Injured in a Commercial Truck Accident?
Our Houston Truck Accident Lawyer Provides Protection for Texas Truck Accident Victims
Truck accidents are more likely to result in catastrophic injuries or deaths than car wrecks involving smaller vehicles. This is due to the size and weight of most commercial trucks. An 18-wheeler carrying a full cargo load can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. In an accident, passengers in smaller vehicles may sustain life-altering injuries that make it impossible to work or even enjoy life. Some passengers may lose their lives.
Victims often need an experienced truck accident attorney on their side. Truck accidents can incur millions of dollars in damages. Accident victims and their families may be able to recover compensation for damages. This compensation can cover lost wages, medical bills and costs for their pain and suffering. Our Houston truck accident lawyer helps crash survivors and their families seek justice.
Causes of Truck Accidents
There are many causes of truck accidents. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Truck driver fatigue. Truck drivers travel long distances for many hours. Fatigue causes slow reaction time. In some cases, a driver may even fall asleep at the wheel. Though there are regulations in place about how many hours they can drive before taking a mandatory break, fatigue continues to be a cause of truck accidents.
- Driving under the influence. Truck drivers may use drugs and alcohol to stay awake when driving long hours. If you ever see an unsafe truck driver on the road, know how to report them.
- Poor weather. Snow, sleet, rain and ice can make it more difficult to operate an 18-wheeler on highways. Additionally, heavy winds can contribute to jackknife accidents.
- Speeding. Drivers may speed to reach their destination quicker. But speeding in a truck makes it more difficult to control the vehicle.
- Distracted driving. Distracted driving is on the rise. Eating and talking on the phone are both forms of distracted driving. Truckers who routinely text and drive are 23 times more likely to be involved in a truck accident.
- Poor vehicle maintenance. Some trucking companies cut corners and increase profits by skimping on vehicle maintenance. This allows dangerous vehicles that failed inspection back on the road.
- Improperly trained truckers. Trucking companies have a responsibility to hire and train their drivers to operate vehicles safely in all types of situations. Failure to train drivers or hiring inexperienced drivers can lead to serious accidents.
- Improperly loaded cargo. When a shipping company fails to properly load the cargo, the load can become unbalanced. This can cause the trucker to lose control of the vehicle.
- Truck defects. Trucking manufacturers have a responsibility to recall dangerous trucking parts. Defective brakes, tires, and steering components can lead to fatal trucking crashes.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
After a truck accident, the steps you take can make or break your case. Mistakes made in the days and weeks following a truck accident can have a significant impact on your ability to file a claim. After a truck accident, you should:
- Seek medical help (call 911)
- Fill out a police report
- Take pictures of the crash and evidence at the scene
- Exchange information with the other drivers
- Gather contact information for any eyewitnesses
- Contact an experienced truck accident attorney
The Truck Accident Claim Process
The truck accident claim process can be difficult and lengthy. During this time, valuable evidence can be lost or destroyed. This is one reason why it is important to speak to an experienced Houston truck accident attorney soon after your accident. Your attorney can ensure that valuable evidence, such as black box data is not lost or damaged.
Once you contact an attorney, the truck accident claim process will follow these steps:
- Investigation. The investigation is a critical component of the claims process. Collecting evidence and investigating who is at fault are necessary components to winning your case.
- Filing a claim. Once your attorney determines that you have a case, they will file a claim with the negligent party. This claim will include information about your injuries and outline your damages.
- Negotiations. Your attorney and the defendant’s insurance company will begin negotiations. During this time, you may decide to accept a settlement.
- Litigation. If a settlement does not occur, the next step is to take the case to trial. Your lawyer will file suit and take your case to the courtroom.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates commercial trucking companies in the United States. This includes semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, big rigs, and other large commercial vehicles. There are numerous federal regulations that protect drivers from serious and fatal crashes. Some of those include, but are not limited to:
- Licensing. FMCSA requires truck drivers to carry a special type of license known as a commercial driver’s license.
- Drug and alcohol testing. Anyone who operates a commercial truck or bus must submit to drug and alcohol testing.
- Hours of service. State and federal hours of service requirements tell drivers how long to drive before stopping for mandatory breaks. These requirements help prevent fatal accidents caused by truck driver fatigue.
- Insurance. Commercial truckers and commercial trucking companies must carry a minimum amount of insurance to help cover accidents and injuries.
- Size and weight. FMCSA imposes height and weight limits on all commercial trucks. Overweight trucks can cause serious accidents.
Who Is Liable After a Truck Accident?
After a truck accident, most people assume the truck driver is to blame. This is far from the truth. In fact, there may be many parties liable for the accident and the injuries suffered. Some of the parties that could share blame for the accident include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The truck maintenance company
- The shipping company
- The truck manufacturer
- Other drivers
Why Hire a Truck Accident Attorney?
It is important to act quickly. After a trucking accident in Texas, you only have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. If you miss this deadline, you could lose the ability to file a personal injury lawsuit.
You should also consider that trucking companies may have access to significant financial and legal resources. This would make it difficult to successfully seek compensation on your own. Our Houston truck accident attorney can strengthen your claim by using expert witnesses and accident reconstruction specialists.
Contact Our Houston Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you suffered harm after a serious trucking accident, we can help. Our truck accident lawyer in Houston has the experience and resources needed to tackle these catastrophic and complex cases. The Law Office of Daniel D. Horowitz, III PC has recovered over $100 million in settlements and verdicts for our injured clients. Call (832) 225-4902 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a free consultation with us.