Trucking is essential to almost every sector of the American economy; its collapse would have far-reaching consequences for all of us. Trucking companies move seventy percent of all freight in the United States, and eighty percent of US towns rely on trucks to supply necessities like raw materials, food, medicine, and much more. Mining, construction, utilities, infrastructure, and heavy industry would all halt, and they could operate with the supply of commodities. The power to your house would be cut off. A lack of supplies would cause hospitals to close. Every item in your supermarket’s stockroom would be gone.
Because of this, there is a lot of pressure on the business and its drivers to break the rules and go as far as possible to earn a profit. In the event of a truck accident, our experienced Texas truck accident lawyers at GoSuits can determine whether the trucking firm or the driver was at fault by investigating any breaches of regulations or other safety concerns.
In the event of a trucking accident in Texas, determining liability requires careful consideration of multiple factors and relevant laws. Texas truck accident attorneys play a crucial role in assessing fault and applying the state’s “modified comparative negligence” system, which assigns liability based on the degree of each party’s contribution. This approach ensures that responsibility is appropriately allocated, offering legal recourse and support for the truck accident victim.
Truck driver: The truck driver is often a primary focus in determining liability in truck accident injuries. If the driver was negligent or engaged in reckless behavior, such as speeding, tailgating, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or distracted driving, they may be liable for serious injuries in a truck wreck.
Trucking company: The commercial trucking companies that employ the driver can also be held accountable for the semi truck accident. If the company failed to train the driver properly, disregarded safety regulations, violated hours-of-service rules, or encouraged practices that compromised safety, they may share liability for the large truck accidents.
Truck owner: In some cases, the truck involved in the accident may be owned by a separate entity from the trucking company. This could include leasing companies or independent owner-operators. If the truck owner fails to maintain the vehicle adequately, address mechanical issues promptly, or ensure compliance with safety standards, they may bear responsibility for the accident.
Maintenance or repair contractors: Parties responsible for maintaining and repairing the commercial vehicle, such as contracted mechanics or repair shops, may be liable if negligence or inadequate work contributed to the truck crash. For instance, if faulty brakes, worn tires, or other mechanical failures were a factor, these contractors could share in the liability.
Cargo loaders: Improperly loaded or secured cargo can affect the stability and handling of commercial vehicles, leading to accidents. If the cargo was not properly packed or the loaders failed to secure it adequately, resulting in a spill or shift that caused the truck crashes, the cargo loaders or the entity responsible for overseeing the loading process may be liable.
Manufacturers or distributors: In the commercial trucking industry cases where a defective truck part or component contributed to the accident, the manufacturer or distributor of that part may be held liable under product liability laws. This could include faulty brakes, tires, steering mechanisms, or other components that malfunctioned and led to the accident.
In Texas, determining fault for truck accidents involves carefully examining the incident’s circumstances. The state follows a modified comparative negligence system, specifically the 51% Bar Rule, which means an individual can recover damages from another party if their degree of fault does not exceed 50%. The following can affect the truck accident claims in a truck accident settlement.
Police Investigation: Law enforcement officers typically arrive at the scene to investigate and document the incident after fatal truck accidents. They gather information from involved parties and witnesses and examine physical evidence. The police report can be important evidence when determining fault in Texas truck accidents.
Evidence Collection: It is crucial to collect evidence to support your truck accident claim or defense. This may include photographs of the accident scene, vehicle damage, skid marks, or other relevant visual evidence. Witness statements, medical records, and any available surveillance footage can also be valuable in establishing fault. It is best to contact a Texas truck accident attorney to help you determine which evidence helps best.
Comparative Negligence: Texas applies the principle of comparative negligence, which means that fault can be shared among multiple parties based on their respective contribution to the accident. If both drivers were found to have contributed to the commercial truck accident, their liability may be apportioned accordingly. Experienced truck accident lawyers can guide you in understanding this principle better.
Insurance Company Investigation: Insurance companies conduct investigations to determine fault and assess claims. They analyze the evidence provided, review the police report, and may consult with accident reconstruction experts if necessary.
Legal Factors: Various legal factors are considered when determining fault. These may include violations of traffic laws, negligence, reckless driving, driving under the influence, or any other conduct that may have contributed to the accident.
Professional Opinion: In complex cases, opinions from truck accident lawyers, accident reconstruction specialists, engineers, or medical professionals may be sought to provide insights and clarify specific aspects related to fault determination of truck accident injuries.
One of the most common reasons for truck accidents is that the truck driver was tired or made a mistake. There are rules and regulations about how long a truck driver can be on the road, but because many of them are paid by the mile or the load, they often break the rules.
Example: A truck driver, pushing past their hours of service limits to meet a delivery deadline, becomes fatigued and fails to notice a slowing traffic ahead, resulting in a rear-end collision.
18-wheeler truck drivers must do inspections before and after each trip. Pre-trip and post-trip inspections are two things that drivers often forget to do, so they can be good topics for discussion when something breaks. Also, maintenance problems usually happen when a preventive maintenance plan isn’t set up and followed.
Example: A truck’s worn-out brake pads go unnoticed during inspections, causing a brake failure when attempting to stop, leading to a collision with another vehicle.
Because trucks and trailers are so heavy, they can’t go as fast as cars. At 70 mph, a 40-ton truck will need more than 600 feet to stop. So, trucking accidents, like an 18-wheeler accident, cause more damage and hurt more people than car accidents.
Example: A truck driver traveling above the speed limit loses control on a curve, causing the truck to overturn and spill its cargo, resulting in a multi-vehicle collision and injuries.
There are significant blind spots on trucks’ and trailers’ sides, backs, and fronts. Many truck accidents happen because the drivers can’t see cars in their blind spots.
Example: A truck driver fails to see a car in the truck’s blind spot and sideswipes it while changing lanes, causing damage to both vehicles and potential injuries to the car’s occupants.
The center of gravity of large tractor-trailers is high, and an uneven load makes this problem even worse. When a big rig starts to skid, it is easy for the weight of the load to overpower the driver’s efforts. At that point, the brakes stop the wheels from moving forward, and the top load causes the trailer to flip over.
Example: A truck driver attempts to brake abruptly on a slippery road, causing the trailer to skid and swing sideways, leading to a jackknife situation and blocking multiple lanes of traffic.
Engaging in activities like texting, talking on the phone, eating, or using electronic devices diverts the driver’s attention from the road. This cognitive, visual, and manual distraction significantly increases the risk of accidents as the driver’s reaction time and situational awareness are compromised.
Example: A truck driver receives a phone call and reaches for their phone, taking their eyes off the road momentarily. In that moment, traffic ahead slows down, leading to a rear-end collision.
Operating a truck under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or prescription medication can impair judgment, coordination, and reaction times. Impaired drivers are less able to perceive hazards, make sound decisions, and respond effectively to changing traffic conditions, posing a significant risk to themselves and others on the road.
Example: A truck driver, under the influence of alcohol, fails to notice a red traffic signal and collides with crossing traffic, causing significant damage and injuries.
When cargo is unevenly distributed or exceeds weight limits, it can affect the truck’s stability, maneuverability, and braking capabilities. This imbalance can lead to rollovers, jackknifes, or loss of control, causing severe accidents. Inadequate cargo securement can also result in cargo shifting or falling off the truck, posing hazards to other vehicles.
Example: A truck carrying an oversized load with inadequate securement sways back and forth, leading to loss of control and a collision with another vehicle.
Mistakes made by truck drivers, such as improper lane changes, failure to yield, or disregarding traffic signals, can have severe consequences. These errors can result from inattentiveness, misjudgment, aggressive driving behavior, or inadequate knowledge of traffic laws. Such driver errors can lead to collisions, causing property damage, injuries, or even fatalities.
Example: A truck driver, distracted by a GPS device, fails to notice a stop sign and collides with a vehicle crossing the intersection, causing injuries and property damage.
Texas experiences various weather conditions that can make driving hazardous. Rain, fog, ice, or high winds reduce visibility, decrease tire traction, and affect the truck’s handling. These conditions increase the risk of accidents, especially if drivers fail to adjust their driving behavior and maintain safe speeds, following distances, and appropriate maneuvers.
Example: During a heavy rainstorm, a truck driver fails to reduce speed, causing the truck to hydroplane and collide with a guardrail.
More training or experience in handling commercial trucks can contribute to accidents. Truck drivers require specialized skills and knowledge to operate these large vehicles safely. Inadequate training may result in errors in maneuvering, defensive driving techniques, or responding to emergencies, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
Example: A newly licensed truck driver with minimal experience fails to properly execute a tight turn, resulting in the truck striking a parked car and causing significant damage.
Vehicle accident injuries may range widely based on several factors. Commercial trucks threaten motorists and pedestrians since they weigh far more than the average car. Nearly 80,000 pounds is the maximum allowable weight for a tractor-trailer combination. About 3,000 pounds is the typical weight of a passenger car. A large truck’s weight combined with the energy it absorbs in a collision may easily crush a vehicle, causing significant injury or even death to anybody inside.
The aftermath of a truck accident can result in a wide range of injuries, some of which can be severe and life-altering. Here are some common injuries that can occur:
Head and Brain Injuries: Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), concussions, and skull fractures can occur when the head experiences a sudden impact or violent movement. These injuries can lead to cognitive impairments, memory loss, headaches, and in severe cases, long-term disabilities.
Broken Bones: The impact of a truck accident can cause fractures in various parts of the body, including the arms, legs, ribs, and pelvis. Fractures can range from minor hairline to severe compound fractures, requiring extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation.
Amputated Limbs or Extremities: In severe accidents, traumatic amputations may occur, resulting in the loss of a limb or extremity. This life-altering injury requires immediate medical attention and long-term rehabilitation to adapt to the physical and emotional challenges.
Accidental Automobile Fire-related Burns: Truck accidents can lead to fuel leaks and fires, causing burns of varying degrees. These burns can result in severe pain, scarring, disfigurement, and long-term physical and emotional consequences.
Spinal Cord Injuries: The impact of a truck accident can cause damage to the spinal cord, leading to partial or complete paralysis. Spinal cord injuries often result in significant physical limitations and require extensive medical care, rehabilitation, and adaptive equipment.
Neck and Back Injuries: Whiplash is a common injury resulting from the sudden back-and-forth motion of the head during a collision. It can cause neck pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Back injuries, such as herniated discs or spinal fractures, can also occur and may result in chronic pain and disability.
Internal Injuries: The force of impact in truck accidents can cause internal injuries, including organ damage, internal bleeding, or punctured lungs. These injuries may not be apparent and require immediate medical attention to prevent life-threatening complications.
Torso and Rib Injuries: The chest and torso can suffer trauma during a truck accident, resulting in rib fractures, damage to internal organs, or injuries to the abdomen. These injuries can be painful and require medical treatment to ensure proper healing.
Cuts and Lacerations: Broken glass, sharp objects, or debris from the accident can cause cuts and lacerations. Depending on their severity and location, these injuries may require stitches or surgical intervention to prevent infection and promote healing.
Seatbelt and Airbag Injuries: While seatbelts and airbags are designed to protect occupants, they can also cause injuries during a collision. Seatbelt injuries may include bruising, fractures, or internal injuries, while airbag deployment can result in abrasions, burns, or facial injuries.
Wrongful Death: In the most tragic cases, truck accidents can result in the loss of life. The emotional and financial toll on the surviving family members can be immense, as they may be entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim against the responsible party.
Experiencing a truck accident in Texas can be a stressful and overwhelming event. To ensure your well-being and protect your interests taking specific steps in the aftermath of the accident is vital to ensure your well-being and protect your interests. By following these recommended procedures, you can navigate the situation more effectively:
Trucks are equipped with various safety devices to enhance the protection of both the driver and other road users. By incorporating these safety devices, trucks are equipped with advanced technologies and systems to mitigate common risks and potential hazards.
They assist drivers in maintaining control, improving visibility, providing timely warnings, and minimizing the consequences of accidents. The collective impact of these safety devices significantly contributes to accident prevention and promotes overall road safety. Here are some standard safety devices found on trucks:
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS): ABS helps prevent wheel lock-up during braking, allowing the driver to maintain steering control and reduce stopping distances. It improves overall braking performance and stability.
Airbags: Similar to passenger vehicles, many trucks are equipped with airbags to protect them in a collision. These airbags are typically located in the steering wheel, dashboard, and side curtains to mitigate the risk of injury to the occupants.
Seat Belts: Seat belts are vital safety devices in trucks, restraining occupants during sudden stops or collisions. They help prevent ejection from the vehicle and minimize the impact of a crash on the occupants.
Stability Control Systems: These systems monitor vehicle stability and help prevent loss of control. They utilize sensors to detect skidding or rollover conditions and can apply individual wheel braking or adjust engine power to maintain stability.
Lane Departure Warning Systems: Lane departure warning systems use cameras or sensors to detect when a truck unintentionally drifts out of its lane. They alert the driver with visual, auditory, or haptic signals, helping prevent accidents caused by lane departure or inattention.
Blind Spot Detection Systems: Blind spot detection systems use sensors or cameras to monitor the truck’s blind spots. They alert the driver when other vehicles or objects are present in these areas, assisting in avoiding collisions during lane changes or turns.
Collision Mitigation Systems: These systems use advanced sensors and radar technologies to detect potential collisions and automatically apply the brakes or provide warnings to the driver. They help reduce the severity of accidents or prevent them altogether.
Backup Cameras: Backup cameras assist drivers in safely maneuvering their trucks in reverse by providing a clear view of the rear area. They help detect obstacles, pedestrians, or other vehicles, reducing the risk of collisions while backing up.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS): TPMS continuously monitors the tire pressure of the truck’s tires. It alerts the driver when the pressure drops below recommended levels, helping prevent tire blowouts and maintaining optimal tire performance.
Hiring a Dallas truck accident lawyer with a proven track record can provide numerous benefits and increase your chances of a successful outcome. Here are some reasons why you need such an attorney:
Competence in Truck Accident Laws: Truck accident cases involve complex laws and regulations specific to the trucking industry. A lawyer with experience in handling truck accident cases understands these laws, such as federal regulations, and can navigate them effectively on your behalf. They have in-depth knowledge of liability, insurance coverage, and other legal aspects crucial in building a strong case.
Investigation and Evidence Gathering: Truck accidents often require a thorough investigation to determine liability and gather evidence. A skilled truck accident lawyer will have the resources and connections to conduct a comprehensive investigation. They can work with accident reconstruction experts, gather witness statements, obtain surveillance footage, analyze the truck’s black box data, and collect other vital evidence to support your case.
Determining Liability: Identifying the responsible parties in a truck accident can be challenging. A seasoned lawyer will assess the circumstances of the accident and examine trucking companies’ records, driver logs, maintenance records, and other relevant documents to establish liability. They will know how to hold the negligent parties accountable, such as the truck driver, trucking company, manufacturers, or other potentially liable entities.
Dealing with Insurance Companies: Insurance companies representing trucking companies have teams of adjusters and lawyers who work to minimize their liability and payouts. Having a skilled truck accident lawyer by your side protects your rights. They can handle negotiations with the insurance company, advocate for fair compensation, and fight against any tactics used to devalue or deny your claim.
Maximizing Compensation: A seasoned Texas truck accident lawyer understands the damages you may be entitled to, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and future rehabilitation costs. They will work to calculate and maximize your compensation, considering the immediate and long-term impact of the accident on your life.
Trial Experience: While many truck accident victims opted to settle outside court, some may require litigation. A lawyer with trial experience can skillfully represent you in court, presenting your case to a judge and jury if necessary. Their courtroom experience and knowledge of litigation strategies can be invaluable in achieving a favorable outcome.
Peace of Mind: Dealing with the aftermath of semi truck accidents can be overwhelming and stressful. Hiring a reputable truck accident lawyer allows you to focus on your recovery while they handle, the insurance company, tuck accident claims and the legal complexities of your case. Knowing that a skilled professional protects your rights and best interests, you can have peace of mind.
The duration of a truck accident lawsuit can vary significantly depending on several factors. Given these factors, truck accident lawsuits can take months to several years to resolve. It is crucial to consult with an experienced truck accident attorney who can provide guidance, evaluate the specific circumstances of your case, and offer insights into the potential timeline based on their experience. While it is challenging to provide an exact timeline, here are some factors that can influence the length of a truck accident lawsuit:
Investigation: The initial investigation phase involves gathering evidence, analyzing accident reports, reviewing medical records, interviewing witnesses, and reconstructing the accident. The case’s complexity and the evidence availability can affect the duration of this stage.
Settlement Negotiations: Parties may engage in settlement negotiations to resolve without going to trial. The duration of negotiations depends on the willingness of both parties to reach a fair agreement and the complexity of the case.
Filing the Lawsuit: If a settlement cannot be reached, the injured party may file a lawsuit. The time it takes to file a lawsuit and proceed to the following stages can vary depending on the court’s schedule and workload.
Discovery: the phase where both parties exchange information, present evidence, and take depositions. This process can be lengthy, especially if extensive evidence or multiple parties are involved.
Pre-trial Motions: Either party may file motions to request specific actions from the court, such as dismissing a claim or excluding evidence. The time it takes for the court to address these motions can impact the overall timeline.
Trial Preparation: Preparing for trial involves strategizing, consulting with truck accident lawyers, and gathering additional evidence. The complexity of the case and the availability of expert witnesses can affect the duration of this stage.
Trial: The trial itself can vary in length depending on the case’s complexity, the number of witnesses, and the court’s schedule. Some trials can be completed in a few days, while others may take several weeks or months.
Appeals: If either party is dissatisfied with the trial outcome, they may choose to appeal the decision. The appellate process can extend the overall duration of the lawsuit.
If the truck accident was not your fault, you may be eligible to seek compensation for your damages. In Texas, the fault is a crucial factor in determining liability. Consulting with a personal injury attorney specializing in truck accidents can help you understand your legal options and guide you through pursuing a claim against the at-fault party.
A Dallas truck accident lawyer can provide legal guidance, conduct investigations, determine liability, negotiate with insurance companies, calculate and maximize compensation, represent you in court if needed, and offer support throughout the process. They protect your rights, help you make informed decisions, and handle the legal complexities, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
You can still receive treatment after a truck accident even without health insurance. Options include utilizing personal injury protection or medical payment coverage from your auto insurance, seeking treatment on a lien basis, exploring government programs like Medicaid, negotiating with healthcare providers for discounts or payment plans, and consulting with a personal injury attorney for guidance on covering medical expenses and seeking compensation. Prioritize your health and consider these options to receive the necessary treatment.
The amount you can recover in a big truck accident case in Dallas, Texas, depends on various factors, including the severity of your injuries, the extent of property damage, the impact on your daily life, and the degree of fault assigned to each party involved. Damages that may be recoverable include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, rehabilitation costs, and future medical expenses. A skilled truck accident lawyer can assess your case’s circumstances and help you seek maximum compensation
In Texas, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit, including truck accident cases, is generally two years from the accident date. However, exceptions or circumstances could affect the timeline, so it’s important to consult with a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to ensure compliance with the appropriate deadlines and preserve your legal rights. Failing to file within the statute of limitations could result in losing the opportunity to seek compensation.
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