Serious burns and other catastrophic injuries are quite common in large truck crashes. These massive vehicles usually carry several hundred gallons of diesel fuel. Since diesel and gasoline burn at different temperatures, many truck crash victims suffer third-degree burns. These injuries always require painful skin grafts, usually from expensive burn centers.
Because of these serious injuries, a Kansas City personal injury attorney can often help victims obtain substantial compensation in these cases. That compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Successful damage claims usually begin by ascertaining the cause and connecting that cause to a theory of negligence.
Driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of large truck crashes. Long-haul truckers usually get paid by the load instead of by the mile, so they must stay behind the wheel as long as possible to make money. Additionally, these operators are often on the road early in the morning or late at night. Many people are naturally drowsy at these times, no matter how much rest they had the night before. This same issue plagues many tour bus drivers.
Alcohol impairment and fatigue have roughly the same effect on the body and brain. Both these conditions slow motor skills, such as reaction time, and impair judgment. In fact, driving after 18 consecutive awake hours is like driving with a .05 BAC level.
Legally, drowsy driving crashes could involve ordinary negligence or negligence per se. Ordinary negligence is a breach of duty owed by the truck driver to the other drivers on the road. Negligence per se means that the truck driver has violated a specific statute or ordinance. Both Missouri and the federal government have strict HOS (hours of service) laws. Tortfeasors (negligent drivers) who violate such laws and cause crashes might be liable for damages as a matter of law.
Excessive velocity is a factor in about a third of the fatal car crashes in Missouri. Speed increases the risk of a collision and the force in a collision.
As speed increases, the distance needed to stop also increases. At 30mph, most large trucks travel about six-vehicle lengths in the time it takes for a driver to see a hazard, apply the brakes, and safely stop the vehicle. Stopping distance triples to 18 truck lengths at 60mph. Environmental, weight, and other factors may increase stopping distance even further.
Additionally, speed multiplies the force in a collision between two objects, according to Newton’s Second Law of Motion. Given the size of most large trucks, especially when fully loaded, that multiplication often means catastrophic injuries are certain to occur.
Making an Illegal Turn
Large trucks have large blind spots. They also have wide turning radiuses. These issues are particularly troublesome at high speeds or in heavy traffic.
Illegal turn wrecks, and other kinds of truck crashes, may also involve comparative fault. Sometimes drivers follow trucks too closely or operate in their blind spots. In these situations, jurors must divide fault between the victim and tortfeasor (negligent driver) on a percentage basis.
Missouri is a pure comparative fault state. So, even if the victim was 99% responsible for the crash, the tortfeasor is still liable for a proportionate share of damages.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Kansas City, contact House Law LLC. Consultations are free, and we do not charge upfront legal fees in injury cases.