Truck Accident Lawyer Dallas
Around 20% of all semi-truck crashes lead to the occupants of cars getting injured. Getting struck by an 18-wheeler is often a serious accident that leads to lifelong and debilitating injuries. These accidents may even lead to the death of your loved ones.
If an 18-wheeler has hit you or a loved one, you will need to seek legal help immediately. The truck accident attorneys at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. are here to help you get the compensation you deserve after one of these terrible accidents.
We’ll help you through the whole process—from filing a litigation claim—to making sure that you receive a fair and just settlement. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys.
What Causes 18-Wheeler Accidents?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration tracks data relating to truck drivers and truck accidents within the United States. According to these studies, the most common causes of semi-truck accidents include:
Traveling Too Fast in Poor Weather Conditions
During rainstorms, snowstorms, or other poor weather conditions, all drivers should reduce their speed and drive carefully. Semi-truck drivers who fail to do so account for around 23% of all truck accidents.
Semi-trucks should be properly maintained to ensure they don’t experience a mechanical failure on the roadway. When drivers or trucking companies don’t perform this maintenance, the trucks often cause accidents. Brake and tire problems are the most common causes of semi-truck accidents, accounting for 35% of accidents.
If a truck driver goes too long without sleep, it slows their reaction time and may even lead them to fall asleep behind the wheel. Employers of truck drivers usually cause this fatigue. In these cases, the company may be held partially or completely at fault for the accident.
Driving Under the Influence
Three percent of all 18-wheeler accidents are caused by drivers under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol. Another 17% of semi-truck accidents are caused by drivers who took legal, over-the-counter medicines that negatively impacted their ability to drive.
Following Too Closely
Semi-trucks take longer to stop when braking than other vehicles do. For this reason, truckers must maintain a very safe following distance. Following too closely accounts for around 5% of all truck accidents.
Semi-Truck Accident Statistics
- There were 5,788 people killed in traffic accidents involving semi-trucks. This was a 17% increase from the previous year.
- Out of the individuals killed in large-truck accidents, 72% were the occupants of other vehicles.
- The most frequent times for semi-truck accidents were between 6a.m. and 5:59p.m. on weekdays. They accounted for 78% of all trucking accidents.
- Twenty six percent of semi-truck accidents occurred on the interstate and 74% occurred on non-interstate roads.
- The State of Texas accounted for 12.8% of the total fatal traffic accidents involving large vehicles in the United States.
What Are Common Truck Accident Injuries?
Due to the sheer size and power of a semi-truck, these accidents often cause horrific destruction and serious injuries. These include but are not limited to the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Amputated limbs or extremities
- Burn injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Internal injuries
- Torso and rib injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Wrongful death
Can Trucking Regulations Impact My Case?
Semi-trucks are incredible pieces of machinery. They can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Because of the size and weight of these vehicles, they have the potential to create devastating accidents that can destroy one’s entire life in a matter of seconds. Because of this, truck drivers and trucking companies must follow strict regulations set and overseen by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
These regulations are as follows:
Hours of Service Regulations
This regulation limits the number of hours a truck driver is legally allowed to work without rest. These rules set the standard amount of time after the last duty and before a truck driver is allowed to get back behind the wheel of a semi-truck. The hours of service regulations were designed to ensure that truck drivers get the rest they need to keep the roads safer. Here are the hours of service regulation rules:
- A truck driver may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- A truck driver may not drive beyond 14 consecutive hours after coming on duty following their 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- All drivers must take a 30-minute break after they have driven eight cumulative hours without at least a 30-minute interruption.
- All drivers may not exceed 60 to 70 hours on duty in a consecutive period of seven to eight days.
- A driver must take at least 34 hours of off-duty time before starting another 60 to 70 hour work week.
- Drivers are allowed to split their required 10-hour off-duty period as long as one off-duty period is at least two hours and the other involves at least seven consecutive hours spent in the sleeper berth.
- Drivers are allowed to extend the 11-hour maximum driving limit and 14-hour driving window by up to two hours when they encounter adverse driving conditions, such as slick roads.
Truck drivers are often under enormous pressure from their employers to deliver loads on time and pick up the next load. Because of this, hours of service regulations are not always followed. This becomes a major factor when investigating the potential causes of an 18-wheeler accident.
Inspection, Maintenance, and Repair Regulations
Every trucking company by law is responsible for their trucks’ condition. These regulations require that all 18-wheelers be reasonably safe and undergo routine inspections and maintenance schedules to ensure that they are road worthy. Truck drivers also need to report any unsafe conditions to their company or supervisor and have repairs done before they are allowed to continue driving.
Qualifications of Drivers
Driving a big rig requires more than just a commercial driver’s license. A driver must go through extensive training to ensure they can properly handle the vehicle. Cutting corners during the training stage is very common during driver shortages.
Who Is Liable For a Semi-Truck Accident?
Determining whether to sue the truck driver or the trucking company after an 18-wheeler accident can be tricky. The first and most important step in the process is determining the cause of the accident.
When the Trucking Company Is at Fault
To increase profits, trucking companies often push drivers to drive when it is unsafe for them to do so. Employers may force truckers to drive for longer than permissible by the federal hours of service regulations. In these cases, drivers may become too fatigued to drive safely.
Trucking companies may also force truck drivers to drive in unsafe conditions, such as when roads are icy, or visibility is poor. Another common cause of 18-wheeler accidents is trucking companies forcing truckers to drive with overloaded trailers. In these cases, the company will likely be held liable for the truck accident.
Truck Mechanical Failures
Sometimes, 18-wheeler accidents may be caused by mechanical issues. Examples of this could be brake failure, leaking radiator fluid, or faulty tires. In these cases three potential parties may be at fault for the accident: the company, the driver, or the manufacturer of the parts.
Sometimes, the fault may be shared between two parties or all three. If the company or driver fails to maintain the vehicle, it can lead to mechanical problems, and one or both may be held responsible for the accident. On the other hand, if the part in the truck was faulty, the manufacturer could be held liable under product liability laws.
What Damages Can Be Compensated In a Truck Accident Case?
Both economic and non-economic damages can be recuperated in a truck accident case. These damages include the following:
- Property damage
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future wages or earning capacity
- Emotional damages
- Pain and suffering
Contact the Truck Accident Lawyers at Hernandez Law Group, P.C.
If you’ve been in an accident, contact the attorneys at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. immediately. As one of the few attorneys in Texas board-certified in personal injury law, Juan Hernandez is the expert you need during your 18-wheeler accident case.
He has successfully litigated many cases against truck drivers and trucking companies, and he can help you win compensation for the damages you incur after an accident. Contact us today to schedule a no-obligation consultation with our team.
Truck Accidents FAQs
What Are the Most Common Types of 18-Wheeler Accidents?
The most common types of 18-wheeler accidents include the following:
- Rollover accidents
- Jackknife accidents
- Underride accidents
- Unsecured load accidents
- Tire blowout accidents
What Are Some Ways to Protect My Family From an 18-Wheeler Accident?
While there is no way to eliminate the risk of getting into an accident with an 18-wheeler, these tips can significantly reduce the risk.
- Stay out of an 18-wheeler’s blind spot.
- Never cut off an 18-wheeler.
- Always use your turn signal when changing lanes.
- Do not tailgate a semi-truck.
- Leave at least 20 to 25 car lengths between your vehicle and an 18-wheeler.
- Avoid using high beams around other drivers.
- Always be aware of an 18-wheeler’s wide turn radius.
What Is the Statute of Limitations In Texas?
The statute of limitations in Texas for truck accidents is two years from the date of the accident. For wrongful death cases, it is still a two-year limit but it starts on the date that the death occurred.