Semi-trucks, eighteen-wheelers, tractor-trailers and other heavy vehicles are known to cause severe injuries to car accident victims. Smaller, lighter vehicles have less momentum, and are therefore a less powerful mechanism of injury. Regardless of the severity of injuries sustained, car accident victims have the legal right to be compensated for their injuries and losses.
An experienced Wichita rear-end collision attorney will protect this right.
Losses Caused by a Simple Rear-End Collision
Kansans experienced a poignant reminder of the severity of truck accidents in July, when a rear-end collision caused one death and left four vehicles completely destroyed in the resulting fire. Several other vehicles were also burned. According to The Wichita Eagle, Antonio DiFranco was driving a large tractor-trailer through a construction zone on the I-435 when traffic slowed ahead of him. DiFranco was reportedly following other vehicles too closely. He failed to control his speed, causing him to crash into the Isuzu Trooper in front of him. The Trooper caught on fire and its driver was severely burned. The tractor-trailer then came to a stop next to a large vehicle transport truck. Flames from the crash reached the transport truck, and three Dodge 3500 trucks on the transport were destroyed by fire. A fifth vehicle nearby was also destroyed in the fire. Fortunately, its occupant was helped out of her vehicle by bystanders, and she escaped without injury.
Nearly a month later, the driver of the Trooper succumbed to his injuries and died as a result of the burns. In a case such as this, it is possible that DiFranco's employer could bear some liability for the accident. If DiFranco were not properly trained, or was forced to work too many hours without appropriate rest breaks, or if he had a bad driving record which should have precluded his employment altogether, the transportation company which employed him could be found to be legally responsible for causing the accident. A case such as this can also result in a significant award for pain and suffering. The driver of the Trooper spent his last month of life in excruciating pain from severe burn injuries. He was confined to the hospital, heavily medicated, and these are all compensable injuries which can be paid to the driver's estate. While this may be a poor substitute for the pain that accompanied the man's death, it is a legal right which he and his surviving family are owed, and one which is worthy of fighting for.
How Wichita Drivers Can Stay Safe Around Trucks
Large trucks are more likely to be involved in accidents, and they cause more damage when they do. Reduce your chances of being involved in a truck accident by taking appropriate precautions when driving near a truck or big rig. Always leave plenty of following distance, as large, heavy trucks require greater stopping distance to avoid obstacles in the road. Ensure you are seen by using your signals and headlights to alert truck drivers to your presence.
In Kansas, there is a "rebuttable presumption in favor of plaintiff" in rear-end collisions. This means that it is reasonable to assume that the rear driver is at-fault in a rear-end crash. Defendants can present evidence in an attempt to prove why they were not at-fault, but generally, motorists have a duty to maintain a reasonable distance from the vehicle ahead. A failure to do in an accident can be grounds to establish that the rear driver is responsible.
Together, drivers of trucks and passenger vehicles can make the roads of Wichita safer for everyone.