Located roughly a half-hour north of San Antonio, Bulverde sees a significant amount of commercial truck traffic. Much of it passes through U.S. Route 281, which runs directly through the city, and Texas State Highway 46, which passes through the northern limits. Unfortunately, greater exposure to this traffic raises one’s risk of getting into a crash with a tractor-trailer or other large commercial rig. If you or your loved one have suffered serious injuries in any kind of commercial truck accident in Comal County, you will want to contact an experienced Bulverde truck accident lawyer right away.
Burch Law Firm has been helping truck accident victims and their families in South Central Texas for more than a quarter-century. Our firm understands how to investigate these types of crashes and will fight to make sure that you receive all of the compensation you are entitled to receive. Our attorneys also make themselves as available as possible. We are willing to make evening or weekend appointments and can even come to your home or hospital room.
Burch Law Firm employs more lawyers than support staff for a reason: We want to work directly with our clients. You can have our attorneys review your case and help you understand all of your legal options when you call or contact us online today to receive a free consultation.
What Causes 18-Wheeler Accidents in Bulverde?
While many traditional passenger vehicle crashes often involve one driver or another being solely at fault, commercial truck accidents can be far more complicated. Some of the various forms of negligence that can cause truck crashes include:
- Truck driver negligence — As the person who is directly responsible for operating a tractor-trailer, the truck driver often shares some or all of the blame for truck accidents. Some of the types of dangerous behaviors by drivers that can result in commercial truck crashes include distracted driving, driving while intoxicated (DWI or drunk driving), drowsy driving (driver fatigue), speeding and reckless driving.
- Trucking company negligence — The company that owns a truck is usually responsible for maintaining it, and trucking companies may also be held liable for the actions of drivers if they hired a driver without conducting a background check or did not use proper supervision. Trucking companies could also be liable for damage when they force or encourage dangerous behavior or fail to inspect and maintain their vehicles.
- Mechanic negligence — Third party maintenance companies are often responsible for performing repairs on commercial vehicles, and such entities may be held liable in accidents caused by the failure to complete necessary repairs, install incorrect parts, perform incorrect repairs and identify needed repairs. A mechanic could also be liable for allowing work to be performed by unqualified mechanics or for using illegally modified vehicle parts.
- Freight broker negligence — Many brokers try to reduce their potential liability by classifying the drivers they hire as independent contractors (“owner-operators”). A principal-agent relationship may make a broker liable for damages, and an experienced attorney may be able to prove that this relationship exists even when it had been classified otherwise.
- Warehouse owner negligence — The company responsible for loading a trailer and securing cargo needs to make sure this is done properly, as the company can be held liable for accidents caused by loose cargo.
- Truck manufacturer negligence — Most commercial trucks are composed of many different complex mechanical parts, and certain malfunctions can cause crashes. A manufacturer can be held liable for defective parts such as brakes, couplings, tires, lights or steering equipment.
It is entirely possible that multiple parties could be held liable for a single accident. A skilled 18-wheeler accident lawyer in Bulverde from Burch Law Firm will be able to conduct a complete independent investigation to determine all possible negligent parties.
Do Violations of Regulations Matter in a Truck Accident Claim?
Because commercial trucks are often the largest vehicles on the road, they are strictly regulated by both state and federal agencies. In general, the two primary regulatory agencies that may factor into truck accidents are the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and TxDOT.
FMCSA regulates the number of hours a driver can operate and the weight limits for commercial vehicles. TxDOT typically oversees how trucks are registered and inspected as well as how drivers are licensed. Bulverde also has city ordinances that dictate how off-street truck facilities must be constructed, maintained and operated.
Some of the most common kinds of trucking regulation violations involve:
- Hours of service violations — FMCSA imposes several limits on the number of hours a driver may work. FMCSA rules differ depending on whether a driver is carrying passengers or property. Most commercial trucks are carrying the latter, and drivers are limited to 11 hours of driving after 10 consecutive hours off duty and 60/70 hours on duty in seven or eight consecutive days.
- Mobile phone restrictions — FMCSA also has a rule that prohibits a commercial driver from holding a mobile device to make a call or dialing by pressing more than a single button. While driving, commercial drivers can only use a hands-free phone located in close proximity.
Required inspections — Any commercial truck weighing more than 10,000 pounds is required to undergo an annual inspection of all safety equipment required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). Also known as a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) inspection, there are six levels of such inspections. Federal law also establishes that every motor carrier must regularly inspect, repair and maintain all of its vehicles and equipment.
Why Do You Need to Investigate a Truck Crash Immediately?
Compliance with the regulations listed above can be a central issue in many truck accident cases. For this reason, it is critical for any commercial truck crash victim to immediately seek legal representation so your lawyer can start an independent investigation as soon as possible.
Trucking companies will act quickly to try to cover up or even destroy incriminating evidence. An attorney can attempt to preserve important evidence relating to the truck and its cargo such as:
- Maintenance history documents
- Inspection history documents
- Onboard system downloads
- Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking system data
- Weight tickets
- Delivery documents
- Bills of lading
- Dispatch instructions.
A lawyer will also be able to seize important evidence relating specifically to the driver such as the driver’s qualifications file, training file, hours of service documentation (logbooks), inspection records and results of post-collision drug and alcohol screening.
What Damages Can You Recover in a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
The amount of money that a victim can be entitled to recover in a commercial truck crash case depends on several factors. The primary factor is the severity of the injury. Most truck accidents result in catastrophic injuries such as:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Burn injuries
- Neck injuries
- Internal organ damage.
In most cases, victims can be awarded compensatory damages that are usually a combination of economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to calculable losses such as medical bills and lost income, while non-economic damages involve awards for more subjective types of harm such as pain and suffering or disfigurement.
When a person is killed in a commercial truck accident, certain family members of the deceased may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In these cases, damages are awards for loss of companionship, loss of support, and emotional or mental anguish.
Whether you were injured or your loved one was killed in a truck crash, Burch Law Firm will review the specific facts about your case and pursue maximum compensation.
How Much Time Do You Have to Bring a Truck Accident Claim in Texas?
The statute of limitations in Texas for both injury claims relating to a commercial truck accident and wrongful death actions is two years. The only difference between the two types of actions is that a claim relating to an injury must be filed within two years of the date of the accident, while a wrongful death suit must be filed within two years of the person’s death (which may occur later than the date of the crash).
Simply put, two years is not a lot of time to resolve these types of cases. Keep in mind that a lawyer will have to conduct an investigation before negotiating with any trucking carrier or its insurance company.
Contact Our Bulverde Truck Accident Attorneys
Were you seriously injured or was your loved killed in a commercial truck crash in the greater Bulverde area? Do not say anything to an insurance company without first contacting Burch Law Firm.
Our firm handles cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you do not pay us one cent unless you receive a monetary award. Call or contact us online to have our lawyers provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free consultation.