Archive for the ‘18 Wheeler Accidents’ Category

Four Reasons Why You Need an Attorney After a Tractor Trailer Accident in Kansas

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Many of us share the road with tractor trailers at least a couple of times a day, as we drive to and from work. We share the road with them at many other times, too. At almost any time of the day or night, tractor trailers can be seen on Kansas highways. Although the drivers of the enormous semi-trailers are trained professionals, they are human, and just like all other drivers on the road, they sometimes make mistakes. Unfortunately, when the driver of a tractor trailer makes a mistake and causes an accident, the consequences can be devastating. If you have been in an accident involving a tractor trailer, you know that it was no ordinary car accident. There are differences between accidents involving cars and other cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs, and accidents involving one or more of those smaller vehicles and a tractor trailer. While seeking assistance from a knowledgeable personal injury attorney is a good idea after any type of motor vehicle accident, it is especially important for the victims of accidents involving tractor trailers.

One reason that it is essential that you consult with a Kansas personal injury lawyer after your tractor trailer accident is that you may be seriously injured or even faced with the possibility of being disabled in some way for the rest of your life. The sheer size and weight of tractor trailers means that they often cause serious injuries or death, in addition to massive amounts of property damage. Because of the extent of your injuries, and the amount of property damage caused by the accident, you need a settlement that will adequately compensate you. All too often, accident victims sell themselves short by accepting settlement offers that do not cover the continuing medical care, rehabilitative treatments, or other expenses that they did not think about before accepting the offer. Your personal injury attorney can help you to estimate the true value of your claim, and can work to get you a fair settlement.

Many times, if there is an accident involving two cars or other small vehicles, there are only two drivers involved. With tractor trailer accidents, things can get a little more complicated because the driver of the truck often does not own it, or if they do, they own it as part of a business entity. This means that the company which owns the truck is a party to the accident. There can be even more parties involved in some semi-trailer accidents, if the accident was caused by defective service or maintenance, or defective parts or manufacture. Even though more parties makes for a more complicated and lengthy discussion of liability, it could work to your advantage as far as being able to recover from more than one party. An experienced personal injury attorney can work effectively with the various parties involved in a tractor trailer accident case, and can help you to obtain the best possible results.

The activities of semi-trailer drivers are regulated by both state and federal laws. Most people do not know much about the laws that apply to truck drivers. This is another way that an experienced personal injury attorney can help you after an accident with a tractor trailer. Your attorney not only knows the laws, they can also help you understand how they are relevant to your case.

A fourth reason that any victims of an accident involving a tractor trailers needs to be represented by a personal injury attorney is that if the case is not able to be settled, it will proceed to litigation. Preparing a case involving multiple parties and a variety of types of evidence can be a daunting task. Tractor trailer accident cases involve physical evidence, just like all motor vehicle accident cases, but they also involve business records like safety training records and driver log books. Your attorney has a great deal of experience in presenting many types of evidence to the court, and in representing accident victims just like you.

If you have been injured in a tractor trailer accident, it is important that you speak to a Kansas personal injury attorney right away. To learn more about how we can help you, please call the Wichita office of Cummings & Cummings, L.L.C. today at (316) 264-1548.

Improperly Loaded and Overloaded Trucks Increase the Risk of Kansas Semi-Truck Crashes

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

While the length and weight of semi-trucks creates a potential hazard for other motorists, improperly loaded big-rigs increase this danger by impacting the balance and total weight of these massive vehicles.  The maximum weight for a fully loaded tractor-trailer under federal law is 80,000 pounds.  However, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) has conducted research revealing a big-rig loaded to capacity is twice as likely to be involved in a fatal trucking accident as a truck weighing 50,000 pounds.  The UMTRI also has conducted other studies revealing that commercial trucks exceeding 100,000 pounds are far more likely to be involved in a collision and to cause more serious injuries.

Trucking industry regulations establish requirements for maximum loads and securing of loads.  These standards are designed to limit the risk of trucking accidents caused by improper loads.  When 18-wheelers are overloaded, they are less responsive to sharp steering maneuvers in response to potential hazards.  Big-rigs that are overloaded also necessitate longer braking distances.  The excessive demand on tractor-trailer brakes from an overloaded truck may also cause the brake system to malfunction or fail entirely.

When commercial trucks are improperly loaded or the load is not secured properly, the load may shift during transit so that the semi-truck is unbalanced.  When the tractor-trailer is not properly balanced, the truck is prone to rollover and jackknife accidents.  A tractor-trailer’s handling may also be adversely impacted when the vehicles center of gravity is distorted by a load that is not properly balanced.

Loads that are not properly secured also might fall from a semi-truck causing an obstruction in the roadway or might fall directly on a vehicle causing a collision.  There are specific requirements that a load be tied down properly to prevent these types of mishaps.

Trucking accident litigation caused by improperly secured loads can be extremely complex.  Improperly secured loads may be the result of negligence of the original shipper or any party involved in packing and loading the cargo which may happen multiple times before it even is loaded on the tractor-trailer.  The trucking company may also improperly load the vehicle so that it is not safely secured.  Our experienced Kansas trucking accident lawyers use trucking experts so that we can identify all potential defendants when a crash is caused by an improper load.

If you or someone you love has suffered serious injury in a semi-truck accident in Kansas, experienced commercial trucking accident lawyer William Cummings is committed to representing big-rig accident victims in Wichita and throughout Sedgwick County and the surrounding areas of Kansas.  We offer a free initial consultation so that we can answer your questions and evaluate your legal claim so call us today at 316-264-1548.

Kansas Trucking Accidents: Overloaded or Improperly Secured Loads

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Although tractor-trailer accidents are often the most deadly form of motor vehicle accident, the complexity and potential devastation associated with a commercial trucking accident increases substantially when an improperly secured load or an overloaded truck is involved.  A fully loaded truck is more difficult to control, requires substantially increased braking distance and may decrease the ability of truck drivers to see other vehicles or obstacles.  The massive weight of an overloaded tractor-trailer means not only increased probability of a trucking accident, but a resulting accident is likely to result in much more catastrophic injuries or wrongful death.  Despite the trucking industry’s awareness of these risks, it is not uncommon for trucking companies to overload a tractor-trailer so that it can transport more in less time to increase profits.

The Wichita truck accident lawyers at Cummings & Cummings, L.L.C., have been representing trucking accident victims throughout Kansas who suffer serious injury or wrongful death in Kansas trucking accidents for years.  If you or someone you love has been injured in a Kansas tractor-trailer accident, our attorneys will investigate whether the trucking accident was a result of overloading the commercial truck or other practices that violate federal or state trucking regulations or industry standards.

The weight and size of the load transported by a tractor-trailer has a significant impact on the probability that the commercial truck will be involved in a Kansas trucking accident as well as the seriousness of any resulting motor vehicle collision.  Although federal regulations permit a tractor-trailer to be loaded up to 80,000 pounds, a truck loaded to this weight increases accident risks substantially.  A tractor-trailer, which only weighs 50,000 pounds, is only half as likely to be involved in a trucking accident as one fully loaded.  Although trucking companies are well aware of the dangers posed by heavily loaded tractor-trailers, they will often exceed even the 80,000 pound limit.  When a tractor-trailer weighing in excess of 80,000 pounds collides with a passenger vehicle, which may weigh 3,000 pounds, the results are predictable.  Commercial trucking accidents cause over 12% of all motor vehicle fatalities with a passenger or driver in the other vehicle being the person killed 98% of the time.

The legal issues that arise when a tractor-trailer transports oversized, overweight or over-length items can be even more complex.  Transportation of these types of cargo requires a special permit and special restrictions apply.  Generally, these items must be transported during daylight hours and on non-legal holidays.  Tractor-trailers transporting oversized, overweight or over-length items are also required to avoid urban areas during rush hour traffic.  An extensive regulatory framework is imposed on the transportation of such articles to ensure the safety of others on the roadway and surrounding areas.  One such requirement that may apply is a requirement that an escort vehicle accompany the oversized, overweight or over length load.  Commercial trucks transporting these loads also require specialized marking, and special financial responsibility is imposed when transporting this type of cargo.

Some serious Kansas trucking accidents are caused by cargo loads that are improperly loaded or secured.  Cargo that is not properly secured can fall into the roadway and cause obstructions or fall directly onto other vehicles.  When a cargo load is not properly loaded even a slight shift in the load can cause the truck to jackknife or the truck driver to otherwise lose control of the big-rig.  If the tractor-trailer has not been correctly loaded, the tractor-trailer’s center of gravity may be off causing the driver to lose control of the truck or the truck to tip or jackknife.

When a massive 80,000 tractor-trailer is involved in a collision with another vehicle, there is no such thing as a minor fender bender.  The results are typically catastrophic injuries including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, broken bones or fractures and wrongful death.  Trucking companies have teams of trucking accident experts that may be dispatched to the accident scene immediately, and critical evidence can disappear.  The liability of trucking companies for tractor-trailer accidents often involves violations of the complex matrix of federal and Tennessee trucking regulations.  An experienced Kansas trucking accident lawyer must have a thorough understanding of these special requirements.  If you are involved in litigation with a trucking company, it is important to have experienced Kansas tractor-trailer accident lawyers on your side who will examine all of the causes that contributed to the trucking accident including traffic violations, hours of service violations, driver fatigue or drowsiness, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, exceeding the maximum permissible load and other violations of trucking regulations and/or trucking industry standards.

In personal injury cases, we work hard to get our clients the maximum amount of compensation possible.  Our clients can rely on the three decades of courtroom skill and experience we have to offer them. For a free consultation with one of our experienced Kansas 18 wheeler accident lawyers, stop in and see us at our conveniently located downtown Wichita law office or contact us directly right now.

Cummings & Cummings, L.L.C.

129 East 2nd Street
Wichita, KS 67202
Phone: (316) 264-1548
Fax: (316) 264-4704