From the Ozarks to the shores of the Mississippi, Missouri has some of the most beautiful roads and highways in the country. However, our state—welcoming as it may be—has become an increasingly dangerous place for everyday drivers. Each and every year, more people are injured in accidents involving commercial vehicles, whether they be delivery vans, garbage trucks, or big rigs. While every crash is different, many are severe, and some are life-changing. Here’s what you may expect from a commercial vehicle crash in Missouri.
Different Types of Commercial Vehicles Accidents
Even the biggest SUV is no match for a full-size commercial truck. Whenever a large commercial vehicle strikes a personal automobile—be it a four-door sedan, a sports car, or a minivan—the damage, both to property and a person’s well-being, can be severe.
Of course, every accident occurs under different circumstances. These are some of the most common:
- Head-on collisions. Head-on collisions are the most dangerous when it comes to private automobiles and commercial vehicles. This is because commercial vehicles, no matter their purpose, tend to have a larger mass than most consumer cars or trucks. Consequently, head-on accidents account for more fatalities than any other type. These types of crashes are often caused by the commercial vehicle operator’s error.
- Rear-end collisions. Any rear-end collision involving a semi-truck or other commercial vehicle is particularly dangerous. Rear-end wrecks can happen in one of two ways: the other driver hits you from behind or you collide with a truck that does not have safety guards to prevent motorists from getting trapped underneath.
- Rollovers. Since semi-trucks, delivery vans, and garbage trucks all have a higher center of gravity than passenger vehicles, they are more susceptible to rollovers on tight corners, at high speeds, and in inclement weather. While many rollovers only injure the driver of the commercial vehicle, a rolled-over truck can pose an imminent danger to anyone caught too close.
- Jack-knife crashes. A jack-knife crash occurs when a semi-truck’s cab pivots to an over-extended angle from its trailer. Jack-knife accidents are often caused by driver error.
- Left-turn accidents. Commercial vehicle drivers can get distracted or be ignorant of oncoming traffic. Sometimes truck drivers will make a left turn without properly checking the intersection, leading others to hit the cab or trailer head-on.
- Cargo accidents. Truck drivers and other commercial vehicle operators are bound by federal law to secure their cargo. However, bad fasteners, inadequate preparation, and simple mistakes can cause cargo to become loose, destabilizing the vehicle or spilling onto the roadway, thereby posing an imminent hazard to other motorists.
Common Commercial Vehicle Accident Injuries
Any accident involving a commercial vehicle can end with:
- Internal bleeding
- Broken bones
- Back & neck injuries
- Organ damage
- Brain damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
What to Do After a Car Accident
Whenever you are involved in any type of vehicle crash, immediately seek medical attention. Even if you do not believe you were injured, a doctor can help identify injuries you did not know you had. A physician’s report will also help bolster your claim for compensation if you later discover you were harmed and must file a personal injury lawsuit.
While you may not be inclined to take a truck driver to court, taking pre-emptive action can be the best way to ensure your recovery and protect your finances. An experienced attorney may be able to hold the driver’s employer liable, along with the shipper or receiver, or even the vehicle manufacturer.
However, Missouri has a statute of limitations that states how long you have to file a lawsuit after an accident. If you have an injury that does not worsen until after the statute of limitations has expired, its severity does not matter—the court will not hear your case.