded further if regulators feel it would be in the interest of public safety. Developing these rules can be tricky, though, because if you limit driver's hours too much, companies argue they will be forced to hire more inexperienced drivers which may also increase accidents.

If you have been involved in an accident with a tractor trailer and suspect the driver was driving while dangerously fatigued, contact a Missouri truck accident lawyer. An experienced attorney will be able investigate the driver's log books and company shipping records to determine if the driver violated any regulations and if these regulations contributed to the accident.

December 13, 2009

Missouri tractor trailers haul millions of tons of freight every year

tractor%20trailer%20shipping%20lane%20map.jpg

The map to the right provides a good visual representation of the amount of tractor trailer traffic on Missouri’s highways every year and why we need to work very hard to prevent Missouri truck crashes.

The U.S. Department of Transportation provided the map and the data behind it showing the amount of shipping traffic across the country. As you can see, Missouri is a central hub with hundreds of millions of tons passing through the state’s highway, rail and waterway systems.

Looking at just the tractor trailer shipping traffic, you can see why there are so many large truck accidents in the state every year. The two major highways criss-crossing the state, I-70 and I-44, bear the load of more than 200 millions tons of freight by themselves. Perhaps this is one reason why those two highways were recently listed as the two most dangerous in Missouri.

Shipping goods by truck is an important part of our economy and can be handled in a safe way, as evidenced by the thousands of truck drivers who operate their vehicles without incident every day. The shear size of the trucks can quickly lead to tragedy, though, when operated by those few negligent drivers and trucking companies.

The best way to control these negligent practices is with careful federal regulation, constant supervision by state authorities and proper utilization of the civil justice system when an accident occurs. Anybody involved in a Missouri tractor trailer crash should contact a Missouri truck accident attorney as soon as possible to investigate the incident.

December 9, 2009

Two tractor trailers collide in Missouri killing one driver

Truck driver Johnathon Willmon, 33, is dead after a Missouri tractor trailer crash near Plattsburg, Missouri.

Willmon was driving his 2002 International truck eastbound on Missouri 116 when the crash occurred, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. A second big rig, driven by Douglas Tomlin, 45, was heading westbound on Missouri 116 and began to slide out of control. Highway Patrol troopers said Tomlin began to slide due to snowy road conditions. Tomlin's truck crossed over into the eastbound lanes where it hit a rail on the Little Platte River bridge and jackknifed in the path of Willmon's truck. Willmon was unable to avoid crashing into the trailer attached to Tomlin's truck.

Willmon was pronounced dead at the scene. Tomlin suffered minor injures, but refused treatment at the crash site.

Often when you hear about a fatal tractor trailer crash, it is between a big rig and a smaller passenger car. This incident shows that the power of these large vehicles can cause tragedy or serious injury even for the truck drivers themselves.

Since there was a fatality, this accident will see much more investigation and an accident reconstruction from state authorities. The trip logs of both drivers will be investigated to see if any motor carrier regulations were violated.

December 7, 2009

Pepsi truck overturns injuring two

Photo by KMBC-TV
Pepsi%20truck%20crash.jpg

A truck carrying thousands of pounds of Pepsi soda overturned on I-435 early Monday morning sending two people to the hospital and scattering soda bottles all over the highway.

According to authorities cited in local media reports, this Missouri truck injury crash was likely caused by slick road conditions. The Pepsi truck was unable to stop and slid into two other cars before slamming into the guardrail and flipping.

Both the driver of the truck and one of the other car's drivers were taken to the hospital for treatment.

The driver of the truck was trapped for nearly 40 minutes before being freed by rescue crews. The rest of the accident took hours to clean.

While slick road conditions can be a factor in Missouri car and truck crashes, the responsibility for safe driving still lies with drivers. If you cause an accident, even if it was because you car skid on an icy roadway, you will be liable for damages caused by the wreck.

Early indications are the Pepsi truck slid on the roadway in the Missouri crash, but these are just scattered early reports. More investigation is needed by local authorities, accident professionals, and perhaps a Missouri truck accident lawyer before liability can be determined.

December 3, 2009

Perryville, Missouri man seriously injured in crash with tractor trailer

Ricky Hotop, 48, was hospitalized with serious injuries after crashing his pickup into a tractor trailer in Perry County, Missouri.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, this Missouri tractor trailer crash occurred on County Road 606 near Route K. The tractor trailer was stopped in the westbound lane of the roadway at around 5:20 p.m. Hotop, who was also traveling westbound, apparently didn’t see the tractor trailer and crashed into the back of it, totaling his pickup.

Hotop was taken to Perry County Memorial Hospital for emergency treatment. The tractor trailer driver was uninjured.

In many cases of a rear end collision, a driver is usually distracted and not focused on the road ahead of him. Occasionally, there are circumstances where the driver in the rear is not totally at fault. If a car or tractor trailer is stopped over the crest of a hill, for instance, this creates a very dangerous situation where other drivers may not have the opportunity to stop their vehicles in time. Large tractor trailers should also put out road markers and keep lights on after dusk in order to warn other drivers and prevent serious tractor trailer accidents.

The initial crash report and local media have not released information as to what might have caused this particular crash in Perry County. Further investigation is needed to determine whether Hotop was simply being inattentive, whether the tractor trailer was placed in a dangerous position, or both.

December 2, 2009

Steps for preventing tractor trailer and truck crashes

Examining the statistics showing just how many people die or suffer injury in truck accidents in Missouri and around the country each year can lead one to a pretty bleak outlook on the situation. Several thousand people die every year and tens of thousands more sustain injuries that may affect them the rest of their lives.

There are steps that both the trucking companies and the average driver can take to reduce the number of fatal tractor trailer accidents in Missouri.

Time and time again, it is shown that the number one cause of accidents is driver error. Taking the time to re-educate yourself on proper driving techniques can help you break some bad habits. When driving near trucks, for instance, a passenger car should not get too close behind or in front of a truck which could jackknife easily if forced into an evasive maneuver. You should also not attempt to “race” a big rig at an exit ramp just to make sure you are ahead of it on the highway.

Some trucking companies are being very proactive and taking a high-tech approach to limiting accidents by installing driver assistance programs, like the VORAD system. These technologies can alert the driver if a dangerous situation is present and, in some cases, take control of truck’s brake system to avert a crash.

Not all companies go the extra mile, unfortunately, and some have been found to be consistently negligent in how they operate their vehicles. Because of this, the industry will continue to need to examine their regulations and hold companies that violate them accountable.

If you have been involved in a tractor trailer accident and would like an expert to examine the case to determine if regulations were violated, contact a St. Louis area truck accident lawyer.

November 30, 2009

Truck crash releases thousands of pounds of acid in Missouri

A tractor trailer hauling more than 4,000 pounds of hydrochloric acid crashed on I-35 in Kansas City on Monday, sending the corrosive liquid spraying out onto the roadway.

The Missouri tractor trailer crash and chemical spill happened just before the morning rush and hospitalized 11 people, according to the Kansas City Star.

According to police cited in local media reports, the truck was traveling through a narrow construction zone and likely moving too fast for the road conditions. A full investigation is ongoing to confirm these suspicions.

The hydrochloric acid being carried was 50 percent concentrated, which is a very powerful mixture according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Concentrations at 10 percent or even lower are to be handled with care. Higher concentrations increase the corrosive ability of the chemical.

If the acid comes into contact with human tissue, it will cause burning and severe damage, especially to the eyes, throat, and other soft tissue. If inhaled, the acid can irritate the throat and lungs, possibly creating ulcers. It has also been shown to cause pulmonary edema, which is a dangerous buildup of fluid in the lungs.

Because of these risks, after the tractor trailer crash, people in the area were advised to remain indoors. The Isle of Capri Casino, which is located near the crash site, shut down its ventilation system to prevent any dangerous fumes from entering the building.

Most of the people that sought treatment at the hospital had been exposed to the chemical and complained of irritation of the eyes or throat. At this time, there are no reports of serious injury or permanent damage due to exposure to the acid.

Road crews also repaired damage to the roadway where the acid had eaten away at the asphalt.

November 27, 2009

Rural roads produce the most fatalities

In a report published by NPR using NHTSA data, rural roads are shown to have the highest number of fatal car and truck crashes despite the fact that less people live in rural areas.

In 2008, 56 percent of fatal crashes happened on rural roads despite only 23 percent of the country's population living in rural areas. The report goes on to say that the numbers vary by state and in some areas over 90 percent of highway fatalities are on rural roads.

Urban areas have more people and their residents also drive more, but despite all these factors that should contribute to urban accidents, urban drivers are half as likely to die in a car or truck crash here in Missouri or around the country.

Some reasons for this discrepancy are obvious, while others may not immediately come to mind. Drivers are usually traveling faster on rural roads. Rural roads are also narrower and may lack some modern safety improvements that have been installed on major interstates that run through cities. Tractor trailer crashes are more more deadly as large trucks are forced to share these smaller roads with passenger cars. Rural drivers are also more likely to drive without wearing a seat belt and are more likely to be involved in a drunk driving crash.

Still, despite all these factors, driver error is the cause of most accidents. There's just less room for error on these more dangerous roads. Car and truck drivers that drive negligently must be held responsible if they cause an accident no matter where the crash occurs.

If you or someone in your family is involved in a crash caused by another driver, contact a Missouri car and truck accident lawyer to discuss your rights as an accident victim. You should also consult an attorney if you feel the accident was the result of a dangerous road condition that should have been addressed by transportation officials.

November 24, 2009

MoDOT loses $1.3 million dollar judgment stemming from tractor trailer crash

A $1.3 million dollar ruling against the Missouri Department of Transportation was just handed down by a arbitration panel that decided the department could have done more to prevent a Missouri tractor trailer accident in 2005.

The accident in question was a December 6, 2005 crash that killed Jemma Dant, 28. Her car was stopped on I-44 when a semitrailer crashed into the back of her car and sent it into another truck. Her car was in a line of traffic which was backed up unusually far from the Vandeventer exit.

The arbitration panel said that MoDOT could have warned drivers about the backup, which extended past the Vandeventer exit lane and into the right lane of westbound I-44.

A St. Louis Post Dispatch report on the case said since the accident, the exit ramp was restriped and electronic warning signs were added that can update drivers about traffic conditions. Neither of these precautions were in place at the time of the accident.

Dant's family had already been paid damages by the trucking company involved in the crash.

This accident was tragic, but the changes that have taken place since the accident may help prevent a similar Missouri truck accident in the future. By hiring a St. Louis area personal injury attorney after an accident, you can possibly recover damages to help you financially through a difficult time and also draw attention to dangerous conditions that can be remedied to prevent future tragedy.

November 22, 2009

Trucking regulations could see changes in coming years

yellow%20truck.jpg

The regulations governing the trucking industry are under constant debate in the industry. In an effort to reduce tractor trailer crash deaths and injuries here in Missouri and across the country, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration makes these regulations, which are often fought by the trucking industry.

A few of these regulations in particular could see some changes in the coming months and years. The first is the weight limit for trucks on federal highways. Currently, the maximum allowable weight for a truck is 80,000 pounds, but advocates for the trucking industry want to push that number as high as 97,000 pounds. They argue that by increasing the weight limit, they can lower the number of trucks on the road which will lower the number of potential accidents and help the industry financially through the recession.

Opponents of the weight restriction increase argue that trucks are already incredibly dangerous at 80,000 pounds. Increasing the weight will only increase the damage done when something inevitably goes wrong. We have already discussed on the blog a St. Louis area tractor trailer crash on Highway 40 that saw a big rig plow through 10 cars. How many more cars, and how many more lives, could it have destroyed if it weighed an additional 17,000 pounds?

Another area of regulation that is up for debate is the Hours of Service regulations. These are put in place to limit the number of hours a driver can work, thus limiting the number of fatigued truckers with dangerously slow reaction times due to lack of sleep. Some argue the current laws are too lax and the number of consecutive hours a driver can work should be reduced further. Again, the trucking companies see this as delaying shipments and increasing costs, so they are largely against it.

The Comprehensive Safety Analysis initiative is a program from the FMCSA to reduce crashes and it also may lead to changes in the industry. One possible result of the initiative is stricter guidelines for hiring and retaining safe drivers. Some industry representatives support the initiative, but others worry about the financial repercussions of limiting the pool of drivers.

Any rule changes made by the FMCSA would ostensibly be made with the interest of safety at heart. Most of the objections from the industry have to do with financial concerns and they believe they can police themselves. From the point of view of a Missouri truck accident lawyer, I’m not sure what the perfect weight of a truck should be or the safest amount of hours a driver can work effectively. That’s for the FMCSA to decide. It is clear, though, that with 4,000 people dying every year in truck accidents, even with the current rules in place, the industry can’t police itself.

November 19, 2009

Missouri driver involved in Iowa tractor trailer crash

A semi driver from Missouri was involved in a tractor trailer accident Thursday morning in Eastern Iowa, according to local media reports.

Details are sketchy as investigators are still examining the scene, but we do know the tractor trailer was heading westbound on I-80 when the accident occurred. The truck driver, whose name has not been released, attempted to pass a slower moving minivan. Once he had passed the van in the left lane, he began to merge back into the right lane, but apparently misjudged his clearance room. The trailer hit the van and forced it off the roadway into a ditch. The semi also lost control and drove off an I-80 overpass onto Wells Ferry Road. Luckily, there were no cars crushed by the large truck as it fell.

Neither driver was seriously hurt.

The tractor trailer driver is facing citations, according to a KWQC report.

Fortunately, this crash did not result in any severe injuries or death. Many times this is not the case. Negligent operation by tractor trailer drivers and their companies can have deadly consequences. Anybody who is involved in a crash with a tractor trailer in Missouri should contact a Missouri truck accident lawyer to discuss their case. He or she will be able to examine the case and recover damages to help the injured party cope with serious injury and large medical bills.

November 16, 2009

I-70 listed as Missouri’s deadliest highway

Data compiled by a Missouri attorney lobbying for more tractor trailer regulations shows that interstate 70 is by far Missouri’s deadliest highway, followed by I-44, U.S.-63 and I-55, according to a KSDK report.

Last year there were 41 fatalities on I-70 alone, according to the report. I-44, which has a longer stretch through the state, came in second with 25 fatal car and truck accidents.

The data is being used to call attention to the dangers on our roadways and the attorney who published it is hoping also to see some law changes as well. He, along with others, are trying to ban tractor trailer drivers from using portable electronic devices like cell phones and laptops while they are behind the wheel.

Missouri recently passed a law restricting drivers under 21 from texting and driving. Besides that, there are no laws restricting big rig and commercial truck drivers from talking on a cell phone or using a laptop despite the fact that studies show drivers using these devices are up to 23 percent more likely to cause an accident. Many truckers routinely use these devices to report back to their company and keep in touch with family while on the road.

While I respect the fact that drivers need to keep in contact with their employers and their family, it is not worth putting others at risk. The numbers clearly show that distracted drivers cause more accidents. If a negligent driver or company causes an accident they need to be held accountable. The best way to do this is to contact a Missouri truck accident attorney to help investigate your case if you or someone you love is involved in a crash.

November 14, 2009

Alcohol and drug testing important step in preventing Missouri tractor trailer crashes

drink.jpg

The dangers of combining alcohol or drugs and driving are obvious and well documented. Still, we see thousands of fatal car and truck accidents each year as a result of drunk or drugged driving. Every state has laws to curb drunk driving and this applies to commercial truck and tractor trailer drivers as well. In fact, commercial truck drivers are subject to much stricter regulation than the average driver.

Every driver is required to submit to numerous drug and alcohol tests in order to remain employed. There are pre-employment drug screens as well as random tests administered throughout the driver's tenure. If a driver is involved in an accident, he will also have to submit to drug and alcohol screens to determine if these substances contributed to the accident. Failure to comply with these mandatory tests will result in serious consequences for the driver.

Because of these regulations, drunk and drugged driving has been reduced in the trucking industry. While not as rampant as it once was, the problem has not been completely eliminated. Various studies have found that 15% of drivers had illegal drugs in their systems after a crash. Some others were found to have been abusing prescription stimulants to fight fatigue. Even with all the tests for alcohol, 1% of fatal tractor trailer accidents were the result of drunk driving. That still adds up to hundreds of lives lost every year due to terribly negligent behavior on the part of a driver.

Trucking companies can fall short in their duties to police their drivers as well. Tractor trailer accident lawyers can sometimes find cases where tests are not properly administered by trucking companies and unsafe drivers are allowed back on the road. In these cases, the company as well as the driver should be held responsible for the damage caused by an accident.

An experienced Missouri truck accident lawyer will be able to examine an accident and determine if drugs or alcohol played a role. He will also be able to dig into company testing records to determine if the driver had a history of problems that should have kept the driver off the road in the first place.

November 10, 2009

Hiring and retention regulations for tractor trailer companies

The single largest contributing factor to fatal Missouri tractor trailer accidents is driver error. While certain crashes may have be unforeseeable and unavoidable, other drivers have a history of poor driving habits that should have been an indicator of their chances of causing an accident in the future. In order to keep these unsafe drivers from behind the wheel of a tractor trailer, the FMCSA has established regulations for the hiring and retention of drivers.

There are a number of requirements that a driver must meet before he can be hired on by a commercial trucking company. He or she must pass a written test on federal tractor trailer regulations. A road test must also be completed to prove that the driver can handle a big rig. A drug test must also be passed.

The employer must also complete an extensive background check on the potential driver. The driver's record over the past three years must be examined no matter what state the driver was in over those years. Past employers dating back three years must also be contacted and questioned about the driver's competence and safety record. All of the background check information must be documented and kept in the driver's file.

Once hired, there are additional rules for the retention of any tractor trailer driver. Evey year a performance review must occur and any driving violations must be examined. A series of random drug test may be administered as well. An employee file containing all relevant records must be kept while the driver is employed and for three years after.

If any of these regulations are violated, the company may be held liable for negligent hiring practices. It is not uncommon for important documents to be forged and tests to be passed without merit. This can mean an unqualified and unsafe driver is allowed on the road to cause a serious accident. A skilled tractor trailer accident lawyer will be able to determine if any negligent hiring practices may have lead to an unsafe driver being retained by a trucking company.

November 8, 2009

Tractor trailer crash regulations

As we've discussed previously on the blog, tractor trailers and other large trucks are subject to different regulations than the average passenger car. This is because of the extra dangers posed by commercial motor vehicles in the event of a tractor trailer crash. There are guidelines to define what exactly qualifies as a commercial motor vehicle.

There are several ways a vehicle can be classified as a commercial motor vehicle. It must be used to transport people or shipments for commercial reasons and must be of a certain size. If the vehicle is 10,001 pounds or more or if it can transport 15 or more people, it falls under this distinction. A vehicle can also be classified as a commercial motor vehicle if it is transporting hazardous materials.

Companies that use vehicles of this classification must register the vehicle and follow all federal motor carrier guidelines. Some states have altered the guidelines for the unique situations in their part of the country. When dealing with a truck accident here in the Show Me State, it is important to contact an experienced Missouri tractor trailer lawyer who has extensive knowledge about our specific laws.

While most vehicles that meet the above criteria are subject to the commercial motor vehicle regulations, some exceptions are made. School buses and ambulances do not fall under the same classification and neither do vehicles that are being used for non-commercial uses. This does not mean these vehicles are exempted from any regulation, however, they just don't have the same guidelines as tractor trailers being used in commercial shipping. Again, a truck accident attorney with enough experience will easily be able determine which regulations apply to your case.

November 6, 2009

OSHA recognizes companies that work to reduce truck crashes

highway.jpg

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's main objective is to make workplaces safe for employees and other citizens. On their website they have suggestions specifically for trucking companies and any organization that operates large trucks as part of their day-to-day business. These suggestions are designed to reduce the number of serious truck accident injuries and fatalities. They also recognize companies that are utilizing these suggestions effectively.

OSHA says that companies need a driver safety program and offers learning materials to companies to help them start one. Aside from simply listing safe driving strategies, they recommend creating a culture of safety where safe practices are rewarded. The attitudes of employees must be in the right place first before any safety tips will help. Once you have employees committed, then you can start to implement the tips on www.osha.gov. If you are an employer who uses large trucks in your business, I strongly recommend taking a look at their suggestions.

Among the companies they spotlight is Nationwide Insurance. They have a private motor fleet as part of their business and in 1998 they started a driver safety program with their employees. As a result, they saw their rate of preventable crashes drop by more than 50 percent. What makes that stat even more impressive is the national rate of accidents actually rose during that same period.

Other companies that had similar results were Charter Communications and GM.

Unfortunately, some companies don't implement these driver safety programs, putting profits ahead of safety while putting innocent people at risk in the process. These are the companies that made the national rate of tractor trailer and large truck accidents rise over the last decade.

These companies need to be held accountable for negligent practices. If you have been involved in a wreck with a large truck or commercial shipping vehicle, contact a Missouri truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Truck accident cases are incredibly time sensitive and if you delay, you may lose your chance to recover damages to help your recovery.

November 4, 2009

Two trucks involved in Missouri crash

Two large trucks and a car were involved in a Missouri injury accident Wednesday evening on Highway 70 in St. Louis.

All three of the vehicles were heading eastbound near the Cypress exit when the accident happened. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the driver of the car, 17 year old Stefanie McCauley, lost control of the vehicle and began to spin out. A Volvo 8000, driven by Avramov Znivko, 47, hit McCauley's car as it spun. Moments later, a 1994 Peterbilt truck, driven by Raymond Stambaugh, 55, hit the Volvo truck.

Marilyn Moore, 49, was a passenger in the Peterbilt truck and was seriously injured. Stambaugh also sustained injuries and both were taken to DePaul hospital for treatment.

The investigating officer did not say what might have caused McCauley to spin out.

These chain reaction crashes with multiple impacts can be complicated with regards to sorting out liability. If any driver is found to have been negligent in relation to this Missouri truck crash, then a trucking accident lawyer may be called in to recover damages for the injured parties.

November 2, 2009

Missouri highway workers barred from texting and driving

The Missouri Department of Transportation has officially banned employees from sending text messages while driving MoDOT vehicles or while on the clock in their own vehicles.

The new policy is designed to reduce the number of large truck accidents in Missouri. It comes on the heels of a recent statewide law that bans all drivers under 21 from texting and driving.

As we’ve discussed previously here on the blog, distractions for drivers are a major cause of serious truck and tractor trailer accidents. Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to cause an accident than a focused driver. This rule change by MoDOT is a step in the right direction.

The policy won’t be enough on its own, though, to significantly cut down on accidents here in Missouri. Private trucking companies and their drivers also need to be held accountable when they cause a serious accident because a text message or cell phone caused a distraction. If you have been involved in an accident of this type, contact a Missouri trucking accident lawyer to discuss your case.

October 30, 2009

Dealing with insurance companies after an accident

After a serious accident, all you will probably want to do is make sure you and anyone you were with are healthy and get back to your normal life. You'll want to put the accident behind you as quickly as possible. Life, as we all learn, is not so easy and serious car and truck accidents could lead to lots of investigation and dealing with insurance company representatives. Fortunately, you can take some steps to make this period less stressful.

The first thing you should do is learn as much about your own insurance policy as possible. Even if you weren't just in an accident and happened upon this blog by chance, you should look over your policy to make sure you know when you will be covered and for how much. You will have different coverage for medical payments, property damage, bodily injury to the other party and collision. Be sure to read the fine print and call your agent if you have any questions. It's better to have the information before you have a car accident rather than after the fact.

If you were injured in a car or truck accident, take meticulous notes and keep multiple copies of any documentation. Make sure you get the contact and license info from the other driver and the truck number and trucking company info if it was a tractor trailer crash. If you were injured by someone else's poor driving, their insurance company will be looking to limit their payout to you and having all the pertinent evidence on hand is the first step to protecting yourself.

Representatives from the other insurance company may also try and contact you for a recorded statement. It is in your best interest to avoid talking to them until you have consulted a personal injury attorney. Even if you are absolutely sure that the accident wasn't your fault, anything you say can be used to limit the payment you receive which could leave you in a dire financial situation. A skilled personal injury attorney will be able to advise you on your rights and help you make your statement to the insurance company if you even have to make one at all.

October 28, 2009

Mack truck crash seriously injures Missouri man

Michael Braudrick, 48, was seriously injured Monday when the pickup he was driving was involved in a crash with a Mack truck on Missouri 86.

The accident occurred about one mile south of Wheaton, Missouri. The Mack truck, driven by Harold Roberson, 53, was making a left turn onto Missouri 86 from a country road. The large Mack truck pulled into the path of Braudrick's smaller pickup and he was unable to avoid a collision.

Braudrick was taken to St. John's Hospital for emergency treatment. Roberson was uninjured and the Mack truck was able to be driven from the scene.

Braudrick was wearing a seat belt.

Some more details need to emerge about this Missouri truck crash before liability can be determined. The speeds of the vehicles will need to be calculated as well as how, exactly, did Roberson make the turn onto Missouri 86. Investigators will determine if he should have yielded to the pickup or if Braudrick should have been able to avoid the crash. Should Roberson be found to have been negligent in this instance, Braudrick may be able to collect damages to cover his medical expenses.

People injured in a Missouri truck accident should think twice before handling these claims on their own or just accepting the answer from the insurance company. Many times, the best way to learn about your rights as a victim and get the repayment you deserve is to contact a Missouri truck accident attorney.

October 26, 2009

Deadly distractions for tractor trailer drivers

phone.jpg

By now, you've probably heard about the two pilots for Delta Air Lines who have been dismissed after they overshot their destination by 150 miles due, supposedly, to them being distracted by their laptops. Fortunately, no serious incident occurred and the plane landed safely in Minneapolis-St. Paul. FAA regulations prohibit the use of laptops in the cockpit for this very reason and more deadly incidents are prevented because of these stricter rules.

This is not so on our roadways. Every year, thousands of people die in car accidents and tractor trailer crashes caused by distracted drivers who were talking on a cell phone or playing with some other electronic device. While some individual states and cities have taken the lead on reducing the distractions by banning cell phones while driving, in most areas there are no such laws and seeing someone multi-tasking when they should simply be driving is a regular occurrence.

The dangers are multiplied for tractor trailer drivers who have to maintain control of vehicles stretching dozens of feet long and weighing thousands of pounds. Yet still, even commercial truck drivers are regularly guilty of losing focus on the road because they are talking or texting and sometimes this has fatal consequences. One of the larger tractor trailer crashes in the St. Louis area occurred on Highway 40 last year when a truck driver, apparently distracted by his cell phone, plowed through ten other cars that were stopped for traffic. Three people were killed and more were seriously injured.

Despite tragic incidents like the Highway 40 crash, the FMCSA has not completely banned the use of cell phones or other electronic distractions by tractor trailer drivers while driving. In fact, many big rig drivers regularly use on-board computers to update their company of their progress and track their routes.

Studies have repeatedly shown that these types of distractions are dangerous. Drivers using those on-board computers are approximately ten times more likely to be involved in a crash. Texting drivers are 23 times as likely to crash. Even drivers who use hands-free phones have been proven to be as impaired as drunken drivers.

Drivers and their companies that continue these negligent policies of allowing distractions in the cabin must be held accountable when those same distractions result in serious accidents. If you or a family member has been involved in such a crash, contact an experienced Missouri tractor trailer accident attorney as soon as possible so that they can begin to investigate your case.

October 24, 2009

Truck driver fatigue a major cause of accidents

Tractor trailer drivers are responsible for safely driving an extremely large vehicle that could be hauling thousands of pounds of cargo. Because of their size, these large trucks can cause significant personal injury in an accident. These risk factors mean a truck driver has to remain extra alert and vigilant. Unfortunately, driver fatigue is a problem that leads to hundreds of Missouri tractor trailer crashes each year. Drivers, who are paid by the mile, were giving up sleep and driving on short rest in order to complete shipments faster.

To help control driver fatigue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration set the Hours of Service guidelines for drivers. Some of these rules include:

- Truck drivers can only drive up to 11 consecutive hours and only after 10 consecutive hours off duty.

- Truck drivers can be on duty (working but not necessarily driving) for 14 consecutive hours and are not able to drive after the 14th hour.

- In a 7 day span, the maximum on duty time is 60 hours. Drivers may also choose to work 70 hours across 8 days.

- After a 7-8 day working period, the driver must take 34 consecutive hours off duty.

The FMCSA says these rules will prevent thousands of accidents nationwide and ultimately save lives. One in five truck drivers have admitted to driving under extreme fatigue or even nodding off at the wheel.

In order to make sure drivers adhere to the hours of service rules, they must keep an accurate log of their driving. After an accident, it is essential that this log is quickly investigated by a tractor trailer accident lawyer since many companies will destroy these logs after a certain of amount of time.

October 22, 2009

Tractor trailers cause more than their fair share of traffic deaths in Missouri

Wading through statistics at sites we’ve mentioned in previous posts and articles on other injury sites, we’ve discovered some more sobering statistics about tractor trailer crashes in Missouri.

Depending on what statistics you look at and your definition of a large truck, they make up around 3% to 7% of traffic on the nation’s highways. Not surprisingly, they also account for a disproportionate amount of traffic fatalities. Semi trucks and tractor trailers are involved in 15% of all traffic deaths in Missouri.

There are several reasons for this overly high rate of deaths in Missouri tractor trailer accidents. The most obvious is simple physics. Tractor trailers are large, imposing vehicles that do more damage to other, smaller passenger cars when an accident occurs. If you examine many of these accident cases, you will also see that truck drivers and trucking companies are often guilty of violating Federal regulations meant to prevent accidents.

While many truck drivers do the right thing and follow these regulations, those that don’t need to be held accountable. Victims of tractor trailer crashes should have their case reviewed by an experienced Missouri tractor trailer accident attorney. A skilled lawyer will be able to examine your case and find any violations of federal law that contributed to your accident. Many attorneys even offer free legal consultations to explain your rights with no obligation to hire.

October 18, 2009

Missouri and Illinois see higher number of tractor trailer crashes

blue%20truck.jpg

In data released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Missouri and Illinois are shown to have a higher number of tractor trailer crashes than the national average.

Illinois actually comes in third behind Texas and California for having the most tractor trailer and large truck accidents in the United States.

Missouri had 4,407 total crashes involving a tractor trailer in the last year. This includes fatal Missouri tractor trailer accidents and less serious wrecks. Illinois had 7,156 crashes in the same time span.

When looking at the data, state population clearly has an effect on the number of accidents and for obvious reasons. Sparsely populated states such as Wyoming have less people and fewer trucks so naturally they will have fewer accidents. Even when you adjust for population, however, Missouri and Illinois have accident rates higher than the national average. Both Missouri and Illinois have more tractor trailer crashes than other states of similar size and population.

Many of these crashes didn’t have to happen. They were the product of negligence and if some drivers had been a little more conscious or a trucking company did a better job of inspecting its fleet of vehicles, maybe some of these accidents could have been prevented. Most drivers are responsible, but the ones that aren’t need to be held accountable.

One of the ways to do that is by contacting a Missouri or Illinois truck accident lawyer after a crash. In addition to recovering damages to help you pay back medical bills and lost wages, a personal injury attorney can help send a clear message to the company and maybe prevent future accidents and injuries.

October 16, 2009

St. Louis policeman dies from injuries sustained in crash with tractor trailer

Julius Moore, 23, an officer with the St. Louis Police Department, died Thursday evening from injuries sustained when his patrol car crashed into a tractor trailer last week.

According to a St. Louis Post Dispatch report, Moore had never regained consciousness after the crash and his family made the difficult decision to take him off life support.

The crash occurred last Tuesday when Moore’s patrol car hit a tractor trailer at the South Broadway and Arsenal intersection. Moore was responding to a call and had lights and sirens on while racing to the scene of a burglary. Moore was traveling southbound along with the tractor trailer when the truck driver attempted to make a right turn. The tractor trailer hit Moore’s car and forced it off the road and into a traffic light.

The truck driver was not injured in this St. Louis tractor trailer crash, according to the Post Dispatch. He has been cooperative with authorities and sources cited in the report don’t expect him to face any charges, though the investigation into this incident isn’t complete. An accident reconstruction team is still working on a report and will examine the vehicles’ speeds, debris patterns and computer simulations to determine the specifics of the crash. A full report probably won’t be done for up to 12 weeks.

Police officials have said that it is too early to assign fault to either Moore or the truck driver. Once the reconstruction team's report is finished we will know more, but at the moment, we don’t know how fast the vehicles were going or when Moore turned on his sirens. Many other details need to be fleshed out before liability can be determined.

By all accounts, Moore was a dedicated officer and he died from injuries sustained while performing his heroic duties. This is no doubt a hard time for the Moore family and the St. Louis Police Department.

This case, like most Missouri tractor trailer injury accidents, is very complicated. If you have been the victim of a tractor trailer crash, you should contact a St. Louis personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to learn your rights as the injured party. Keep in mind that any information you divulge prior to talking to a lawyer may be used to limit the payment you receive to cover medical expenses.

October 14, 2009

Resources for tractor trailer accident victims

One of the most powerful tools to have as a victim of a tractor trailer accident is information. Doing just a little research for yourself will lessen your chances of being taken advantage of by those in supposed positions of power. Having knowledge can level the playing field between the little guy and the big corporation with lots of professional backup.

Fortunately, many resources can be found online to help educate you about the commercial trucking industry, their laws, and who can help you if you or someone you love is injured in a Missouri tractor trailer crash.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website is a great place to go for basic information on the commercial trucking industry in the United States. The FMCSA oversees the industry and has regulations that all trucking companies should follow to avoid accidents. Unfortunately, all too often these rules aren’t followed and the results are tragic.

Within FMCSA’s site, be sure to check out the Analysis and Information section for all the statistics on tractor trailer accidents.

Another section of the site that you should pay close attention to is the Rules and Regulations page. Here you’ll find a comprehensive listing of the rules that a truck driver must follow.

If you want to look up a particular company’s profile to see how many safety violations they have, you can check the SAFER database. Be aware that the basic information is free, but comprehensive company details do cost a fee.

Finally, if you believe that you were the victim of an accident that was caused by a truck driver’s negligence or an oversight on the part of his company, contact a Missouri truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your rights. Many offer free consultations to discuss your tractor trailer accident case and will be able to advise you on your next step.

October 12, 2009

Mechanical failures a major cause for tractor trailer crashes

Mechanical failures are the number two cause of tractor trailer injury accidents in the United States, according to data compiled by the National Highway Safety Administration. Driver error is still the most common contributing factor to crashes, but some studies show the rate of mechanical failures is on the rise here in Missouri.

Of the different types of mechanical failures that could cause a Missouri tractor trailer crash, the most common, by far, was brake failure. Brakes on a vehicle that could be hauling thousands of pounds of cargo should be the most scrutinized mechanical device on the road, but every year we see drivers and trucking companies skipping inspections to save on costs or time. As a result, we also see lots of accidents, injuries and fatalities that could have been prevented.

There are already regulations provided by the federal government designed to prompt drivers to have their trucks inspected. These regulations save lives and in areas where truckers are strictly held accountable to these rules, we see a sharp decline in accidents. During the 1990’s, Georgia stepped up its enforcement of tractor trailer inspection laws, specifically on logging trucks. As a result, the rate of accidents by mechanical failure was cut in half. The lesson is that industries held accountable for their actions will respond.

Aside from federal regulation, another way to hold negligent trucking companies accountable is through the civil justice system. In the wake of a tragic accident, your first thought might not be about hiring a Missouri truck accident attorney. While you and your family’s medical care come first, it is important to begin any legal investigation into your case as soon as possible. These matters are time sensitive and it is imperative that the truck inspection records, the driver’s log book, and other important info is gathered before it is lost forever.

October 6, 2009

Tractor trailer crashes into bus in Missouri

Many parents are counting their blessings this morning after what could have been a serious and tragic accident.

A tractor trailer crashed into a school bus in Branson on Tuesday morning, according to a Branson Daily News report. Fortunately, no injuries were reported in this Missouri tractor trailer crash.

The accident occurred on Missouri 248 as the school bus was traveling westbound on its route to pick up students for the start of the school day. It had stopped to allow some children to board when a tractor trailer that was following behind was unable to stop. When the truck driver, who was not identified, realized he wouldn’t be able to slow down in time, he swerved to try and avoid a collision. Despite the evasive maneuver, the front of his big rig still hit the left rear of the bus.

According to Missouri Highway Patrol officials cited in the Branson Daily News report, the tractor trailer driver had suspected there might have been some mechanical problems prior to the crash. Specifically, there seemed to be some issues with the brake lines that prompted the driver to inspect them in a parking lot earlier in the day.

Local authorities are still investigating the accident and a full detailed report is not yet available.

While we should all be thankful that no serious injuries came of this Missouri school bus accident, these situations occur all too often to ignore. Working as a tractor trailer accident attorney I hear stories all the time of a truck driver, under pressure from his company to deliver a shipment on time, who ignores mechanical red flags that later turn into devastating crashes.

We will have to wait for the full report to determine whether the driver should have performed maintenance on his brakes before driving, but even if that is not the case in this accident, the fact is nearly 30% of tractor trailer crashes are caused by improperly maintained brakes.

If you have been involved in an accident with a tractor trailer that may have been improperly maintained or driving in violation of Federal Motor Carrier Regulations, you should find a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to learn your rights and see what steps you can take to hold the trucking company responsible for their negligence. Many attorneys offer free personal injury consultations that can help you become better educated on the law before making such an important decision.

September 30, 2009

Tractor trailer crash near Joplin sends one to hospital

Jerry Cousins, 74, was hospitalized after a Missouri tractor trailer accident on Highway 43 near Joplin, Missouri.

According to a Joplin Globe report, Cousins was driving a tractor-trailer northbound on the highway when the accident occurred. A second vehicle, driven by Caleb Vermillion, 28, was ahead of Cousins’ truck. Vermillion was attempting a left turn when Cousins’ truck hit Vermillion’s vehicle.

Cousins was taken to St. John’s Regional Medical Center for treatment. No information was given about Vermillion’s injuries or if he sustained any.

The details gathered so far about this tractor-trailer crash are not enough to determine who was at fault. If further investigation from local authorities reveals that one of the drivers was negligent and caused the injury accident, a Missouri truck accident attorney could be called by the injured party to recover damages.

If more details arise about this accident, we will post them here.

September 29, 2009

Steps to take after a Missouri tractor-trailer crash

red%20truck.jpg

Being involved in a serious car accident can be one of the most traumatic experiences of anyone’s life. In the moments after an accident people are often disoriented and dealing with stress, fear or shock. Most people, though, don’t plan how to handle a situation like that until it actually happens. While it is unpleasant to think about, taking a few minutes to mentally walk through the steps you should take after a serious tractor-trailer injury accident will allow you to better handle the situation should it ever arise.

Immediately after the accident you should take a second to assess the situation. Your safety and the safety of everyone involved is the most important consideration so gather your composure, check yourself for injuries, and if you are still in harm’s way, move to safer ground if you are able.

Call 911 to request emergency help and wait for it to arrive. Even if you are not seriously injured do not leave the scene of the accident. It is against the law to leave the scene of a Missouri car accident you were involved with.

Once paramedics arrive, give them as much information as possible. If you can, tell them how many people are injured and the extent of their injuries. If you are injured, make sure to tell the paramedic that you need medical attention and explain every detail so they know how best to treat you. Listen to their instructions and follow them carefully so that you get the proper treatment.

The police may ask you for a statement at the scene. It is important to be truthful in your statement, but do not admit fault. Even if you think you were at fault, there may have been other factors in play that caused the accident that you didn’t even know about. Give just the information you are sure about and if you don’t know something, or feel too stressed to give an accurate answer, tell the officer that you would like to give your statement after you’ve had time to calm down. Make it clear that you are not refusing to offer a statement, but that you can’t offer a valid statement due to your mental state.

As soon as you can, contact your insurance agency and then start gathering information. Get information about the other vehicles and drivers, but do not share your insurance policy limits. In tractor-trailer crashes it is important to get information about the truck, what carrier company it is operated under, and who was driving. All truck drivers are supposed to keep log books to make sure that they do not violate any Federal Motor Carrier Regulations, but that is something the authorities will inspect.

Keep records of all your medical treatments and visits to the doctor as a result of the crash. If you thought you felt fine immediately after the crash, but are feeling pain days later that may be related, go see a doctor as soon as possible. It is not unusual to have lingering internal damage that is not readily apparent at the time of the crash.

You may then want to hire a personal injury attorney to investigate your case to ensure you receive the recovery you are entitled to. It is important to at least consult an attorney on car or tractor-trailer crashes to learn your rights because insurance companies will be looking for ways to reduce their claims and larger commercial shipping companies will have lawyers on staff working to protect their own interests. If you act quickly and give the attorney all the information of your case, you will have a much better chance of receiving the payments you deserve to cover the medical bills and recover quickly from your crash.

September 12, 2009

Three tractor trailers involved in Mid-Missouri crash

Two truck drivers were seriously injured Saturday after a Missouri tractor trailer crash involving three trucks on Highway 54 in Camden County, Missouri.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the accident occurred at the intersection of Highway 54 and Carnahan Road where traffic had backed up due to construction. Brian Keith, 42, who was traveling westbound in a 1987 Freightliner Truck, was stopped in the traffic when another truck approached from behind. The second tractor trailer, a 1988 Freightliner driven by Brian Ray, 37, was unable to stop behind Keith’s truck and had to swerve to avoid an accident. Unfortunately, as Ray swerved to avoid the collision, he entered oncoming traffic where he collided head-on with a 2007 International Truck, driven by Larry Burk, 63.

Ray and Burk were seriously injured and taken to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield. Though Keith’s truck was also damaged, he managed to avoid any injury.

The initial crash report does not indicate why Ray was unable to stop for the construction. There may have been some mechanical problems with the truck itself, the load may have been too heavy or Ray could have simply been inattentive at the wheel. These possibilities are still under investigation.

If an investigation into the accident reveals negligence on the part of any driver, the injured parties may be able to contact a Missouri truck accident lawyer to help recover damages needed to pay for medical expenses, lost wages or any other financial hardships arising from the accident.

August 30, 2009

Missouri dump truck crash injures two

David Underdale, 61, and Jeremy Imler, 33, were both seriously injured after the Freightliner dump trucks they were driving collided head-on.

The accident occurred Saturday on Highway 24 in Randolph County, Missouri when, according to a Missouri State Highway Patrol report, a passenger car drove into the path of Underdale’s truck. In order to avoid a potentially fatal truck crash with a passenger car, Underdale swerved to the left. Unfortunately, he lost control of his truck and it veered into oncoming traffic where it collided with Imler’s dump truck.

The passenger car was not listed as damaged on the initial crash report and no other information appears to be known about this third vehicle.

Imler and Underdale survived the accident, but with life-threatening injuries. They were flown to University Hospital in Columbia, Missouri.

Without further investigation into the role of the third car, it is hard to determine who is truly at fault for this Missouri injury accident. The crash report seems to indicate that the third vehicle made a negligent maneuver which caused Underdale to crash, but that is just the opinion of the investigating officer and will need to be backed up by an accident reconstruction. A Missouri personal injury lawyer would be able to coordinate with local investigators to determine who is responsible for this incident and possibly recover damages for the injured parties.

July 28, 2009

Missouri tractor trailer accident statistics

truck%20winding%20road.jpg

With some pushing for dedicated lanes on I-70 for big rigs and tractor trailers, I wanted to look at some statistics to see just how much more dangerous Missouri tractor trailer accidents are compared to passenger car crashes. Common sense would suggest that the large commercial shipping trucks with their tons of shipping freight would have a higher fatality rate. The numbers back this up and over the last few years, an accident involving a tractor trailer is two to three times more likely to produce a fatality than crashes involving only passenger cars.

Here are some of the raw numbers according to the Missouri Department of Transportation:

- Over the last couple years, Missouri has averaged over 8,400 accidents or crashes involving tractor trailers every year.

- In those accidents, an annual average of 154 fatalities was reported.

- In accidents where the tractor trailer was in the process of hauling a shipment, the fatality rate jumped to 2% meaning that in 1 out of every 50 Missouri crashes involving a loaded tractor trailer, somebody was killed.

- Missouri car accidents not involving a tractor trailer, while far more common, had a lower fatality rate. Of the 72,000+ car accidents every year, just 0.6% produced a fatality.


These statistics and the tragic stories behind them are what justify stricter regulation of the commercial shipping industry. While I’m not sure if having dedicated lanes on I-70 is part of the solution, it’s clear that tractor trailer crashes should be addressed differently than car accidents.

This concern goes further than highway design. Legal cases involving tractor trailers are handled differently than passenger car accidents. Punitive damages can be assessed to trucking companies that show a dangerous disregard for commercial trucking regulations. The laws for truck drivers are different than for the average driver, which is why an experienced Missouri tractor trailer accident lawyer should be contacted in the aftermath of a serious crash.

July 16, 2009

Missouri may move to truck only lanes to avoid injury accidents

1081557_highway.jpg

Some Missouri officials are debating a plan to limit catastrophic tractor trailer crashes and the serious personal injury that comes with them by adding extra truck-only lanes to Interstate 70, according to a report in the Kansas City Star.

The Star reports that officials have completed a study that suggests adding four lanes to I-70 that would be set aside for tractor trailers and other large shipping vehicles. These lanes would make up the center of the highway, with other traffic allowed to drive in the outer lanes.

The plan is still in the very early stages, but it appears likely that if the new lanes were to be added, Missouri highway planners would have them run nearly the entire length of I-70 between Kansas City and St. Louis, stopping somewhere just outside of the two metro areas.

Missouri’s plan is pretty unique, according to The Star’s report, as no other state has truck-only lanes on the scope that local officials have proposed.

Tractor trailer congestion has become a problem on Missouri roadways, especially I-70. Analysts are predicting that traffic could double on I-70 in the next 20 years. Missouri already sees over 8,000 tractor trailer crashes each year and as a Missouri tractor trailer accident lawyer who studies these cases, I know many result in serious personal injury or wrongful death. This number will only rise with the increase in traffic.

July 6, 2009

MoDOT worker injured in construction site crash

Many times when you hear about a Missouri truck accident injury, it means that a large truck or tractor trailer has crashed into and injured another driver. Sometimes, though, another vehicle can crash into the truck and cause serious personal injury to the driver. This will often occur at constructions zones and that was exactly the case on Monday.

Corey Washington, 35, was injured Monday after the MoDOT truck he was in was crashed into by another vehicle.

According to the initial crash report filed by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Washington had stopped his Missouri Department of Transportation truck along a construction zone on Highway 370 in St. Charles. While the truck was stopped in a lane of traffic, Washington had activated the warning lights. William Macy, 45, was driving a 2001 Dodge Dakota and failed to see the MoDOT truck in the roadway. Macy’s vehicle crashed into the rear of the truck.

Washington was taken to St. Joseph Health Center for treatment. Macy was uninjured according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

There is no indication yet on whether or not a citation will be issued to Macy.

If Macy is charged with some kind of violation for reckless driving through a construction zone, the penalty may be more severe than if the accident hadn’t involved a MoDOT worker.

Washington may also be able to collect damages to pay for his medical bills if a St. Charles area personal injury attorney examines this case. An investigation into the Missouri construction site accident will first need to take place to determine the speed of Macy’s vehicle and the exact location of the MoDOT truck at the time of the crash.

June 28, 2009

The exceptions in Missouri trucking laws

truck_delivery.jpg

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration oversees tractor trailers and other large shipping vehicles all over the county. You can find a listing of every federal motor carrier law on their website.

Each individual state, however, can legislate their own specific rules that can tweak the laws set by the FMCSA. Here in Missouri, there are a few notable exceptions to the federal laws.

The first has to do with the Hours of Service laws that govern how long a driver can be behind the wheel. These laws are designed to make sure drivers are not driving on short rest when they are more prone to causing a truck accident that could result in serious personal injury or death.

Missouri has adopted many of the Hours of Service laws, but they make an exception for farmers and agricultural supply transporters during the harvesting seasons. If you are traveling within a 100 mile radius within the state lines during this period there is no maximum number of on-duty hours.

Missouri also says that a driver must be at least 18 years of age to get a trucking license (CDL or Class E) but this requirement is raised to 21 years of age if the driver is moving hazardous chemicals or other dangerous material. This varies from the federal law and several other states’ laws.

With all the subtle changes in laws from state to state, it’s important to find someone who is well versed in Missouri’s specific laws. If you are injured in an accident with a tractor trailer, be sure to find an experienced Missouri truck accident attorney who can navigate the states unique laws

June 23, 2009

Motor Carrier Regulations: Inspections

959623_spanners_3.jpg

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is tasked with providing oversight to the tractor trailers and the trucking industry as a whole. One of the areas that is heavily regulated is the inspection, repairs, and maintenance of tractor trailers.

Regulations require that all large trucks and commercial shipping vehicles be meticulously inspected to prevent any sort of potentially dangerous mechanical failure. Before driving a tractor trailer, the driver must sign an inspection report saying that the vehicle is in safe operating condition. A full inspection is required every year and documentation of each inspection and any repairs must be kept by the carrier company for at least a year.

One of the most common types of tractor trailer accidents on Missouri’s roadways is the jackknife accident. This occurs when the cabin of the tractor trailer is violently shifted to the side of the cargo trailer. A mechanical failure in the braking system is often the cause of these accidents. Jackknife tractor trailer accidents have the potential to injure not only the truck driver, but any Missouri driver is at risk for personal injury if they are following a truck that jackknifes.

Missouri truck drivers are also required to do spot inspections of emergency systems, lighting, and doors every 90 days.

If you or someone you know is injured in a tractor trailer accident, the most important thing to do is to contact an experienced Missouri tractor trailer attorney as soon as possible. If a mechanical failure due to lax inspection standards is to blame, these inspection records will be invaluable evidence, but motor carrier companies will destroy these files after a year. This is especially true if the carrier was negligent and did not follow the Federal inspection standards.

June 20, 2009

Truck driver logs

big%20rig.jpg

With thousands of big rig tractor trailers crossing America’s highways everyday, the number of injury accidents involving these large vehicles has increased. That’s not to say all truck drivers are negligent. Just the opposite, in fact, as most drivers are very safe. Still, the size and power of tractor trailers means accidents usually result in serious injury or death.

To help regulate the trucking industry and prevent these catastrophic accidents, the government has mandated that all truck drivers keep meticulous logs of their driving. By documenting all of their driving, authorities can be sure the driver is not breaking any Federal Motor Carrier Regulations.

A truck driver’s log must contain the following information:
- Total miles driven daily
- Tractor trailer ID number and carrier
- Driver certification
- Information on co-driver (if applicable)
- Total hours driven daily
- Shipping/cargo information

In the event of an accident, these logs can be examined by a personal injury lawyer to see if the driver was driving longer than his mandated limit.

Anybody involved in an accident with a big rig should contact a trucking accident attorney as soon as possible so that these log books can be obtained before they are manipulated or destroyed. Again, most drivers and their carriers are honest people, but some will try to cover up violations. Also, carrier companies are only required to keep the logs on file for 6 months, after which they can be destroyed.