Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

What You Need to Know About Tractor-Trailer Accidents

You were injured in a tractor-trailer accident. You loved one may have been seriously injured or died in a tractor-trailer accident. Who is responsible for your injuries or your loved one’s death is often complicated because of the many individuals involved in the accident. This includes the tractor-trailer driver, the truck company and/ or the government. Brad Pistotnik Law used to be called Pistotnik Law since it was founded by him in 1983. He moved to the present location at 10111 E. 21st St., North, Suite 204, Wichita, Kansas 67206 in 2014 and most of the old firm employees left with Brad to join Brad Pistotnik Law, P.A.

Understanding the common reasons for a tractor-trailer accident may help you determine if you have a valid person injury claim. Also, consulting with a Kansas lawyer experienced in tractor-trailer accidents will assisting you in getting the justice you deserve.

The federal government establishes the specific standards both truck drivers and trucking companies must meet. These standards often are the determining factor in who was responsible for a tractor-trailer accident. These laws are called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR).

49 U.S.C. § 14704(a)(2) provides that "A carrier . . . is liable for damages sustained by a person as a result of an action or omission of that carrier. . . in violation of this part.” Defendants are the motor carrier in regard to the present accident.

49 U.S.C. § 14101(a) provides that "a motor carrier shall provide safe and adequate service, equipment and facilities." Defendants and their driver negligently and wantonly failed to provide safe and adequate service which proximately caused the injury, death and damages to plaintiffs.

The FMSCRs are located at 49 C.F.R. § 390 et seq. The FMCSRs and the MCA specifically under the section 40 C.F.R. § 391.1(a) and (b) states “(a) The rules in this part establish minimum qualifications for persons who drive commercial motor vehicles, as, for, or on behalf of motor carriers. The rules in this part also establish minimum duties of motor carriers with respect to the qualification of drivers. (b) A motor carrier who employs himself/herself as a driver must comply with both the rules in this part that apply to motor carriers and the rules in this part that apply to drivers.” The FMCSR’s set forth the applicable minimum industry standard of care including the minimum qualifications for drivers and the minimum duties for drivers under 49 C.F.R. § 391.1(a) & (b).

Who is Legally Responsible for My Accident?

Unfortunately, with trucking accidents fault isn’t always obvious. Why? There are too many people involved to just point fingers at the driver. Possible responsible parties in a trucking accident are:

  • The driver
    • Trucking company
    • The company or individual who leased the trailer or truck
    • The truck’s cargo loader or shipper
    • The manufacturer of the truck or your vehicle
  • That’s why having a Kansas lawyer experienced in trailer-truck accidents is vital. Often, the other companies are finger-pointing. For instance, the hauling company may blame the truck’s manufacturer. The truck’s manufacturer may blame the driver. This leaves you wondering who to sue.

    The trucking company will often try to shift liability from itself to the driver, truck manufacturer, or the equipment used. The company will obtain the required permits to use the tractor-trailer. However, the driver is usually an independent contractor. This allows the trucking company to argue, if sued, that:

  • It doesn’t own the equipment and isn’t for any maintenance, operation, inspections or repairs
    • It was the driver who was liable
  • That doesn’t mean the trucking company will get away with making these claims. An accident can occur for any reason. Some of the common causes tractor-trailer accidents include:

  • Driver fatigue
    • Truck driver operating the truck beyond the required maximum hours of services and concealing it
    • Nighttime driving
    • Truck driver taking drugs
    • Truck driver negligence
  • Brad Pistotnik Law Will Help You

    Tractor-trailer accidents are complicated and you should be compensated. Contact the premier personal injury attorney - Brad Pistotnik for assistance with your case. You can call Brad Pistotnik Law for a free consultation by calling 800-241-BRAD or 316-684-4400 or by calling Brad on his cell phone at 316-706-5020. We serve Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Illinois and other states. While we are based in Wichita, Kansas we work all over the multi-state area and especially out in Western Kansas in cities like Dodge City, Hugoton, Garden City, Satanta, Liberal, Ulysses, Pratt, Colby, Goodland, Hays, Great Bend, Pretty Prairie, Kingman, Pratt, Salina, Emporia, Arkansas City, Bird City, Wellington, Winfield, Kansas City, Pittsburg and Coffeyville.

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