Accidents involving large trucks are among the most serious and deadly in the United States. An automobile does not stand a chance against an 18-wheeler weighing up to 80,000 pounds. The risk of being in an accident involving a large truck or big rig is particularly acute here in California; we have the highest volume of truck traffic of any state in the United States. In 2004, there were 415 fatalities within the State of California in accidents involving large trucks.
Selecting a Texas 18 Wheeler Accident Law Firm
Selecting a Texas 18 wheeler accident law firm is a very important step in a victim’s quest to seek civil justice after a semi-truck accident. There are law firms that practice extensively specifically in 18 wheeler accidents and helping victims pursue cases against truck drivers and trucking companies.
There are also defense law firms that have a practice built around defending trucking companies from claims by victims. You can be assured that even in the clearest case of liability, the insurance carrier for the trucking company will mount a defense and will seek to shift the blame to others or even the victim.
A recent example would be an 18 wheeler accident in Texas, witnessed by numerous people who all indicated that the truck driver ran a red light and the victim’s light was green. Nevertheless, the trucking company came up with an “expert” who had the opinion that the accident was the fault of the victim. While some would say that the defense was in fact “frivolous” this serves in it as an example of what an insurance company and defense firm will do to protect the trucking company.
Therefore, it is very important to the victim or the victim’s family that they find the most reputable and credible Texas 18 wheeler accident law firm they can as early as possible after the truck wreck. A truck accident law firm that is hired early is in the best position to counteract the trucking companies’ attempts to blame others for the truck accident.
Finding witnesses, obtaining photographs and documenting the scene as well as obtaining black box data from the truck can be incredibly important in defeating attempts by the insurance company to avoid paying fair and reasonable compensation to a victim or the victim’s family in a Texas wrongful death lawsuit.
It is a good idea to ask the law firm about their experiences and successes in handling Texas 18 wheeler accidents and request specific examples that were truck accident cases.
Finding the best truck accident lawyer can have a significant impact on a truck accident case.
Austin and Central Texas Short-Haul Truckers
More than 16,000 truckers serve the Austin area. Some of these truckers are low-paid independent contractors who routinely put off needed repairs and drive their big rigs in dangerous conditions despite the danger involved. Some of the trucks needing repairs have been driven more than 3 million miles. As a stopgap measure, many truckers will have new treads carved into their tires instead of replacing the tires with new ones.
Some truckers will perform dangerous and illegal maneuvers such as using the trailer’s brakes to stop particularly heavy loads when they deem their rig’s brakes “untrustworthy.” Many keep an eye out for Texas Highway Patrol (TxPDS) inspections, adding miles to their trips to avoid inspection sites.
Accidents involving commercial vehicles are not simply personal injury cases involving a larger vehicle. Specific laws and regulations govern the safety of commercial motor vehicles, and cases involving commercial vehicles have unique issues that require a thorough understanding of commercial vehicle regulations on both the federal and state level.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (Title 49, Parts 350-399) govern all vehicles engaged in interstate traffic. To view the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, click on the following link: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/fmcsr/fmcsrguide.asp?section_type=A
Drivers and their employers must keep logbooks, fuel receipts and other trip documentation for six months and vehicle maintenance records for a year. After an accident, some unscrupulous trucking companies alter or forge records, especially with respect to the number of hours driven.
Some truckers ignore federal regulations limiting the number of hours they may drive to 11 hours over a 14-hour period. They are also required to rest for 10 straight hours before returning to the road. A tired driver is a dangerous driver. When a tired driver is driving a poorly maintained vehicle, an accident is inevitable. According to a study released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in March of 2006, action or inaction by the driver of either the truck or other vehicle was cited as the critical reason for 88 percent of the crashes studied. To view a Press Release from the FMCSA about the study, click here http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/ltccs/default.asp?page=press
Common Factors Contributing to Truck Accidents
The following factors are frequently cited as factors contributing to accidents involving large trucks.
- Driver Fatigue
- Improperly Trained or Inexperienced Driver
- Driver Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
- Aggressive Driving
- Driver with a history of dangerous or reckless driving
- Speeding or driving too fast for road conditions
- Oversized or overloaded vehicle
- Unsafe reflectors, lights or other safety equipment on vehicle
- Poorly maintained brakes
- Poorly maintained vehicles
We are experienced in helping families pursue financial recovery following the wrongful death of a loved one. Additionally, we pursue maximum compensation for clients who have suffered serious personal injuries in a truck accident, such as:
- Truck driver negligence: Austin lawyers can file legal action after all types of truck driver negligence such as runaway trucks, trailers speeding, tailgating, wide turns, and driver fatigue.
- Defective roadways: Problems with the roadway, especially in construction zones, can cause truck accidents. A truck crash that stems from a defective roadway often takes significant investigation to uncover the road problem.
- Garbage truck accidents: Garbage truck accidents often cause serious injuries such as brain injuries, spine injuries, and other internal injuries.
- Transit vehicle accidents: Public vehicles throughout Austin are often involved in accidents. Our lawyers are available to assist with the legal process following a transit truck crash.
- Overloaded trucks with falling debris: Falling debris is a huge hazard for other cars on the road. Truck drivers must ensure that their load is properly secured at all times.
- Truck company manufacturer negligence: Truck companies and manufacturers have a responsibility to maintain all truck parts and prevent against defective parts.
- Pedestrian and cyclist injuries: Truck drivers often have limited visibility and can harm both pedestrians and cyclists on the road.
- Driving a truck safely: There are techniques to driving truck safety and avoiding a truck crash.
Accidents Involving Large Trucks Require Qualified Legal Representation
Accidents involving tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, or other large trucks require specialized knowledge of the issues unique to such cases. The success of your case depends not only on the merits of the case but on your attorney’s understanding of both federal and Texas law applicable to trucking accidents. You need an attorney who understands the complexities and nuances of the law and has experience in dealing with these types of cases.
It is important to act promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the cause of the accident, and to file a lawsuit prior to the deadline imposed by the statute of limitations. If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident with a large truck, or a bus or commercial vehicle, contact us for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.