Houston Truck Accident Lawyers Helping You Recover Compensation For Your Injuries
Every year, nearly half a million trucking accidents occur on American roads. Some of those crashes result in death. Many more tractor-trailer and big rig accidents lead to injuries, property damage, and hefty insurance bills.
Since trucking accidents are a fact of life in the United States, you should be aware of the dangers posed by large vehicles. Almost everyone, including bicyclists and pedestrians, comes into daily contact with trucks and buses. Since we all share the same road, it’s important to understand the risks.
It’s also imperative to know your rights and responsibilities if you have been involved in a truck accident, beginning with the necessity of contacting a truck accident attorney immediately after an incident.
How Common Are Truck Accidents?
Everyone knows large trucks (any vehicle over 10,000 pounds) and buses (any vehicle built to transport at least nine people) are common sights on both urban and rural roads throughout the country, but how common are accidents involving these behemoths?
Here are some basic statistics, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Administration:
- The police reported 415,000 large truck crashes in 2015 alone.
- For every million people in the U.S., there were 11.2 fatal large truck accidents in 2015.
- Fatal crashes involving large trucks increased by 6 percent between 2010 and 2015.
- In 2015, the number of both large trucks and buses involved in fatal crashes rose to 4,311.
Experts generally divide large vehicle crashes into three categories according to the severity of the accident: 1) fatal accidents; 2) injury accidents; 3) property damage accidents. While only a small percentage of crashes are fatal, the number of incidents resulting in at least one death remains far too high.
- 1 percent (3,598) of all large truck accidents were fatal.
- 90 of those crashes involved only one fatality.
- 20 percent (83,000) of incidents with large trucks resulted in injuries only.
- 79 percent (328,000) caused only property damage.
Any large vehicle can pose a danger to nearby drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Nevertheless, some types of vehicles have a higher accident rate than others. The following facts and figures will give you a sense of the danger:
- The number of large trucks involved in fatal accidents totaled 4,050 in 2015.
- The number of large trucks involved in injury-related crashes came out to 53,263.
- Buses accounted for only 261 of fatal crashes.
- During the years 2005 to 2015, school buses accounted for 41 percent of all fatal bus crashes.
- 33 percent of fatal bus crashes involved transit buses.
- Only 13 percent of fatal bus accidents involved intercity buses.
Large truck crashes can occur anywhere, anytime. Protecting yourself against danger means always being vigilant. Nevertheless, some places and times are more dangerous than others. Weekdays and nights, for example, are particularly treacherous, most likely because most truck drivers travel on business days. Surprisingly, rural roads seem to pose the greatest hazard, more so than even interstates.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation:
- Most large truck accidents (60 percent) occur on rural roads.
- A quarter of all large truck crashes happened on Interstate highways (either rural or urban).
- More than a third (35 percent) of all fatal large truck crashes in 2015 took place at night, between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- An overwhelming majority (83 percent) of fatal large truck crashes happened on a weekday.
- A similar percentage (89 percent) of nonfatal crashes also took place between Monday and Friday.
No matter when, where, or how your 18-wheeler accident occurred, our trusted team of truck accident lawyers will fight for your rights from beginning to end. Every truck accident case is different. The damage a semi-truck does to one truck accident victim differs from what another semi-truck does to another trucking accident victim.
Truck accident victims have the right to seek financial compensation for any losses they have sustained as a result of a negligent and careless truck driver or trucking company. A commercial truck driver that is distracted by their cell phone or is drinking alcohol while driving can end with a catastrophic and possibly deadly accident.
We want to make sure you get justice for any personal injury you sustained in a truck crash. Even if a loved one was a victim of a deadly crash, we assist victims of fatal truck accidents to file a wrongful death lawsuit to make matters right. Contact our experienced personal injury law firm in Houston today to seek the legal help you need.
What Are Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
Any number of factors can combine to create unfavorable driving conditions. While that’s true of any crash, it’s particularly true of incidents involving large vehicles, which are not only bigger but also harder to maintain and more unwieldy to drive. Common contributing factors include:
- Vehicle malfunction
- Violation of federal regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
- Improper truck maintenance
- Poor road conditions or low visibility
- Inclement weather
- Driving under the influence
- Distracted driving behind the wheel a big rig
- Excessive speed
- Improper cargo storage
- Cargo shifting
- Driver fatigue
These 18-wheeler accidents can lead to incredible physical damage to both your own body and to your property. Common injuries sustained in a commercial vehicle accident involving an 18-wheeler truck include broken bones, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, back injuries, lacerations, burns, neck injuries, and more.
Because of the sheer size and weight of many of these commercial vehicles, many of which can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, serious injuries often afflict the victims involved in a truck collision. Trucking companies should be held responsible for their negligence for a semi-truck accident that has left you struggling to recover.
Let an 18-wheeler accident attorney from our law firm help you make the most out of your situation. We have represented many victims of 18-wheeler truck accident cases over the years and we know what it takes to get results for clients and their truck accident lawsuits.
How is Liability Determined?
Assigning blame may sound like a simple matter. Reality is rarely so straightforward. That’s because there are many factors to take into account. For beginners, it’s typically federal law that governs the trucking industry and, therefore, determines responsibility for any given accident.
Not only that, but, given the nature of the industry, the typical large truck or bus accident involves significantly more parties than the typical crash, including:
- the truck or bus driver
- the truck or bus owner
- the individual or business that leased the vehicle (e.g., the trucking or bus company)
- the vehicle manufacturer
- the manufacturer of any of the vehicle parts if at least partially responsible for the accident
- any person or persons who might have improperly loaded or shipped the truck’s cargo
The complexity of federal law is one reason why it’s critical for accident victims to contact a truck accident lawyer at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. as soon as possible after a crash. Only a qualified attorney can help you through the labyrinth of rules and regulations governing large truck or bus accidents. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations are set forth to ensure the safety of other motor vehicle drivers on the road. However, the negligence of a trucking company or truck driver can end up causing accidents anyway.
Prevention can be difficult. Large truck and bus accidents often involve many variables outside of a driver’s control. That being said, there are some basic things that anyone can do to lower the likelihood of getting into a collision.
For starters, trucking and bus companies should:
- carefully maintain their fleet of vehicles
- establish clear safety protocols
- train all drivers to use safe driving techniques
To lower the risk of accidents, truck drivers can:
- maintain safe distances and speeds
- always be conscious of their no-visibility zones
- check and maintain vehicles before driving
- practice defensive driving when necessary
For their part, compact car and passenger car owners should:
- learn defensive driving techniques
- always avoid a truck’s blind spot
- maintain a safe distance between the front of their car and the back of the truck
- always pay attention to a truck’s stop signals and turn signals
- never pass a large vehicle on the right while it is in the process of making a right turn
- report dangerous truck drivers
When Should I Contact a Houston Truck Accident Lawyer?
Anyone who has been involved in an accident with a large truck or bus should know what to do in the immediate aftermath of the crash, starting with the following steps:
- Seek medical attention, even if injuries do not seem severe.
- Call the police to report the accident.
- Get the name, address, phone number, and insurance information for all involved parties (including truck or bus drivers, passenger vehicle drivers, pedestrians, or bicyclists).
- Take pictures of the scene. Include injuries, vehicle damage, and important signs.
- Call a car accident lawyer, no matter what happened, who is at fault, or whether there are injuries.
- Call your insurance provider and let them know you will be filing a claim.
- Collect and carefully store all records, including medical records, bills, witness statements, photographs, correspondence, police reports, etc.
If you’ve been in an accident with a large truck or bus, you should contact an experienced car accident attorney at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. as soon as you are able. Regardless of who was at fault, regardless of your involvement (whether you were a truck driver, car driver, passenger, pedestrian, or bicyclist), you need to seek professional legal help immediately.
While handling any and all medical emergencies take precedence over everything else, hiring a team of vehicle accident lawyers should also be at the top of your priority list. That’s because a skilled car accident lawyer can help you handle your insurance claims, advise you on the proper course of action, and evaluate your legal case.
The earlier you call, the more help you can receive. We can help you recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. If you have lost a loved one or have been involved in a truck wreck with a tractor-trailer, don’t hesitate to call our law firm. Whether you need assistance proving negligence or need help negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance company, we can do what it takes to make matters right.