Were you the victim of a truck accident? Does the driver have a history of reckless driving? You can pursue a monetary award for your injuries and the resulting expenses with the help of a St. Louis truck accident lawyer from OnderLaw, LLC.
Reckless driving is a serious traffic violation that puts others at risk of physical harm. Any action behind the wheel that shows a lack of regard for the safety of others falls under the category of reckless driving. It’s especially dangerous when someone is traveling in a commercial truck. The injuries people sustain in truck accidents are usually severe and require extensive medical treatment.
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, drivers are reckless and commit multiple moving violations that can endanger other motorists when they exhibit the following behaviors:
- Drive above the speed limit
- Fail to yield the right of way
- Cut off other motorists while weaving in and out of traffic
- Drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Ignore traffic signs or signals
- Text while driving or other forms of distracted driving
If you’ve been injured by a reckless driver, don’t hesitate to contact a skilled truck accident attorney at OnderLaw, LLC. We can help you win the compensation you need and deserve to get your life back on track. Call (314) 963-9000 to schedule your free consultation.
There’s a Reason Some Truck Drivers Are Reckless
You might wonder why some truck drivers are reckless behind the wheel. There are multiple reasons, and they all put other drivers on the road in danger. When you collide with a commercial vehicle, it can crush your car and lead to life-threatening or debilitating injuries that cause permanent or consistent medical issues.
Large trucks, such as 18-wheelers and big rigs, are long, heavy, and full of cargo. When cargo moves around in the trailer, it can fall out or cause the driver to lose control. Along with various contributing factors, driving recklessly can lead to an accident.
Most truckers have to travel hundreds of miles in a single shift to transport products to their destination. They are often exhausted and up against strict deadlines set by their employer. Commercial vehicle drivers will speed or get behind the wheel despite lack of sleep to meet their company’s requirements.
There’s never a good reason for any motorist to behave in a way that puts others at risk of injury. Still, workers in the trucking industry tend to exhibit continued dangerous behavior for the following reasons:
- Frustration: Companies try to cut costs by paying employees the bare minimum and failing to properly screen and train drivers. As a result, reckless driving becomes the norm, as drivers become more concerned with staying ahead of schedule than remaining safe while traveling to their destination.
- Training: Trucking companies want to save time and money to get their drivers on the road and match increasing demand within the trucking industry. Due to the need for employees to transport cargo, training becomes a low priority.
- Sleep: A good night’s sleep is necessary for anyone to function normally. For truckers, it’s even more essential. However, commercial vehicle drivers work long hours without much rest or sleep in between shifts.
- Maintenance: A reckless driver won’t notice or will completely ignore signs of problems with their vehicle. Instead of performing routine checks and notifying their employer of a faulty or damaged part, they will get back on the road to meet deadlines and earn their paycheck.
Truck drivers that are reckless on the road typically have a history of reckless driving and cause more than one accident throughout their driving career.
Missouri Laws for Drivers and Trucking Companies
There are federal and state regulations within the trucking industry to keep motorists safe and prevent accidents from occurring. Unfortunately, a lot of truckers and their employers don’t follow those laws. That ends up creating dangerous conditions on the road and puts innocent people at risk. Truck drivers with a history of reckless driving will ignore specific requirements and guidelines to complete their assigned tasks.
Following are requirements and guidelines trucking companies and drivers must follow:
- Companies and drivers must keep logs documenting the hours an employee spends on the road and how often they perform maintenance on the truck.
- EDR (electronic data record) is a required piece of equipment in all commercial vehicles that automatically tracks data right before and during an accident, such as the speed the trucker was traveling at the time of the crash.
- Trucking company employees must undergo testing for drugs, alcohol, and other controlled substances before employment and regularly throughout their driving career.
- Workers should load cargo onto their trucks to meet federal and state laws, so they stay securely in place and don’t shift during transport.
- It’s a requirement for all drivers to pass a driving test and carry a commercial driver’s license.
- Employers should train new truckers and offer ongoing training to ensure their employees adhere to changing laws and know how to handle adverse weather or dangerous scenarios.
When a truck driver breaks a federal or state law, they could end up with points on their license or lose their driving privileges altogether. Many times, an officer will issue a traffic citation, which could result in points on the driver’s license. In serious situations, the reckless trucker could face jail time.
How to Hold a Truck Driver Responsible for Their Reckless Driving
After any kind of accident, injured individuals are usually in shock and don’t know what to do next. If you want to pursue compensation from the at-fault trucker, you need to follow some crucial steps and make sure to collect as much evidence as possible at the crash scene.
Under Missouri law, you have to report a vehicle crash if any of the following circumstances exist:
- The accident resulted in an injury, a fatality, or property damage of at least $500;
- The truck driver doesn’t carry auto insurance; or
- If an owner of a parked car involved in the accident sustained an injury, a fatality, or property damage in excess of $500.
It’s a requirement to report the crash within thirty days to the Missouri Department of Revenue and file a car accident report. You should also call an officer to the crash site to investigate what happened and issue a traffic citation, if necessary. Getting the details of the documented accident could provide a vital piece of evidence to show the truck driver was reckless and caused the crash.
It’s likely the trucker who caused your accident and resulting injuries carries auto insurance. It’s the law in the state of Missouri for all vehicle owners and operators to hold auto insurance with bodily injury liability coverage. That coverage compensates victims of accidents for their losses.
If you want to pursue compensation from the truck driver’s insurance carrier, you can file a claim. If they don’t have insurance, you can file a lawsuit against them or pursue a claim against the trucking company’s liability carrier for negligently employing a reckless driver. It’s also possible to file a claim with your own insurance company, depending on the coverages listed on your policy.
What Are Damages?
Damages are the total losses the victim of a vehicle accident can claim for compensation. If clear fault exists on the part of the reckless trucker, you can pursue up to the maximum settlement available from their liability insurance.
The damages involved in a trucking crash claim include:
- Medical expenses
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Lost income
- Physical pain and suffering
- Rental vehicle costs
- Emotional distress
The evidence you submit for review to the insurance company needs to show the trucker’s reckless driving caused the accident. If they are 100% at fault for the crash, you will be entitled to negotiate a settlement based on the liability coverage and specific information regarding your injury and treatment.
Missouri follows a pure comparative negligence rule, which means the victim of an accident who shares blame for a car wreck can only collect damages based on their percentage of shared fault. As an example, if you have total damages of $10,000 and hold 20% blame, you could only pursue a maximum of $8,000.
Choose the Trusted Lawyers from OnderLaw, LLC
When you suffer injuries from a truck accident, the last thing you want to do is pursue legal action and try to navigate the complicated legal process. At OnderLaw, LLC, our St. Louis truck accident lawyers are ready to take on your case and handle every step for you.
We know you’re under a great deal of stress. You’re overwhelmed with expenses from the crash and can’t return to work. Let us relieve your burden so you can focus on putting your life back together. When you hire us, we will file an insurance claim, submit evidence, and negotiate a full and fair settlement on your behalf.
We have received recognition from numerous legal organizations for our hard work and the millions of dollars we won for our clients over the years. You can depend on us to fight for the justice you deserve and secure the compensation owed to you for the suffering you had to endure.
Contact Us to Schedule a Free Consultation
You can schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced St. Louis truck accident lawyers to find out how we can help you. We’ll review all the information you provide and let you know the options you have to move forward with your case.
We dedicate our time and resources to each case we work on, and you will always be a priority. If a truck driver with a history of reckless driving caused your injuries, contact us today at (314) 963-9000.