Dealing with the complexities of a trucking accident lawsuit as you and your family are dealing with the potentially life-changing injuries resulting from your accident can seem overwhelming. Moving quickly and engaging an experienced and professional trucking accident attorney is key to preserving your rights and getting the legal help you need and deserve.
Involved in a Trucking Accident
Getting into an accident with an 18-wheeler is one of the scariest–and potentially most dangerous–situations that any Texas driver can find themselves in. Over 400,000 accidents occur nationwide every year involving large trucks, and recent year averages have shown that about 10 people die daily in an accident with an 18-wheeler or other big truck. These numbers are frightening enough; when you consider the size of the trucks involved, however, you can get an even greater sense of the real risk of severe injury or death that drivers face when involved in trucking accidents.
Large trucks are intimidating for other automobile drivers. Due to their size and how much of the road they take up, it is not hard to see why. Therefore, many drivers can relate to clenching the steering wheel and waiting for a large truck to pass. A truck driver must drive safely at an appropriate speed and be fully focused and alert when behind the wheel.
Truck drivers who get behind the wheel may not realize how serious their job is and how much danger one mistake can cause for other drivers close by. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that more than 13 percent of fatalities that happened on roads in the United States had at least one semi-truck involved. However, certain criteria must be met to determine if you have a workable truck accident case.
For more information on your case and to find out if you have a realistic truck accident suit, set up a free consultation with a lawyer from Cesar Ornelas Injury Law. We are experienced, well-trained, and highly educated on truck accident cases and the laws surrounding truck drivers.
When Is the Right Time to Hire a San Antonio Truck Accident Attorney?
While we believe that you should seek medical care and begin your healing process immediately after being involved in an accident with a big rig, getting in touch with a large truck accident attorney as quickly as possible is a top recommendation from our firm. This is because these cases can become complex and take some time to reach a settlement.
The Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code 16.003 states that you can wait up to two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit for your injuries. However, we still suggest making it a top priority to set up an appointment with a lawyer as soon as possible.
We understand that you are in the middle of your recovery process, but you may miss your filing date if you keep putting it off, and your bills may continue to add up. The sooner we can begin looking into your claim, the quicker you may be able to receive financial assistance to cover your economic and non-economic losses. We take every case presented to us very seriously and will guide you through the entire process from start to finish to ensure you know what to expect and what to do next.
The Most Common Causes of Trucking Accidents
Professional truck drivers undergo specialized training aimed at ensuring they know and can follow proper safety protocols and regulations to protect both themselves and other drivers on the road. However, too often truck drivers and the companies that employ them cut corners and place profits ahead of road safety. When this happens, an 18-wheeler accident is often not far behind.
One common cause of trucking accidents is fatigued drivers. While truck drivers do have strict guidelines limiting the maximum number of hours they can drive in any period, many drivers violate these hours of service regulations, leading to tired and distracted driving. The shortage of truck drivers in Texas and across the country has led many companies to hire truck drivers who are not fully qualified to operate an 18-wheeler, increasing the chances that they’ll lose control and cause a crash.
Problems with the truck itself can also lead to accidents. A failure by the trucking company to keep their fleet of 18-wheelers in proper working order by performing basic maintenance such as brake inspections, tire changes, and more can put everyone on the road at risk.
Other common causes of trucking accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol can be a common cause of many truck accidents when truck drivers get behind the wheel after consuming any kind of controlled substance. Keep in mind that commercial truck drivers also have a lower blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.04 than other drivers who have a limit of 0.08, so truck drivers could face criminal charges when they have a BAC that is only half the regular limit.
- Reckless driving is possible when a truck driver operates with clear disregard for the safety of other motorists.
- Distracted driving is a possible cause when a truck driver is attempting to use their personal cell phone or possibly even navigational equipment while behind the wheel.
- Poor cargo loading can cause a great many accidents because uneven loads can affect a driver’s ability to control a truck during certain perilous turns.
- Inclement weather can be a factor when heavy rain or snow is affecting the roads for all drivers and a truck driver does not operate safely in such conditions.
- Speeding is a very common factor because a commercial truck driver operating in excess of posted speed limits will not have sufficient time to come to a complete stop in emergency situations.
How Can Truck Accident Attorneys Help?
A large truck accident lawyer works hard and tirelessly for their clients to ensure they understand all the legal steps a truck accident claim goes through. They also assess all the facts of your case to see what caused the accident, whose fault it was, how to prove negligence, and determine the amount of compensation you are owed. Once the lawyer has analyzed your claim and decided it will be successful against the defendant, they will begin looking at all the factors, information, and evidence you have provided.
A few pieces of key information that they will need to see are medical reports, police officer notes, statements from multiple witnesses, photos from the scene, video footage of when the wreck occurred, and more. This evidence will support them when they show that the defendant’s behavior caused your accident, and it will help them build a sturdy case, guaranteeing you the compensation you deserve.
It is suggested that some clients go through settlement negotiations, while others are recommended to go through a court hearing process. Your experienced attorney will listen to your expected outcome and not steer you in the wrong direction, as they know and understand that every case is unique and consists of different circumstances.
Regardless of which legal options you decide to take, a truck accident attorney will be by your side throughout the process and ensure that the results are fair and reasonable. The responsible parties that put you in this predicament will be held accountable, and you will receive compensation to live your life without added financial stressors.
The Ins and Outs of Truck Accident Lawsuits
A truck accident lawsuit is filed when an individual has been involved in an accident with a semi-truck. By filing this type of lawsuit, the victim is seeking compensation for the losses that have resulted from the accident. For example, some of the common types of losses we see in these cases are medical bills, surgery costs, physical therapy charges, occupational therapy charges, added services to complete daily duties, modifications to the home, lost income, counseling costs, and more.
Non-economic losses are also likely to be seen in truck accident lawsuits, which include pain, suffering, trauma, loss of companionship, and more. Do not think losses that are not financially related are less important because they are still losses you have experienced since your accident occurred.
Common Truck Accidents Handled by Our Law Firm
Most of the time, when a truck accident occurs, the trucker will survive, but the other automobile driver will not. It is risky for smaller vehicles to drive around large trucks, but there is no way to avoid this, as truckers and automobile drivers must share the roads. The FMCSA mentions that 72 percent of people killed in truck accidents were smaller vehicle drivers. There are several different ways that truck accidents can happen, but the following are the accidents we have handled the most:
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- T-bone accidents
- Jackknife accidents
- Wide turn accidents
- Sideswipe accidents
- Rollover accidents
Many factors may contribute to a truck accident. While truck drivers are caught speeding often, other factors are common among truck drivers involved in an accident. Below are a few of these common factors:
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Too heavy of a load
- Unable to control or stop the truck
- Hazardous or inclement weather (rain, snow, sleet, fog)
- Driving under the influence (drugs or alcohol)
- Unexpected curvy roads
What Types of Injuries are Common Among Truck Accident Victims?
The type of injuries that victims typically experience after surviving a truck accident is called catastrophic injuries. These injuries are usually unexpected and serious and lead to permanent disabilities. When a person has a catastrophic injury, their life as they know it will never be the same. They will most likely need to learn how to do their daily tasks in a new way and will need life-long help from their families, caregivers, and spouses. Here are some examples of catastrophic injuries that are common among truck accident survivors:
- Skull injuries
- Brain injuries
- Loss of limbs and amputations
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
Texas Laws Involving Big Rigs
There have been laws and regulations by the federal government regarding big rigs to reduce truck accidents. Texas is required to follow these laws just like any other state. The following are the laws and regulations that are currently in place:
- A trucker must have earned their commercial driver’s license and be at least 21 years old.
- Truckers must consent to medical exams to ensure they can do their jobs safely and healthily.
- Truck drivers are only permitted to work up to 70 hours per week unless they have had at least 34 hours of downtime.
- Truckers are required to take a 30-minute break during their 8-hour shifts.
- It is a requirement that either the trucker or the company employing them has at least $750,000 in liability insurance for the trucker in case an accident happens.
- All 18-wheelers must be taken care of, maintained, and checked regularly for defects and other issues.
These laws and regulations may seem simple and easy to follow. However, you may be surprised to learn that many companies try to cut costs by not always following them. This can lead to many accidents that could have been 100 percent preventable. Suppose an individual has been involved in a truck accident and any of the regulations mentioned above were not being followed. In that case, the individual will most likely have a successful case against the defendant or employer.
Get in Touch with a Truck Accident Lawyer at Cesar Ornelas Injury Law
Suppose you have recently experienced a truck accident that was not your fault. In that case, our SA truck accident attorneys at Cesar Ornelas Injury Law will gladly represent you and your case. We understand that you are going through a tough time and need to focus on healing, which is why we will make this process as effortless as possible. Call our law firm today or leave your information in this contact form, and a staff member will reach out to you at our earliest convenience.
We look forward to meeting you and helping you get the justice you deserve. No one should have to pay for medical bills or other expenses related to a truck accident caused by someone else. We will hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions so you can focus on recovery and not how you will pay the bills.