Semi-trucks are a common sight on Missouri roadways. While many truck drivers never exit the interstate for more than coffee and a meal, others cruise the countryside to pick up and deliver their cargo, whether it’s steel beams for a rural construction site or a load of vegetables meant for a small-town supermarket. Although most semi-truck drivers are hard-working, safety-conscious professionals, rural routes pose their own set of risks. In fact, statistics suggest that most truck-related accidents do not occur on the highway but in cities, small towns, and other less-populated areas.
How Truck Accidents Happen in Cities and Small Towns
You may be surprised to learn that, for most drivers, there’s nowhere safer than the highway: accident rates in cities, towns, and rural routes are, in fact, considerably higher than accident rates on the interstate. Commercial truck crashes can be caused by a number of factors, but when truck drivers leave the highway, the chance of a crash could increase due to the presence of:
- Stop-and-go traffic
- Unpredictable drivers
- Dangerous intersections
Rural roads, too, can present challenges for truckers, including the following:
- They can be difficult to navigate. Most rural roads only have two lanes. If a truck has to make a sudden turn or is negotiating a harsh curve in the Ozarks, it may inadvertently drift into oncoming traffic.
- They often do not have adequate shoulders. If a truck needs to avoid an unexpected obstacle or impending danger, it may be prevented from doing so by a lack of road “shoulder.”
- They have unique obstacles. Roads in particularly rural areas may be poorly maintained: state road crews may take longer to clear them after a storm, and they may be laden with pot-holes and other construction flaws.
What to Do After a Crash
If you were hurt by a truck driver, you should always:
- Call the police. Even if you were not severely injured, a law enforcement officer will document the site and scene of the crash. You can use their report to substantiate your claim.
- Gather evidence. Take photographs of the damage to your vehicle and to the semi-truck, as well as your own injuries, if any. Record whether there are any traffic control signs, as well as the names of any nearby street signs or roadway mileage markers. If anyone else witnessed the accident, ask them for their name and contact information.
- Seek immediate medical treatment. A physician can help you identify and treat injuries that may have been masked by the adrenaline rush following a motor vehicle accident. Accept treatment if it is offered, or seek it independently. Always follow your physician’s recommendations. Even if you do not believe you were injured, seeking medical help shows insurance companies that you had concerns about your physical well-being so that, if you do develop accident-related health concerns at a later date, they cannot accuse you of fabricating harm for material gain.
- Call an attorney. Once you have ensured your own health, as well as that of your passengers, contact an attorney. After the accident, you will be contacted by an insurance adjuster who may pressure you into making a statement or recounting your version of events. You should never speak to an adjuster alone. An attorney will help you deal with the truck company and their insurer to negotiate a fair and equitable settlement.
Potential Damages After a Missouri Truck Accident
Since Missouri does not have a cap on damages arising from truck accident claims, you may be eligible to recover damages such as:
- The cost of a car repair
- Medical bills
- Physical rehabilitation
- Income lost during your medical recovery
- Diminished earning potential from life-changing injuries
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
An attorney can help you take account of the sum of your damages and will consult specialists to determine the maximum value of your claim, including expenses you may need for continuing or long-term care.