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What Are the Main Causes of Truck Accidents in Texas?

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Truck accidents are often caused by careless or reckless actions made by the truck driver or commercial trucking company. If one or more parties reasonably could have prevented your truck accident in Texas, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Learning about the most common causes of truck accidents can help you determine if you have grounds to bring a claim in Dallas.

Truck Driver Error

Driver error is the most frequent cause of commercial truck accidents in the U.S. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 4,862 fatal traffic accidents involved large trucks in 2018 alone. Driver-related factors are the leading cause of these wrecks. Some of the most common mistakes that truck drivers make are:

  • Speeding
  • Following too closely
  • Aggressive driving
  • Driving while distracted
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Making unsafe lane changes
  • Unsafe passing
  • Using the incorrect braking techniques
  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Driving recklessly

Trucking companies are responsible for the errors and mistakes of their drivers through a legal theory known as vicarious liability, in most cases. Under federal law, this rule applies even when the truck driver is an independent contractor and not an employee of the company. Trucking companies have greater insurance coverage than individual drivers, in most cases. Holding the company responsible, therefore, can help you recover fair and full compensation.

Truck Driver Fatigue

Truck driver fatigue is a serious issue in this industry. Driving alone on overnight shifts, strange sleeping schedules and health problems such as sleep apnea increase the risk of driver fatigue in trucking compared to typical motor vehicle drivers. If a trucker is too tired to pay attention to the road or properly control the big rig, this can result in preventable collisions, such as rear-end accidents.

Lack of Proper Driver Training

A trucking company has a responsibility to ensure the reasonable safety of its drivers. The company must conduct background checks on job applicants and properly train its drivers before sending them out on the road. Cutting corners in driver hiring and training to save time or money can lead to dangerously incompetent or inexperienced truckers.

Violated Federal Safety Regulations

It is also a trucking company’s responsibility to obey all applicable federal and state safety laws. The FMCSA has rules in place to increase the safety of the commercial trucking industry, such as hours-of-service maximums, truck inspection and repair requirements, and cargo securement laws. Carelessly or knowingly violating any of these rules can increase the risk of a collision.

Poor Vehicle Maintenance

Lack of appropriate truck maintenance can lead to part breakdowns while on the road, including tire blowouts and brake failure. Equipment malfunctions can lead to a loss of vehicle control and related truck accidents. It is a trucking company’s responsibility to properly inspect, repair and maintain its fleet vehicles, as well as a truck driver’s duty to inspect the vehicle daily before driving.

Cargo Securement Problems

Cargo securement is a major part of commercial trucking. Whether the truck is towing a closed trailer or an open flatbed, the trucking company, cargo company, cargo loaders and others responsible for the cargo must follow certain procedures to make sure nothing falls off of the truck. In addition, cargo loaders must ensure the proper distribution of weight in the bed of a truck to prevent shifting in transit that could cause a rollover accident. The transport of hazardous materials also comes with special rules and procedures.

Did Someone Else Cause Your Truck Accident? Consult With a Lawyer in Dallas

If you suspect a truck driver, trucking company or another party of causing your truck accident in Texas through a preventable mistake, consult with a truck accident attorney right away. You may have the right to file a lawsuit against one or more parties in pursuit of justice in the form of financial compensation for your losses. An attorney can investigate your crash to determine fault, collect evidence against the defendant(s) and help you negotiate for the compensation that you need to move forward.

Posted by admin at 10:15 pm

What Are the Damages for Pain and Suffering in Truck Accident Cases?

Monday, August 23, 2021

A successful truck accident injury claim in Texas can result in damages paid for your related injuries and losses. Damages is the legal term for financial compensation. You may know that you are eligible for the reimbursement of your medical costs and vehicle repairs after a truck accident; you may not realize, however, that you could also recover for pain and suffering. Learn more about this category of damages to make sure that you request the full value of your claim.

What Types of Damages Can You List as Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering is also referred to as noneconomic damages. This is a type of financial award available to cover a plaintiff’s intangible losses associated with the accident. Truck accidents are not only about economic losses such as hospital bills; crash survivors also suffer a significant amount of personal grief, distress and anguish. The civil justice system allows victims to seek financial compensation for these losses, which may include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • Lost physical capabilities
  • Emotional distress
  • Trauma
  • Mental anguish
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Loss of daily enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Grief over wrongful death

Another word for noneconomic damages is general damages. It is given this term due to the fact that the average plaintiff will reasonably suffer these losses in such an accident. This is in contrast to specific damages, which is the term for the exact economic losses associated with a truck accident, such as medical bills and lost wages.

Proving pain and suffering is more difficult than proving economic damages. You will not have receipts giving an exact value for pain and suffering. Instead, proving this type of loss will take evidence such as witness testimony, testimony from your therapist or psychologist, a medical diagnosis for a mental health condition, photographs, videos, and an injury journal.

What Is the Average Pain and Suffering Award in a Truck Accident Case?

The pain and suffering associated with a truck accident can be immense. Many truck accidents are catastrophic due to the size and weight of the big rig. A catastrophic accident means that it causes detrimental damage to a victim, such as a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury with paralysis or the loss of a limb. Many truck accidents are also fatal.

There is no average pain and suffering amount awarded in a truck accident case. If an injured crash victim receives pain and suffering damages, the amount given will depend on factors unique to the specific case, such as the severity of the victim’s injuries. A jury has full discretion over the value of a pain and suffering award, meaning they can choose any amount deemed appropriate. The jury may or may not use an established method to calculate pain and suffering.

The pain and suffering endured as an injured victim or surviving loved one cannot be measured in dollars. Seeking compensation for your personal losses, however, is a form of justice against the at-fault party that can help you move forward. A fair award can allow you and your family to look toward the future with greater financial stability and peace of mind.

How Do You Get the Amount That You Deserve?

Pain and suffering is an important part of your truck accident lawsuit. This is often the amount that you get to keep after paying off your medical debts and attorney’s fees. The value of your pain and suffering can be substantial in a serious or catastrophic truck accident case. Be aware, however, that an insurance company may try to get you to settle for a low amount.

The best way to fight for the settlement or judgment award that your case demands is with assistance from an experienced truck accident attorney in Dallas. An attorney can help you better understand pain and suffering, calculate a fair amount, and negotiate a positive outcome on your behalf. An attorney can help you avoid settling for less than you deserve.

Posted by admin at 10:13 pm

How to Deal With Insurance Companies After a Truck Accident

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Insurance companies are for-profit. Although they advertise with slogans such as, “On Your Side,” they do not care about you as much as they care about their bottom lines. This is why it is important to understand how to deal with an insurance company after a truck accident. If you wish to obtain a fair settlement, take certain steps to protect your rights.

Be Polite But Guarded

You may know that an insurance company doesn’t want what is best for you, but you should still remain polite during conversations with insurance representatives and claims adjusters. Being rude or angry will not convince the insurance company to give you a better settlement. Be friendly during your conversations, while at the same time being wary of their tactics and conscious of protecting yourself.

Don’t Admit Fault

First, do not admit fault for the truck accident. Do not take accountability for the accident or say that you’re sorry, as this could be taken as an admittance of guilt. Even if you believe you played a role in the accident, something else may have also contributed, such as a dangerous roadway or distracted truck driver. Rather than admitting fault upfront and losing your right to recover, wait for an investigation to determine the cause of the crash.

Keep Your Answers Short and Simple

The insurance claims adjuster will begin the investigation by asking you questions about the truck accident. Keep in mind that the trucking company’s insurance carrier wants the truck company to win. Even if you are speaking to your own insurance provider to resolve your claim, they will want to diminish your payout as much as possible.

Rather than giving the insurance company too much information with long, narrative answers, keep your answers short and to the point. Give the facts of the case as you know them, such as the date and location of the crash, but do not speculate. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say this. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to a claims adjuster after a truck accident, you have the right to hire an attorney to communicate on your behalf.

Decline to Give a Recorded Statement

Requesting a recorded statement from you is a common tactic used by insurance companies to get you to say something that they can use against you later. If you are recorded as saying that your injuries aren’t very serious, for example, it can be more difficult to obtain fair compensation if you are diagnosed with further injuries later. Never say yes to giving a recorded statement to an insurance company. Instead, politely explain that you or your attorney will submit a written statement later.

Understand Your Rights

You have more power than you might realize during insurance claim negotiations after a truck accident. Although the insurance representative working on your claim may sound confident in an assessment of your losses or the value of your claim, this is a strategy to convince you to settle for less than you deserve. Disregard scare tactics, such as telling you that a settlement is the best or final offer. You always have the ability to negotiate for a better settlement value, even if that means taking your case to court.

Hire a Truck Accident Attorney for Assistance

Insurance companies are experts at devaluing claims and diminishing client payouts. Trucking companies are also practiced at using their significant resources to dismantle claims against them. For example, they often send rapid response teams to the scenes of truck accidents immediately – even before the police arrive – to investigate and collect evidence. While these teams are allegedly unbiased, they work for the trucking company and may interfere with your ability to collect evidence of your own.

The best way to level the playing field between you and an insurance company after a truck accident is by hiring a truck accident attorney in Dallas. An attorney understands the tactics used by insurance companies to avoid liability and large payouts and can help you navigate your claim for the best possible outcome. An insurance company is more likely to take you seriously and treat your claim fairly if you hire a lawyer to represent you.

Posted by admin at 10:09 pm

How Driver Fatigue Can Lead to Truck Accidents

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Most drivers know that they should not drive tired. Yet many do not realize that they are too drowsy to drive until it’s too late. Other drivers, such as truck drivers, may be under tight deadlines and working under pressure from their bosses to keep driving despite fatigue. It is extremely dangerous for anyone to drive a motor vehicle while drowsy – especially when operating a large truck.

Why Is Truck Driver Fatigue Such a Big Problem?

More and more drivers of all types are guilty of driving while fatigued due to busy schedules and a culture of hyper-productivity. Commercial truck drivers, however, are even more likely to drive tired than passenger vehicle drivers due to a range of risk factors related to their jobs. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported that 13 percent of commercial drivers were fatigued at the time of their accidents. A truck driver can experience fatigue because of:

  • Strenuous work activities
  • Pressure to meet a deadline
  • Violated hours-of-service regulations
  • A lack of adequate sleep
  • Odd sleeping schedules
  • Overnight drives
  • Driving alone/boredom
  • Caffeine or sugar crashes
  • Health problems such as sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that can interrupt a good night’s sleep with respiratory issues. Truck drivers are at an increased risk of developing sleep apnea due to bad health habits, such as sitting sedentary all day, eating unhealthy foods at rest stops and smoking. One study found that 28 percent of truck drivers suffer from sleep apnea. Many cases are undiagnosed, meaning the driver may not realize that he or she has a higher risk of driving while fatigued due to interrupted sleep.

What Effects Does Fatigue Have on Driving a Large Truck?

Driver fatigue can lead to truck accidents by compromising the driver’s ability to safely and appropriately control a commercial truck. Commercial drivers must receive special training and licenses to operate big rigs. This is because large trucks are more difficult to control than smaller and lighter passenger cars. They require special braking and handling techniques. If a truck driver is fatigued, it can interfere with his or her ability to drive through three main effects:

  • Physical. Fatigue can take a physical toll on a truck driver. It can cause blurred vision, frequent yawning, muscle weakness, lack of coordination and diminished reflexes. Operating a large truck is a very physical activity. If fatigue causes physical problems, the driver may lose control of the truck.
  • Cognitive. Tiredness also has a cognitive impact on a truck driver. Trying to drive through fatigue can come with hazards such as reduced reaction times, impaired judgment, confusion or disorientation, drifting off, daydreaming, or brain fog. Being unable to dedicate 100 percent of the driver’s attention to the road increases the risk of a truck accident.
  • Emotional. A truck driver who is overtired or exhausted may experience emotional changes, such as increased irritation and susceptibility to road rage. A tired truck driver may be more likely to drive aggressively, tailgate, speed or have an emotional breakdown while driving.

The effects of truck driver fatigue are similar to drug or alcohol intoxication. Driving while tired increases the risk of a truck driver behaving carelessly or recklessly behind the wheel, as well as the driver being unable to react quickly enough to prevent a collision. This is why it is important for truck drivers to follow all the rules and take the necessary precautions to avoid fatigue at work.

What to Do if a Drowsy Driver Caused Your Truck Accident

If you believe that the truck driver involved in your truck accident in Dallas was fatigued and that this is why the collision took place, consult with an attorney for a professional opinion. A truck accident lawyer in Dallas can carefully investigate your accident and search for signs of truck driver fatigue, such as violated federal regulations or a medical diagnosis of sleep apnea. Then, your lawyer can help you go up against the truck driver and/or trucking company in pursuit of fair financial compensation for your losses.

Posted by admin at 10:04 pm

Can You Get Punitive Damages After a Truck Accident in Texas?

Friday, August 13, 2021

You may be eligible for financial compensation as a victim or a surviving loved one of a truck accident in Texas. While no dollar amount can take back what happened to you, a fair settlement or judgment award can give you the money that you need to put your life back together and move forward. One category of damages that you may not be aware of is punitive damages. Punitive damages are available in limited circumstances.

What Are Punitive Damages?

The purpose of an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit is to reimburse an injured victim for the losses suffered in an accident. The financial compensation awarded to a victim to make him or her whole again is known as compensatory damages. Compensatory damages make up for a victim’s financial and personal losses, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are awarded to punish the defendant.

Punitive damages are exemplary. This means that they come in addition to compensatory damages. Punitive damages are above and beyond economic and noneconomic damages. This is why a plaintiff must prove his or her eligibility for punitive damages before receiving this type of award. The plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney must demonstrate that punitive damages are warranted based on the circumstances.

What Does Texas Law Say About Punitive Damages?

The laws surrounding punitive damages in a truck accident case differ from state to state. Some states do not allow for the recovery of punitive damages at all. Most, however, will grant an injured victim punitive damages if a specific set of circumstances exists. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 41.003 states that exemplary damages may only be recovered if the claimant can prove using clear and convincing evidence that his or her injuries resulted from:

  • Fraud. Fraud means to knowingly or recklessly make a false representation to the plaintiff. For example, a trucking company may be guilty of fraud if it knowingly destroys evidence of a violated safety regulation.
  • Malice. The law defines malice as specific intent by the defendant to substantially injure the claimant or cause serious harm, such as a truck driver experiencing road rage and intentionally ramming another car.
  • Gross negligence. Gross negligence is a defendant’s disregard for an extreme degree of risk to the plaintiff. If an action is foreseeably dangerous but the defendant proceeds anyway, with a conscious indifference to the safety or welfare of others, this is gross negligence.

In general, if you wish to get punitive damages after a truck accident in Texas, you or your attorney must show that the defendant(s) – such as the truck driver or trucking company – was reckless, had a wanton disregard for the safety of others or maliciously intended to harm you and that this is what caused your injury. Your lawyer will need to establish this using a preponderance of the evidence, or enough evidence to prove fault as more likely than not to be true.

How Much Are Punitive Damages Worth?

If your lawyer makes a strong case for punitive damages, a judge or jury may grant this award in an amount deemed appropriate based on your circumstances. There is no average amount in punitive damages that will automatically apply to your case. Instead, values are determined on a case-by-case basis, according to factors such as the nature of the defendant’s actions and the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries.

Is There a Cap on Punitive Damages in Texas?

The courts have full discretion over how much to grant in punitive damages, if any. However, the amount cannot exceed Texas’ cap on punitive damages. State law says that a punitive damage award may not exceed the greater of $200,000 or twice the amount of the victim’s economic damages plus an equal amount of noneconomic damages (up to a maximum of $750,000).

For more information about how much your truck accident lawsuit might be worth, including in punitive damages, consult with a truck accident lawyer in Dallas.

Posted by admin at 10:01 pm

5 Steps You Should Take After a Truck Accident in Texas

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Being involved in any type of traffic accident in Texas can be frightening and confusing. It is normal to feel overwhelmed and not know exactly what you are supposed to do in the aftermath of a crash. This is especially true in a serious or catastrophic accident, such as one involving a commercial truck. If you need to, write down the following steps and keep the list in your glovebox for emergencies. Taking the correct steps immediately after a truck accident can go a long way toward protecting your legal rights as a victim.

Report It to the Police

Always call the police after a truck accident in Texas. State law requires immediate crash reporting to local law enforcement if the accident involves property damage in excess of $1,000, or injuries or deaths. Most truck accidents meet this threshold. Even if you’re not sure if your crash is serious enough to require reporting, calling the police can help you by creating an official accident report with key details about the crash. Your insurance company will ask for a copy of this report later to process your claim.

Exchange Information With the Truck Driver

While you are waiting for the police to arrive, do what you can to gather information. If you are too badly injured, let the police get this information for you while you’re assisted by paramedics. If possible, however, you should always exchange information with the other driver. This includes your full name, address and insurance information. It can also be helpful to write down the truck number and name of the trucking company (often found on the side of the cab of the truck), as well as the vehicle registration and license plate numbers. You will use this information for your insurance claim.

Take Pictures at the Crash Scene

If possible, take pictures at the scene of the truck accident before you leave to go to a hospital. Photographs and videos of the crash before it is cleaned up can provide important information about why the crash took place, such as photographs of a dangerous pothole in the road or a blown-out tire on the truck. If you are too badly injured to take photos yourself, ask someone else at the scene to take them for you, such as the reporting police officer, a friend or family member, or an eyewitness. Writing down eyewitness information can also be useful.

Go to the Hospital Immediately

Never delay in seeking medical care after a traffic accident. Even if you don’t have health insurance, you’re in a hurry to get somewhere or you feel fine, it is imperative to take the time to see a doctor right away. Delaying medical care can make it more difficult to obtain fair compensation from an insurance company, even if you didn’t cause the accident, as the insurer may allege that you failed to mitigate your injuries by waiting too long to see a doctor. Keep in mind that some injuries have delayed symptoms due to the adrenaline of the crash. Getting an immediate medical evaluation can diagnose a hidden injury.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Call your auto insurance company as soon as possible – ideally within 24 hours of the truck accident. Explain that you were involved in an accident with a commercial truck and provide the basic details about the crash, such as the time, date and location. Do not admit fault for the accident, however, and do not agree to give the insurance claims adjuster a recorded statement.

Remember that your insurance company is not on your side. The insurer wants to save itself money by minimizing your payout. Whether or not you manage to carry out all of these steps, a truck accident lawyer in Dallas can help you with an accident claim. A lawyer can assist you with the necessary processes while protecting your rights. A lawyer can also negotiate with an insurance company to increase your chances of securing fair compensation.

Posted by admin at 9:59 pm

What Is the Average Settlement of a Truck Accident Case?

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

There is no “average” settlement for a truck accident case in Texas. The settlements won for these collisions vary considerably, making any type of average or median number a poor indication of what your specific claim could be worth. Rather than looking at average settlement awards given to truck accident victims, gain an idea of what your particular case might be worth by analyzing the damages you and your family suffered.

Average Settlement of a Truck Accident Case

Common Damages in a Truck Accident Case

“Damages” has two meanings in personal injury law. It refers to the losses you suffered in the accident as well as the financial compensation that may be available to you. In your initial settlement demand letter to an insurance company, you must list all of the damages you suffered in connection to the crash, with corresponding sums you are demanding as compensation for these losses. A truck accident lawyer in Dallas can help you create a full list of your economic and noneconomic damages.

  • Long-term medical expenses. The severe nature of most truck accidents means weeks or months of necessary medical care. In the most severe cases, a victim may need lifelong treatments, such as rehabilitation and physical therapy.
  • Lost wages. A truck accident can take a victim out of work temporarily while he or she is in the hospital or permanently if the accident causes disability. Compensation for lost past wages as well as lost future capacity to earn may be available.
  • Damaged or totaled vehicle. Most collisions between 18-wheelers and passenger cars result in the latter being totaled. The immense property damage caused by a truck accident may take thousands of dollars to repair.
  • Pain and suffering. An injured accident victim has the right to request compensation for intangible losses related to the collision, such as emotional distress, mental anguish, post-traumatic stress disorder, fear, anxiety and lost quality of life.
  • Wrongful death If someone dies in a truck accident in Dallas, his or her surviving family members can seek financial compensation. A settlement for wrongful death could include funeral and burial costs, medical bills, and lost income.

Your family can recover past and future losses related to a commercial truck accident in Texas. The types and extent of your damages are what will determine how much your truck accident case is worth.

Although many different factors can affect the value of your injury settlement, the most common factors used in calculations by insurance companies are injury severity, the cost of medical care, the length of recovery and how much the accident has impacted your life.

Who Is Liable?

Once you have created a comprehensive list of your losses, your truck accident lawyer can determine the liable party. This is the person or entity legally responsible for your accident, injuries and losses. Under Texas’s tort-based insurance law, the driver or party at fault for causing the crash is financially responsible for medical bills and property damage.

In a standard auto accident, this party is most likely the other driver. The rules are different, however, in truck accident cases. If the driver who caused your accident was employed by a truck company at the time of the crash, you can hold the company vicariously liable instead of the driver’s personal auto insurance policy. This can result in a greater insurance settlement, as a trucking company will have more insurance available.

How to Ensure a Fair Outcome for Your Truck Accident Case

Although a truck accident can cause devastating losses, insurance companies often use tactics to devalue claims and reduce payouts. Do not assume the first settlement offered is a fair amount for what may be lifelong damages. Bring any settlement offer given to you by an insurance company to an attorney for a review you can trust.

A truck accident lawyer can carefully evaluate your case to give you an accurate settlement estimate. Then, your lawyer can help you demand maximum financial compensation from the correct party using proven legal strategies.

Posted by admin at 10:56 pm

How Common Are Truck Accidents and Crashes?

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Truck accidents are often catastrophic for the victims involved. They are some of the most dangerous types of collisions on the road, involving trucks that can weigh more than 80,000 pounds – about 20 times more than the average passenger car. Truck accidents, injuries, and deaths are almost always preventable. Yet every year, thousands of people lose their lives and suffer life-changing injuries in accidents with commercial trucks. Talk to a Dallas truck accident lawyer if you have been injured in a semi truck-related accident.

How Often Do Truck Accidents Occur?

Truck accident facts from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration state that close to 4,700 large trucks had involvement in fatal accidents in 2017. This was a 10% increase from 4,251 trucks in 2016. In addition, 107,000 injury crashes and 363,000 property-damage-only accidents involved big rigs in 2017. Most fatal truck accidents occurred in rural areas (57%) and interstate highways (27%). Thirty-five percent (35%) occurred at night.

Truck accidents involved hazardous materials in 3% of fatal large truck crashes and 2% of nonfatal crashes in 2017. The first harmful event in the majority of fatal truck accidents (74%) in 2017 was the collision with a vehicle in transport. Rollover was the first event in 4% of fatal truck accidents. About 5% of truck drivers involved in fatal accidents (252 total drivers) tested positive for drugs.

Statistics for 2018 from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety state that 4,136 victims lost their lives in collisions with large trucks. The majority (67%) of these deaths were passenger vehicle occupants, while 16% were truck occupants and 15% were motorcyclists, bicyclists or pedestrians. Sixty-two percent (62%) of accidents that killed large truck occupants involved other large trucks, in multiple-vehicle crashes. In 2018, 11% of all traffic fatalities involved large trucks.

Why They Happen

Truck accidents occur more often than most drivers realize. It is a common assumption that large trucks are safe due to federal regulations. In reality, however, many trucking companies cut corners to save time and money on transports. People die every day in preventable commercial trucking accidents, including rollovers, jackknife accidents, rear-end collisions, underride accidents, and head-on collisions. Most of these accidents stem from the same few causes.

  • Speeding was the most common driver-related cause of fatal truck accidents in 2017. Speeding can refer to driving faster than the speed limit or too fast for conditions. If it is raining or snowing, for example, a truck driver may need to slow down to below the speed limit.
  • Distraction/inattention. Driver distraction or inattention was the second most common driver-related crash cause. Driver distractions often include cellphones, food and drink, the radio, passengers, personal grooming, and things happening outside the cab.
  • Drug and alcohol involvement was the third leading cause of fatal truck accidents in 2017. Impaired truck drivers may be unable to safely control their rigs, leading to catastrophic collisions.
  • Truck defects. A truck defect can refer to manufacturing mistakes – such as bad brakes – maintenance errors or cargo loading issues. It is a trucking company’s responsibility to properly load and maintain its trucks. Failure to do so can contribute to tire blowouts, lost cargo loads, rollover accidents and other problems.
  • Dangerous roads. Some fatal truck accidents start with a roadway hazard or defect, such as a pothole, uneven shoulder, dangerously designed road, malfunctioning traffic light or obscured stop sign. It is the city’s responsibility to adequately maintain its roads and highways.

Recognizing why truck accidents and crashes happen can help drivers avoid the most common risks and potentially prevent collisions. Trucking companies and their drivers cause many collisions, while others stem from mistakes on the passenger vehicle driver’s part. Either way, most truck accidents are preventable. After a serious truck accident that causes injuries or deaths, the at-fault party may be liable for victims’ damages.

Posted by admin at 6:22 pm

How to Tell If a Truck Driver Is Driving Recklessly?

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Truck drivers have a legal duty to drive safely and prudently. They must obey stringent federal laws in terms of truck inspections, cargo loading, braking techniques, rest breaks and more. Breaching any of these rules or regulations, either negligently or intentionally, could cause a deadly truck accident. In 2017, fatal accidents in the U.S. involved 4,657 large trucks. Keeping an eye out for reckless truck drivers in Texas could help you avoid a serious accident. Always keep your distance from a reckless trucker and call 911 to report the issue if you see the warning signs. If you were the victim of a big rig accident, speak to a Dallas truck accident attorney to learn about your options.

Speeding

No commercial truck should ever exceed the posted speed limits in Texas. Speed limits vary state to state but should be clearly posted alongside the roadway. Some highways have different maximum speeds for passenger cars and commercial trucks. Texas has some of the highest speed limits for truckers (up to 85 miles per hour), but truck drivers should still not exceed a speed that is reasonable and prudent for driving conditions. This may mean slowing down considerably lower than the posted limits in bad weather. A speeding truck driver may be engaging in this dangerous practice due to road rage or to meet a tight deadline. There is no excuse, however, for reckless truck driving.

Tailgating

It is extremely dangerous for a commercial big rig to tailgate or ride close to the bumpers of other vehicles. Large trucks require more time to come to complete stops than smaller passenger cars, increasing the risk of rear-end collisions. Prudent truck drivers remain a safe distance away from the vehicles they are following to prevent these accidents.

When a big rig crashes into the back of a smaller vehicle, the collision can be fatal for the occupants in the car. The big rig’s tires may ride up over the back of the passenger car (an override accident) in a way that crushes the vehicle and the passengers inside. If not, the impact could crush the smaller vehicle or send it colliding into other cars or careening into oncoming traffic. If you see a truck driver tailgating another driver, this is a reckless driving behavior that could cause a fatal accident.

Improper Passing

Unsafe lane changes are a significant cause of fatal truck accidents. It is a truck driver’s responsibility to safely and prudently switch lanes when it is safe to do so, only after signaling the intent to merge and waiting until the lane is clear. No Zones (significant blind spots) can make it difficult for a truck driver to tell whether a lane is clear before merging. Truck drivers must take extra caution while keeping this fact in mind.

If you notice a large truck weaving between lanes of traffic, changing lanes excessively, passing people using the shoulder of the road, honking to force other drivers out of its way, cutting other drivers off or merging on top of other vehicles, the driver is guilty of reckless driving. These are reckless driving behaviors that could lead to a serious sideswipe accident, underride collision or override collision.

Red-Light Running

Violating any traffic law is a sign of reckless driving in a trucker. One of the most common signs of a bad or dangerous truck driver is red-light running. If you see a trucker run a red light or roll through a stop sign, you have witnessed reckless driving. Make a note of the trucking company’s name and the registration number of the truck (posted on all truck cabs). Call the trucking company to issue a complaint about a dangerous driver. If the reckless truck driver appears to be putting other people’s lives in danger, call 911 to report the incident as well. Hire an attorney to help you prove your case if you get into a crash with a truck driver you suspect of reckless driving.

Posted by admin at 5:25 pm

Who Is Held Accountable for a Commercial Truck Accident?

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Serious and fatal commercial truck accidents occur every day. Although trucking companies and their drivers have dozens of strict federal safety laws to follow, mistakes and accidents still happen. In 2017, 4,657 fatal traffic accidents around the U.S. involved large trucks. Holding someone accountable for a commercial truck accident could result in change on an institutional level. A lawsuit could force a truck company to enhance its safety measures with help of a Dallas truck accident attorney. It could also lead to a compensatory award for injured victims. Identifying the defendant, however, is not always easy.

The Truck Driver

It was more common in the past for injured truck accident victims to hold at-fault truck drivers individually liable for damages. Most truck drivers work as independent contractors, not employees. Under previous federal law, a victim could hold a truck driver individually liable for damages if that driver was negligent, distracted, drunk, careless, reckless or otherwise responsible for causing the truck accident.

Today, however, most trucking companies will be vicariously responsible for their truck drivers, even as independent contractors, if they were on duty at the time of the crash. A truck driver may be independently liable, or liable through his or her own insurance company, if the driver was not on duty at the time of the accident.

The Truck Company

Current law upholds respondent superior, the common law doctrine of agency, in most truck accident claims. This law, also known as vicarious liability, states that responsibility for the acts of a subordinate (e.g. an employee) will go to the superior (e.g. an employer). In other words, a company will be responsible for the actions of its on-duty employees. Although most truck drivers are independent contractors, the trucking company that hired the driver will still be vicariously responsible under federal law if the crash occurred within the driver’s scope of employment. Scope of employment depends on several factors.

  • The time and place of the accident
  • The type of work the driver was performing at the time
  • Acts the employer reasonably expected the driver to perform
  • The amount of freedom the employee had at work
  • Whether the driver was engaged in a personal activity

In most cases, if a truck driver causes an accident through texting and driving, breaching the hours of service regulations, drunk driving, drowsy driving, speeding, making an unsafe lane change, or through other means, the truck company will be accountable. The truck company could also be responsible for an accident if it caused or contributed to the crash on a company level. Examples include hiring an unsafe truck driver, failing to conduct drug/alcohol tests and inadequately maintaining its trucks.

A Product Manufacturer or Distributor

A trucking accident could come down to product manufacturer liability if a defective or dangerous vehicle part contributed to the crash. Examples include defective brakes, tires, accelerators, ignition switches, seat belts, airbags and steering columns. Most product liability claims do not require proof of negligence for the victim to obtain compensation. It is generally enough to prove that the auto part had a defect and that this is what caused the crash.

Multiple Defendants

Some truck accident claims involve the liability of multiple parties, not just the company or the driver. Other liable parties could include a cargo loading company, the owner of the commercial truck, a property owner or a government entity. If more than one party shares fault for the truck accident, all could be jointly and severally liable for damages. Each party may be equally responsible for paying for all the victim’s damages or only responsible for the portion of damages he or she caused. For example, a truck company could be partially liable for a drowsy driver, but a product manufacturer could share responsibility for defective brakes. A truck accident lawyer can help a victim determine the identity of the defendant(s).

Posted by admin at 4:21 pm