Many Americans suffer a serious case of nerves whenever forced to ride in close proximity to a semi-truck for any length of time. Driving next to one of these behemoth vehicles often taps into a primal fear for Missouri and Illinois drivers, especially when stories of tragic trucking accidents seem to hit the news on a daily basis. The sheer size and weight of these vehicles often leads to catastrophic injuries being dealt to the victims traveling in other vehicles in the event of a semi-truck accident. This can lead to injured victims or their surviving family members being tasked with contacting a St. Louis personal injury attorney in order to learn more about their rights for financial restitution.
While it doesn’t take away the injuries or restore a lost life, being awarded medical and other expenses like lost wages and pain and suffering compensation in a civil lawsuit can help ease the emotional pain of a victim or victim’s family. This can be particularly useful in a trucking accident that causes significant injuries or even death to innocent victims. Significant injuries unfortunately come with a correspondingly high amount of medical and other related expenses. Victims and surviving families typically have the right to seek reimbursement for these costs in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
Victims of a trucking accident or their families can file personal injury or wrongful death claims
The most obvious defendants to sue in this type of lawsuit include the driver who was behind the tractor-trailer’s wheel at the time of the truck collision, along with the company which employed him or her. This is definitely a good place to start, of course, especially if driver negligence can be established. However, it may also serve a plaintiff well to also investigate the possibility of a products liability claim in the event that evidence suggests a component involved in the truck’s operation was defective or malfunctioned in some fashion.
Two components of semi-trucks which are often at risk for failure are their fuel and brake systems. Fuel systems in tractor-trailers often pose a particular risk to innocent victims because of semi-truck manufacturer’s insistence to continue positioning diesel fuel tanks in the dangerous “side-saddle” position on big trucks. This means that as much as 40 gallons of extremely combustible fuel is often carried outside of the protection of the tractor’s frame rails. The makers of smaller passenger vehicles stopped placing their fuel tanks in this position because of the increased risk some time ago. Even though diesel fuel is less explosive than the gasoline used in smaller passenger vehicles, vaporization that occurs in a semi’s fuel tanks after being pierced in an accident will be at just as much risk of igniting and then leading to a chain reaction of burn injuries or even explosions.
Truck braking systems can also prove defective in a high number of cases. Unfortunately, most if not all semis utilize air brake systems, which are notoriously complex and less effective than the hydraulic brakes used in smaller vehicles, not to mention much harder to maintain in safe working order. It is vital that drivers be properly trained in the safe use of air brakes; but even then, adjustment problems in older braking systems pop up all too often, leading to serious crashes which can cause horrific injuries. An improperly-adjusted braking system in a tractor-trailer means that the truck will take longer to stop in emergency situations, something which can prove heartbreakingly tragic in too many cases. Brake facing is another common problem; referring to the buildup of heat in the braking surfaces – something which can cause a cascade of reactions in the various components of the brake system and leading to a reduction in the vehicle’s braking performance. This can prove particularly dangerous when going down a long and steep hill.
Injured by a trucking accident? Take steps to preserve your case
For Missouri and Illinois residents who have either been seriously injured in a trucking accident or who have lost a loved in such a collision, it may be worth considering a potential products liability claim that may be made in conjunction with a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. If a fuel system, braking system, or any other component of a semi-truck failed and resulted in injuries or death, it is only just that the manufacturers responsible for that defect or malfunction be held accountable. My St. Louis personal injury law firm can discuss the facts of your potential case for free and determine whether we can help you seek justice.
Please contact us toll-free at 1-888-586-7041 at your earliest convenience to find out how we can help you with the critical steps of preserving evidence connected with the trucking accident which has injured you or your loved ones. We only collect fees in the event that we successfully settle or litigate your case – and we’ll be completely up front if we don’t feel like we can assist you in your legal claims.