Truck Blind Spots: Danger on Missouri Highways
Passing a large semi-truck along a Missouri highway is a somewhat intimidating experience. The length of the trailer and the height of the cab make the standard motor vehicle seem small. When, where, and how you pass a tractor-trailer is vital for avoiding a traumatic crash. If you or a loved one suffered severe injuries due to a truck blind spot accident, a truck accident lawyer can help you pursue justice.
Tractor Trailer No Zones
Truck drivers have no rearview mirror and rely heavily on a truck’s side mirrors to see traffic around them. Unfortunately, limited visibility can spell disaster when cars, trucks, and motorcycles travel within one of a truck’s four no-zones. Blind spots surround a tractor-trailer in the following areas:
- Front of the truck: extends nearly 20 feet ahead of the truck
- Left and right sides of the truck: substantial blind spots that angle out from the truck
- The rear of the truck: extends nearly 200 feet from the back of the truck
Passing a truck promptly and not hanging out within the no-zones is best to avoid an accident. Commercial truck drivers depend upon their training and skills to watch for other vehicles. Other drivers can help with safety efforts by avoiding tractor-trailer no zones.
Preventable Types of No-Zone Accidents
Most no-zone accidents are preventable. However, in particular accidents, driver or trucking company negligence plays a role. A preventable no-zone accident caused by a reckless truck driver can result in significant damages for accident victims.
Truck Driver Negligence
Commercial truck drivers spend a substantial amount of time on the road and away from home. The monotonous open highway, coupled with a delivery deadline and a desire to return home, can cause a driver to engage in:
- Distracted driving: distractions inside and outside of the cab account for many truck accidents, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
- Drunk driving: the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level for Missouri commercial truck drivers is 0.04 percent or higher.
- Aggressive driving: speeding, running red lights, and unsafe lane changes are just a few examples of aggressive driving.
- Drowsy driving: long hours on the monotonous roads, an inability to rest during mandatory rest breaks, and other factors can cause drowsiness behind the wheel.
Truck drivers face similar challenges to other drivers. However, a tractor-trailer’s sheer size and weight make a collision with a car, truck, motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian devastating and sometimes deadly. If a commercial truck driver is responsible for your accident injuries, a St. Louis personal injury lawyer can help you. Fighting for compensation regarding your damages is a serious and complex legal matter. Severe injuries leave you with no time to deal with the intricate details of your truck accident claim. A Missouri truck accident lawyer works with accident victims to pursue compensation. While compensation is never promised, fighting for what you deserve is crucial for finding justice and protecting your financial future.
Trucking Company Negligence
The no-zones surrounding a tractor-trailer generally do not indicate potential harm. For example, faulty brakes are not visible to other drivers. Likewise, while perhaps noticeable, worn tires are not something you concentrate on as you pass a truck. Trucking companies have a duty of care to ensure their trucks are safe on Missouri roads. Unfortunately, drivers may allow enough space between them and the front of a semi-truck, only to experience injuries in a rear-end crash due to a truck’s faulty brakes. No one should suffer severe and catastrophic injuries due to a trucking company seeking to:
- Save costs by not replacing faulty truck parts
- Failing to conduct routine truck maintenance and inspections
Some truck accidents are the result of both driver error and poor mechanics. If you safely navigated through a truck’s no-zone, only to experience severe injuries in a crash caused by negligence, contact an attorney today.
Liability and Your Truck Accident Injuries
A St. Louis truck accident attorney can investigate your accident to determine whether all parties are liable for your harm. Insurance company attorneys almost always protect the trucking industry from large payouts. Fully loaded tractor-trailers can weigh 80,000 pounds. The stopping distance required for such a heavily loaded truck is approximately 600 feet, twice the length of a car. For other drivers, the impact can result in severe and catastrophic injuries, such as:
- Bone fractures: the severity and number of bone fractures can significantly impact recovery time
- Spinal cord injury: affects a body’s ability to experience movement and sensation
- Traumatic brain injury: disrupts normal brain function and skills such as reasoning, balance, and senses
- Burns: severe burns sometimes require painful skin grafts and plastic surgery
While not a complete list, these injuries can also result in psychological and emotional pain. Accident victims who suffer a sudden and traumatic crash with a tractor-trailer may have Post-traumatic stress disorder. Recovering from severe injuries or learning to live with a permanent injury prevents victims from working. As a result, the paychecks may stop, yet the medical bills are just beginning. The severity of your injuries dictates how long you may need medical care. For example, a spinal cord injury generally results in paralysis that requires such life changes as:
- Powerchair for mobility
- Home modifications for a power chair
- A power chair accessible van for transportation
Frequent hospitalizations, therapies, and prescription medication can lead to a lifetime of medical bills. For example, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation reports that the lifetime costs associated with a spinal cord injury can easily reach millions. Truck accident victims with severe and catastrophic injuries face a challenging and expensive recovery. In addition, victims with permanent injuries must adjust to their way of life. These changes, challenges, and expenses are not fair. If this happened to you or a loved one, give careful thought to contacting a personal injury attorney today.
The death of a close loved one due to a negligent truck driver demands justice. Your loved one’s death—either immediately or upon succumbing to their injuries later—is a tremendous loss emotionally and financially. Losing a spouse or other close family member to a reckless truck driver can leave you with:
- Final medical expenses for your loved one
- Lost wages from their job
- Loss of potential future earnings
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of inheritance for surviving children
The stress and grief of your loss leave you with no time to manage the details of a wrongful death claim and lawsuit. A Missouri wrongful death attorney can fight for compensation on your behalf. This leaves you more time to spend with friends and family during this tragic time. A settlement or award of compensation cannot replace your loss. However, if successful, a positive outcome can serve as a form of justice and protect your future financial needs. A St. Louis wrongful death attorney can determine if your relationship with the victim qualifies you for pursuing civil action. Each wrongful death case is different. The specific details of your loved one’s accident play an essential role in your case. You are not alone during this tragic time. Hiring a wrongful death attorney is an important first step toward protecting your best interests. In addition, a free case consultation is a great way to learn more about moving forward.
Why Contacting an Attorney Quickly Matters
Time is not on your side when it comes to pursuing compensation. The Missouri statute of limitations sets a strict deadline for filing your civil lawsuit. The clock starts ticking when you suffer your injury or your loved one dies from their injuries. A truck accident is a traumatic event that turns your world upside down. A thousand thoughts, concerns, and worries cloud your mind as you deal with your medical care or plan a service for your loved one. Before you realize it, days, weeks, and even months pass, decreasing your chance of filing your lawsuit. If the deadline passes without filing your case, you generally have no further options for pursuing compensation. Taking swift action by contacting a Missouri attorney for a free case consultation can help. Not only can it help you learn more about your options, but it can help your lawyer get to work sooner on your behalf. If you suffered severe injuries due to a negligent truck driver, company, or both, give careful thought to contact an attorney today. For families who lost a close loved one, consider reaching out to a Missouri wrongful death attorney now.
No-Zone Safety and Semi-Truck Accidents
Avoiding a truck’s four no-zones is a proactive way to prevent accidents. However, other drivers have no way to predict the reckless actions of a drunk, distracted, or aggressive truck driver. The same is true for mechanical issues. All road users have a responsibility to share the road. Drivers who suffer severe injuries or losses in a semi-truck accident have a right to pursue compensation for their damages. A personal injury or wrongful death attorney can protect your interests by:
- Managing aggressive insurance adjusters
- Investigating your accident and building a strong civil case
- Negotiating with insurance companies for a fair settlement
- Preparing for a possible trial
- Keeping you informed as your case progresses
- Ensure your lawsuit meets important court deadlines
No-zone safety only works if truck drivers obey traffic laws and maintain safe trucks. Pursuing compensation for accident victims can sometimes help prevent a similar future accident from harming another driver.
Call a St. Louis Tractor-Trailer Accident Lawyer
Truck accident lawyers help accident victims with care and concern. Assertive insurance adjusters have no right to disrupt your much-needed rest or your time grieving your loss. A truck accident changes everything about your life: your work, relationships, and overall quality of life. When a commercial truck driver negligently disrupts your life, contact a St. Louis truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. A free case consultation soon after your accident is a vital step in your best interests. Unfortunately, insurance companies and the trucking industry aim to protect their best interests by offering you a low settlement, or worse, no settlement. Compensation is never guaranteed. However, no tractor-trailer accident victim should settle for less than they deserve. Furthermore, accepting a settlement alone before you hire an attorney is risky for one key reason: Once you accept a settlement, you cannot pursue additional funds later, should your medical condition worsen. Another risk for a civil case is missing the statute of limitations deadline for filing your civil lawsuit. There are generally no second chances to file your case once the statute of limitations expires. A tractor-trailer accident leaves enough on your shoulders without the added stress of a legal case. However, civil claims and lawsuits are complex matters that require a dedicated focus and knowledge of Missouri law.
Protect Your Best Interests
An insurance company typically attempts to underpay or not pay for personal injury and wrongful death claims. In addition, some insurance adjusters use a variety of tactics designed to confuse and overwhelm accident victims. A St. Louis personal injury lawyer can easily detect insurance company tactics and counter them. Standing up to insurance companies during a critical time is best left to an experienced St. Louis attorney. Handling your case alone can cause you undue stress and prevent you from resting. A personal injury or wrongful death attorney can carry the heavy load of a claim and lawsuit on your behalf. Missouri drivers can practice defensive driving, avoid truck no-zones, and still experience harm and tragedy. If you suffered life-altering injuries or the tragic loss of a loved one, contact a St. Louis truck accident lawyer today.