Kansas City Truck Accident Attorneys
Tractor-trailer collision litigation is much more complex than most car accident cases. Joseph, Hollander & Craft’s Kansas City trucking accident attorneys are uniquely poised to provide superior representation to the victims of tractor-trailer collisions. Our Kansas City personal injury lawyers used to represent motor carriers in accident litigation throughout the United States. Now, we leverage that experience to protect the rights of injured victims and their families. If you have suffered severe or catastrophic injuries as a result of a truck accident in the Kansas City area, contact JHC’s experienced truck accident attorneys today.
Decisive Action to Preserve Your Trucking Accident Claim
Immediately following the accident, the trucking company’s risk manager, attorneys, and investigators spring into action in an effort to mitigate their financial losses and reduce the value of your claim. You need a team of professionals working quickly to aggressively protect your rights, too. That’s what you get when you hire JHC’s Kansas City trucking accident lawyers. We know what evidence will be critical to your claim and implement prompt, decisive action to ensure it is preserved.
Preserving Physical Evidence
Preserving and documenting physical evidence of the collision is critical and too often overlooked. Law enforcement may not map the scene of the accident, and tire marks or other roadway evidence can disappear or be distorted in a matter of days. Trucking companies often fail to preserve the tractor, trailer, or both, sometimes in an effort to get the units back in service to protect their bottom line. Our Kansas City trucking accident lawyers work with highly qualified accident reconstructionists to ensure that physical evidence is preserved for your case. When warranted, we will use total stations, drones, and other state-of-the-art equipment to map the accident scene. And we use this data to show exactly how the accident occurred.
Preserving Electronic Evidence
Quickly preserving electronic evidence is equally important. Modern tractor-trailers are equipped with various electronics that can contain evidence relevant to your case. These include Event Data Recorders (EDR), dash cameras, and onboard computer systems. JHC’s Kansas City truck accident attorneys know what to ask for and how to use it to make your case.
Event Data Recorders
EDR often captures crash data, such as the speed of the tractor prior to the collision, whether the brakes were applied, and other data that can be used to calculate the delta-V and measure crash severity. EDR data can disappear if it is not handled properly. Different software may be required to download the engine data depending on the manufacturer of the engine (e.g., Cummins, Detroit Diesel, Caterpillar, Paccar, etc.), the model year, and other engine specifications. Often this software is proprietary and difficult to access. Preservation of EDR data can be especially difficult when the tractor’s equipment was damaged in the collision by force or fire or where the tractor is stored improperly and subjected to the elements or water damage after the accident. JHC’s Kansas City personal injury team works quickly to preserve and recover electronic data of the crash.
Most motor carriers now equip their fleets with dash cameras featuring inward and outward facing cameras, which can provide powerful evidence at trial. For example, the inward-facing camera can provide critical evidence of driver behavior, such as: whether the driver was distracted by his phone, cigarette, food, dispatch equipment, etc. But the video is not stored indefinitely—typically only six months. So measures must be taken to ensure the video is preserved. After years of representing trucking companies in the implementation and management of their dash cam programs, JHC’s Kansas City trucking attorneys have the special knowledge necessary to secure critical evidence for your case.
Onboard Computer Systems
In addition to EDRs and dash cams, most modern fleets are equipped with onboard computers used by the motor carrier to manage its fleet. These systems contain messages between the driver and his dispatcher/driver manager. They are also used by the driver to upload hours of service logs, bills of lading, weight tickets, and other documents that can be critical to your case. Most fleets are also equipped with a separate GPS unit to track the location of the vehicle. Our Kansas City tractor-trailer accident lawyers will put the trucking company on notice of its legal duty to preserve this evidence so we can make your best case in court.
Holding Motor Carriers Accountable for Safety Violations
Trucking companies in interstate commerce are subject to a complex set of federal regulations known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (“FMCSR”). Among other things, the FMCSR dictates how motor carriers must train and qualify their drivers, inspect and maintain equipment, and monitor their drivers’ hours of service. If you have been injured in a Kansas City trucking accident, you need an attorney with a sophisticated understanding of the FMCSR to hold the trucking company accountable. JHC has you covered.
Importantly, mere minimum compliance with the FMCSR will not shield a trucking company from liability. Our Kansas City tractor-trailer accident lawyers routinely encounter trucking companies that do the bare minimum when it comes to safety, and the consequences are often devastating. We ensure that companies that skimp on safety are held accountable.
Attentive to Trucking Company Business and Insurance Practices that May Affect Your Claim
The Independent Contractor Model
Many motor carriers utilize an independent contractor model whereby their drivers are not technically employees of the company. However, a trucking company remains liable for the negligent acts of drivers operating under its motor carrier authority. You need a personal injury lawyer with a comprehensive understanding of the independent contractor model and how it may impact your case. For instance, the independent contractor model often coincides with high turnover and minimal investment in driver training. JHC’s Kansas City trucking collision attorneys analyze all these issues to determine how they may affect your claim.
Trucking Company Insurance Practices
Trucking companies can also have unique insurance structures. Trucks are required by the FMCSR to carry $750,000 in liability insurance, but most trucking companies carry substantially greater insurance limits due to the incredible risk of harm and financial loss posed by trucking accidents. Because the premiums are expensive, trucking companies use a variety of strategies to keep their premiums down. And those strategies may affect how your trucking accident claim is handled.
For instance, many companies will have a large self-retention (deductible), under which they may be responsible for the first portion of the claim (e.g., $500,000). Companies using this model often maintain control of their claims internally through a risk management department, with reduced reporting obligations to their insurers. These companies typically carry layers of excess insurance, any number of which may be involved depending on the severity of the accident at issue. JHC’s Kansas City tractor-trailer collision attorneys know how to navigate these complex insurance structures to maximize your recovery.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, call JHC’s skilled Kansas City trucking accident attorneys today at (816) 673-3900.
Common Questions About Truck Accident Claims
What should I do if the insurance company contacts me following a truck accident?
Most large trucking companies have equally large, impersonal insurance companies. You may receive a call from the trucking company’s insurer following the accident, and it is likely to take you by surprise. Being prepared for this phone call can make a significant difference. Before you answer any questions, get the name of the company as well as the person’s name and job title. Write down this information. You can tell the person your name, address, and phone number but never volunteer information regarding the accident or your injuries.
You can tell the caller you are not comfortable speaking to them without your lawyer present, and, if you have a lawyer, this is absolutely the right course of action. If you do not yet have an attorney, now would be a good time to call Joseph, Hollander & Craft’s truck accident lawyers. The insurance company does not have your best interests at heart. Their major goal is to pay you as little as possible for your injuries. A highly qualified truck accident attorney from JHC can speak to the insurance company on your behalf so you can focus on healing without worrying about inadvertently saying the wrong thing.
How can Joseph, Hollander & Craft’s truck accident attorneys help me?
Having a truck accident attorney from Joseph, Hollander & Craft on your side can completely change the dynamics of the legal aspect of your accident. Insurance companies have more respect for those who are well-represented. They know they cannot fool our attorneys, so they will not even try. The playing field is immediately leveled once we are in your corner. We know how to properly calculate your losses, both current and future, and will not allow the insurance company to pay you less than your claim is worth. Contact Joseph, Hollander & Craft today for skilled legal assistance with your truck accident claim.
Kansas City | 816-673-3900
Kansas City, MO 64106
Lawrence | 785-856-0143
Lawrence, KS 66049
Overland Park | 913-948-9490
Overland Park, KS 66212
Topeka | 785-234-3272
Topeka, KS 66612
Wichita | 316-262-9393
Wichita, KS 67214
Contact Our Kansas City Office
Contact Joseph, Hollander & Craft to discuss how our team of attorneys can help you.