Yes, you could be eligible to sue if the truck was driving recklessly and that negligence caused you to go off-road and suffer property damage or, worse, personal injury to yourself or a loved one. Even if they didn’t make contact with your vehicle, you may still have legal options. Read about what to do below or contact a truck accident lawyer in St. Louis to learn more.
Why This Is a Common Occurence
Driving on roads and highways can sometimes be scary enough, but when a truck that weighs three times the amount of your car starts creeping into your lane, you may have no choice but to swerve to get out of its way lest you risk severe damage. This is unfortunately a very common occurrence in the US for a number of reasons. These include:
- Higher volume of trucks on the road than ever before – There is an estimated 15.5 million trucks operating in the U.S. and according to the Census Bureau, the number of truck drivers is at an all-time high. The nature of the trucking industry calls for more and more, which means innocent drivers have to contend with driving alongside these mammoths of the road.
- The amount of space trucks take up – The maximum length of a truck can reach up to 53 feet! So when you are getting on or off a highway or changing lanes, all vehicles must work together cohesively; however, the size of a truck makes this difficult, especially when the truck driver does not take steps to accommodate your car. As a result, you may be run off the road due to a driver’s negligence.
- Trucks have larger blind spots – All vehicles have blind spots, but those on an 18-wheeler are significantly larger and more dangerous. In fact, one-third of all crashes between cars and trucks take place in the no-zone, according to the FMSCA.
- Truck driver error – a truck’s size, the driver’s limited field of vision, and any type of distracted or fatigued driving are a concoction for disaster. Despite hours of service regulations designed to ensure drivers are well-rested and clear-headed on the road, some may choose to drive fatigued in order to meet strict deadlines. This puts everyone on the road at risk. When a truck driver is tired, texting and driving, doesn’t see you, or simply not paying attention, you may be forced off the road and come into contact with a sign, tree, guardrail, or any other object causing significant harm.
Why You May Have a Case
Some people may think that because they did not make contact with the truck, they do not have a case. This is not always true. If the truck was driving in a way that was considered negligent, then you may still be able to sue for damages that resulted from being driven off the road.
Moreover, all operators of motor vehicles in Missouri are required to drive with the “highest degree of care” when on a public roadway, which is how a very careful and prudent person would exercise in similar circumstances. If a driver violates this contract and is considered reckless, then they should be held liable for your damages including medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
The truck driver might not be the only one who can be held liable either— other parties you may seek compensation from include the trucking company, the broker who hired the trucking company to deliver a load, and more.
What to Do First If a Semi-Truck Runs You Off the Road
When a semi-truck runs a passenger vehicle off the road, it can cause serious injuries and financial damages to the passenger vehicle occupant. If you were a victim of this, you could understandably be feeling very shaken up. The first thing you should do is get in touch with a truck accident lawyer in St. Louis to protect your rights. What you do now is critical.
The trucking companies can afford aggressive insurance that tries every tactic to pay you as little as possible. These include getting a statement right after the accident to try to place blame on you, making you an offer that is less than the settlement you could claim with a lawyer, and giving you a deadline for accepting their offer in an attempt to lowball you.
The best way to ensure that you aren’t taken advantage of is to hire an attorney. An experienced attorney can protect your rights, defend your claim, and negotiate for the maximum amount of compensation for your case.