Commercial vehicles transport food, automobiles, household goods, oil, and many other products across the nation. While most truckers are professional and diligent, reckless or overworked truck drivers can cause grave wrecks.

If you are involved in an accident with a truck, you might benefit from speaking with a well-practiced injury attorney. A St. Louis truck accident lawyer could negotiate with insurance companies or defend your best interests in court, if necessary.

Causes of Truck Crashes

Collisions involving 18-wheelers can occur for the same reasons passenger vehicle accidents occur. While many truck wrecks are due to driver fatigue, other common causes include:

  • Exceeding the allowable number of hours on the road
  • Driving while texting, eating, and drinking
  • Operating a truck while impaired by alcohol or drugs
  • Failing to obey traffic safety rules
  • Poorly maintaining the vehicle

While the truck driver is often responsible for a wreck, the doctrine of vicarious liability could also result in the truck driver’s employer holding some liability. A local attorney could determine who is responsible for a truck collision.

Safety Requirements for Commercial Truckers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provides national rules of the road for truckers, including prescribing how many hours they can drive in a 24-hour period and any seven-day period. Commercial trucks are also equipped with black boxes that record how the vehicle is functioning when it is moving. Some trucks also are equipped with sophisticated cameras to monitor a driver’s behavior on the road.

Commercial Driver’s License Requirements

The United States and Missouri governments regulate commercial truck drivers to protect other motorists’ safety. The Missouri Department of Revenue mandates that a trucker must have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). To get a commercial license, a trucker must have a valid Missouri driver’s license and then a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP). Those applying must show proof of citizenship or permanent residency. Both written and driving skills tests will be administered.

Evidence of Negligence

Since trucking is a for-profit business, trucking companies sometimes encourage drivers to violate these safety rules by pushing for more timely deliveries. This could result in driver’s operating for longer periods of time or taking speeding to meet these expectations.

While black box and camera footage can document these negligent behaviors, this evidence can quickly disappear. Therefore, it is highly important to seek an attorney in St. Louis who could gather this vital evidence of a truck crash before it disappears.

Insurance Coverage for 18-Wheelers

Trucking companies have significant insurance coverage, so an insurance settlement may be enough to compensate an accident victim. Commercial carriers engaged in interstate commerce must carry $750,000 in liability insurance and up to $5 million if the cargo is hazardous, according to the US Code of Federal Regulations § 387.9. If an insurance settlement fails to adequately compensate an injured claimant, a dedicated lawyer could litigate against the negligent truck driver and their employer.

Schedule a Consultation with a St. Louis Truck Accident Attorney

Due to their large size and weight, commercial vehicles can cause catastrophic if not deadly harm to occupants of passenger vehicles. If you were injured in a collision with a truck, you could benefit from seeking legal representation.

A truck accident lawyer could speak with you about your options and work tirelessly to get you the compensation to which you are entitled. Call today and schedule your initial case consultation.