A crash from mid-Missouri caught my eye as a Missouri big rig accident attorney. As KRCG reported June 6, a woman from Jefferson City suffered moderate injuries after an accident sandwiched her SUV between a John Deere tractor and a tractor-trailer. The truck reportedly changed lanes without noticing that traffic in the right lane had slowed to accommodate the tractor and was unable to stop in time. Fortunately, 56-year-old Kent Schmidt of Russellville, the tractor’s driver, and 68-year-old Benjamin Schroyer of Sunrise Beach, the trucker, were not injured. Jenna Surface of Jefferson City, 38, was treated and released from the hospital a few hours after the crash. Traffic backed up for about an hour after as crews cleaned up the wreckage.
The article suggests fault may lie with Schroyer, who was working at the time for Scott’s Concrete in Camdenton. Schmidt’s tractor was in the far right lane of the Missouri River Bridge in Jefferson City, going about 20 mph, and Surface was following behind at around the same speed. Schroyer’s truck was in the middle lane when he tried to change lanes to the right. According to the News-Tribune of Jefferson City, Schroyer told local police that he knew Schmidt and Surface were going slowly, but misjudged their speed when he changed lanes and couldn’t slow down in time. The resulting crash pushed Surface’s Tahoe into Schmidt’s truck and the bridge’s guardrail. It also spilled fuel from the tractor onto the road. The article said the police have not yet said whether they will cite Schroyer for the crash.
If the events took place as reports said, I suspect that they will. As a St. Louis semi truck accident lawyer, I know police agencies are cautious about handing out tickets or criminal charges right after a crash, because they want the full story. But if Schroyer simply wasn’t paying enough attention to notice he needed to reduce his speed, which seems likely, authorities will probably determine that he caused the crash. Not only could this get him a ticket, but it would likely make his employer and its insurance company legally liable for the results of the accident — because he was at work at the time of the crash. Those results are much less serious than they could have been, fortunately, but they still include the bills for Surface’s medical treatment as well as repairs to her vehicle and the tractor.
At Carey, Danis & Lowe, we focus our practice on semi truck accidents because we know how personally and financially devastating they can be. As this crash shows, the massive weight of a truck can push smaller vehicles, even SUVs, around the road like pinballs. Even more than in a comparable accident with a car, this can lead to death or catastrophic, permanent injuries for the people in the smaller vehicle. When this kind of crash is caused by the negligence of a trucker or trucking company, our southern Illinois tractor-trailer accident attorneys help victims hold the wrongdoers legally liable. That’s especially important in trucking cases because a lawsuit can win clients the money they need to pay for all past and future medical care, loss of income and other life-altering results of the accident.
If your family has suffered an injury or death because of an unsafe, irresponsible truck driver, you should call Carey, Danis & Lowe for help. For a free, confidential case evaluation, send us an email or call toll-free at 1-877-678-3400.