The Belton Star-Herald recently published fifteen photos of a serious semi truck accident near Belton, Missouri. Miraculously, no one was killed in the chain-reaction crash involving several vehicles, but there were multiple injuries requiring the help of many emergency personnel, and the cars involved were mangled beyond repair.
As a Missouri big rig accident lawyer, I paid close attention to the description of how the accident occurred, offered by the news article that accompanied the photos. Crashes like this often happen for specific reasons, like distracted or fatigued driving. The article reports that the tractor-trailer’s driver lost control of his vehicle in slowing traffic and swerved to try to avoid the cars in front of him. Instead, the semi hit the rear of a car in front of it, and initiated a chain reaction among several cars. The truck crossed the median into oncoming traffic, with its trailer dragging a small car along with it and smashing it into the guardrail.
Accidents like this often have much more dire consequences, and I am glad that everyone survived. One woman, Mindy Osborn of Peculiar, Missouri, was reported to have serious injuries, and was airlifted to a local hospital. One man, Adam Moennig, also of Peculiar, had moderate injuries and was taken to a hospital by ambulance. Another woman, Melissa McClay of Raymore, went to the hospital with minor injuries, and two men, Mark Vogt of Peculiar and Jose Valentin of Laredo, Texas, were not injured. The fact that Valentin, the driver of the tractor-trailer, was not injured underscores an important outcome that I encounter frequently in my work as a southern Illinois tractor-trailer crash attorney: when semi trucks crash into cars, those cars and their drivers bear far more serious injuries and damage than trucks do, because of their vast weight discrepancy. A loaded semi truck can weigh more than 22 times as much as the average car, so the force with which it slams into a car is far more devastating than an accident between two or more cars of similar weight.
Because 18-wheelers pose a greater hazard on the road than cars do, truck drivers have a responsibility to exercise especially great care. Although the Belton Star-Herald article doesn’t provide a lot of detail, it does say that the driver lost control of his truck as he approached slowing traffic. This suggests that he might have been distracted by something inside the truck, or simply not paying close enough attention to notice traffic conditions ahead of him. Large, heavy trucks require extra time and distance to stop safely, so semi drivers have to pay close attention to traffic conditions in order to drive safely. Alternatively, perhaps his truck was not in adequate repair mechanically, making him unable to stop in time because he or the trucking company failed to maintain the truck. This is all speculation, but these are unfortunately common causes of serious big rig accidents.
When people are seriously injured in tractor-trailer accidents through no fault of their own, it is important that they consult a St. Louis semi truck accident lawyer right away. Drivers seriously injured by semi trucks are likely to run up huge bills in their medical treatment, possibly beyond the maximum coverage provided by their health insurance plans if they have them. They can also lose income if they are out of work while they are recovering from their injuries. Other expenses pile up after a serious accident too, like replacement of the car that was wrecked. All trucking companies know this, because accidents are a routine part of their work. Some of the most unscrupulous companies do their best to limit their financial payouts by pressuring accident victims to sign a waiver or take an inadequately small settlement, which eliminates their right to later sue for a fair settlement.
The attorneys at Carey, Danis & Lowe can help victims determine if a truck driver or his or her company is responsible for an accident. If so, they can help victims recover these expenses, as well as compensation for their pain and suffering. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced trucking accident attorney, please call 1-877-678-3400 or contact us online.