Holding Negligent Parties Accountable
In each truck accident case, we explore every possible avenue of holding others accountable and helping you recover the level of compensation you need. These cases often have many variables, as you can see. With our 45+ years of combined experience, our team understands how to investigate truck accidents and fight for the rights of injured victims. Whatever the case may be, rest assured that your claim is in good hands.
Proving Who is at Fault for Your Truck Accident
When you are involved in a truck accident, the first step in filing a injury claim is determining liability. However, proving fault for a truck accident is not always straightforward, as you will need to establish negligence.
Negligence occurs when a person or company commits an act that is either thoughtless, careless, or reckless, and causes injury to, or the wrongful death of, another person. The person who is negligent is considered principally at fault for the accident and may be held responsible in a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
To prove a truck driver was at fault, you will need to prove that:
- The truck driver had a duty to operate their vehicle in a reasonably safe manner;
- The truck driver went against this duty and did not use safe driving practices;
- The truck driver’s action or lack of action led to your injuries; and
- You suffered damages as a result of the accident.
In big accidents like these, insurers are likely to dispute their clients’ responsibility simply because they do not want to pay the bills. They will be looking at the scene of the accident from every angle. You need skilled investigators on your side as well to make sure your side of the story is fairly represented.
Understanding Federal Trucking Regulations
One of the ways we investigate liability in a truck accident case is by looking at how the trucking company's job assignments adhere to federal regulations. Truck drivers are often pressured to meet unrealistic deadlines. As a result, this may lead them to speed, bypass safety inspections, and forego proper rest breaks.
Our truck accident lawyers in Kansas City, MO can launch a full investigation into the company employing the driver to determine if they can be held liable for their employee’s actions. Or, if the trucker is an independent contractor, we can look at whether it is appropriate to sue them personally for breaking the rules.
Hours-of-Service Regulations: In a study published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the percentage of crashes caused by fatigue that occur in a driver’s 12th hour on the clock is 10%. By hour 16, that number rises to 25%. That’s why there are regulations regarding how many consecutive hours truck drivers can work per day and week. Drivers who stay on the road longer than they are allowed are knowingly breaking the rules.
The 14-Hour Driving Window: Truck drivers are allowed to drive for 11 hours in a 14-hour window. This means they have 14 consecutive hours during which they can be on the clock, but their time on the road cannot exceed 11 hours. Once a driver has reached the 14-hour mark, they are not allowed to work again until they have 10 hours of rest.
Mandatory Rest Breaks: In addition to the 14-hour window, commercial drivers are also required to take at least a 30-minute rest break for every 8 hours of driving. When applied in the context of the rule above, this would mean a trucker who was on the road for 8 hours could stop for a 30-minute dinner and then drive for another 3 hours.
There are exceptions that may apply any time a driver stays within a 100-mile radius of their normal reporting location, returns to their workplace within 12 hours of leaving, and follows the 10-hour off-duty and 11-hour drive time requirements. Details like these are the reason why you should work with an attorney.
If you are ready to get started on your case, contact our truck accident attorneys in Kansas City for a free consultation. We are available at (855) 981-6116.