Truck Accident Attorneys
In 2007, over 400 people in Texas lost their lives after having an accident with a large truck. The number of semi truck accidents has risen every year since 2003 and in Texas alone over 18,000 18 wheeler accidents occur each year. This means that on average large trucks are involved in 49 accidents a day and that at least one accident a day will end a life.
In most cases, the injured party is an occupant of the smaller car or truck involved in the crash. If you have been involved in an accident with a large truck, only an experienced Houston, Texas truck accident attorney can help you prove negligence and win your case.
The Trouble with Trucking
Trucking can be a stressful occupation. In order to meet consumer needs, truckers are encouraged to get loads from point A to point B as quickly as possible. The more trips a trucker makes, the more money he earns. Companies encourage this, leaving the driver with two options- make the tight deadline or lose pay.
This situation is not safe for anyone on the roadway. Strenuous work loads can cause truckers to make the following mistakes.
- Driving drowsy
- Excessive speeding
- Driving too fast for the conditions
- Aggressive driving
- Improper Maintenance
- Improperly Secured Load/Spilled Loads
These are some of the most common causes of trucking accidents. As commercial trucks far outweigh all other vehicles on the road, they are more likely than passenger cars to be involved in accidents that cause serious injury and death. Because of their size, jackknife accidents and rollovers can occur during a crash, increasing the dangers for serious injury.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
18-wheelers are large anddifficult to stop. Many of these trucks also carry hazardous materials that can spill and cause further accidents.
Statistics by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Commission (FMCSC) show that 78 percent of the casualties in a truck accident are individuals in smaller vehicles or other non-occupants of the commercial trucks. Statistically, 3 percent of all 18-wheeler accidents across the nation that result in fatalities involved trucks carrying hazardous materials. In 34 percent of these accidents, the substance was released.
The individuals that operate these trucks are supposed to follow strict regulations, but this doesn’t always happen. When 18 wheeler accidents in Texas happen, various parties may be held liable, including the driver, the driver’s employer, the company that owns the truck, the company that manufactured the truck, etc. What you do after the accident can make a vast difference in whether you are fairly compensated for your damages.
Here are the steps we recommend after a collision with a truck:
Seek Medical Help
When an accident happens, the first priority should be your health. The impact of the collision is usually hard and likely will result in injuries to you or your passengers. Call 911 and have the paramedics examine you for any injuries. Don’t ignore even minor pain because it might become worse as time goes on.
Make sure you keep all medical reports and any bills related to your medical care. Don’t forget to get the doctor’s contacts for future use.
Collect Relevant Information
To be compensated for your injuries and damage, it’s important to have evidence to support your claim. There are various pieces of information you should to collect while still at the scene of the accident:
- Get the name, phone number and email address of the truck driver.
- Write down the name of the driver’s employer and the owner of the truck.
- Collect the names and contact information of witnesses who were at the site when the accident happened.
- Take comprehensive pictures of the scene of the accident.
- Record the time the accident happened.
- Get a copy of the police report.
How can you do this at a scene of an accident? Well, technology has advanced and it allows you to capture most of the data without any hassle by simply using your cell phone.
Don’t Talk to the Insurance Company
While you should contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident happens, we strongly recommend that you do not speak to any insurance companies representing the driver or the trucking company.
When speaking to your own insurance company, it’s important to only advise them of the accident and give general information — the time and location of the accident and the names and contact information of everyone involved. Do not discuss issues of fault, and do not give a recorded statement until you have spoken to an attorney.
Get Legal Assistance
Truck accidents can cause serious injuries and damages and claims can be complicated to navigate. Having an experienced attorney on your side can help you navigate this complex legal process and give the highest chance of success for getting the maximum compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident with a big rig? We can help answer your questions and provide you with experienced legal representation as you pursue compensation from the liable party. Here are some of the answers to questions we commonly hear.
What is a commercial truck?
Commercial trucks are large trucks with a trailer attached used to transport goods. This includes 18 wheelers, semi trucks, tanker trucks and more.
Should I seek medical treatment even if I don’t feel hurt?
The answer to this question is a very big YES. Many serious truck accident injuries may not be evident immediately after a crash. Not seeking medical treatment could result in worsening your injuries.
In addition to taking care of your health and wellbeing, it’s also important to have a doctor’s documentation of each and every injury you sustained in the accident for any potential claims that will be filed.
How soon should I contact an attorney?
The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner an investigation will be underway. In a motor vehicle accident involving a commercial truck, there is a significant amount of evidence to be collected. Starting the investigation early will increase the likelihood of preserving all the vital information about the wreck.
Among the vital pieces of evidence that must be secured is the “black box,” a computer chip now featured on most semi trucks. This chip documents quite a bit of important information, including the truck’s speed, braking, and even hours driven. It’s not uncommon for this information to be “accidentally” lost by the trucking company after an accident.
Interviewing witnesses is another key part of the investigatory process. The longer it takes to get the investigation started, the more likely it is that the memories of any witnesses can fade or the details of the accident become unclear.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit against after an accident?
Personal injury claims in Texas have a statute of limitations of 2 years. This means that if you are hurt in a Texas trucking accident, you have 2 years from the day of the accident to file a claim.
We recommend getting started much earlier than the 2 year limit is up, though. The early we start investigating your accident, the stronger the case we can make on your behalf.
How long will my 18 wheeler accident claim take?
The amount of time it takes to conclude your case depends on several factors, including but not limited to where the claim is filed, the severity of your injuries, and the number of witnesses and experts to be called at trial.
On average, truck accident claims in Texas take 18 months, but that time may decrease or increase depending on the factors listed above.
Have you been involved in a Houston truck accident?
If you have, you need a truck accident lawyer with the serious experience to win your serious injury case. Trucking accidents can leave the injured with years of rehabilitation and costly surgeries. At Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., we have more than 100 years of combined experience dealing with catastrophic injury accidents.
We are standing by, ready to help you- no matter when you need us. With 24 hour a day service you can count on us to help you on your road to recovery. We are happy only when you have been given the restitution you deserve. Contact a Houston truck accident attorney at SMSH today.
In order to better serve the diverse population of the US we offer services in Spanish (Espanol) and Vietnamese (tính t?).
Though driving on any road can be dangerous, the following Texas highways and interstates are heavily populated with commercial trucks: I 610 (The Loop, Loop 610), I 10, I 45, Highway 225, Highway 59, Highway 290, Highway 90, Highway 288, Sam Houston Parkway, Hardy Toll Road
The offices of Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. are located in Houston. However, we help clients nationwide and in the following Texas cities: Houston, Pasadena, Sugar Land, Missouri City, Galveston, Port Arthur, Baytown, Beaumont, Kirkwood, Humble, Spring, Round Rock, Katy, League City, Freeport, Corpus Christi, Texas City, Lake Jackson, Bay City, Matagorda Bay, Victoria