Legal Analysis: Semi-Truck Hits Macon Girl In School Crosswalk

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Various news sources are reporting that 6-year-old Jaddin Knouse was struck last night in Macon, Missouri while crossing the road.  The appalling part is not just that she was hit by a tractor-trailer, but it is that he kept going and never stopped.  Thanks to nearby surveillance cameras, officials were able to track him down.
But here is the part that is equally upsetting.  The police are reporting that Jaddin ran into the street against the light.  What does that mean?  I would be willing to be the insurance company for the trucker already has its tactical response team dispatched to the area.  While the family is taking care of their little girl, these teams are likely outperforming accident reconstruction, evaluating evidence, and talking to witnesses – ever so hoping to slightly “coach” them into how they remember seeing things happen.  The sole purpose, of course, is to limit the insurance company’s exposure to little or nothing.
If you are involved in a semi-truck crash, this is why it is so important to get your own legal team as soon as possible.  Imagine finding out weeks or months down the line that the trucker’s insurance company is refusing to pay anything because they say their experts have determined it was all your fault.  They base it on their investigation at the scene.  This happens ALL. THE TIME.  It is a very difficult argument to overcome, even in front of a jury, because their experts completed their investigation at the scene.  If you do not have experts who also performed an investigation around the same time, it becomes extremely difficult to beat the insurance company.
An additional component to all of this is something that is very exclusive to tractor-trailer cases.  Unfortunately, so many lawyers do not specialize in these cases and do not understand the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.  These are a large set of safety rules that govern how the truck company is supposed to investigate, train, and supervise its drivers.  In our experience, the vast majority of crashes are really the result of an unsafe truck company that did not do its job.  Because of that, they put an unsafe driver on the road and it was only a matter of time.
We often find that tragedies like this could have been prevented months or years in advance if the company had only followed the applicable safety rules.  That is how our firm has had so much success in semi-truck settlements.  Of course, insurance companies hate this type of analysis.  They just want to focus on the facts of the single event.   In this case, for instance, they would just want to repeatedly harp on the point that Jaddin ran into the street.  But that is likely not the full story and the fact that the truck driver never bothered to stop to help this 6-year-old girl – well, if he knew what had happened and fled anyway, we would work with the prosecutor’s office to make sure he is sitting behind bars.
The bottom line is there is always a lot more to these types of cases than just one particular fact – such as saying Jaddin ran into the street.  But when trying to prove the whole story against the driver and the company, time is so critical.  For instance, the truck’s black box can be downloaded.  Maybe it shows he was speeding or had been driving over hours.  However, that data only remains for so long and will be recorded over if the truck continues driving.  Not surprisingly, insurance companies can often put someone behind the wheel just to drive the truck around and erase that valuable data.  The same is also true of the company’s internal documents which we have often used to show violations of numerous safety rules.  However, the insurance companies know about this and will often comb through the companies files.  That is why it is so important to have your own legal team immediately that can issue subpoenas immediately to get this information before it disappears.


Focusing on tractor-trailer accidents, Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers has been named by U.S. News & World Reports among the Best Law Firms in America.  If you would like to speak with one of the partners about a potential case, call 314-444-4444.  There is never any cost to speak about your case and there are no upfront costs or retainer to hire the firm.

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