Truck Accidents Attorneys in Olathe, Kansas
Truck accidents can be devastating. Material losses are bad enough. However, personal injuries can destroy accident victims’ lives, as well as the lives of their families, even having consequences that could even send families into a financial tailspin. That is why seeking fair compensation for personal injuries is crucial. If you are in the Olathe, Kansas, area, including the surrounding areas of Lenexa, Overland Park, and the greater Kansas City metro area, reach out today for guidance.
Federal Trucking Laws
Trucking laws are heavily regulated at the federal level. The Federal Government has a number of regulations pertaining to drivers, scheduling, and hours of operation, among other highly specific issues. Some of these, solidified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSA), include the following:
Drivers must submit to regular alcohol and drug testing to ensure they do not drive while under the influence.
Drivers and trucking companies must conduct regular vehicle inspections. Drivers must immediately report mechanical and safety issues to the trucking corporation they drive for.
Drivers are subject to federal and state regulations. As a result, drivers must be aware of applicable laws in every state they transit.
Drivers may not exceed 14-hour driving periods in a single day.
Drivers must take mandatory 30-minute rest breaks for every 8 driving hours.
Please note that driving hours are crucial when dealing with commercial trucking accidents. The common cause of semi-truck and 18-wheeler accidents is driver fatigue.
To stay up to date with current trucking laws in the state of Kansas, reach out to our knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorneys. We are here to guide you and keep you informed, every step of the way.
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Assessing Liability in Kansas
Who Can Be Held Liable?
Liability refers to the party responsible for a trucking accident. Although it may be easy to think that either you or the truck driver is the only one at fault, it’s possible that liability lies elsewhere, or there’s a mix of multiple liable parties. The following people and companies may be liable for a commercial trucking accident:
The truck driver. The truck driver may be liable for an accident due to negligence, reckless driving, or failure to maintain a vehicle properly. Negligence consists in not following proper procedures to avoid an accident. For instance, driving beyond the permitted operating hours is an example of negligence.
The truck company. The truck company may be liable for allowing a driver to operate beyond permitted hours. Also, the truck company may be responsible due to neglecting proper vehicle maintenance.
Vehicle and parts manufacturers. Vehicle and parts manufacturers may be liable due to defective parts and vehicles. In such cases, the truck company and driver may be free of fault. Nevertheless, the company and driver may still be liable if it is reasonable for either one to spot a defective vehicle or part during routine inspections.
Cargo loading personnel. Cargo loading personnel may be liable when they fail to secure a load properly. Failing to secure a load may lead to an accident through no fault of the driver or the company.
Maintenance staff. Maintenance staff may be at fault if they fail to spot issues they should have or neglect to correct defects. For instance, clearing a defective vehicle for use can be considered a negligent action.
The investigation conducted by insurance companies and authorities can determine the responsible party or parties. Additionally, evidence from the accident scene can provide further insight into the liable party.
Factors Determining Liability
Accidents can be caused by many things. There are many factors that can determine liability in a trucking accident, including but not limited to the following:
Driver fatigue. By far, driver fatigue is the leading cause of commercial trucking accidents. Additionally, improper driver training may result in an accident. Drivers must obtain a commercial trucking license and undergo regular drug and alcohol testing.
Driver recklessness or negligence. Reckless or negligent driving, such as improper lane changes, speeding, or failing to heed traffic signals, is another common cause of commercial trucking accidents. Camera footage, eyewitness testimony, and police reports can provide insight into driver behavior.
Road conditions. Road conditions may also play a key role in causing an accident. Slippery roads, fog, or heavy rain decrease a truck operator’s ability to operate a commercial vehicle safely. However, the commercial driver may still be at fault for operating the vehicle despite dangerous conditions.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Because Kansas is a no-fault state, accident victims must file an insurance claim with their own insurance, not the liable party. Therefore, if you or a loved one has been in a trucking accident, you first must file a claim with your own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance.
However, if you have suffered a “serious injury” (such as dismemberment, disfigurement, permanent loss of a bodily function, compound fracture, or any other significant illness or injury), and your PIP insurance does not cover your injuries and other financial effects, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. It is important you get the support of an attorney in order to do this within Kansas limitations. If you choose to file a lawsuit, your attorney will:
investigate and initiate contact with the at-fault party;
negotiate a settlement demand
file the lawsuit;
fight for you in and out of court;
Enlisting the services of a professional truck accident attorney is a major step in protecting commercial trucking accident victims’ right to fair compensation. Do not face this alone.
Truck Accident Attorneys in Olathe, Kansas
At Adams Cross, LLC, we’ve got your back. We go the extra mile to protect our clients’ right to fair compensation. You don’t need to go at it alone, so call today to speak with a professional truck accident attorney.