Category Archives: Trucking Accidents

Kansas Truck Accident Lawyer Discusses Status of NHTSA and FMCSA Rule

Late last year, both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) came forward with a proposed rule that would require semi-trucks and big rigs to be equipped with a device that would regulate the maximum speed that the truck could travel while on the highway. At the time the rule was proposed, it was hoped that the Obama administration would approve the rule after the time for public comments had passed. Now that the Trump administration is in place, fears are rising that the common-sense rule will meet its demise before implementation.

The Need for Speed (Rules) for Trucks

It is no secret that commercial trucks like big rigs and semi-trucks can cause serious harm to the occupants of passenger vehicles in the event of a crash. The magnitude of harm caused by these large commercial trucks only increases the faster that the truck is traveling. That is to say, a truck that crashes into a passenger car while traveling 65 miles per hour will inflict greater harm than a truck that crashes into a passenger car while traveling 55 miles per hour. Thus, the proposed rule – and the devices described in the proposed rule – could potentially decrease the incidence rate of serious and fatal truck crashes.

Determining the Speed of a Commercial Truck in a Crash

When a truck is involved in a crash with another vehicle – especially where there is evidence suggesting the truck driver was at fault and caused the crash – the speed of the truck at the moment of impact becomes extremely relevant to the investigation into the crash. A truck that is traveling above the posted speed limit (or even at a speed that is too great for the prevailing road, weather, and/or traffic conditions) can be found to be negligent or reckless, thereby supporting an injury victim’s claim for damages.

While the speed of a truck can be estimated from skid marks and other physical evidence found at the scene, one of the more reliable methods whereby the speed of the truck can be determined is to obtain the “control module” or “black box.” This is a recording device that is found either under the hood of the truck or (sometimes) within the cab itself. This module contains important information about the truck in the moments immediately before the crash: it can tell someone, for example, the speed of the truck for the critical few seconds before the crash and whether the brakes were activated at any time immediately before the collision (which could indicate whether the truck driver tried to avoid the collision.

The Assistance of an Attorney Can Prove Invaluable

 Because there does not appear to be any speed-regulation device that will prohibit trucks from exceeding a particular speed, the actual speed of a truck involved in a collision will remain an elusive and relevant inquiry. An experienced truck crash lawyer will have the knowledge and resources needed to obtain the control module from the truck and/or employ other means to determine the speed of the truck and whether the truck driver is liable for any injuries caused to others.

Michael R. Lawless is a dedicated and skilled Kansas truck crash attorney. He is available to assist you and/or your loved ones recover compensation in the aftermath of a truck crash. Attorney Michael R. Lawless will fight hard on your behalf so that you can focus on your health and your family. Contact Kansas Truck Accident Lawyer Michael R. Lawless today by calling (800) 734-3771 and discussing the details of your injury accident with him.

A Look at the Devastating Injuries Sustained in Truck Crashes

Truck accidents are among the most serious of accidents to occur on Kansas roadways. These massive vehicles, often exceeding 80,000 tons, wreck havoc on passenger cars stuck in their wake. Over 140,000 individuals are injured in truck accidents across the country each year, and more than 4,000 will perish in such accidents.

The following is a list of the most common injuries sustained by truck accident victims:

  • Brain and head injuries—head and brain injuries are among the most catastrophic and debilitating of all injuries experienced by truck accident victims. Symptoms of head injuries following an accident include: loss of memory, blurred vision, chronic headaches, diminished mental capacity, vision changes, and changes in cognition. Head and brain injuries can range in severity from concussions, bruising and bleeding to traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries are among the most serious injuries a truck accident victim can sustain and can result in permanent mental impairment.
  • Neck injuries—hundreds of thousands of truck accident victims will sustain neck injuries in the crash. These injuries can range from relatively minor whiplash to more serious injuries like cervical dislocation.
  • Back and spinal cord injuries—the back and spinal cord are vulnerable parts of the body that can experience serious injury in the event of a crash. Spinal cord injuries can cause loss of feeling or function in the arms, legs, and other extremities. Compression of the spinal cord, as often occurs in a truck accident, can cause loss of range of motion, extreme pain, and even paralysis. Any back injury will cause pain and limit one’s mobility or ability to fulfill work obligations.
  • Internal injuries—the weight and speed of impact of a truck can cause internal organ injuries, including damage to the lungs, kidneys, heart, liver, and spleen. Internal organ damage is often life threatening and will require immediate medical treatment. Recovery from these injuries can include surgery, transplants, and intensive rehabilitation. It is not uncommon for lifelong effects to stem from a truck accident that caused internal injuries.
  • Broken bones—broken bones caused by the impact of a truck accident are extremely painful. Improperly healed breaks will lead to a host of medical problems.
  • Amputation or loss of a body part—the loss of a limb or other body part is one of the most devastating injuries that results from a serious truck accident. These injuries will require months or years of physical therapy, prosthetics, and often psychological trauma.
  • Burns or other injuries due to toxic chemicals—commercial trucks are often hauling dangerous, flammable chemicals. In the event of an accident, the occupants of a passenger vehicle may be exposed to hazardous chemicals or burned by chemical fires. Burns can result in permanent disfigurement and inhalation of toxic chemicals can lead to long-term health problems. 

Contact Kansas Truck Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been involved in truck accident, Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas Truck Accident attorney with more than 27 years of experience helping his clients receive the compensation they deserve.  Given their immense size and mass, truck accidents are among the most serious accidents to occur on the roadways. Victims often suffer catastrophic injuries and even death. For the victims of truck accidents, medical expenses will quickly mount and truck accident victims should act fast to preserve their legal rights. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential truck accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

Kansas Trucking Accidents – The “Black Box” Event Data Recorder

Trucking accident cases can be much more difficult to resolve than your ordinary auto accident. With trucking accidents, the truck driver involved is typically working in the course of his or her employment at the time an accident occurs. Therefore, if you have been injured because of a truck driver’s negligent conduct, you will likely be dealing with not only the truck driver, but also the truck driver’s employer. Further, trucking accident cases can be difficult because there are so many different variables to take into consideration. Because such cases can be complicated, it is imperative that you speak with a Kansas trucking accident attorney right away, as an attorney can quickly seek to recover all of the key evidence and other information that is important for your potential trucking accident claim.

What is the “Black Box” Event Data Recorder?  

Many people have heard the term “black box” and the relation of black box recorders to aircraft. Along with aircraft, most commercial semi-trucks or tractor trailers have what’s called an Event Data Recorder (EDR) present on the truck to gather and track key information that may be extremely helpful when determining the cause of any given trucking accident. This device is able to gather data that can help your attorney determine what happened before, during, and after the trucking accident that caused your injuries. For example, if certain trucking equipment was not working properly at the time of an accident, the black box device may be able to shed light on what caused the malfunction.

The black box device may also provide information on the truck driver’s driving patterns, as to a change in speed, when the truck driver used his or her brakes, and even how long the truck driver had been driving. The amount of information available from a small device can be immensely helpful in resolving your potential trucking accident claim. For example, if you suspect the truck driver may have fallen asleep prior to colliding with you, the truck’s black box recorder may reveal that the truck driver failed to use his or her brakes prior to the collision, and these two pieces of information can help to prove that the truck driver negligently caused the accident.

Because information extracted from the black box recorder is so crucial, it is imperative that you act quickly to consult with a Kansas trucking accident attorney. There is always the risk that evidence may be lost or destroyed following a trucking accident. Therefore, your attorney may not be able to recover the black box recorder, and use information gathered from the recorder to support your trucking accident claim. As such, the sooner you are able to speak with a Kansas trucking accident attorney, the sooner you will be able to seek resolution of your trucking accident case. 

Contact Kansas Trucking Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been involved in a trucking accident, it is essential that you consult with a Kansas trucking accident attorney right away, as you may be entitled to compensation. Trucking accidents can have devastating consequences, leaving you permanently injured, and changing your life forever. You may no longer be able to work due to the injuries you suffered from a trucking accident. Kansas trucking accident attorney Michael R. Lawless has spent more than 27 years helping injured victims receive the compensation they deserve from suffering life-altering injuries. To speak with Michael Lawless regarding your potential trucking accident claim, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA today by calling (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771. You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

Kansas Truck Accident Attorney Discusses Brake and Tire Failures

Mechanical failures are one of the leading causes of truck accidents and brake failures along with defective tires cause a large percentage of such crashes.  The Department of Transportation (DOT) recently revealed that nearly 30% of all commercial truck accidents involve brake related issues, such as brake failure or improperly adjusted brakes.

If you have been injured in a large truck accident, it is imperative that you know the common causes of brake and tire failure so that you can investigate whether either of these mechanical problems caused your accident.  An experienced truck accident attorney will more thoroughly assess the crash and, using his or her extensive knowledge in the field, provide an accurate determination of fault.

Who is Responsible for Defective Brakes?

When the brakes on a tire malfunction, the blame can be placed on several different parties.  Sometimes multiple parties will play a role in the malfunction.  Possible individuals at fault include:

  • The driver
  • The brake manufacturer
  • The party responsible for maintaining the brakes—often the trucking company
  • The company that loaded the truck

Following an accident that involves a mechanical failure, it is not uncommon for the trucking, leasing, and hauling companies to argue among themselves over whose insurance will compensate the victim.

The Brake Manufacturer

Federal regulations impose strict requirements for truck braking systems.  A truck’s brakes must have a certain braking force, dependent upon the size of the vehicle, be able to decelerate to a stop from 20 mph at a certain rate, again dependent on size, and meet automatic brake adjustment system requirements.

If the commercial truck’s brakes do not meet these federal standards, you could have a claim against the manufacturer.  The claim will usually either be that the brakes were improperly designed or that they were designed correctly but a defect occurred in the manufacturing process.

Drivers and Trucking Companies

Sometimes the actually driver of the truck or the trucking company will take actions that cause the brakes to fail.  This can include depowering the front brakes, in which the owner of the truck actually depowers the front brakes and relies solely on the back ones.  This saves the trucker money but creates a safety hazard.  Additionally, the truck driver or the trucking company may fail to properly maintain the brakes in safe working condition.

Truck Accidents Caused by Tire Problems

When the tires on a truck blow, it can cause massive accidents.  Tires can blow due to defects within the tires or a failure to maintain and inspect the tires.  In either event, the manufacturer or trucking company can be held responsible.

Contact Kansas City Truck Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

Brake and tire failures are leading causes of truck crashes.  All too often, these mechanical failures can be traced to negligence on the part of the trucking company, truck driver, or the part manufacturer.  The Lenexa, Kansas Truck Accident Attorney at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. will carefully investigate the cause of your truck accident to determine whether negligence or a mechanical failure caused it. Our attorneys has battled the trucking industry on behalf of the firm’s injured clients for over 27 years.  We are well versed in the intricacies of trucking law and federal regulations.  If your truck accident was caused by a mechanical failure, we will fight to see you fully recovery for your lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential truck accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

A Look at the Devastating Injuries Sustained in Truck Crashes in Kansas

Truck accidents are among the most serious of accidents to occur on Kansas roadways.  These massive vehicles, often exceeding 80,000 tons, wreck havoc on passenger cars stuck in their wake.  Over 140,000 individuals are injured in truck accidents across the country each year, and more than 4,000 will perish in such accidents.

The following is a list of the most common injuries sustained by truck accident victims:

  • Brain and head injuries—head and brain injuries are among the most catastrophic and debilitating of all injuries experienced by truck accident victims.  Symptoms of head injuries following an accident include: loss of memory, blurred vision, chronic headaches, diminished mental capacity, vision changes, and changes in cognition.  Head and brain injuries can range in severity from concussions, bruising and bleeding to traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries are among the most serious injuries a truck accident victim can sustain and can result in permanent mental impairment.   
  • Neck injuries—hundreds of thousands of truck accident victims will sustain neck injuries in the crash.  These injuries can range from relatively minor whiplash to more serious injuries like cervical dislocation.
  • Back and spinal cord injuries—the back and spinal cord are vulnerable parts of the body that can experience serious injury in the event of a crash.  Spinal cord injuries can cause loss of feeling or function in the arms, legs, and other extremities.  Compression of the spinal cord, as often occurs in a truck accident, can cause loss of range of motion, extreme pain, and even paralysis.  Any back injury will cause pain and limit one’s mobility or ability to fulfill work obligations.
  • Internal injuries—the weight and speed of impact of a truck can cause internal organ injuries, including damage to the lungs, kidneys, heart, liver, and spleen.  Internal organ damage is often life threatening and will require immediate medical treatment.  Recovery from these injuries can include surgery, transplants, and intensive rehabilitation.  It is not uncommon for lifelong effects to stem from a truck accident that caused internal injuries.
  • Broken bones—broken bones caused by the impact of a truck accident are extremely painful.  Improperly healed breaks will lead to a host of medical problems.
  • Amputation or loss of a body part—the loss of a limb or other body part is one of the most devastating injuries that results from a serious truck accident.  These injuries will require months or years of physical therapy, prosthetics, and often psychological trauma.
  • Burns or other injuries due to toxic chemicals—commercial trucks are often hauling dangerous, flammable chemicals.  In the event of an accident, the occupants of a passenger vehicle may be exposed to hazardous chemicals or burned by chemical fires.  Burns can result in permanent disfigurement and inhalation of toxic chemicals can lead to long-term health problems.

Contact Kansas City Truck Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been involved in truck accident, Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas Truck Accident attorney with more than 27 years of experience helping his clients receive the compensation they deserve.  Given their immense size and mass, truck accidents are among the most serious accidents to occur on the roadways.  Victims often suffer catastrophic injuries and even death.  For the victims of truck accidents, medical expenses will quickly mount and truck accident victims should act fast to preserve their legal rights.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential truck accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

Kansas Trucking Accidents – The “Black Box” Event Data Recorder

Trucking accident cases can be much more difficult to resolve than your ordinary auto accident.  With trucking accidents, the truck driver involved is typically working in the course of his or her employment at the time an accident occurs.  Therefore, if you have been injured because of a truck driver’s negligent conduct, you will likely be dealing with not only the truck driver, but also the truck driver’s employer.  Further, trucking accident cases can be difficult because there are so many different variables to take into consideration.  Because such cases can be complicated, it is imperative that you speak with a Kansas trucking accident attorney right away, as an attorney can quickly seek to recover all of the key evidence and other information that is important for your potential trucking accident claim.

What is the “Black Box” Event Data Recorder?

Many people have heard the term “black box” and the relation of black box recorders to aircraft.  Along with aircraft, most commercial semi-trucks or tractor trailers have what’s called an Event Data Recorder (EDR) present on the truck to gather and track key information that may be extremely helpful when determining the cause of any given trucking accident.  This device is able to gather data that can help your attorney determine what happened before, during, and after the trucking accident that caused your injuries.  For example, if certain trucking equipment was not working properly at the time of an accident, the black box device may be able to shed light on what caused the malfunction.

The black box device may also provide information on the truck driver’s driving patterns, as to a change in speed, when the truck driver used his or her brakes, and even how long the truck driver had been driving.  The amount of information available from a small device can be immensely helpful in resolving your potential trucking accident claim.  For example, if you suspect the truck driver may have fallen asleep prior to colliding with you, the truck’s black box recorder may reveal that the truck driver failed to use his or her brakes prior to the collision, and these two pieces of information can help to prove that the truck driver negligently caused the accident.

Because information extracted from the black box recorder is so crucial, it is imperative that you act quickly to consult with a Kansas trucking accident attorney.  There is always the risk that evidence may be lost or destroyed following a trucking accident.  Therefore, your attorney may not be able to recover the black box recorder, and use information gathered from the recorder to support your trucking accident claim.  As such, the sooner you are able to speak with a Kansas trucking accident attorney, the sooner you will be able to seek resolution of your trucking accident case.

Contact Kansas City Trucking Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been involved in a trucking accident, it is essential that you consult with a Kansas trucking accident attorney right away, as you may be entitled to compensation.  Trucking accidents can have devastating consequences, leaving you permanently injured, and changing your life forever.  You may no longer be able to work due to the injuries you suffered from a trucking accident.  Kansas trucking accident attorney Michael R. Lawless has spent more than 27 years helping injured victims receive the compensation they deserve from suffering life-altering injuries.  To speak with Michael Lawless regarding your potential trucking accident claim, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA today by calling (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

Kansas Trucking Accidents – The “Black Box” Event Data Recorder

Trucking accident cases can be much more difficult to resolve than your ordinary auto accident.  With trucking accidents, the truck driver involved is typically working in the course of his or her employment at the time an accident occurs.  Therefore, if you have been injured because of a truck driver’s negligent conduct, you will likely be dealing with not only the truck driver, but also the truck driver’s employer.  Further, trucking accident cases can be difficult because there are so many different variables to take into consideration.  Because such cases can be complicated, it is imperative that you speak with a Kansas trucking accident attorney right away, as an attorney can quickly seek to recover all of the key evidence and other information that is important for your potential trucking accident claim.

What is the “Black Box” Event Data Recorder?

Many people have heard the term “black box” and the relation of black box recorders to aircraft.  Along with aircraft, most commercial semi-trucks or tractor trailers have what’s called an Event Data Recorder (EDR) present on the truck to gather and track key information that may be extremely helpful when determining the cause of any given trucking accident. This device is able to gather data that can help your attorney determine what happened before, during, and after the trucking accident that caused your injuries.  For example, if certain trucking equipment was not working properly at the time of an accident, the black box device may be able to shed light on what caused the malfunction.

The black box device may also provide information on the truck driver’s driving patterns, as to a change in speed, when the truck driver used his or her brakes, and even how long the truck driver had been driving.  The amount of information available from a small device can be immensely helpful in resolving your potential trucking accident claim.  For example, if you suspect the truck driver may have fallen asleep prior to colliding with you, the truck’s black box recorder may reveal that the truck driver failed to use his or her brakes prior to the collision, and these two pieces of information can help to prove that the truck driver negligently caused the accident.

Because information extracted from the black box recorder is so crucial, it is imperative that you act quickly to consult with a Kansas trucking accident attorney.  There is always the risk that evidence may be lost or destroyed following a trucking accident.  Therefore, your attorney may not be able to recover the black box recorder, and use information gathered from the recorder to support your trucking accident claim.  As such, the sooner you are able to speak with a Kansas trucking accident attorney, the sooner you will be able to seek resolution of your trucking accident case.

Contact Kansas City Trucking Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been involved in a trucking accident, it is essential that you consult with a Kansas trucking accident attorney right away, as you may be entitled to compensation.  Trucking accidents can have devastating consequences, leaving you permanently injured, and changing your life forever.  You may no longer be able to work due to the injuries you suffered from a trucking accident.  Kansas trucking accident attorney Michael R. Lawless has spent more than 27 years helping injured victims receive the compensation they deserve from suffering life-altering injuries.  To speak with Michael Lawless regarding your potential trucking accident claim, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA today by calling (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

Kansas City Truck Accident Attorney Examines The Dangerous Consequences of Driver Fatigue

Kansas residents are aware of just how busy our highways are. With I-70 spanning across the entire state, this highway is a main route for interstate commerce. Along with busy highways comes an increase in the amount of semi-trucks on the road. We need these trucks to deliver the goods we want, however, when truck drivers are working long hours, it is inevitable that they will become tired, increasing the risk for serious accidents.

There are rules and regulations that require truck drivers to get a certain amount of rest between shifts. Truck drivers are supposed to keep a log of their activity to ensure they are complying with the rules and regulations, but there is never a guarantee that a truck driver will comply with such rules. For example, if a truck driver is running behind schedule, he or she may be encouraged to catch up and drive for more than 10-15 hours at once.

When truck drivers are fatigued, they begin to experience some, if not all of the symptoms and behaviors listed below:

• Blurred vision;
• Road hypnosis;
• Headaches;
• Extreme drowsiness;
• An increase in the consumption of coffee, energy drinks and other substances used to stay awake; and
• Loss of control of the truck

When truck drivers find themselves having any of the above symptoms or find themselves drinking an increased amount of caffeine or taking supplements to stay awake, then this is an indication they need more rest. We all need rest to rejuvenate, and especially in cases where your job duties require you to drive on highways for hours on end. Further, I-70 is a busy highway with very few curves, so drivers simply go straight and can easily get “road hypnosis” where their eyes begin to play tricks on them. With highways that have more curves and turns, drivers must be a little more alert and this keeps them awake. Only driving straight for long periods of time can increase the chances of driver fatigue.

What Injuries Can Result From Truck Driver Fatigue?

When truck drivers are not well rested, they put both themselves and others on the road at risk for suffering severe injuries, and even causing death in the worst circumstances. The injuries resulting from truck driving accidents include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Severe head trauma, such as concussions, skull fractures, and swelling of the brain;
• Broken bones;
• Soft tissue damage to muscles, tendons and ligaments;
• Internal damage to organs with extensive bleeding;
• Loss of limbs; and
• Becoming paralyzed

Each of the injuries listed above can be life-changing, requiring medical treatment for years on end, and possibly forever. Healthcare is extremely expensive and injured individuals may be stuck with a mountain of bills. When you or a loved one is injured or killed because of a truck driver’s negligence in causing an accident, you need to seek the advice of an experienced trucking accident attorney to explain what your options are. With trucking accidents, you may not only be filing a lawsuit against the truck driver, but also the truck driver’s employer. Employers must ensure their drivers are getting sufficient rest, and thus have a responsibility to ensure their drivers are being as safe as possible while on the road. By speaking with a Kansas trucking accident attorney, you will know for sure whether or not you have a valid cause of action under Kansas law.

Contact Michael R. Lawless, PA To Schedule Your Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, you may be entitled to compensation. With how busy our highways are today, the risk of truck driver fatigue has gone up. Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas personal injury and automobile accident attorney with 27 years of experience. He has represented victims of serious accidents and has the skill to fight for your right to compensation. You should not have to suffer as a result of a trucking accident caused by driver fatigue. To schedule your free consultation with Michael R. Lawless, contact our Lenexa, Kansas office today by calling (913)-681-5566. You may also reach us toll-free at 1 (800)-734-3771, or you may contact us online and we will respond as soon as possible.

Kansas City Truck Accident Attorney Examines The Dangerous Consequences of Driver Fatigue

Kansas residents are aware of just how busy our highways are. With I-70 spanning across the entire state, this highway is a main route for interstate commerce. Along with busy highways comes an increase in the amount of semi-trucks on the road. We need these trucks to deliver the goods we want, however, when truck drivers are working long hours, it is inevitable that they will become tired, increasing the risk for serious accidents.

There are rules and regulations that require truck drivers to get a certain amount of rest between shifts. Truck drivers are supposed to keep a log of their activity to ensure they are complying with the rules and regulations, but there is never a guarantee that a truck driver will comply with such rules. For example, if a truck driver is running behind schedule, he or she may be encouraged to catch up and drive for more than 10-15 hours at once.

When truck drivers are fatigued, they begin to experience some, if not all of the symptoms and behaviors listed below:

• Blurred vision;
• Road hypnosis;
• Headaches;
• Extreme drowsiness;
• An increase in the consumption of coffee, energy drinks and other substances used to stay awake; and
• Loss of control of the truck

When truck drivers find themselves having any of the above symptoms or find themselves drinking an increased amount of caffeine or taking supplements to stay awake, then this is an indication they need more rest. We all need rest to rejuvenate, and especially in cases where your job duties require you to drive on highways for hours on end. Further, I-70 is a busy highway with very few curves, so drivers simply go straight and can easily get “road hypnosis” where their eyes begin to play tricks on them. With highways that have more curves and turns, drivers must be a little more alert and this keeps them awake. Only driving straight for long periods of time can increase the chances of driver fatigue.

What Injuries Can Result From Truck Driver Fatigue?

When truck drivers are not well rested, they put both themselves and others on the road at risk for suffering severe injuries, and even causing death in the worst circumstances. The injuries resulting from truck driving accidents include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Severe head trauma, such as concussions, skull fractures, and swelling of the brain;
• Broken bones;
• Soft tissue damage to muscles, tendons and ligaments;
• Internal damage to organs with extensive bleeding;
• Loss of limbs; and
• Becoming paralyzed

Each of the injuries listed above can be life-changing, requiring medical treatment for years on end, and possibly forever. Healthcare is extremely expensive and injured individuals may be stuck with a mountain of bills. When you or a loved one is injured or killed because of a truck driver’s negligence in causing an accident, you need to seek the advice of an experienced trucking accident attorney to explain what your options are. With trucking accidents, you may not only be filing a lawsuit against the truck driver, but also the truck driver’s employer. Employers must ensure their drivers are getting sufficient rest, and thus have a responsibility to ensure their drivers are being as safe as possible while on the road. By speaking with a Kansas trucking accident attorney, you will know for sure whether or not you have a valid cause of action under Kansas law.

Contact Michael R. Lawless, PA To Schedule Your Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, you may be entitled to compensation. With how busy our highways are today, the risk of truck driver fatigue has gone up. Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas personal injury and automobile accident attorney with 27 years of experience. He has represented victims of serious accidents and has the skill to fight for your right to compensation. You should not have to suffer as a result of a trucking accident caused by driver fatigue. To schedule your free consultation with Michael R. Lawless, contact our Lenexa, Kansas office today by calling (913)-681-5566. You may also reach us toll-free at 1 (800)-734-3771, or you may contact us online and we will respond as soon as possible.

Kansas City Tractor-Trailer Truck Accidents Pose Unique Litigation Challenges

When a 3,000 pound passenger vehicle collides with a fully loaded tractor-trailer that can weigh 80,000 pounds, the resulting collision often leads to catastrophic injuries or death.  The huge disparity in size and weight between a passenger vehicle and a commercial truck as well as the laws of physics during an accident usually mean devastating results for occupants of a passenger vehicle.  One in every eight motor vehicle fatalities involves a collision with a tractor-trailer.  Big rig commercial trucking accidents account for over 400,000 accidents resulting in 4,200 fatalities and 90,000 injuries nationally though tractor-trailers constitute only 3% of registered vehicles on our roadways.  An 80,000 pound commercial truck traveling at the speed of 70 miles per hour delivers the same impact as a passenger vehicle moving at a speed of 360 miles per hour.  The result is that an accident involving a 18-wheeler is four times more likely to result in a fatality accident.  The driver of a passenger vehicle almost always loses in such encounters suffering 75% of all fatalities and deaths in collisions involving tractor-trailers.

Kansas City Tractor-trailer accidents are much more complex than accidents involving other motor vehicles because the trucking industry is subject to extensive federal and state regulations.  Federal regulations referred to as Hours of Service rules (HOS) stipulate the amount of time a commercial truck driver may operate his vehicle without a rest period as well as the duration of such rest periods.  Many tractor-trailer operators routinely violate these HOS rules with the tacit or open encouragement of the trucking company.  Driver fatigue is the leading cause of commercial trucking accidents, which often result from violations of HOS rules.  A trucking accident lawsuit requires extensive knowledge of trucking regulations and industry practices.

One of the biggest challenges in a Kansas City trucking accident is preservation of evidence.  Federal regulations require that tractor-trailer operators maintain logbooks that document rest periods and hours of operation.  These logbooks are so routinely altered and fabricated that they are sometimes referred to as “lie books” in the trucking industry.  An experienced tractor-trailer accident lawyer will use industry experts who know the tricks used to distort logbooks to expose HOS violations.  Most trucks also have on-board data recorders called “black boxes.”  These data recorders store a wealth of information that may be relevant to a trucking collision including such things as sudden braking, speed control issues, clutch application and shifting, following distance, HOS violations and may even have global positioning information or valuable email correspondence between the driver and trucking company.

Unfortunately, black box data is often conveniently lost or erased following a tractor-trailer accident in Kansas City.  The preservation of this data is critical in trucking accident lawsuits so an experienced big-rig lawyer will send special notice to the trucking company called a “spoliation letter.”  This letter will put the trucking company on notice that the tractor-trailer is the subject of a personal injury lawsuit and that the condition of the truck must be preserved including preservation of the black box data.  This critical evidence will then be analyzed by trucking and accident reconstruction experts to determine the cause of the trucking accident.  While obtaining prompt legal advice is important following any motor vehicle accident, it is even more imperative in commercial trucking accidents so that evidence is preserved.  A trucking company will typically have investigators on-call, who will descend on the scene of a trucking accident.

Tractor-trailer accidents often result from a number of common causes including the following:

  • Ÿ  Fatigue from HOS Violations
  • Ÿ  Time Schedules That Are Unrealistic
  • Ÿ  Improperly Loaded Vehicles
  • Ÿ  Vehicle Maintenance Issues (e.g. tire and brake issues)
  • Ÿ  Drivers under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
  • Ÿ  Lack of Proper Driver Training or Supervision
  • Ÿ  Driver Inattention (e.g. texting or talking on a cell phone)
  • Ÿ  Excessive Speed

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a tractor-trailer accident in Kansas City, you may seek compensation for your injuries including medical and funeral expenses, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, loss of consortium (loss of support and services of a spouse or sometimes child), pain and suffering, mental anguish and replacement value or repair costs of your vehicle.  It is imperative if you are involved in a commercial trucking accident to immediately seek legal advice so that evidence such as black box data and the condition of the vehicle is preserved.  There is absolutely no federal law that prohibits erasing black box data so any delay can mean critical evidence of a driver or trucking company’s fault may be lost forever.

An experienced Kansas City truck accident attorney will carefully investigate your accident, which may even include dispatching experts to the scene of the trucking accident.  Your truck accident attorney in Kansas City will also take steps to ensure that critical evidence is preserved so that your right to compensation is not compromised.

If you or someone you love has suffered serious injuries or wrongful death caused by a heavy machinery accident, an experienced heavy machinery attorney can help you and your family obtain the legal compensation that you deserve.

Michael R. Lawless, P.A., Attorney at Law provides a free consultation, including evenings and weekends by appointment, at our Lenexa, Kansas or Grandview, Missouri offices. Our office in Lenexa is off of I-35 from 87th or 95th in Old Town at 93rd and Pflumm. Our Grandview office is conveniently located at the main street exit off of 71 Highway, next to Captain D’s. Call Kansas City truck accident attorney Michael Lawless today at 1-800-734-3771, 913-681-5566 or 816-966-0099.