18-Wheeler/Truck Accident Attorney in Denton, Texas
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a total of 4,102 people died in truck crashes in 2017. Seventeen percent of the fatalities were truck occupants, 68% were occupants of passenger vehicles, and 14% were bicyclists, motorcyclists or pedestrians. The number of people who died in large truck crashes was 30 percent higher in 2017 than in 2009, when it was the lowest it has been since the collection of fatal crash data began in 1975. The number of truck occupants who died was 52 percent higher than in 2009.
Texas is a popular and extremely busy thoroughfare for large commercial trucks, semi-trucks, big rigs, and 18-wheelers. These are considered commercial motor vehicles. Texas roads are full of commercial motor vehicles transporting everything from frozen food and farm animals to car parts, as well as oil tankers and hazardous chemical trucks. Truck drivers routinely face long hours and tight deadlines to meet the demands of trucking companies. And while most truckers have at least some training, appear to be capable drivers, sometimes disastrous accidents occur because of a truck driver’s and/or the trucking company’s negligence. Inevitably, these drivers and their large vehicles pose the general motoring public problems when they share the roads and are responsible for catastrophic accidents.
A commercial motor vehicle, which requires its drivers to have a valid commercial driving license (“CDL)”, is any vehicle with a gross weight of 26,001 pounds or more. However, a fully loaded 18-wheeler can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. In comparison, an automobile weighs a mere 3,000 pounds. When these two vehicles collide, the automobile’s occupants are the ones who sustain the majority of the injuries.
As a result, the trucking industry has become one of the most regulated commercial industries in the United States. The Federal and/or Texas Motor Carrier Safety Regulations govern both commercial drivers’ minimal training requirements and qualifications, as well impose various legal duties on the trucking companies, including the requirements for hiring, training, and supervision of their drivers, as well as retention requirements for driver logs and maintenance records. If any of the regulations are violated or ignored this can be used to establish the negligence of the truck driver, the trucking company or both, which then may be used to maximize any monetary reward an injured person would be entitled to receive.
Unfortunately, trucking companies have large law firms dedicated to protecting their interests and reducing their liabilities. As such, trucking accident victims in Texas need aggressive and knowledgeable legal representation from the moment they are injured in a trucking accident. The legal team at Ross Law Offices, P.C. has extensive experience working 18-Wheeler/Truck accident cases involving commercial motor vehicles and the regulations that govern them. We are here to help. Please contact us for a free consultation.
What to Do After an 18-Wheeler/Truck Accident
In Texas, leaving the accident scene could result in a hit-and-run charge. As such the first thing you should do after an accident is get to a safe place, but stay at the accident scene until the police and medical assistance have arrived. If you can, leave your vehicle in the position where it came to rest after the accident. The police may need this as evidence.
Commercial motor vehicle accidents often mean serious injuries and damages. Because your safety and health are most important, please call 911 immediately after any accident. Notify 911 of the accident and request that police be dispatched to the scene. This call will dispatch the police, who can help with collecting evidence and witness testimony. Always request that police be dispatched and for a police report to be made. This will preserve the accident facts if they are contested later.
The accident scene immediately after the crash gives you the best chance to capture vital evidence to prove that the truck driver’s negligence harmed you. So, take pictures of everything, including, but not limited to:
- All vehicles
- All damaged property
- The Department of Transportation (“DOT”) operating numbers on the side of the commercial vehicle
- All license plate numbers
- All drivers and passengers
- Vehicles’ mileage
- Street signs and/or lights
- Emergency personnel
- Insurance cards
This evidence can help you to file a personal injury lawsuit against the truck driver and the trucking company later.
After an accident, do not claim responsibility for the accident to the truck driver, the police or anyone else at the scene of an accident, and generally, do not make any statements that involve responsibility for the accident.
Truck accidents can involve serious injuries and a lot of medical expenses. It is wise to have any 18-wheeler truck accident case reviewed by personal injury attorneys with years of experience, such as Ross Law Offices, P.C..
18-Wheeler/Truck Accident Injuries
Cars, SUVs, and other passenger vehicles are no match for the size or weight of an 18-wheeler in an accident. Loaded 18-wheelers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, thereby easily crushing smaller vehicles in a crash.
Unfortunately, common truck accident injuries include:
- Wrongful death
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Broken bones and fractures
- Limb Loss
- Internal organ injuries
- Burn injuries
Occupants of passenger vehicles are the most common victims of truck. Trucks weigh as much as 30 times more than passenger vehicles, and because they are taller and have much higher ground clearance, they can essentially run over passenger vehicles in an accident. Truck braking capability can be a factor in truck crashes. Loaded tractor-trailers take 20-40 percent farther than cars to stop, and the discrepancy is greater on wet and slippery roads or with poorly maintained brakes. Truck driver fatigue also is a known crash risk. Drivers of large trucks are allowed by state and/or federal hours-of-service regulations to drive up to 11 hours at a stretch. Surveys indicate that many drivers violate the regulations and work longer than permitted.
When Trucking Company’s Negligence is to Blame
Trucking companies may be to blame after a serious trucking accident. In an attempt to increase profits, many trucking companies routinely push drivers to log longer hours than are allowed by trucking regulations, to use unsafe practices to cut time and corners, and/or fail to properly hire, train, monitor, and/or supervise their truck drivers. They may also cut corners when servicing vehicles.
The Federal and/or Texas Motor Carrier Safety Regulations govern the legal duties of trucking companies, including the hiring, training, and supervision of their drivers, as well as retention requirements for required operational documents, including driver logs, accident register, inspection records, and maintenance records. If any of the regulations are violated or ignored this can be used to establish direct negligence against the trucking company and to assess additional damages directly against the trucking company.
When this occurs, our experienced Denton, Dallas, Fort Worth 18-Wheeler/Truck Accident Attorneys at Ross Law Offices, P.C., are immediately needed after an accident to collect evidence, to investigate the cause of the trucking accident, and to fight to hold these large trucking companies responsible for their own direct negligence and the negligence of their drivers, and they should be required to pay your damages.
When Truck Drivers are to Blame
There are times when trucking companies operate within the Federal and/or Texas Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, but their truck drivers do not. They may drive in poor weather, fail to observe speed signs, drive distracted, violate hours of service requirements, fail to inspect their vehicles, drive while distracted, and even drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
When this occurs, the truck driver should be held liable for their negligence. Determining who is ultimately to blame for your auto accident and your injuries is the first step towards receiving the compensation you deserve after a catastrophic trucking accident.
18-Wheeler Accident Claims and Lawsuits
If the truck driver or company is at fault for your accident, you can file a claim or lawsuit against them to recover damages for your injuries and/or damages. Common collectible damages include compensation for property damages, medical bills, rehabilitation services, loss of income due to time missed at work, future medical expenses, disfigurement, impairment and loss of earning capacity, as well as mental anguish ad pain and suffering.
While filing a claim may sound simple, proving fault and damages is complicated when up against a truck insurance company’s team of insurance adjusters, attorneys and legal experts. Insurance carriers will fight hard to deny truck accident claims and to pinch pennies for their insureds, while you suffer from being injured as result of the negligence of a truck driver and/or a trucking company. This is why it is important to have an experienced truck accident lawyer fighting for your legal rights.
At Ross Law Offices, P.C., we offer a free consultation to discuss your case and go over every option you may have. Don’t hesitate. Contact us online now or call us at (940) 230-2400.