Did you know that there were approximately 510,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks in the United States in 2019, and an estimated 14 people die each day in commercial truck accidents?
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, a total of 6,369 commercial vehicle accidents were reported in Harris County. With these statistics, Texas is the leading state with 579 accidents out of the ten states with fatal truck accidents in 2019.
But when can a truck be considered large?
Large trucks are defined as any medium or heavy truck weighing not less than 10,000 pounds. Commercial and non-commercial trucks are both included in this classification. Commercial trucks include, but are not limited to, 18-wheeler trucks, trailer trucks, dump trucks, concrete trucks, garbage trucks, heavy equipment vehicles, and others.
The most common types of truck accidents are rollover accidents, collisions with another vehicle, collisions with pedestrians, collisions with objects, and collisions with parked vehicles, among others.
When a large truck is involved in a collision with another vehicle, the driver or passenger of the other vehicle is the one who is most likely to be injured or killed. Due to the size of commercial trucks, truck operators have a lower risk of injury in a collision. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics, only 7% of truck operators have lost their lives in a multi-vehicle truck accident. In stark contrast, 72% of those killed were occupants of other vehicles. Those who were not killed sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Whether you are a driver or a passenger in Houston, sharing the road with commercial trucks can be intimidating. It would help if you were extra cautious in driving around these large vehicles because smaller vehicles do not stand a chance against these commercial trucks, which can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and can reach lengths of over 60 feet.
Hiring the best truck accident lawyer is your best option if you have been injured or lost a loved one because of a commercial truck accident.
What To Do
While a commercial truck accident is ultimately inevitable because of many factors, such as weather conditions, road conditions, over-speeding, distracting driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and others, there are specific steps that Houston drivers may take to avoid fatal accidents involving big rigs:
- Drive defensively and predictably.
- Be particularly cautious during bad weather.
- Avoid tailgating large trucks.
- Maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the big rigs on the road.
- Dim your lights when driving at night, as it can blind a truck driver.
- Be careful when passing and switching lanes, and use the appropriate signals.
- Move out of the truck’s blind spots or no zones as quickly as possible, on both sides, in the front, or at the back.
- Avoid engaging large vehicles with distracted driving practices.
- Always allow plenty of room for large trucks turning at an intersection since they typically need more clearance to execute a turn.
Commercial truck accidents are complex concerning liability, especially in multi-vehicle accidents. Multiple parties may be involved, such as commercial truck drivers, commercial truck companies, your insurance company, the commercial truck’s insurance company, and third parties killed or injured during the accident.
If you sustain a traumatic brain injury because of a commercial truck accident, whether mild, moderate, or severe, hiring an experienced commercial truck accident lawyer is as crucial as seeking immediate medical treatment after the accident because symptoms vary depending on the severity of your traumatic brain injury.
The warning signs of a traumatic brain injury include blurred vision, convulsions, dizziness, ear disturbance, fatigue, lack of coordination, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Furthermore, the common causes of sustaining a traumatic brain injury after a commercial truck accident are concussions, contusions, coup-contrecoup injuries, and diffuse axonal injuries.
Remember that insurance companies may deny your claim outright if your traumatic brain injury symptoms are not supported by convincing evidence. Without a reputable lawyer to represent you, you don’t stand a chance against insurance companies determined to prevent you from receiving the compensation you deserve.
Here is all the information you need to know why hiring a commercial truck injury lawyer is necessary.
What A Commercial Truck Injury Lawyer Can Do
Read on to get a glimpse of what a commercial truck injury lawyer can do:
- Help you understand your rights and responsibilities throughout the entire legal process of your claim;
- Conduct an investigation, specifically a fact-finding investigation, to identify the proximate cause of the commercial truck accident. A commercial truck accident lawyer can help establish and prove your claim, such as securing eyewitness testimonies, police or incident records, medical records, visual evidence, accident recreation, traumatic-brain injury-related expenses, commercial truck company records, and commercial truck driver’s records. An attorney can also show that you sustained a traumatic brain injury from the commercial truck accident.
- Gather all the relevant evidence to support your claim, including proof of liability and evidence of damages. Ensure that any details concerning your claim are noticed in pursuing justice. Take note that your claim must be filed within the reglementary period of two years; otherwise, your claim will be barred forever.
- Pursue justice in commercial truck accidents without any fear. Commercial truck injury lawyers work not only for the claims but to restore or reform the trucking industry by setting an example that drivers must follow the rules and regulations, and companies must not be negligent in maintaining the condition of their commercial trucks;
- Negotiate a settlement with the insurance company of the driver or the commercial truck company. However, negotiating a compromise can be challenging, but a commercial truck injury lawyer can obtain a substantial reimbursement with sheer patience and diligence. Moreover, settling with the commercial trucking company will eliminate the long process of having a proper trial wherein there is an immediate relief or remedy;
- Overcome common insurance tactics which would otherwise disprove your claim of a traumatic brain injury and ultimately refuse to pay the compensation you deserve. The insurance company of a commercial truck operator is prepared to introduce contributory negligence on your part to reduce equitably or, if not, avoid compensation. An effective commercial truck injury lawyer is ready to discredit such arguments and overcome these common tactics;
- Present sufficient evidence that will prove your claim. If the claim with insurance companies is not possible, you may bring the claim directly against the negligent commercial truck driver or the commercial truck company. A commercial truck injury lawyer can establish that the truck driver was at fault for their negligence. A lawyer can also show that the commercial trucking company was the one at fault because of improper practices such as over-speeding and overloading, improper packaging, lack of diligence in the selection and supervision of their employees, lack of maintenance of their trucks, and other pieces of evidence which can give weight to your claim.
Who May Be Liable
Multiple parties may be held liable in a multi-truck vehicle accident, including the carrier, the commercial truck driver, the commercial truck company, and the manufacturer.
Sustaining a traumatic injury from a commercial truck accident is enough to cause you headaches. Assigning liability to which party should not be your priority.
A massive multi-truck vehicle accident is rarely simple, especially determining who is at fault.
By hiring a skilled commercial truck injury lawyer, proving who is liable should be the least of all your problems allowing you to focus on rehabilitation and recovery. Remember that a commercial truck injury lawyer may help you maximize compensation for your losses by filing multiple claims.
What Evidence May be Used
There are crucial pieces of evidence that you can use to strengthen a truck accident claim in Houston, Texas. With the help of an expert commercial truck injury attorney, there is a high chance of claiming the maximum compensation possible for your case.
Truck Inspection Reports
After big rigs get involved in the accident, a truck inspection report may be compiled by a state trooper. If not, you may ask for a copy of this report because it is not usually included in the official accident report.
This truck inspection report serves as a vital piece of evidence that shows the condition of the trailer and the truck. This would prove mechanical defects or maintenance issues if such errors caused the accident. This will be especially helpful if your claim is anchored on negligence.
Electronic Logging Device Records
Houston, Texas, has an Hours-of-Service code that makes it mandatory for interstate drivers to use electronic logging devices (ELDs) and maintain records of their hours of service (HOS).
This device automatically records the driving hours, distance driven, place where you have navigated and how long the driver has operated without a rest period.
ELDs capture the crucial pieces of evidence necessary to strengthen your claim: what the commercial truck driver did during the crash and whether the driver complied with the rules or had taken his mandatory breaks.
Hire a Commercial Truck Injury Lawyer Now
A commercial truck injury lawyer with experience in dealing with victims who sustained a traumatic brain injury because of an accident is your best choice.