Getting answers after a semi-truck accident can be tough. Was the truck’s driver at fault, or did something else go wrong, like a defective truck part or another driver initiating a chain of events that led to the crash? Who will pay for your medical bills, lost wages, car repairs, and other losses? How will you continue supporting your family if you cannot work or take care of your home as you did before the accident? Will you ever recover fully?
If these questions sound familiar, call Burch Law Firm today. Our New Braunfels trucking accident lawyers are here to help you through the turmoil that follows a serious accident. Let us review your situation and set out your legal options during a free claim review.
Common Causes of Trucking Accidents
To state and federal regulators, a “large truck” is any truck that weighs more than 10,000 pounds – from box trucks making local deliveries to tractor-trailers hauling freight cross country. No matter their size or load, however, these trucks all have one thing in common: they’re larger and heavier than passenger vehicles. And when a truck collides with a passenger vehicle, serious harm can result.
In a trucking accident, the occupants of a passenger car, pickup, or SUV almost always suffer more severe injuries than the occupant of the truck. The average passenger car weighs about 3,500 pounds and stands about 6 feet high. In other words, it’s no match for a fully-loaded 18-wheeler weighing up to 80,000 pounds and standing nearly 14 feet high.
Although careless truckers are often at fault for crashes, the actual causes of an accident can be more complicated than mere driver error. Here are some of the most common causes of truck accidents on Texas roads:
- Truck Driver Error, Negligence, or Distraction. Although many truck drivers work hard to drive carefully, it takes only a single mistake, a moment of careless or distraction, or a few seconds of sleepiness to cause a crash.
- Hidden Defects or Malfunctions. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces a wide range of regulations related to truck maintenance, repair, and upkeep. Neglected maintenance or repair can trigger a malfunction that leads to a crash. Even if the truck is kept in good working order, however, a hidden defect in a factory or replacement part might cause an accident or make accident injuries worse – and no one may realize the part is defective until after it has failed.
- Trucking Company Negligence. Trucking companies have a responsibility to keep equipment in good working order, screen and test drivers, and ensure that the people they put behind the wheel are capable of taking on the important task of driving safely. When a company fails to do so and injuries result, the company may be liable.
- Car Driver Error, Negligence, or Distraction. Trucks share the road with many passenger vehicles, and many car drivers are not as well-trained or careful as truck drivers. In an attempt to avoid a collision with a careless driver, a truck’s driver may perform defensive maneuvers that, unfortunately, result in a collision with another vehicle.
Because 18-wheelers are so large and are complex machines, they can be very difficult to control. If a truck driver loses control of a truck near your vehicle, you may be involved in one of the following four kinds of trucking accidents:
- Vehicle Rollovers
- Head-On Collisions
- Rear-End Accidents
Whatever the direction and force of impact, occupants of smaller vehicles are likely to sustain serious injuries. Moreover, the automobile in which they are traveling is apt to be significantly damaged, as well. Addressing the costs incurred by treatment and repairs is one aim of a civil lawsuit against a negligent truck driver or trucking company.
What to Do If You’re Injured in a Truck Crash in Texas
If you’re in a truck crash, follow these steps at the scene as best you can. If you were injured in a crash and were unable to complete some of these steps, don’t worry. Simply contact an experienced lawyer who can help you gather information and take additional steps to protect your rights.
Move out of the road
If possible, move yourself, others, and any vehicles out of the roadway. If a vehicle or person cannot be moved, use lights, flares, or bright and reflective objects to warn oncoming traffic that there has been an accident. Do not move anyone who is unconscious or is complaining of head, neck, or back pain.
Call the police
Call 911 as soon as steps have been taken to protect safety. Tell the police that there has been an accident and give the best description of the location that you can. Cooperate with law enforcement as they investigate the accident, but don’t offer more information than what you’re asked. Don’t speculate about what may have caused the crash.
Take a moment to write down everything you can remember about the moments leading up to the accident. Take photos or draw a diagram of the scene to help you remember where you and the other vehicle were and how each of you moved.
Talk to Witnesses
If possible ask any witnesses to recall what they remember seeing for you. Gather their contact information in case you need it at a later date
Do Not Admit Fault
It’s natural to want to say you’re sorry, especially if you believe you caused the accident or you see that someone else has also been injured. However, it is important at the accident scene not to talk about what you think happened.
Instead, let police record the scene, and talk to your lawyer for help investigating your truck accident. Admitting fault could hurt your claim for compensation, and the truth may be that there was nothing you could have done to prevent the crash.
Fighting for Texas Victims of Semi Truck Accidents
Large semi trucks are a common sight on Texas roads. The size and weight of these 18-wheel behemoths is many times that of passenger cars and pickup trucks. When a semi truck collides with a car or pickup, the results are often tragic for the occupants of the smaller vehicle.
Pursuing compensation for the victims of a semi trucking accident is more complex than litigating a typical automobile accident case. Semi trucks and their drivers are subject to a number of federal and state laws and regulations. At the Burch Law Firm, we understand how to investigate whether a violation of one or more of these regulations was the cause of a semi truck accident.
Government trucking regulations address everything from how loads must be secured to how many hours of rest a trucker must get before going back out on the road. Trucks must be regularly inspected to ensure that brakes, lights, tires and other equipment are in good condition and functioning properly. In addition, semi truck drivers must meet the qualifications required to obtain a commercial driver’s license in Texas.
When an individual is injured in a collision caused by an inattentive truck driver or negligent truck maintenance, they have the right to bring a lawsuit against not only the truck driver but the company that employed him or her. The company can be held liable under a legal doctrine called respondeat superior, which holds an employer liable for the negligence of an employee in the course of their job duties. The company can also be directly liable for truck maintenance issues, or for hiring an unqualified truck driver.
At the Burch Law Firm, we have the experience and the skills to hold trucking companies and their insurance carriers accountable. You can find more information about our truck accident practice on our web page.
Holding Trucking Companies Liable For Serious Truck Accidents
When people think truck accidents, they may think about a negligent truck driver. A sleepy truck driver may come to mind. And while many truck drivers are negligent in causing truck accidents, they may not be the only responsible party.
Truck companies can also be negligent in causing truck accidents. The truck company may be responsible for pushing a driver to drive more hours than is safe. Or a truck company may have failed to maintain a truck in safe working condition. In other situations, a truck company may have negligently hired a truck driver who was not qualified to drive a large commercial vehicle.
When a truck driver is negligent, that driver can be held liable for damages related to the accident. Like negligent truck drivers, truck companies can also be held legally responsible for an accident. This means that the truck company can be held responsible for any financial costs related to the accident if the company acted negligently.
These costs include medical expenses related to injuries caused by the accident, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering and more. This financial compensation can be vital to individuals as they recovered from a truck accident.
The attorneys at our law firm understand how important this compensation is to individuals. Our attorneys can help to examine all causes of an accident. We can help individuals determine if a negligent truck driver or a negligent truck company was responsible for causing the accident.
Contact Our Truck Accident Lawyers in New Braunfels
At Burch Law Firm, we’re committed to helping each of our clients to get their lives back on track after an accident. We work closely with each client to ensure that we understand their needs and can move their case forward as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, contact our office today. If you’re recovering from serious injuries and cannot travel to our office, we’re happy to arrange a meeting in your home or hospital room. We’re passionate about fighting for the rights of injured people and securing the compensation they need for today and in the future. Call us today or fill out our online contact form if it is more convenient for you to speak with our truck accident attorney.
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- Trucking Company Negligence