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Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys

Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accident Cases Under Missouri & Kansas Law

Your Questions Answered - Your Legal Options Explained

At KCAIA we believe it is essential for every victim of a truck accident to get good, relevant information about how to pursue their claim. Following an accident that causes serious injury to you or a loved one, there are often many unanswered questions.

Listed below are some of the most frequently asked questions we get from new clients. You can browse by category using the dropdown menu. Alternatively, for a quicker, more customized search, try typing your question into the search bar above. 

Don't see what you are looking for? If you don't find the answers you need, contact us today for answers to your specific questions. Remember, the consultation is FREE and there is no obligation. 

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  • How long will it take to settle my Kansas City truck accident claim?

    When you must file a claim for compensation following a truck accident, you probably have two burning questions: how much financial recovery are you entitled to, and how long before you get it? An experienced truck accident attorney will be able to estimate the value of your case and general settlement timeline with the insurance company based on his knowledge of negotiating and trying these cases. However, he can't give you a precise deadline for when your case will be over.

    Factors That Slow the Settlement Processpassing_time

    Every truck accident claim is different, and the speed of settlement is based on the strengths and weaknesses of your case. If you feel yours is taking longer than you'd like, you don't want to make the mistake of accepting less than you're owed just for resolution.

    You can prepare yourself by understanding some of the factors that can slow down the process. They include:

    • Investigation. Truck wrecks require extensive investigation. Drivers and trucking companies are required to comply with many federal regulations regarding hiring, hours of service, vehicle maintenance, companion driving, logging devices, and other considerations.  It may take your legal team longer to obtain the necessary documents and evidence to prove liability.  
    • Severity of your injuries. If you sustained serious injuries, the value of your claim will be greater. Before agreeing to settle, the insurance company will conduct a more extensive investigation and may debate longer to reduce or deny your claim if it finds legitimate issues.
    • Your recovery. The length of time you need to heal can make the settlement process take longer. You don't want to settle your case until you've either fully recovered, progress in healing as far as your condition allows, or receive a final prognosis from your physician. Waiting until one of these stages of medical treatment is important so the settlement includes all of your future losses.
    • Disputes. Even if a truck driver’s liability is clear cut to you, an insurance adjuster could raise arguments about the cause of the accident, or your injuries and their severity. When disputes arise, your attorney may need to obtain more evidence or hire an expert to support your claim before he can convince the insurance adjuster of the company’s responsibility to pay you.
    • Litigation. If your attorney is unable to settle your claim for what you deserve, he'll need to file a lawsuit and litigate it. This is a lengthy process that can take months or longer to complete. However, it's likely that your attorney will be able to reach a settlement at some point during litigation before your trial date.

    Don't Wreck Your Truck Injury Claim! Free Book

    Can You Do Anything to Make Your Case Go Faster?

    While there are many aspects of settling your truck accident claim you can't control, your actions still matter. Follow through and aid the process in these ways:

    • See a doctor soon after your accident to protect your health as well as avoid disputes about whether your injuries were caused by the incident.
    • Retain an experienced truck accident attorney immediately after your wreck so he can conduct a thorough investigation, obtain evidence that you need before it's lost, and begin the negotiation process.
    • Follow your physician's advice regarding your medical care, and don't miss doctor, physical therapy, or other medical appointments. This will help you recover from your injuries more quickly and prevent disagreements with the insurance company about the severity of your injuries.
    • Promptly provide your attorney with all requested information.
    • Follow your attorney’s advice, because he's protecting your interests and trying to help you receive a proper settlement.

    Our knowledgeable truck accident attorneys are here to help if you must file a claim for compensation following a truck wreck. Contact us online or call us directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

     

  • What compensation could I be entitled to in my Kansas City truck accident case?

    Being injured in a truck accident is an incredibly stressful, life-altering event. You suddenly face worries about your health and the ability to pay your bills while you are off work recovering—if you're not permanently disabled.

    To obtain justice and receive the compensation you deserve, you may need to file a claim against the insurance companies for the negligent truck driver and the transportation carrier. It's important to understand the types of compensation available in cases like these so your settlement covers all damages.

    Compensation You Could Receive After a Truck Accident

    couple_doing_financesThe value of a truck accident claim could be larger than a passenger vehicle accident case.

    The massive size and weight of commercial vehicles increases the likelihood catastrophic injuries or death.
     

    This is why it's essential that your legal team asks for all possible compensation to cover the following:

    • Medical expenses. As a major portion of your claim, this line item should include the cost of doctor visits, hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, medications, and psychological counseling. If you need a wheelchair, bathroom accessories, or other assistive devices to help manage your injury rehabilitation, these expenses may be recovered as well. In addition, you should request the cost for a home aid, travel expenses if you must seek treatment elsewhere, and other miscellaneous medical fees. It's important to include any additional expenses related to future care related to accident recovery.
    • Wage losses. You're entitled to your past and future wage losses related to missed employment as a result of your accident injuries. Lost vacation and sick time, bonuses, commissions, and other perks of your job should be included in this portion of your claim. If you must make a job change or are permanently disabled due to your injuries, your future wage losses become more complicated to calculate. You may need the assistance of an economic expert to determine your lost future earning capacity damages.
    • Pain and suffering. The pain and suffering endured due to your injuries can be a large portion of your claim, especially if you have a more long-term injury. However, it can be impossible to value this portion of your claim or to properly document it without the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney.
    • Property damage. You're entitled to reimbursement for the cost to repair or replace your vehicle and the damaged property inside it. Associated expenses such as towing and car rental, and any other property damage costs incurred, might be included.
    • Wrongful death. If a loved one died due to injuries suffered in a truck accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death action against the trucker and transportation company. You may be entitled to receive compensation for the loss of your loved one’s financial support, possible inheritance, advice, and companionship.

    Don't Wreck Your Truck Injury Claim! Free Book

    Evidence Needed to Prove Your Right to Compensation

    Your legal counsel needs to prove the negligence of the large truck operator and fleet employer, as well as your right to the requested settlement amount. Evidence that can help your case includes:

    • Medical bills and diagnosis/prognosis reports
    • Paystubs and documentation of financial loss claims
    • Income tax returns
    • Car repair receipts
    • Car rental bills
    • Witness testimony
    • Expert witness testimony

    Do you need to file a claim for compensation for injuries you or a loved one suffered in a commercial truck accident? Our truck accident  attorneys are ready to provide their expertise in these cases to establish your case and use valuable evidence to prove your damages. To get started, contact us online or call us directly at 816.471.5111 and schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

     

  • How much is my truck accident claim worth?

    If you're conflicted about filing a claim for compensation, it's important to know your options, and the varying levels of value.


    Even an experienced truck accident attorney cannot give you a precise figure of a claim's worth. However, he can give you a good sense of what you can expect to receive based on his experience handling similar cases and the specific circumstances in your case.

    Common Types of Compensation in Truck Accident Claims

    Large truck accidents often cause catastrophic injuries and damages. Passengers of automobiles, SUVs, and trucks simply don’t have the protection against a loaded tractor-trailer that may weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Frequently, victims of these accidents are entitled the following compensation: 

    • Past and future medical expenses
    • Lost and future wages and other benefits of your employment
    • Future earning capacity if you must make a career change that results in a reduction in your wages or you become permanently disabled
    • Property damage
    • Pain and suffering

    truck_accidentWhile you may be able to determine an approximate amount of rightful compensation for property damage, medical bills, and lost wages, you'll need the assistance of an experienced attorney to determine the value of your pain and suffering and future earning capacity.

    Factors That Affect the Value of a Truck Crash Claim

    A number of factors affect the strength of your case against a negligent truck operator and his or her employer. The following include some variables that could strengthen or weaken your claim and its value:

    • Disputes. When there are serious disputes about the cause of your wreck, your injuries, or some other issue in your case, they might weaken the overall value of your claim. In addition, you may need to fight harder and longer to obtain a fair settlement.
    • Severity of your injuries. If you suffer more serious injuries that require surgery or other long-term treatments, your claim's value will be larger. In addition, the worth of these allotments might also influence an increase of the less-tangible portion of your claim—the pain and suffering you endured due to injuries and the resulting life limitations.
    • Disability. If you suffered a permanent disability that affects your ability to work or perform day-to-day tasks, this increases the value of your claim due to your additional expenses and pain and suffering.
    • Your partial fault. If you were partially responsible for the accident, your comparative negligence reduces the value your claim by the percentage of fault. For example, if you were found 20 percent at fault in causing the wreck, you'd only be entitled to 80 percent of damages from the trucker and fleet company.
    • Participant credibility. Credibility analysis of all parties is common in truck accident cases. Throughout the process, if your accident recollection and the severity of your injuries stay consistent, this makes you a strong, believable witness at trial. If your attorney is able to point out discrepancies in the trucker’s statements or actions, this indicates he or she is less credible. The result could potentially increase the value of your claim.
    • Witnesses. If other people who saw the accident can corroborate that the truck driver was the negligent party, this may make your claim worth more. This is especially true if the witnesses are neutral parties you don't know and who have no interest in the outcome of your case.
    • Experienced truck accident attorney. Hiring an experienced truck accident attorney who has a track record of success in settling and trying these cases significantly increases the value of your claim. He understands the importance of thoroughly investigating your crash and will not be afraid to take your case to trial if necessary to obtain the settlement you deserve.

    Do you need advice on the value of your claim for injury compensation caused in a truck accident? Our knowledgeable attorneys are here to help. Call our Kansas City office today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

     

  • If a commercial truck tire blowout causes an accident, who's at fault?

    When tire tread becomes old or worn, there can be a sudden tire failure. This is a dangerous situation for any vehicle, but big rig accidents can be especially hazardous. This is why truck drivers and fleet companies are required to follow Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations regarding truck maintenance, including commercial vehicle pre-trip and post-trip inspections, daily trip reports that include tire observation, and periodic inspections that evaluate tire condition.

    If poor tires caused you or a family member to suffer injuries in an 18-wheeler or bus crash, the truck driver, his employer, and other parties may be found guilty of negligence and responsible for your injury compensation.

    Don't Wreck Your Truck Injury Claim! Free Book

    Causes of Tire Blowout Wrecks

    truck_tire_blowoutA large truck tire blowout is much different than a flat tire on a passenger vehicle. Commercial tire manufacturers base load and inflation tables on tire axel positioning—steer, drive, or trailer—consideration of pounds for a loaded vs. unloaded vehicle; the difference in cargo load, e.g. light vs. heavy runs; and road conditions.

    The general expert consensus is commercial truck tire pressure should be between 75 psi and 100 psi, depending on all these factors.

    Any variance in air pressure might contribute to a blowout, as could:

    • Improper or inadequate maintenance
    • Defective tires
    • Use of mismatched tires
    • Overweight load
    • Excessive use of brake pads
    • Weather conditions
    • Defective road conditions

    Parties That Could Be Liable for Compensation

    A case involving a truck tire blowout can be more complicated because of the multiple reasons the truck crash may have occurred. However, identifying the cause of the accident and the liable parties is critical to receive the compensation that you deserve.

    Here are possible at-fault parties:

    • Truck driver. During pre- and post-trip inspections of the truck, tires, and other components, a truck driver must also verify that any problems listed on the last post-trip inspection were corrected. When the tires are in need of replacement or repair, the trucker is prohibited from driving the truck whether he notices the problem before, during, or after his trip. If he was negligent in his inspection duties, he could face liability for compensating you.
    • Trucking company. The fleet employer also has maintenance and inspection duties under FMCSA rules and is prohibited from allowing a truck on the road in need of repair where it could cause a truck breakdown or accident. In addition, the company can be held vicariously liable for the trucker’s negligence as his employer.
    • Maintenance facility. Many transportation fleets utilize truck maintenance facilities to perform necessary inspections and repairs. They could be an additional party to file a claim with if a lack of maintenance or replacement of the tires caused your wreck.
    • Shipper. If a shipping company or other business was responsible for loading the transport cargo, you would need to file a claim with its insurance company if improper loading caused the tire blowout.
    • Tire manufacturer. If the truck tire was defective or subject to a recall, you may have a products liability claim against the tire manufacturer.

    Why You Need the Assistance of an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney

    As with any commercial vehicle accident claim, you must prove your right to compensation when a truck tire blowout caused you to suffer injuries.

    To do this, your case needs evidence such as inspection and maintenance records for the vehicle involved in your truck accident. You may also need to hire an expert to review the driver’s and trucking company’s records and inspect the truck’s tires in order to prove your case. You cannot hope to do this without the help of an experienced truck accident attorney who understands the importance of a thorough investigation and the federal regulations that transportation companies and vehicle operators must follow.

    The skilled truck accident attorneys at Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys have years of experience helping victims of these wrecks fight for rightful compensation. To learn how we can assist you, contact us online or call our office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.

  • Do all truck drivers need a commercial driver’s license?

    It depends on the vehicle. Because large commercial vehicles are more complicated to drive and more dangerous than passenger vehicles, many operators are required to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in order to safely maneuver large trucks and buses. Federal regulations require each state to set requirements for obtaining a commercial driver’s license.

    However, you may be surprised to learn that not all operators are required to have a special license to drive certain types of trucks in Missouri.tow_truck

    Who Needs a Commercial Driver’s License in Missouri?

    The weight of a vehicle determines whether or not a commercial driver's license is required for operation. Individuals driving the follwoing vehicles must have a CDL:

    • A single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,001 pounds or more
    • Combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001. pounds, as long as the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
    • A vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver.
    • A vehicle of any size transporting hazardous materials in a quantity that requires a hazardous material placard, which are federally-required warning labels placed on the truck when transporting these dangerous substances.

    Truck drivers in Missouri required to obtain a commercial driver’s license must hold the correct classification of CDL for the vehicles they intend to operate. These classifications apply:

    • Class A: Towed unit with GCWR of 26,001 pounds or more
    • Class B: Truck with GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more
    • Class C: Vehicle transporting 16 or more passengers, which includes the driver; also trucks required to utilize a hazardous material placard

    Not all trucks require an operator to hold a CDL. Lesser-weight trucks, passenger vans with fewer than 16 passengers, small delivery trucks and vans, and rental trucks can be driven without this license. While this may make it easier for drivers to have versatility, you and your family may be in danger due to less-experienced drivers who aren't used to a vehicle with a greater size and weight making a truck accident more likely.

    Missouri's Requirements to Obtain a Commercial Truck Driver’s License

    Missouri law requires an individual to complete a number of requirements to receive a commercial truck driver’s license:

    • Knowledge test. An individual must take a general skills written test and could be required to take additional tests involving factors such as air brakes, tanks, and hazardous materials, depending on the type of truck he plans to drive.
    • Skills test. A driver has to take a skills test that includes a vehicle inspection examination to show that he or she knows whether his commercial vehicle is safe to drive; and a basic control test to determine whether he or she can control the vehicle.
    • On-road test. The driving test requires the individual to drive his commercial truck or bus safely in a variety of on-road situations. This could include making left and right turns, driving near railroad crossings, navigating curves, and traveling on the highway.
    • Medical certification. Many prospective commercial vehicle drivers are required to provide certification from an examining doctor indicating they are medically fit to drive a bus or truck.

    Commercial Driver’s License Disqualifications

    Truck and bus drivers can be disqualified from holding a commercial driver’s license in Missouri by their actions. Some reasons include:

    • Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .04 percent or more
    • Refusing BAC testing
    • Driving when under the influence of a controlled substance
    • Leaving the scene of the accident involving a commercial vehicle
    • Committing a felony while using a truck or bus
    • Driving with a suspended commercial driver’s license
    • Causing a fatality in a commercial vehicle accident
    • Committing serious traffic violations, such as speeding in excess of 15 mph above the limit, reckless driving, and erratic lane changes
    • Violating an out-of-service order by driving a truck or bus when it was in need of repairs

    Our Experience Helps You

    Did the trucker who caused your crash have a proper commercial license? An experienced truck accident attorney can determine this as part of his investigation of the incident. Contact us online or call us directly at 816.471.5111 to learn about your legal options and how we can help you obtain the compensation that you deserve.

     

  • Will obtaining the semi truck’s black box help me in my accident case?

    If you were injured in a commercial vehicle accident caused by a negligent truck driver, you will need to obtain as much evidence as possible that proves the driver’s responsibility for compensating you. A valuable piece of evidence that you need is the data from the big rig's black box. If you're able to obtain it, this can be extremely useful in convincing the insurance companies for the driver and transportation company that they are liable for providing compensation for your injuries.

    What Is A Truck's Black Box?

    semitruck_cabA semi's black box, also referred to as an event data recorder (EDR), is similar to the data unit installed on airplanes.

    Since the 1990s, most large trucks were equipped with a black box, so it's likely there was one in the vehicle involved in your truck crash. These devices were originally designed by commercial vehicle manufacturers to combat invalid warranty claims.

    However, they have since become more useful to truck accident victims. The black box records a variety of information about the rig's operations, including:

    • Average and highest speed, as well as speed at the time of the wreck
    • Time the trucker drove
    • Time spent driving 65 mph or faster
    • Average engine RPM
    • Seat belt usage
    • Airbag performance
    • Truck’s idling time
    • Hard braking and sudden stops
    • GPS coordinates and location information
    • Usage of the cruise control

    How Black Box Data Can Help Your Truck Accident Claim

    Data from the black box can help an experienced truck accident attorney or another expert determine what the truck was doing before, during, and after your collision.

    For example, data can show the speed of the vehicle and whether the truck driver made a hard stop. In addition, the EDR will confirm the operator's drive times his or her written log. If there's a discrepancy, this may help establish that your wreck was caused by trucker fatigue or a violation of hours of service rules regarding how long he or she could drive. Information from the EDR can also demonstrate when the trucker isn't a credible witness or the trucking company had a pattern of violating federal safety regulations.

    Beginning December 18, 2017, most trucks are required to be equipped with an electronic logging device that provides additional information to a black box. This device can be installed in the truck or connect through a cellphone or tablet. It provides data on the date and time, miles travelled, and other crucial factors. The electronic logging device may also help prove your right for injury compensation, and you'll need legal assistance to get it.

    Why You Must Act Quickly to Obtain the Truck’s Black Box

    After your truck accident, it's imperative to obtain the data from the truck’s black box before it's lost. The data is usually recorded over in about 30 days, and some older black boxes record data for a much shorter period of time. Unfortunately, the trucking company won't provide this information voluntarily.

    You'll need assistance from a knowledgeable legal partner so he can take steps to preserve this vital evidence. He can send the transportation company a spoliation letter advising it of your claim and to not destroy documents and other evidence—including the truck’s black box. Once the fleet company receives this notice of your claim, federal regulations prohibit it from destroying evidence that could help your case.

    In some cases, a trucking company won't be cooperative in providing the information requested by the attorney. If you're in this situation, your truck accident legal team may need to file an immediate lawsuit and obtain a temporary restraining order from a judge ordering the company not to destroy the black box data and other evidence.

    Do you need help filing your claim and gathering evidence following a truck accident? Contact us online or call us directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation today.

     

  • How do rules against truck driver coercion protect commercial drivers and others on the road?

    There's no more dangerous combination on America’s roadways than a fatigued or impaired commercial driver and a 40-ton semi-trailer truck. Unfortunately, this combination is all too common. While many commercial truckers make the poor decision to drive when they're tired independently of any other factor, some drivers report being coerced to break hours of service rules by their employers. In an attempt to eliminate this problem, the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) passed an anti-coercion rule that went into effect in January, 29, 2016. We take a look at the rule and how it protects commercial drivers and motorists alike.

    Prohibiting Coercion of Commercial Vehicle Drivers

    The FMCSA’s Final Rule,driver and logbook addresses a problem reported to FMSCA by commercial drivers. Some drivers claim that they exceed hours of service rules and break other federal rules because they are pushed by their employers and shippers to do so.
     

    Drivers reported they were coerced to break the law with threats of the following actions:

    • Job termination
    • Denial of subsequent trips
    • Reduced pay
    • Forfeiture of favorable work hours or jobs

    The anti-coercion rule provides the FMSCA with authority to take action against not only motor carriers, but also against shippers, receivers, freight-forwarders, and brokers who demand a driver meets a schedule that he cannot do so safely. It also provides drivers with a procedure for reporting incidents of coercion.

    Along with violating hours of service rules, drivers report being coerced to violate the following federal safety rules:

    • Commercial driver’s license requirements
    • Drug and alcohol testing
    • Transportation of hazardous materials
    • Other commercial regulations

    The rule stipulates penalties for entities that engage in coercion of drivers, including fines of up to $16,000 per incident.

    Responses to the Ruling

    Fleet owners and shippers initially balked at some of the components of the new regulation, fearing drivers who violate hours of service rules of their own free will would simply blame a shipper or broker to avoid punishment. However, the FMCSA ruling requires proof of coercion that wouldn't be easy to fake. There's also concern in the industry that the FMCSA is overstepping its reach by regulating not just the motor carrier industry, but also shippers, receivers, and intermediaries which have not previously fallen under its jurisdiction.

    Drivers, however, have had a positive response to the ruling, as it offers more whistleblower protections than they had prior to the change in 2016. While the rule doesn't stop drivers from willingly breaking federal safety regulations of their own accord, it does give drivers the power to fight back against coercion.

    Mandatory Electronic Logging Devices

    Another rule that will go into effect at the end of 2017 will offer further protections against fatigued drivers exceeding hours of service rules. By December 18, 2017, all commercial truck drivers will be required to track driving hours with an electronic logging device (ELD).

    Currently, many drivers are still permitted to log their hours with paper and pencil. These logs are easily manipulated, by both drivers and employers. However, ELDs are much harder to falsify. These devices are installed in the truck and automatically track trips and breaks for the driver. This rule prevents both drivers and trucking companies from falsifying records to comply with the FMCSA rules.

    Investigating the Cause of the Truck Crash That Left You Injured

    If you're injured or a loved one is killed in a crash with a commercial truck, you'll need the knowledge and experience a truck accident attorney can provide for investigating the cause of the crash. If the driver claims he was coerced by his employer into breaking federal safety regulations, our attorneys will further investigate the possibility the trucking company may be at fault. These cases are too difficult to navigate on your own. Contact us online or call us directly at 816.471.5111 for your free consultation today.

     

  • How are trucking companies held accountable for safety violations?

    You see them all the time on your long-distance road trips—truck weigh stations and inspection points. But how do these random checks keep unsafe trucks and truckers off the road? The fact is, these inspections are only a small part of an ongoing system of tracking violations and holding motor carries accountable for violations and crashes. Whether an individual driver violates the law or there's evidence of more widespread violations throughout a business, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) system is in place to track and intervene when a trucking company does not adhere to safety regulations.

    Areas Being Measured: The BASICs

    The CSA established seven categories for safety evaluation, known as the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). Carriers are measured in each of the following categories by the Safety Measurement System:

    • Unsafe driving. Operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) by drivers in a dangerous or careless manner. Example violations include speeding, reckless driving, improper lane change, and inattention.
    • Hours-of-Service (HOS) compliance. Operation of CMVs by drivers who are ill, fatigued, or in non-compliance with the HOS regulations.
    • Driver fitness. Operation of CMVs by drivers who are unfit due to lack of training, experience, or medical qualifications. Example violations include failure to have a valid and appropriate commercial driver’s license and being medically unqualified.
    • Controlled substances/alcohol. Operation of CMVs by drivers who are impaired due to alcohol, illegal drugs, and misuse of prescription or over-the-counter medications.
    • Vehicle maintenance. Failure to properly maintain a CMV and/or properly prevent shifting loads. Example violations include brakes, lights, and other mechanical defects, failure to make required repairs, and improper load securement.
    • Hazardous materials compliance. Unsafe handling of hazardous materials.
    • Crash indicator. Histories or patterns of high crash involvement, including frequency and severity, based on information from state-reported crashes.

    How the Safety Measurement System Worksdriver and safety person

    While the CSA outlines evaluation areas for carriers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also uses its Safety Measurement System (SMS) to track all of the information gathered in one place to identify carriers with recurrent or ongoing problems. The SMS tracks data on violations from roadside inspections, state-reported crashes, and the Federal motor carrier census to quantify performance. If it's determined that the safety record of a particular carrier is questionable, that carrier will be recommended for interventions.

    The SMS considers the following:

    • The number of safety violations and inspections
    • The severity of safety violations or crashes
    • When the safety violations occurred, with recent events weighted more heavily
    • The number of trucks/buses a carrier operates and the number of vehicle miles traveled
    • Acute and Critical Violations found during investigations

    After a measurement is complete, the carrier is then placed in a group with other carriers with similar numbers of inspections. Percentiles from 0-to-100 are then determined by comparing the BASIC measurements of the carrier to the measurements of other carriers in the peer group. A percentile of 100 indicates the worst performance. The SMS then decides the best type of intervention based on their safety problems.

    Possible Interventions

    Based on data gathered by the SMS, the CSA takes appropriate action against problematic carriers to see to it that they improve their safety records or face severe consequences.

    Possible interventions include the following, in order of action:

    1. Warning letter
    2. Targeted roadside inspection
    3. Offsite investigation
    4. Onsite focused investigation
    5. Onsite comprehensive investigation
    6. Implementation of a Cooperative Safety Plan
    7. Notice of Violation
    8. Notice of Claim
    9. Operation Out-of-Service Order

    The final step, the Out-of-Service Order, shuts down a motor carrier’s operation completely.

    How We Can Use the SMS to Help Your Truck Crash Injury Claim

    If you were injured by a negligent truck driver or trucking company, we'll fully investigate the possible causes of the crash and the potential liable parties. This investigation may include a look at the carrier’s Safety Measurement System data to see if it or their drivers have significant violations. When you're fighting a big trucking company, you need experienced truck accident attorneys on your side. Contact us online or call us directly at 816.471.5111 for your free consultation today.

     

  • If a truck driver does not maintain their brakes, are they responsible for my injuries after an accident?

    If you were injured in an accident caused by a large commercial truck, you may be facing substantial medical bills, lost income, and significant stress and strain. Many victims feel overwhelmed as to what can be done to compensate them for their losses. Fortunately, in many cases, victims may be entitled to pursue a claim against the driver of the truck who caused their crash. This is especially true when the accident resulted from a brake failure and it can be shown that the truck driver had failed to properly maintain the brake lines prior to the crash.

    Brake Line Maintenance Obligations of Truck Drivers

    A truck driver’s obligations when it comes to maintaining their vehicle’s brake lines include the following:

    1. The truck driver must closely and regularly monitor the brake system for signs of corrosion. This monitoring should be done by the driver himself as well as a professional inspector. Signs of potential problems with the brake lines include loss of brake fluid, unusual leaking, and a soft, spongy feeling when applying the brake pedal.
    2. The truck driver must regularly wash the undercarriage of the truck in order to remove road salt, debris, chemicals, and other substances that may build up overtime and cause corrosion of the brake lines.
    3. The truck driver must act quickly whenever corrosion is spotted. A driver will know that corrosion is occurring when there is a flaking or scaling of the metal brake pipes.

    If you were injured as a result of an accident involving a large truck, we can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. We have helped many clients successfully obtain compensation for their losses after truck accidents. Contact us online or call us directly at 816.471.5111 for your free consultation today.

  • Why do I need an attorney to protect evidence after a truck crash?

    Many victims are tempted to believe that if police arrive at an accident scene, all of the vital evidence will be preserved when it comes time to file a lawsuit. However, police are primarily concerned with clearing the crash site, not protect your legal rights in a lawsuit. As a result, vital evidence can be cleared away—or even intentionally destroyed—in as little as a few hours after the crash.

    Here are just a few ways your case could be undermined after a semi-truck accident:

    • Altered evidence. The trucking industry is a major business, and its investigators and attorneys are deployed to crash sites as soon as possible to mitigate damage. These parties are trained to protect their companies in any way they can, such as taking photographs that can be used to discredit the victims and removing evidence that could be linked to company negligence.
    • Truck driver coaching. Truckers are often coached on what to say after an accident takes place. As employees of the trucking company, they know their livelihood is at stake if they say anything that could be construed as fault for the accident.
    • Destroyed evidence. Some of the most vital pieces of evidence belong to the trucking company, such as the driver’s logs and the truck’s maintenance and inspection reports. As you can imagine, trucking companies are extremely reluctant to share this information with victims, and can even legally destroy these records after a short period of time. The only thing that can protect truck crash evidence owned by the trucking company is a spoliation letter from an attorney, which is a formal request to preserve all documents and send copies to the attorney for review.

    As many trucking companies have unlimited resources when it comes to avoiding liability, it is vital that you have an attorney working on your side as soon as possible. Have you been injured in a truck accident? If so you should speak with an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call us directly at 816.471.5111 for your free consultation today.

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