With increased trucking traffic on major Texas roadways such as Interstate 35, State Highway 45 and U.S. Highway 183 and more rural roads near oil and gas drilling fields like the Eagle Ford Shale and the Barnett Shale, accidents involving trucks of all sizes are increasing.
At Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, our Texas truck accident attorneys handle catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases involving semi trucks throughout Texas.
If you have been in involved in an 18-wheeler accident or suffered a severe injury from a tractor trailer accident in Texas, we can help you. Please contact us online or call now 800-594-4884 for an immediate consultation with a trucking accident lawyer in Houston.
When You Need A Houston Truck Accident Attorney, Call Us
Our truck accident attorneys have a thorough understanding of federal and state trucking law and a strong commitment to achieving positive results for injured people in negotiations and in trial.
Firm partner Randall O. Sorrels is a member of the national advisory board for the Association of Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America (AITLA), which works to help eliminate unsafe and illegal interstate trucking practices.
Causes of Truck Accidents
A number of factors can cause trucking accidents. When investigating a Texas 18-wheeler, big rig or commercial truck accident, it is important to ask:
- Was the driver fatigued? Did the driver have prior accidents, speeding tickets or a DUI charge?
- Was the driver intoxicated or under the influence of drugs?
- Was the driver using a cellphone, texting while driving or otherwise distracted?
- Was the company negligent in the hiring and retention of drivers?
- Was the accident a result of an unsafe or unbalanced load?
- What were the trucking company’s safety and training policies?
- What logbook requirements did the company have? Were driver logs falsified?
- Were defective tires or other defective equipment responsible for the accident?
- Was the truck properly maintained?
Get answers to frequently asked questions about truck accidents.
Other Trucking Safety Issues
Trucking safety issues in Texas and nationwide range from inadequate truck maintenance to a failure to comply with all required trucking regulations.
An expected shortage of commercial truck drivers will likely compound the challenge of truck driver safety. High turnover among drivers and inadequate training and maintenance plague the 18-wheeler and commercial trucking industries creating a moving danger for all who share the road with these massive machines.
Commercial vehicle traffic has been increasing on the roads to and from oil fields, drilling sites and shale plays — including the Eagle Ford Shale and Barnett Shale plays. The drilling rush has only increased the shortage of oil field truck drivers, which means that drivers of large semis and commercial trucks are often inexperienced and more apt to be involved in serious truck accidents. In addition, the wear-and-tear caused by oversized vehicles on rural Texas roads has created dangerous conditions that may lead to increased car-truck accidents.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 12,161 serious motor vehicle accidents in Texas in 2018. Those accidents resulted in 14,908 people getting seriously injured.
When a heavy truck — like an 18-wheeler, semi or tractor-trailer — crashes into a car, SUV or motorcycle, the result is almost always catastrophic injury or death.
The cost of medical treatment and ongoing care in cases involving spinal cord injuries (including paraplegia and quadriplegia), brain injuries and loss of limbs is typically very high.
We have a medical doctor on staff to help us determine the severity of injuries and their likely long-term consequences. We want you and your family to have the compensation you need to move forward in your lives.
Cell Phone Use/Distracted Driving
With thousands of tons of cargo resting on 18 wheels, it is important for commercial truck drivers to be aware of their surroundings and in full control of their truck at all times. That means avoiding cell phone use and other forms of distracted driving.
When they fail to uphold that responsibility, the results can be disastrous, even fatal.
Truck drivers should not be using cellphones or smartphones while on the road. It places all other drivers at risk of suffering catastrophic injuries and even death.
If you have been hurt or lost a loved one in a trucking accident involving a distracted truck driver, it is important to have an attorney begin investigating the circumstances surrounding your accident as soon as possible.
We cannot stress enough the importance of early investigation after a truck accident, especially when distracted driving, texting while driving or otherwise using a handheld cellphone while trucking is involved.
Federal regulations have strictly prohibited truck drivers who travel across state lines from using a handheld mobile device while behind the wheel of a big rig. Although Texas has not passed a similar state law banning texting or talking on a cellphone while driving a truck, it is possible that, with a thorough investigation, a truck accident attorney can prove that the driver who caused your injuries in a distracted driving truck crash was breaking federal law.
Texting While Driving
Federal and state truck safety regulations – including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA) – strictly govern cellphone use, texting and other distractions that can impact commercial vehicle operation. Unfortunately, truck drivers often ignore these regulations and many have become overconfident in their ability to text or talk on the phone and drive at the same time.
These distractions – both mental and physical – can result in serious accidents with catastrophic, and sometimes fatal, results.
Whether drivers are sending or receiving a text, they are not able to devote necessary attention to their surroundings and remain in complete control of the vehicle. Studies have shown that sending and receiving text messages are some of the most dangerous activities to do while driving. When that person is driving a multi-ton vehicle, the consequences of his or her decision to text are all too often forced on others with whom they share the road.
Our attorneys will review the police report, cellphone records, interviews with witnesses and other important evidence. We will pursue full compensation on your behalf when a truck driver’s text changes your life.
Truck Driver Fatigue
Another common cause of serious truck accidents in Texas is driver fatigue. Fatigue and drowsiness are dangerous conditions that can result in the failure to stay in a lane, running off the road and collisions with other vehicles.
Fatigue and sleep deprivation both impair the ability to perform a variety of tasks. Fatigue is caused not only by a complete absence of sleep, but also by inadequate daily sleep. Extended hours of operation can create continuous sleep deprivation. When drivers become fatigued from excessive hours or a lack of sleep, they increase the risk of crashes that result in serious injuries.
Federal safety regulations govern truck driver hours of service to reduce problems caused by fatigue, and while these regulations have reduced the number of accidents, driver fatigue continues to be a significant problem.
Drunk Truck Drivers
Alcohol and drugs lower drivers’ coordination and control behind the wheel. Intoxicated truck drivers put others at significant risk when they are intoxicated and are held to a stricter standard by Texas state regulations. Holders of commercial driver’s licenses are considered drunk if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .04 or higher.
In any significant truck accident, federal requirements mandate that the truck driver be tested for drugs and alcohol. While the criminal justice system will handle part of the DWI case, a drunk driving conviction will provide the compensation accident victims may need to cover the injuries and damage caused by an impaired truck driver.
There is no excuse for the negligence of drunk drivers; truck drivers, like other drivers, should not drink and drive. We will work diligently to make sure they are held accountable for the damage and injuries they have caused.
Commercial Truck Accidents
Due to the speed and weight of big trucks, passenger vehicles sustain the bulk of the damage, as do the cars’ occupants.
We regularly handle cases involving private parties as well as major companies such as:
- United Parcel Service (UPS)
- Yellow Freight System
- Roadway Express
- Consolidated Freightways
- Ryder Integrated Logistics
- J.B. Hunt Transport Services
- Con-Way Transportation
- ABR Freight System
- United Van Lines
- Yellow Transportation
- Bridge Terminal Transport
We provide counsel and representation for those injured by construction trucks, buses, beer trucks, dump trucks, garbage trucks, street sweepers, oil tankers, cement trucks, logging trucks, service vehicles, monster trucks and heavy trucks traveling to and from the oil fields.
Do not give a recorded statement to the trucking company or insurance company! This could severely restrict the compensation you will be able to pursue. Instead, contact an experienced Houston trucking accident lawyer.
Our legal team consists of experienced and board-certified personal injury attorneys, excellent support staff and skilled medical professionals. With our team, we are able to thoroughly investigate your situation and build a solid case for maximum compensation while you focus on recovering from trucking accident injuries.
Pickup Truck Accidents
People who drive pickup trucks tend to think that these trucks are safer than cars. However, accidents involving pickup trucks can just as easily result in catastrophic injuries and death. Even in a rear-end collision when one might expect the truck bed to cushion the impact, the smaller passenger cabin can make head injuries more likely.
The Importance of Early Investigation After a Car Accident
What are the benefits of hiring a truck accident attorney in Texas?
When beginning to investigate the cause of a truck accident to determine liability, evidence is the key. It is crucial to preserve all evidence at the scene, making it extremely important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible if you have been hurt in a truck accident.
One of the first things an attorney from our firm will do when investigating a truck accident is to send a notice to the trucking company listing items that need to be preserved. Without this notice, it is very easy for trucking companies to eliminate evidence. It is also crucial to obtain the electronic control module (ECM) that contains information such as idle time and speed.
Determining Responsibility After A Truck Accident
Typically, legal action is taken against the trucking company that owns the big rig or 18-wheeler that was involved in the crash. The trucking industry is governed by federal laws and regulations that help define the standards trucking companies, trucking owners, and truck drivers must meet; proving that these standards were not met can be important to succeeding in a truck accident case.
In addition to the trucking company, there may be others who should be held responsible for personal injuries, wrongful death and property damage caused by a truck crash. Common responsible parties in a trucking accident may include the:
- Driver of the semi-truck
- Owner of the truck or tractor trailer
- Manufacturer of the big rig or any part of the semi that may be a contributor to the trucking accident
Some common indications of negligence include:
- Lack of experience by the truck driver
- Oversized trucks on narrow two lane roads common on I-45, I-35, I-10, or other West Texas highways, rural or farm-to-market roads
- Failing to obey trucking laws, rules and regulations
When another person or business’ negligence results in serious injury to your family or the death of a loved one after a semi-truck wreck, you have the right to hold each of those parties responsible.
What Are The Steps For Hiring A Truck Accident Attorney? Contact Us Today. Free Consultation.
Many commercial trucking firms have an investigator at the accident site before you are even checked into your hospital room. It is important to investigate the cause of a truck accident as early as possible. Evidence of the trucking company’s liability that could be found at the scene may not be preserved.