Recently, KSNT reported on a tragic semi-truck accident in Kansas that resulted in five fatalities and other injuries. The crash illustrates the potential extent of harm when a truck is involved in a collision. Truck crashes are disproportionately fatal compared with accidents involving only cars. Those riding in the truck are less likely to sustain serious injury in an accident than the drivers or passengers in other vehicles. Motorists injured in car accidents involving trucks must make certain they understand their legal rights so they can pursue damage claims if they so choose, and if the accident is fatal, surviving family members could pursue damage claims.
Kansas Semi-Truck Accident Shows the Deadly Consequences of Truck Accidents
The deadly accident in Kansas involved two vehicles and occurred on Interstate 70. One of the vehicles was a semi-trailer truck, which struck the back of an SUV. When the truck hit it, the SUV was pushed into a ditch, where it rolled over. Five people in the sports utility vehicle were killed. Data was not yet available on the total number of people who sustained injuries in the accident. The driver of the SUV survived the crash. The driver of the semi-truck was not seriously injured.
The crash is under investigation to determine who was at fault for the collision. In most cases, however, the driver of the vehicle that rear-ended the other vehicle is the one considered to have been liable for causing the accident. In this case, that would make the driver of the truck responsible. Trucks require longer stopping distances due to their large size and significant forward momentum, and professional truck drivers are expected to know how to safely stop their vehicles. Truck brakes also must be inspected frequently to ensure the brakes are in good working order at all times.
If it is determined the truck driver was responsible for causing the accident, that person could potentially be held accountable for losses by victims and by family members of those killed in the SUV accident. There are also many instances when a truck is involved in a crash and the company which employed the driver is held accountable for the negligence of its on-duty worker. The driver is considered the agent of the trucking company, which is liable for careless driving mistakes on the part of its agent. Trucking companies are also held responsible if they have policies which fail to provide reasonable protections in ways that allow accidents to occur.
Victims of car accidents involving trucks should determine if they can pursue a claim against the trucking company, as federal regulations require truck companies to have at least $750,000 minimum in liability insurance, with the potential for minimum liability insurance coverage requirements as high as $5 million if the truck transports hazardous items.