Missouri Large Truck Accident FAQs
If you’ve suffered an injury in an accident involving a large truck, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages, medical care, and suffering. You may also have a lot of questions about your rights, and what outcomes you can expect, so we’ve put together a list of common questions we hear from our clients.
If you have questions about your crash with a large truck, call Bley & Evans today at 844-443-8385.
- How do I know who was at fault in my accident?
- Who investigates the crash?
- If I am partially at fault for a crash, does that mean I can’t sue for damages?
- Is the owner of a commercial trucking company ever at fault in a traffic crash?
- Who pays for damages, if the truck driver is independent and not an employee of a company?
- How does the court determine compensation for a victim that suffers a permanent disability in a crash?
- If a truck crash kills the occupant of another vehicle, can the deceased victim’s family members be compensated for their loss?
- How do courts decide the amount of compensation family members should receive in wrongful death cases?
- I received a settlement offer from the truck company’s insurer. Should I accept it?
How do I know who was at fault in my accident?
Who investigates the crash?
Police are the first investigators of a crash scene, and in some cases, they may be able to immediately determine what caused the crash. Insurance companies and attorneys may hire their own investigators to determine crash liability. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may conduct its own investigation, too, and it requires authorities to report any commercial truck or bus crash when:
- The truck or bus has a gross vehicle weight, or gross combination weight rating, of more than 10,000 pounds, and the crash occurred on a public highway
- The crash involved a vehicle transporting more than eight people
- The commercial vehicle had a hazardous materials placard
- The crash caused a fatality, injuries requiring medical treatment not at the crash scene, or the truck or bus had to be towed away after the crash.
If I am partially at fault for a crash, does that mean I can’t sue for damages?
Is the owner of a commercial trucking company ever at fault in a traffic crash?
If investigators determine that a trucking company knowingly failed to perform necessary maintenance or repairs on a truck, and a mechanical failure caused the crash, the owners could be found liable for any injuries that occurred in the crash. Truck fleet managers or owners may also be found liable if they failed to obey federal laws regarding driver requirements. For example, the FMCSA shut down a Georgia trucking company for several violations, including failure to comply with driver licensing and drug-testing requirements.
Who pays for damages, if the truck driver is independent and not an employee of a company?
Federal law requires independent truck drivers to carry at least $750,000 in liability coverage, and some drivers who own their trucks carry significantly more than the minimum coverage. Leasing companies that provide trucks to drivers also carry insurance. Depending on the cause of a crash and who owned the vehicle, crash injury victims may receive compensation under the driver’s insurance, the leasing company’s insurance, or both.
How does the court determine compensation for a victim that suffers a permanent disability in a crash?
The court uses a complex method to calculate compensation, based on average weekly wages and a person’s earning potential. For example, Missouri law states that when a person under age 21 suffers a disabling injury while a trainee or apprentice, the courts must consider that person’s projected increase in earnings that would have occurred if they had been able to finish their training.
If a truck crash kills the occupant of another vehicle, can the deceased victim’s family members be compensated for their loss?
In many instances, the surviving immediate family members (spouse, children, or parents) can sue for damages in a fatal truck crash, under Missouri’s wrongful death statute. In the absence of a spouse, children, or parents, a sibling or descendant of the deceased may pursue a wrongful death claim.
How do courts decide the amount of compensation family members should receive in wrongful death cases?
If the deceased was an income-earner in a household, courts will consider the deceased person’s income and what they would have contributed to the household in their lifetime. Surviving family members should also be entitled to compensation for the deceased relative’s medical expenses and burial expenses. When the victim was not an income-earner, the court considers the emotional value of the loss of comfort, companionship, guidance, care, and other non-monetary factors. And if the deceased was a caregiver for a minor, a person over age 65, or a person with a disability, the court assigns a value to that care of at least 110 percent of the state average weekly wage.
I received a settlement offer from the truck company’s insurer. Should I accept it?
If you receive a settlement offer, do not respond – talk to a personal injury attorney immediately. Anything you say to an insurer could jeopardize your ability to collect the compensation you may be entitled to.
Bley & Evans has helped many truck crash injury victims get the help they need. If you or your immediate family members have been injured in a crash with a large truck, contact us today to request a free consultation by using our online form or by calling 844-443-8385.