Last week, I discussed a lawsuit filed because of an accident caused by a wheel that detached from a semi truck and crashed into the semi truck directly behind it. The driver whose truck was hit by the wheel is suing, claiming that he suffered permanent, severe injuries. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that another accident like this has occurred, with an even worse outcome. A 24-year-old man was killed when a semi truck tire smashed through his windshield on Interstate 70 near McKelvey Road in St. Louis, during morning rush hour. The Missouri Highway Patrol said that two wheels came off a semi truck when the lug nuts on its rear axle came loose. As a St. Louis eighteen wheeler crash attorney, I am always saddened to hear of preventable accidents like this, and I offer my condolences to those who were hurt.
The accident occurred when Brandon Haskin, 24, of St. Peters, was driving his 2003 Dodge Durango east on I-70 at about 8:30 a.m. on May 3. Wayne Knickmeyer, 48, of Wentzville, was going west on I-70 in a 2008 Volvo tractor-trailer. Two wheels came off of the Volvo, and one of them bounced over the median wall and crashed through the windshield of Haskin’s SUV. The Durango then hit Jamie Duboise’s 1994 Nissan Altima. Duboise, 26, of O’Fallon, suffered moderate injuries. Knickmeyer was not hurt. Haskin, described by his grandmother as a young entrepreneur who loved fishing and his dog, was pronounced dead at the scene. According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, Knickmeyer said that his truck had recently been serviced. Investigators planned to inspect the truck, but did not plan to bring charges against Knickmeyer.
As a Missouri semi truck accident attorney, it seems to me that there are a lot of unanswered questions about this unfortunate situation. First, how recently was the semi truck inspected? Truck drivers are legally required to inspect their rigs every single day before they drive, to ensure that they won’t pose a threat to other drivers on the road. If they don’t complete a thorough inspection each time they get ready to drive, and someone gets hurt as a result of their carelessness, they can be held legally and financially responsible. This inspection procedure may be more than is required of drivers of cars, but that’s because truckers drive many, many more miles than the average car driver does each day. Large trucks that malfunction are also much more dangerous than rickety cars, because they are so much heavier and more forceful. According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, part of the federal Department of Transportation, about 80% of those killed in two-vehicle accidents involving large trucks are people inside a smaller vehicle. There’s just no real defense for a car or motorcycle occupant in the face of an 80,000-pound truck — or even just one of its wheels.
There is legal recourse for those who have been hurt, or the families of those who have been killed, by drivers and trucking companies that have been careless in the maintenance of their semi trucks. The law recognizes that it’s unfair to expect victims to bear all the costs of an accident that they didn’t cause. That’s why, with the help of an experienced southern Illinois tractor trailer crash attorney, victims can sue those responsible for their injuries to recover medical costs, lost past and future wages, and compensation for pain, suffering, and lost quality of life. To ensure the best chance of success in such a lawsuit, it’s important that victims contact an attorney right away. Truck drivers’ insurance companies employ people whose job is to persuade victims to sign away their rights to sue, in exchange for compensation that is far lower than what they might be entitled to. Victims who have attorneys are much less likely to be shortchanged in this way.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured because of a truck driver’s carelessness, please contact the Lowe Law Firm for a free consultation. You can call us at 1-877-678-3400, or send us a message online.