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Wendt Law Firm: Kansas City Personal Injury Lawyers

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Our law firm represents those who have suffered personal injuries or have lost a loved one due to the negligent actions of another. We specialize in personal injury trial litigation and focus our attention on those we represent.
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Kansas City Truck Accident Attorney

  • No fees unless we win your truck accident injury case

  • 100% free consultation

  • Millions recovered for truck accident victims

After a Kansas man suffered a traumatic brain injury after a serious crash, Wendt Law Firm, P.C. secured over $10 million for his injuries, medical bills and overall suffering. As your Kansas City truck accident lawyer, we have one priority: fighting for the injured. Our team specializes in personal injury litigation, allowing truck accident victims to focus solely on recovery.

Large trucks can inflict a great deal of damage on smaller vehicles in accidents. With weights up to 80,000 pounds, large trucks can obliterate other vehicles in sideswipe, rear-end, and head-on collisions. These crashes often result in catastrophic and fatal injuries to victims, but our Kansas City truck accident attorneys are standing by to help you financially recover and prevent such future incidents by holding the guilty parties responsible.

The majority of truck accidents are rooted in negligence – be it the fault of a truck driver, trucking company, vehicle part manufacturer, or Kansas City’s dangerous roadway infrastructure. After a traumatic truck accident in KC, come to Wendt Law Firm P.C. for answers to your legal questions, and possible claim representation.

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Types of Truck Accidents

The FMCSA keeps track of large truck crash statistics using the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and other databases. According to the FMCSA, there were 4,050 fatal accidents involving large trucks in 2015. This was an 8% increase from the previous year. There were about 87,000 personal injury accidents with large truck involvement. While all truck accidents are unique, there are certain patterns that exist among these types of wrecks. The design of large trucks lends itself to these types of accidents in particular:

      • Rollovers. Commercial trucks can tip and rollover if the driver takes a curve too sharply, drives too fast for conditions, strikes an object in the road, tries to correct a trailer that’s gone off the road, or brakes incorrectly down steep declines. Rollovers can crush smaller vehicles and lead to highway pileups.
      • Jackknifes. A large truck “jackknifes” when the trailer swings out away from the cab at a sharp angle. Jackknifing can occur when the driver uses an incorrect braking tactic. This makes it impossible for the driver to control the vehicle. At this point, a rollover or other accident may occur.
      • Rear-end collisions. Large trucks do not possess the same stopping power as smaller, lighter vehicles. They require more room to come to complete stops. Truckers that follow too closely or speed, may end up causing rear-end collisions that can be fatal to passengers in other motor vehicles.
      • Underride accidents. When a smaller vehicle rear-ends a large truck, the front of the smaller car can go underneath the rear trailer. This can lead to catastrophic and fatal injuries such as decapitation. Other motorists should always leave plenty of following room when behind large trucks, and pay attention while driving.

Truck accidents can occur due to various reasons. In all of these situations, there is someone that could have prevented the accident. From truck driver DUI to lost cargo loads on the interstate, most trucking accidents come down to negligence. When this is the case, victims can pursue compensation for damages through the Kansas City civil court system.

During your free, no-obligation consultation, our Kansas City truck accident attorneys will listen to the intimate details of your crash and discuss all possible legal acts of negligence. From here, we can begin building your personal injury lawsuit and the Wendt Law Firm team will be with you every step of the way. Call today to schedule your consultation.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Knowing what causes truck accidents in Kansas City can help you avoid and prevent them. As a passenger vehicle driver, you have a responsibility to obey roadway rules and help truck drivers stay as safe as possible. You also bear a burden to drive defensively as the party most at risk of serious and fatal injuries in truck accidents. Always assume a truck driver isn’t paying attention or does not see your vehicle. You can help avoid accidents, starting with recognizing their most common causes:

      • Negligent truck drivers. Despite being in charge of a much larger and more dangerous vehicle, truck drivers are just like other motorists. They make mistakes that can prove fatal to others. Truckers eating and drinking behind the wheel, texting and driving, breaking roadway rules, driving drowsy, or driving drunk have all caused crashes in the past. The trucking company will often be liable for the actions of its truck drivers.
      • Unsafe passenger vehicle drivers. Truck drivers don’t bear 100% of the blame for Kansas City accidents. Passenger vehicle drivers cause many wrecks. Driving in a truck’s blind spots or “no zone,” abruptly changing lanes in front of a truck, making turns in front of oncoming trucks, unsafe passing, and failing to move a disabled vehicle all the way off the road can all result in serious truck accidents. Large trucks cannot stop as quickly as smaller vehicles. It’s important to leave 18-wheelers plenty of room to maneuver.
      • Poorly maintained trucks. Truck part failures cause many accidents every year. Vehicle failures can result from inadequate fleet maintenance on the truck company’s part. It is up to the company to consistently maintain and repair its trucks, as well as up to drivers to inspect vehicles prior to trips. Poor maintenance can result in brake failures, tire blowouts, and other dangerous circumstances during cargo transportation.
      • Unsecured cargo loads. Lost loads are a less common cause of trucking accidents than other human errors, but they still happen every year. The FMCSA maintains strict rules and procedures for secure cargo loading. Breaking these rules to fit more on a truck or to save time and money can result in dangerously unsecured loads. Lost load accidents can cause serious car crashes and multi-vehicle collisions on KC highways.
      • Third-party negligence. Sometimes trucking accidents aren’t the fault of either driver or the trucking company, but instead stem from third-party factors such as an unsafe roadway or defective auto part. It is possible to file a claim against the Kansas City government for road defects that cause trucking accidents, such as potholes. Filing a product liability claim is also a possibility if a defective or dangerous truck or car part contributed to your accident or injuries.

Learning the common causes of truck accidents not only helps you prevent collisions; it can also help you understand who might be legally responsible for your damages after a crash. Negligent commercial truck drivers or trucking companies can face liability for causing an accident in many scenarios. You might also be able to bring a claim against more than one defendant, such as the truck company and a part manufacturer. A free consultation with Wendt Law Firm P.C. can help you determine the proximate cause of your accident, as well as who might be accountable for your damages.

Federal Regulation of Trucking Accidents and Accident Lawsuits

Truckers differ from typical motor vehicle drivers in that they must obey federal and state safety laws while on the road. Truck drivers must also possess commercial driver’s licenses, obtained only after special tests and driver training. There are dozens of laws truck drivers must abide by at all times, which cover how often they must sleep, and when to check the truck’s engine performance among other details. Breaking any of these laws is an act of negligence that could result in a crash. Here are some of the most important FMCSA regulations involved in trucking:

      • Drug and alcohol tests. All commercial vehicle operators must consent to drug and alcohol testing pre-employment, during random drug tests, under reasonable suspicion, and post-accident. Trucking companies can only offer employment if the driver tests negative during pre-employment substance tests.
      • Hours of service regulations. Drowsy driving is a serious issue in the commercial trucking industry. Truck drivers may not drive longer than 11 consecutive hours during a 14-hour maximum shift, which can only occur after 10 consecutive off-duty hours. Drivers cannot driver 60 hours in seven consecutive days, or 70 hours in eight days. Drivers must take one 30-minute break in the first eight hours of a shift.
      • Size and weight restrictions. Large trucks can only weigh so much depending on their size. Single-axle trucks may only carry up to 20,000 pounds, while two-axle trucks can carry 34,000 pounds maximum. No large truck can weigh more than 80,000 pounds. Overloading a truck is extremely dangerous, and can lead to roll over accidents. There are also laws for truck heights and widths.
      • Truck maintenance. Trucking companies and drivers must take care to properly maintain and service fleet vehicles. Drivers must keep logs recording daily inspections and performance checks prior to hitting the road. Federal laws exist to control the quality of many truck parts, such as air brake systems. Part manufacturers must also obey certain regulations when creating truck components.

After a crash, victims should look at federal regulations the driver, company, or another entity may have broken in relation to the accident. The federal government strictly regulates commercial vehicle activity and performance. Any broken federal or state laws, resulting in a crash, is negligence per se. This legal doctrine makes it relatively easy for victims to obtain compensation, since the defendant committed an unlawful act. A truck accident lawyer can help you navigate all applicable FMCSA laws and state-specific trucking codes to pursue recovery.

Large Truck Accident Statistics in the KC Region

The Kansas City Regional Transportation Safety Blueprint of 2013-2017 provides data on truck accidents in the area that caused serious injuries and deaths. The study defines “large trucks” as vehicles with gross weights greater than 10,000 pounds, and includes single-unit trucks and truck tractors that have the primary purpose of moving freight. KC is one of the top five trucking centers in the U.S. According to the data, large trucks make up at least 14% of total traffic in Kansas City – moving 60 million tons of freight through the region in one year alone. The movement of freight through KC is essential to the local and state economies.

Within the time period of the study, there was an average of 21 truck accident fatalities and 99 serious injuries per year. The Missouri side of the KC metropolitan area saw more truck accidents than the Kansas side during every year of the study. The two counties with the most large truck crashes were Jackson County, Missouri and Johnson County, Kansas. Proposed infrastructure developments to Interstate 49 from Louisiana to KC will place more stress on the region’s roadways. City councils will have to make an increased effort to enhance the safety of roadway users in the future.

Safety strategies may include maintaining local contact and coordination with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the entity in charge of federal large truck laws. KC officials will also work to educate motorists about sharing the road with large commercial vehicles, and support legislation that makes commercial driver license requirements more stringent. Finally, city officials should continue to measure accident activity in high-crash corridors and implement solutions to counter common issues.

Missouri and Kansas Trucking Laws

The laws surrounding the commercial trucking industry and related accidents aren’t only federal – Missouri and Kansas also impose statewide trucking laws. Trucking companies and their drivers must obey all related state laws; breaking them and causing injuries to others is a type of negligence that points directly to trucking company liability. When operating in Kansas City, truckers and their employers must obey local speed limits, signage, and driving under the influence laws.

Trucks in Kansas City cannot surpass a maximum speed limit of 70 miles per hour at any time. The limit is much lower in certain areas, such as rural roads. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for all KC commercial drivers is 0.04% – half the limit for non-commercial drivers. Truckers must obey road signage that states that trucks cannot operate on certain roads or must only take certain routes. In the event that state laws conflict with federal laws, state laws take precedence. Get in touch with us to learn more about state-specific trucking laws in relation to your recent accident.

Common Injuries Sustained from Truck Accidents

Truck accidents are catastrophic more often than not. The large size and weight of commercial trucks can crush or obliterate smaller passenger vehicles in a collision. Passenger vehicle drivers are at a much higher risk of serious, life-threatening injuries than truck drivers. The list of potential injuries in a trucking accident is almost endless. Some injuries, however, arise more often than others. Contact our firm as soon as possible if you or a loved one suffered any of the following injuries in a recent Kansas City truck accident:

      • Bone fractures. Broken bones are common car accident injuries, but that doesn’t make your case any less significant or unique. Bone fractures can be painful and debilitating. You will likely have to take medical leave at work – paid or unpaid. Fractures can take months to heal, with some of the worst breaks never fully healing at all. Fractures of the skull or spinal cord can be fatal.
      • Traumatic brain injuries. The delicate brain can sustain many different types of injuries in a bad trucking accident. The brain striking the inside of the skull can cause bleeding or swelling, along with significant damage to the victim. Brain injuries can cause temporary or permanent physical and cognitive impairments. Traumatic brain injury survivors might never be the same as they were pre-accident.
      • Spinal cord injuries. Spine injuries can affect the ability to move and feel. A severe spine injury could result in full or partial paralysis of the limbs and/or trunk of the body. Spine injuries result in lifetime costs such as medical care and live-in assistance, as well as modifications to accommodate a permanent disability. Less serious injuries to the neck and back (e.g., whiplash) can also be debilitating and cause chronic pain.
      • Burns. Serious truck accidents often result in vehicle fires – especially if the large truck was carrying flammable or hazardous substances. Fires in crashes can cause catastrophic burn injuries that leave behind significant physical and emotional scarring. Disfiguring burn injuries deserve serious financial compensation from the at-fault party in Kansas City.
      • Wrongful death. Sadly, truck accidents are frequently fatal for passenger vehicle drivers and occupants. Fatal fractures, brain injuries, spine injuries, internal organ damage, or other trauma can unexpectedly cut a life short. Talk to our law firm right away after losing a beloved family member in a Kansas City truck accident. We can help you fight for maximum compensation.

Personal injuries can change your life. You might face hefty hospital bills, significant pain and suffering, emotional damage, permanent disability, lost income, or the death of a loved one after a KC truck accident. In the face of these serious losses, know you’re not alone. Wendt Law Firm P.C. has experience with a wide range of truck accident injury claims and knows how to navigate the complex web of laws surrounding these collisions. We can help your family seek recovery for all the losses connected to a serious personal injury.

Why Hire a Kansas City Truck Accident Attorney?

Truck accidents inherently involve complex questions of fault and liability. For years, trucking companies could evade liability for accidents by renting equipment and using independent contractors instead of employees. Today, however, federal laws hold companies responsible for accidents involving their fleets or drivers. This means that accident victims are more likely to be able to recover through the truck company’s insurer.

Yet the company may not be the one at fault for your crash. The defendant could be a product manufacturer or another driver on the road. You need an attorney to help you sort through the elements of your case, and take the appropriate legal action for maximum compensation. Legal representation during insurance settlement negotiations and civil trials can make all the difference in your case. Contact the Kansas City truck accident lawyers at Wendt Law Firm, P.C. for a free case evaluation in KC today.

“Wendt Law Firm was very professional, courteous and went above and beyond in their service of our case…They were patient and responsive and I’d recommend them to anyone looking for representation.” – Steve