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Understanding Truck Accident Claims in Kansas

— December 14, 2022

You may have a case against the shipping company, the cargo owner, or anyone responsible for loading the truck if the crash was caused by a problem with the cargo.

Kansas Department of Transportation statistics show that each year, there are roughly 3,800 collisions involving big rigs or semis in the state. On average, 70 Kansas residents are killed and thousands are injured in truck accidents. Most of the victims, over 75%, are occupants in passenger cars. 

If you were recently injured or lost someone in this type of crash, you need to reach out to trustworthy Kansas truck accident lawyers. Time is of the essence in such accidents, where you have to deal not only with the trucker but also with his employer. Large trucking companies can afford to have fierce lawyers on their payroll, so there’s little chance you can win a truck accident claim without legal representation.

Who pays damages in a truck accident in Kansas?

Kansas is a no-fault state, which only complicates matters when you were injured in a crash. As all Kansas motorists are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, you can recover some of your financial losses from your own insurer. And you don’t have to bother with proving the trucker was responsible,

Unfortunately, if you have minimum coverage, the most you can get is $4,500 for medical expenses. That kind of money is nowhere near enough to cover your medical expenses if you sustained severe injuries. 

Skilled Kansas truck accident lawyers say that most of the cases they deal with involve serious, often life-changing injuries, including:

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  • Spine damage
  • Brain trauma
  • Multiple fractures
  • Burns
  • Internal organ damage

If you sustained severe injuries, you’ll have to step outside the no-fault law and file a personal injury or wrongful death claim under tort law.

To determine who is liable for your damages, you must get dedicated lawyers on the case right away. 

How is liability determined in a truck accident?

Your lawyers will investigate the crash thoroughly to determine who you can sue. Here are the most likely scenarios.

Suing the trucker

The trucker will bear full responsibility for the crash if the police report and your lawyers find that the accident was caused by speeding, distracted driving, and other types of reckless driving. Federal laws prohibit the use of hand-held mobile devices by commercial drivers. Yet such cases can be hard to prove. Your lawyers will have to request data usage from the trucker’s cell phone company, for instance. 

The problem is that, even if you can prove they were to blame for the crash, you may not be able to recover full damages. Many truckers only carry minimum insurance coverage, around $25,000.

Filing a claim against the trucking company

You may be able to file a claim against the trucking company’s insurance or sue them if

  • The crash was caused by a mechanical failure, like a faulty brake or steering system or a tire blowout.  
  • The trucker was intoxicated. The guy may face criminal charges, but your lawyers may be able to charge the employer with negligence if the company failed to submit its employees to regulate drug and alcohol tests, as required under federal regulations.
  • The crash was caused by driver fatigue. Surely, the trucker is liable for damages if he did not comply with federal Hours of Service regulations. However, the employer can also be held accountable if they knew or should have known about such violations.

Trucking companies operating interstate must carry $750,000 liability coverage and up to $5 million if they transport hazardous materials.

Holding the shipping company accountable

You may have a case against the shipping company, the cargo owner, or anyone responsible for loading the truck if the crash was caused by a problem with the cargo. If the cargo is not properly balanced and secured, a sudden shift can lead to a rollover, which is one of the most dangerous types of truck accidents.

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