When an 18-wheeler slams into a passenger vehicle, the sheer size of the truck can make for tragic results. Indeed, 18-wheeler trucks can weigh up to 20 times more than an average passenger car, so when these two vehicles are involved in an accident, the smaller one has little hope of surviving unscathed.
In addition to causing severe and life-threatening injuries, truck accidents are more complicated due to the process of pursuing compensation. Because there are so many potentially liable parties involved in an 18-wheeler accident, crash victims really need an experienced truck accident attorney on their side.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one due to an accident with an 18-wheeler, contact the dedicated New Braunfels truck accident attorneys at Burch Law Firm today. Call or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation, and let us explain all your legal options.
Trucks Have an Increased Duty of Care and Are Subject to Federal Regulations
One reason that accidents involving large, 18-wheeler vehicles are different from collisions involving two passenger cars is that trucking companies owe a duty of care to others on the road. And that duty is supported by federal regulations.
While there are certainly rules that apply to drivers of standard vehicles (i.e. one must be of a certain age, have a driver’s license, not drive while under the influence, etc.), there are strict federal regulations in place governing who can operate big rigs, when they can be operated, for how many hours operation can occur, and how trucks are to be maintained and serviced. When a trucking company neglects to fulfill even a single one of these regulations, and this results in an accident, the company can be held liable.
One of the reasons it is so important to work with a knowledgeable truck accident attorney is that your attorney can request documents from the commercial trucking company that demonstrate proof that it met (or did not meet) federal regulations.
18-Wheelers Have Black Boxes
Black boxes, or electronic control modules, are data collection centers that are found on many 18-wheelers. These boxes record important information about the truck’s activities, such as the speed that it travels, whether or not the brakes have been slammed suddenly, and other information about its movement.
If the truck involved in your accident has a black box, this can be a critical piece of evidence, as it can be used to establish fault in a crash. Your lawyer can send a spoliation letter to the truck company, which requests that it preserves all evidence relevant to your case.
There Are Numerous Potentially Liable Parties
In accidents involving passenger vehicles, there are typically two potentially liable parties: the driver of each of the cars involved. In a truck accident, though, potential liability extends way beyond the number of drivers involved. Instead, there are numerous parties who might be to blame, including:
- The employer of the truck driver (the trucking company). An employer may often be held liable for its employees’ actions under the law.
- The loader of cargo the truck was carrying. If cargo was improperly loaded or secured, leading to a cargo shift causing the accident, the loader could be held liable.
- The manufacturer of cargo the truck was carrying. Some cargo is dangerous and defective, such as hazardous or explosive material, and may lead to an accident.
- The manufacturer of a truck part. All parts of a truck must be free from defects, including tires, brakes, engines, etc. A defective design or part could cause a collision.
- The owner of the truck (which may be different from the employer of the driver). The owner of a large truck has a duty to ensure that the truck is maintained and repaired on a regular basis per federal standard.
- The truck driver. If the truck driver’s negligence was the cause of the accident, and the truck driver is not an employee of the trucking company or was not “on the clock” at the time of the accident, the truck driver could be held independently liable.
Determining liability is another important reason to work with a truck accident attorney. Your attorney will make a list of all potentially liable parties, and then investigate each theory fully. Parties may try to shift the burden of liability to another party, but your attorney will fight fiercely to hold each responsible party accountable.
Contact Our Experienced Truck Accident Lawyers Today
Accidents with 18-wheelers are not only more catastrophic than collisions with standard cars, but they can be much more complicated when it comes to pursuing compensation.
At Burch Law Firm, our experienced Texas truck accident lawyers will fight for every penny that you deserve. We will launch a thorough investigation into your truck accident, gather every bit of evidence, and pursue maximum compensation in your case. Schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation with our team today. Contact us online or by phone to get started.
Troy Burch has practiced law in New Braunfels since 1990 representing residents of New Braunfels and the surrounding communities. Troy Burch graduated with high honors from Texas Christian University and from Baylor Law School.