Standing up to Trucking Companies for Injured Accident Victims!
The first area of concern for you when a semi-truck crashes into your car is to ensure that the required medical attention is provided to everyone involved. The chaos that follows such an incident usually results in disorientation and trauma. You may get a lot of stress and worries in the hours and days that follow, but often, this is just the beginning of a long journey that follows. Once you are in better health, you must get your deserved truck accident victim financial compensation.
Different players and factors are involved in a commercial truck crash, making the recovery of compensation after the incident even more complex than when a noncommercial driver is involved in the accident. When you have the right accident law firm having your back, there is a high chance that you will receive every rightful cent from the negligent party and their company.
Our team of lawyers has been representing truck accident victims for many years, and the outcomes have been very pleasing. We understand the working of such cases, fight as much as we can for your case, and no trucking company is intimidating enough for us. For further information and assistance, call our office right away!
10 things to Consider After a Truck Accident:
On meeting a truck accident, the first question popping anyone’s mind is whether they should call an attorney or not. The answer to this is an undoubted YES, as there is nothing to lose by scheduling a free consultation to evaluate the case and rights you got on your part.
However, there are several other questions that must be answered to understand the size and scope of your specific incident claim. Following is a list of some questions we usually ask during a consultation:
- Was there a casualty in the incident?
- Did you get any injuries? If so, how serious are they?
- How much damage was caused to your vehicle?
- Was there any police involvement? Was the truck driver arrested cited by them?
- Do you have any bills of medical assistance for the injuries stemming from this particular incident?
- Is your insurance covering your medical costs or has refused to do so?
- Is there a need for any future medical assistance for your injuries?
- Did you lose any work or income due to the injuries in this incident?
- Can you resume working again?
- Are there any lasting impairments that occurred due to the injuries?
When these questions are answered, we get an idea about the compensation that you may be entitled to under the truck accident claim.
Determine Truck Accident Liability
To answer other questions after your accident, a lawyer can provide you assistance in that regard. These questions may include those like what was the exact reason causing the crash? These complicated must be answered appropriately in order to receive the full compensation you deserve for your losses. Our law firm is equipped with the methods and tools needed to identify the reason for the crash and also prove the other party’s negligence.
The laws and regulations must be abided by the commercial truckers, which are not applicable to other drivers and vehicles like cars, making the job of a trucker even more difficult. There must be a full understanding of safety and that safety is dependent on compliance with the laws and regulations of trucking, for anyone involved in the industry. Dangerous collisions and resulting injuries may be caused if there is a violation of such laws and regulations.
Laws, rules, and regulations may be violated by trucking companies or their drivers negligently, the following is a discussion about this.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Regulation
Any trucks involved in interstate business within the US must abide by these federal regulations. They are applicable to all semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, tanker trucks, buses, and hazmat trucks among multiple others. The following regulations must be complied with by the owners and drivers of trucks; else, they might get involved in causing serious injuries.
Health Certificate: in order to renew or obtain a new CDL, the driver must get examined medically and receive a health certificate signed by a qualified health professional. Any drivers who are unfit and have suffered from seizures, heart attacks, or any other serious health issues while driving will most probably crash. Moreover, there are certain medical conditions that may even prevent drivers from operate huge vehicles like trucks appropriately.
Commercial driver’s license: Anyone driving a commercial vehicle must have a CDL – commercial driver’s license. Moreover, there are certain vehicle types that require special licensing or training as well. A company letting any unlicensed or untrained person drive a commercial truck can easily get involved in a crash.
Weight and size of the truck: The maximum weight of fully loaded commercial trucks are regulated by FMCSA, which is based on the type and size of the truck, including axles numbers on the truck. The weight of any commercial truck can not be more than 80,000lbs. an overloaded truck can not be stopped easily as it is prone to jackknife incidents.
Distracted driving: this is an epidemic prevalent among most drivers in the US today. Commercial drivers driving for long hours are specifically tempted to use smartphones or engage in other distracting activities to entertain themselves, putting the lives of those on the road at risk. There is, however, a prohibition for such activities under the law, and drivers are only allowed to make calls pushing a single button or using technologies that are completely hands-free.
Service hours: another serious issue in the US trucking industry today is fatigued driving, where drivers are under serious pressures to make timely deliveries. The service hours are also strictly regulated by the FMCSA, violation of which leads to fatigued driver incidents.
Inspections: when a commercial truck is not able to work appropriately, the driver may suddenly lose control over it and crash. Regular inspections are made compulsory by FMCSA by drivers and their companies to avoid this issue. The truck must be inspected thoroughly before embarking on a long trip to avoid any issues on the road.
Impaired driving: impaired driving has a lot of danger involved in truck drivers specifically. Therefore there are many strict standards for this than those for regular drivers. Drivers have half the legal limit than regular drivers and must undergo regular alcohol and drug testing to identify any drugs contributing or contributed to any crash.
If we successfully prove that a trucking company or truck driver is responsible for the incident by violating regulations of FMCSA, it becomes much easier to prove your deserved compensation and recover it for you from the negligent party(s).
Texas State Traffic Law Violations
Anyone driving a commercial motor vehicle is expected to abide by the Texas traffic laws strictly. This may be confusing for many drivers passing through Texas, but most codes are common for many states where the major difference is with speed posted. Abiding by Texas laws is just as easy as doing so for any other state for the drivers.
There is a belief among commercial drivers that these laws are not applicable to them. However, any truck driver violating a certain rule jeopardizes the safety of everyone present there. There are some common examples of violated traffic rules leading to truck incidents, like:
- Reckless driving
- Failing to signal
- Running to stop signs or red lights
- Illegal passing
- Aggressive driving
There may be severe injuries resulting in serious injuries where there are more egregious law violations. Truck drivers can get involved in behaviors like drag racing, vehicular manslaughter, road rage, and driving under the influence that is extremely dangerous and are prime causes of most incidents.
If a driver is found guilty for any of these, they will end up with a criminal charge and devastating damages due to the victims of the accident. When a driver is convicted by the court for violation of law or safety rule, it can be helpful in a related personal injury case filed by the victim. Our law firms have got the right expertise for examining police reports and criminal records and determine the kind of evidence needed for the protection of your rights.
Other Types of Negligence
It is not always necessary that trucking companies are involved in law violations. Other negligent acts may also become the basis for liability on them for a truck accident claim, like:
- Improper supervision of drivers
- Hiring drivers having a record of driving dangerously
- Inappropriate truck maintenance
- Fatigued driving
- Distractions during driving that may not be law violating per se
However, there is always a possibility that it is tough to demonstrate that the trucking company and truck driver held liable for the losses you faced due to their negligence of the types mentioned above, leading to the incident.
Trucking companies with strict liability
Many times, truck drivers do not inform their employer and make dangerous decisions. Nevertheless, even in such cases where the entire fault is of the driver, their employer company may have to share part of the responsibility of the incident, under a legal concept called respondeat superior that puts strong liability on companies for their employees’ negligent behavior.
Companies usually have larger assets and insurance policies than the individual driver; you should identify when it is good to put the liability on the company for your accident.
Our legal team is well versed in identifying the liable parties to make sure you recover most of the amount deserved by you for any loss you incurred.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Laws Governing Truck Accident Claims in Houston, Texas?
There isn’t much difference in the laws governing people driving cars and those governing truck accident claims. However, the major difference lies in the matter of trucking accidents. In order to win these cases, it is highly essential to have a Houston truck accident lawyer by your side. For most companies, there is a requirement to maintain a proper log for the truck where proper vehicle maintenance is included and mentioned. Logbooks must be present with individual truckers and companies with driver training, which includes many items that are carried on their trailers or rigs. If they have not undergone appropriate training, it can be very dangerous to put them behind the wheels. It is highly important to ensure that the driver has slept well and has not taken a lot of runs. All such things must be mentioned in the logbook and can be used for any case. There are governors for trucking companies who regulate truck speeds while the GPS systems inform them about the exact location of any truck. All such things are imperative for a Houston truck accident lawyer to assist them in developing a case that maximizes your compensation.
What does the difference in the Legal Process of Accidents involve Big Rigs?
The main difference lies in the fact that now you are dealing with large companies having their individual case adjustors or even external insurance adjustors. Many such firms have proper monitoring of the outflow being made on their claim as they usually have ‘self-insured retention’, and any bits of money ranging from $50,000 to even $1 million is all coming from their own pockets before getting paid by the insurance. Such cases are monitored very closely, and the companies will not pay unless the Houston truck accident lawyer has full knowledge of what you are up to.
How To Prove The Commercial Trucking Company is Liable in a Truck Accident?
One of the biggest facts to prove s that the person working for them is actually their employee and not an external contractor. If you are able to prove that they were not trained properly or were performing fatigued driving, these are all the prerequisites that must be met by any trucking company before putting their vehicles out on the road and can put them in big trouble. Other factors leading to such incidents are underinflated tires or tires in bad shape with any other issues. The brakes may not have been maintained and need replacement or repairs. Perhaps one of the greater issues is that these vehicles need a lot of distance compared to a regular vehicle to stop. These vehicles also have hard visibility for others.
Should a Police Report be filed After An Accident Involving an 18-Wheeler?
A police report must be filed regardless of the type of vehicle involved in the incident. It is very vital to get proof of accidents occurring and getting it thoroughly inspected by police officers. There are many instances where the victims have not filed a police report where an 18-wheeler is involved, being of the view that it can be handled by them. However, it has been observed that with such cases, companies and insurance companies do not pay for any personal injury or property damage as there is no authentic, official source of investigation for the incident; therefore, regardless of the vehicle type involved, a report must be filed immediately.
What Happens When an 18-Wheeler Jackknifes on The Highway?
A common cause of truck injury incidents is a tractor-trailer jackknife. These can occur when a large truck’s front powered wheels lock up while the rear wheels continue to move towards the truck’s front. This causes the driver to lose vehicle control and, in some cases, even cause the big rig or semi-truck to roll over if the truck has been traveling at high speed at the time of occurrence. There are a number of causes to jackknifes, which include snow, rain, ice, or any other slipping hazard present on the road. When the drivers are forced to use any evasive maneuvers for dodging the road hazard ahead, they may be at risk of jackknifing.
In such situations, the driver’s training, attentiveness, and skill becomes highly critical to avoid the incident. There are multiple options with the truck drivers to break their vehicles – lock the steering axle brakes, trailer axles, or drive axles. The decision making of the driver comes in to play here as they must decide what to lock according to the situation they are in, to incur the least damage to others on the road.
Claims Against Careless or Negligently-Trained Truck Drivers
Truck drivers who don’t have the proper training for driving vehicles in such dangerous situations, they, along with their employer companies, may become liable for the injuries caused to victims of major truck crashes.
Make Sure You are not Dealing with Truck Drivers on your Own!
Even where the liability is clearly evident, trucking companies and their insurance companies will do anything possible to get out of the case and avoid paying compensation amounts. Their reputations and bottom lines are hurt, which is why they try to intimidate the victims of truck incidents and decrease the claim value. For this reason, it is essential that you have an experienced and efficient lawyer on your side who knows what they are fighting for and continue to do so till the very end.
There are many resources with trucking companies and their insurance companies to threaten you and offer substantially low compensation compared to what you deserve. But you have to ensure that you do not get played by this and have a strong attorney by your side. Call our office right away, book your free consultation, and get free of any stress or worries about your Houston Truck Accident claim!