As a Missouri tractor-trailer accident attorney, I was disappointed to see that Kansas City suffered a major multi-vehicle pileup on Interstate 35 last weekend. A three-year-old died and at least six other people were seriously injured in a crash involving 30 vehicles, the Kansas City Star reported Jan. 16. The crash took place at around 7:40 a.m. near Wellsville, Kansas, and stretched disabled vehicles for a mile down the highway. The vehicles involved included multiple semi trucks, including some that hit other semis as well as trucks that hit passenger cars. More than 17 people altogether went to at least four hospitals in the region.
At least some blamed the crash on thick fog that settled over the highway. Cathy Jankovich said visibility was almost nil past the headlights of the vehicle her son-in-law was driving, even though other drivers were passing him. The exact cause of the pileup wasn’t known, but authorities said the chain reaction began with an accident involving a tow truck. Of the thirty vehicles involved, nineteen were involved in the largest crash, including six tractor-trailers. Another crash involved six vehicles. Crash survivor Mike McRoberts told the newspaper that he and his brother raced to get out of their pickup truck after it hit two vehicles. That’s when they saw an out-of-control 18-wheeler approaching and ran for their lives. They dodged the truck, but it hit another semi “and just bent in half.”
As a St. Louis trucking accident lawyer, I wonder how much effect the weather had on this terrible accident. The newspaper’s description suggests that conditions may not have been safe for any driver — but that may be particularly true for the truckers. Under federal law, commercial truck drivers have a special duty to use “extreme caution” in hazardous weather conditions, including heavy fog, snow or ice that limits visibility and traction. This is above and beyond the ordinary standard of care that applies to all drivers. Federal safety laws like these are made in part because large trucks can do severe damage to smaller vehicles in a crash, beyond what another car might do. Unfortunately, they’re also necessary because trucking companies and their drivers have a financial incentive to disregard safety and drive through bad weather.
Carey, Danis & Lowe represents clients who were seriously injured or lost a loved one in a crash with a tractor-trailer. Unfortunately, these cases tend to involve very serious, catastrophic injuries that require substantial legal and medical expertise to properly handle. Our southern Illinois semi truck accident lawyers have developed that expertise over 25 years of practice as injury attorneys. We work hard to make sure our clients get all of the compensation they will need to pay medical costs, now and in the future; make ends meet; and be reasonably compensated for their physically and emotionally devastating injuries. Based in St. Louis and Belleville, Ill., we represent clients throughout Missouri and southern Illinois.
Carey, Danis & Lowe offers free, confidential consultations to all potential clients, so there’s no risk in speaking to us about your case. To set up a consultation, you can reach us at 1-877-678-3400 or contact us through our Web site.