Trucking accidents involving tractor-trailer trucks are among some of the most catastrophic motor vehicle accidents on our roadways. When truck drivers and trucking companies are negligent – the injuries and damages caused as a result can be devastating and fatal.
At Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, our trucking accident attorneys handle catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases involving tractor-trailer trucks throughout Texas.
When You Need A Houston Truck Accident Attorney, Call Us
Our trucking accident attorneys have a thorough understanding of federal and state trucking laws and a strong commitment to achieving favorable results for injured clients in negotiations and in trial.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Numerous factors can cause or contribute to the cause of a truck accident. These are some important questions to ask that can help determine the cause of a trucking accident:
- Was the driver fatigued? Did the driver have prior trucking 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?
- Was the truck equipped with adequate reflective tape?
- Did self-driving features cause or contribute to the accident?
Get answers to frequently asked questions about truck accidents.
Additional Trucking Safety Issues
Throughout Texas and nationwide, trucking safety issues range from those involving inadequate truck maintenance to lack of compliance with all required trucking regulations, among others.
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 tractor-trailer 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 tractor-trailers and commercial trucks are often inexperienced and more apt to be involved in serious trucking 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 12,897 serious motor vehicle accidents in Texas in 2019. Those accidents resulted in 15,843 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.
Cell Phone Use/Distracted Driving
It is important for commercial truck drivers to be aware of their surroundings and be in full control of their tractor-trailer truck at all times. That means avoiding cell phone use and other forms of distracted driving. When they fail to uphold that responsibility, the damages and injuries caused as a result can be catastrophic and are often fatal.
Truck drivers should not be using cellphones or smartphones while on the roadway as doing so places all other drivers at risk of suffering life-altering injuries and death.
Early investigation after a trucking accident is essential, especially when a truck driver may have engaged in distracted driving, texting while driving, or may have otherwise been using a handheld cellphone or other mobile device.
Federal regulations have strictly prohibited truck drivers who travel across state lines from using a handheld mobile device while behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer truck. In 2017, Texas legislature passed a statewide ban on use of any wireless communication device for electronic messaging while operating a motor vehicle. The Texas ban applies to all motor vehicle drivers.
Following thorough investigation, a trucking accident attorney may be able to prove that the truck driver who caused the accident engaged in distracted driving in violation of federal law.
Texting While Driving Commercial Motor Vehicles
Federal and state trucking safety regulations, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA), strictly govern cellphone use, texting while driving and other distractions that can impact commercial vehicle operation. Unfortunately, commercial motor vehicle truck drivers often ignore these regulations and engage in texting or talking on the phone while driving. These distractions, both mental and physical, can result in serious accidents with catastrophic and sometimes fatal injuries and damages.
Whether drivers are sending or receiving a text message, 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 commercial motor vehicle, the consequences of his or her decision to text are all too often forced on others with whom they share the road.
If you or your loved one are involved in a commercial motor vehicle related accident, our attorneys will review the police report, cellphone records, interviews with witnesses, and other important evidence we discover. We will pursue full compensation on your behalf or that of your loved one if a truck driver’s text causes an accident.
Truck Driver Fatigue
Another common cause of serious trucking accidents in Texas is driver fatigue. Fatigue and drowsiness 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.
Federal safety regulations govern tractor-trailer 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
Intoxicated trucking 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 trucking accident, federal requirements mandate that the truck driver be tested for drugs and alcohol. While the criminal justice system will handle the criminal aspects of the DWI case, evidence of drugs or alcohol in the system of the truck driver will provide evidence of negligence and gross negligence necessary to the civil lawsuit.
Commercial Truck Accidents
Due to the speed and weight of tractor-trailer trucks and other commercial vehicles, passenger vehicles involved in collisions sustain the bulk of the damage as do passenger vehicle occupants.
We regularly handle cases involving private parties as well as major companies such as:
- United Parcel Service (UPS)
- Yellow Freight System
- Roadway Express
- Federal Express (FedEx)
- Consolidated Freightways
- Ryder Integrated Logistics
- B. Hunt Transport Services
- Con-Way Transportation
- ABR Freight System
- United Van Lines
- Yellow Transportation
- Bridge Terminal Transport
We represent 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.
Following a commercial trucking accident, you should not give a recorded statement to the trucking company or insurance company. Doing so could negatively impact your potential case. 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 your 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 actually increase the likelihood of head injuries.
The Importance Of Early Investigation After A Car Accident
What are the benefits of hiring a trucking accident attorney in Texas?
When beginning to investigate the cause of a trucking accident to determine liability, evidence is the key. It is crucial to preserve all evidence from the scene and essential to contact a trucking accident attorney as soon as possible if you have been hurt in a trucking accident.
One of the first things we will do when investigating a trucking accident is place the trucking company on notice of our representation—and list items that need to be preserved. Without this notice, it is very easy for trucking companies to allow evidence to disappear or otherwise become compromised. It is also crucial to obtain the electronic control module (ECM) that contains information such as idle time and speeds prior to and during impact.
Determining Responsibility After A Trucking Accident
Typically, legal action is taken against the trucking company that owns the tractor-trailer 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 trucking 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:
- Driver of the semi-truck
- Owner of the truck or tractor-trailer
- Drivers and owners of any other vehicles involved in the trucking accident that may be responsible
- Manufacturer of the tractor-trailer or any part of the semi that may be a contributor to the trucking accident, and/or
- Manufacturer of the passenger vehicle or any part of the passenger vehicle that may be a contributor to the accident or the injuries sustained
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, and/or
- Failing to obey trucking laws, rules and regulations
When another person’s or business’ negligence results in serious injuries or the death of a loved one after a trucking accident, you have the right to hold each of those parties responsible.
What Are The Steps For Hiring A Trucking Accident Attorney? Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation.
Prompt investigation into the cause, or causes, of a trucking accident is critical as evidence may become compromised or disappear. Additionally, evidence of a trucking company’s liability that could be found at the accident scene may not be properly preserved if action is not taken swiftly.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident or a commercial motor vehicle accident, or a friend or loved one has been killed in a trucking accident or in a commercial motor vehicle accident, contact an experienced trucking accident lawyer by calling 713-396-3964 or complete our online contact form.